Audio, Reviews

Reason 9 for songs, soundtracks and orchestral music

Reason has always been about making music and innovative audio tools. With the new version, it becomes easier to create a masterpiece, even if you’ve never learned to read a note. Reason 9 has Players, easier access to editing modes and the ability to edit audio pitch. It comes with the popular Pulsar dual channel LFO — previously only available as a Rack Extension. It has more than 1000 new patches in the Reason Sounds library, including several new ones from sound designers.

Reason 9 is all about convenience and features that help you easily create music. Except for the new instrument and effect modules, Reason now also has “Bounce in place” to create audio clips from your instruments quickly. You can now also reverse MIDI with one click and split notes with the Razor tool. And if you can’t write notes, you can now sing your melodies and Reason will turn your monophonic audio clips into MIDI files with a single click.

The Players are Reason 9’s biggest new feature. They are a new type of Reason Rack device that turn one-key keyboard input into multi-key musical output. Player devices process, filter and generate MIDI notes to help you create musical phrases and progressions. Reason 9 has three of them. The Dual Arpeggio Player creates monophonic or polyphonic arpeggios. The Dual Arpeggiator works like the one we have in Logic Pro X, only with a more user-friendly interface and a few more tricks up its musical sleeve. Dual Arpeggio generates two separate arpeggios, either in parallel or assigned to separate key ranges, for example. I found this Player to be an eye-opener.

Note Echo is the second Player. Unlike a standard delay effect, Note Echo repeats the MIDI information you feed it and supports rhythmic patterns, level changes and transpose. It’s a quite unique effect and it sounds brilliant. You can start out with the many pre-defined patches to create your own or start from scratch.

Scales & Chords helps you create complex chord progressions with ease. Scales & Chords keeps notes to a set key and scale, and can generate scale-perfect chords from a single note. This Player resembles the Chords effect of Logic Pro X, but again I found it easier to use. Especially its visual feedback is better.

Reason 9 now also has audio pitch editing and if you’re familiar with Celemony’s Melodyne pitch editor, you’ll find Reason’s pretty close.

Reason 9 comes with a huge collection of patches. These include patches from Reason itself, but also so-called signature patches. Those are instrument and effect patches created by artists to be used as you wish. The patches are great starting points to experiment with or to use in the music you create.

Reason 9 can be controlled with the Nektar Impact LX88+ I just reviewed without any need for further programming. This is a real bonus. Installing the Nektar driver involves two steps. First you install the plug-in, then you select to lock the device to the Master Section. Much of the integration between Reason 9 and the Impact LX88+ is comparable with the one I know from using Logic Pro X. But there are extras that make working with Reason 9 especially smooth.

For example, Mixer mode can also control the ReGroove mixer, with the faders controlling the channel groove amount. The “Grab” function allows you to quickly assign controls to parameters on the device associated with the track you’re working on. It is faster than with Logic Pro X, but on the other hand only temporary. There’s also a closer integration with respect to the pads and Reason 9 supports the Scenes button.

Rounding up, I found Reason 9 to be a must-have upgrade with lots of powerful new features and improvements, making it the app of choice to write a movie score or a song.