PROS / Reason 8 is loaded with good-sounding virtual instruments and effects.
CONS / The plugins are only expandable through the Propellerhead rack extension format.
VERDICT / Reason 8 boasts a clean user interface and powerful production tools to inspire creativity and unique musical compositions.
Reason continually makes improvements to the interface and processes with each edition of its recording studio software. Reason started as a drum-sequencing program to create beats. Reason 6 was the first edition of the software that was capable of recording external instruments. Now that this recording software program has the capabilities of other digital audio workstations (DAWs), the newest edition – Reason 8 – is all about improving workflow.
The new interface of this professional audio software provides a fresh new look to Reason. The entire interface has flattened out, removing the sharp edges and 3-D look. The interface makeover makes the interface look cleaner and more user-friendly.
Reason 8 is now made up of four main sections: the rack, the sequencer, the mixer and the browser. The browser is the newest addition to Reason 8 and it helps to improve workflow. It sits in the left-hand corner of the software and is the access point to every loop, sound and effect available within the software. Adding virtual instruments and effects to the rack is as simple as dragging and dropping the effect from the browser window to the rack unit. The browser window has always been available within the software as a menu item, but the inclusion of it within the main interface window eliminates unnecessary steps to get to the sound library.
Reason 8 boasts an impressive number of production tools. The sound library has 3,000 loops available and ready to be dragged and dropped into the sequencer or rack for your composition creation. This digital recording software also boasts nine impressive virtual instruments and 25 total effect units. The nice thing about Reason's virtual instruments and effects is that they look and emulate their real-world counterparts. If you like working with hardware more than with digital plugins, this software helps bridge the gap between digital and physical hardware. Unfortunately, Reason plugins are only compatible through the Propellerhead rack extension format, which limits your third-party plugin availability and expansion.
The mixer within this recording studio software program is based on the SSL 9000K mixer. This mixer is one of the most revered mixing consoles in the recording business. It boasts a multiband EQ and a master bus compressor that instantly adds more punch and polish to your music when activated.
Reason 8 can bounce your completed project quickly, but the program does not offer any options to post straight to SoundCloud or iTunes. Reason is also compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems.
Reason 8 has made some great improvements from previous versions of the software. It has great virtual instruments and a large loop library, but the plugins are only expandable through the Propellerhead rack extension format. Reason is unique among DAWs in look and feel, but this software makes it well worth stepping outside the box.