Should Propellerheads turn Reason into a AU/VST and focus solely on content rather than being a DAW?

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stephensmattlee
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19 Jul 2018

I know I’m probably going to get a bit of flack for asking this one, but do you think Propellerheads should ditch having Reason as its own DAW and focus solely on content and have Reason be a dedicated Instrument and FX AU/VST plugin to be used inside other DAWs?

I’ve been a long time Reason user but I’ve always found myself using it alongside another DAW (in my case Logic Pro) for many years now.
Despite Reason growing and becoming more capable over the years with it adopting some of the more common features of other DAWs, it still makes me feel a fair bit disappointed that there’s so many features missing by comparison. I’m sure I’m not the only one, just things such as curved automation, adjusting multiple faders at once, group audio track editing etc. It baffles me that progress is so slow and that Reason lacks so much.

I don’t want to criticise Propellerheads too much as I know they aren’t a huge company with endless resources compared to companies like Apple and Avid. ...and to me Reason is still the most inspiring and unique music creation software there is where nearly all of my music starts to take shape.

I just wonder if it anyone else feels that maybe Reason would be better off purely as a plugin where Propellerhead could focus on creating amazing rack devices and instruments and not have to play catch up to other DAWs features with progress being as slow as it is?




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dandandaaan
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19 Jul 2018

I've posted about this a few times recently, glad I'm not the only one thinking it!

I don't know if they would have to entirely "ditch" the idea of being a DAW, but I can certainly imagine a world where the Reason rack becomes a plug-in. This would be a dream come true for me personally - I currently use Reason as a "synth rack," ReWired to Ableton. It would be amazing to replace this with plug-in functionality, and it would be especially cool if they were to release an FX version which would allow you to run audio from the host DAW through Reason's effects; something that isn't currently possible with the ReWire protocol at all.

I may be being optimistic, but I somehow doubt they would have gone to all the trouble of building the technology to port Europa to VST if they weren't planning on doing the same for at least a few more devices at some point. Whether this turns into a full-blown rack plugin? We shall see.
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chimp_spanner
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19 Jul 2018

Nooooooo. No no no no. Look I'll put it out there, as I always do; Reason is missing some things. I'm not talking about huge, shiny, flashy features. Just little workflow things like folders (which would naturally facilitate group editing), multiple MIDI channels, MIDI note chase, and yes...ganged faders and curves. But on a day to day basis do these things prevent me from making music? Do they prevent anyone? Nah. Obviously workflow is a thing and if the absence of these features is really impeding your work then I'm not gonna say they're not important. But people seem to have this attitude lately that Reason is in such a bad state it's just impossible to make music with, because it needs this and that.

Ya know, when I open Cubase, that's exactly how I feel. Well, once I get past the daily ritual of battling with eLicenser to let me open it because there's no option for computer authorisation. Then once I get into it, I try to undo a synth tweak and instead I undo my recording because there's no global undo. I want to automate a bunch of parameters but I know it's just too much hassle because there are no static/default values for parameters and everything has to be reset by hand. And even once I've drawn my automation in, it sucks because I can't copy, paste, stretch, reverse, cut or glue it like MIDI like I can in Reason. Every time I add or remove a plugin there's a pause in the audio. Assigning controllers to plugins that don't already have MIDI learn is a nightmare. I can't self contain audio files. I can't freely communicate between devices with audio. I can't take modulation from one thing, and send it to a totally different thing because there's no CV.

Which is not to say Cubase isn't good for anything. Clearly it is. Its MIDI editing and logic functions are great. Expression and drum maps, a fantastic audio editor, all of that. Point is, neither software is truly "complete". They both have things that are uniquely good about them, and they both have gaps in their feature sets that have inexplicably persisted for over 9 versions now. Reason is by no means unique in that department. But that's by no means grounds to scrap the whole DAW approach all together. I guarantee if you were using Reason as a VST inside a host, you'd miss the tight integration you had between Reason and its own sequencer!
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normen
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19 Jul 2018

Why would they go back to where they started?

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QVprod
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19 Jul 2018

I get the convenience if you only use Reason as an instrument, but many of us really do use it as is. Using multiple DAWs is normal, even if you are a Pro Tools or Logic user. I think many of the frustrations come down to perception. Reason was never meant to necessarily compete with the major DAWs feature wise. I view Reason how some would view NI Machine or a hardware workstation. Sure a VST version would be nice (to replace Rewire), but not as a replacement to the DAW itself.

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EnochLight
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19 Jul 2018

normen wrote:
19 Jul 2018
Why would they go back to where they started?
^^ This. ^^
Should Propellerheads turn Reason into a AU/VST and focus solely on content rather than being a DAW?
No. Just.. no.
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Namyo85
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19 Jul 2018

Another No. In this case it's a much longer distance going backwards than forwards. The sequencer needs some improvements, however not that much really to bring it up to scratch compared with other sequencers.

TritoneAddiction
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19 Jul 2018

There are a few things I'd like to see improved in Reason, but honestly I don't really care too much about that stuff. I just get on with making music and work with what I have, which is a lot after collecting many REs over the years.
Reason is the only DAW that I use and I don't feel limited because of it. Reason as it is today works just fine for me. I would be sad if Propellerhead abandoned Reason as a DAW in the pursuit of doing other things.
Overall I think people obsess over the tools and features (or lack there of) way too much.

strangers
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19 Jul 2018

I'm only one person but I'd surely abandon ship if they went this route. Maybe I'm the oddball out but when I was test driving DAWs I was sold on the SSL and Sequencer combo. The added synths, effects and utilities were added perks. Sure, the sequencer has room for improvement but I still preferred the workflow over several other DAWs I trialed.

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jam-s
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19 Jul 2018

They don't need to, that's what rewire is for.
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dandandaaan
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19 Jul 2018

jam-s wrote:
19 Jul 2018
They don't need to, that's what rewire is for.
ReWire is great but it has some serious limitations and "clunky" (to say the least) implementation. No audio in, limited automation/MIDI mapping, no preset management... I'm sure there are more. An update to the ReWire protocol would be very welcome but I somehow feel it's unlikely.
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stephensmattlee
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19 Jul 2018

Don’t get me wrong, a few versions ago I was really seeing myself switching to a dedicated Reason setup where I had hoped that it would grow to become the one tool I used. I’m just a little disgruntled that the progress in making improvements since Version 6 has been very slow.
That said I still really love Reason for what it does offer, perhaps if I made solely just electronic music and had no other interests in other genres as well as occasionally had the desire to record and mix a full band recording, then I’d probably be very happy.
Who knows, maybe Propellerheads have big plans for Version 11 but going on how slow things have been to progress over the past few versions I won’t be holding my breath unfortunately.

The reason I thought about asking the main question itself was because I think I was so surprised Props put out a AU/VST plugin version of Europa, and thought maybe the prospect of other instruments and devices following in the future doesn’t seem like a too distant possibility.


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tibah
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19 Jul 2018

No.

They simply need to find a better balance between "what the old users want" and "how to attract new users". Combine that with the major design choices PH made somewhat 17/18 years ago and you basically understand the major issue here.

Reason 6 was a blast. They had MMM going on, merged R+R into one and I joined the PUF for the first time. 7 was great because it felt like mixing improvements. 8 felt kinda great because of browser improvements. And here comes 9. Players are surprisingly useful. Scales & Chords leads me to stuff I wouldn't play on my own and Dual Arp, combined with Lectric Panda's generative ReFill series is a bliss. Somewhere between these, we also got audio to midi and pitch editing.

That said, 9 was also all about the new FSB, hiring loads of sound designers to basically say "look what you can do with the stuff we have!"
9.5 = "lets let them use all teh VSTz bro!"
10 = "BTW, we made these 2 cool new synths and put the Soundiron Micro ReFill into dedicated devices and here you have some drum samples"

So, within 2 major versions they jumped from "we don't need anything else", to "you can have everything else" to "we can do that too". Europa is great. Grain is great. Europa also works in 3 ways. RE, VST and within your browser. Great! But for some reason, it kinda leaves this tech demo feel to it and the major reasoning being new users that are into future bro-step or alike. ;) The rest of the last 2 incarnations are a bit blurry to me.

I stay with Reason because of dub layers and automation clips and the ability to open projects from 2002. ;) :oops: :? I also stay because I have bought some REs and ReFills that are bound to Reason (ecosystem anyone?). That said, my go-to stuff is like 90% VSTs and could be transferred to every other major DAW out there nowadays and I hardly will put any money into "Reason only stuff" again.

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16161d
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19 Jul 2018

I've always used the Reason sequencer quite musically, making heavy use of being able to quickly pitch up and down, reverse, time stretch, and since it got added, slice editing and even the vocal editing for more finer pitch edits. While some DAW's support this, and some do some of these a bit better. I find it incredibly easy to access and tweak all these very quickly to come up with ideas in Reason. I think this way of working has become so ingrained on my creation process that I struggle in other DAW's to build tracks, with all these features listed here either scattered within the software or implemented in a way that isn't as intuitive. For creative audio editing, Reason is my number one program for mangling things up, via the rack and the sequencer. I don't care that much for the built in instruments, I think there is a rich field out there already with soft synth plugins, and I've built up enough hardware that they are my goto instruments. But effects I feel are lacking out there and where reason and rack extensions have really shined with creative options. To be able to easily use these effects in all my DAW's would be amazing.
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jlgrimes
Posts: 234
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19 Jul 2018

tibah wrote:
19 Jul 2018
No.

They simply need to find a better balance between "what the old users want" and "how to attract new users". Combine that with the major design choices PH made somewhat 17/18 years ago and you basically understand the major issue here.

Reason 6 was a blast. They had MMM going on, merged R+R into one and I joined the PUF for the first time. 7 was great because it felt like mixing improvements. 8 felt kinda great because of browser improvements. And here comes 9. Players are surprisingly useful. Scales & Chords leads me to stuff I wouldn't play on my own and Dual Arp, combined with Lectric Panda's generative ReFill series is a bliss. Somewhere between these, we also got audio to midi and pitch editing.

That said, 9 was also all about the new FSB, hiring loads of sound designers to basically say "look what you can do with the stuff we have!"
9.5 = "lets let them use all teh VSTz bro!"
10 = "BTW, we made these 2 cool new synths and put the Soundiron Micro ReFill into dedicated devices and here you have some drum samples"

So, within 2 major versions they jumped from "we don't need anything else", to "you can have everything else" to "we can do that too". Europa is great. Grain is great. Europa also works in 3 ways. RE, VST and within your browser. Great! But for some reason, it kinda leaves this tech demo feel to it and the major reasoning being new users that are into future bro-step or alike. ;) The rest of the last 2 incarnations are a bit blurry to me.

I stay with Reason because of dub layers and automation clips and the ability to open projects from 2002. ;) :oops: :? I also stay because I have bought some REs and ReFills that are bound to Reason (ecosystem anyone?). That said, my go-to stuff is like 90% VSTs and could be transferred to every other major DAW out there nowadays and I hardly will put any money into "Reason only stuff" again.
I agree.

Reason sequencer isn't that bad. It has its good points.

I used to use Sonar and Reason. While Sonar was a more sophisticated sequencer, Reason was much better as a sketchpad sequencer.

I then went to Ableton but there were some things that were better in Reason (at least 10 years ago). Ableton made a few small improvements.

I think when most bash Reason's sequencer they are referring to the piano roll.


Reason to be fair has made some small but highly needed features such as:

1. Being able to add notes via double clicking
2. Being able to cut notes.
3. Ctrl d command for quickly repeating notes
4. Being able to resize notes in both directions


These features aren't rocket science but improved the piano roll greatly.


Reason really only need a couple of more improvements.

1. Ability to change grid resolutions via keybindings
2. Note muting
3. Curve drawing
4. Maybe a chords/scale function.
5. Maybe a paintbrush tool.
6. Rethink tool window.
7. Update GUI of Regroove mixer.
8. Allow custom snap settings.
9. Allow ability to fully vertically expand tracks.



Some of these could be done relatively easily. I would think these improvements are easier to do than designing Grain.

Jmax
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19 Jul 2018

I hate using other DAW's. Perhaps they should turn everything else into a VST and we run it through Reason.

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Carly(Poohbear)
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20 Jul 2018

No.

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esselfortium
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20 Jul 2018

This is the only DAW I use, so what you're suggesting would be a complete downgrade in usability for me.
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deepndark
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20 Jul 2018

No. And after adding VST support there's really no reason for it.
I hope Reason keeps evolving it's own path and some day take a leader role and kind of win.

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Oquasec
Posts: 1913
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20 Jul 2018

I wouldn't mind Reason staying exactly how it is as a vst if it's handled like imageline's daw :)
Reason/FL Studio/Ableton for whenever.

stephensmattlee
Posts: 113
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20 Jul 2018

Did have a nice long post but it’s decided to delete itself

Long story short, I personally feel Reason is in a “Frankenstein’s monster” state at the moment.
As much as I love its unique and inspiring approach to making music, the modern devices such as Europa and the Players just look so out of place alongside the ancient devices like Subtraktor and the NNXT.
I think a lot of those old devices such as the NN19 and NNXT are in such a desperate need of an upgrade, not just visually but also in terms of features also.

I’m sure it’ll happen at some point, not a case or ‘if’ but ‘when’.

I wouldn’t want to see the Props abandon Reason. But I do think it would be cool to see more of the devices as AU/VST plug-ins to be used in other programs, ...either that or a smaller stripped down ‘core’ version of Reason that can be run via VST, but yet still keep the fully-featured flagship version also.
I do think it could open up more doors and gain them more potential customers that might have been on the fence about Reason itself and yet wanted to be able to use some of its instruments and devices in their daw of choice.




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ArcoZ
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20 Jul 2018

Becoming VST is inevitable future of Reason. I "prophetized" that couple of years ago, having been ridiculed.
Reason as a DAW is in a blind corner. They probably cannot vectorize the rack, redesign the workflow into the modern one, capable of 4K, without falling into serious coding issues.
Implementation of VST in Reason was probably its nail in the coffin.
On the other hand PH has a lot of potential and their income after VSTizing may be huge.
The scenario with both solutions (Reason DAW + VSTizing) has no future IMHO. In that case Reason will become something like a piece on exhibition in DAW museum.

stephensmattlee
Posts: 113
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20 Jul 2018

ArcoZ wrote:Becoming VST is inevitable future of Reason. I "prophetized" that couple of years ago, having been ridiculed.
Reason as a DAW is in a blind corner. They probably cannot vectorize the rack, redesign the workflow into the modern one, capable of 4K, without falling into serious coding issues.
Implementation of VST in Reason was probably its nail in the coffin.
On the other hand PH has a lot of potential and their income after VSTizing may be huge.

Have to say I do think you could be right in that Propellerheads have had problems with Reason and updating it in recent years. Maybe through lack of programmers or where the original team that created the software have long since left. Would probably explain why there’s been no real major changes to the core but additional content added in recent versions.
I hope I’m wrong as I’d love to see Props come out with Reason v11 being a complete overhaul to the program and make it ready for the next 10-20 years of advancements and refinements


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fieldframe
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20 Jul 2018

dandandaaan wrote:
19 Jul 2018
jam-s wrote:
19 Jul 2018
They don't need to, that's what rewire is for.
ReWire is great but it has some serious limitations and "clunky" (to say the least) implementation. No audio in, limited automation/MIDI mapping, no preset management... I'm sure there are more. An update to the ReWire protocol would be very welcome but I somehow feel it's unlikely.
It’s time to put ReWire out to pasture. It’s a relic of another era, before VST became the standard for inter-app audio. Managing two separate applications with two separate workflows, sequencers, mixers, and files was always a hacky approach, and VST solved all that years ago by offloading everything but the sound to the host application.

Don’t get me wrong, Reason should absolutely continue to develop as a DAW. But the time has come to replace ReWire with a VST version of the Reason rack. Native Instruments has it right; Reaktor and Maschine are good examples of powerful, standalone workstations that double as powerful VSTs.
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Marco Raaphorst
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20 Jul 2018

In general for me Ableton is a much better audio editor. I wonder how Reason would ever get to that level, I don't think it will. I guess for many users this is not an issue though. The Props releasing all their devices as VSTs makes a lot of sense to me though.
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