I have recently started experimenting more with the control knobs on my Akai MPK Mini MKII MIDI keyboard controller. It’s a great way to control the synth parameters in Propellerhead Reason 8. I decided to have a real go at properly messing around with the synth controls on Reason’s Subtractor synthesizer to see how many different ways I could make it sound.
Here is the MPK Mini MKII MIDI controller:
And here is the Subtractor Synthesizer in Reason:
I created an early-90s sounding beat using some sampled drum sounds, then programmed in a funky groove on the Subtractor, copied it, set the 2nd pattern to be 5 semitones higher, then repeated these two patterns many times.
Then I assigned the following controls on the Subtractor to knobs on the MPK Mini MKII:
- Filter 1 Frequency
- Filter 1 Resonance
- Filter 2 Frequency
- Filter 2 Resonance
- FM (Frequency Modulation)
- Mix (I think this determines the mix between the two oscillators)
I then recorded into the sequencer my actions on the MPK Mini MKII’s knobs.
Then I re-assigned 4 of the knobs to the envelope parameters…
- Filter Envelope:
- Amp Envelope:
…and again recorded myself playing with these controls during part of the music.
The end result was pretty crazy in places, and perhaps not particularly pleasant to listen to, but a good demonstration of what you can do with a MIDI controller and a software synthesizer:
I have to admit, there are moments where I lose the sound and then I’m struggling to get it back. That was all part of the fun of the experiment, though. But it’s amazing how many different sounds you can get from just one software synthesizer with two triangle waveforms.
What do you think? Are you tempted to try this kind of thing yourself? Or have you already done something similar? Why not let me know in the comments section below.
All the best,