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Reason 2.0 - Propellerhead Software

May 2001 By Cherise O'Neill.

When I sold my analog musical equipment almost a decade ago after deciding to take the plunge and go completely digital I assumed that after a brief period of adjustment I'd be up and running with a whole new way of making music.

How wrong I was.

Most of my time initially was spent figuring out how the relatively limited number of software based sound creation applications around at the time (early 1990's) worked, and more importantly how they fitted into the production environment I was building. Since then it's basically been an uphill battle, having never really been able to sit down and get creative without some inane issue denying me countless magical moments.

That was before Reason by Stockholm based ReBirth creators Propellerhead Software.

It ultimately has everything I ever wanted in a virtual music production environment. Synthesizers, sequencers, samplers, mixers, delays, reverbs, loop players and drum machines. And I added an s to the end of everything because you can have as many of each as your processor can handle. The whole thing lives in a rack and you can even spin it around and patch everything together just the way you want if you don't like the default configuration.

And best of all it is very very easy to use, which is just the way I like it. Don't get me wrong, I've set up the most mind numbingly complicated virtual production environments in my time, often through necessity, and know what it takes to get truly professional results from some of the best software based audio tools in existence, but if you're looking to get some actual art down and prefer to leave the sound engineering until a little later you'll need to work quickly and efficiently with an absolute minimum of technical hurdles to get in between you and your ideas.

After a relatively painless installation, and a read through the most exquisitely designed operation manual you could ever hope to lay eyes and hands on, you'll take a quick trip to Stockholm and sign up at the Propellerhead website as part of the product authorization process.

Once you're signed up you can check in from time to time and download new sounds and loops for your sampler and loop player.

Then it's time to hook your MIDI keyboard up, if it isn't already, and launch Reason. The default configuration gives you a basic set of tools with which to get started and a minimal song gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the interface. Before you know what's happening you'll be tweaking the controls on the synth, applying effects, loading new samples into the sampler, creating new drum patterns, spinning the rack around and using the patch cords, adding more samplers, synths and effects to the rack with the click of a button and recording real time actions as you move the faders and EQ knobs on the mixer.

Then it's time for you to stop fiddling with someone else's music and make your own.

Website: Propellerhead Software