REVIEWED: PROPELLERHEAD REASON 9.5

Innovative Music Australia | innovativemusic.com.au | Expect To Pay: $699

Propellerhead Software has just released the long-awaited Reason 9.5, which finally introduces VST support, opening Reason up to even more users and plugins than ever before. It’s a free update to existing Reason 9 users too, so if you already have Reason you’ve just greatly expanded your creative options. ”We’ve seen some amazing VST instruments and effects that are available in the market, and we simply wanted our Reason users to have access to them without compromising Reason’s unique workflow,” Reason product manager Mattias Häggström Gerdt says. “Reason finds all the VSTs on your computer and displays them next to your other Reason devices. You can simply drag and drop a VST plugin into the Reason rack and get started right away—or you can go as deep as you want and access the CV and audio connections for a truly modular music-making experience.”

I’m sure we all know Reason by now: it’s basically the industry standard music creation software, especially popular among EDM, but capable of finding a place within all sorts of genres. It’s intuitive and functional, and lets you do all sorts of fun tricks with samples, loops, sequences, sound generation and sound processing - but now with VST it becomes even more flexible. As Gerdit says, you can drag and drop your existing VST plugins from the browser, use CV and audio connections, play in new ways with Players, put VSTs in combinators with Reason’s own devices or rack extensions, and route audio any way you want. And there’s even a new plugin delay compensation feature that keeps you in phase at all times.

 

That’s not all you’ll find in Reason 9.5 though, so if you’ve been waiting for VST support before upgrading, now is the time. There are 1,000 new patches from professional sound designers, the aforementioned Player Devices which include scales & chords, note echo and dual arpeggio modes, and a new pitch edit feature that lets you really take control of your music even if you hit a clanger.

 

Reason 9.5 supports any VST 2.4-compliant instrument or effect plugin, which means just about every VST out there will work in Reason. That’s in addition to the 375+ rack extension instruments and effects from over 90 different manufacturers which are already available, and Propellerhead goes to great pains to point out that they have absolutely no intention of messing with the beloved rack extension format now that Reason is VST-capable. So you can still get all sorts of great Rack Extension toys in the Propellerhead Shop alongside a custom-curated list of VSTs from leading VST plugin brands including Waves, Output, KV331 and iZotope.

 

As for Reason itself, there’s the Thor Polysonic Synthesizer, Malström Graintable Synthesizer and Subtractor Analog Synthesizer for world-class sound generation, the Kong Drum Designer, Redrum Drum Computer (like an 80s drum machine) and Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player for getting your beat down. It also has three samples: the deep-dive of NN-XT Advanced Sampler, the more streamlined NN-19 Sampler, and the ID-8 Instrument Device, which gives you quick access to your most used instruments. Combine, layer and mix instruments and effects in Combinator, and create rhythmic textures with the RPG-8 monophonic arpeggiator. Basically everything you need to create a full musical experience within the box is right there, and that’s before you add the incredible processing power of VST instruments and rack extension. Think of Reason as the electronic equivalent of a Gibson Les Paul or an SM57: it’s an industry standard that everyone needs in their arsenal.

 

Hits and Misses

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Finally supports VST plugins

Huge array of patches

Free to those who already have Reason 9

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