What makes Reason so inspiring?

This forum is for discussing Propellerhead's music software. Questions, answers, ideas, and opinions... all apply.
antic604

Post 31 Aug 2018

You all know me from this forum or FB groups as someone constantly ranting about low-res GUI, lack of track grouping or track freeze, outdated sequencer, Props' plans and priorities, etc...

Yet, every time I open Reason I get this exhilarating feeling of inspiration, of creative joy (which doesn't necessarily end up with a finished product, but that's a different topic). As you also know - at least from the footer to my posts - I have & use Bitwig, Live and to much lesser extent Studio One and I never get the same feeling when opening those. So I tried to list the things that make me feel that way for Reason. Please feel free to add, comment, etc.

The looks & visual workflow - despite my many grievances about low-res, unzoomable GUI and windows management, I think Reason is the most beautiful DAW there is, if I just squint my eyes. I know that this shouldn't matter for making music, but for me it does and the fact that it's so tastefully designed, clean and very colourful (I even choose REs to buy with that in mind) gets me inspired - I HEAR a bassline when I see Subtractor or Maelstrom, pads when I see Grain or Parsec, leads when I see Europa, VK-2 or FM4, f**ked-up rhythms when I see Synchronous and warmth when I see Pulveriser or Scream. It probably takes more time to set up a complex multi-device & multi-track patch in Reason than it does in Bitwig (or Live) and definitely much more time to then adjust it if I wanted to; but the process of dragging in the devices, tweaking them, patching cables, checking the audio & CV signals at different stages, etc. is so satisfying and gratifying somehow, even if it's tedious in some other ways. Lastly, I can't say how much I love the SSL - sure it's terrifyingly overwhelming at the beginning and it has its limitations, but when you get to know it it's such a breeze to quickly shape the individual sounds and mix them together. And it - again - looks fantastic, with all the colour and visual aids (meters, blinking lights, on/off indicators).

I mean just LOOK at it:
r10.jpg
Factory presets - it's expected nowadays that DAWs and devices come with presets, but typically they're rather bland and uninspiring, as if they were designed without the intent that they have to be used to make music. Just have a look on factory presets for Live's Operator or Analog and on Bitwig's presets for Polysynth or Phase-4. They're nothing to write home about. Conversely, in Reason I can browse through 10-15 randomly picked factory presets in given category and I can be sure I'll find something that'll inspire a melody, chord progression or rhythmic pattern. I won't even go into Combinator patches, that sometimes sound like a self-contained songs. This also extends to effects' and effect chains' presets, that are immediately useful.

RE environment - this might be controversial, but after I've finished my current project I'm disabling Reason's access to my (quite vast, by now) VST library, simply because I think I can achieve most of the same things with RE (at least on my hobbyist level) and more importantly because I feel much safer in RE world. The fact that those devices from many developers are in my SINGLE account, from where they can be downloaded and updated, is mind-boggling. Every time I open one of the other DAWs I'm frightened that maybe some VST won't load, got corrupted, that maybe there's a new version and I don't know about it and don't remember the login/password or have no idea where it's installed, etc. No such things with REs. I can install Reason anywhere, log in and d/l everything and it's just there, ready to go. Sure, they can't be used in other DAWs, they're not cheap, etc. but if financially it is not an issue, then it's such a great place to be in, especially because a lot of them compare in quality with professional VSTs and many of them are unique, playing to the modular strengths of Reason.

Sequencer - I know I complain about it a lot, but I can also recognise a lot of thins that positively distinguish it from other DAWs, at least those that I'm familiar with: very extensive MIDI tools under F8, easily accessible and useful editing tools under Q-Y keys, multiple MIDI lanes per track, separate S/M buttons for MIDI tracks and automation tracks, automation clips, Blocks mode, bulit-in audio comping and pitch adjustement, stretching of audio with Ctrl+drag of clip's border. There's a similarly long (or longer) list of things that the Sequencer's doing wrong or is missing, but those above are the little things that contribute to the joy of using Reason.

The community - I'm trying to be an active member of internet communities (FB, forums) for all the DAWs that I own, but none of them compares in terms of vibrancy and creativeness to Reason's. The sheer amount of (great, although rarely my taste) music being posted, news, questions and helpful responses is staggering, especially considering how much smaller the user base is compared to Live in particular. It's really encouraging to see other people also being happy - or sometimes frustrated - using the same software to write music.

Let's please keep this thread positive :)
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madmacman
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Joined: 18 Jan 2015

Post 31 Aug 2018

Well, I cannot *exactly* say why I love Reason. But I must confess I had my hard times with it. Especially earlier this year (right before Superbooth) I alienated myself from Reason and was actively searching for a replacement.

I had demo versions of the following DAW's:
  • Cubase
  • Studio One
  • Reaper
  • Bitwig
  • Ableton Live
And literally NONE of these inspired me. I was frustrated, how "technical" and complicated they appeared (and I refused to find out if they really are).

So in the end I returned back to Reason, bought the v10 update and made my peace. For now. If Reason 11 doesn't "deliver" I could imagine I do a second run of the demo versions listed above - in a year or so.

EDIT: I should contribute some parts of Reason I really enjoy: I love the SSL mixer - don't want to use any other solution. And the rack cabling is something I don't wanna miss. I'm a hardware guy (having lots of stuff and even an Eurorack here) and cabling rack modules feels like home.

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BRIGGS
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Post 31 Aug 2018

Reason's look pulls you in, the workflow and sound keep you there.
Last edited by BRIGGS on 31 Aug 2018, edited 1 time in total.

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selig
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Post 31 Aug 2018

First let me start by saying I work pretty much exclusively in Reason these days, even for mixing outside projects.

One thing I’ve always felt was that Reason is the most inspiring DAW for starting songs, and only gets frustrating for me when finishing them. I’m not 100% sure why that is, but I think it comes down to the way it handles larger projects, such as the lack of organizational tools such as hiding tracks/channels, markers, importing settings from other songs, mix automation (trim mode, automation not visible over audio waveform), lack of edit groups, dealing with multiple mix versions, and lack of inline crossfades to name a few.

Recent addtitions that have helped keep me working in Reason include REs and now VST support, bus channels, delay compensation, and other minor workflow updates over the years.

But I can’t deny that since day one for me (2003) I’ve found more excitement booting up and running Reason than any other music app I’ve ever experienced over the past 40+ years of using computers to make music. And for that, I’m truly thankful! [emoji3]


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tibah
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Post 31 Aug 2018

* User since 2001 = very used to it = my reason knows Reason ;)
* Ability to open projects made 17 years ago (nostalgia... and beer... loads of beer)
* Sequencer "Dub" lanes for note layering
* Automation in clips
* Arsenal of tools that can only be used with Reason = ReFills, Rack Extensions, custom patches etc. = welcome to the ecosystem, hurray!
* Classic devices like Malström, Scream4, ReDrum

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Zac
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Post 31 Aug 2018

I just find it so intuitive (apart from audio editing).

Whenever i came to learning something new it just seemed to work like i guessed/thought it would.

Experimenting in Reason is easy and fun.

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BRIGGS
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Post 31 Aug 2018

selig wrote:
31 Aug 2018
First let me start by saying I work pretty much exclusively in Reason these days, even for mixing outside projects.

One thing I’ve always felt was that Reason is the most inspiring DAW for starting songs, and only gets frustrating for me when finishing them. I’m not 100% sure why that is, but I think it comes down to the way it handles larger projects, such as the lack of organizational tools such as hiding tracks/channels, markers, importing settings from other songs, mix automation (trim mode, automation not visible over audio waveform), lack of edit groups, dealing with multiple mix versions, and lack of inline crossfades to name a few.

Recent addtitions that have helped keep me working in Reason include REs and now VST support, bus channels, delay compensation, and other minor workflow updates over the years.

But I can’t deny that since day one for me (2003) I’ve found more excitement booting up and running Reason than any other music app I’ve ever experienced over the past 40+ years of using computers to make music. And for that, I’m truly thankful! [emoji3]


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+1

Better workflow for large projects, would be great.

Hauser+Quaid
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Joined: 06 Jun 2017

Post 31 Aug 2018

It's really hard to put into words. Part of it is familiarity because I've used it a long time. I guess the other part is simplicity, things like programming drums I find really easy in Reason, more so than other DAWs. I love the sequencer personally, there isn't much I do in my workflow that isn't capable with the current iteration of the sequencer.

I just generally find it really easy & quick to get an idea down! The rest is just a "vibe" thing, I just get along with Reason really well. Any shortcomings are superseded by the advantages, which is why I continue to use it on a daily basis, and seem to always come back to it no matter where I go.

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kuhliloach
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Post 31 Aug 2018

This might seem weird but the inspiration I find from Reason is the sound itself. The more I look away from the screen and keep my mind on the music the more inspiring Reason becomes. I find that looking at the UI hinders my creativity. My favorite UI's seem to be the ones that are the most streamlined and simplified. As I grow with Reason I've been seeking workflows that allow me to create while looking at the screen as little as possible. In fact the more sounds I've installed the more frustrating it's become to get anything done as I've become overloaded with choices. To solve this problem I've tried to use Reason's Favorites area to help me avoid spending extra time digging.

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NekujaK
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Post 31 Aug 2018

Everything fits together like you expect it to. And like it or not, most of that has to do with Reason's skeuomorphic approach, which I for one, adore.

I've used many other DAWs, and they all feel like computer applications, no different than using MS Word or Photoshop - features are summoned from menus and buttons, and appear in isolated windows unrelated to anything else around them. When I'm using Reason, I feel like I'm in an "environment" specifically designed for music creation. Everything is connected to everything else, and fits together logically and intuitively. It's a thing of beauty.
wreaking havoc with :reason: since 2.5

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Oquasec
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Post 31 Aug 2018

The design, the modules & the sounds that come out of them after hours of tweaking & stacking.
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CephaloPod
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Post 31 Aug 2018

Reason is fun.
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Mr. Watts
Posts: 132
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Post 01 Sep 2018

I think that what makes Reason so inspiring is the virtual hardware element. It really feels like I have a complete professional studio every time I open Reason. Right out of the box you've got a virtual mpc, a dirty old sampler, a clean new sampler, loop player, subtractive synthesizer for bass and leads, poly synth for chords, granular synth for weird sounds, full recording studio, ssl mixer, a bunch of outboard gear and effects for dynamics and creativity, and a plethora of useful sounds. Although the gui may not be top notch or realistic as many would argue, I feel that the layout of Reason makes it so that you can make music similarly to how you would in a hardware environment, without having the limitations of hardware. The cable routing also makes the experience feel more realistic. On fl studio, I felt a big disconnection from the devices I would use, since all of my devices and effects were routed in ways that I could only see from a drop down menu. Hard to explain but the experience isn't as hands on to me. Since owning Reason I've purchased a variety of hardware devices and because of using Reason for years I didn't have much of a learning curve creating music between these devices. Now my hardware setup is very similar to what is provided in Reason. I've got an mpc (2500), a dirty old sampler (s900), a shiny newer sampler (ASR 10 & X), poly synths (MicroKorg, AX 73, Ensoniq TS 12), mono synth (microbrute), and I basically use the fx processors on the ASR 10 & X for my outboard gear and creative fx. Obviously Reason isn't a perfect program but it is definitely inspiring and useful to musicians from all backgrounds. Since they've added recording I really have no use for any other program. I will be trying out Logic to try and switch up my workflow but Reason will always be my weapon of choice in the software realm.

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napynap
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Post 01 Sep 2018

For me it's the virtual hardware workflow. I know that anything I need to add to the recording looks and feels like the old school hands-on hardware I used to work with. No need to relearn what I already knew from the analog days. Also, the Song/Block arrangement reminds me of old sequencers only better and just as easy to work with.
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Faastwalker
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Post 01 Sep 2018

For me it's just so great use, looks great, now has pretty much everything I need & it keeps getting better. Initially it was easier to get into than any other DAW I'd ever used. Love hardware like rack & TAB / cabling. Amazing. It's just the best thing since sliced bread. Love it, love it, love it.

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4filegate
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Post 01 Sep 2018

CViliZATiON - because I like to play blind a touchscreen button is meaningless

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EnochLight
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Post 01 Sep 2018

antic604 wrote:
31 Aug 2018
You all know me from this forum or FB groups as someone constantly ranting about low-res GUI, lack of track grouping or track freeze, outdated sequencer, Props' plans and priorities, etc...

Yet, every time I open Reason I get this exhilarating feeling of inspiration, of creative joy (which doesn't necessarily end up with a finished product, but that's a different topic). As you also know - at least from the footer to my posts - I have & use Bitwig, Live and to much lesser extent Studio One and I never get the same feeling when opening those. So I tried to list the things that make me feel that way for Reason. Please feel free to add, comment, etc.
Great thread!

For me, it also boils down to just "inspiration". I've been using Reason since the 1.0 days, so I've been along for the entire ride. Always had to use a secondary DAW along with it for audio recording and editing up until Record (and then 6.0), when I started doing the majority of everything in Reason. And when I had to jump out of Reason for my VST stuff, it was always... not inspiring? I don't know - it's hard to explain. Used Audition for the longest, tried Live, Reaper, Bitwig, Logic, but ultimately ended up settling on Studio One for needs that Reason couldn't fulfill, but I still preferred to work in Reason from start to finish when I could.

Maybe it's my familiarity with it, maybe it's the rack paradigm - something which no other DAW has been able to capture (and yes, I know you can do "racks" in some others, but it's just not the same). Maybe it's the simplicity. I can't put a finger on it. And even while I've gown to loath skeuomorphism in software these past years, for some unexplained reason I always give Reason a pass. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I just enjoy the hell out of using it, I guess! Lol :lol: But it all boils down to inspiration, and as long as that keeps happening, I'll stick around - despite the lack of features and perpetual game of "catch up" Reason will always be a part of.
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jam-s
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Post 01 Sep 2018

The Rack and cables.
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jetpilot00
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Post 01 Sep 2018

Timely thread.

I've used Reason since 1.0. The entire concept was perfect as my brain was used to working with analog racks. Before Record, I had to use Cubase / Pro Tools to capture my guitars and always wished that Reason had audio in. After Record integrated with Reason, it was simply getting the small things that other DAW's had. I'm not a power user and only needed to produce country / soft rock / hard rock / metal and that can easily be accomplished with Reason.

Now, after I was introduced to the world of Universal Audio, I had no choice but to try another DAW as I needed VST support. With that, I tried Studio One and really enjoyed it.......but it wasn't Reason. I used it for about 2 years, purchased the extremely integrated Faderport 8 and had everything that an amateur producer could need. Except, it wasn't Reason.

I then got to the point were every VST I wanted, that wasn't UAD, needed either Gobbler, ILoc, etc. It became ridiculous, beyond frustration, to make everything work properly. So, I figured I needed a new generation digital mixer to fix the non-VST pain; one device, one solution. However, not one digital mixer had all the features I wanted / needed.

After two years, I fired Reason back up and realized that Reason's mixer was my digital solution as I started utilizing it in a different manner. Now, with 10.1, UAD VST's work extremely well for me in Reason. I do believe whatever the Props envision for the next iteration of their mixer will be perfectly usable for the remainder of my music making timeline.

Reason + UAD = Perfection / Magic to me.

Now, if we could only get an extremely tight, midi integrated, controller for the mixer, I would never even think of anything else. I know we have a group working hard on that end.

Reason just works the way my brain, eyes and ears want to work. I'm here for as long as I can record music.

-JP
Last edited by jetpilot00 on 02 Sep 2018, edited 5 times in total.
***If life is a song, I've just passed the guitar solo.***

Rodville9000
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Joined: 07 Jul 2018

Post 01 Sep 2018

I been using reason for over 5 years and every day I learn something new even with old tools it's just the perfect combination of option

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antic604

Post 02 Sep 2018

Thanks to all for your feedback, I'm really happy to read it!

Keep it coming :)

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Reasonable man
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Post 02 Sep 2018

I agree with inspiring. I dont necesarily agree with workflow as i think it takes a long time to learn the art of organising instruments, and effects and learning to use alot of instrumets and effects for everything other than what they were initially intended for! I think this takes years tbf and thats years spent on essentially one piece of software. Reason tests your organisisation skills and needs alot of thining outside the box sometimes to solve complicated routing conundrums that sometimes onlu yield basic results i think it requires a fair degree of intelligentnce and patience to stick with it and that for me explains the sheer number of intelligent/ problem solving members on Reasontalk.

I first encounterd it (Reason 8) when i decided to do a course in production ( i'd given up music for a decade and was to all intense purposes... techology inept ..especially with computers!). I believe the visual aspect of Reason and the fact that it wasn't seen really as an audio option was why it was taught as a midi introduction. For audio projects everyone was soon bustled onto Logic pro and from my recollection everyone found it simpler and although you still had the option of using Reason for projects etc etc ..i think i was the only one who took that option! No one else went back to Reason as it was seen as too gimicky and tiresome. I saw the potential in it and eventually bought it for a very simple reason....it gave you the option to sound different from everyone else . The sound library in Logic was (is) of great quality but imo the types of sounds/samples and synths force you into writing music in very specific/current genres that are killing/polluting the air waves and music streaming sites and unless you buy alot of Vst's and know what your doing your gonna fall into that trap in Logic very quickly )imo.
Anyway i think the main reason that some people find Reason a struggle is that the rack , sequenecer and mixer can get get out of hand really fast to the point that everything is a huge mess that is time consuming to 'fix'... but thats where the endless/disiplined organisation thing comes in. Aslo the sound Library is an often a tedius place to find what your looking for but as i said if your using it for 5-8 years i guess that this too becomes second nature. Reason = Patience!

Marc64
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Post 02 Sep 2018

I just say one thing that sums up Reason -> TAB KEY!!!

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Kilsane
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Location: Villeneuve saint Georges - France

Post 02 Sep 2018

Hi,

For me it is its relative ease of handling (you do not have a TAB), reason is very accessible, it 's easy to add or remove an instrument and access to the sequence everything is under the eyes at first contact.

I talk about my first experience and my first steps in music and MAO, when I started less than 3 years ago I knew nothing about music or mao, I tried Fl studio (too many menu sub menu and not very logical), I try cubase (I did not understand anything and I had found a really indigestible ergonmie),
then Reason that I find quite simple access (it was enough to pull my rack in the rack window and went into the sequencer just below, I saw nothing more simple and logical and I do not talk about the sound bank and preset that is ready for use ...).

Since I learned a little more about music and reason and although having a license FL Studio, Reason is the software or I feel comfortable to do my little music

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mcatalao
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Post 02 Sep 2018

Hi folks.

I started making music with a Yamaha PSR 400 arranjer about 25+ years ago. Some years later i bought a Roland XP10 borrowed afriends MC01 sequencer and that was my first real midi composing kit i had.

Some years later everything changed with my first computer (a Pentium 3 with 128 mb ram). I started using cubasis (a cripled version of cubase that came with my soundcard), that did everything i needed. It recorded midi from and to my XP10, and recorded audio into the PC. I still have recordings from that time that didn't sound as crapy as you'd think they would.

Some time later, i bought cubase and a brand new soundcard that had reason inside. It was a very trimmed version called reason adapted. It only allowed to have a single instance of each device, it only had nn-xt, nn-19, dr-rex and redrum, but i got hooked to it from the first day, so most of my projects in Cubase used reason even after buying cubase packs with VST's on it. A couple of months after, i got Reason 3, then upgraded to 4, and when the Reason+Record duo came along, my Cubase copy was set aside gaining dust, even with Recor+Reason's limitations.
I never turned back first because i was so used to start my projects with reason (i only used rewire for the audio part as i never liked Cubase's sequencer to control Reason devices).

But bottom line, making songs with reason is so inspiring and already was even within other daws that now that we have literally everything at had inside reason, i never feel the need to use anything else.

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