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I enjoyed your review of Reason in EQ last month and i have a question that is more subjective than technical.....

It seems that Reason is designed (or marketed) primarily as a Dance/DJ tool, but I'm wondering, depending on the sample library available, if it can be used/useful in an alternative fashion - with lets say hand/world percussion samples and just more organic instrument samples libraries (ie, strings, voices, horns, guitars)


just curious......



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Reason could be used fairly easily in other styles. You're right that having the right sample library is key.


However, Reason has some limitations that steer it down the Dance/Techno highway. Not to knock it -- it's one of the coolest pieces of music software I've ever seen (read the review in the April issue of Keyboard). But you may want to consider these factors:


(1) Reason's MIDI sequencer doesn't have the level of editing found in a traditional sequencer. For certain tasks, you might be better off investing in a traditional sequencer and a couple of plug-in synths. This limitation shows up in the area of controller data editing, for instance. In Reason 1.0, you can't scale controller data, though you can redraw it with the pencil tool or re-record it.


(2) If you want the Subtractor synth (or, for that matter, the NN19 sample playback synth) to play chords, you have to either enter the notes with the pencil tool (ugh) or use an external MIDI keyboard and record your performance to a Reason sequence track. This is because the Matrix "analog" step sequencer is monophonic.


(3) Unlike a modern computer-based sequencer, Reason does not support audio tracks.


(4) The song production tools are strongly oriented toward repeating rhythm patterns. The patterns needn't be two or four bars long, and in fact Reason will happily produce twisted polyrhythms (7/16 against 11/8th-triplets, for instance). But if your music tends to be constructed in a linear, unfolding way rather than in repeating blocks, Reason will force you to jump through a certain number of hoops, such as using four different patterns to make variations of one melodic idea. (And the patterns can't be named, so you'll need to keep a log.)


(5) The Matrix step sequencer can only hold patterns that use a uniform rhythm value or multiples of that value. For a recent project, I wanted to program a Matrix 16th-note line that had one 16th triplet in it. There are a couple of ways to do this in Reason; I ended up creating a sustained 8th-note step and then entering pitchbend data by hand into the synth's sequencer track to do a triplet "ornament" on top of the 8th-note. But if your lines typically include combinations of long and short notes, Matrix is not a particularly effective tool.


(6) Reason does not support tempo changes.


Again, please understand that these are not exactly complaints. In many other respects, Reason is amazing. The patch cords on the back panel, for instance, and the versatility of Subtractor, and the versatility of the Dr. Rex loop player. Every product has limits; I'm just trying to clarify what some of Reason's limits and stylistic biases are.


--Jim Aikin

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Well said, Jim.


That's why ReWire support is such a nice feature. With Reason Re-Wired into Digital Performer, I can "force" Reason to follow a DP tempo map, a very handy deal when using Reason to create sound-for-picture. I just finished a score in just this way, using Reason for all drums and bass, integrating orchestral samples from hardware synths and recording sax and guitars in DP. Huge fun.


- Jim Bordner

Jim Bordner

Gravity Music

"Tunes so heavy, there

oughta be a law."

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Originally posted by deepness71@aol.com:

hey jim,

can you import aiff samples into the reason sampler.

i'd like to be able to use some loops i have as well as some synth and

pad patches.







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