REAPER has a tone generator plugin called ‘JS: Tone Generator.’ You can use the REAPER tone generator to create an audio signal of any note to help you tune an instrument, add low frequencies to increase sub presence in a kick drum, or make sound effects.
Tone Generator For REAPER
A tone generator is a tool in music production that you can use to create an audio signal of almost any frequency.
This can come in handy when trying to tune an instrument, beef up a kick drum, or even create sound effects.
In this comprehensive step-by-step guide, I will show you REAPER’s tone generator and what you can use it for.
Does REAPER Have A Tone Generator?
Yes, the REAPER DAW (digital audio workstation) has a tone generator plugin called ‘JS: Tone Generator.’
JS: Tone Generator is a standard tone generator plugin with no extra bells and whistles.
You can use JS: Tone Generator to check tunings, add low-end presence to specific instruments, and create sound effects.
What You Will Need To Follow This Tutorial
Here is a list of what you will need to follow in this tutorial (everything comes standard with REAPER):
- REAPER DAW
- JS: Tone Generator
- Transient-Driven Auto Pan
- A kick drum sample to work with
Step One – Using JS: Tone Generator To Produce a Note/Tune An Instrument
The first use for the REAPER tone generator is to use it to create a note to tune an instrument to.
To do this, insert JS: Tone Generator onto a track and set your desired note.
In this case, I want to tune my guitar, so I’m going to project an ‘E’ from the tone generator to tune to.
You can use JS: Tone Generator to tune many different instruments/check tuning on most any type of audio signal.
Step Two – Using JS: Tone Generator To Add Power To Your Kick Drum
One of the most common uses for a tone generator is adding some sub/low frequencies to a kick drum track.
To do this, insert a new track next to your kick drum track and insert JS: Tone Generator onto it.
Set the ‘Base Frequency (Hz)‘ to 50 Hz and turn the ‘Dry Mix (dB)‘ all the way down.
Next, add ‘ReaGate’ to the same track, set the ‘Detector input‘ to ‘Auxiliary Input L+R,’ and drag a send from your kick drum track to the ReaGate plugin.
With our sidechain now correctly set up, set your send to ‘0.00‘ and ‘Pre-Fader (Post FX).’
The final step for using the tone generator to boost your kick drum’s low presence is adjusting the settings like threshold, hold, release, attack, etc., to personal taste.
Using JS: Tone Generator is an incredible way to add low-end power to your kick drum in REAPER.
Step Three – Using JS: Tone Generator To Make a Sound Effect
The final thing I find myself using the REAPER tone generator is making a sound effect.
For example, let’s make a creepy siren-type sound.
To do this, use JS: Tone Generator to generate an audio signal of your choosing.
Next, we can use any combination of REAPER plugins to alter the sound and make it more interesting/something completely different.
In this example, I’m using reverb, delay, and auto-pan. Still, you can get creative and use whatever you want to try and make a cool sound effect using the REAPER tone generator.
How Does A Tone Generator Work?
A tone generator works by producing a sine wave signal of varying frequencies and notes.
You can use a tone generator to check the tuning of an instrument or anything for that matter, beef up a kick drum and other instruments, or create sound effects and dabble in sound design.
Remember that a tone generator is a plugin and not a virtual instrument, so you can’t necessarily record with it.
Does REAPER Have Autotune?
Yes, REAPER does have autotune.
To use autotune in REAPER, use the ‘Correction‘ function on the ‘ReaTune‘ plugin.
You can use the correction tab on the plugin to change what notes the plugin tunes to, the attack time of the plugin, and minimum/maximum pitch.
ReaTune also has a tuner feature, and a manual pitch correction feature for more specific autotune needs.
REAPER Record Tone Generator
Because JS: Tone Generator is a plugin and not a virtual instrument, you can’t technically record with it but use this trick to achieve essentially the same thing.
To record a frequency from the REAPER tone generator, insert a new track into REAPER and press Insert>Empty item to insert an empty item onto the track.
Next, insert JS: Tone Generator onto the track and tune it to your desired tone.
Once you have done this, right-click the track and select Render/freeze tracks>Render tracks to mono stem tracks/stereo stem tracks, depending on if you need a mono or stereo audio signal.
Is the Tone Generator Sub Frequency trick the Only Way to Add Low End presence to My Kick Drum?
No, using a tone generator is not the only way to add low-end presence to a kick drum track.
My favored methods for increasing kick drum low-end presence are equalization, compression, and saturation.
Although the tone generator sub trick is a great way to add bottom-end presence, it is certainly not the only way.
Is There Any Reason to Buy a Third Party Tone Generator Plugin?
No, a tone generator is such a basic piece of music production technology. As long as your DAW has a standard one, spending money on a third-party plugin is unnecessary.
A tone generator is one type of plugin that you might as well save the money on.
What Hz is Pink Noise?
Technically, pink noise is a category of sounds that the human ear can hear. The range of pink noise is anywhere from 20Hz-20,000Hz.
Check this article for our how to mix with pink noise (ultimate mixing hack)
Check out the following article to find out the best plugins for REAPER.
about the author
I’m Jack Oberkirsch, a film and media composer residing in Denver, Colorado. I play in several local bands and have been touring the country for nearly a decade.
Since 2016 I’ve been focusing on studio work and production and have moved into the realm of film and media composition.
I like to combine and implement many different musical instruments and styles to convey the director’s vision on any given project.
I also enjoy writing material for music libraries and sync placements.