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Reason: Combinator Revisited

Reason Tips & Techniques
By Simon Sherbourne

Screen 1. A  simple effects chain before combining.Screen 1. A simple effects chain before combining.

We take another look at Reason's endlessly useful Combinator.

Reason's Combinator has had more mentions in SOS's Reason workshops than any other Rack device. It's been in the spotlight again in recent months because it's useful for making portable patches, independent from Reason's own song files or DAW plug-in presets files. Combinators can wrap up individual sound patches, or whole chunks of your Rack, making them easy to move between projects, between instances of the Rack plug-in, or between the plug-in and stand-alone versions of Reason. So now seems like a good time to revisit the Combinator and look at some examples of the fun and useful stuff it can do.

The Basics

The Combinator is essentially a sub-rack: a black box that contains any number of other devices patched together. The Combinator itself has master audio inputs and outputs that can be connected to what's inside. It also has MIDI and modulation connections that can be passed through to the enclosed devices. A programming panel gives you detailed control over how MIDI and mod sources are routed and filtered internally. Finally, the front panel of the Combinator has four knobs and four buttons that can be configured as macros to control parameters on the combined devices.

Effects Chain

Let's start with something simple: a...

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Published March 2020