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Quick Tip: Create a Percussive Filter in Reason

This post is part of a series called Top Sound Design Tuts.
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This quick tip will show you how you can create an interesting percussive effect using a filter and a delay unit after any percussive sound. I have created my effect using Reason, but the process will work just as well using just about any filter/delay unit in any DAW.

Step 1

After opening Reason create any instrument that will give out a percussive or rhythmic sound. To keep things nice and easy I am using a Dr. Rex Loop player with a drum loop loaded in. The unaffected loop sounds like this:

Step 2

Next, create an ECF-42 filter unit so that the output of the Dr Rex passes through the filter. This should wire itself up automatically.

Step 3

Now create a DDL-1 delay unit immediately after the filter. You should set the dry/wet control to about 12 o'clock, though you can adjust this to your taste later on. The default setting for the delay time is 3/16 which works great with this effect, but again you should feel free to experiment with different delay times.

Step 4

Now set the filter to band pass (BP) mode, turn up the resonance on the filter all the way, and turn the 'env amt' control down to zero. When you play the Rex loop you should hear a very resonant yet percussive sound.

Step 5

Finally, try moving the filter cutoff control the filter sweeps combined with the delay effect create an atmospheric effect. You can record your movements or automate the cutoff to add this to one of your tracks.

Another good thing to try is to use a copy of the actual drum beat in your track to produce this effect, so the delayed filter effects exactly match the patterns played by your drums. I have used this technique in the example song below:

It is worth mentioning that this example could be reproduced using the onboard filter in the Dr. Rex loop player, but I have opted to demonstrate with the external filter unit in case people wish to try this technique using other instruments which do not feature a built in filter.