Propellerheads: New Features In Reason 7
Over the last few years, Propellerheads Reason has changed dramatically. It’s rate of continual expansion from version 5 moving forward has brought an abundance of exciting features inside the beloved Reason ‘Rack’. We have outstanding beat-making instruments like the Kong Drum Designer and the Dr.OctoRex, audio sampling and editing, new pro-grade mixing tools with the inclusion of the highly acclaimed SSL 9000K modeled mixer, as well as, support for third-party instruments and effects via Propellerheads RE (Rack Extension) technology, and unlimited audio tracks with recording capability too.
The new enhancements in the world’s most favourite music software – Reason 7, focus mainly on the ‘Rack’, with key mixing tools added to every Rack device and a very useful Spectrum Analyzer available on all mixer channels in the Rack and in the Mixer. There is support to hook up, control and record external MIDI instruments direct into Reason’s ‘Arrange’ view and a funky new Propellerhead effect, complete with Propellerhead eye candy, in the form of the – Audiomatic Retro Transformer. The Reason 7 mixer facilitates Output Busses for sub-mixing instrument groups and Parallel Busses for creating multiple layers of the in vogue ‘New York’ effect. In addition, the Reason 7 sequencer now provides inline audio editing tools for slicing audio and converting them to Rex files with the option to export in Rex file format if needed.
The External MIDI Instrument: This simple new device for Reason 7 lets you play and record external MIDI hardware or software instruments within the Reason environment. It will work with any MIDI instruments that are hooked up to a MIDI interface on your computer, and you can also record those instruments in Reason if their audio outputs are connected to audio inputs of your audio interface.
With an external instrument connected, you can select it in the External MIDI Instrument’s drop-down list next to its display. Any MIDI ports available to Reason will appear in the display. Then set the MIDI channel that your external MIDI device is set to receive on, select the External MIDI Instrument track in the Reason sequencer, and you’ll be able to play the external MIDI device from your Master Keyboard. The External MIDI Instrument can send and automate MIDI program changes, record MIDI CC automation and control the pitch bend, mod wheel, keyboard velocity and aftertouch of external MIDI devices.
Audio editing in the Sequencer: Reason 7 features an updated comp editor and new inline audio editing features in which audio clips are automatically sliced into single notes or hits, to be quantized, time stretched, or otherwise tweaked. In Reason 7, you can bounce those clips to REX files and load them in Reason’s Dr.OctoRex or samplers. A simple double-click on an audio clip in the sequencer’s ‘Arrange’ window will open the inline editing view with sliced audio. There are different algorithms available in the Track List to the left where you select the Stretch and Transpose type—“Allround” for polyphonic material, “Melody” for monophonic instruments, or “Vocal,” where formants are preserved:
You can manually select and move a single or multiple Slice Markers to adjust the timing of the audio. Another option is to quantize Slice Markers. Select a range of Slice Markers, and in the Tool Window, set a quantize Value, Amount and Random value and then click Apply. When your clip is timed exactly how you want it, you can bounce it to a REX loop by right-clicking on the clip and select “Bounce > Bounce Clip to REX Loop from the context menu. The bounced REX file ends up in the “All Self-contained Samples” folder on the Song samples tab in the Tool Window and is named after the original clip name. Choosing the ‘Send To Rack’ option in the Tool Window will automatically load the new Rex file into an instance of a Dr.OctoRex ready for tweaking.
Comp Editor: The updated Comp Editor includes lane solo buttons to isolate different takes when judging which pieces sound best. A new ‘Bounce’ at the top of the editor bounces your finished comped audio to a new audio lane, creating a single audio file that you will need if you want to use the sliced audio time stretching and quantizing features.
Mixing improvements: To keep Reason users focused on music rather than jumping around sections of the program, Reason 7 puts the most important mixing controls in the Rack. Audio Track devices and Mix Channel devices for instruments now appear in the Rack, with slider controls for level, rotaries for pan, and buttons for mute, solo, etc. The mixer also adds powerful Output Bus channels for creating sub-mixing groups and parallel channels,which open up some flexible processing options.
Output Busses: Create groups of mixer channels for sub-mixing. This can be useful for pre-mixing a multi-mic’ed drum kit or horn section, treat a group of related tracks with similar processing, or even creating groups of mixer groups to be processed together. [Shift]-select a group of mixer tracks, right-click for the context menu, and then select “Route to > New Output Bus”. You will now have an Output Bus channel on the mixer, which you can re-name by double-clicking on the name in the mixer. You can add additional tracks to the Output Bus by clicking the Output menu for a mixer channel and selecting the Output Bus you want to assign it to.
Output Busses have Mix Channel devices in the Rack, and you can record their output to an audio track in Reason’s sequencer. First select the Output Bus as a Rec Source in its Mix Channel device, create a new audio track, then, in the new audio track’s Mix Channel device, select the Output Bus as the Audio Input from the menu.
Parallel Channels: A very flexible way of working with insert effects is to use parallel channels that host the effects, while keeping the dry signal of the source channel intact. This way you can freely control the levels of the dry signal and the separate effects – and also control the sound of each effect individually from each of the parallel channels. You could, for example, have one parallel channel with a compressed distortion effect, another parallel channel with a Delay, and so on. Then, you can freely EQ the effects in each of the parallel channels, as well as control their levels individually from each fader. “New York-style” parallel compression and other parallel tricks are popular with many top modern mix engineers. Create a parallel channel by selecting a source mixer channel, right-clicking for the context menu, and selecting “Create Parallel Channel.” You can even create a parallel channel for an Output Bus, for parallel processing the entire Bus signal.
Spectrum Analyzer window: Reason 7 adds a built-in spectrum analyzer window for controlling the renowned mixer’s EQ. With any mixer channel or bus, sequencer track, or Rack device selected, simply hit F2 to bring up the Spectrum EQ window. You can also click the Spectrum EQ button on Rack devices. This window includes a spectrum analyzer with a graphic EQ overlay for instant visual feedback and control. Here you can easily click-and-drag an EQ point, a low-pass filter, high-pass filter, and bell curves which will update the Reason Mixer in real-time. A drop down menu within the Spectrum Analyzer’s window lets you jump from and to, any track in the Reason song and control its EQ. The Spectrum EQ window is a great way to get results fast, so you can focus on making music, rather than navigating around the software.
Audiomatic Retro Transformer:
Combining simplicity with vintage cool, the new Audiomatic Retro Transformer could be the Instagram filter of audio effects. Anytime you want to hear what a track, mixer group, or whole mix would sound like with a little patina of retro vibe, Audiomatic Retro Transformer gives you instant results. Simply drop it into the Rack, and click around on the grid of 16 presets. You can quickly give your audio the sound of vintage recording media, make it sound like its playing from blown circuitry, confine it to the inside of a PVC pipe, or lend it a retro sci-fi/horror feel with the “Eerie” setting. Simple Transform and Dry/Wet controls are all you need to dial in the results. Designed as the perfect effect to add to a group or parallel channel, Audiomatic Retro Transformer is lots of fun, but also highly effective
Sounds Galore: Reason 7’s expanded Factory Sound Bank weighs in at over 2 GB of effects and instrument patches for all of Reason’s devices, Combinator patches, amp tones, drum kits, instrument and percussion loops, and other samples. Part of the new expansion includes a huge, heart-pounding selection of drum kits and loops for all modern styles like dubstep, electro house, and even metal. The Factory Sound Bank and Orkester Sound Bank cover the full spectrum of acoustic, electric, synthetic, orchestral and world instruments so that you can immediately start producing the music of your choice.
The changes made in Propellerheads Reason from version 5 through version 7 have to be the most significant upgrades to the software in its development history. What we experience in Reason 7′s workflow is the total integration of what was formerly: Reason, Record and Recycle into one colossus of a DAW. Add to this, the ability to control external MIDI hardware, the superb Output & Parallel Busses in the SSL mixer, the Mixer Channel upgrades, the included Spectrum Analyzer, upgrades to the Audio Comp Lanes plus the benefit of Rack Extensions and you have a powerhouse music-making software which simply explodes with creative possibility.
Brought to you courtesy of Soundwrx Digital