Are you taking advantage of blocks?

This forum is for discussing Reason. Questions, answers, ideas, and opinions... all apply.
User avatar
Enlightenspeed
RE Developer
Posts: 1033
Joined: 03 Jan 2019

Post 05 Jan 2023

Shameless self promotion of course, but I would encourage anyone who likes using Blocks to investigate LaunchEon, paticularly if you are using Blocks for experimenting with the structures etc.

Cheers,
Brian

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 05 Jan 2023

Enlightenspeed wrote:
05 Jan 2023
Shameless self promotion of course, but I would encourage anyone who likes using Blocks to investigate LaunchEon, paticularly if you are using Blocks for experimenting with the structures etc.
To be honest, Launcheon didn't appeal to me right away (based on what I've seen, not trialed it). But blocks being an integral part of my composition workflow, I'm intrigued by your statement. What makes Launcheon a great companion to blocks?
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

User avatar
Quarmat
Posts: 238
Joined: 11 Feb 2021
Location: Europe

Post 05 Jan 2023

I avoided blocks until I had to work on a musical score for a theatre piece. It was a lifesaver. Imagine writing characters themes, all of which share more or less, the same orchestral setup, and then have to modifiy every instance of a theme occuring several times in the sequencer: madness. Blocks did not appeal to me because i had to switch to blcok mode to edit stuff and I thought it was an orrible limitation to workflow. Once i was forced to rely on blocks for arrangement I thought to myself: how did i work without them before?

When I am experimenting, i stay in song mode; when i throw a 8 bar loop, i stay in song mode, if the song is a sum of layers that come and go throughout the song, I stay in song mode. But when a 8-bar loop is being arranged in a full song i go blocks, it is just too powerful. You can clearly, quickly and easely see variations over standard "in-blocks" sections while in song mode, never again scrolling left and right and up and down to find that variation among countless same colors clips.

I cannot work on serious stuff without blocks anymore

Eclipxe
Posts: 12
Joined: 31 Jan 2021

Post 07 Jan 2023

crimsonwarlock wrote:
05 Jan 2023
Enlightenspeed wrote:
05 Jan 2023
Shameless self promotion of course, but I would encourage anyone who likes using Blocks to investigate LaunchEon, paticularly if you are using Blocks for experimenting with the structures etc.
To be honest, Launcheon didn't appeal to me right away (based on what I've seen, not trialed it). But blocks being an integral part of my composition workflow, I'm intrigued by your statement. What makes Launcheon a great companion to blocks?
+1 would love to hear more about how you can work with Launcheon and blocks

User avatar
Overtherainbow
Posts: 89
Joined: 26 Jun 2022

Post 09 Jan 2023

Blocks has to be the worst arrangement assistance tool among all DAWs (I haven't used freeware DAWs though), least thought-through and with a lot potential for violent user outbursts, and if you compare it to, say, Bitwig, Blocks would rather blush and pretend it doesn't exist at all.

BUT

It still gives you the very basic tools to work on arrangements in a consistent and timely manner.
If you combine it with Reason''s clutter problem when building an arrangement, it turns out you need Blocks it if you're composing with/for other people and/or when it's time-sensitive.

I'm still at a point where I force myself to use it and it's beneficial, but it's more of an "ugh, fine" relationship, especially after trying other DAWs.
Still, I wouldn't trade all the good stuff I like about Reason for a better arrangement constructor.

So yay Blocks. Maybe someday they will grow on me more.

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 09 Jan 2023

Overtherainbow wrote:
09 Jan 2023
Blocks has to be the worst arrangement assistance tool among all DAWs
Blocks is actually way way WAY more powerful than any arrangement system in any other DAW. It let me work in an extremely efficient way that is completely impossible in others DAWs.

But the first rule of Blocks club is... don't talk about Blocks club :puf_bigsmile:
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

User avatar
visheshl
Posts: 972
Joined: 27 Sep 2019

Post 09 Jan 2023

Yeah man, blocks is actually pretty awesome, however the last time i used standalone and used blocks, i had thought that there should be a few improvements, what improvements i had thought of, I've completely forgotten, but the next time i use blocks, I'll make a list of pros n cons and changes needed.

But generally i had found it to be a great feature.
I faintly remember i had needed a button to quickly duplicate a block. Im not quite sure if thats already implemented.
Last edited by visheshl on 09 Jan 2023, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Overtherainbow
Posts: 89
Joined: 26 Jun 2022

Post 09 Jan 2023

crimsonwarlock wrote:
09 Jan 2023

Blocks is actually way way WAY more powerful than any arrangement system in any other DAW. It let me work in an extremely efficient way that is completely impossible in others DAWs.

But the first rule of Blocks club is... don't talk about Blocks club :puf_bigsmile:
It may be I have yet to appreciate all the intricacies, but for my personal use Bitwig shaves off about 90% of the time I am spending in Blocks on the same tasks. AND it lets me do stuff I wouldn't even be doing in Blocks because of how time-consuming that would be.

On a scale from Bitwig to a kick in the head, I give Blocks a solid C+.

nebraskafire
Posts: 49
Joined: 10 Mar 2021

Post 09 Jan 2023

I use blocks to keep ideas for a song. So i don't have to store them in different tracks. If I played something and I m not sure if it fits the song I put it in a block for later but I never draw the blocks in the sequencer. Sometimes I copy the whole song in a block to try different arrangements like a scratch pad.

Eclipxe
Posts: 12
Joined: 31 Jan 2021

Post 09 Jan 2023

Overtherainbow wrote:
09 Jan 2023
Blocks has to be the worst arrangement assistance tool among all DAWs (I haven't used freeware DAWs though), least thought-through and with a lot potential for violent user outbursts, and if you compare it to, say, Bitwig, Blocks would rather blush and pretend it doesn't exist at all.

BUT

It still gives you the very basic tools to work on arrangements in a consistent and timely manner.
If you combine it with Reason''s clutter problem when building an arrangement, it turns out you need Blocks it if you're composing with/for other people and/or when it's time-sensitive.

I'm still at a point where I force myself to use it and it's beneficial, but it's more of an "ugh, fine" relationship, especially after trying other DAWs.
Still, I wouldn't trade all the good stuff I like about Reason for a better arrangement constructor.

So yay Blocks. Maybe someday they will grow on me more.

What arrangement tools are in Bitwig? I think we might be using Blocks in a very different way, but the only other software that has anything close to Blocks is Maschine. Would love to hear more about your use case. I love Blocks!

Eclipxe
Posts: 12
Joined: 31 Jan 2021

Post 09 Jan 2023

nebraskafire wrote:
09 Jan 2023
I use blocks to keep ideas for a song. So i don't have to store them in different tracks. If I played something and I m not sure if it fits the song I put it in a block for later but I never draw the blocks in the sequencer. Sometimes I copy the whole song in a block to try different arrangements like a scratch pad.
Yep! I love using Blocks at the end (32, 31, 30, etc) as "scratch pads" and multiple arrangement areas

User avatar
visheshl
Posts: 972
Joined: 27 Sep 2019

Post 09 Jan 2023

Eclipxe wrote:
09 Jan 2023
nebraskafire wrote:
09 Jan 2023
I use blocks to keep ideas for a song. So i don't have to store them in different tracks. If I played something and I m not sure if it fits the song I put it in a block for later but I never draw the blocks in the sequencer. Sometimes I copy the whole song in a block to try different arrangements like a scratch pad.
Yep! I love using Blocks at the end (32, 31, 30, etc) as "scratch pads" and multiple arrangement areas
Hmm that brings me to nesting..i don't know how it could be implemented, but imagine storing multiple arrangements in a timeline and AB testing them to see what arrangement works better

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 09 Jan 2023

Overtherainbow wrote:
09 Jan 2023
It may be I have yet to appreciate all the intricacies, but for my personal use Bitwig shaves off about 90% of the time I am spending in Blocks on the same tasks. AND it lets me do stuff I wouldn't even be doing in Blocks because of how time-consuming that would be.
The 'problem' with arrangement systems in other DAWs is that they either arrange clips that are then exported to an 'arrangement', Bitwig and Ableton work this way. Or they use an arranger track that basically creates a playlist of the parts of the track and plays the parts in different sequences, this is how Cubase and Cakewalk work. Tracktion Waveform does something that's halfway between those systems.

The best way to understand the power of Blocks is to think of it as a combination of an arrangement system and ghost clips. Most people that don't like Blocks point to the fact that if you start in a sequencer track, you then have to copy/move your clips into a block. But herein lies the actual power of the system. The Blocks arrangement and the normal tracks in the sequencer are active at the same time, acting as two layers of track information (that's why you need to move/copy information). You can continuously edit both the arrangement clips (the blocks) AND the clips that are in the sequencer tracks, on top of the blocks. You can make changes to the arrangement clips without altering stuff that is in the tracks, and the other way around.

The moment you grasp what this can do, every other system becomes cumbersome.

By the way, the Bitwig/Ableton way is the most rigid way of arranging of all DAWs. The systems in Cubase, Cakewalk and even Tracktion are way more flexible.
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 09 Jan 2023

visheshl wrote:
09 Jan 2023
Hmm that brings me to nesting..i don't know how it could be implemented, but imagine storing multiple arrangements in a timeline and AB testing them to see what arrangement works better
You can't make multiple arrangements because the blocks arrangement is an active layer under the sequencer tracks. If you want to have different arrangements, this means you also must have different sets for all sequencer tracks, which is basically another project file.

The power of Blocks lies exactly in this live interaction between the blocks arrangement and the actual sequencer tracks on top of the blocks.
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 09 Jan 2023

My guess is that most people that 'don't get' blocks, are trying to work in blocks INSTEAD of the sequencer tracks. If you start to compare Blocks to arrangement systems in other DAWs, you are missing the point :puf_wink:
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

User avatar
visheshl
Posts: 972
Joined: 27 Sep 2019

Post 09 Jan 2023

crimsonwarlock wrote:
09 Jan 2023
visheshl wrote:
09 Jan 2023
Hmm that brings me to nesting..i don't know how it could be implemented, but imagine storing multiple arrangements in a timeline and AB testing them to see what arrangement works better
You can't make multiple arrangements because the blocks arrangement is an active layer under the sequencer tracks. If you want to have different arrangements, this means you also must have different sets for all sequencer tracks, which is basically another project file.

The power of Blocks lies exactly in this live interaction between the blocks arrangement and the actual sequencer tracks on top of the blocks.
Ok. Got it.

Also could RS please rename 'Blocks' to 'arrangment' or something. I don't like the idea of naming a feature blocks. Negative energy.
Just kidding...

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 09 Jan 2023

visheshl wrote:
09 Jan 2023
Also could RS please rename 'Blocks' to 'arrangment' or something.
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo :puf_bigsmile:
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

BeReasonable
Posts: 43
Joined: 26 Nov 2022

Post 09 Jan 2023

crimsonwarlock wrote:
09 Jan 2023


The best way to understand the power of Blocks is to think of it as a combination of an arrangement system and ghost clips. Most people that don't like Blocks point to the fact that if you start in a sequencer track, you then have to copy/move your clips into a block. But herein lies the actual power of the system. The Blocks arrangement and the normal tracks in the sequencer are active at the same time, acting as two layers of track information (that's why you need to move/copy information). You can continuously edit both the arrangement clips (the blocks) AND the clips that are in the sequencer tracks, on top of the blocks. You can make changes to the arrangement clips without altering stuff that is in the tracks, and the other way around.
The big problem with blocks as implemented in the sequencer is in the UI. It looks and feels like a mask over your sequencer arrangement, like it's taking over everything and locking you into a "blocks or nothing" approach.

If they put a little time into it they could come up with a look and feel that places blocks as a layer under the sequencer.

Think of the difference as the current system being cover on creativity, compared to a better system that works as a foundation for creativity. The first step would be as simple as letting users customize the block overlay transparency to be something much more subtle. Right now it's as subtle as a punch in the face.

If anyone really wants to understand what I'm saying, create a few dummy blocks with different colors. Then layer them on the main sequencer window with regular data. Create a space in between some groups of blocks.

The part of the sequence without blocks on it is much easier to see and understand what is going on. Your eye will be drawn there. It's much less closed and claustrophobic and you don't lose your song to the overlays.. That's one of the big reasons blocks feel restrictive.

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 09 Jan 2023

BeReasonable wrote:
09 Jan 2023
The big problem with blocks as implemented in the sequencer is in the UI. It looks and feels like a mask over your sequencer arrangement, like it's taking over everything and locking you into a "blocks or nothing" approach.
That is personal perception. I see something entirely different: clips in the sequencer are clearly laying on top of the underlying blocks information. I work constantly with blocks as my main composition tool, into arrangements and then with all kinds of stuff added on top in the sequencer. It works like a charm, and I wouldn't change absolutely anything. I really hope Reason Studio leaves Blocks as it is now, it is precisely how I think it should be, a pure genius implementation of a composing and arranging toolbox.
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

User avatar
DaveyG
Posts: 1927
Joined: 03 May 2020

Post 09 Jan 2023

crimsonwarlock wrote:
09 Jan 2023

By the way, the Bitwig/Ableton way is the most rigid way of arranging of all DAWs.
Are you really describing Ableton's Session view as rigid? I get that you love Blocks but there is no need to talk bollocks about other DAWs
If RS could figure a way to get a version of Session view into Reason it would be an absolutely killer update.

(I've been trying to get a Blocks/Bollocks pun thing going on but I can't quite make it work... :D )

BeReasonable
Posts: 43
Joined: 26 Nov 2022

Post 09 Jan 2023

crimsonwarlock wrote:
09 Jan 2023
BeReasonable wrote:
09 Jan 2023
The big problem with blocks as implemented in the sequencer is in the UI. It looks and feels like a mask over your sequencer arrangement, like it's taking over everything and locking you into a "blocks or nothing" approach.
That is personal perception. I see something entirely different: clips in the sequencer are clearly laying on top of the underlying blocks information. I work constantly with blocks as my main composition tool, into arrangements and then with all kinds of stuff added on top in the sequencer. It works like a charm, and I wouldn't change absolutely anything. I really hope Reason Studio leaves Blocks as it is now, it is precisely how I think it should be, a pure genius implementation of a composing and arranging toolbox.
You may like it since you're used to it. But as a UI goes, combined with the reason "this is our way take it or leave it" philosophy, it puts people off. Giving users the ability to make it more friendly for them would harm you in no way.

If you gave a complete reason newb a sequencer window a regular view and one cluttered with blocks, most of them would say that the blocks version looks cluttered, because it simply does. Not a personal preference thing either, just basic facts - the more stuff you put in a space, the more cluttered it looks and feels. To get around it they have to give users the ability to lessen the clutter to meet their preferences.

User avatar
jam-s
Posts: 2499
Joined: 17 Apr 2015
Location: Aachen, Germany

Post 09 Jan 2023

I think most people who have a problem with blocks to build up a track have not realised, that for it to get really good you should use the razor tool to cut the block in smaller parts after sketching out the basic track structure. Then you can use the mute tool to mute parts of the full arrangement from the block easily. Then just sprinkle some FX, automation and some modified clips on top of this in song mode and a track is arranged real quick.

User avatar
jam-s
Posts: 2499
Joined: 17 Apr 2015
Location: Aachen, Germany

Post 09 Jan 2023

BeReasonable wrote:
09 Jan 2023
If you gave a complete reason newb a sequencer window a regular view and one cluttered with blocks, most of them would say that the blocks version looks cluttered, because it simply does. Not a personal preference thing either, just basic facts - the more stuff you put in a space, the more cluttered it looks and feels. To get around it they have to give users the ability to lessen the clutter to meet their preferences.
I don't think it looks cluttered, but realistic. As the content from the block IS playing just like any clip on top unless you mute it.

robussc
Posts: 116
Joined: 03 May 2022

Post 09 Jan 2023

I think having some markers would be cool. That way you could create different block arrangements on the sequencer timeline, mark the start points and then jump to them as you try different arrangements.
Reason user since about version 2! Getting back into making music after too long a hiatus.

User avatar
crimsonwarlock
Posts: 1229
Joined: 06 Nov 2021
Location: Close to the Edge

Post 09 Jan 2023

DaveyG wrote:
09 Jan 2023
crimsonwarlock wrote:
09 Jan 2023

By the way, the Bitwig/Ableton way is the most rigid way of arranging of all DAWs.
Are you really describing Ableton's Session view as rigid? I get that you love Blocks but there is no need to talk bollocks about other DAWs
If RS could figure a way to get a version of Session view into Reason it would be an absolutely killer update.

(I've been trying to get a Blocks/Bollocks pun thing going on but I can't quite make it work... :D )
I got the pun :lol:

But I wasn't talking about session view, I was talking about the fact that you export the session to the arrangement view, and it becomes a static arrangement. If you want to change that, you have to go back to session view, make a new arrangement that exports to the arrangement view, replacing your previous arrangement. Yep, I call that rigid. In Bitwig (which works the same) they even call it 'burn down to arrangement', I mean, even their naming says it is rigid :puf_wink:

I don't need something like session view in Ableton, but I can see how people use that.
jam-s wrote:
09 Jan 2023
I think most people who have a problem with blocks to build up a track have not realised, that for it to get really good you should use the razor tool to cut the block in smaller parts after sketching out the basic track structure. Then you can use the mute tool to mute parts of the full arrangement from the block easily. Then just sprinkle some FX, automation and some modified clips on top of this in song mode and a track is arranged real quick.
THIS! :puf_bigsmile:
----
Most users think the reason their requests aren't being met, is because some developer somewhere in a cubical refuses to waive its magic wand.

  • Information
  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 1 guest