Review of Reason 3.0
A great tool gets better
I was in no hurry to
upgrade to Reason 3.0 from 2.5. I didn't think it was that big of an
upgrade after reading the initial sales information. After all, there
was still no audio recording facility, perhaps the one feature that Reason
still lacks compared to the competition. Competition? Yes, Reason
does have competition in the form of Cakewalk's Project 5 and perhaps
Ableton's Live. But both of those are primarily audio recorders with
VSTi synths tossed in the mix. Reason remains what it always has been, a
collection of synths and samplers.
Instead of giving us audio recording, which
would have perhaps watered down Reason's impact as a purely instrumental
device, the Propellerheads gave us sonic improvements in Reason 3.0.
I'll cut to the quick. Reason 3.0 sounds better than 2.5, and not by a
minor degree. Its a huge difference, like pulling cotton balls out of
This difference seems to be due to two
main factors. Better sounds and Mastering processors.
First, the presets in Reason 3.0 have
been overhauled and now there are many huge acoustic instrument samples for
the NNXT sampler. Its now a very complete sample playback synth in
itself and it sounds quite nice, the kind of quality one expects out of a high
priced sample library. To aid in the construction of larger sounds, we
now have a device called the Combinator. The Combinator,
as the name implies, allows you to layer a number of reason instruments and
effects into a single patch. Its quite similar to the process you'd use
to make a "combi" on a hardware synth like a Triton. The result is
bigger, phatter patches that require less treatment in Reason's 14 channel
mixer. This was a great addition. It keeps with the idea that
Reason is basically a tweaker's tool, for building powerful, now
The second area of major improvement is in
the new MClass Mastering Suite. The suite consists of 4
processors, an EQ, Imager, Compressor and Maximizer. These not only can
be inserted on the master outs, the typical place for mastering processors,
but can be placed anywhere in Reason, including inside the Combinator.
Being familiar with Waves and the UAD processors, I had no trouble working
with the MClass Suite. They all worked as I expected and improvement in
Reason's output was easy to achieve. I was impressed by the "soft clip"
feature on the Maximizer as it was particularly good sounding. The
Maximizer, combined with the Scream 4 Sound Destruction Unit, makes
some tasteful vintage sounding audio. There's Scream presets for warm
saturation and drum processing that have pure sonic character that i can't
achieve in any of my other plugin collections. Again we see the
Propellerheads keep the focus on pure tweaking, adding strength to its overall
There's other minor improvements to 3.0.
The patch browser is improved and its easier to find things.
There is now control surface support as well. Reason instantly
saw my Mackie Control and automatically configured it. Works great!
I noticed considerable improvement as a Rewire application in Logic 7.2.
Reason loaded fast and correctly in Logic and there was no noticeable latency
in Logic's "live" Rewire mode. As a Logic user, I am quite pleased as
Reason's synths will add some nice colors to Logic's impressive arsenal.
In the balance, i am glad they did not add
audio recording to Reason 3.0. Instead, their thinking is clear:
Make a great piece better by building on its strengths. Reason's
strength is that it is an awesome tweak machine, able to build sound from
scratch into a musical masterpiece. Now it is even more true to itself.
A worthy upgrade.
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Logic Studio 8
Review of Sonar
Review of Reason
Reason (1st review)
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Logic Pro 6
Logic Platinum 6
Logic Platinum 5
Early History of Logic
Mac vs PC for Music?
Cubase SX (original)
Using a Mac Pro as your DAW
Using Notebooks as your DAW
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Custom Bank Select Methods in Logic
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