Now that ReBirth is stored in the museum and considered as being 100% dead, I started thinking. Sure, I have been thinking about it a lot in the past. ‘What?’, you might ask. Well, the new product of Propellerhead of course!
Like most of you I felt that an audio-recorder in Reason was missing from the beginning. Later I began to understand what Propellerhead had in mind when developing Reason. Although I did understand their arguments, I felt that it would be a mistake if Propellerhead didn’t consider it at least. But no, they did not think a recorder should be added to Reason. So never ever will Reason get an audio-input device, not even something like a simple recorder or a real sampler!
When I bought Reason 1.0 I was working with Nuendo and Cubase. At the time both programs had problems with Rewire2, so while asking Steinberg for updates, there was this huge frustration. Also caused by the other bugs of Nuendo and Cubase. I remember that after a recording session I silenced some of the parts of a vocal-track. The next day when I listened to the track again all I heard was this voice at the beginning of the song and then … nothing! For hours and hours I searched for something in my song which caused this behavior. The answer was found hours later on the Steinberg support-forum; it was a known bug! Both Cubase and Nuendo also crashed on my system from time to time. Sometimes 2 times during a session! Reason on the other hand was rock solid. In the following years I never had trouble with Reason. Even with the beta versions! And I never met anyone who told me Reason crashed on his/her system.
So yeah, I could imagine that if the ‘Props’ developed an audio application it would suit me a lot better than Cubase and Nuendo. Don’t get me wrong: I have used Cubase since it came out for the Atari 1040st, but somehow the way MIDI and audio were implemented never totally felt good to me. All these windows, the VST issues and general instability issues. That was never the case with the Atari midi-only version though.
When Reason 2.0 came out, still no audio input was added. So I decided to buy Sonar XL. Its rewire implementation was limited, only 16 channels could be set up for sending midi to Reason and in general I didn’t like the interface. Serious audio clicks could be heard when I clicked on something or added a new track for example. In Reason you can do all kinds of things while it’s playing your song without producing any sort of glitch. Very annoying that Sonar was not able to do the same thing! I loved using Reason on it’s own, but with either Cubase, Nuendo or Sonar I never had fun. It was clear to me; Reason was developed from a musicians’ point of view and rock, rock solid. So… I was hoping Propellerhead doing an audio application…
I decided to start using Ableton Live. My first Live version was Live 1.5 and yes, it was rocking! I loved being able to record audio in such a simple way. The GUI of Live is 2-D and totally different looking than anything else around. But I really felt it looked great and was easy to use. It was stable too! Ableton was also very much involved in the discussion-board and implemented many future requests which were suggested by their own users. A lot of professionals were active on the Ableton message board. You could see that Ableton would become a big name for music software industry straight away.
Live also has the best Rewire-implementation which is totally flexible. Reason and Live are a great combo. I am still very much in love with the workflow and the look and feel of that program. And also: in Live you do all sorts of things without audio glitching out! Even when using Reason rewired to it. Something the competition never was able to make possible…
Then, in the summer of 2004, Propellerhead asked me to do sound design for Reason 3. I (together with Andras and Eric of ReasonBanks.com) started patching for Reason 3 in October 2004. Propellerhead send us an alpha version of Reason 3. This was the first time I experienced a Reason-version which was able to crash a lot! It was performing so badly, so most sound designers like me, used the 2.5 version for creating the first package containing nothing but Subtractor and Malström patches. But man, it was fun! The first Alpha of Reason had the old file-browser, no mastering devices yet and more things missing. But yeah, it had already the Combinator! The ‘Combi’ was still buggy, but we all understood this was very interesting. At the same time I had a feeling that this was not all the Props had been working on. I never received a hint about this, from the Props themselves that is. I have good contact with the employees of Propellerhead, but they will never reveal anything like this to someone from the ‘outside’.
So for over a year now I have the feeling Propellerhead REALLY is working on something huge. A new application. An audio application, or something with at least audio-input, able to record and edit audio. This application will probably be more inventive than I can imagine. The Props are obviously fans of Live, so they probably won’t simply copy that concept. But one thing is for sure: it will be able to record audio! And it probably will sound great, has a low CPU usage, great effects, very flexible and works superb in a team with Reason 3.5 😉
Maybe I am wrong, maybe Reason will be updated next year (probably, maybe Rewire 3 as well ?). Maybe the Props will reveal Reason 3.5 or Reason 4 next year at the Messe. But I don’t think so! ReCycle 2.1 is the latest version, And ReBirth just died at that age of 2.01! Reason is already 3 versions old. Yeah… time to get ready for ReCord 1.0!
P.S. I was RIGHT!