We explore a couple of ways to add analogue warmth with the Reason Mixer.
I’ve been thinking about how many people like to bring a little analogue warmth to their in‑the‑box mixes, and whether this was something you could do with just Reason’s stock toolkit. This is also a good excuse to revisit one of the underused features in the standalone Reason app: the Mixer’s Inserts section.
Some DAWs have analogue console or tape emulation built into their mixer, like the HEAT feature in Pro Tools. There are also many plug‑ins that add console or tape character, such as the excellent Brainworx_bx series. Some mixers like to use analogue hardware summing mixers on their stems, which itself can be emulated with Waves’ NLS plug‑in.
Reason’s main mixer is a tribute to a classic large‑format SSL console. Its EQ and Dynamics channel processing is based on this. However, the actual signal path through the mixer does not alter the sound character; it doesn’t attempt to emulate the colour imparted by the analogue circuitry and amps in the original hardware.
It does, however, have a master compressor, which operates on the final mix bus, and this does provide some of the magic character of the classic ‘bus compressor’. This is usually described as ‘gluing’ the mix together, making all the tracks sound like they are pulling together and adding some overall oomph.
There are plenty of other effects you could add to your final mix to add some warmth or grunge. Many Reason users routinely use the MClass processors on their final mix, of which the Maximiser has a Soft...