This is a follow up to an earlier tutorial about creating a breath controlled patch with Subtractor.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Don’t underestimate the Subtractor. It is a great little synth and is easier to program than Thor. You can get some cool analog and digital sounds out of it. It can sound surprisingly good when pumped up with the right effects. It also makes a good starting point when learning synthesis because it is the most basic synth in the Reason family. You can stack them in Combinators for some pretty massive sounds, too.
99.9% of the Subtractor sounds you will encounter were created with keyboards in mind and therefore velocity takes precedence over performance controllers such as breath and aftertouch. In this tutorial we will walk through converting a regular Subtractor patch into a breath controlled patch, attempting to keep the character and sound of the original patch. Along the way we’ll discuss the various parameters and what they do. We are also going to stick with using the front panel controls only, a future tutorial will cover the use of CV to add breath control to virtually any Subtractor parameter.
Since most of the patches you come across are set with velocity to control the various parameters, we will focus on making what is essentially a ‘struck’ sound into a ‘sustaining’ sound where we can control the parameter musically over time.
Here is what the Reason Manual says about the Velocity parameters:
Over in the performance section where we set breath control, we only have Filter 1 Frequency, LFO1, Amp and FM.
First set the indicator to breath in the performance area.
Keep in mind, we are still sending velocity to the synth (at least I hope you have your wind controller set to transmit velocity!) so some of the velocity parameters are still valid.
Let’s just go down the velocity list one by one and see how to map it over. The green ones are the easiest to map over. For everything else, either move the knob to 0, or leave it as is.
High Speed BC Conversion
If that doesn't make much sense, or you want something super quick, here is a super quick conversion, using some defaults that I like.
Ext Mod section:
F Freq Ext Mod = 49
LFO1 Ext Mod = 0
Amp Ext Mod = 24
FM Ext Mod = 0
Filter 1 Section
Filter 1 Freqency = 33
Attack = 48
Decay = 100
Sustain = 64-127
Release = 10
A. Atk (Amp Envelope Attack) = -24
If I didn't mention a parameter, just leave it as is. Try playing the patch and adjust.
So there you have it - a quick way to convert a subtractor sound over to breath control. These settings will also work on an NN-19 patch!
A lot of the parameters don’t have a 1 to 1 mapping, but in a future tutorial we will cover how to control just about any parameter using breath and CV.
The best way to get a feel for it is to just play around and experiment and most importantly, have fun!