Reason 6 is out and anyone who already had Reason + Record probably has it now, due to the 'pay what you want' upgrade deal from October. I've been experimenting with the three new devices in the Reason rack - The Echo, Pulverizer, and Alligator. So far, my favorite is the Pulverizer. Is it just because I like everything distorted and ugly? Not really - the Pulverizer has a lot of uses beyond complete sound demolition, as its name might imply. I thought I would share three creative uses for the Pulverizer that make our lives as EWI artists easier, or at least a little better. Read on for the tips!
The first, and most obvious use is to just warm up a brittle sound. It's no secret that I LOVE the tape algorithm on the Scream 4. I use it on just about everything. The pulverizer 'dirt' settings give the Scream 4 a run for its money, though, for warming up a sound. Just set the filter to bypass, put the Squash at a low level and set 'Dirt' to wherever it sounds good to you. If you find the sound getting too dirty, you can always mix in some of the dry signal with the 'Blend' knob on the far right of the unit. The 'Tone' knob is an 'extra' low pass filter. Set this all the way to the right to let your entire sound through, move it to the left to mellow your sound. This works great when you set Blend to about 12 o clock. Just wire it up as an insert effect to add some analog warmth to your sound. Here is a subtractor sound with and without some 'Dirt'
Let's continue with our Subtractor + Pulverizer example. We are going to use the Pulvierizer as a universal breath controlled volume. That way any subtractor patch we load up will automagically have breath controlled volume.
We'll keep the subtractor routed to the Pulverizer, but let's put them in a combinator by selecting both units by shift - clicking each unit, then right clicking and choosing 'Combine' from the pop up menu. If you remember from the 'Route Breath to Anything' series of tutorials, we can use the RPG-8 as a breath to CV converter. Just create an RPG-8 Arpeggiator while holding shift so it doesn't auto route. Turn off the arpeggiator function. Then, create a Spider CV Merger and Splitter, again while holding shift. Flip the rack around and connect the Breath CV out of the RPG-8 to the Split A input of the Spider then connect one of the outputs to the volume input on the Pulverizer. It should look like this (click for the full size pic):
Easy. Try loading different patches into the Subtractor and listening how the volume reacts to breath. One thing to keep in mind, though. Since most Subtractor patches are designed for the keyboard, and we are using a wind controller, you might want to disable the velocity controls.
Master Filter, too!
Now that we know how to control the volume on the pulverizer output, we can do the same thing to take advantage of the filters on the Pulverizer, too, including the Low Pass + Notch, which doesn't exist on any other synth in the Reason rack. To do this, we can just route from our Spider CV to the Filter CV input on the back of the Pulverizer, like so:
"Low pass 24" and "LP12+Notch" seem to work best, or at least give the most 'traditional' sound, but experiment with the other filters. Now we have breath controlling the filter cutoff and volume and the controls are external to the sound generating device. This is a huge deal and an important concept. By externalizing the breath controlled elements from the sound generation device (in this case a Subtractor) we can swap out the sound generating device with another one, without changing our breath response. This is a key concept that is used in the Cyclone Wind Synth combinator and one that you can use in your own sound design experiments as well.
So there you have it. The Pulverizer is a great new addition to the Reason rack for wind synthesists because it is something of a 'one stop shop' for breath controlled sounds. In one device, you can fatten up your sound with the 'Squash' and 'Dirt' controls, and control your volume and filter cutoff via the CV inputs.
Here is a completed patch and sound example. Until next time, have fun making music!