Reason Song Template

Sep 06 2008

Many students have asked me for a Reason song file template to be used as a starting point for their own projects. This sounded like a good idea to me so I’ve cooked one up that’s especially suited for most forms of popular electronic music, from hip-hop to dance. It’s not meant to be used verbatim, instead, you should modify it to your liking and save it as your own Reason song file template. It’s also pretty complex and if you’re not an advanced Reason user there may be some sections of the routing that you might not know how to use yet. Many of the techniques presented in this template are thoroughly covered in my Berkleemusic course, Producing Music with Reason.

Remember that after you create your ideal song template, you can have it loaded automatically whenever you launch Reason. This way, you’re always ready to start writing, with no time spent setting up your rack. In Reason’s Preferences, under the General tab, set the Default Song to Custom and choose your song file template. And, remember to set your song file to Read-Only. This will ensure that when you save a song it won’t write over your original template file.

Reason General Prefs

Here are some highlights and tricks (in no particular order) for using my song template and making it your own:

· Several instruments are set up as combinators. The instrument Inside the combinator is routed through compression and parametric EQ processors for mixing. To browse for any instrument while still maintaining all of the connections, find the instrument inside the combinator and use its Patch Browser. And, when browsing for patches, select the Show All Instruments option so your patch browsing is not restricted to a single device type.

· You can control either the combinator itself or the device within the combinator from a track in the Sequencer. I have both types of control tracks set up. The main advantage of using the combinator track to control a single instrument inside the combinator is that you can automate the combinator’s knobs and buttons from this track. Of course, you’d need to assign the combinator’s knobs and buttons to some device parameters for them to be active. (Keep in mind that I’m not talking about a multi instrument combinator patch here, for which you’ll always need to use the combinator track to gain control over all of the instruments inside the combinator.)

· There are several labeled clips on the Song Markers track in the Sequencer. These can be used as song markers to organize your song structure. Modify them and make your own as necessary.

· There’s a mastering combinator set up and ready to roll in the rack. Only, it’s set to Bypass because, as a rule, it’s better to produce and mix your track without monitoring your work through active mastering processors. In short, this is because the mastering processors are coloring your mix prematurely, before you’ve completed your production. Instead, save the mastering for after your mix is completed. (I’ll cover this topic in more detail in a future blog.)

· Not only are all of Redrum’s individual outputs routed through compression and parametric EQ processors, for the best control possible over each drum part in your mix, I’ve also connected Redrum’s sends to some extra parallel drum effects (a DDL-1 for delay and a Scream for lo-fi). You can use Redrum’s sends to send a drum signal to these effects before the Drums sub mixer. The effects themselves are returned on Channels 8 and 9 on the Drums sub mixer.

· I’ve set up parallel compression for your drum mix by splitting the output of the Drums sub mixer into two signal paths, one that is compressed and one that is not. Both sub mixes come up on Channels 1 and 2 of the Main mixer. This way you can easily mix in the parallel compression effect on your drums to taste.

· After the Main mixer, I set up a Sub Master mixer for some fun with global effects. The Main mixer’s output is split off to the following effects: there’s an MClass Compressor for parallel compression, an ECF-42 for that classic filtered sound, and a PH-90 for that classic phasing sound. The returns for these effects are muted on the Sub Mixer. Mix their levels to taste and automate how and when they drop into your mix (don’t leave them on all the time).

That’s the scoop. Have fun with this Reason 4 song file template.

Reason 4 Song File Template


    Another masterpiece. Thanks for that. Look forward to seeing you in class soon

    Hey love the blog.. And thanks especially for you class at Berklee Online. I loved it.


    THeres no download for the templates how do i get it I don understand when i click on it it sends me 2 a page with a bunch of numbers and letters. Is there any way u can put that back up please it would really be appreciated

    Hello, Hawk Eye

    I need to update my Reason, and get a class !

    Roger on the Side…


    You need to either Right-Click (PC) or Control-Click (Mac) and from the pop-up menu download the file to your hard drive.


    I’m interested in discussing something similar with my students. I’m thinking about the classic session with the songwriter that plays an instrument and sings. I’d like to take a day in class to discuss the creative problem solving skills necessary to record the first scratch vocal and instrument tracks with a click/loop, lock everything to the grid, organize/label the song sections and the creative process of filling out the supporting tracks.

    This is a “fun” part of audio engineering. Engineers that complete this process efficiently get more work. Getting the song into the DAW, setting up it’s song structure and generally getting things ready to proceed is a critical first step in the recording process and one that seems to slow down must students.

    I searched Google for “song template” thinking I might get something from the web….here I am! I don’t use Reason but I understand from your explanation that you’ve basically created a session with multiple instruments and related effects, ready for recording a new song. I like the idea of having both drum mixes (essentially wet/dry) available for mixing. Good ideas here…thanks for posting.

    Prof. Hawkins, Thank you very much for this post and this blog… I feel like this is going to help me get closer to understanding music and its mechanics in the way I want it. Thanks once again.



    I’ve been looking for a file like this for the longest time! However, I receive a “File has bad format” message and it does not proceed to open Reason.

    Is there another place I may be able to download this template?

    Thank you

    Download directions:
    Right-click PC and from the pop-up menu choose, “Save Link as…”
    Control-click Mac and from the pop-up menu choose, “Save Link as…”

    Hi Eric. I can’t seem to download this file. I save it but the saved file is a .txt filr, not a Reason file. Is this a windows file? Thanks… and great site.

    I checked the download and it’s working fine. Reason song files play on both Mac and PC, so this wouldn’t be the problem. Something else is happening when you download it. It should appear as a .rns file. If it looks like it’s actually downloading, the file is 531 kb, you can try deleting the .txt name extension and adding the ,rns name extension. However, this will only work if the contents of the file were downloaded properly, and it’s just your computer messing up the file’s attributes (if so, it’s time to repair your computer’s Permissions). Hope this helps. The song file download is working.

    This patch is awesome! Many thanks for the share! Can you do a tutorial or create a template routing each Kong pad to a separate mixer channel?

    That sounds fun. Just getting into Reason 5. Give me a few months to play with it :-)

    I blog often and I really appreciate your information.

    Your article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week.

    I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

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