MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2012

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 104 of 115

REVIEW REASON 6 FROM PROPELLERHEAD WORDS BY TREY YANCY When Reason first appeared back in 2000 it was extremely impressive. Freed from heavy, cramped racks of physical gear, untraceable thickets of snarled patch cords and hours wasted in reconfiguring devices, an electronic musician could finally focus on creativity. By employing a beautifully realistic virtual rack with all the advantages of the real thing and none of the disadvantages, Reason makes it easy to design a signal flow that is extraordinarily sophisticated yet easy to manage. Reason supports unlimited tracks and provides a complete spectrum of synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, loopers, effects processors, mixers, and routers, and you can create as many duplicates as you need to get the job done, as well as dropping them into Combinators to create massive instruments within a single rack device. It also has excellent support for audio recording with unlimited tracks and such features as comp editing for easily recording, auditioning and selecting from multiple takes. Further, the whole package can be synched with other audio packages for truly massive productions. New in Reason 6 New additions include the Neptune pitch corrector / voice synth / harmonizer, Line 6 modeled guitar and bass amplifiers, and the ID-8 instrument module, which provides a set of keyboards, strings, brass, guitars, and drums and which serves as the default for imported MIDI files. FX processors include the Pulverizer (for gritty distortion, filtering, modulation and compression), the Alligator (a three channeled, pattern based gate), and the Echo (Roland-style stereo delay). Reason 6 can also export your projects to other DAWs as audio projects with channels intact, with or without effects. The sound banks have also been beefed up with thousands of new patches and loops for Reason's instruments and devices. Hands-On It is easy for a beginner to get up and running. Drop a mixer into the rack, then drag in devices that automatically create tracks and patch themselves into chains. Select a device, load a bank of patches and make music. The tab key flips the rack and reveals the patch cables. To make a new connection, simply click on a jack and drag to the destination. You can hide the cables if you wish, relying on tool tips to identify the connections. This is an extremely versatile system, making all sorts of routing possible. Most controls can also be linked to hardware controllers and, if you have a MIDI interface, you can link the whole enchilada to outboard hardware instruments. Reason combines the ease of use of a Chinese menu with the voluminous character set of the Chinese alphabet. Beginners can get started laying down tracks immediately while advanced users can build massive tapestries that could take a graduate degree to create. At the high end, when considering the virtually limitless number of instruments, patch points and controls, things can become very complex, but thankfully the learning curve is not a series of terraces, but a fairly even slope that gets steeper the further you go but begins to level off once you develop a firm grasp of how things work. While point-and-shoot is there for newbies, once you learn the principles of synthesis and signal flow, just about anything is possible. As with other things, your mastery depends on your needs and the amount of time you are willing to spend. With Reason 6, the ceiling is pretty darned high. One of the few things you cannot do is build an instrument from raw components, but the range and quality of the available instruments makes this moot. After spending time with Reason it is easy to find a balance of capability and comfort. There are a huge number of online training videos, which makes it easy to expand ones expertise in both tools and theory. A huge and constantly growing library of patches, loops, samples and the like is available and you are free to build your own libraries of patches and configurations. Conclusions Reason is among the best DAWs on the market, with an interface and level of sophistication that is to be envied. While it may not be as inviting to beginners as the average consumer-oriented app, it is very easy to get started and it leaves most of the pro competition in the dust. While the full version of Reason ($449) covers a huge amount of ground, the slightly less capable Reason Essentials ($299) is also available. Product Reason 6 From Propellerhead Software Price $449 / Upgrade $169 Pros Massively capable, brilliant interface Cons No surround capabilities Rating HHHHH MacDirectory 103

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