Psytrance Tutorial Day 5: FX and Resampling in Reason 5

Hi, I’m Dave from and welcome to day 5 of my 7 day song on Psytrance. Yesterday, I taught you how to fashion some fancy pads. Today, we’ll be kitting out the song with the essential FX, and I’ll teach you how to re-sample in Reason 5.

More so than other genres, Psytrance relies heavily on samples and fx to keep the track sounding full – it’s basically providing backing noises to assist the listener in entering that entranced state.

Here I’ve simply put an instance of Kong inside a combinator (as always – combinators just keep things tidy) and each pad triggers a different sample. I used to use ReDrum for my FX banks, but Kong is a lot simpler, as you don’t have to route each individual channel to a mixer channel to apply effects to each sound – they can just be added in the fx banks. Much simpler.

But yes, I’ll show you how I added the samples. I’ll pick this new pad and load one up to demonstrate. Simply add an NN-Nano sampler to the drum module for the pad, then click the open button and select a sample on your hard drive. All the samples I’ve used are from the XXL Dance FX sample pack, which is great, otherwise give their Razor FX pack a try – either of them are awesome.

In the case of most of the samples, I’ve made the samples only trigger for as long as the sample is held down, so the reverses cut off as soon as I want them to. This is easy to do – simply turn the decay shape in NN-Nano to “Gated” and the decay to 0. Then check it out – BLAMMO! Dead stop. Pretty violent, really.

The samples I’ve used are 4 kind of one-shot triggered samples, a zoomy one, an explosion with a bit of reverb to replace the need for a crash, since I felt it was cool to not use a generic crash sound for once, this string hit sample which I’ve pitched-down an octave by turning the pitch knob to fully left, which is in the key of C fortunately enough, and this sound that on its own sounds like you kicked over a bin, but with a bit of tape echo and filtering, sounds like you walked through a portal into an apocalyptic wasteland. At least that’s what it sounds like when I step through foreboding vortexes.

Make sure the feedback is nice and high to maintain the echo and the dry/wet is enough so the first hit is still louder than the tail of the sound, otherwise it sounds a bit strange. Stranger than the aformentioned apocalyptic portal.

The frequency I’ve just kept on Low Pass to make it gradually less high pitched so it gives that cool impression of distance. Remember – low frequencies travel faster and more effectively over distance and as such, the further a sound gets from you, the bassier it will become! I totally thought about it that much when creating this sound and didn’t just add effects until it sounded cool.

So on the next row we’ve got this eerie sample that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a field recording of a ghost trapped in a vacuum cleaner, The first reverse sound that I’ve carefully pitched up to a C from its original F so it matches the key of the song, a riser sound that’s a bit longer, and another nice higher pitched reverse that’s quite eerie – I think it was a piano note reversed.

Lastly I’ve got this sound I resampled, but I’ll come to that in part 2.

If we take a look at the sequencer, we can see I’ve sprinkled some sounds in on different note lanes with names to help me remember what each one is when arranging the FX. I’ve used that pitched reverse, for instance, a few times quite quietly – remember, you can adjust volumes from within Kong easily with the volume knob for each pad – to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the beat.

I’ll talk more about arrangement of the fx in Day 6, but I’ll just say that it’s generally a good idea to end a reverse with a hit. Otherwise it’s like a big build up to nothing, akin to expecting an Xbox 360 for christmas and ending up being stuck with a plain old PS3. I’m joking, I’m not really an Xbox fanboy, I own a PS2 and a PSOne. As well as a Wii, Xbox 360, DS, PSP, Xbox, Gamecube, N64, Dreamcast, Sega Saturn, Mega Drive, SNES, Master System, NES, Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Colour. But enough about my friend-less childhood, let’s move on to part 2 where I’ll explain about the wonders of resampling!

Now this is quite a useful technique for sound manipulation! Say you’ve got a sound you really like but some of the effects you’ve applied are a bit unpredictable and playing different notes doesn’t work as you’d like – this is a time for resampling! Particularly good for making dubstep basses, eerie atmospheric sounds and generally anything pretty messed up.

Reason 5 makes it very easy. Firstly, make a spider audio splitter (hold shift so it doesn’t connect to anything) after the main mixer. Hit tab to look at the back of the rack, Route the mixer to the splitter, then the splitter to both the mastering suite and the Sampling Input in the Audio I/O section up top. Now try playing a sound and see if it shows up in the sampling input. Yep – sorted.

Now, head over to Kong (you can do this with the other Reason Samplers as well) and in an instance of NN-Nano, we’re going to click the little audio wave button that has the convenient tooltip “Start Sampling”, then play our sound – in this case that string sample after I turn the pitch back up, since it sounds pretty cool with the echo on it.

So let’s give that a go… then press edit. If you press stop, it goes straight in and you’ve got your sample. Pressing edit allows you to tidy things up. The editing window lets you normalize the sample, which makes it as loud as it can be without clipping, reverse it, crop it (so cutting off the start and end, let’s do that now – make sure you have “Snap Sample Start/End to Transients” selected – this means that the sample will only start where the wave is at a middle point which prevents the wave sound from clipping at the start and end.

You can also loop it, but for now let’s leave it and check out our shiny new sample! Sweet – now we can chuck it in the song and add even more effects to it, then get inspired to resample it again, add more effects and… yeah, it’s a pretty vicious and addictive cycle. Be prepared to lose a lot of time to resampling when you get the bug.

So there we have it! Some FX more eerie than a Barack Obama dressed as a Bunny Rabbit. Tune in for day 6 where we’ll be talking about the structure of Psytrance and arranging the song! Toodle pip!


One Response to “Psytrance Tutorial Day 5: FX and Resampling in Reason 5”

  1. Whats up man, I have a question about sampling and I want to ask you about, I’m
    using reason 5.0 and I want to know why I am not able to hear my whole sample when I sequence with reason, I can hear it fine before I press record, as soon as I record it, it cuts the sample off …. I know its something simple that im not doing or need to do. If you can help I would really appreciate it… You can email me at Thank you so much!!


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