Yearly Archives: 2014

Basic Sequencer for Anything in Reaktor: The Roux, Part 1

This is part of a set of tutorials I did for Peter Kirn’s Kore site back in 2008 – we were creating materials that highlighted Native Instruments products and how they could be used in Kore. Well, the product is defunct and the old site is down, so here is the first in a series on the Roux sequencer macro, showing how it can be used to manipulate the read position in a basic grain delay. Also see here where I’ve built an updated version of the Roux macro that is used in this tutorial.

Update: hey, this is back online now at! Awesome!


Here is an index to the series:

In French cooking, there’s a sauce base called a roux (pronounced “roo”) that is the foundation of bechamel and other sauces. This is a sequencer macro that is the equivalent for programming sequenced instruments in Reaktor – you can take it in any direction from here. In its most basic form it can send velocity information to trigger percussion, or modulate instrument parameters like cutoff and resonance. With a few simple changes it becomes a pitch sequencer.

I decided to teach how to use the roux step sequencer before diving into the guts of the Frankenloop because understanding this will make that much easier to untangle. Besides, this is a more modular-ready macro, easily popped into anything else you happen to be building or toying with – anything that could use some sauce, really.

I decided to teach how to use the roux step sequencer in a practical way before diving into the guts because understanding this will make that much easier to untangle. Besides, this is a more modular-ready macro, easily popped into anything else you happen to be building or toying with – like the granular delay we’ve been working on. Anything that could use some sauce, really.

In part one, we look at two uses of this versatile basic ingredient. Download the ensemble and follow along with the video tutorial.

Roux Sequencer Macro for Reaktor from Create Digital Media on Vimeo.

Video: The Difference Between Reaktor Instruments And Ensembles

Here’s a tutorial video from NI that was posted about a month ago and has a comically low number of views. 342 views? Ridiculous! This is a great introduction to the differences between instruments, ensembles and Reaktor Player instruments, which they refer to as Komplete instruments.

Download a Reaktor Step Sequencer (Roux macro series)

It’s been a while since I published the Roux II sequencer macro, which I’d promised to expand on with some further tutorials, so let’s get back on it!

A user emailed me an ensemble where he’d used two Roux II sequencers to create a step sequencer with pitch. However, it wasn’t working as he’d expected. Why not? Let’s take a look at his structure:

 This looks fine at first glance. One Roux is driving the gate input on an envelope, another is driving the pitch input on a Sine module. The sequencer driving Pitch has been modified so its values go from 0 to 127 – the standard range of MIDI note values – instead of 0 to 1. Here’s what that looks like in the properties for the mouse area:

And in the table:

But the envelope doesn’t retrigger as expected, and the pitch triggers even when the gate doesn’t. Another problem, both cosmetic and functional, is that the tiny height of the pitch sequencer doesn’t give you much room to accurately enter values with the mouse!

So in my version I’ve made a larger pitch sequencer area.

It’s easy to change the size of the mouse area and table by using the view tab on the properties of these panel elements. If you want even more room, just set the width and height of these modules to a larger number of pixels – but make sure they match, so the mouse area fully overlies the table module on the panel.

As you can see I’ve also added a constrain-to-scale macro borrowed from the factory library Spiral sequencer for a quick way to restrict the notes to a particular scale. Now let’s have a look at the changes in the structure.

What I’ve changed in my version:

  • Pitch and Gate macros have been renamed for clarity
  • All macros and modules have been set to mono. There are certainly ways to make poly sequencers in Reaktor but polyphony doesn’t make sense for this kind of simple structure.
  • The DR envelope is replaced with an ADSR. The DR envelope requires a zero value in between triggers, while the ADSR only requires a positive value to trigger, which makes more sense in a step sequencer where you’ll have one note after another.
  • Separator and Value modules send pitch values only when the gate value is on.
  • A Start / Stop module to send a zero to the envelope when the sequencer stops
  • Triangle wave for some extra harmonics to the sound
  • Mixer to control volume
  • the aforementioned Pitch Correction macro from Spiral
  • Added a synced stereo delay, to make things a little more interesting

Aside from the innards of the constrain-to-scale and delay macros, most of this should be straight-forward, but I want to talk a little more in depth about the use of the separator and value modules. The output of the Gate sequencer, which controls whether there’s a note on a certain step and how loud it is, goes through a separator. That way, only positive non-zero values of the gate trigger a new pitch.

Which brings us to the value module – the pitch is held back at the input of the value module until the “Trig” port receives a gate. If this weren’t in place, every pitch value would go through and you’d hear a glissando effect – notes between your desired notes – when setting high decay and / or release values on the envelope.

You’re probably also wondering about the start / stop and separator modules. What’s up with that?

The Start / Stop sends a 1 from its G output port when the clock is running – either Reaktor’s clock when standalone, or the host’s clock when running as a plugin – and sends a 0 when the clock stops. I’m using a separator module again, but this time we’re taking the value from the “Lo” output port, because we only want the zero. And the reason we want the zero is to send it to the G input on the envelope, to stop hanging notes from droning on forever.

Notice that the Separator module has two input ports – an “In” and a “Thld”. The threshold port determines what values go to the Hi and Lo outputs. When there’s nothing connected to Thld, Reaktor interprets this as a zero threshold. So values greater than zero go to Hi, and values of zero or less go to Lo.

One thing you’ll notice about this contraption is that it can have different sequence length and clock speed settings in the pitch and gate sequencers, one of the features you’ll also find on its big brother the Chroma sequencer. This lets the sequence morph and change in interesting and unpredictable ways over time. My philosophy is, if you already know what your music is going to sound like before you produce it, why bother? Make tools that produce happy accidents.

The next thing you might want to try is adding some better sounding audio generating modules, like a choice of waveforms, a filter or two, a filter envelope, an LFO – and of course, more Roux sequencer macros to control some of these parameters. See my previous post here to download the Roux macro on its own, and find out how to use it in your structures.

The Roux step sequencer is free and you can download it from the Reaktor Tips shop here:

Add to Cart

The cost is zero and a link will be delivered to your inbox instantly. Plus, you’ll receive notification and another link when the Roux Stepper is updated with improved audio and sequencing features. Oh, and you’ll also get Ghost Shift, in case you don’t have it already.

Happy sequencing!

Download These Three Great Reaktor Ensembles from the User Library

Sometimes excellent Reaktor builders pop out of nowhere, and post one or more terrific ensembles to the user library and all we can do is gasp, download and appreciate! Here are three new ensembles by user Ward de Jager.

4 taps, 2 lines, 1 earth is a modulated multitap delay effect that does everything from pitch shifting and dubby delays to flange and chorus. It’s nice looking and nice sounding, and will be providing competition in my plugin folder to Fabfilter Timeless 2. Some of the pitch shift presets remind me of Blackbird, another user library goodie you should check out if you haven’t already. 

Cheby Shaper is a waveshaping effect that implements the Chebyshev polynomials. Translation for the non mathematically inclined: it f*cks up your sound nicely. A harmonic editor lets you drag the mouse to fine tune the sound.

Finally, and this may be my favorite, a Modal Bank ensemble. The Modal Bank is a module that lets you do physical modeling in Reaktor – exciting a bank of harmonic overtones with an “exciter” signal. It’s easy to get percussive, chiming, bowed and blown effects with this technique. There’s a tutorial ensemble that ships with Reaktor 5 demonstrating the module, but this one is much nicer. There’s only one snapshot here but new snaps are a breeze to create. Set the parameters of the partials, then set the attack, decay and noise cut off to choose how the “exciter” will sound. Finally, adjust the damping, which will determine how long the overall sound rings on.

Salamanderanagram over at has a really good tutorial on the Modal Bank you should check out to learn more.

Download all three of these ensembles here.

Boscomac introduces Bit Torsion for Reaktor – free download!

Boscomac is back with a great new effect, Bit Torsion.

BIT TORSION is an effect what I define as “animated distortion.”

Firstly, BIT TORSION offers all the settings to tweak and twist an incoming signal : bit reducing, sample rate control, drive intensity, band pass and notch filter and also feedback howling ! But that ‘s not all, it is possible to fold the signal and clip it furiously. Then widen the stereo and also apply a noise gate when it is too excited …

Then BIT TORSION can animate some of its settings ( to the left ) by a random behavior. You can bind a parameter to a sequence ( by activating the small arrow ) and choose the direction (positive or negative ) of its modulation. Then you can fix the length of the sequence, and finally control the rate of variation, emptying or filling each random data sequence. It may seem complicated but in reality it is really easy and so much fun !

 Boscomac’s effects are always worth checking out – and try chaining them! I can see this one working great with Stellar. Then again, everything works great with Stellar. 

Listen to the demos, gawp at the lovely GUI, then Download – and if you like it – and you will – leave a donation.