Reason, an expandable, standalone music system, is now shipping from Propellerhead Software.
The cross platform product comes in the shape of a classic studio rack, packed samplers, analog synths, mixers, Sstep time drum machines, effects, and a real-time multi-track sequencer. All of Reason’s 16 devices have the look and feel of the real thing, but more importantly, they have the sound, the performance and the attitude to rival any hardware out there, according to Propellerhead spokesperson, Marsha Vdovin. And you can use each device as many times as your computer can handle it, she added.
Reason hooks up to a MIDI keyboard to provide MIDI control of all devices, knobs, faders and parameters. According to Vdovin, Reason comes with NN19, a sampler able to play standard wav and aiff audio samples. It’s complete with give filter options (notch, highpass, bandpass, lowpass 12db, lowpass 24db) and resonace, two envelops, one LFO, and portamento. The graphic keyboard mapping display makes it easy to position samples across the keyboard, and there’s even an automap option for the lazy. NN19 comes with 294 high quality sampler patches as standard, including Grand Piano, Rhodes, Guitars, Strings, Bass, Choir, Woodwinds and Synth samples, Vdovin said.
Reason’s SubTractor is a polyphonic two oscillator synth with 32 waveforms, noise generator, FM, ring and phase modulation, three envelope generators, two LFOs, portamento, five filter options (notch, highpass, bandpass, lowpass 12db, lowpass 24db), plus an additional second lowpass filter with resonance. More than 400 patches are included as standard.
ReDrum is Reason’s 10-channel drum machine for playing wav or aiff audio files. Each channel has control over pan, level, velocity, length and pitch plus two effect sends. The programming interface has 32 patterns, three dynamic levels, flams and shuffle mode. Programmed patterns can be dumped to the Reason sequencer for further manipulation and ReDrum can be triggered via MIDI as well. A choice of 60 high quality drum kits is included as a great starting point, Vdovin said.
With Reason’s Dr Rex, Rex files automatically match the tempo of the sequencer. This is done by slicing the audio in to its rhythmic components and then trigger the individual slices at the correct timing position within the bar. You can choose from the 300 drum loops and 100 music loops included as part of Reasons sound library or a third party library. Owners of ReCycle can of course also make their own Rex files for use in Reason.
The triggering of each audio slice can be dumped to a MIDI track. Dr Rex also features pitch, pan, level and decay parameters for each individual slice plus five filter options (notch, highpass, bandpass, lowpass 12db, lowpass 24db) and resonance, two envelopes and one LFO.
The Reason mixers feature 14 stereo channels each with four aux sends, two band equalizers, panning, mute, solo and of course volume control. If you need more channels, you can add another mixer to the rack.
The Matrix sequencer is analogue and monophonic in style. A total of 32 patterns per song can be programmed complete with ties, CV and velocity curves. You can also use the Matrix to generate complex LFO curves to control parameters such as Filter, FM, panning, volume, etc., in other devices. Matrix patterns can be dumped to the sequencer for further manipulation.
The ReBirth Input Machine is a simple interface that lets ReBirth users connect to any device within Reason. The Reason sequencer offers all the necessities of MIDI sequencing including arrangement view, key-, velocity, rex-, drum-, controller and automation editors, according to Vdovin. Just connect your MIDI keyboard and start recording, she said.
Reason also offers: REV-7 (digital reverb with 10 preset algorithms); DDL (a digital delay line with settings by note value or milliseconds); D-11 (foldback distortion); ECF-42 (an envelope controlled filter with a choice of Bandpass, Lowpass 12db, Lowpass 24db filter with resonance and ADSR); CF-101 (a chorus/flanger effect); PH-90 (a phaser), Comp-01 (an auto makeup gain compressor) and PEQ-2 (a two-band parametric EQ with curve display).
As for routing flexibility, you can turn the rack around for more options. CV, gate and audio connections are available on all devices for complete cross-device control. Reason automatically routes in the most logical way, Vdovin said.
Plus, you can control the synth filter with your drum loop, or pan a channel using the LFO from one of the devices. All configurations are stored with the song, so even elaborate routings will be easy to reproduce, Vdovin said. Best of all, it has total recall. This means that there’s no need to worry about remembering cable routings, patch settings and fader automation since Reason does it all for you, she said.
Reason also offers over 500MB of sounds, loops, and samples created by a team of professional sound designers. For musicians looking to share their work on the Web, there’s a “Publish song” feature to facilitate the download and transfer of song data. This includes facilities for omitting sounds already available to other users (such as the factory sound bank) and compression of other audio samples by over 50 percent.
A sound bank database is also included to keep track of user, factory and third party sound libraries available. The database can work on a network, making it easy for users with multiple stations to seamlessly transfer material from one station to the other.
Reason can link to most of the major sequencers (Cubase, Logic, Digital Performer) via ReWire. This lets users continue working within the environment they’re most familiar with and still have the sound power of Reason, according to Vdovin.
System requirements are a Power Mac with 604, 604e, G3 or G4 processor or better (though Reason takes advantage of the Altivec/Velocity Engine instructions used in G4s) running at least 166MHz, 64MB of RAM, a CD-ROM drive, Mac OS 8.6 or later, a 256-color monitor (or better), a MIDI interface, a MIDI keyboard (or similar), and OMS 2. x or later (included). Reason is now available in the U.S. from Steinberg North America at a manufacturers suggested retail price of US $399.