To Screw or Not to Screw…

This forum is for developers of Rack Extensions to discuss the RE SDK, share code, and offer tips to other developers.
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selig
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Post 16 May 2023

…That is the Question!

I've noticed, at least with Reason instruments, we have long past the point were half had screws and half did not.
So I did a quick comparison of instruments and found 13 used screws and 22 did not (of the Reason instruments I have). So well over half do not use screws and the trend is leading even further in that direction it would seem.
Screen Shot 2023-05-16 at 2.52.59 PM.png
Effects OTOH, are far to the other extreme, with 26 "screwed" effects and only 6 without screws.

Then you have the question of showing rear screws (very uncommon these days). And finally the fact that around half of the Screwless instruments actually DO have screws on the BACK (for example: Mimic, Parsec, Europa, Friction, Algorithm, Kong & HUMANA). File under "things that make you go hmmmmm"...


Comments on the current state of skeuomorphism in general (or specifically in Reason) are welcome from designers and users alike!
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joeyluck
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Post 16 May 2023

Objekt went without screws and did away with the rack rails behind it. Maybe one day they'll do away with the rack and Reason will just be devices on a desktop. Y'all ever used the browser app called Audiotool? Maybe something like that...

But yeah, if it's in a rack, I prefer that it's made to be mounted in some way in the rack, with screws, and rack plates if needed.

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Quarmat
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Post 16 May 2023

They said: 'Reason is the rack'. And one mounts the stuff on the rack by fixing it in some way, and the most obvious way is screws. I really like Objekt's design and obviously a skeuomorphic structure like his doesn't make sense for it to have screws, however other instruments and effects that have all the appearance of a rack device should have screws or some kind of visible attachment. I am also very sorry to see that in the back the power cables have long since disappeared.

Reason is the only skeuomorphic software that works visually and has also made a name for itself by virtue of its emulation (also visual) of a real rack. I don't understand the shift towards a more anonymous style which, quoting Mattias in the Combi 2 livestream, 'breaks the illusion'. Fortunately talented designers like Ekss continue with screws and power cords. I wish RS would also retrace their steps in this regard.

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selig
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Post 16 May 2023

And just in case you missed it, Object DOES use screws in the UI, but they are on the back. Quite a few instruments are done this way, which TOTALLY makes no sense. Why would you NEED screws to attach the back panel but NOT to attach the entire device? I'm open to there being SOME sort of logic behind this decision.
And while it hardly keeps me up at night, I do wonder what the consensus will be - I'm guessing around 50/50 care/don't care. In fact I'm not 100% which side I'm on at this point. I care, but I don't care!
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avasopht
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Post 16 May 2023

Maybe the screws are connected to the rack by wifi

Bes
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Post 16 May 2023

Rack Tray RE

coming April 01

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SebAudio
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Post 16 May 2023

To screw !

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Aosta
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Post 16 May 2023

avasopht wrote:
16 May 2023
Maybe the screws are connected to the rack by wifi
Well it certainly isn't Screwtooth :think:
Tend the flame

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joeyluck
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Post 16 May 2023

They should maybe just get rid of the metal rack rails? There are some devices that don't show rack rails on the back either. It's as if the rack rails (if they are there somewhere) are sandwiched by the front and back plates of the device.

Rad Piano and Rad Keys are examples of this.

Funny that Objekt shows the rack rails on the back, but no rails shown on the front.

And any RE that tries to incorporate the rails in the design, there's always a clear start and end to the rails included with the RE and the rails that are a part of Reason because of whatever shading. Maybe just get rid of the metal rails?

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visheshl
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Post 16 May 2023

Im on the don't care side of things as of now. Im more interested in can it make the sound i want it to as this moment.
As a teen the rack emulation concept was very appealing.
And it was more exciting to flip the rack, and play with the cables, or unscrew that subtractor screw.

the good thing about reason rack is that its a mix of allsorts of devices in all kinds of ui design...so it doesn't draw attention that a lot of them don't follow the concept to the t.
For me its more important for new devices to be intuitive to use. Objekt seems well designed in that sense. Its ok if its missing a few screws, we can use duct tape. 😂

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DaveyG
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Post 17 May 2023

It's not something that hugely bothers me but if we have a rack paradigm then my preference would be to have screws. I personally think the whole rack thing is becoming a bit of a constraint and might even put off some newbies - 19" racks are immensely practical and useful in a studio but they have never been good-looking or inspirational and there are now several generations of musicians who work almost exclusively in the box and rarely, if ever, deal with anything in a rack.

Objekt makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to look like it belongs in the rack apart from being the correct width. If it was hardware it would be in a plastic case and sitting on a desktop and I doubt they would supply rack ears with it. Does it matter? To me, not so much. To others, maybe.

Jac459
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Post 17 May 2023

My feeling is that now they use a sort of glue that allow not to screw anymore. Or maybe it is magnets?

I am firmly in the side of don't care but as I am using reason through RRP, I can say I am generally really happy to open the rack and find all these colourful instruments... and objekt is a blast obviously.
Bitwig and RRP fanboy...

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Murf
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Post 17 May 2023

I am all for the screws.
And the rack stuff :)

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Loque
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Post 17 May 2023

Screws, clamps, sticks, pins, i like them all and hope for more creativity and variety.

I never saw a screw-nut on the backside 🤔

I would do more interesting screws and variations for Combinators too, but i am sucker in painting screws and stuff...
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avasopht
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Post 17 May 2023

Loque wrote:
17 May 2023
Screws, clamps, sticks, pins, i like them all and hope for more creativity and variety.
This needs to happen.

I'd buy an RE just to have something duck taped to the rack 🤣

But seriously, no need to be cute, ... respect the rack!

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Loque
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Post 17 May 2023

avasopht wrote:
17 May 2023
...
I'd buy an RE just to have something duck taped to the rack 🤣
...
YES :clap: :thumbup: :thumbs_up:
ned-flanders-duct-tape.gif
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Ahornberg
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Post 17 May 2023

Good old Subtractor has real screws thst can be unscrewed.

raffito9
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Post 17 May 2023

Ahornberg wrote:
17 May 2023
Good old Subtractor has real screws thst can be unscrewed.
I had to open Reason to find out this wasn't a joke. Funny moment :thumbup:

It also seems the only device where this is possible. Didn't check 'em all.

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Ahornberg
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Post 17 May 2023

AFAIK it's only Subtractor.

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selig
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Post 17 May 2023

DaveyG wrote:
17 May 2023
It's not something that hugely bothers me but if we have a rack paradigm then my preference would be to have screws. I personally think the whole rack thing is becoming a bit of a constraint and might even put off some newbies - 19" racks are immensely practical and useful in a studio but they have never been good-looking or inspirational and there are now several generations of musicians who work almost exclusively in the box and rarely, if ever, deal with anything in a rack.

Objekt makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to look like it belongs in the rack apart from being the correct width. If it was hardware it would be in a plastic case and sitting on a desktop and I doubt they would supply rack ears with it. Does it matter? To me, not so much. To others, maybe.
The idea of “newbies being put off by the rack” makes me aware of all the instruments/FX that DON’T traditionally go in a rack. Thinking about all the drum machines, groove boxes, table top FX devices, not to mention guitar pedals and ‘pocket’ devices. None of these were considered as a part of the Reason eco system, just the rack. Tool late now, for sure, but would have been interesting to see how all of those types of devices could have been included.

Meaning, there are probably plenty of newbs who have seen and worked with table top devices but not rack mounted devices. Is this a missed opportunity, or is it simply too little too late?
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Loque
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Post 17 May 2023

selig wrote:
17 May 2023
... but would have been interesting to see how all of those types of devices could have been included.
...
Screw(!) them on a wood board and install in the rack. Job done.
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Ahornberg
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Post 17 May 2023

IMO the Reason Rack is mostly about eye-candy (the same goes for VCV Rack). When I compare both to Ableton stock devices or Bitwig Grid, I really enjoy the look of Reason (and VCV) Rack.

On the other hand, I feel that systems with non-skeuomorphic designs (like Ableton and Bitwig) are easier to understand in the first place.

But my eyes want to have fun, so I enjoy the Reason Rack (and of course VCV).

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selig
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Post 17 May 2023

Ahornberg wrote:
17 May 2023
IMO the Reason Rack is mostly about eye-candy (the same goes for VCV Rack). When I compare both to Ableton stock devices or Bitwig Grid, I really enjoy the look of Reason (and VCV) Rack.

On the other hand, I feel that systems with non-skeuomorphic designs (like Ableton and Bitwig) are easier to understand in the first place.

But my eyes want to have fun, so I enjoy the Reason Rack (and of course VCV).
I agree, but is it ONLY eye candy? For example, in a large setup having each device have it’s own unique visual identity means you can find stuff very quickly. Contrast to Live, where every native device is grey/teal/orange with similar knobs etc. Even on a big console such as SSL where there is a lot of design consistency, multiple colors are used to group controls for quick identification.

I’m not saying Reason’s approach is the only way to take advantage of concepts like this, just that in general I prefer this approach over a limited although consistent color pallet.

However, it IS extremely interesting to me how many of us ‘admit’ even on a small level to being drawn to the “fun factor” of Reason, of which I can only assume is at least in part influenced by their skeuomorphic approach to design. I will admit some of the fun comes from the freedom to patch almost anything to anywhere, which I know is important due to how much I miss it when working in other DAWs!

Thoughts? What specifically can you identify as contributing to Reason’s “fun factor” for you?
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Quarmat
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Post 17 May 2023

selig wrote:
17 May 2023
Thoughts? What specifically can you identify as contributing to Reason’s “fun factor” for you?
As a Reason user for more than 20 years, I can say that the design, the colours, the font used for the name and knob labels, the back with fans, heatsinks, power cords, QC stickers and serial numbers make each of the Reason devices (especially those from the first 10 years) true icons with TONS of personality. As Selig rightly said, in other DAWs the stock devices are anonymous and all the same. Whereas in Reason they are tangible, recognisable, unmistakable presences. For me this is a huge fun factor: sometimes I open the rack just to look at the devices. From my point of view, they are rock stars. A t-shirt with Thor's logo or a cap with ReDrum's logo have a wearability that no other DAW can boast. And that's something RS should capitalise on, beyond the pack of goodies for Reason's 20, which I've been using for self-produced merchandise.

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bxbrkrz
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Post 17 May 2023

Quarmat wrote:
17 May 2023
selig wrote:
17 May 2023
Thoughts? What specifically can you identify as contributing to Reason’s “fun factor” for you?
As a Reason user for more than 20 years, I can say that the design, the colours, the font used for the name and knob labels, the back with fans, heatsinks, power cords, QC stickers and serial numbers make each of the Reason devices (especially those from the first 10 years) true icons with TONS of personality. As Selig rightly said, in other DAWs the stock devices are anonymous and all the same. Whereas in Reason they are tangible, recognisable, unmistakable presences. For me this is a huge fun factor: sometimes I open the rack just to look at the devices. From my point of view, they are rock stars. A t-shirt with Thor's logo or a cap with ReDrum's logo have a wearability that no other DAW can boast. And that's something RS should capitalise on, beyond the pack of goodies for Reason's 20, which I've been using for self-produced merchandise.
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