Spectrasonics: Propellerheads Reason 1.0 review

About Reason 1.0: «"Is Reason still as jaw-droppingly cool as it first seemed when it was introduced almost a year ago at Winter NAMM 2000?"

The Answer: Your jaw is about to come completely off!

I'll even go as far to say that Reason is as much of a milestone event in the development of electronic music as the ADAT and the VS-880 were for personal recording.»

Eheheh ^^

About the Subtractor: «This is a great synth in the analog modeling mode. It has a clear character that is a bit Nord-like, but it is actually much more versatile. It is also slightly reminiscent of the Roland Jupiters, Junos and SH series. It isn't as beefy or aggressive as the Moog or Virus sound, but it still works well for Basses and Leads. [...] Subtractor has a couple of trick little things that dramatically increase its sound creation possibilities. One is a huge array of waveforms that go far beyond the standard analog waves, deep into PPG territory and beyond. It even does some very convincing DX-like FM synth colors. Another innovation is that the phase of each Oscillator can be modulated. This doesn't seem that sexy until you hear it. It's like having PWM on steroids for every wave! Very interesting possibilities are there for combining this with Ring Mod and FM techniques.» =D

About the Reason 1.0 Effects: «The reverb, delay, distortion, chorus/flanger, phaser, envelope filter and compressor units are ALL as good or better than any Pro Tools or VST/Logic plugs I've used! They are simply excellent and highly musical sounding. [...]. Reason's FX units are of course much more powerful than any of the standard plug-in FX, simply because they can be quickly patched in a myriad of clever ways that haven't been possible before.»

To put in perspective, all this relates to what was available in 2001 ;)

About the Matrix: «This is a terrific software version of the old Moog/Arp modular analog step sequencers that put Giorgio Moroder, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk on the map. It can be used for many applications including modulating parameters in numerous Reason modules too.» =)

About the NN-19 Sample player: «This is the weakest and most disappointing of all the devices in Reason for a couple of key points:

1. No Velocity Switching at all. (ouch!....forget about any realistic instrument sounds...even the old Akai S-900 and the Roland Sound Canvas have velocity switching!)

2. Reason's sampler doesn't read any of the industry-standard sound library formats like Akai or Roland. For right now, it's just garden variety basic AIFF and Wave support.

3. Nothing too inspiring in the factory sample-set. The included sample library is serviceable, and nothing is blatantly bad sounding, but it's not too exciting either.....(admittedly, we're pretty biased and picky about sampled sounds since that's our business!)

4. Auto-mapping of samples is not as good as in EXS24, GIGA or Unity. The Octave shift parameter is also implemented incorrectly (Reason shifts the map's tuning instead of the MIDI Transposition) and coarse tuning is only adjustable in positive values.....weird...

So basically, this is a sampler for a Techno guy, not for a Composer-type guy. It's fine for loops and phrases and some very basic instrument sounds. But contrary to the claims made at the 2000 Winter NAMM demo, Reason's sampler is not even close to a replacement for something like Unity, EXS24, Gigastudio or a pro-level hardware sampler.....at least that's the case in version 1.0 of Reason.

In fairness, there are some very good points, too. The Legato and Portamento modes work perfectly (exactly like the Roland XV-5080), the multimode filters sound excellent, the Spread panning feature is very useful and like all of the Reason devices, the sampler is extremely easy to use.

Unfortunately, this is the only area where it seems that a poor tradeoff was made towards user-friendliness INSTEAD of power features that are absolutely necessary for developing and using high-quality sampled sounds. Sadly, you currently can't use any of our Spectrasonics CD-ROMs with it :-(» :>

Now I'm curious to see a review of NN-XT made by the same person ;P

And now for the traditional VST complain: «[...] It's a shame that the Propheads didn't use the well-accepted and easy to use VST 2.0 standard in addition to Rewire. It would sure make life easier now with all of the OMS headaches on the newer Macs. [...] None of the LFOs will sync to clock. This is an odd omission considering that this feature is always requested by technoheads and the Props are gods in technoland. Hopefully this can be updated as it would open up a lot of cool possibilities. (BTW, this is another great feature of the Emagic EXS24 sampler)»

Again, I would love to see a Reason 4 or at least a Thor review from the same person who wrote this in 2001, to see how the 2009 context would play with the comparisons with what's available now, both in software and in hardware :)

[BLOK] modular synthesis environment


Tom's Hardware: Performance Charts: 2009 Desktop CPU Charts

Intel® Core™ i7-900 Desktop Processor Series

Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart

Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart
GTX 295

HD 4870 X2
GTX 280, GTX 285HD 4850 X2
9800 GX2, GTX 260, GTX 275HD 4870, HD 4890
8800 Ultra, 9800 GTX, 9800 GTX+,
GTS 250
HD 3870 X2, HD 4850
8800 GTX, 8800 GTS 512 MB, 280M
HD 4770

8800 GT 512 MB, 9800 GT, 260M (112)HD 4830
8800 GTS 640 MB, 9600 GTHD 2900 XT, HD 3870
8800 GS, 9600 GSO, 260M (96)HD 3850 512 MB, Mobility 3870, HD 4670
8800 GT 256 MB, 8800 GTS 320 MB, GO 8800MHD 2900 PRO, HD 3850 256 MB, Mobility 3850
7950 GX2X1950 XTX, HD 4650 (DDR3)
7800 GTX 512, 7900 GTO, 7900 GTXX1900 XT, X1950 XT, X1900 XTX
7800 GTX, 7900 GT, 7950 GTX1800 XT, X1900 AIW, X1900 GT, X1950 PRO, HD 2900 GT
7800 GT, 7900 GS, Go 7950 GTX, 8600 GTS, 9500 GT (GDDR3)X1800 XL, X1950 GT, Mobility X1800 XT, HD 4650 (DDR2)
6800 Ultra, 7600 GT, 7800 GS, Go 7800 GTX, Go 7900 GTX, 8600 GT (GDDR3), 9500 GT (DDR2)X800 XT (& PE), X850 XT (& PE), X1650 XT, X1800 GTO, Mobility X1900, HD 2600 XT, HD 3650 (DDR3), HD 3670, Mobility 3670
6800 GT, 6800 GS (PCIe), Go 7800, Go 7900 GS, 8600 GT (DDR2)X800 XL, X800 GTO2/GTO16, Mobility X800 XT, HD 2600 PRO, Mobility HD 2600 XT, HD 3650 (DDR2), Mobility 3650
6800 GS (AGP), Go 6800 Ultra, Go 7600 GT, 8600M GT, 8700M GTX800 GTO 256 MB, X800 PRO, X850 PRO, X1650 GT, Mobility HD 2600
6800, Go 6800, 7300 GT GDDR3, 7600 GS, Go 7700, 8600M GSX800, X800 GTO 128 MB, X1600 XT, X1650 PRO, Mobility X1800
6600 GT, 6800LE, 6800 XT, 7300 GT (DDR2), Go 7600 (128-bit), 8500 GT, 9400 GT9800 XT, X700 PRO, X800 GT, X800 SE, Mobility X800, X1300 XT, X1600 PRO, HD 2400 XT, HD 3300, Mobility 3470, HD 4350, HD 4550
FX 5900, FX 5900 Ultra, FX 5950 Ultra, 6600 (128-bit), Go 6800 (128-bit)9700, 9700 PRO, 9800, 9800 PRO, X700, X1300 PRO, Mobility X1450, X1550, Mobility X1600, Mobility X1700, HD 2400 PRO, Mobility HD 2400 XT, Mobility X2500, HD 3200, Mobility 3450
FX 5800 Ultra, FX 5900 XT, Go 6600, Go 7600 (64-bit)
9500 PRO, 9600 XT, Mobility 9800, 9800 PRO (128-bit), X600 XT, Mobility X700, X1050 (128-bit), Mobility X1350, Mobility X1400, Mobility X2300, Mobility HD 2400
4 Ti 4600, 4 Ti 4800, FX 5700 Ultra, 6200, 8300, 8400 GS9600 PRO, Mobility 9700 (128-bit), 9800 LE, X600 PRO, Mobility X600, Mobility X1300, Xpress 1250, Mobility HD 2300
4 Ti4200, 4 Ti4400, 4 Ti4800 SE, FX 5600 Ultra, FX 5700, 6600 (64-bit), 7300 GS, 8400M GS, 9300M G, 9300M GS9500, 9550, 9600, Mobility 9600, X300, X1050 (64-bit)
3 Ti500, FX 5200 Ultra, FX 5600, FX 5700 LE, Go 5700, 6200 TC, 6600 LE, 7200 GS, 7300 LE, 8200M, 9200M GS, 9100M8500, 9100, 9000 PRO, 9600 LE, Mobility 9700 (64-bit), X300 SE, X1150GMA X4500
3, 3 Ti200, FX 5200 (128-bit), FX 5500, Go 5600, Go 6200, Go 6400, Go 7200, Go 7300, Go 7400 (64-bit)9000, 9200, 9250, Mobility 9600 (64-bit), Mobility X300
FX 5200 (64 bit), 6100, 6150, Go 7200, Go 7400 (32-bit)9200 SE, Xpress 200M, Xpress 1000, Xpress 1150GMA X3000, X3100, X3500
2 GTS, 4 MX 440, 2 Ultra, 2 Ti, 2 Ti 2007500GMA 3000, 3100
256, 2 MX 200, 4 MX 420, 2 MX 400SDR, LE, DDR, 7000, 7200GMA 500, 900, 950
Nvidia TNTRage 128Intel 740