Reason Control Voltage Tutorial

Electronic music instruments rely on control voltages in some form or another. Both analog and digital systems require a means of changing pitch, timbre, loudness, and other sonic characteristics. This is achieved using control voltage, or in the case of software like Propellerhead Reason, a digital representation of control voltage.

A powerful feature of Propellerhead Reason is the implementation of signal routing in the virtual rack environment. This system includes both audio cabling and control voltage cabling. A single modulation source, such as an LFO, can control several other synths that react the instant you alter the LFO settings. This ability to have a signal from one software synthesizer control a different software synth, is an amazing feature that often goes overlooked.

For Reason users, interested in learning about control voltage routing, this on-going series will provide an introduction to the terminology and protocols in using this feature in Propellerhead Reason. The tutorials are presented as individual Reason Song Files and require various Rack Extensions that help illustrate active processes. Each lesson is embedded in the session file, so you actively experience control voltage at work, or you can quickly copy and paste patches to your own projects.

Tutorial Files

The lessons are sequential, and it’s recommended to start from the first file and work down. The files require Reason 7.0.1 or later as well as various Rack Extensions. More information can be found within the file.

Reason is a Modular Synthesizer

Preface to the Tutorial. An example of complex CV modulation routings in Reason.

1. Introduction

A look at control voltages and useful rack extensions for observing CV behavior

2. CV Source Types

The general types of control voltages in Reason. CV Sources determine the nature of control.

3. CVs are Universal

Understanding that CVs need not conform to intended usage. CV signals can be used in any manner imaginable.

4. Matrix Pattern Sequencer

Overview of the most commonly used CV utility in Reason, the Matrix Pattern Sequencer. Understanding teh pairing of Note CV and Gate CV, also referred to as CV/Gate

5. Thor Step Sequencer

A look at the Thor Step Sequencer and Programming overview. Understanding internal routing versus CV cabling.

6. Listening to CV Source Types

A comparison of LFO, Envelope Generators, Followers and how they affect the pitch of an oscillator

7. CV Routing Basics

A quick overview of connecting CV sources to CV targets

8. Low Frequency Oscillators

Understanding LFO controls starting with the Reason 1.0 legacy devices

Download All Files

complete archive of the tutorial files


Announcements for new tutorial files will be posted on the home page, as well as Twitter and Facebook channels.