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Sound Design Tutorial: How To Make Your Own Drum Samples in Reason

Posted April 4, 2019, 8:04 a.m.

In electronic music, it’s hard to imagine writing a great song without starting with the drum sounds. And while there are a plethora of fantastic drum samples available just a few clicks away, the hallmark of many renowned producers is their use of original drum sounds. Reason 10 is packed with features to help you create your own drum samples and stand out from the crowd.

Layers

You can easily create your own drum sounds by layering two or more samples together to create a new sound. Use Reason’s browser to select a kick sample that highlights the attack of the beater sound. Then, choose a kick sample that emphasizes the body, sustain, and/or room tone of the drum. After you find two kicks that sound nice together, lower each sample’s volume so that the combined output doesn’t result in clipping.

Now, listen to each sample by itself to hone in on its individual character. You may want to remove or automate the attack portion of the second kick sample so it doesn’t conflict with the beater sound of the first sample. Now you can beef up your drum sounds by using EQ. Experiment with boosting and carving different frequencies between the individual samples so they’ll complement each other instead of clashing.

Tone Generator

Another simple way to make your own drum sounds is using a Tone Generator to add sustain and power to existing samples. A Tone Generator is an oscillator that gives you simple envelope and pitch bend control. In Reason 10, you can use the Tone Generator included with Kong Drum Designer to put your own spin on a kick drum sound. Start an instance of NN-Nano Sampler, use the browser to navigate to the REX loops folder, and find the individual slice you want to sample. Set the Tone Generator’s pitch knob to a low setting to add extra boom to the kick sample. Now add a compressor to really squeeze the two sounds together. 

Noise Generator

You can also use Kong’s Noise Generator to shape an acoustic drum sample into a more aggressive-sounding snare. Adjust the Noise Generator’s pitch and decay to match your drum sample, glue the sounds together with a compressor and now you have your own classic snare sound.

Start From Scratch

While Kong’s Tone and Noise Generators are great for adding something to a sample, they can also stand on their own by creating new drum sounds from scratch. You can easily create your own analog-style tom sound by using Tone Generator to trigger a low-pitched tone with medium attack and decay settings. Next, turn the bend knob halfway up and experiment with bend decay. Now you can add a Noise Generator with the same attack and decay settings to the Tone Generator to achieve a classic 80s tom sound. Try layering multiple Tone Generators together at different pitches to experiment with more atonal drum sounds.

Now that you know how to make your own drum samples from scratch, it’s time to start dialing in the unique percussive sounds that will inspire your next hit.
 

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