Reason.4.0

Six years on, is the original still the best? This screen shows nearly everything new that Reason has to offer. Note the individual automation lanes that have been expanded for the ReMix sequencer track. I snapped this at a ridiculous screen resolution to give the sequencer a chance to show off, and to reveal almost all that the Tool Window, right, has to offer.

Suffice to say that, as it did in v1. It looks familiarly retro but hides a lot of clever ideas about how the desired result should be achieved. The numerical increment certainly does indicate a significant update to Reason.

That monster modular may not have been requested per se, but it implements programming features and some synthesis types that certainly are on the collective wants list. Both these issues are dealt with — and very effectively — in this upgrade. Groove manipulation was never a strong point, either, but a course of steroids appears to have been taken by the software Now you can see what I mean.

Oscillator 3 and the global filter have been disabled to show what that looks like. The most noticeable addition to the rack is the new Thor Polysonic modular synth, and this is the device that will be taxing your CPUs as you attempt to tame its power.

Propellerhead have done it again: Fully stretched out, Thor gives the impression of being the biggest device in the Reason rack. This is an illusion: Still, although NNXT might be more conceptually complex, thanks to all those samples with all those individual sets of synth parameters, Thor is a monster, visually. I can get used to it — the more knobs the better, right?

Newcomers may be daunted, but anyone with experience of other synths, soft or hard, will see that layout is logical and sound creation just seconds away. Thor is a deep synth and could, as you can see from the screen dump, stand its own full review.

You need do nothing to start programming save enable the desired modules and tweak away. To save rack space, Thor has three levels of unfolding. It can be extremely minimal, showing just a patch-selection display, or it can have just its controller module showing, which adds a handful of assignable controls and some playback parameters. With Thor fully expanded, you get an eyeful of the knob—laden main programmer panel.

At the bottom of the rack is the step sequencer. This was a bit of a surprise, but one that pleasantly references many true modular synths, which often have such a device as much for automating general control voltages as for controlling oscillator pitch.

Voice Training The main programmer is divided, via subtle colour—coding, into two sections, Voice and Global. Envelope generators and LFOs in the voice section are polyphonic, with each new voice played in a chord, for example, triggering a new cycle, without cutting off any previous cycles. To start from the beginning, a Thor voice can have up to three oscillators, two filters, three envelope generators and LFO, with waveshaper, mixer and amplifier thrown in. In the end, though, this fixed audio and control signal path is moot, since the modulation matrix allows you to configure your own connections in your preferred order.

Check out the helpful notes, too. Gates and CVs are similarly configured — both to play the synth and to move control signals in and out of a given patch. Each oscillator can choose from no fewer than six oscillator types: Analogue gives you a choice of sawtooth, pulse, triangle and sine waveforms, with PWM on the pulse or square wave, plus tuning and keyboard response controls. The wavetable option offers 32 wavetables, each with up to 64 separate waveforms.

The control set remains simple, but complexity abounds. Two waveforms are modified to create changing timbres and different filter—like characteristics.

Genuine FM is also present, with the FM pair oscillator. In this, one sine—wave oscillator is a carrier and the other a modulator, and a surprising range of complex sounds can be generated. The Multi Osc is related to the analogue option, with sawtooth, pulse, triangle and sine waveforms, and its big trick is detuning — adding measurable intervals though with a random option to the overall sound. The full range of colours — white, pink, red and the rest, with all the in—between bits — can be generated.

Interaction between the oscillators includes amplitude ring modulation of Osc 1 by Osc 2, and oscillator sync. Each oscillator has its own routing to control each of the two filters.

The first two will self—oscillate in an authentically analogue fashion, and the formant filter is particularly welcome from my point of view. These two filters can be operated serially or in parallel. The shaper module is fed from filter one, so if activated it treats the signal before the signal is processed by filter two. The waveshaping offered by this module could be thought of largely as distortion, but the changes it makes to basic waveforms can range from quite subtle to full—on destruction.

The outputs of the two filters is mixed, gain adjusted under velocity control, if desired and pan position set. The global filter is identical in function to the other two, save that its envelope control is, initially at least, wired to the single—triggered global EG. That EG may just be single—triggered, but it has a few tricks worth playing with: The two effects are simple: I found it rather disappointing that only 13 patching busses were provided.

Seven offer a straightforward source—to—destination routing, with a modulation amount parameter. Typical sources and destinations can be seen in the screenshots peppered around this review. This configuration lets you, for example, assign LFO source to oscillator pitch destination , under the control of modulation wheel scale parameter , in which case LFO modulation will only be heard when the mod wheel is tweaked. Four more busses work in the same way, except that the source is routed to two destinations, effectively doubling their effectiveness.

The last two modulation busses have one source and one destination, but two scale parameters, allowing complex cross—modulation effects to be produced. Finally, we come to the step sequencer — and its 16 step knobs are just the start. One row of 16 steps? Steps can be muted, and playback is one step each time Play is pressed, all steps in one go, or a looped playback.

The steps can be played forward, backward, at random or in two pendulum modes. Just like classic analogue modular devices, this step sequencer is free—running. Some of the analogue waveforms have the Propellerhead signature ie. The results were often in the right ball park, and trying to get there revealed interesting programming possibilities, but the real thing is most welcome.

RPG8 immediately looks easy and straightforward to use — and it is — but this simplicity hides layers of sophistication that few other arpeggiators approach. Ah, the joys of software! As a monophonic arpeggiator, RPG8 breaks up chords in various fashions: A hold function lets you input a chord and have it loop infinitely.

However many notes you can input and hold down, RPG8 will arpeggiate them, over a range of between one and four octaves, with octave shifting and control over velocity response and step and gate length. You also have control over patterns, whereby you can adjust the pattern length and disable steps. External sources can control gate length, velocity, resolution, octave shift and start of arpeggio trigger in.

RPG8 is monophonic, but layering the device with attached synths in a Combinator patch provides a pretty good stab at polyphonic—style arpeggiations. Not surprising, since most of its funky stuff is edited somewhere else! The brand—new, and rather unexpected, ReGroove Groove Mixer changes that without going too far in the auto—accompaniment direction.

Each of the channels generates a user—tweakable, flexible groove template. The result can be as subtle, funky or obvious as you like, and not only will ReGroove add the desired shuffle or syncopation, but tracks can be made to push or lay back in the groove.

Global shuffle is an option, too, and this control which can still be applied to the pattern—based devices is now in the ReGroove window. REX files, played by Dr: Rex, however, can be ReGrooved. All Change A closer look at the attractive new look of the sequencer. The new features found here move Reason closer to the sequencing facilities of DAW software. As much as we might love Reason, most of us would have to admit that the linear sequencer that lives just above the transport bar is not as well-developed as we would like.

But anything much more sophisticated has always had to be offloaded to a bigger sequencer hosting Reason in some way. That situation is now history. Power users wondering if their years of begging for tempo and time signature tracks have been heeded can let out their breath. Propellerhead have implemented both, though the nifty way that tempo can be automated may be rather different from what you might expect: Next best improvements are to the sequencer track lists. Lanes also come into play when doing multiple takes of a part, as you can stack takes and choose the best bits later.

Recording a new part automatically creates a highlighted clip. Such grouped data would previously have had to be created manually. New buttons enable automation recording, and data display is also different, and better. Changes have been made to the tool bar, making drawing data much easier than before, due in some part to differences in how that data is shown on screen.

Even experienced users will have to take time to get re—acquainted with this side of things, though. Want the line tool? Editing in general has been enhanced.

Remember the floating tool window? Most editing is now accessed here, including quantising which has been removed from the sequencer window , note length, velocity, transposition, legato response and tempo scaling.

Detailed ReGroove parameters also have their own window. But I advise you to go beyond the automatic:

Propellerhead Reason 4

Reason Fixlist. Reason is a maintenance update that resolves a few minor issues and, as a response to user feedback received for Reason version 4, . Reason is a powerful collection of virtual instruments, effects and music production tools where musical ideas and amazing sounds comes to life. Available as a VST plugin or in Reason standalone. Suffice to say that, as it did in v, Reason aims to do in software everything that anyone familiar with mainly analogue electronic music hardware would like to do if they could afford lots of hardware.

reason.4.0

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