Tag Archives: Reason

7 Reasons to love Reason 7….

7 REASONS TO LOVE REASON 7……

Reason lappy

Reason 7 is coming VERY soon, and it’s all grown up!!

For a while now, Reason has seemed to live in the shadow of the main DAW’s.  Indeed for many people it was a long way behind the pack in terms of features as well as how seriously it was taken, but Swedish software house Propellerheads  have given the mixer, rack and sequencer a major makeover, and now it stands revealed as really very good indeed.

1)      Audio Tracks

Capture your ideas with a minimum of mouse clicks and menu actions — version 6 of Reason introduces unlimited hard disk tracks and rock solid audio recording in Reason.

2)      Time stretch

With Reason’s  now legendary non-destructive time stretch, you can actually record first and pick your tempo later. Reason has a unique twist on the concept of time and tempo. Change the song tempo and all your audio tracks will follow right along without any need for pre-processing of any kind. Need to slow your song down to nail a tricky passage? No problem. Just reduce the tempo, record your performance and bring the tempo back up. The audio quality? Amazing.

3)      On-board Sounds

Included with Reason is a huge sound bank full of inspiring instruments, synth patches, loops, and effects. Patches have been created by producers like Death Cab for Cutie’s Jason McGerr, Bomb Squad’s Hank Shocklee, Black Eyed Peas’ Printz Board, DJ Lucky Date, Kill the Noise, and more.

It also comes stocked full with thousands of patches, presets, and loops to get you inspired and started. Over 4,000 instrument patches, 1,000+ mixing/mastering effects, and nearly 3,000 loops… it’s enough to satisfy even the most eclectic tastes. For those who like to keep score at home, here’s a breakdown of the factory sound bank content which has been expanded in Reason 6.

4)      Rack Extensions rack-closeup-255px

 

With Rack Extensions the Reason rack opens up to third party developers. This is not another plugin format – Rack Extensions are full Reason rack citizens, giving you the same great experience as any other Reason device. Load them in Combinators, route cables on the back, automate all parameters, and experiment with the safety of undo.

 

 

 

 

 

5)      New External MIDI Instrument Device:

Within the new Reason 7, there is a new MIDI Out funtionality which allows users to connect to external hardware instruments, this allows Reason users to stay synced when working outside of the box.

 

 

6)      REX files:

 

Propellerheads were the people behind REX files, and Reason is of course capable of creating them from scratch. If you  haven’t worked with REX files before, now’s your chance to experience the ease and flexibility of these little guys.

In fact there is actually a dedicated .REX file player called Dr.Rex. This really is an excellent instrument and not allows you to load .REX files, but also gives you the tools to completely transform them if you wish.

 

The Dr.Rex player.

The Dr.Rex player has a straight forward but powerful synthesis engine, and the real beauty of it is that both of the envelopes clamp down on each slice independently. This can create some really interesting effects. There is also a sync-able LFO which can be routed to various destinations.

 

The Dr.Rex synthesis engine.

Once you loop is playing back in a way that you are happy with, a MIDI file to trigger the loop in exactly right order can be generated and easily assigned to a track in the Reason sequencer. It is also easy to export the same MIDI information to another sequencer in Reason via Rewire.

 

7)      James Bernard:

 

James is an old buddy of mine from our days at KORG USA in the ‘90’s.

James is one of the few people I know who has been making beats, squeaks, dirty basses and all the other types of sound so beloved of today’s  Dubstep crews, since the early ‘90’s. His legendary sound design knowledge has been put to great use, in a series of phenomenal  tips and tricks for Reason, which can be found here…..

 

http://www.propellerheads.se/substance/product-specialist/

 

Reason users are invited to sign up for the limited public beta testing at the Propellerhead web site: www.propellerheads.se

 

sequencer-closeup-255px

An Introduction to Music Sequencers

One of the key choices faced by eveyone when starting out making music is which sequencer software to learn in order to be able to produce your own recordings. As the heart of any modern studio the sequencer will allow you to record, edit and even master your music in your own preferred recording space and with the power and features available in even the most humble of software studios these days you can get astounding results, that even just a couple of decades ago were unthinkable by anyone working outside of a large studio environment. The problem with having to make the choice at this stage is that your most probably at your most unprepared for what is essentially a choice that will shape your work flow dynamic for years to come, so in this situation just how do you decide when its likely your not even sure what you need?

To keep things simple for this article we’ll break them down into a couple of groups and we’ll start with the traditional sequencers Cubase & Sonar. Both of these solutions have long heritages with Steinberg’s Cubase first appearing on the Atari ST in the late 80’s and Calkwalk’s Sonar appeared a few years prior to that under it’s original brand name of Cakewalk, meaning that both of these solutions are regarded as long established industry standards with Cubase being the popular choice in Europe and Sonar the leader in the USA market.

 

A Cubase arrangement page. A Cubase arrangement screen.

Designed initially as midi sequencing tools used to record and edit playback data controlling synths and other external hardware, it was with the advent of the Steinberg introducing the V.S.T (Virtual Studio Technology) standard in the mid 90’s which over time has become the dominate format over Cakewalks own DXi plugin standard (Sonar also supports VST) that we’ve seen sequencers grow from their humble beginnings to the all encompassing studio in box solutions we see now. When choosing between these two software packages you’ll see that most of the features found in either one will tend to be available in the other sooner or later. The has over the years been a history of them pushing each other on when developing new features and improvements which has resulted in great feature rich solutions being developers for users working with either client.

Over time we’ve seen these sequencers also introduce timeline based real time audio editing and manipulation which was previously was the greatest strength of the other classic recording software ProTools. Once again originally developed in the late 90’s but this time as a replacement for the classic multitrack tape recorders found in every recording studio up until this point Pro Tools was developed as a medium to allow loss less digital recording in an environment where the audio could be manipulated and processed without degradation associated with working analogue or even digital tape formats. ProTools was regarded as a game changer as it could speed up the mixing and mastering process and allow all sorts of editing tricks to be applied that were previously only be dreamed of by the average razorblade wielding tape based editors of old.

Cubase Audio Editing On The Timeline.

ProTools however in the early days by design was developed to only work with dedicated hardware solutions (audio interfaces) which whilst ensured a high quality audio recording environment also put this far outside the price range of the average home studio recordist. Over time however the platform has opened up with ProTools HD remaining at the highend we saw the introduction of the LE revision and with a wider range of features such as full VST support although still required special hardware (the MBox range) to support and run it. Recently we’ve seen this evolve into the ProTools 9 release which like its counterparts Cubase & Sonar will now run on any sound card and hardware configuration it joins them as a fully featured elder statesman of sequencers.

So that’s the old guard covered what about the newer solutions?

Over the last decade or so we’ve seen any number of newer software packages appear and whilst some are designed in the same fashion as the older sequencers with midi being a primary concern with the most notable being the superb Reaper client, we’ve seen a number of software houses approach the process with new ideas and tailor their software more towards those of us who work fully inside the box rather than make music with external hardware.

The one package that can probably lay claim to making the most impact on how we think about arranging and working with sequenced music in recent times is Ableton. Originally developed as a live performance tool that would give the ability to remix and edit loops and audio on the fly in the early days we saw ground breaking DJ sets where the artist would load up all of their self written tracks as component parts and perform by mixing and matching components of their music blended together allowing for a unique performance each and every time. As artists got use to doing this live and discovered just how quick and easy it was to work with they started to use it more and more as a studio tool rather than just a live performance instrument and the Ableton development team have picked up on this and continued to develop it into the one stop solution no matter if your working in the studio or performing out on the road.

 

Ableton Session ViewAbleton’s session view is a great alternative to the more traditional arrangement window setup.

Other notable packages include Sony Acid, FL Studio and Reason which all continue to go from strength to strength. Both FL Studio and Sony Acid started out as a loop based sequencers and have evolved to play host to a lot of the features of the larger more established packages and offer support for the popular plugin standards.  Reason on the other hand is a popular all in one package which restricts it’s users by not supporting VST/DXi and other none native formats but rather maintains its own synth and sampler selection as part of the package. Whilst this can be seen as a negative by users wishing to dip into the wider waters of plug ins, it does have the notable advantage of focusing the user and by keeping those choices more limited which can actually help speed up workflow as anyone who’s ever faced a screen full of synths wondering which would be most suitable tor the idea in their head will tell you. Perhaps because of this a number of artists have mentioned that they prefer to write within this environment as they find themselves being at their most productive working this way, although they may still find themselves having to transfer projects over to other software solutions to complete the tracks at mixdown stage if they want to take advantage of tools not available inside of Reason to mix or master the project.

Hopefully this brief rundown has given you a few ideas of where you wish to look and our only other advice would be to get hands on. All sequencers initially require a bit of time to get to grips with, but as you pick up the concepts your ability to get your ideas down as you want them will get quicker and quicker as you learn more and more. Obviously with so many options some of these will prove better for you than others so we highly recommend you trail each package that appeals to how you wish to work.

Thankfully the majority of software firms offer trails of their sequencers giving you a few weeks to spend time with each one before you decide upon that initial outlay, so you should take advantage of this and give each one that stands out a try in order to make sure you make the right choice along the road to making music for yourself.

64 Bit Computing for Windows Musicians



This is an important decision that you need to make when choosing your new pc, not only for your operating system, but also for your DAW software.

32 bit systems are limited to 4gb of memory in theory (in reality its between 3-3.5gb that windows can actually use). While this might sound a lot, every time you open up a plugin or virtual instrument, it uses memory.

When you start looking at sample based instruments, such as orchestral libraries these can easily load gigs of sounds into memory.

64 Bit systems can run 32 bit programs, but each application can only use 4gb of memory.
This is currently a popular choice, as most DAW’s come with 32 and 64 bit versions that can be installed at the same time.

64 Bit issues (and how to get round them)
64 Bit Sequencers cannot use 32 bit plugins or instruments.
Whilst many manufacturers are now producing 64bit versions of thier plugins and instruments, if you do switch to a 64 bit DAW, you will probably be left with plugins that you cannot use.
Many DAW’s, such as Steinberg Cubase 6 have built in “bridges” that try to make them work, but they only seem to work for some plugins.
Cubase’s bridge mode also limits you to 4gb of memory for all of the bridged plugins.

J Bridge working with Kontakt 3
J Bridge working with Kontakt 3

J-Bridge

The best soulution to this that we have found is a piece of software called Jbridge ( €14.99)

Jbridge is about 95% compatible, and has a number of options to get problems plugins to work.  Jbridge lets you use 4gb of memory per plugin.

 

 

REWIRE

The second issue  is that rewire will not work in 64 bit daw’s.
“Rewire” channels are  virtual midi and audio connections to and from your daw to (predominantly) Propellerhead Reason or Ableton Live programs.

A work-around to this issue is a plugin called Rewire VST (€19.00)

This provides one stereo and six mono audio channels into your DAW (plus midi control).
Whilst this is no way near the 64 possible connections that rewire normally offers, it does mean that you can run a handful of reason or ableton instruments alongside your 64bit DAW.