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Update on Reason and VST performance

The end of the year is nigh and you might be wondering how the VST performance improvements are going. The bad news is that it won’t be done this year after all, but the good news is that we’ve entered alpha testing and we’re getting great results!

To understand why this work is taking a while, we wanted to share some details on what we’re actually doing. Many VSTs use less CPU when run with larger audio buffers. Reason has always run all devices with 64 frame buffer, regardless of the user’s audio setting. Reason native devices and Rack Extensions are optimized for this so they show no difference in CPU usage when audio buffer setting changes. Other parts of Reason can still have improved performance with a larger buffer size, but this is the case with our devices. The challenge with this update is to keep existing Rack Extensions and native devices running with 64 frame buffers, as before, while allowing VSTs to run with larger buffers in the same Reason rack.

We made this technical choice because many of our users expect high performance while playing their instruments “live” and while patching, including feedback connections, which requires low latency for an optimal experience. By choosing a low fixed buffer size in Reason and Rack Extensions we were then able to optimize the whole system based on that condition, yielding high performance and a realistic result when patching audio and CV cables. The work now is to marry that world with the different paradigm of VST, providing maximum performance for all users in all situations.

As I mentioned, we’re currently alpha testing our prototype with our trusted Test Pilots, a small group of seasoned Reason power users, and they’re getting great results in the prototype. We also talked about and showed our prototype to Peter Kirn over at CDM, you can read his impressions in his article on CDM.

When we’ve gotten to a state where all parts of Reason are updated to work with these changes, we will begin a more public beta testing. With all this said, I personally want to apologize that I promised something we couldn’t deliver on time. That’s also why I don’t want to promise a new date when this will be done, but we’re working hard and it’s getting closer! I hope you look forward to the improvements, they’ll be worth the wait.

Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Reason Product Manager

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#QuadNoteGenerator – Let's hear what you're generating

Quad Note Generator – our new Rack Extension Player has arrived. Quad Note Generator is the Player device that creates an endless stream of musical ideas. Melodies you wouldn’t have thought of, rhythms not yet heard and music about to be written.

We want to hear what you can do with Quad Note Generator!

If you don’t already own Quad Note Generator, go get the free 30 day trial in our shop! Make some music with it, using any instrument you’d like, and share a video on your favorite social media channel, using the #QuadNoteGenerator hashtag so we can find it. We will repost our favorite pieces of music!

 

Here are some posts to get you inspired:

 

Happy generating!

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Introducing Quad Note Generator

I’m very happy to announce that Quad Note Generator, our new Player Rack Extension, is now available in the Propellerhead Shop. Designed by Propellerhead and developed by our friend Lectric Panda, this device is all about generating ideas with more or less controlled unpredictability. In other words, we wanted it to feel like having a box of new ideas in the Reason rack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDP-bh6zeY0

If that sounds a bit geeky, it’s because it is! We were inspired by interesting sequencing concepts in modular systems, but also tried and true algorithms like Euclidian rhythms. Things that let you give up some control of your music, and in return be pleasantly surprised at the result. Don’t worry though, it’s actually quite simple. If it’s one thing that surprised us it’s how easy it is to stumble upon an idea that works, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Within the first week of testing, PropellerHQ was filled with all kinds of generated music: funky clavinet lines, acid bass lines, abstract musique concréte, meandering piano harmonies, ambient soundscapes and bubbly synth lines. In fact, Stefan now has a habit of setting up a Reason rack with a few Quad Note Generators in the morning and then listening to the result while he works—that’s 8 hours.

Ludvig, who designed the Player, found a great balance between control and happy accidents while Rob at Lectric Panda did a fantastic job putting it all together. I really think this is one of the most useful and inspiring devices we have ever made. I hope you’ll agree!

Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Product Manager

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Rent-to-Own Rack Extension Plugins

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAaTlhq-cgI

I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new payment option called Rent-to-Own.

Designed to be easier and more affordable than ever, it’s my hope that it enables you to balance your budget with your music making dreams. For just $9.99 per month/product, you can rent top-selling Rack Extensions—with every payment going towards owning them outright. Plus you can cancel anytime or pause payments for as long as you want—interest-free.

Happy music-making from Lukas and Propellerheads!

Learn more

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Umpf Club Drums – The Future of Beats in Reason

In my mind there’s nothing more exciting in electronic music than the drums. Powerful and driving, understated and rhythmic – there’s a world of possibilities at your fingertips with beats, and with our latest Rack Extension device Umpf Club Drums, we want to get you there as soon as possible. I want to drag beat-making in Reason kicking and screaming into the 21st century, with arguably our most essential update to drum production and specifically electronic music in some time.
 

Parallel compression, dynamic processing and the best drum-hits in the business at the flick of a switch are central to the workflow in Umpf Club Drums, where dialing in a professional-grade beat is quick and easy. Great sounding results and visual feedback with both our dynamic compression display and waveform editors have been designed to highlight creative decisions and quickly get to what’s making your beats pop.

Where Umpf really comes into its own is by allowing you to keep your creating juices flowing without leaving the device. That elusive state of ‘flow’ is a balance of the excitement of creativity, and results which are useable and unique to you. Part of the thinking behind this device is equally balancing those two requirements in a way that makes creating drums in Reason extremely fun.
 

In combination with the Drum Sequencer (which comes free of purchase with Umpf), you can seamlessly tweak your beats and choice of sounds; dynamically tweaking rhythms and sound processing as you go for the perfect blend. Then inject variation and modulation using the mod-matrix for evolving and unpredictable fills and textures. If none of the 750 drum hits float your boat, drop in your own per slot or go wild and drop in any audio sample you desire for a great way to manipulate audio, triggered by both the sequencer and the mod-matrix.
 

“My hope is that this new device will unlock new ways of creating music for you in Reason and providing your tracks with endless groove.”

The most important goal behind this device was to get you, the music maker, to a Grade-A sounding result in Reason in as short a time as possible. Focusing on what sounds good, what’s exciting and contemporary, guiding you with 100 default kits and Drum Sequencer patches to mix and match as you wish. My hope is that this new device will unlock new ways of creating music for you in Reason and providing your tracks with endless groove.

Lukas Lyrestam
Product Manager

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Europa by Reason VST/AU plugin is here

Today Propellerhead released our first VST/AU. We’ve been doing plugins for six years, and DAW instruments and effects since long before that, so what’s the big deal?

Well, this one works in Ableton Live, Apple Logic, Image Line FL Studio, Presonus Studio One, Cubase and many other DAWs (I hate that word. Can’t we just call them music making apps?!), not just in Reason. What does that mean?

First of all it means that all you loyal Reason users (thank you!) can use one of your favorite synths in any other DAW (naturally) that you also have installed. A free Europa by Reason license just got injected into your user account.

But secondly it means that those of you who have chosen some other music making app as your favorite, now finally can get some Reason goodness into your life. Europa is a killer beast of a synth. It sounds absolutely amazing, it’s mind-blowingly powerful and it’s straight forward to get around. There’s a demo version to try if you don’t believe us, but we really think you’ll find it’s true.

Some of you might wonder if there’s a longer thought behind this release and if it indicates a change in how we think about Reason, how much resources we put into it, if there’s a shift to how we think about updates etc? The answers is no. We can do multiple things at a time. We’ve created this VST/AU. We’re working on a mobile app. And we’re working on Reason just as always, adding features as I write this. Reason stays what it is. We already announced that there will be no paid update this year but we promise to bring you more of what you love anyway, as soon as we are able to.

The other thing you should note is that we also released Europa on the web today. From a futuristic and tech standpoint, that’s actually an even bigger deal than the VST/AU. What you are seeing there is an actual Rack Extension instrument running in a web browser. We didn’t recompile Europa or adapt it to the web to make this work, we made the web adapt to us. This is to a large extent possible thanks to some really exciting efforts by a very smart team at Google. And you can reap the benefits of their and our work right here.

So please enjoy Europa in whatever format you run it in. It really sounds equally amazing and inspiring in all its guises.

Happy music making!
 

Ernst Nathorst-Böös
CEO

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Reason 10.1 is here

Reason 10.1 is here!

We’re very happy to announce that Reason 10.1 is now available! This free update to Reason 10, Reason 10 Intro and Reason 10 Lite includes some exciting news that I think you’ll really like.

We’re introducing a new version of our Rack Extension SDK, featuring Player devices, improved sample loading with sample zones and pattern automation support. As you read this, a bunch of new Rack Extension Players are now available in the shop—including our own Drum Sequencer. The Drum Sequencer is freely available to all Reason 10 users for the month of May so don’t forget to download it.  Want to see the Drum Player in action? Check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr_XQ4qmaPA

We have also added a pretty powerful update to Reason’s flagship synth Europa. You can now load your own samples and wavetables and use as oscillators in the engine. Not only that, you can also use the sample in the Spectral Filter which will then act as the spectral multiplier—a fancy way of saying we create filter curves based on your sample. It’s a really cool feature that we hope will result in a lot of great, new sounds.

“So, what about performance?” I hear you ask. We are aware of some performance issues with VSTs, and trust me, we’re working hard to adress them. Good news is it’s going really well! But it’s a complex project that requires lots of time for testing.  I can’t give you a date at the moment, but this performance optimization will be available as a free update for all Reason 10 owners later this year. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll enjoy everything that Reason 10.1 has to offer!

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that based on your feedback, we have decided there will not be any paid upgrades to Reason this year. So there’s absolutely no need to worry about missing out on new features later this year if you’re thinking about upgrading to Reason 10 now.
 

Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Reason Product Manager

 

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Rigs 3 are here

Today Propellerhead are launching the third installment of the hugely successful Rigs. Simply put – it’s difficult to find a better deal in the music industry today.

The new devices that are included in this version are tremendous, top-of-the-line products that have been the best-selling instruments and effects for the past couple of years. Parsec, Expanse, Nostromo, ReSpire are all new additions to the Synthetic Rig. We’ve boosted the Backline Rig to the brink with three new A-List “musicians” as well as the GForce complete catalog. Mix & Mastering have all of McDSP REs included – even the creative FutzBox that provides endless hours of fun with creative impulse responses.

Also, not to forget when you buy a Rig you do not only get the devices and Refills included, you also get a complete video tutorial course from the people of AskVideo as well as a tailor-made patch-refill that utilizes the devices in the Rig with new and fresh patches from some of the best in the industry.

And it’s all package in a very attractive price – 349 USD/EUR.

“What!? What about us loyal customers that have been supporting you from the start?”, you might ask. Well, we thought about you too. You can upgrade to the new version of the Rigs you already own by depositing a small token of gratitude in form of 99 USD/EUR.

Hurry and buy before it runs out. Get Rigs 3 here!

/Mats
Product Manager

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Plug-in subscriptions done right

Ernst Nathorst-BöösToday Propellerhead are launching Rack Extension subscriptions. And I dare say it’s the first time plug-in subscriptions are done the way they should have been in the first place.

First, let me get a few things straight. Subscriptions are not replacing sales. You can still buy all Rack Extension products as usual, and we absolutely have no plans to change that. Secondly, Rack Extension instruments and effects are more popular with you musicians than they ever have been, even after we introduced VST support. Thirdly, Propellerhead are as dedicated to the Rack Extension format as we ever have been. There’s lots of stuff in the RE pipeline.

With that out of the way, let me get back to why our subscriptions make more sense than anybody else’s. Other company’s subscriptions usually mean one of two things. Either you subscribe to one product at a time which gets really expensive and a pain to manage. Or you subscribe to a fixed bunch of products, usually all from the same manufacturer. This means you end up paying for a bunch of stuff you really didn’t want. Not good.

So, what if you could choose between hundreds of products, creating your own personal mix of plugs from a huge selection of manufacturers? And what if you could just switch out the ones you find that you didn’t use as much as you thought, only to add completely new and fresh products, even ones that just came out? What if you could up- and down-size your music arsenal freely, between those periods when you make a lot of music and the other times when your life is filled with other things than making tracks (yeah, right).

All that is exactly what Propellerhead subscriptions are all about. Letting you mix and match your musical life in the way that’s best for you.

With this freedom, there are a million ways you could organize your plug-in life. Let me just share my one favorite. With Reason comes an amazing set of devices and those will always be the backbone of the rig, for all of us. In addition to that, most people add a few essential Rack Extensions, those select ones that you learn really well and use on almost all projects. And now, on top of that you can add a subscription that you vary over time, with projects, with musical styles you’re into or with new techniques you want to explore and learn.

The Reason devices. The REs you own. The mix of instruments and effects you get from subscribing. The best of three worlds rolled into one.

/Ernst Nathorst-Böös

Click here to learn more about Rack Extension subscriptions!

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Announcing Reason 10

We’re extremely happy to announce Reason 10!

Reason 10 is the biggest content upgrade we’ve ever done, and that’s saying something. For this upgrade we wanted to make sure music makers had a fantastic set of instruments and sounds right out of the box. I definitely think we delivered.

Europa is a feature-rich dynamic wavetable synth that picks up where Thor left off. I’m particularly fond of how many different types of sounds it can do well, from those ridiculously big and wide modern sounds to esoteric sound design and creamy analog emulations. Grain on the other hand take a different approach to synthesis. As the first true granular synth in Reason it breathes new life into your samples. I’ve already re-sampled tons of parts of my songs and twisted them into new sounds! Make sure you try and drop any and all samples you’ve got into it and see what comes out.

Klang, Pangea and Humana join Radical Piano in Reason 10 to make sure you have a great selection of realistic, acoustic instruments. Since I also dabble in video game soundtracks, these are very dear to my heart. Finally, Drum Supply and Loop Supply refreshes Reason’s drum sample collection in a big way. It’ll take quite a while to go through just all the kick drums.

Reason 10 is being beta tested now (sign up here!) and will be released October 25th. I can’t wait to hear all the fantastic music you’ll be making with it.

Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Reason Product Manager

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