Welcome back for the fifth episode of our Knowledge Drop series, Combining Combinators. The focus of today’s drop: using Reason’s flexible modular routing to trigger multiple combinator devices from a single master keyboard or MIDI controller.

Today’s Topic

The Combinator in Propellerheads’ Reason allows users to combine any number of devices into a single container that is easily saved and recalled. Inspired by the big keyboard workstations that came 15 years earlier, The Combinator allows you to make the big, complex, and “expensive” sounds that were common only in the hardware world.

In today’s tutorial, we will leverage Reason’s modular routing to combine and control multiple Combinators at once.

Today’s Content Download

For you, we have created several Reason project files containing templates for different Combinator Combination scenarios wired up and ready to go. Also included in the download are several Combinator patches that will require additional routing to work in your own project.

The project files were created with Reason 8, but the Combinator patches are compatible with Reason 4 and higher. The download contains:

  • Five Reason project files, containing preconfigured Combinator Combinations.
  • Five Combinator patches, which will work in your own project when properly cabled.

By signing up for our Mailing List, you can then download this Knowledge Drop content, and you will be the first to know when other downloads become available.

Download: Combining Combinators

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Questions? Boom. Comments? Meow.


Knowledge Drop is a free series of focused tutorial videos with accompanying content packages from Knob Theory. Each Knowledge Drop video demonstrates a particular technique through the lens of modern electronic music production.

3 Comments

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  1. This is amazing, thanks for making it! It really has given me access to some extremely fat live, playable stacks (“expensive” sounding tones). But: it seems that notes in a combinator connected via RPG-8 will continue to sound until the last note on a midi controller releases (akin to an unintentional sustain). Can anyone else confirm that this is the case, or offer a fix? Thanks!
    -Ethan

  2. Expanding on this very cool idea, you can run the Aftertouch, Expression, Breath, and Sustain Pedal CV outs from the RPG-8s to the Rotary 1-4 inputs on each slave Combinator if you want to control those values as well. Then you can assign Rotaries 1-4 to “Aftertouch”, “Expression”, “Breath” & “Sustain Pedal” in the master Combinator’s programmer (all are found in the “Performance” submenu). These work as offsets to the Rotary settings on the controlled Combinators, so you’ll probably want to set whichever ones you’re controlling to 0 on the slaves.

    Thanks for the great video. I get the feeling that even the folks at Propellerhead hadn’t thought of this yet!

  3. Great post knob theory. You really opened a lot more possibilities for me. Thanks 🙂