Reason has always been a pretty modular environment. If you use the units just as they are results are alright but the software really comes alive when you start to put things together. The Combinator was the biggest single evolution in this respect.
We have just had another big leap land on us in the form of Rack Extensions (think VST but more uniform). And that has just seen a humdinger slipped into our rack…
It’s easy at first to not get what this fellow is about and why you’d even bother. Well bit of background, really old analog synths used to have a discrete architecture for each voice. This meant that each note in a chord (assuming you were rich enough to play chords) was slightly different. Exactly the same as real-world instruments in fact. This is part of why they sounded so dammed good.
Of course this style of voice creation was expensive as an 8 voice synth was in most respects 8 synths in parallel. That’s almost 8 times the cost. So manufacturers came up with ways to take one voice and clone it out 8 times. Lots cheaper to build but not quite as broad in sound, especially when these voices were made in software as in the early digital synths like DX-7 and Casio CZ-1000.
Lately some specialist manufacturers have returned to creating discrete-voice analog synths and they are rather cool but again expensive. A VST developer or two made some synths that allowed users to tune each voice which does add to the experience. Distributor is a step further.
Distributor allows you to create 8 complete synths (or parts thereof if you prefer) and control them as though they were one instrument. Of course this can be a simple Unison-layer-synth jobby but the different synths can also be triggered in various “round-robin” manners and this is where things get super interesting.
I have created a template where Distributor hands off to 8 Thors with each voice (synth) having slightly differing settings for Osc Pitch, Osc & Filter drifting and Pan. This gives a very nice Analogish sound. The difference may not leap out and hit everyone over the head like the difference between George Benson and Megadeath but it is there all the same. All three instruments in this piece: Bass, Brass & String use the same synth but with different settings to create the sounds.
The Audio Demo is in 3 sections with the full unisoned sounds played first, just the first voice second and then the sounds as round-robin no-unison. The volumes aren’t equal in each section but it is clear that on comparison the first section is the richest and best sounding.
Going further it will be possible to use this device to trigger completely differing synths in all manner of strange and interesting ways. I can just feel the glitch people getting all excited over a Distributor wired to a set of NN19 Samplers with all manner of chewed up looping. Someone is already talking Wavestation style effects.
If you have Reason here is my Project File so you can have an in-depth play (after downloading the Distributor RE).