A Beginner’s Guide to Selecting a DAW – Part 5 – A Look at Reason

reason logoNext in this series we will take a look at Propellerhead Software’s Reason. Let’s start by asking some of the questions we have covered in the earlier parts of this series.  Don’t let the No answers fool you, Reason has a specific reason for its uniqueness, and a power that can’t be matched by any other DAW.

Does it Record Audio?

NoReason does not record audio but it will work with audio samples within it’s NN-19 Digital Sampler and NN-XT Advanced Sampler.  However, Reason will work directly with Propellerhead’s counterpart to Reason called Record.  More on Record later.

Does it Have Timing Correction?

NoBecause Reason does not work with audio directly, timing correction in not applicable.  However, since Reason does work completely inside the realm of MIDI, it does quantize, giving timing correction to any MIDI parts you have recorded and wish to “fix”.

Can it Comp my Takes?

NoAgain, since Reason does not work with audio directly, the comping of takes is not applicable.  Reason only works with audio within it’s samplers.

Does it Come with Virtual Instruments?

YesNow we come to the part that makes Reason shine.  Reason IS the virtual instrument.  The entire program is based on MIDI instruments that you can play or program, sequence, and, when finished, mix and master to a final track.

Reason has some of the most advanced virtual instruments available today built within it’s structure, including the Thor Polysonic Synthesizer.  To some, Thor is the be all and end all of soft synths (a virtual instrument synthesizer) because of it’s control over modulation.

Does it Allow 3rd Party Virtual Instruments?

NoAlthough Reason is solely a soft synth workstation, aside form being able to work with pre existing samples within its samplers, it does not allow for 3rd party virtual instruments.

Some might see this as a drawback, but I can offer a personal note on this subject.

Because Propellerhead has chosen to keep Reason completely self contained, the stability of Reason is without question the most rock solid environment I have ever worked in, and because of this, has been my choice in the past for backdrops to live eclectic rock.  Reason has never once crashed on me.  Knock on wood.  (Albeit virtual wood).

Does it Work with Various Hardware Interfaces?


reason rack

You can safely outgrow your hardware interface and Reason will work with your new compatible upgrades.  However, keep in mind that Reason is output only, and inputs are not applicable to your hardware choices, since Reason does not record audio.  With that in mind, a hardware interface is actually not even necessary, as you can cut an entire album on your laptop using your headphones or laptop speakers.

Is Reason in my Budget?

Pricing for Reason as a stand alone DAW is $349.00 U.S, however, Propellerhead does offer new package pricing when bundled with Record at $449 U.S.  More on Record later.

What sets this DAW apart form the others?

3 Words.  Reason Drum Kits.  By far the number one reason (no pun intended) any solo artist that isn’t into electronic music should own reason anyway.  The amount of control you have over your drum sounds, including overhead mics AND room ambience is outstanding.  The drum sounds themselves are outstanding, and finding it’s match for realism anywhere on the market would be a chore.

3 more words.  Reason Electric Bass.  Propellerhead didn’t just stop at the most advanced “drummer” out there, they did a repeat of virtual achievement with their Reason Electric Bass Refill as well.

1 more word.  Refills.  There is a whole community of Reason owners out there that are continuously creating new and exciting instruments and sounds to use within reason in the form of “Refills”, allowing you to expand your sonic toolbox within Reason.

1 last word.  Record.  Reason can now be coupled with Propellerhead’s Record, their new DAW which does record audio.  We will take a look at Record in the future, and allow you to weigh the pros and cons of that DAW as well, but for the solo artist who finds Record unattractive, Reason is best used when ReWired to another DAW like Pro Tools, Logic, or Ableton Live.

Check out this video on how to ReWire Reason to Pro Tools.

What is your take on the limitations and power of Reason?  Post your comments below.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gideon-Waxfarb/100002251671344 Gideon Waxfarb

    Since this article was posted, Record has been integrated into reason, so it now records audio. Version 7 (not released yet as of this writing) will also have MIDI out.

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