How Did Reason Miss The Modular Boat So Badly

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Undistraction
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17 Jul 2018

With the relatively new VCV Rack and Softube Modular there are now two solid options for people looking for a virtualized rack, but how did Reason miss this opportunity so badly when it has used the rack metaphore for so long?

I know Noise Engineering have bought some of their excellent modules to the RE format, but that's pretty much it. Maybe other developers will follow, but at the moment that is a pipe dream.

It seems that despite being rack-based, the majority of REs are effects, synths and rompers. There are a few developers making more modular devices, but they aren't really in the same ballpark as some of the Eurorack devices available.

Why do people think this is? Why have two alternative platforms been developed by other companies in order to allow people to use virtualized racks when one already existed with an app-store built in and a large number of existing users?

This isn't a snarky question. I'm just genuinely interested in how this opportunity was missed. I know Reason has been moving further and further away from its modular roots and more towards a plug-and-play/presets-loving market, but it seems there are still a large number of people using it for more modular applications. And it's absolutely built for that application. In fact you could argue that its modular nature is exactly what is preventing it from achieving more popularity beyond.

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QVprod
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17 Jul 2018

I think there's a misunderstanding that the concept of rack devices means a focus on modular synthesis. Reason's main purpose is music creation and the rack is simply an emulation of how studios use to (and in some cases still) look and work before softsynths. It was common for a production studio to have multiple synths, samplers, romplers and perhaps even fx racks. In recording studios, it's still common to see outboard fx. Yes Reason included the possibilities for modular setups by including CV, but the vast majority of music makers in general aren't into modular synthesis. It's a very niche thing. That's why there aren't many VST platforms for it besides Softube modular and VCV rack. I personally don't think modular synthesis was ever Reason's primary focus.

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tiker01
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17 Jul 2018

I think PH should have still make steps in the modular direction perhaps with a separate Program which could work as part of Reason if one want it to just like Record did.

Also creating different format REs like half Rack and vertical sub racks would be beneficial for this separate modular environment as well as inside Reason.
    
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selig
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17 Jul 2018

Interesting to note that even Reaktor, which could be considered one of the ultimate “modular” environments and an app that has been around as long as Reason, only very recently added a specific modular environment (Bocks). For Reason to enter this area they would have to do the same thing IMO, and who knows if the market is strong enough for them to devote the necessary resources to this endeavor.



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Loque
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17 Jul 2018

Reason was and is modular. They just could increased this thing a bit more to the next level. But tbh, most ppl do not want and need modular stuff and they just want to press a button and have awsome results - they are not much into exploring, rather than using. IMO PH made a good balance for usage and modularity - and both types could still be implemented better and more (pun intended...).

All eyes on the next release of Reason. PH has to deliver...
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deepndark
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17 Jul 2018

Most CV "tricks" can be done with LFO/Envelope curve-bank by controlling the 1-127 of any parameter. I never use CV that much either as I'm not a believer of CV-magic that much. But when making sound-design, then I like to have some fun with CV.

mcatalao
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17 Jul 2018

Loque wrote:
17 Jul 2018
Reason was and is modular. They just could increased this thing a bit more to the next level. But tbh, most ppl do not want and need modular stuff and they just want to press a button and have awsome results - they are not much into exploring, rather than using. IMO PH made a good balance for usage and modularity - and both types could still be implemented better and more (pun intended...).

All eyes on the next release of Reason. PH has to deliver...
This ^^. We're talking probably te first app that was really modular. I guess you'd need smaller/simpler devices to look at reason as a real modular app but IMHO though it is not the core of reason now you can still pretty much use it as a modular application.

TBH, maybe it wasn't reason who lost the "modular boat" but people that are not using it's modular features so often.

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Oquasec
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17 Jul 2018

reason is a daw.
Reason/FL Studio.

Undistraction
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17 Jul 2018

I think there's a misunderstanding that the concept of rack devices means a focus on modular synthesis.
I agree, but it was in a pretty unique position to use the rack metaphore to make it happen given that it already had everything needed in place, CV not least of all. And the interest in modular is huge and growing rapidly.

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Ahornberg
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17 Jul 2018

Every synth, FX and utility can be used in a modular manner inside Reason.

There is the Polymodular System by Blamsoft.
There is the A-Series by Ochen K.
There is the Analog Sequencer by DLD (all other sequencers can be used too for modular sequencing).
Also take a look at the Tres Mono Synth and the Etch Red Dual Filter by FXpansion.

Search the shop for "filter" or "envelope" and you will be surprised what's already there.
And don't forget the KRON CV Toolbox by Alien Seed Tech.

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QVprod
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17 Jul 2018

Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018
I think there's a misunderstanding that the concept of rack devices means a focus on modular synthesis.
I agree, but it was in a pretty unique position to use the rack metaphore to make it happen given that it already had everything needed in place, CV not least of all. And the interest in modular is huge and growing rapidly.
Not saying there isn't a market for it at all. But in comparison to most music makers, the modular crowd is small. A million is still a small amount compared to several billions for example. Indeed they could have made it happen, but it comes down to their target audience which seems to be a more general audience while still providing a tease of cv modularity. That's not to say that more modular features won't ever be added though.

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Loque
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17 Jul 2018

QVprod wrote:
17 Jul 2018
Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018


I agree, but it was in a pretty unique position to use the rack metaphore to make it happen given that it already had everything needed in place, CV not least of all. And the interest in modular is huge and growing rapidly.
Not saying there isn't a market for it at all. But in comparison to most music makers, the modular crowd is small. A million is still a small amount compared to several billions for example. Indeed they could have made it happen, but it comes down to their target audience which seems to be a more general audience while still providing a tease of cv modularity. That's not to say that more modular features won't ever be added though.
Your comment just made me think, how long i would need to explain to a friend that plays in a band what "CV" is and where it can be used... :o
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QVprod
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17 Jul 2018

Loque wrote:
17 Jul 2018
QVprod wrote:
17 Jul 2018


Not saying there isn't a market for it at all. But in comparison to most music makers, the modular crowd is small. A million is still a small amount compared to several billions for example. Indeed they could have made it happen, but it comes down to their target audience which seems to be a more general audience while still providing a tease of cv modularity. That's not to say that more modular features won't ever be added though.
Your comment just made me think, how long i would need to explain to a friend that plays in a band what "CV" is and where it can be used... :o
Exactly! If I weren't a Reason user than hung out on the PUF, I wouldn't know either.

Undistraction
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17 Jul 2018

The point of my question was really that there was already an ecosystem (Reason) with many users that already offered a way to monetise devices (The Store and lately subs) and supplied everything needed for modular developers to move from hardware to software (The SDK) and capabilities for hooking into hardwear, yet this hasn't happened (except Noise Engineering).

I know there are lots of modular-style devices (I own many of them), but compared to the wierd and wonderful focused devices available for Eurorack etc, there is a dirth of REs that have adopted the modular ethos.

Just seems like a missed opportunity to me.

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Ahornberg
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17 Jul 2018

Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018
The point of my question was really that there was already an ecosystem (Reason) with many users that already offered a way to monetise devices (The Store and lately subs) and supplied everything needed for modular developers to move from hardware to software (The SDK) and capabilities for hooking into hardwear, yet this hasn't happened (except Noise Engineering).

I know there are lots of modular-style devices (I own many of them), but compared to the wierd and wonderful focused devices available for Eurorack etc, there is a dirth of REs that have adopted the modular ethos.

Just seems like a missed opportunity to me.
So you would like to see Eurorack style modules as REs.

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Loque
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17 Jul 2018

Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018
The point of my question was really that there was already an ecosystem (Reason) with many users that already offered a way to monetise devices (The Store and lately subs) and supplied everything needed for modular developers to move from hardware to software (The SDK) and capabilities for hooking into hardwear, yet this hasn't happened (except Noise Engineering).

I know there are lots of modular-style devices (I own many of them), but compared to the wierd and wonderful focused devices available for Eurorack etc, there is a dirth of REs that have adopted the modular ethos.

Just seems like a missed opportunity to me.
Yea, i got your point. I am into it. But most , well at least a lot of ppl are not. For me, add some more modular stuff, make Reason more modular in itself. Cables on the front. audio rate modulation, interchange modules even in synths, PDC within a cable chain and and and....

But for most ppl make it simple, let them get the "job" done quickly. Oh...that is, what i want too :-)
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Ahornberg
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17 Jul 2018

A huge step forward could be done with modules that mirror knobs on the back side of the rack and by doubling CV with audio cables (see VK-2 and Selig Gain). I don't expect that Propellerhead will do a lot here.

I think I should give it a start and grab one of the open-source VCV modules and make a port to a free RE as I described above.
What do you think?

Undistraction
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17 Jul 2018

Loque wrote:
17 Jul 2018
Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018
The point of my question was really that there was already an ecosystem (Reason) with many users that already offered a way to monetise devices (The Store and lately subs) and supplied everything needed for modular developers to move from hardware to software (The SDK) and capabilities for hooking into hardwear, yet this hasn't happened (except Noise Engineering).

I know there are lots of modular-style devices (I own many of them), but compared to the wierd and wonderful focused devices available for Eurorack etc, there is a dirth of REs that have adopted the modular ethos.

Just seems like a missed opportunity to me.
Yea, i got your point. I am into it. But most , well at least a lot of ppl are not. For me, add some more modular stuff, make Reason more modular in itself. Cables on the front. audio rate modulation, interchange modules even in synths, PDC within a cable chain and and and....

But for most ppl make it simple, let them get the "job" done quickly. Oh...that is, what i want too :-)
I guess I just don't buy into the false dichotomy that it has to be one or the other. (I know you're not saying that), but a lot of threads seem to deteriorate into an 'I don't want this therefore nobody wants this' back and forth. I specifically find this subject interesting because it wouldn't require much (if anything) from Propellerhead because it's already in place. It's a cultural barrier rather than a technological one.

Undistraction
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17 Jul 2018

Ahornberg wrote:
17 Jul 2018
A huge step forward could be done with modules that mirror knobs on the back side of the rack and by doubling CV with audio cables (see VK-2 and Selig Gain). I don't expect that Propellerhead will do a lot here.

I think I should give it a start and grab one of the open-source VCV modules and make a port to a free RE as I described above.
What do you think?
I think that would be bloody great.

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Ahornberg
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17 Jul 2018

Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018
Ahornberg wrote:
17 Jul 2018
A huge step forward could be done with modules that mirror knobs on the back side of the rack and by doubling CV with audio cables (see VK-2 and Selig Gain). I don't expect that Propellerhead will do a lot here.

I think I should give it a start and grab one of the open-source VCV modules and make a port to a free RE as I described above.
What do you think?
I think that would be bloody great.
I would like to start with VCV's Texture Synthesizer, aka "Clouds".

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Loque
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17 Jul 2018

Ahornberg wrote:
17 Jul 2018
Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018


I think that would be bloody great.
I would like to start with VCV's Texture Synthesizer, aka "Clouds".
I would like to hear some good examples. I sucked a lot to create some good stuff...
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kuhliloach
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17 Jul 2018

I've been using both the bridge and VST versions of VCV Rack inside of Reason.

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=7507652&p=401291

Reason's rack being "modular" and "modular synthesis" itself have a lot in common, and I see Reason as being naturally the king of modular in the DAW world. I expect the modular crowd to gravitate towards Reason because of this and the rack being so modular puts Reason way "ahead of its time."

Undistraction
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17 Jul 2018

Ahornberg wrote:
17 Jul 2018
Undistraction wrote:
17 Jul 2018

I think that would be bloody great.
I would like to start with VCV's Texture Synthesizer, aka "Clouds".
That would be grand. If you need any help with the interface design please give me a shout.

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bxbrkrz
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17 Jul 2018

The interaction with a modular system is very hands on and very visual, but you could be legally blind and fully control a modular system without much help after a while. As long as you have to patch with a mouse a physical modular system will always be faster and/or unpredictable in a fun way. Instead of somebody missing the proverbial boat, I see two worlds working great together, especially for sound design. It's a plus, not a minus.

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theshoemaker
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17 Jul 2018

I would already be more modular, if it had less artificial restrictions. or to say more remotable items on the devices.
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