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REVIEW REASON 6.5 WORDS BY TREY YANCY upgrade at no charge. There are a number of companies already on board with Rack Extensions, including such names as G-Force and Korg, and we can look forward to some very interesting developments in the coming months. Reason has been around a good while and, as with any mature app, the authors have a tendency to become more inventive as time goes by. This is evident with Reason 6.5, which may not be a major upgrade but what it offers is a portent of great things to come. This centers on the introduction of the innovative concept of Rack Extensions. As we know, Reason comes with a huge number of devices, but there is always room for more. Rather than limiting the development of these devices to their own in-house wizards, Propellerhead has created a vehicle by which qualified third- party developers (that is, developers affiliated with a qualified business) can sign on to create Reason devices of their own. These devices are full citizens of the Reason Rack and, while they can differ widely in their features and functions, they drop in to the rack the same as a native device. What's more, they are available on a try-and-buy download basis. As with other Reason devices, you can patch the daylights out of them via virtual cables, automate all parameters, drop them into Combinators and more. Rack Extensions are included with Reason 6.5 and Reason Essentials 1.5 and owners of Reason 6 or Reason Essentials can To kick things off with Rack Extensions, Reason 6.5 introduces three devices of their own: the Polar pitch shifter and harmonizer, the Pulsar dual channel LFO, and the Radical Piano. Polar The Polar pitch shifter is great for widening a mix, for adding harmonics and for creating harmonies. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were not able to spend much time with this device, although we did note (whether it makes any difference or not) that there did not appear to be a control for inputting a key signature. The unit provides a pair of shifter channels and includes ADSR, feedback, delay, auto pan, and resonance, among others. Pulsar While nominally a LFO, the Pulsar is a dual channel modulation device with both channels providing phase, shuffle and lag as well as tempo sync. The effect can be triggered by LFO or externally and incorporates a basic attack / release envelope. When set to a high rate, the Pulsar can even serve as a synthesizer (Ever sing through a spinning table fan? It can sound pretty good when the fan offers this kind of control.). Radical Piano Radical Piano is the big fella in this group. It is a dedicated piano device that offers a group of three sampled pianos and the tools to create a huge range of custom pianos of your own. The pianos include a "home grand" Bechstein grand that, as with many home pianos is marginally out of tune. There is also a "deluxe grand" Steinway Model D that has all the richness and color of a concert piano that has been rolled across the stage a time or two since the last tuning – perfectly in tune, yet with the almost undetectable phasing that really fills the hall. The third is a Futura upright studio piano The samples were recorded using a combination of nine microphones in five arrangements: vintage mono, ambience, floor, jazz, and in specific combinations of mic models and orientations that vary according to the type of piano. You can blend these mics any way you want and save the results as a patch. In addition to the instruments and mics, you can further shape the sound via controls for resonance, ambience, and drift (the slight change in pitch as the string tension lessens as a note fades). Taking things even further there are also controls for hammer down and hammer up with damper and the pedals as well. Being a Reason device, it is also possible to insert other signals, such as using a vocal as the source that causes the strings to vibrate. Conclusions As mentioned above, there are a lot of apps out there that are so well developed that there is little more to add than a change in interface color. Propellerhead is not among this group. The rack extensions are a great idea and offer a lot of promise. While Reason 6.5 may not be bristling with new features, it offers some great new tools and opens the door to a very interesting future. Product > Made by > Price > Pros > Cons > Rating > Reason 6.5 Propellerhead Software $449 / Upgrade $169 Excellent piano Modest upgrade overall 106 MacDirectory

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