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Reason is a digital audio workstation for creating and editing music and audio developed by Swedish software company Reason Studios (formerly known as Propellerhead Software). Reason emulates a rack of hardware synthesizers, samplers, signal processors, sequencers, and mixers, all of which can be freely interconnected in an arbitrary manner. Reason can be used either as a complete virtual music studio or as a set of virtual instruments to be used with other sequencing software in a fashion that mimics live performance.

digital audio reason music

1. Overview

Reason 1.0 was released on November 22, 2000. The program's design mimics a studio rack into which users can insert virtual devices such as instruments, effects processors, and mixers. These modules can be controlled from Reason's built-in MIDI sequencer or from other sequencing applications such as Pro Tools, Logic, FL Studio, REAPER, Digital Performer, Cubase, Sonar, and GarageBand via Propellerhead's ReWire protocol in the 32-bit versions of these programs. Since the release of version 6 Reason supports ReWire with 64-bit hosts.

As of version 7.0.1, devices available include:

  • Subtractor: a subtractive synthesizer[1]
  • Malström: a graintable synthesizer (granular synthesis + wavetable synthesis)[2]
  • NN-19: a simple sampler, which loads pre-recorded instrumental and vocal sounds
  • NN-XT: an advanced sampler, which features the option of tweaking the various modulation, oscillation, and filter parameters of a preloaded sample or patch
  • Dr Octo Rex: a loop playback device, which slices prerecorded samples
  • Redrum: a sample based drum machine with a step sequencer
  • Thor: a semi-modular synthesizer which features, among others, wavetable synthesis,[3] frequency modulation synthesis (FM), and phase distortion synthesis
  • Kong Drum Designer: a 16-pad drum synthesizer with analog synthesizers emulating the classic generators of drums like the Roland TR series, physical modelling drum synthesizers and sampler akin to the Akai MPC series.
  • Neptune: A voice synthesizer and pitch correction tool, capable of Vocoder-like polyphonic voice synthesis as well as robotic, AutoTune-like pitch adjustment and more subtle pitch corrections.[4]
  • Alligator: A triple filtered gate, sometimes known as a "trance gate". Alligator splits an incoming signal into three signals, which are then gated and filtered using lowpass, bandpass and highpass filters on each respective channel. Alligator also is capable of adding delay, distortion, phasing and stereo panning effects to each channel, and each of the filters can be modulated with a filter envelope embedded in the unit.[5]
  • Pulveriser: A multi-purpose piece of virtual hardware that combines compression, distortion, filters, tremolo, parallel signal processing and an envelope follower.[6]
  • The Echo: An echo unit based on tape echo and delay.[7]
  • External MIDI Instrument: A device which allows for MIDI output from Reason to an external MIDI instrument

Sounds from these devices can be routed via either of two mixing devices or simple merging and splitting utilities. Effects include distortion, reverb, chorus, a vocoder, and mastering effects. The Combinator device, introduced in Reason 3.0, allows users to combine multiple modules into one. Another device connects Reason to Propellerhead's (now discontinued) ReBirth RB-338.

Reason's interface includes a Toggle Rack command, which turns the "rack" around to display the devices from the rear. Here the user can route virtual audio and CV cables from one piece of equipment to another. This cable layout enables the creation of complex effects chains and allows devices to modulate one another. This offers flexibility in the way that is familiar to users of physical electronic music hardware. For example, Redrum's main outputs could be connected to a single channel of the mixing desk, or instead each of its drum sounds could be routed to a separate EQ before sending them to separate channels in the mixer, or rather than audio output the channels of the ReDrum could be used to trigger the gates of an Alligator via CV. The user can always choose where to draw the line between simplicity and precision, allowing the software to remain useful at various levels of knowledge on the user's part.

Reason 6 introduced audio recording (by incorporating Record), turning it into a digital audio workstation. However, it did not support third-party plug-ins, being one of the few software sequencers to lack VST support. Reason 6.5 introduced rack extensions, which are rack instruments and signal processors that may be developed by third parties. In Reason version 9.5, Propellerheads added the long-desired VST support.

A stripped-down version of Reason known as Reason Adapted, which restricts the user to a limited number of devices, is packaged as bonus software with other audio software such as Pro Tools LE and ReCycle.

1.1. Reason 2.0

Released in 2002, version 2.0 added MIDI capability to control the software with external MIDI devices. It added two new sound devices, the Malström Graintable Synthesizer and NN-XT Advanced Sampler. Also included was the 540MB Orkester Sound Library which added Orchestral-based sounds primarily designed for use with the NN-XT.

1.2. Reason 2.5

Released in 2003, Version 2.5 added new effects devices such as the RV7000 Advanced Reverb, BV512 Digital Vocoder, and Scream 4 Sound Destruction Unit. Three smaller devices, the UN16 Unison, and Spider Audio router and Spider CV router added to the 1/2 rack-sized units.

1.3. Reason 3.0

Reason 3 was released on March 10, 2005. It added the MClass Mastering Suite which included a four-band parametric & shelving EQ, stereo processor, compressor and maximizer modules. It also added the Combinator, a special device that allowed users to build chains of other Reason devices inside of it to create a more complex instrument that was easier to control and manage.

1.4. Reason 4.0

Released in 2007, version 4 introduced the Thor polysonic modular synth; a device that had discreet sound generating and processing modules that can be swapped out with various types of oscillators and filter combinations. It also released the RPG8 Monophonic Arpeggiator that breaks up chords into various note-triggering patterns. Finally the ReGroove mixer was introduced, a device that added shuffle controls and more human-qualities to sequenced patterns. Also Reason's linear sequencer was improved.

1.5. Reason 5

Reason 5 was released on 25 August 2010. For the first time, Reason could directly sample audio[8] with any of its sample-playing instruments such as the Redrum, the NN-19, the NN-XT, and the Kong Drum Designer.

  • Dr. Octo Rex - The Dr. Rex loop player was given an overhaul and is now called "Dr. Octo Rex"[9] and can play up to eight sample loops (one at a time), and includes many new features for editing the loops and individual clips.
  • Kong Drum Designer - This is new to the program[10] a 16-pad device that can create drum and percussion sounds using various sound production techniques, including physical modeling, sample playback (the "NN-Nano" module), and virtual analog synthesis.

Signature Patches created by well known Reason users have been added, including patches made by Two Lone Swordsmen, Vengeance, and Richard Barbieri.

Finally, a new pattern editing tool called "Blocks"[11] has been created for easier song arrangement and mixing.

1.6. Reason 6

Reason 6 was released on September 30, 2011.[12] It integrates all of the features found in Record 1.5 – such as the ability to record live sound, the mixing desk modeled on the SSL 9000k, and the Neptune pitch corrector – into its setup. The Record name has been phased out altogether.

As well as bringing all of Record's features into the Reason rack, Reason 6 is 64-bit and features three new effects units, as also audio transposing direct on the sequencer, and improved tuning and stretching algorithms:

  • Pulveriser - a combined compression, distortion, and filtering unit.[6]
  • The Echo - an advanced stereo echo unit modeled on analog tape echo machines like the Roland RE-201.[7]
  • Alligator - a pattern-based gate effect which splits sound signals into three channels, allowing for differing multiple effects on each separate channel.[5]
  • ID-8 Instrument Device - a sound module with a built-in palette of 36 preset sound banks, such as a piano, organ, guitar and drum kits. The ID-8 also functions as a default MIDI device that will play sounds when a MIDI file is loaded into Reason 6.

Reason 6 also required a USB software protection dongle called the "Ignition Key" to prevent unauthorized use of the software. Without the dongle, Reason 6 will not open saved files, nor will it dump audio to a sound file, but is otherwise fully functional. If the key is lost, or chosen not to be used, a user must log onto Propellerhead's server for internet verification, requiring the host computer to have an internet connection.

1.7. Reason 6.5

On March 20, 2012, Propellerhead announced the planned release for Reason 6.5 in 2012 Q2 to coincide with the release of Rack Extensions (which allow the use of 3rd party designed instruments and effect modules inside of Reason).[13]

Along with Rack Extensions developed by various third parties, Propellerhead offered three optional devices at launch:

  • Polar [14]- a harmonizing and pitch-shifter effect unit.
  • Pulsar[15] - a dual-channel low frequency oscillator unit.
  • Radical Piano[16] - a piano synthesizer based on sampling technology and physical modeling algorithms that is capable of creating new and unique piano sounds based on audio samples from two types of grand pianos and an upright piano.

Reason 6 and 6.5 include the features of Record and are now able to record external audio. Reason project file sizes that include audio record takes tend to be larger than for previous versions since there is currently no way to save Reason projects with the record takes as external (non-embedded) audio.

1.8. Reason 7

Reason 7 was released on April 30, 2013.[17] New features include a MIDI Output Rack Device, audio quantize, loop slicing with export to Dr. Octo REX, native mix bus routing, and a spectrum EQ.

Propellerhead-developed rack extensions that were released during version 7 include:

  • Audiomatic - This is a sound effects unit that adds vintage audio quirks to music, making it sound as if it were being played back from past devices such as analog tape, a vinyl record, a crackling radio, an old television set, etc.
  • Parsec[18] - This is described as a spectral synthesizer using additive synthesis to sculpt various sounds.
  • PX7 - This rack device emulates the 80's sounds of the classic Yamaha DX series of synthesizers that used frequency modulation synthesis. The PX7 can even use patches converted from DX synths.
  • Radical Keys[19] - Similar to Radical Piano, this emulates various electric pianos and organs such as the Rhodes Mk1, the Wurlitzer and the Hohner Pianet-T.
  • Rotor - This is a rotating speaker emulator modeled after the Leslie 122 rotary speaker of the 1940s to add realistic vintage flavors to music, especially organ and guitar tracks.
  • Synchronous - Described as a timed effect modulator, this adds various effects to a music device it is linked to such as distortion, filtering and delay which can be controlled by drawing various waveforms in the device's main display. For example, it can be used to add characteristic synthesizer wobbles and beat glitches that are popular in dubstep and drum and bass.

Reason 7 no longer requires the use of the Ignition Key USB dongle to fully function, instead, one computer can be licensed to use the software on installation. If a license holder wishes to use the software on other computers, they can purchase an Ignition Key separately for that purpose, or verify their license over the internet.

1.9. Reason 8

Reason 8 was released September 30, 2014. This version's newest feature is the improved file browser that accompanies, or optionally fully replaces the rack window. Users can easily audition sound files, loops and instruments patches in the browser then drag the files from the browser right to the rack window or the sequencer allowing improved and faster workflow. This version also comes with two free rack extensions; the Softube Amp, a guitar amplifier emulator and Softube Bass Amp, a bass guitar amplifier emulator designed by the veteran Rack Extension developer Softube. Both rack extensions are also available separately for Reason 6.5 and 7 and do not require the version 8 upgrade. In 2016, the Softube amps are set to fully replace the depreciated Line 6 amplifier rack units that were originally introduced in Propellerhead's Record software and later versions of Reason.

Propellerhead-developed rack extensions that were released during version 8 include:

  • A-List Acoustic Guitarist - A sample-based acoustic classical guitar emulator that produces realistic strumming guitar sounds which can be modified by selecting various playing styles and chord characteristics.
  • A-List Classic Drummer - A variant of the Studio Drummer rack device (see below) focusing on dryer and tighter percussion sounds reminiscent of early pop audio recordings.
  • A-List Power Drummer - A variant of the Studio Drummer rack device (see below) focusing on hard driving percussion sounds for harder-edged music compositions.
  • A-List Studio Drummer - A sample-based automated drum machine that emulates various acoustic drum kits as if played by a live-performing drummer and uses keyboard triggers to alter the playing styles and rhythmic patterns, as well as trigger various intros, change-ups, fills and stops.
  • Pop Chords A-List Electric Guitarist - Similar to the A-List Acoustic Guitarist, this emulates realistic sounding electric guitar rhythm chords in a wide variety of strum methods commonly performed in pop rock, alternative and funk styles of music.
  • Power Chords A-List Electric Guitarist - Similar to the A-List Acoustic Guitarist, this emulates realistic sounding electric guitar with more powerful rhythm chords in various strumming styles popular in rock and metal styles of music.

A later update for Reason 8 also included an improved version of the RV7000 reverb unit. The renamed RV7000 Mk. II was designated an "Advanced Convolution Reverb" and features a convolution reverb effect section that uses audio sample-based impulse-responses to emulate the reverberation of a physical or virtual space.

1.10. Reason 9

Reason 9 was released on June 21, 2016. The main feature of this version is the addition of a new class of rack devices called "Players" that are listed in the device browser along with the existing instruments, effects and utility devices. Players added to the rack can only be attached to instrument devices and "sit" between the instrument and the MIDI input whether it be from a keyboard, Reason's sequencer or other rack device. Players can also be combined together.

Reason 9 ships with three player devices:

  • Dual Arpeggio - As its name suggests, this player is a polyphonic, parallel arpeggiator that generates two rhythmic note patterns, (or arpeggios), from notes and chords played via MIDI input and can play them simultaneously. The patterns can be edited via a graphic display to play up to 4 separate notes per step, up to 16 steps. Additional controls include setting keyboard velocity and gate length information for each note, setting keyboard splits and more.
  • Note Echo - This player is similar to a delay effect, but instead of repeating an instrument's audio output the player repeats the MIDI notes that are being input to the instrument. The device can further edit each note it repeats allowing adjustment of such things as the amount of repeat steps, key velocity and the pitch of each step, and allows for creative experiment with chiptune and glissando effects.
  • Scales and Chords - This device has two functions. When using Scales, the performer sets the key of the song they are playing and during the performance, the device keeps the input MIDI notes from straying out of the set key; thus it helps avoid playing a wrong note. With Chords activated, the performer can play complex chord progressions with the press of a single key, again staying in key to the selected musical scale and chord characteristic. The device includes a comprehensive list of classic music theory scales and chord progressions and allows users to create their own custom chords.

Reason 9 adds also an improved monophonic Pitch Editor, designed for vocal and other melodic sources, with similar functionalities to other Pitch editor Software.

Reason 9 also has improved workflow and sequencer features such as bounce Audio-to-MIDI, (which creates a MIDI pattern based on detecting the notes played in a prerecorded piece of music), MIDI-to-Audio, (which allows a quick rendering of an instrument's selected MIDI pattern directly to an audio track), the capability to reverse MIDI patterns, and for the first time the ability to set window themes. It also ships with a new library of over 1000 sound patches. Propellerhead's Audiomatic and Pulsar rack extensions that were once available separately are included as native effects units in Reason 9.

Rack Extensions developed during Reason 9 include:

  • Fingerpicking Nylon - A-List Acoustic Guitarist - Similar to the A-List Acoustic Guitarist, but emulates the expressiveness of a classical guitar strung with nylon strings.
  • Layers - Described as a "quadrasonic sample player," Layers is a sample-based synthesizer that was developed in cooperation with Pink Noise Studios, a producer of numerous audio libraries and refills for Reason. Layers emulates the sounds of many classic synthesizers such as the Roland Jupiter-4, Korg MS-20, Yamaha CS-80 and Oberheim Matrix among others, and can combine up to four separate sounds at one time to create layered audio textures. The sounds can be further manipulated by a suite of built-in effects, modulation controls and sequencers for each layer.

Propellerhead released Reason 9.1 with Ableton Link support.

Propellerhead released Reason 9.2 which added new SDK tools for rack extensions developers to improve the functionality of their rack extensions and add new features that were unavailable in previous versions of Reason. A new feature in particular allows rack extensions to load audio samples in a variety of formats. Various developers have released entirely new and/or updated versions of their previous devices to take advantage of these new features such as allowing users of their sample-based synths to create and modify their own custom audio wavetables. Unfortunately, version 9.2 updated extensions will not work in older versions of Reason.

On April 28, 2017 Propellerhead announced plans to support VST plugins in Reason 9.5. It was released May 29, 2017 with VST support.

1.11. Reason 10

The release of Reason 10 was announced on September 22, 2017 and was released on October 25, 2017. It was advertised as Reason's "biggest upgrade" ever and features five new devices as well as a new multi-gigabyte library of sounds and device patches. New devices in Reason 10 include:

  • Europa - Europa is an advanced wavetable synthesizer, inspired by the Thor synth that came a decade prior. It has many functions for morphing and manipulating sounds from buzzing basses to glitch effects.
  • Grain - Grain is an advanced graintable synthesizer, capable of playing imported audio samples in a wide variety of ways and includes features to manipulate the sampled audio into completely new sounds.

Reason 10 also includes a collection of three new sample-based "organic instrument" devices. Each device has a filter and tone controls along with built-in reverb and delay effects.

  • Klang - Klang is a tuned percussion player based on samples of instruments like the glockenspiel, wine bottles, a music box and more.
  • Pangea - Pangea is a world instruments player based on samples of various plucked, strummed, pumped and blown instruments from around the world.
  • Humana - Humana is a choir and vocal player based on samples of the human voice.

The Radical Piano and Synchronous rack extensions, once sold separately, are included as standard devices.

Rack Extensions developed by Propellerhead during Reason 10 include:

  • Layers Wave Edition - A sample-based synthesizer based around the audio of the Waldorf Wave, a digital wavetable synthesizer of the 1990s.

1.12. Reason 10.1

The Reason 10.1 update was released May 8, 2018 and included new features to the SDK (System Development Kit) that allow Rack Extension developers to create new Player devices introduced in Reason version 9. Prior to this, the only Player devices available were those developed by Propellerhead themselves. The update also included a new Player device by Propellerhead as well as an update to the Europa synth that allows audio samples to be used as wavetables.

Rack Extensions developed by Propellerhead during Reason 10.1 include:

  • Drum Sequencer - A pattern-based player, primarily focused on percussion programming, that includes features such as per-channel time resolution, probability control and note repeating that are unavailable in Reason's main sequencer. For a limited time it was offered to Reason 10.1 owners for free.
  • Umpf Club Drums - A sample-based drum and percussion module that features effects and sounds particularly useful for dance and techno music, although users have the option to load in their own audio samples. The device can be sequenced by the Drum Sequencer player as well as Reason's main sequencer and other sequencing rack devices.
  • Umpf Retro Beats - Similar to the Umpf Club Drums rack extension but with an audio library and built in effects that are geared toward recreating classic drum machine and percussion sounds that were popular in 80's electronic music.
  • Reason Electric Bass - A sample-based electric bass guitar emulator that uses recordings bass instruments including Fender Jazz and Precision, Rickenbacker and Les Paul. Users can also modify the sounds through a selection of microphones, cabinets and a signal chain of built-in effects pedals as well as adjusting the dynamics of the playing style to create a more realistic sounding performance.

1.13. Reason 10.2

Reason 10.2, released on September 26, 2018 includes mainly work flow improvements like Multi Lane Editing for MIDI, adaptive snap to grid, improved navigation.

Rack Extensions developed by Propellerhead during Reason 10.2 include:

  • Complex-1 Modular Synthesizer - This synthesizer emulates modular synthesis programming, with front panel signal and modulation patch cables that the user can route manually between the device's various modules, such as the oscillators, filters, effects and more.
  • Quad Note Generator - A player module and creativity tool that acts as a melody generator using up to four lanes of note patterns based on the user's selected scale, MIDI input and rhythm settings.
  • Reason Drum Kit - A new multi sampled instrument focused on drums. It is essentially an older refill from propeller now packaged as an instrument with a user friendly interface.

1.14. Reason 10.3

The Reason 10.3 update was released April 15, 2019. It included an overhaul to the code that handles VST plugins, with big performance improvements as a result. As an additional effect rack extensions and internal devices perform better as well.

Rack extensions developed by Propellerhead during Reason 10.3:

  • Reason Drum Kits - A sample-based drum machine that utilizes acoustic drum and percussion sounds taken from the former Reason Drum Kits Sample library now self-contained inside a rack device. It also features effects to emulate various studio arrangements and microphone set ups.

1.15. Reason 10.4

The Reason 10.4 update was released May 23, 2019. It included a few stability improvements but also two new devices to be compatible with the newly released Reason Compact 2.0, namely Monotone, a bass line synthesizer, and Rytmik, a sample player optimized for drum samples that comes with a few presets for different styles.

Rack Extensions developed by Propellerhead during Reason 10.4 include:

  • PolyStep Sequencer - A new player device aimed at easily generating complex chord progressions and melodies
  • Processed Pianos - A sample-based piano emulator with that utilizes samples from the former Reason Pianos sound library. It also features and effects to emulate various studio arrangement and microphone set ups.

1.16. Reason 11

Reason 11 was announced on August 26, 2019, and is slated for release on September 25, 2019. It adds workflow improvements to the sequencer and a few new devices. It also introduces the new Reason Rack Plugin, a VST3 plugin which allows for Reason's rack to be used as a plugin in other DAWs.[20] An AU plugin version is also planned to release before the end of 2019. Reason 11 will now be offered in three tiers: Reason Intro, Reason and Reason Suite. The new upper tier includes Reason and adds most rack extensions made by Reason Studios including the new Scenic Hybrid Instrument.

New devices will include:

  • Quartet Chorus Ensemble: A new chorus device with more extensive features than the original CF-101
  • Sweeper Modulation Effect: A device that combines a phaser, flanger and filter unit into one
  • Master Bus Compressor: The compressor from the Reason mixer is now available as a rack device
  • Channel Dynamics: The compressor/expander/gate effect from the Reason mixer is now available as a rack device
  • Channel EQ: The EQ and filter effect from the Reason mixer is now available as a rack device

Rack Extensions developed by Reason Studios during Reason 11 include:

  • Scenic Hybrid Instrument: a new instrument with cinematic, atmospheric sounds.

1.17. Reason 11.1

This minor update to Reason 11 was released on November 22, 2019. It adds an AUv2 version off the Reason Rack Pluging along with some minor improvements and bug fixes.

1.18. Reason 11.2

This minor update to Reason 11 was released on February 20, 2020. It adds the ability to drag notes from Redrum, Dr Octo Rex and Matrix to tracks in your host DAW if that is not Reason. It also adds a new device:

  • Midi Out: A device that sends midi notes from the Reason Rack plugin to the host DAW, giving users more flexibility when working with devices such as players

Rack Extensions developed by Reason Studios during Reason 11.2 include:

  • Beat Map Algorhythmic Drummer: a new player for creating beats.

1.19. Reason 11.3

This minor update to Reason 11 was released on May 5, 2020. It adds an AAX version of the Reason Rack plugin so Reason can now be used inside Pro Tools and other software that supports AAX.

2. Devices

2.1. Basic Devices

  • Hardware Interface – This handles the connection between software and hardware and supports up to sixty-four separate outputs. As it is integral to Reason's functionality, it cannot be removed.
  • Mixer 14:2 – Reason's mixer is used to group numerous device outputs into a stereo output. It has fourteen stereo channels with level meters, fixed bass and treble EQ and four stereo auxiliary sends. It is possible to mute or solo any given channel, as well as alter its level, pan and auxiliary output level. The console has chaining master inputs to allow several line mixers to be daisy chained together, effectively allowing for an unlimited number of channels.
  • Line Mixer 6:2 – Similar to the Mixer 14:2, and also known as the Micromix, it is a smaller, six channel mixer, with only one auxiliary send and return, no EQ, smaller level controls and limited metering.

2.2. Synthesizers

  • Europa Shapeshifting Synthesizer is an advanced wavetable synthesizer, inspired by the Thor synth that came a decade prior. It has many functions for morphing and manipulating sounds from buzzing basses to glitch effects.[21]
  • Grain Sample Manipulator is an advanced graintable synthesizer, capable of playing imported audio samples in a wide variety of ways and includes features to manipulate the sampled audio into completely new sounds.[22]
  • Monotone Bass Synthesizer is a simple synth with just two oscillators aimed at quickly generating basslines.[23]
  • Subtractor Analogue Synthesizer – This is a polyphonic synthesizer device based on subtractive synthesis, which is the method used in classic, analog synthesizers. Its two oscillators can produce basic waveforms such as square, sawtooth, triangle, and sine. Additional waveforms based on samples can also be generated. The Subtractor device can be fully automated from a controlling device, such as Reason's sequencer.[24]
  • Thor Polysonic Synthesizer – This device simulates a semi-modular synthesizer. Six filter and oscillator slots allow loading up to three different filter modules and three different oscillator modules simultaneously, allowing dialing in novel sounds. A modulation matrix gives full control over signal flow, to modulate anything within Thor. Thor also has a simulation of an analog style step sequencer with more than one twist. This step sequencer can be used as a modulation tool, trigger phrases from specific keys and create arpeggios and percussion lines.[3][25]
  • Malström Graintable Synthesizer – This device creates its sounds using Graintable technology. This technology is a cross between granular synthesis and wavetable synthesis.[2] Malström features many filtering and modulation options. It is capable of real-time waveform stretching, spectral modulation, and wavetable sweeping. Malström comes with a wide range of Graintables.[2][26]

2.3. Samplers

  • NN-19 Digital Sampler – This is Reason's original sampler, introduced in the first version. All of its controls can be fully automated from a controlling device. There are two ways to get sound out of NN19: load a single wav/aiff sample or load a sampler patch. Loading a single wav/aiff file will instantly transpose the audio across the keyboard by speeding up or slowing down the playback of the sample. The NN19 can import and play mono or stereo files.[27]
  • NN-XT Advanced Sampler – This is an advanced sampler with many features. It is designed for working with multiple samples which can be assigned to different keys on the keyboard. It can be used for both sound design and instrument emulation. Useful features include alternate sample playback, auto-pitch detection, keyboard zones with individual parameters, and tempo syncable LFOs.[28]

2.4. Other Instruments

  • Klang, Pangea, and Humana are sampled instrument devices designed to create organic sounds. Klang is specialized in tuned percussion, Pangea includes sounds from cultures all over the world, and Humana contains sounds made from human voices. Each of these devices comes with an identical set of built in effects to manipulate the sounds further.[29]
  • ID-8 is a sample based instrument aimed at quickly providing the building block of a song with sounds like piano, guitar and strings being easily accessible.[30]
  • Kong Drum Designer is a hybrid tool that contains multiple synthesizers designed for emulating drums (both acoustic and electronic) and samplers to create drum sets that can then be used in songs. Up to 16 different drum sounds can be programmed in all with their own effects chain. A matrix lets users manipulate how those samples are triggered.[31]
  • Radical Piano is a hypersampled piano instrument. It was first released as a Rack Extension but included in reason starting with version 10.[32]
  • Rytmik Drum Machine lets users load drum samples or sample sets to quickly create beats. Added in Reason 10.4 to be compatible with Reason Compact [33]

2.5. Rhythm sequencers

  • Dr. Octo REX Loop Player – This update of the Dr.Rex device plays back samples created by the ReCycle (program) in the .rex and .rx2 formats. These formats allow manipulating a sample's tempo without affecting its pitch. Imagine a sample of a drum loop. The loop is 140 bpm and a track is 120 bpm. Instead of stretching the sample, which would change the sample's timbre and pitch, ReCycle slices the loop into little pieces so that each beat gets its own sample. ReCycle also creates a MIDI file with the samples played the way the loop was originally played. The 'octo' in the device's name refers to the fact that up to eight of these samples can be loaded in the device at once.[34]
  • Redrum Drum Computer – This device is a sample-playback drum module with a built in pattern sequencer. It has ten channels that plays samples loaded individually or from a preset kit. In addition to the pattern sequencer, Redrum can also be played from Reason's main sequencer or via MIDI. By combining the pattern sequencer and the main sequencer, one can easily create fills and variations to the patterns without having to create new patterns for every variation.[35]

2.6. Mastering

  • Master Bus Compressor – The compressor from the Reason mixer is now available as a rack device[36]
  • Channel Dynamics – The compressor/expander/gate effect from the Reason mixer is now available as a rack device[37]
  • Channel EQ – The EQ and filter effect from the Reason mixer is now available as a rack device[38]
  • MClass Equalizer – This is a 4-band, professional level mastering EQ with low and high shelving bands, two peak filters and a low cut switch. It allows making subtle or drastic frequency adjustments to the audio.[39]
  • MClass Stereo Imager – This splits the incoming audio into low and high frequency bands, and allows adjusting each independently. Increasing the width for the high band while making the low band slightly more mono gives wide, open sounding mixes with a tight low end.[39]
  • MClass Compressor – This is a single-band compressor with a sidechain input for advanced compression such as ducking or de-essing, and CV out for dynamically controlling other devices.[39]
  • MClass Maximizer – This is a tool designed to maximize the volume of Reason tracks, without crushing them or introducing other unwanted artifacts. The Maximizer features a Limiter section - with switchable look-ahead, for distortion-free brickwall limiting - and a Soft Clip section which gently rounds off the edges.[39]

2.7. Effects

  • Quartet Chorus Ensemble – A new chorus device with more extensive features than the original CF-101[40]
  • Sweeper Modulation Effect – A device that combines a phaser, flanger and filter unit into one[41]
  • RV7000 Advanced Reverb – This contains basic reverb controls located on the main panel, and eight separate knobs for algorithms and their parameters, which can be accessed from a fold-out remote when pressed. As of Reason version 8.3, the unit supports convolution reverb, allowing the user to load prepared impulse responses or to create their own.[42]
  • Scream 4 Distortion – With Scream 4's cut and body filters, two parameters for its ten modes including overdrive, distortion, feedback and tape damage, it can be used for digital bit crushing, or regular crushing, or for simulating adding analog warmth to audio.[43]
  • BV512 Digital Vocoder – The BV-512 is a 4 to 512-band vocoder that can modulate sound in several ways, and can also be used as an automated equalizer.[44]
  • The Echo - A delay device with built in filters, distortion and modulation effects.[45]
  • Pulveriser - A combination of distortion, compression with built in modulation and filter effects.[46]
  • Synchronous - A tool that lets users define three different automation patterns that can be applied to the built in effects. Those effects include 4 distortion options, 4 filter options, delay and reverb as well as volume. The CV in and outputs let you use this device interact with other devices.[47] Originally released as a Rack Extension but included in Reason since version 10.
  • Alligator Triple Filtered Gate - This device splits the sound into three separate frequency bands. Each band can independently be gated and effects can be applied. The included effects are filter, drive, phaser and delay. On top of that each band can be panned and the volume can be set.[48]
  • Pulsar - This is mainly an advanced dual LFO generator that can be hooked up to other devices via CV connections. But it can be used a s a basic synthesizer as well.[49] Originally released as a Rack Extension but included in Reason since version 9.
  • Audiomatic - This device lets the user choose from 16 different effects and dial those in. It includes straight forward effects such as Vinyl or Radio that make the sound mimic those sound sources, but it also includes other effects that provide more unexpected results.[50] Originally released as a Rack Extension but included in Reason since version 9.
  • Neptune Pitch Adjuster & Voice Synth - This device is designed to provide auto tuning. The scale can be set so any sound going through it will be pitch shifted to fit within that scale. The speed and accuracy can be set to provide either more artificial or more natural sounding results[51]
  • Softube Guitar Amp and Softube Bass Amp - These two devices both model guitar amps where the sound can be sculpted as you would on a physical guitar amp.[52][53]

2.8. Other Effects

Reason also features numerous simple effect devices.

  • RV-7 Digital Reverb
  • DDL-1 Digital Delay Line
  • D-11 Foldback Distortion
  • ECF-42 Envelope Controlled Filter
  • CF-101 Chorus/Flanger
  • PH-90 Phaser
  • UN-16 Unison
  • COMP-01 Compressor/Limiter
  • PEQ-2 Two Band Parametric EQ

2.9. Players

  • Dual Arpeggio is a set of two individually configurable arpegiators.[54]
  • Note Echo will repeat notes automatically when played, but the speed at which this happens can be manipulated and the repeated notes can be transposed up and down.[55]
  • Scales & Chords is used to do two thins: prevent a user playing notes that don't belong to the current scale, and making chords from the note being played, based on the scale being used.[56]

2.10. Other Devices

  • Combinator – This is a device that allows creating chains of Reason units - instruments, effects, pattern sequencers, and then save them as Combi patches. When a Combi patch is opened, all units in the created setup are instantly loaded, complete with sounds, settings and routings. The Combinator can house an unlimited number of Reason devices, which can all be combined, controlled and manipulated in any way. The Combinator's skinnable front panel holds four rotary controls and four buttons that can all be assigned to any function on any device in a combinator chain. The back of the Combinator reveals two connectors: the Combi input jacks that allow using Combinator as an effect unit. Combinators are the most commonly used devices for song creation due to their flexibility and ability to be 'compacted' for easier viewing and arrangement (visually). Typically each combinator is used as an individual 'instrument' with its own EQ and effects within the unit and accompanied by a 6:2 Mixer and CV Merger/Splitter (see below). this allows greater control of the basic parameters of the patch and allows more manipulation to create the ideal sound without complicated re-routing as the editing is done within the Combinator (pre- combinators output).[57]
  • Spider Audio & CV Merger & Splitter – The Spider Audio utility has two purposes: to merge and to split audio. Spider CV is exactly the same kind of utility as Spider Audio, but here the splitting and merging is performed on CV and gate signals.[58]
  • Matrix Pattern Sequencer – This is an analog-style sequencer with a maximum of 32 steps per pattern and is the part of Reason to use for ReBirth style sequences. The Matrix has 32 patterns and each can be freely sized regardless of what time signature has been chosen in the sequencer. The Resolution selector allows playback of the pattern in a range between 1/2 notes and 1/128 notes. The playback resolution is independent of the sequencer, and the display shows the 32 steps and a little graphic keyboard on the left-hand side will tell what notes are being played. A switch left of the graphical keyboard gives access to five octaves within the programming interface. Moving the mouse over the lower part of the display will allow change of velocity levels.[59]
  • RPG-8 Monophonic Arpeggiator – This contains a pattern section for muting selected notes in an arpeggio and a large display showing values and positions, and the 'Single Note Repeat' function engages the arpeggiator only when two or more simultaneous notes are held down. The 'Manual' mode will arpeggiate notes strictly in the order they were input for realtime arpeggio control.[60]
  • ReGroove Mixer – This applies its timing magic non-destructively and in real time, letting users adjust its settings as music plays. Users can lock all tracks together, or can apply different settings to up to 32 musical elements in a song. Each of the groove channels feature controls for groove amount, slide and shuffle and more detailed settings. The Reason soundbank comes with a selection of groove patches, created from analyzed recordings of real musicians as well as classic groovy tracks.[61]

3. ReFills

ReFills compress samples, loops and instrument patches into single files for simple sharing between users, and for selling commercial sample and patch libraries.

3.1. Official ReFills

Reason Studios has released the following ReFills for Reason:

  • Reason Disco School
  • Reason Soul School - includes Reason Soul Keys Refill
  • Reason Strings
  • ElectroMechanical - Available as a free download or relatively cheap CD to registered users of Reason 3.0 or later. Features the following keyboards:
    • Fender Rhodes Mk I Stage 73
    • Fender Rhodes Mk II Stage 73
    • Wurlitzer EP100
    • Wurlitzer EP200
    • Hammond Organ Model A
    • Hohner Clavinet D6
    • Hohner Pianet T
  • Reason Drum Kits
  • Reason Pianos - Features the following pianos:
    • Yamaha C7 grand piano
    • Steinway D grand piano
    • Steinway K upright piano
  • Salazar Brothers Reggaeton ReFill
  • Jason McGerr Sessions - Features drumming by Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie.
  • Abbey Road Keyboards - Recorded at Abbey Road Studios - Discontinued.[62] Features the following instruments:
    • Steinway upright piano
    • Challen Studio piano
    • Hammond RT-3
    • Mannborg Harmonium
    • Schiedmayer Celeste
    • Mellotron M400
    • Premier Tubular Bells
  • Reason Electric Bass - Features the following electric bass guitars, played by Sven Lindvall and recorded by Niklas Flyckt:
    • Fender Jazz Bass
    • Fender Precision Bass, played with fingers and a pick
    • Gibson EB-0
    • Gibson Les Paul
    • Kay Hollowbody
    • Music Man StingRay 5
    • Rickenbacker 4001


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