Guessing Propellerhead’s Plan

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!

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 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 MalstrΓΆm 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 πŸ˜‰

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!


This is absolutely what I have been feeling for the past year.
It might seem funny, but I’m really excited about it! Whatever it is, I cannot wait to see what “Project X2” will be!!!

hehe, and it’s easy to remember a REALLY cool dream I had one night.

Reason itself was able to record audio (of course), but like normal! It was this incredibly inventive combination of audio and MIDI that made the audio, and the audio tracks were controlled by triggers of sorts, yet at the same time fluid.

Maybe that’s why I’m so excited to see what they are going to do…

I am thinking Rewire needs to be upgraded as well. It needs to be able to send audio in and out. Maybe with a simple change in Reason, it can accept audio input, more or less the same as with the ReBirth input-device. That would be great!

Really interesting read. I concur that it would be likely for Propellerhead to bring out a new program that takes on other live input competitors. Especially since they have been hiring extra programmers and the like since early this year (long after Reason 3 was, bugs aside, compleated). Also the recent take over of Steinberg by Yamaha has probably ironed out any loyalty conflict issues that Props may have felt in crossing over into Steinberg’s teritory especially after all their help in launching Props as a company. Secondly there is a deffinate gap in the market with the big DAW guns being owned by companies who are not within the EU. Logic contary to its hype is not selling nearly as well as Apple would like and they are offering these at vastly reduced prices on purchase of new Apple computers. Who knows what plans the Japanese have for Cubase but the onus is deffinately upon the Props to build a package that will steer them into the future. I concur a real DAW would be the perfect feather in their hat but my gut feeling is that it will be the live aspects of Reason that will draw their attention first. Generally and not exclusively nearly all of the development until Ableton Live and later Live Set concentrated on mimicing aspects of the studio environment without really seriously concidering the live performance. This has created a real need for developers to combat the guitar wealding and stage strutting of current major record company favoured bands. A great tool for live gigs coupled with creative and easy to use software is really number one in terms of what to do next for the digital music world.
But as ever I would still want a Reason live input as its simply the best audio tool there is.
Peas and Ham

Marco, I think you’re right about ReWire, it does need to be able to have 2-way audio. That has to be the next version of ReWire, and it would go into the next version of reason naturally. And as chapora says, any pre-existing agreement with Steinberg surely has withered on the vine.

Remember, props say they were “surprised” when Steinberg suddenly extended the VST system to include instruments. VST to VSTi was an obvious step, but I get the feeling that props were counting on making more mileage from ReWire.

BUT – what are the chances that “ReCord” or whatever it will be called, presuming that’s what project X is, will have support for VSTs, AUs….? Or do people think it will stay a closed shop? I can already hear the howls of outrage on the forums if there’s no VST support.

Either way if it has the same ease of use as reason, I will buy project x for sure.

If also have been following what people they have hired the last 2 years: they had to have knowledge of video and image processing (so i guess that will be supported to….). this means it will become a serious competitor on the market… not to mention Cubase / Nuendo.
Just my cent

Can you imagine the flood of new Reason users when people find out the new version can record and resample audio?? It will litterally explode!

Reason 4 –If this does not support Vst’s I imagine even the faithful will drift to other Daw’s like Live,Cubase,Logic. It has to be implemented at some point, but the question is will you buy this next version if they do not implement Vst support.Audio in would be great,but that’s not as revolutionary as Vst support in Reason. I see them going under if they fail to answer the calls of the customers, because at the end of the day, this is who pays the programmers. To bad the company doesn’t reach out to there customers with planned release dates, it’s a bit nerve racking for some. Good luck Propellerheads, till then Live and Nuendo for me!


… wow , nearly a whole year after my last comment and the situation is still the same . How do you think about it ?

Don’t have the slightest clue.

Sure, the Props are able to create something which goes beyond Ableton Live and is even more stable, but I am not sure if they’re interested in this application. I know lots of users want it, and they do listen to their users, but maybe it’s not the majority of their users… if the majority wants these features I am sure the Props will give those users want they want. Any company would do that, right?

Main thing: time. development time. We have to wait and see…

posted on: 04-Sep-2005
today: 09-May-2009

And… 4 years later we finally got it!

“Yeah time to get ready for ReCord 1.0!”

Sure was a nice saying ahead of time πŸ™‚

Right before the NAMM release of 3, I wrote in the prop forum about the new version being an audio recorder, but at the end did a “it was a strange dream” of the Props was quite nasty! saying something about hell freezing over/audio/reason. This coincided with the time I asked the guys at Sonic Foundry about them maybe putting midi into Acid..NO WAY..umm huh.

As I have been using computer software to write unpopular music things since 1985 on a C-64 with Dr T’s software, I thought I knew something , but gee Marco, I guess I didn’t, eh? A stupit blues musician from Chicago wouldn’t know a fucking thing would he? better to be an IT guy from Stockholm who plays “techno”.

The funny thing is that in the last few weeks, as part of seriously studying african claves, I have gone back to using Reason (3.04, never saw a reason (pun) to go to 4) from both Live and simple and rudimentary as the sequencer is, I like it because (as we have talked about before) it’s SIMPLE and quick. I like simple and quick. the ad for ReCord sez..”simple and quick”..hmm.

the only thing I really want, as do a lot of others it seems, is the vst thing so I can use it’s back to a host/rewire bla bla bla..

But I can use it..

the strange thing to me is though..with all the simple, fast get your song recorded etc (and, in the spirit of “there’s too much shitty music in the world already”..if that “singer” in the ad was in my band..he wouldn’t be..)..WHY is there an SSL 790 channel board? I was looking for an 8 channel Tascam..with 2 to the space echo, one to the mutron πŸ˜‰

but if you have sounds in this, I will buy it.

@john: the mixer is bigger than any laptop screen can show. There’s improvement on miniature scrolling, but it is complex. Extremely complex. I know a lot of people who can operate Live but don’t understand Reason.

Btw just got a call… might get a laptop with Ardour on it. Linux, exploring the open world. Me as professional into the open world. Like that. More later I hope…

AHH! The laptop with Ardour and Energy and all those plugs from the company who is doing the “audio” version of Linux on a notebook? THAT one? I was looking at that..trying to figure out..just how I could put it in my bass case when I cross the border into Benelux.

So that’s two little, useful things in 2 weeks! cool.

I signed up for beta on you think buying prop stuff from the 90’s (I still have the original Steinberg boxes/folders..) will get me in line? or..should I just say i am a techno wiener from..umm..scandinavia!!..doin..HOT HOUSE BEATZZ! and you know, lie about it?

I think I’d rather sign on to the linux thing. But, as you can buy that notebook here for $300, and all the software is free (because now EVERYTHING …, etc is free, I was told this!) umm, why would I spend $500?

One major thing which I don’t like about Record: it needs a dongle or a steady internet-connection.

Some people might send me a laptop with Ubuntu Studio on it (they haven’t totally decided on this yet, but they are seriously thinking about it). I forgot the name of the laptop you’re mentioning, I must have that one I think. Please let me know and I forward it to them. Btw I started maintaining a small list here:

I am already running Ubuntu + Ardour on my old Sony laptop. Haven’t run in a problem yet. Major issue with Linux is the audio interface. I can forget about using my Noviation Nio (usb) for example, I think. But I will be pioneering I guess and I love it. Linux feels more like the old analogue world to me because it lacks the shine and fancy looks of modern software.

Must say the new mixer in Record sounds killer, but I can live without it. Nothing is that special, except for my guitars and amps. It’s just software in the end. Which might stop working when your internet-connection is down and you left the dongle at home. Ernst of Propellerhead is aware of this, but he wants to stop piracy. I told he he’s wrong. Have a look at the music industry right now… DRM is out and blew away all those silly bands we never ever needed in the end… let’s get back to the source, make something and have some fun. And we do need money to do so. Via fans.

Ha..The “little lappie” (as opposed to Puck , who is the “little RAAPIE” ;} this:

and I like it , but if all the software is open and free as a bird baby.. then why the $200 premium over a regular $300 one? I will drop them a note..I guess.

So isn’t there a 3rd party interface asio for Linux?..

Dongle dongle dongle..a new way of looking at this? dunna think so.

..even though Victor says music is now free..and that’s because of the long tail, and I said that would mean all software too, no? it’s all zeros and ones..and books, and anything that is digital..which sorta made me wonder about how he got paid for working at Microsoft for 16 years ;)…but Ernst is worried about piracy? gee, so am I Ernst! You should see MY “worried” bank account.I was “sort of” wondering about the people who make the $$ off the software that lets us musicians make music for free..that “allows” us to. Like that guy at Wired who is all free love until you want him to speak at your place than the love is not so free no mo’..etc. I wanted to get Lessigs lectures for free too, dl them, and if I like them, I’ll put something in his tip jar.

Too cynical, sorry. But there is more to this situation than meets the eye.

and I will go over to that list, because the only people I listen to re this “situation” are you, Cz in Polska, and Rolf Steinort at Meet the Gimp! You guys are the “good side”, the good examples of what this is about.

that, and playing music live..

Looks like a great laptop John! 500 bucks.

I forward this to the people involved.

The free thing is tricky indeed. Lots of money offline, less money online. We should start a tour soon John. The huge fahnk machine.

The problem with dongles as revenue generators is they remove the compulsive “must have now” people like me and most other casual purchasers. Most music software people own more software and refills than they need because they browsed something and were in the right mood and wanted it there and then. I buy books the same way in book stores.

I buy software on the internet because I live in a place where most people dont buy software so they dont bother to have stores. When I buy I want it now not to wait two weeks while a USB stick gets stolen in shipping or customs. I always defer those purchases that rely on disks or dongles until I am near a store which means often as not I dont buy.

I dont have the answer to pirated software, i’m not a DRM protestor and i do understand the problem. However the props should look at real buying behaviour of men buying new toys. Play Want Buy Play . The compulsive browser doesnt buy things they have to wait for or they have to authorise.

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