Since the release of the first version in November 2000, Reason, our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner, has been at the forefront of digital music production and recording software, enabling artists and engineers of all levels and genres to bring professional studio touches to musical tracks without the studio and its associated costs. Now, in its fourth version, Reason is still one of the preeminent recording studio software programs, continually improving its user interface while engineering innovative tools and features to give users creative control unlike any other.
Most of Reason’s strengths rest in its emphasis on creation, composition and modification. From start to finish, users have a variety of tools, features and effects to create, enhance, master and modify individual sounds, samples, patches and even complete tracks and transform them altogether.
Though other Recording Studio software programs like Komplete also place a great emphasis on those stages of production, none have managed to do so and remain competitively priced as Reason.
Many taking the plunge into Recording Studio software can be dismayed when the analog control equivalents are either lacking or underdeveloped. Fortunately, Reason 4 offers some advanced controls that rival, and in some cases exceed, their analog counterparts and, with the help of features like the Combinator, analog and digital can come together to make something entirely new.
Reason 4 features 3 synthesizers: Thor, a polysonic synthesizer with four filter types and six forms of synthesis; Substractor, which offers the look, feel and sound of analog synthesizers; and Malstrom, a Graintable synthesizer that pre-processes sampled sound into periodic wave-forms that can be manipulated with incredible precision to adjust position and even alter format within the harmonic spectra without altering pitch.
In addition to its comprehensive synthesizer set, Reason provides 2 samplers. The advanced NN-XT provides an array of tools for sound construction and instrument emulation within a facile, easy to use interface with full sound visualization. The NN-19 sampler, on the other hand, provides for quick, on-the-go automation, modulation and manipulation in a simplified interface.
One of the most important aspects of any Recording Studio software suite is its effects rack and sequencers. Reason provides separate tools for drum and percussion sequencing with its Redrum feature, an optimized loop player with Dr. Rex as well as an enhanced Sequencer that provides users an impressive amount of precision to edit, manipulate and modify any given track. In addition to impressive sequencers and percussion and loop tools, Reason boasts the Combinator, which literally combines the unique editing features of an effects unit, the flexibility of a synthesizer and the manipulation and modulation of a sampler to make sounds and music unlike any other, an intuitive customizable mixer, and an advanced monophonic arpeggiator, which helps convert simple chords into dynamic melody lines.
Reason also offers a high-quality digital vocoder that lets users use any two input signals, as opposed to the typical microphone and keyboard combo, enabling them to vocode along with percussions, bass or even rhythm guitar. This feature, couple with its Scream Sound Destruction Unit, lets users incorporate a variety of analog effects like distortion, feedback and decay into their tracks.
With its fully-customizable software-to-hardware rack, Reason can operate as a central hub for countless hardware controllers, boards and MIDI devices. From inputting patches to incorporating effects and sequences through the software program itself, Reason takes an “All Roads Lead to Rome” approach without neglecting to build a central hub that is both intuitive and easy to use.
In addition to external hardware and MIDI controller compatibility, Reason offers full support for most audio file formats and publishes to most as well.
Reason offers full tutorials, video guides, multi-media demonstrations and feature maps in addition to a comprehensive FAQ section. Additional support can be obtained through a dedicated email account.
Also, Reason often hosts tutorials and commentary by artists and engineers to improve software fluency and understanding in addition to showing off some of the tricks of the trade.
Recording Studio Software programs require a lot of power. That said, operating Reason at even the basic system requirements were met with seamless results with virtually no latency. With Recording Studio software programs beginning to take on a prominent role in musical performance in genres like Mash-Up and other forms of electronica, having a program that can operate as seamlessly as possible is of grave importance.
Nevertheless, having computer specs that exceed the basic requirements will translate to better performance levels and finished products regardless of the Recording Studio software program. But, in the case of Reason and other higher-powered programs, the better the specs, the better use will be made of the program’s potential.
Few Recording Studio software programs offer as many professional and advanced features within as simplified and user friendly an interface as Reason. With frequent improvements, updates and a variety of additional compatible products, Reason is always looking to stay ahead of the market and give users a precision and creative control unlike any other.