Getting Started With Handy Drums Plugins – REASON

Ensure you have installed a VST version of Handy Drums on your computer before attempting to load them inside Reason. (See installation tutorials for Win or Mac)

Before using the software, you must authorize it by entering the serial number (license key) you received with your purchase. Here is how to authorize Handy Drums. Alernatively, you can run it in the FREE TRIAL mode.

Handy Drums Plugins: What they are and what they are not #

Handy Drums are virtual drum instruments. They can be used as plugins inside DAWs or as standalone apps. Think of Handy Drums primarily as sound modules that can be played live using a MIDI controller or by routing MIDI loops into them. They are the software equivalent of acoustic drums and percussion instruments and, as such, require a “performer” to play them (either a human being or MIDI loops).

We designed Handy Drums to be straightforward to use and to give you a beautiful, produced, finished drum sound right from the get-go.

They can also be used as standalone apps on Windows and MacOS computers. In that case, you can either play them live using MIDI controllers (eg. electronic drums) or by playing loops directly inside them using the built-in MIDI Loop Browser (Handy Drums v2.0+ only).

Handy Drums are not drum machines.

How To Load Handy Drums Plugin Instrument Inside Reason #

In this example, we will show you how to load Handy Drums inside Reason’s sequencer window.

Click the “Add Track” button and navigate to Instruments > GoranGrooves > Handy Drums (instrument of your choice)

Once the plugin loads, the user interface should also open. 

If it does not, double-click on the left of the newly created sequencer track.

Playing A Drum Loop Through Handy Drums Inside Reason #

To play a drum groove through the Handy Drums plugins, you will need to drop an existing MIDI drum performance (drum loop) onto an Instrument track with Handy Drums instrument loaded or create/program a performance from scratch right on your Instrument track.

To import an existing MIDI file into Reason without first auditioning it:

  • Find the MIDI file you want to import using your folder browser (or Finder if on Mac).
  • Drag the desired file into the sequencer window.

Audition MIDI Loops Before Importing Into DAW Project #

Beginning with Handy Drums v2.0, all plugins and standalone apps come with a built-in MIDI Loop Browser. This allows you to browse and audition any drum loops on your system and then import them via simple drag-n-drop.

It is shown here in Cubase but with identical functionalities in all DAWs.

In addition to previewing and importing MIDI loops, the functionality can also bookmark any folders or loops for quick access. It can also sync tempo and playback controls with your DAW and allows you to play MIDI files inside Handy Drums without the need for a DAW.

The dedicated document covers the MIDI Loop Browser in detail. Make sure to read it to take advantage of its capabilities fully.

If MIDI loops contain several instrument tracks, they may separate into several tracks with different instrument/s loaded when imported.

If so, right-click on the Handy Drums instrument track and select “New Note Lane.”

Add the additional midi information on the spare lanes and delete unwanted track/s.

Enabling Plugin Multiple Outputs Inside Reason #

To set up multiple outputs for an instrument in Reason, do the following:

  • Inside Handy Drums, decide which stereo output you want each component to go to. For example, Kick 1+2, Snare 3+4.
  • With Reason’s Rack selected, press “TAB” on your computer keyboard to see the rack’s back connections.
  • Expand the view by pressing the small arrow on the left of the Handy Drums rack.
  • Right-click on the left of the pair of the “Optional Audio Outputs” connectors and select “Route To New Mix Channel.” 

This will create a new rack/mixer channel and connect the stereo cables to it.

Now, when you play each component, it should come out of the new channels.

Renaming the new channels with their corresponding component names is a good practice.

Double-click on the rack name and enter the new name corresponding to the component it is connected to.

Now that everything is working well, let us dive deeper into Handy Drums features and functionalities.