Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reason 6 Thor Voice Bug - Workaround

Update: version 0.0.2 fixes the fast-click problem reported by NaviRetlav.

I have developed a workaround to the bug described here that may be suitable for some situations.

It takes the form of a Combinator containing two Thor instances. When the bug is triggered the output from the first Thor is interrupted and this triggers the second Thor to generate a short pulse. This pulse is then used to gate the triggering of the first Thor's Step Sequencer, which has the effect of correctly resetting the Voice and reopening it.

This Combinator can be used to provide a reset pulse to any Thor in your workspace that relies on an open Voice, such as one that is using the Shaper to affect an external sound source (routed into the Thor). This pulse is generated whenever the bug occurs, thereby providing a way to recover from it.

A test-bench for this workaround can be found here (0.0.2). Simply open the file and you'll see the CV Debug combi on the left, and the Reset combi on the right. The top-right Delay device in the CV Debug (labeled "Reset Out") combi shows the state of the pulse. Hit Stop a few times to see the value jump from 1127 to down to 1000 briefly. You can adjust the length of the pulse with the first knob on the combi.

To use this pulse to reset another Thor, simply take this "Reset Out" signal into a CV Input on your Thor and use it as the Scale control (@ 100%) for your "LFO2 -> S.Trig" rule that you are using to retrigger the Step Sequencer. Look at the first Thor in the CV Reset combi for an example of this.

If you find this workaround useful or broken I'd appreciate some feedback please.

Reason 6 Thor Voice Bug

Update: I have developed a workaround, details are here.

This article is intended to explain the Thor Voice bug that has been observed by several Reason users in versions 4 through to 6. I first mentioned it here when discussing the Thor Shaper in Reason 4.

The bug concerns the way Thor handles creation of voices when it receives a trigger from the Step Sequencer. Normally, the Step Sequencer can generate triggers which open new Voice channels, allowing these channels to be used for effects (such as the LP Ladder filter, and the Shaper). By setting the Step Sequencer to trigger automatically via a trigger generated from the same Thor instance, it is possible to create a continuous Voice that stays open and provides an effects channel.

The bug is that hitting the Stop transport control, or selecting Export Loop/Song As Audio closes this Voice and the Step Sequencer fails to retrigger the Voice, and the channel is closed.

Earlier versions had a workaround, thanks to selig, that would help to solve the Stop issue, but not the Export Audio issue. Unfortunately with Reason 6 this workaround does not appear to work.

I present here a Reason 6 song file that clearly demonstrates the Stop issue. It consists of a Thor, a Subtractor synth that generates a continuous sequence of tones, and a second Thor that triggers the Subtractor. I did not use the Sequencer track to generate notes because I specifically want to show the behaviour when the sequencer is not running. Or to put it another way, the bug is a problem when you are working with the sequencer stopped, which is not uncommon when constructing patches.

When you open the example file, after an initial weird noise, you will hear the pulsing tone from the Subtractor, which is going into the Thor [Audio In 1], through [Filter 1], out [Audio Out 1] and into the Mixer. The Thor has a simple Step Sequencer (of one step) configured to generate a trigger and create the Thor Voice so that Filter 1 actually 'exists'. The Step Sequencer is triggered periodically by LFO2, and you will see that the Run button is automatically enabled & highlighted.

Now press Stop on the Transport panel - the sound will stop. Note that the Run button is still highlighted - this is because the LFO2 is frequently triggering it. But the Voice is not created and no sound will be heard. This is the bug. What should happen is that the retriggering of the Step Sequencer by LFO2 just after Stop is clicked should re-open the Voice and we'd hear the sound, but it does not and remains silent.

Manual intervention is required to restore the Voice - now click the Run button once, it will briefly go off and then be retriggered by the LFO2, and the sound will return.

Pressing Play will also 'fix' the problem, but again this is primarily an issue when working with the Sequencer stopped.

A similar issue, but not demonstrated by this example (I'll need to create a slightly different version) occurs after Exporting As Audio.

As anyone who follows this blog will know, I work a lot with CV within Reason. I like to create all sorts of interesting CV devices, and Reason provides almost an unlimited capacity to experiment with these things. In this regard it is almost bug-free, but this one particular bug is a real problem for my designs and I've yet to find a suitable workaround in Reason 6.

It also significantly reduces the usefulness of the Thor Shaper as a viable audio effect.

Thor patch to demonstrate Voice bug.