Two questions that seem to get asked often by people hooking up their wind controller to Reason for the first time is “How do I get Reason to recognize my controller?” and “how do I use my keyboard and my wind controller at the same time?” The good news is Reason can handle as many controllers as you throw at it, but there are some things to keep in mind.
First, make sure that your wind controller is plugged into the Midi interface and that your computer can ‘see’ the midi interface and ports. If you have an EWI USB, like me, make sure it is plugged in to the USB port, and the green light is on. I’m assuming you’ve gotten this far and that everything is working. Check to make sure that your midi cables are plugged into the correct ports. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m assuming your hardware is plugged in and everything is working correctly.
First Time Setup
Demystifying the Master Keyboard
- The Master Keyboard is the one that is used when you select a device track in the sequencer. That device will be played by the Master Keyboard.
- Only one controller at a time can be the Master Keyboard.
- To play more than one device at a time, use the MIDI Bus - more on this below.
To make a device the Master Keyboard, just highlight the device in the preference pane shown above and press the Make Master Keyboard button. Now, when you select a track in the sequencer, that device will be played by the Master Keyboard. If you select 'Separated', you must select the device icon in the sequencer to play the device, and the track selection remains unchanged.
Play two devices at once - the MIDI Bus
Well, we can wire up one or the other to control a specific instrument, so it will always play that instrument no matter what the Master Keyboard is controlling.
- First go to the Keyboards and Control Surfaces page in Preferences and deselect 'Use with Reason.'
- Go the Advanced Control page in Preferences. Here you will see listed Bus A –D. Let’s keep our keyboard the master keyboard and set the EWI to Bus A.
- Next go to the Hardware Device in the Rack and select Adv Midi Device.
- Click the ‘A’ button in Bus Select.
- My EWI USB is set to transmit on channel one, and when I blow into it the little green light next to Channel 1 lights up, confirming this. If a different channel’s lights light, use that channel.
- Press the little down arrow to select the device you want to control with your EWI. Congratulations, you’re done! Save the song to save your setup.
Hopefully, this demystifies how to set up and control Reason with multiple keyboards and inputs. As you can see the Props have done a great job making sure we can do pretty much anything as far as routing midi to the various reason devices.
Reason 5 comes out this week, and as soon as I get that, I'll create a new tutorial for Reason 5 owners. Notably, this whole business about using the Midi Bus to play two devices at once will probably be obsoloete. Woo hoo!