Video Tutorial: Advanced Thor Techniques in Reason 4
Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and this is my tutorial on some of the more interesting parts of the Thor synth in Reason 4.
I’ll explain how to make some less conventional synths in thor using the phase mod oscillator, wavetable oscillator and FM Pair oscillator, how to make some interesting sounds with the formant and comb filters and how to make some sweet FX with the modulation bus routing section.
Okay! Let’s begin.
I’ve made a futuristic techno track to show some of the less conventional techniques off. We’re going to start with this Lead synth.
It comprises two Phase mod oscillators set to the same settings, but a little detuned. If you watch my tutorials you’ll notice I use the “Multi Osc” oscillator a lot – this is because by using the detune knob, you can make multiple waves detuned against each other really quickly, giving a big, professional sounding thick sound.
Since we’re using different synths, in order to maintain that thickness, you have to do this the old fashioned way and make two synths slightly detuned against each other.
A quick explanation about the Phase Mod Oscillator – this oscillator takes two waves and plays them in series, one after the other, making an interesting, bassier combined sound from the two waves you chose. The “PM” (Phase Modulation) knob acts like a low pass filter.
Next up is the formant filter. This adds formants to the wave, allowing it to produce vowel sounds – very daft punk. The gender knob changes the timbre of the formant, allowing it to sound more masculine or feminine. Well, maybe not feminine, but perhaps an entheusiastic midget.
By turning up the “Env” knob and turning the Decay on the filter envelope down, we can make some sweet effects that have a sharp attack and then filter the sound.
Now for one of my favourite filters – the Comb filter. This one adds a very fast delay to the sound then offsets it slightly (defined by the filter knob). This produces some awesome futuristic phasey and flangey sounds. It’s a good filter to automate with LFOs in the modulation bus routing to get some cool, warping sounds.
Now for the bass I’ve used two FM Pair Oscillators – These are a weird oscillator and it’s kinda hard to for me to describe how they work without sounding like a slightly more English version of microsoft Sam run through a technical manual, but I’ll explain the one bit I understand – so long as the mod value is a multiple of the carrier value, the sound stays in key – if not then you get some pretty dischordant, painful effects.
But with it in key, you can get some nice overtones. Similarly to before, I’ve detuned them slightly to thicken the sound (though not too much – bass sounds should be quite focused to prevent the low end being weak and messy)
I’ve also run the LFO1 through to the amp gain to emulate side chain compression – saves building a redrum instance and faffing around at the back of the devices… it isn’t perfect, but it does the job if you’re looking for a quick pumping effect.
Lastly, for the pad I’ve used wavetable oscillators – these contain sampled waveforms you can select from to generate the waves for your synth. I liked this Mixed Waves 2 one, but have a look through since there’s a massive variety.
The position knob determines where in the wavetable the sample should trigger from – so basically it’s determining how much of the start of the sample is cut off. X-fade smooths out the transitions between wavetables, stopping it from sounding jerky and clipping all the time.
I’ve run this through a state variable filter, which can give some ace sounds – the band pass and high pass filters in particular are cool, which filter out a section of the sound and the low end of the sound respectively. Here, I’ve linked LFO1 to the amp gain to give a plinky-plonky kind of effect with this waveform in the LFO, and LFO2 to the State variable filter frequency on a band pass setting to make it go from bassy to high frequency. I chose a stepped wave and tempo synced it so it moved one step each beat.
And there you have it! Some useful techniques so you can make some more interesting sounding synths with Thor in Reason. I mean – no-one ever gets anywhere in music by using the same sounds again and again, right? I’m off to listen to some Dubstep, catch you guys later.