Next version of Reason

Propellerhead Ernst talks about new versions of Reason on his blog. Yes, versions, so a few more updates can be expected for this lovely tool.

I still find new sounds using Reason. For years I have been creating many sounds with the Subtractor, but the last 2 years my focus has shifted to the Malström a little bit more. There are so many interesting sounds you can create with that device. And the Combinator adds a lot of functionality on top of that.

The future looks bright to me 😉


I agree, in fact i’m so satisfied with reason, all i really look forward to is some more sequencer improvements and an arp, anything else is just icing on the cake. So much can be done with the instruments Reason already has, while i feel i have a grasp on them, in reality, i have barely scratched the surface.

“sequencer improvements and an arp” ..amen to that.
also i want the browser to be FASTER FASTER FASTER ,sometimes painfully slow,if i have many aiffs or other stuff in a folder.
and also when i have resized the the browser window it should remember that size next time i open it.

I would LOVE to see a quicker way to select the normal arrow and pensil tools. Reason could be optimised for these kinds of edit tools you need all the time. In ReCycle same issues: you need to select those tools again and again. After hours of editing this means hundreds of mouse clicks extra.

One of the things which is super cool about Cubase: the right-click menu! Reason could really use the same thing.

I agree about the browser, I wish the files display on the left was more context sensitive, I mean when I click on an NNXT I want the left window to change to “my favourite folders for NNXT” and when I click on a subtarctor I want it to go to “my favourite folders for subtractor” and so on.

Theother things I want form reason now that the combinator has arrived are more single feature modules to build modular synths from ocsilators, filters, adsrs, lfos, etc, then I can truly bulid completely new synths in a modular fashion.

From refman page15:
You can also select the Pencil tool momentarily by holding down [Command]
(Mac) or [Alt] (Windows).

It only stays e.g. ‘pencil tool’ when button is held down. As soon as you release the [alt](win) button the previous selection gets active (e.g. the selection arrow).

It would be helpful though to have it stay ‘pencil tool’ so that you don’t have to hold down the [alt] key all the time, maybe that was what you were referring to(?)

And of course, right click could manage a bunch of more functions…

“From refman page15:
You can also select the Pencil tool momentarily by holding down [Command]
(Mac) or [Alt] (Windows).”

Ah silly me…

Thanks a lot for the tip. Me so stupid sometimes…

i would like to access an instrument keyboard directly from the Rack.
Like the way it is done in Absynth, I want a horizontal keyboard right at the bottom of the Malstrom and Subtractor, so that sounds can be played directly.

Also the keyboard lane in the Sequencer window is vertical. WTF is up with that? Give us a horizontal one!


Hmmm. Everyone that I know that works in the industry regards Reason as a toy, not for serious use (unless you’re into crap like house, and even then, it’s only really for the bedroom producer). I’ve yet to hear a decent sounding piece of music come out of Reason. Why do you lot deify it? If you think I’m talking out my arse then feel free to prove me wrong, but it really is a piece of shit. Really really awfull.

I also would like a faster file browser (like in RSN 1.x or 2.x) without all that imo useless Favorite Stuff. Furthermore I’d like more functions in the Combinator, maybe even a script language for complexer Combinator programmings. Last but not least I’d like more Effects (like a Resonator or a Grain Delay) and more Plugs at the backside of the rack. And well maybe some simple Modules like a LFO and well perhaps a few mathematical modules and well.. it should be able to cook and do the washing-up 😉

And also, some real random modulation tool would be great. I use the LFO out from the Maelstrom to modulate anything, but i realize this is not some real random: just modulate anything that can clearly be tracked, and you will realize that this seemingly random modulation actually repeats itself exactly the same way each time you play your song again from the beginning! I kind of laughed when i realized that! Personally, i stopped at v2.5, but the ability to be opened to audio and vst would make me go for the update (v4?).
I bought Reason from the day one it was released (almost by chance), and i still feel very grateful to this program because it taught me so much in beginning my post-Atari-midi-only-hardware-only era. It felt like the Graal at this time!! Great educational tool for understanding many things in the realm of synths and audio!

Hi Paul, you are right about the LFO’s. But with the Combi in version 3 you can create your own random LFO, by merging for example free running LFO’s of Sub and Malstrom together. But a random LFO would be much better.

It would be great if all the objects of Reason’s devices would be available in an updated version so you could build your own device 🙂

I love making my own patches, however I’m not a professional sound designer. So my biggest desire in the next version would be have a massive sound bank. I think the 3.0 is very awesome and just needs to be expanded. I do love working with rex files as well and would love to see a more comprehensive collection of rex files that would amount to Reason’s version of a “Virtual Session Player”. Kinda like Virtual Guitarist or Bassist where you can piece together some “live” sounding parts. I know this can be done now with some of the guitar files, I’m just hoping for an expansion on that as well. My last thing that I’d like to see is more waveforms in the modules or a new module with more waveforms. So basically I’m happy with the functionality of Reason but would desire more content.

OK, since y’all are writing your Reason wish lists, I’ll compile mine too. Just my two cents, but I think it would be worth millions to Propellerhead if they’d implement these features:

– Tempo change automation! I shouldn’t need ProTools running as a master just to do this simple task. This is why there are still people calling Reason a “toy”.

– 2 more knobs and 2 more buttons on the Combinator, or better yet, the ability to build your own custom-sized Combinator, or even better yet, the ability to build devices from scratch. Then we’ll see who can build the most useful devices and may the best developers have their devices included in future versions of Reason. The Propellerheads have done a great job, but they can’t possibly think of everything. The Combinator is close, but not perfect (yet).

– No limit on how many knobs or buttons you can assign per device in a Combi. Ever notice how to the left of the Modulation Routing section of the programmer there’s a dark divider that looks like it could be a scrollbar, but it’s not? It’s like they had the idea of allowing infinite possibilities and then scrapped it. I have had to build many extra devices (especially line mixers) to work around this when pragramming complex patches.

– The ability to delegate specific portions of a Combinator knob to specific assignments. Say you have one knob controlling a Subtractor’s resonance and octaves and you want 12 o’ clock to represent the default position. Let’s say at 12 o’ clock the resonance sounds fine and so does the octave, but go to 9 o’ clock and while the resonance is still cool, the octave is too low. Currently it would be impossible to work around this. If knob ranges could be partitioned and their ranges specified in detail, exclusive FX and complex crossfading (3 way or more) could be controlled with a single knob (like a patern select tool for streams of audio from any kind of device!), or furthermore, knobs could be used as switches, elimitating the need for those. Might need to make a separate “Advanced” tab or something in the Modulation Routing window that leads to a Knob Mapping window or something.

– A simple small crossfader device. Peff’s solution does the job just fine, but who wants to paste and route four devices every time you want to switch between two audio signals?

– An audio phase-inverter. The CV signal has one (on the CV Spider). Wouldn’t it be nice to have one for audio too? It could be used for complex phase-cancelation techniques, or just to fix misc. phasing issues.

– A pitch bend wheel on ReDrum and anywhere else you could possibly want one. Maybe it could be a separate device. Or if assigning each channel’s pitch knob was possible this would be another option, but again, the Combinator’s assignment-per-device limit permits this.

– A mini sequencer window that is a device, where you can paste in patterns directly from your main sequencer and vice versa. This would allow complex envelope automation to be included in Combinators. It would also allow groove to be sequenced or recorded in. The Matrix has it’s limitations and I have bumped up against them repeatedly. Try selecting Rex slices with a note CV…you can’t.

– Make EVERYTHING automatable, especially the sample parameters of the NN-XT. There are some cool stutter effects that could be achieved KaossPad-style if only these were accessible. Is automatable even a word? It should be.

– The Combinator keyboard should be fully assignable. Each key on my MIDI controller should be able to work as it’s own button (or knob if you take into account the key velocity range).

– The Combinator’s wheels should be assignable as well. Drum machine and FX Combis have these two wasted wheels that could’ve been assigned to something and given them purpose in their existence, but this isn’t possible. It’s a lonely situation. And again, with only four knobs and four buttons we could use the extra controls.

– An Analog Channel type effect. It’s said warmth can be added with the tape setting on Scream4, but I haven’t had too much luck getting the sound I want this way.

– A spectral analyser. Sometimes hearing the frequencies isn’t quite enough.

_ A clip notifyer. This could just be an option in the menu to “Check for clipping in signal chain”. Due to the low resolution of the level indicators (some devices like the RV7000 having as little as three increments), it’s hard to tell sometimes whether I’m clipping or not before the signal reaches the mixer’s fader. Currently it can be difficult to get optimal gain structure while avoiding the ceiling.

– A .wav/.aif sample and loop player. I know that Propellerheads will never make this because they are pushing the .rex format. But let’s face it. Rex files do a lot of things really well and there are some things that can only be achieved with .rex files (modifying the Amp Envelop Decay, etc.). But there is beauty in the simplicity of not having to specify where you want to slice until you decide to slice there. I’ve used the primitive Acid 2.0 to create some killer breakbeats because it’s so easy to slice and drag on-the-fly. I can and do achieve similar things with rex loops in Reason by dragging groups of notes, but it’s not as easy or as natural, and I can’t do things like make extremely tight tone-like loops. Ideally, such a wav-style loop player would have effects like reverse, pitch envelope, and timestretch (yes, there are times when a dirty timestretch sounds cooler than clean Rex slices). Another thought is that ReCycle could be built into Reason, allowing us to slice and re-slice on-the-fly.

– Audio tracks for the sequencer window. Have you ever tried to remix a song with lots of vocals in it using Reason? If you have, you know the pain of not having audio tracks in the sequencer. Painstaking chopping of vocals into ReDrum hits or Rex loops…it’s no fun. I know that you’re “supposed” to use ProTools or equivalent software for audio recording and editing, and use Reason as a slave. But wouldn’t it be nice if when you publish a Reason remix of a song it can actually contain the singing?

– Melodyne Uno in Reason! That would be brilliant. But again, I think I’m dreaming.

– Key Velocity randomization. We can randomize notes; that’s great. But I still find myself drawing in key velocity changes when a part needs to sound more dynamic. This is especially frustrating when multiple notes are overlapping.

– The ability to use Reason as a sequencer for external hardware. I read somewhere that this can’t be done and that’s wasted potential because aside from the tempo change issue, Reason’s sequencer works great. Why not hook up your physical gear to it as well?

– VST instrument input capabilities. ‘Nuff said.

– Hammer and LiveSet should probably be licensed by Propellerhead and built right in to Reason. I say “probably” only because I haven’t used them firsthand yet.

OK, I’m getting tired of writing this wish list. Conclusion: Reason is an awesome tool and at the time of this writing it is my first weapon of choice for electronic music composition. But it still doesn’t do everything. I would like it to do everything. So Propellerhead, if you’re reading this, please steal my ideas and make it easier for everybody to make kickass music. 🙂


Damn, I keep thinking of more great features I’d like to see…OK, here they are:

– More keyboard shortcuts! Especially for zooming in and out within the sequencer window. Maybe -+ for one axis and [] for another…and maybe the arrow keys for scrolling.

– The ability to make the sequencer window stop trying to readjust its position when the playback cursor or whatever it’s called (the “P” marker) moves off the screen. Sometimes I’m editing a loop and I want to zoom in, but in order to zoom in I have to readjust the loop length to avoid being jarred away from the place I’m trying to edit. Either that or I need to have really good timing and avoid editing events as the cursor nears the edge of the screen. :/

– An “Invert Envelope” command in the “Change Events” menu. It could be a fun way to get unexpected results.

– An Expand/Collapse arrow within the Matrix to show the full keyboard. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I despise having to navigate one octave at a time.

– The ReBirth devices and their effects, rack-mountable and routable…in Reason. And an option for importing ReBirth songs into Reason.

And one last last thing:
-The ability to leave place-markers and comments within the sequencer window. And on a similar train of thought, a place to leave comments on the rack for use within Combis. This way we can leave a set of instructions for complex Combis as well as leave contact and copyright info in our patches, not just in the ReFill description.


The ideas keep coming…make them stop!


– The ability to store the “captures” you take of the modulation levels within the BV512 Vocoder, maybe save them as part of a patch or something. Also, the ability to shape them manually would be nice.


And yet another idea…

– Have ReFills be at least partially self-containable. I know that you can re-save most patches and re-import them and then self-contain them. However, this doesn’t work with .rex files. If I lose track of the main beat of my song and I can’t find it or maybe I just don’t feel like searching for it again every time I move the Reason Song File to another location, well…that’s it. I really have no other choice. What’s the purpose of the self-contain feature if you’re still having to carefully keep track of your samples at the end of the day?


I’m sorry…they just keep coming.


– One MIDI controller knob, slider, etc. should be able to control more than one parameter at a time. There’s no reason to limit this, however it is limited to one.

Alright, I’m not posting any more ideas for now, even if they are brilliant, because I’m friggin’ starving and I’m getting outta here.

Happy Reasoning.


OK, day 2. I thought of something useful.

Remember how I was saying we ought to be able to see all our frequencies as we compose and mix? It dawned on me that the BV512 Vocoder makes a fine spectrometer if you put it right above your main mixer, dial it to the highest resolution (FFT 512), use a Spider to split your Master Out signal, and send a copy to the Modulator Input. If you want to be extra accurate you can sum the stereo to mono in the Spider and make up for the gain increase with a Line Mixer or for extra precision set up a vocoder for both stereo channels. Though I think one should be enough for most situations. If the frequencies were labeled this would be even better, but it’s a pretty good makeshift solution. Just solo whichever instrument you want to look at on the mixer. I have saved this setup as part of my default “new song” file and plan to keep it as part of my workflow.

If any of you get ideas for solving some of the issues I mentioned yesterday I’d be eager to read ’em. Another thing that occured to me is that there may be some way to phase invert using the PH-90 Phaser. I’m going to play around with this a bit.


I wanted to correct myself on something to spare you the confusion. I had mentioned some of the level meters being small and difficult to get a good gain structure with and I mentioned some were as small as only three increments. It wasn’t the RV7000 I was thinking of. It was the Line Mixer channels. I use a lot of these when designing Combinator patches.
The RV7000 has three increments when it is minimized on the rack, but at it’s full size it has a reasonably sized meter.

Nonetheless, it would be nice to have the option of clicking on the meter of any device to bring up a dialog window with a large, hi-resolution meter.
C’mon Propellerheads, you know you want to add that feature…you wouldn’t have to redesign any of the devices…


My thoughts:

Yes, VST input. More effects, like the Vinyl thing in Cubase. And why the hell isn’t there a multiband compressor in there? I’m sure you can do this with a combinator, three/four compressors and three/four vocoders working as EQs, but this is a REALLY long way around, isn’t it?

Draw your own waveforms for the maelstrom.

A few more devices and it’d save a lot of time in the combinator.

Automation in the NNXT, I still use the NN19 because it’s way easier to browse samples etc.

More standard shortcuts because the keyboard assign thing doesn’t work very well at all with mine, like you have to have a specific window selected for it to work. what’s up with that?

I like reason because it never crashes and i find sequencing very easy, but there are some large gaps in it.

Another that I’m sure would be easy to implement is that whenever you right click to automate a knob on a device that doesn’t already have it’s own sequencer lane that it creates one for you automatically when you right click to automate it.

I’m sure they’ll sort it out the next time round, but until then I’m still going to use Cubase to handle all of my effects; sound shaping/sculpting in reason still has a long way to go, and I’m sure everyone’s desired effects could be created with a few new killer effects devices. Like imagine if the delay device was an automatic multi-channel delay device? Like a subtractor you assign delay 2 to be on or off with a little button, so instead of having to route up two delays and automate them seperately you could all just do it with one device and with one sequencer lane.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.