Reason has plenty of tricks up its sleeve for adding character and warmth to a mix.
If you’ve already upgraded to version 7 of Reason, you will no doubt have been enjoying its new bundled effect device, Audiomatic Retro Transformer. This orange wonder is remarkably easy to use — just choose your effect flavour, tweak it with the Transform knob, and adjust levels if necessary — but it can imbue tracks with real character and vibe.
However, there are other approaches to adding character and dirtying up your sounds in general, and you won’t necessarily need the absolutely latest version of Reason to achieve many of them. All have the ability to give drum loops, synth riffs, audio tracks, whole mixes (or anything else, really) a notably looser and more lived-in feel. They can help to banish unwanted vestiges of squeaky-clean digital accuracy, and provide a really interesting alternative to EQ in making mix elements ‘bed down’ and complement each other. Let’s look at some of the best.
Prior to Audiomatic, the ‘go-to’ character device in Reason was Scream 4, and it’s still massively useful, with valuable, unique capabilities. Yes, it’s called a ‘Sound Destruction Unit’ but not all its treatments are aggressive and screamingly obvious (sorry).
Try creating a Scream 4 on a track, but turn off the Damage section completely. That leaves you with the Cut section, a three-band EQ easily capable of generating lo-fi...