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Controllers/ MIDI Keyboards/ Interfaces for use with Reason?

Discussion in 'Reason' started by Mighty Mouse, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Mighty Mouse

    Mighty Mouse Active Member

    Hello All,

    First of I am going to start by saying that I am basically the epitome of a small child when it comes to most of this. All else aside if there is any links or anywhere for me to be directed on a post already covering this that would be very much appreciated. I did notice that Reason was not listed under the programs so if I am in the wrong for posting this here please let me know!

    Like the title say I am going to be getting the newest version of Reason. Any input on the best Controllers/ Interfaces/ MIDI keyboards that are compatible with this software? Big Pre-Thanks to anyone with some good advice and opinions I am open to all! Thank you!
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well, the two i have w/ reason are budget. and alesis sr-16 drum machine, and a korg k49 midi controller. they both work w/ reason and at the same time. and are both about 50bucks new.
  3. Mighty Mouse

    Mighty Mouse Active Member


    Awesome sir, thank you so much! Have you heard anything good about the nektar panorama P-4?
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Remember that all a midi controller does, and I'm speaking of the keyboard variety which allows you to trigger ITB soft synths like piano samples, strings, even drums... all that controller truly does is send note on - note off information, essentially. Yes, it can also do things like velocity (the strength of the note) duration, ( the sustain of a note) and a few other parameters, but essentially, it operates like a light switch. The note is either triggered on.... or shut off.

    Now....Controllers vary in a huge way when it comes to other things like, for example, "feel". Some keyboards have a "synthy" feel, with the action being very springy and resilient, while others have what is called a
    'semi-weighted" action, which more closely resembles that of a piano feel. There are some that actually do have a piano action. Unless you're a pro piano player or a purist, you'd be hard pressed to feel the difference between that controller's action and a standard piano's action in terms of response and feel. Many of these are actually 88 key models.

    A few other things to keep in mind...

    Many current patches also need a "mod wheel" to effectively operate to optimum potential. The mod wheel is a wheel, usually to the left of the last key to your left. If you are triggering samples by something like Native's B4, for example - which is a Hammond B3 organ emulator -you'll need this mod wheel to control the Leslie cabinet/rotating speaker effect most closely associated with the classic Hammond B3 sound.

    Other samples rely on this mod wheel to control volume swells for things like strings and brass...

    And not every controller has one... so keep in mind what it is you want to do.

    Some require a midi interface to get that information into your PC, but many newer models are USB based, which alleviates the need for a midi interface card or device.

    You do not need to spend big money on a midi controller to simply trigger ITB samples and soft synths.

    Now, as to what model to point you too? That's up to you and what you plan on using it for.

    But for basic midi controller needs, there's no need to go out and spend $500, or for that matter, even $300 to get what you need for basic midi production.


  5. Mighty Mouse

    Mighty Mouse Active Member


    Wow, very nice info there sir. What I am really wanting to start doing is making sort of dubstep/ chill music almost like Blackmill, but I am also into music like Bassnectar's, do you have any suggestions on some good midi controllers for those styles?
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    well, it's really not as much about the controllers as it is the samples and synth patches that you will be triggering using the controller.

    The controller, or at least most dedicated controllers, don't have sounds or patches built into them that you can play. They are designed to be used as a control surface in which to trigger synth sounds and samples that reside internally within your DAW program. Many programs, like Reaper, Sonar, Cubase, etc, will generally come with some very basic soft synth packages, but by and large, the quality isn't what most pros would consider to be high, sonically...they are more for working copy and arrangement purposes.

    As far as the sounds or sound libraries that you can purchase as soft synth additions to your DAW? Well, the possibilities are limitless.

    Libraries range from Orchestral to Percussion to Electronica to World Instruments...and on and on and on.... the choice is yours to make, based on what you want to do and how much you want to spend.

    Look at the DAW as your empty canvas, your controller as the paint brush, and the various sounds you want to trigger as your paints...

    ....and as to that, only you would know what colors to use to paint your masterpiece. ;)


  7. Mighty Mouse

    Mighty Mouse Active Member

    Wow, really loved the way you explained that! From what I understand I will be starting with reason.. I think there will be tons for me to learn and play around with in that!
  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    reason is a professional program. commercial songs have been made w/ it quite a bit. donny makes good points, and what he says is true. so i think what your consideration is 'feel'. if your just looking to 'enter the notes' you;d be fine w/ any midi controller. given a dub step perspective that should be fine. i am unfamiliar w/ the p-4, but if it feels right it should be fine. there is a definitive feature in midi controllers called 'aftertouch' that is not present in budget stuff, this is hugely important to strings and anything sustained. it basically records how you let go of the note. m-audio actually decent controllers, but really like any reinstatement, you gotta try them, they all do the same thing, but they are all different.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    whooops, yup... Kmetal caught me on an important parameter I neglected to mention... aftertouch is very important if you are working with sounds like strings, brass...

    Sorry 'bout that... ;)

  10. Mighty Mouse

    Mighty Mouse Active Member

    No prob no prob! What kind of controllers and stuff do y'all use if you don't mind me asking??
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I have several.

    My main controller is a Casio Privia - it's an 88 key piano action, because I do more piano on my tracks than I do anything else, sample wise.

    I also have an ancient ensoniq KS 32 - semi weighted action - which I use for synths, strings, B3, etc.

    I have many soft synth libraries... N.I. for Hammond B3 and Prophet 5, Garritan Orchestra, Garritan Big Band and East West Colossus for a slew of different synth sounds.

    Because I'm a drummer, I do mostly live drum tracking, but for those times that I want to track working copy drums late at night, I use BFD Drums.

    There are endless amounts of libraries for you to choose from.

    Perhaps you might do a search on YouTube for dubstep stuff you like and see if any info was given as to the types of samples used.


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