Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stupid REX Tricks

If you do any work at all with drum loops, chances are, you've probably worked with Propellerheads's REX2 file format. Because there is always a MIDI file associated with a REX2 to ensure the beat slices play back in time, it allows you to do all sorts of things to manipulate and change the existing drum loop.

Obviously, changing the order of slices and making new beats is the most frequent use, but you can do some more subtle stuff as well that can change the feel of a beat in useful ways.

One such manipulation is changing the gate time of the slices. "Gate time" simply means how long a note sounds (in this case those notes are triggering the individual beat slices). By shortening the gate time (I use Logic's handy Region parameters box which has a section for altering the gate time of a MIDI region by a percentage...), you can do everything from cutting off reverb tails on heavily effected beats to creating artificially choppy rhythms where each note cuts off abruptly. Here's an audio example where the first two bars are with the gate set at the normal 100%, followed by 2 bars at 75%, 2 bars at 50%, and finally 2 bars at 25%.

If you REALLY want to get tweaky, go into the grid editor and adjust the gate lengths of each individual note by different amounts for more complex, funkier effects.


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