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On The Road With Reason, Turntablist DJ Babu Stays Portable & Creative

On The Road With Reason, Turntablist DJ Babu Stays Portable & Creative

Super Duck Breaks Beatmaster Switches Up From Hardware to Software

Stockholm, Sweden, May 2, 2007 - As a revered battle DJ, DJ Babu is a member of Dilated Peoples and the on-again/off-again crew, Beat Junkies. He's won multiple competition titles including the DMC Championship in 1997. Under the name "Turntablist", Babu produced perhaps the most popular battle record, 1996's Super Duck Breaks, selling over 10,000 copies, and its follow-up, Super Duper Duck Breaks, in 2000. Babu is just one of the many DJs to make the switch from hardware-based samplers to Reason for making beats-and staying portable and creative on the road.

Babu found the switch from hardware to software to be a smooth transition. As a traditionalist, he continued to use an Ensoniq ASR-10, but working with Reason more and more, he found he became more confident placing beats made with Reason on his beat CDs. "I still love my ASR," he says, "but Reason as of late has been the go-to weapon in my arsenal. As soon as I realized my Reason beats were sonically killing my ASR beats, I knew I'd be using Reason a lot more. These days I look around my studio and one side of the room has keyboards, drum machines, rackmount sound modules, etc., and on the other side is my laptop with Reason, a 49-key controller - and it's rendering all my old gear obsolete. Everything I need is built-in: synths, percussion, strings, horns - all pristine-sounding. And with Refills, my sound bank is continuously growing. If I need 20 samplers, I got it. If I need 10 reverbs, I got it. I just feel like with Reason there are no limitations."

The biggest difference he noticed initially working with Reason was that he spent a bit more time organizing and recording samples into his computer versus sampling directly into the ASR. But ultimately, that saved him time in the long run. "I might spend a day recording sounds from my record collection, loading the samples into Recycle, chopping and editing them up, and then organizing them for the next day. It sounds like a lot, but when that next day comes and I'm fully loaded with my new sounds, it's all downhill once I open them in Reason."

His not-so-secret weapon in Reason is Scream distortion. On the outputs of his mixer he can chain a Scream distortion, then an MClass mastering suite. Starting with the compress master in the Scream presets, he can tweak the settings to give his song a warm and saturated sound. He then uses the dual band compression setting in the MClass to open everything up. He says it gives the song a mini-mastered kind of effect, and makes his beats sounding big and cracking.

Babu's Reason rack is filled mostly with NN-XT's and Redrums. "I like to use my own samples," he says, "so I tend to go back to these two units a bunch, but especially the NN-XT because it reminds me a lot of my ASR-10. But I gotta also note that because of my sampling style, Recycle is also a indispensable part of my production...I wish it could be in my Reason rack!" He also says he uses ReFills quite a bit as well, for its "great-sounding synths, basses, dope percussion sounds."

Currently, he's working on the next installment of his Duck Season series, Duck Season 3, to be released on Nature Sounds later this year. Additionally, an instrumental LP is in the works, Beat Tape Vol. 1, also on Nature Sounds.

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