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Using Reason's Thor As a Signal Processor


There's no doubt that Thor is a great synth capable of a diverse range of sounds but it can also be used as an effects processor, capable of treating any sound in your rack. Although the inputs on Thor's rear panel are pretty clear, successfully performing external processing takes a little bit of routing know how.

Once you've got your head around the routing process you might just end up using this as your go to filter bank. Using Thor in this way can certainly fill in the gaps in Reason's effects collection and give you a whole new area of processing to experiment with. I'll give you one example of how it can be used.

Step 1: Initialized Thor

I'm all for driving some points home and one of these is starting with truly initialized patches when creating your own synth patches. I have totally initialized the Thor here and you'll notice that there aren't even any oscillators activated. That's simply because we'll not be using them here.

All Thor patches and the complete project are include din the playback for you to download and load at home. It's worth noting however that the main project was created in Reason 5 so people with earlier versions may only be able to load the Thor patches.

This patch totally relies on an external signal as a sound source. We are simply using Thor to process the incoming audio. All the modules on the right of Thor's interface are what we'll be concentrating on here as these are the ones used to process external signals.

The fully initialized Thor patch

Step 2: Routing a Signal to Thor's Inputs

The first step is to route the signal you want to process to Thor's inputs. In this case I've used a Dr. OctoRex and routed it to inputs 1 and 2 on the Thor's rear panel. You'll not hear any sound from your connected device yet, even when it's playing. First we need to complete the internal routing and this involves using the Thor's mod matrix...

The OctoRex is routed to the inputs of the Thor.

Step 3: Setting Up the Mod Matrix

With our external routing complete we can make out internal connections. This is completed by using the mod matrix. Inputs 1 and 2 are selected as the first two sources and the inputs 1 and 2 of filter 3 are used as the destination. The value on each of these routings is set to the full 100.

The initial mod matrix settings.

With this routing complete you should now be able to hear the dry, untreated loop playing through the initialized Thor. Notice that we can hear the signal even though there is no filter module inserted into the filter 3 slot.

The dry loop can now be heard through the Thor.

Step 4: Applying Some Filtering and LFO

We are now ready to insert any of Thor's filter models into the filter 3 slot. Here I've used a comb filter, I find it's metallic quality great for treating loops and percussive grooves. By adding resonance and manually sweeping the cutoff frequency you can hear what a dramatic effect this has on our loop.

The comb filter is inserted

Next I used LFO2 to sweep the filters cut off. The speed is set relatively slow and synced to project's BPM. The mod matrix is then used to map the LFO to the filters Cutoff. The final effect is really dynamic and much more interesting that the static filter setting.

The LFO is routed to the filter in the mod matrix

In this case I have used a sine wave based LFO waveform, this gives us a smooth sweeping effect but if you would prefer something a little more extreme or erratic you could use a ramp or even random LFO waveform. Also experiment by automating the LFO's speed over time to create evolving builds and time based effects.

The LFO is synced and set

The filtered loop

Step 5: Adding Effects

Finally some delay and chorus is added using Thor's internal effects processors. This gives the loop some extra groove and pace and the chorus opens up the stereo image somewhat. The LFO speed and filter frequency are also slightly tweaked at this stage.

The delay is actually locked to the project's BPM using the sync function, this ensures that any resulting echoes are perfectly in time and compliment the existing loops groove. The chorus is actually using a pretty subtle setting and is also using a low feedback setting.

The effects are added

Hopefully this brief example gives you some idea of whats possible when using the Thor in this fashion. Try experimenting with differing filter modes and LFO waveforms for dramatically different results. Also try using instrument loops such as guitar or synth riffs.

The final effected loop

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