The latest entry-level version of the Reason home-studio music software combines the software synthesisers and effects of earlier versions with the high-quality audio recording and mixing previously provided by an entirely separate product called Record.
The result is an intriguing and effective home studio that will best suit musicians who are fond of working with the kind of hardware associated with dance music or who are familiar with conventional mixing desks, patch bays and similar terms.
That’s because instruments and effects in Reason exist in a virtual ‘rack’ and are connected by cables, which can be picked up with the mouse pointer and then re-routed however you like.
Of course, users don’t have to go far into this side of things – Reason will make the basic connections for you – but it’s designed for those who know their way around music hardware.
Essentials is a scaled-down version of Reason 6 that features six instruments and 10 effects units, what Propellerhead calls a ‘streamlined’ mixing desk (it still has a two-band equaliser for adjusting tones and a master bus compressor to give your recordings a punchy, modern sound) along with a full Midi editor and the ability to record unlimited audio tracks.
What are the Instruments included in Reason home-studio music software?
Instruments include the ID-8 general purpose synthesiser, the Subtractor analogue synth, the Redrum drum sequencer, NN-XT sampler with realistic sounding instruments, and the brilliant Dr Octorex loop player which comes with a wide selection of pre-installed loops to get you started.
Add to that a Line 6 guitar and bass amp, chorus/flanger, delay, distortion and reverb and there are plenty of powerful music-making tools on tap.
Once users have found your way around the dense interface, Reason Essentials reveals itself as a great home studio that performs well.
That said, all those devices and windows need lots of screen space, and some decent audio hardware (a sound card) will help keep things flowing smoothly down.
We still think Reason is best rooted in the dance world, but the ability to record and edit audio, plus the presence of the NN-XT sampler and Dr Octorex loop player, give it a broader appeal than ever before.