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Blog // Sounds
June 21, 2007

Reason 4.0

Propellerhead have just announced that Reason 4.0 has gone into final beta testing. We should see the new product available sometime during the fall. One feature that many have been awaiting is the new multi-filter, multi-oscillator modular synthesizer called Thor. One fascinating feature is the inclusion of a 16-step pattern sequencer which can be used […]

Propellerhead have just announced that Reason 4.0 has gone into final beta testing. We should see the new product available sometime during the fall. One feature that many have been awaiting is the new multi-filter, multi-oscillator modular synthesizer called Thor. One fascinating feature is the inclusion of a 16-step pattern sequencer which can be used to control any of the modules within the synth, creating not just arpeggios, but step-patterned delay, chorus and filter effects.

Whilst Thor looks impressive, I’m more eagerly anticipating the changes to Reason’s sequencer interface. Whilst I love the simplicity of the current layout, it can get frustrating to work in detail, especially with track automation and non-techno/dance grooves. Reason 4 has adopted a more contemporary DAW feel to the sequencer, with a much clearer way to see programmed patterns and automation features. Particularly interesting to me is the ability to easily make time signature changes and tempo adjustments.

But the kicker is the new ReGroove mixer, which allows you to add groove maps to tracks in a simple mixer interface. It looks remarkably easy to add different grooves to tracks from within the sequencer window. This is important because sometimes making a sequenced piece sound realistic involves applying different grooves to the parts of the arrangement (e.g., swinging bass and kick drum over straight snare and strings).

With Reason 3.0 the Propellerhead folks started using the word “workflow” to describe both the enhancements and the philosophy behind the software. Most of us have experience the effects of feature-creep in software – lots of new bells and whistles that only slow down our work, making us less productive as we struggle to tame and customise the program to our uses.

Now that I have ReWire working properly so that Logic and Reason play nice together, this new set of features look like some great candy that will not get in the way. I keep coming back to Reason as both a scratchpad and sound-bank and it could well be that it will play an even bigger roe for me in terms of production and composition.

[tags] Reason, Logic, DAW [/tags]

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Responses
Tom Allen 15 years ago

But for all the new features they have missed the most important – the ability to add non Reason plug-ins – I have registered for the beta testing – one of the things I will also be checking is how consitent Reason 4 is a secondary Rewire which it has always been poor at. I have found that I am using Reason less and less now that I am using Live 6 as my main software with Sampler etc built-in. It will also be interesting to see how bloated Reason will become in version 4 – will it still run on my small laptop which is perhaps where I use it most as a scratchpad.

Will be interested to read your experiences in due course

Tom

Fernando Gros 15 years ago

I hear you on rewire. It’s only a recent thing that I’ve been able to get Logic and Reason to be polite to each other after, what, two major Logic7 pugrades and five for Reason3? Bloat is also an issue worth worrying about. Reason 3 was a lot fatter than 2.5 and certainly I don’t want to trade my 12 inch powerbook in just yet.

As for plug-ins, I have mixed feelings about that and it seems clearly to be a strategic decision by propellerhead not to go down that route. I guess as long as ReWire works it is less of an issue for me because I like everything to end up in Logic as that is where the guitars and other “live” instruments will be added.

For me the simplicity of Reason is part of it’s charm – just a few powerful instruments and effects, a simple interface and an easy route to sequenced grooves. The beat driven thing is one of three approaches I tend to use and for the others I always go to different programmes (Logic or Sibelius).

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