Reason (software)

Reason Screenshots.png

Reason 4 on Microsoft Windows 7
Developer(s) Propellerhead Software
Stable release 6.0 / 30 September 2011; 51 days ago (2011-09-30)
Operating system Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows
Type Digital audio workstation
License Proprietary

Reason is a music software program developed by Swedish software developers Propellerhead Software. It emulates a rack of hardware synthesizers, samplers, signal processors, sequencers, and mixers, all of which can be freely interconnected in an arbitrary manner. Reason can be used either as a complete virtual music studio or as a collection of virtual instruments to be played live or used with other sequencing software.



Reason 1.0 was released in November 2000 and is currently the second most popular music making software in the industry (Pro Tools being the first).[citation needed] The program's design mimics a studio rack into which users can insert virtual devices such as instruments, effects processors, and mixers. These modules can be controlled from Reason's built-in MIDI sequencer or from other sequencing applications such as Pro Tools, Logic, FL Studio, Digital Performer, Cubase, Sonar, and GarageBand via Propellerhead's ReWire protocol in the 32-bit versions of these software. There is now support for ReWire with 64-bit hosts with the release of Reason 6 on September 30, 2011.[citation needed]

As of version 6.0, modules available include:

  • Subtractor: a subtractive synthesizer
  • Malström: a graintable synthesizer
  • NN-19: a simple sampler, which loads pre-recorded instrumental and vocal sounds
  • NN-XT: an advanced sampler, which features the option of tweaking the various modulation, oscillation, and filter parameters of a preloaded sample or patch
  • Dr Octo Rex: a loop playback device, which slices prerecorded samples
  • Redrum: a sample based drum machine with a step sequencer
  • Thor: a semi-modular synthesizer which features, among others, wavetable, FM, and phase distortion synthesis
  • Kong Drum Designer: a 16-pad drum synthesizer with analog synthesizers emulating the classic generators of drums like the Roland TR series, physical modelling drum synthesizers and sampler akin to the Akai MPC series.
  • Neptune: A voice synthesizer and pitch correction tool, capable of Vocoder-like polyphonic voice synthesis as well as robotic, AutoTune-like pitch adjustment and more subtle pitch corrections. [1]
  • Alligator: A triple filtered gate, sometimes known as a "trance gate". Alligator splits an incoming signal into three signals, which are then gated and filtered using lowpass, bandpass and highpass filters on each respective channel. Alligator also is capable of adding delay, distortion, phasing and stereo panning effects to each channel, and each of the filters can be modulated with a filter envelope embedded in the unit. [2]
  • Pulverizer: A multi-purpose piece of virtual hardware that combines compression, distortion, filters, tremolo, parallel signal processing and an envelope follower. [3]
  • The Echo: A reverb unit based on tape echo and delay. [4]

Sounds from these devices can be routed via either of two mixing devices or simple merging and splitting utilities. Effects include distortion, reverb, chorus, a vocoder, and mastering effects. The Combinator device, introduced in Reason 3.0, allows users to combine multiple modules into one. Another device connects Reason to Propellerhead's (now discontinued) ReBirth RB-338.

Reason's interface includes a Toggle Rack command, which turns the "rack" around to display the devices from the rear. Here the user can route virtual audio and CV cables from one piece of equipment to another. This cable layout enables the creation of complex effects chains and allows devices to modulate one another. This offers flexibility in the way that is familiar to users of physical electronic music hardware. For example, Redrum's main outputs could be connected to a single channel of the mixing desk, or instead each of its drum sounds could be routed to a separate EQ before sending them to separate channels in the mixer. The user can always choose where to draw the line between simplicity and precision, allowing the software to remain useful at various levels of knowledge on the user's part.

Reason can not record external audio, although this will be possible in Reason 6, turning it into a digital audio workstation.[citation needed] It does not support third-party plug-ins, being one of the few software sequencers to lack VST support. This has been a frequent cause of criticism,[citation needed] although it also contributes to the product's stability.[citation needed]

A stripped-down version of Reason known as Reason Adapted, which restricts the user to a limited number of devices, is packaged as bonus software with other audio software such as Pro Tools LE and ReCycle.

Reason 4 was released on September 26, 2007. Improvements to Reason include Thor, a modular synth; RPG-8, a real-time programmable arpeggiator; ReGroove, a detimer/dequantizer; and a complete change to Reason's sequencer that includes tempo and meter changes as well as support for complex meters. Also included is vector automation (in-track automation/envelope curves), a new pattern lane for editing patterns in arrange view, foldable tracks (mimicking Logic's folder functionality), beat/bar count-in, and support for multiple takes.

On 11 May 2009, Propellerhead Software announced Record. Designed for recording, arrangement, and mixing, it answers common criticisms of missing features in Reason (Version 6 will have support for external audio recording).[citation needed] It was released in September 2009. Although it is a separate product, it integrates all Reason devices if a registered version of Reason is present on the system, and all existing Reason song files can be opened in Record.

Reason 5

Reason 5 was released on 25 August 2010. For the first time, Reason can directly sample audio[5] with any of its sample-playing instruments such as the Redrum, the NN-19, the NN-XT, and the Kong Drum Designer.

The Dr. Rex loop player has been given an overhaul and is now called "Dr. Octo Rex"[6] and can play up to eight sample loops (one at a time), and includes many new features for editing the loops and individual clips.

New to the program is the "Kong Drum Designer,"[7] a 16-pad device that can create drum and percussion sounds using various sound production techniques, including physical modeling, sample playback (the "NN-Nano" module), and virtual analog synthesis.

Signature Patches created by well known Reason users have been added, including patches made by Two Lone Swordsmen, Vengeance, and Richard Barbieri.[citation needed]

Finally, a new pattern editing tool called "Blocks"[8] has been created for easier song arrangement and mixing.

Reason 6

On July 12, 2011, Propellerhead announced the release of the next generation of the Reason line, Reason 6, which was released on September 30, 2011.[9] It integrates all of the features found in Record 1.5 – such as the ability to record live sound, the mixing desk modeled on the SSL 9000k, and the Neptune pitch corrector – into its setup. The Record name has been phased out altogether.

As well as bringing all of Record's features into the Reason rack, Reason 6 is 64-bit and features three new effects units:

  • Pulveriser: a combined compression, distortion, and filtering unit.[10]
  • The Echo: an advanced stereo echo unit modeled on analog tape echo machines like the classic Roland RE-201.[11]
  • Alligator: a pattern-based gate effect which splits sound signals into three channels, allowing for differing multiple effects on each separate channel.[12]


Basic Devices

  • Hardware Interface – The Hardware Interface handles the connection between software and hardware and supports up to sixty-four separate outputs. As it is integral to Reason's functionality, it cannot be removed.
  • Mixer 14:2 – Reason's mixer is used to group numerous device outputs into a stereo output. It has fourteen stereo channels with level meters, fixed bass and treble EQ and four stereo auxiliary sends. It is possible to mute or solo any given channel, as well as alter its level, pan and auxiliary output level. The console has chaining master inputs to allow several line mixers to be daisy chained together, effectively allowing for an unlimited number of channels.
  • Line Mixer 6:2 – Similar to the Mixer 14:2, and also known as the Micromix, it is a smaller, six channel mixer, with only one auxiliary send and return, no EQ, smaller level controls and limited metering.


  • Subtractor Analogue Synthesizer – Subtractor is a polyphonic synthesizer device based on subtractive synthesis, which is the method used in classic, analog synthesizers. Its two oscillators can produce basic waveforms such as square, sawtooth, triangle, and sine. Additional waveforms based on samples can also be generated. The Subtractor device can be completely automated from a controlling device, such as Reason's sequencer.[13]
  • Thor Polysonic Synthesizer – The Thor device simulates a semi-modular synthesizer. Six filter and oscillator slots let you load up to three different filter modules and three different oscillator modules simultaneously, allowing you to dial in novel sounds. A modulation matrix gives you complete control over your signal flow, letting you modulate anything within Thor. Thor also has a simulation of an analog style step sequencer with more than one twist. This step sequencer can be used as a modulation tool, trigger phrases from specific keys and create arpeggios and percussion lines.[14]
  • Malström Graintable Synthesizer – The Malström device creates its sounds using Graintable technology. This technology is a cross between granular synthesis and wavetable synthesis. Malström features many filtering and modulation options. It is capable of real-time waveform stretching, spectral modulation, and wavetable sweeping. Malström comes with a wide range of Graintables.[15]


  • NN-19 Digital Sampler – The NN-19 device is Reason's original sampler, introduced in the first version. All of the controls on the NN-19 can be fully automated from a controlling device. There are two ways of getting sound out of NN19: load a single wav/aiff sample or load a sampler patch. Loading a single wav/aiff file will instantly transpose the audio across the keyboard by speeding up or slowing down the playback of the sample. The NN19 can import and play mono or stereo files.[16]
  • NN-XT Advanced Sampler – The NN-XT device is an advanced sampler with many features. It is designed for working with multiple samples which can be assigned to different keys on the keyboard. It can be used for both sound design and instrument emulation. Useful features include alternate sample playback, auto-pitch detection, keyboard zones with individual parameters, and tempo syncable LFOs.[17]

Rhythm Sequencers

  • Dr. Octo REX Loop Player – This update of the Dr.Rex device, the Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player plays back samples created by the ReCycle (program) in the .rex and .rx2 formats. These formats allow for manipulation of the sample's tempo without affecting its pitch. Imagine that you have a sample of a drum loop. The loop is 140 bpm and your track is 120 bpm. Instead of stretching the sample, which would change the sample's timbre and pitch, ReCycle slices the loop into little pieces so that each beat gets its own sample. ReCycle also creates a MIDI file with the samples played the way the loop was originally played. The 'octo' in the device's name refers to the fact that up to eight of these samples can be loaded in the device at once.[18]
  • Redrum Drum Computer – The Redrum device is a sample-playback drum module with a built in pattern sequencer. It has ten channels that plays samples loaded individually or from a preset kit. In addition to the pattern sequencer, Redrum can also be played from Reason's main sequencer or via MIDI. By combining the pattern sequencer and the main sequencer, one can easily create fills and variations to the patterns without having to create new patterns for every variation.[19]


  • MClass Equalizer – The MClass Equalizer is a 4-band, professional level mastering EQ with low and high shelving bands, two peak filters and a low cut switch. The MClass Equalizer lets you make subtle or drastic frequency adjustments to the audio.[20]
  • MClass Stereo Imager – The MClass Stereo Imager splits the incoming audio into low and high frequency bands, and lets you adjust each independently. Increasing the width for the high band while making the low band slightly more mono gives you wide, open sounding mixes with a tight low end.[20]
  • MClass Compressor – The MClass Compressor is a single-band compressor with a sidechain input for advanced compression such as ducking or de-essing, and CV out for dynamically controlling other devices.[20]
  • MClass Maximizer – The MClass Maximizer is a tool designed to maximize the volume of your Reason tracks, without crushing them or introducing other unwanted artifacts. The Maximizer features a Limiter section - with switchable look-ahead, for distortion- free brickwall limiting - and a Soft Clip section which gently rounds off the edges.[20]


  • RV7000 Advanced Reverb – The RV7000 contains basic reverb controls located on the main panel, and eight separate knobs for algorithms and their parameters, which can be accessed from a fold-out remote when pressed.[21]
  • Scream 4 Distortion – With Scream 4's cut and body filters, two parameters for its ten modes including overdrive, distortion, feedback and tape damage, you can use it for digital bit crushing, or regular crushing, or for simulating adding analog warmth to audio.[22]
  • BV512 Digital Vocoder – The BV-512 is a 4 to 512-band vocoder that can modulate sound in several ways, and can also be used as an automated equalizer.[23]

Other Effects

Reason also features numerous simple effect devices.

  • RV-7 Digital Reverb
  • DDL-1 Digital Delay Line
  • D-11 Foldback Distortion
  • ECF-42 Envelope Controlled Filter
  • CF-101 Chorus/Flanger
  • PH-90 Phaser
  • UN-16 Unison
  • COMP-01 Compressor/Limiter
  • PEQ-2 Two Band Parametric EQ

Other Devices

  • Combinator – The Combinator is a device that allows you to create chains of Reason units - instruments, effects, pattern sequencers, and then save them as Combi patches. When a Combi patch is opened, all units in the created setup are instantly loaded, complete with sounds, settings and routings. The Combinator can house an unlimited number of Reason devices, which can all be combined, controlled and manipulated in any way. The Combinator's skinnable front panel holds four rotary controls and four buttons that can all be assigned to any function on any device in your combinator chain. The back of the Combinator reveals two connectors: the Combi input jacks that allow you to use your Combinator as an effect unit.Combinator devices are the most commonlty used device for song creation due to the flexibility and also as they are easily 'compacted' for easier viewing and arrangement (visually). Typically each combinator is used as an individual 'instrument' with its own EQ and effects within the unit and accompanied by a 6:2 Mixer and CV Merger/Splitter (see below). this allows greater control of the basic parameters of the patch and allows more manipulation to create the ideal sound without complicated re-routing as the editing is done within the Combinator (pre- combinators output).[24]
  • Spider Audio & CV Merger & Splitter – The Spider Audio utility has two purposes: to merge and to split audio. Spider CV is exactly the same kind of utility as Spider Audio, but here the splitting and merging is performed on CV and gate signals.[25]
  • Matrix Pattern Sequencer – The Matrix is an analog style sequencer with a maximum of 32 steps per pattern and is the part of Reason to use for ReBirth style sequences. The Matrix has 32 patterns and each can be freely sized regardless of what time signature has been chosen in the sequencer. The Resolution selector allows playback of the pattern in a range between 1/2 notes to 1/128th notes. The playback resolution is independent of the sequencer, and the display shows the 32 steps and a little graphic keyboard on the left hand side will tell you what notes are being played. A switch left of the graphical keyboard gives access to 5 octaves within the programming interface. Moving the mouse over the lower part of the display will allow change of velocity levels.[26]
  • RPG-8 Monophonic Arpeggiator – The RPG-8 contains a pattern section for muting selected notes in an arpeggio and a large display showing values and positions, and the 'Single Note Repeat' function engages the arpeggiator only when two or more simultaneous notes are held down. The 'Manual' mode will arpeggiate notes strictly in the order they were input for realtime arpeggio control.[27]
  • ReGroove Mixer – The ReGroove Mixer applies its timing magic non-destructively and in realtime, letting you adjust its settings as your music is playing. You can lock all your tracks together, or you can apply different settings to up to 32 musical elements in your song. Each of the groove channels feature controls for groove amount, slide and shuffle and more detailed settings. The Reason soundbank comes with a selection of groove patches, created from analyzed recordings of real musicians as well as classic groovy tracks.[28]


ReFills compress sounds, settings and instrument configurations into single files, and are the only way of mass importing additional sounds into Reason.

Official ReFills

Propellerhead Software have released the following ReFills for Reason:

See also


  1. ^ Reason 6 - Neptune
  2. ^ Reason 6 - Alligator
  3. ^ Reason 6 - Pulveriser
  4. ^ Reason 6 - The Echo
  5. ^ Reason 5 Live Sampling preview
  6. ^ Reason 5 Dr. Octo Rex preview
  7. ^ Reason 5 Kong Drum Synthesizer preview
  8. ^ Reason 5 Blocks preview
  9. ^ Propellerhead Reason 6
  10. ^ Reason 6 - Pulveriser
  11. ^ Reason 6 - The Echo
  12. ^ Reason 6 - Alligator
  13. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Subtractor". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  14. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Thor Polysonic Synthesizer". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  15. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Malstrom Graintable Synthesizer". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  16. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - NN-19 Digital Sampler". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  17. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - NN-XT Advanced Sampler". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  18. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Dr.REX Loop Player". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  19. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Redrum Drum Computer". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Propellerhead - Reason - MClass Mastering Suite". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  21. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - RV7000 Advanced Reverb". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  22. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Matrix". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  23. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - BV512 Digital Vocoder". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  24. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - The Combinator". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  25. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Spider Audio & Spider CV". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  26. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - Matrix". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  27. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - RPG-8 Arpeggiator". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  28. ^ "Propellerhead - Reason - ReGroove Mixer". Propellerhead. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 

External links

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