• Reason Tutorial: Kong Drum Designer Basics

    This Propellerhead Reason Tutorial will take you through the basics of the Kong Drum Designer in Propellerhead Reason.

    Today we thought we'd go a little deeper, lift up the hood, kick the tires, and see exactly what Kong is made of and what it can do.

    Don't let it's certain MPC similarities fool you.

    Kong is a self contained studio for sculpting and creating new drunk sounds.

    Kong isn't called a "Drum DESIGNER" by accident.

    It is as much a Drum Machine as it is Sound Designer.

    To take a tour of Kong, we'll break it up into different sections.

    The most obvious section is Kong's 16 drum pads, but just like on a read drum machine these pads are simply triggers.

    It is actually everything ELSE that goes on AROUND the pads that makes Kong function and sound the way it does.

    In fact, the pads are more of a visual metaphor than anything else.

    But, if you wield your mouse pointer like a 21st century Keith Moon, the on screen pads are velocity and position sensitive.

    Mostly, however, they are there to help you visualize exactly what will corresponds to your physical controller or sequencer note lanes.

    The key to adjusting how these pads function is the "PAD SETTINGS" area of Kong.

    This is where you can create Mute groups for open and closed hi hat pads, Alt groups for snare drum variations, or link pads for layered sounds.

    You can also use the Pad settings section to do advanced hit type assignments for rex loops, chunks of loops, or even individual slices.

    For non rex drum sounds, the hit types available usually relate to sound variations like open and closed hi hat types, or the physical location of a stick striking a snare drum, for example its center versus its edge.

    Kong's drum control panel is where you can set each drum's basic settings like Pitch, Decay, Pan, Level, and Tone.

    If you've used Redrum before many of these settings will be familiar to you.

    This section is also where you load patches, save patches, or use Reason's new sampling feature to make your own drum sounds.

    So if the front of Kong gives you all the power to rearrange pads, reassign pads, and alter the basic sound of each pad, it's what's going on beneath Kong's surface that controls, well pretty much everything else, and that's a lot.

    Let's click the "show drum and FX" button to expand Kong.

    Each pad has a corresponding "drum module".

    That's basically what makes the sound you're hearing.

    You can choose between synth modules, sampler modules, rex modules, or physical modelling modules.

    We'll be going through each of these later in their own tutorials.

    Making a bass drum sound is as simple as pulling up a synth bass drum module, applying some compression, and maybe adding a noise generator to it.


    To the right of the FX 1 and FX 2 slots, you'll see two more FX plates but these aren't specific to just the currently selected pad.

    These are more global in nature.

    The Master FX slot will affect every sound that runs through Korn's master output, and the Bus FX slot can be applied subtly or not so subtly to every pad via the Bus FX knob in the drum control panel.

    It's just like an AUX send on a mixing console.

    So that's it for today.

    Like I said, in upcoming tutorials we'll be looking into Kong's various modules, and digging deeper into the pad settings section.

    That concludes this Propellerhead Reason Tutorial.

    You will be able to get help with using Propellerhead Reason and learning how to make beats by posting a thread in the Producer Talk forum, and by asking other Producers who upload their beats in the Homemade Beats forum.

    The tutorials I post, are not tutorials that I have written or recorded. They are simply rough audio transcripts of the videos embedded in the tutorials. The videos have been found freely available online, unless otherwise stated.
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