Rack Extensions VS Refills

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Post 20 Mar 2015

The release of the recent rig bundles spawned this topic.
I value Rack Extension far more than Refills.  When I initially looked at the 3 different rigs that were being offered (Backline, Outboard and Synthetic) I immediately thought the Outboard and Synthetic are offering the most value for the money.  When I thought about it further, I decided it is because they consist of 100% Rack Extensions; you get 16 REs for $199.  With the Backline Rig bundle you get 10 REs and the rest is refills.  To me, refills do not feel as valuable.  Is it because you must have a license to run/use the RE, but the refills do not require that?  Is it because refills are the original (ie older technology), and REs are the new exciting thing?  Is it because REs are more versatile and easier to tweak/sculpt a sound?  I don't know the exact reason, it just feels like REs are a better value. 

Of course, this might all change if the Props go belly-up and the Prop servers go down.  Scary thought to many of us.  Then Refills will be dominant over REs.

What do you guys think?
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Post 20 Mar 2015

I think you are seeing it the wrong way (or from a very narrow point of view).

First and foremost, refills are not only for reason standard devices, they also are the way you store and distribute patches for every device in reason including RE's (you can of course state there are not refills for RE's in the packages).

Secondly, some of the refills in the Packages, cope to today's standards of sampling, and sound design. For example, you don't have any RE for natural sounding drums, nor Basses, and the Reason Electric Bass and Reason Drums 2, are great products by any current standards rivaling VST's, and Sample Packages from other great developers, inside or outside reason world.

Also Reason Pianos (i actually don't know if it is included in any of the packages ) is, IMHO way more natural sounding than Reason Radical Piano. It's an opinion of course but i remember trying Radical Pianos, and  comparing it to my favorite RPi Patches and automatically gave it up!

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Post 20 Mar 2015

Refill vs Re and which is more important to you will depend on the individual.  I think Re draw a greater crowd because it's the "new" thing but the largest difference is how it's packaged really.  Very few Refills target effect devices though I have seen one or two.... Nucleus Sound Labs comes to mind.  But in that form it's only things you could do if you had the know how to put together good combinations. 

For most people they are patch browsers from instruments to effects.  So what would really make the difference between either?  I know there are many that buy Antidote which is an incredibly capable synth only to want to get more patches.  Predator the same thing.  People go gaga over the fact that it has 4000 patches because most people that is what they want.  So would it make a difference if the Electric Bass Refill was a refill or an Re?  I don't think it would really but most people would gravitate towards an Re version. 

Re allows for a front end to make quick changes to an instrument.  Look at Rad Pianos and ReTron for example.  They are clearly sample based and you are tweaking them to specific elements that the designer chooses for you.  That is convenient.  however, say a refill you get everything broken down for you in groups, by instruments and by samples.  You have a ton of material to build your own stuff on which may be something you would care to do.

The Backline Rig certainly appeals to a natural studio musician.  It is not synth based and more for those who want to produce R&B, Jazz, Funk, Rock, Country...etc.  If you are a musician who likes electronic music this obviously less appeal.   The refills in that group I own most of and are great.  There is yet to be a Re that does what they do.  If the natural studio sound is your style you may give strong consideration to this.

I cam across this little ditty I made shortly after the Electric Bass refill came out.  It is a funk tune with a very busy Booty Collins style bass.  Not the greatest track but you may want to check it out.  The bass is really great sounding and convincing.

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Post 20 Mar 2015

I still like a good refill, and continue to buy them on occasion.  I prefer RE's when they are unique instruments or effect devices (as opposed to a refill being either: 1. a reordering/Combi of existing native Reason instruments/effects or 2. patches/Combi for RE instruments, effects, etc that also utilize native Reason devices/a combination of 1 & 2).  I prefer #2 often.  

From a dev's standpoint, refills are a risk as they are easily pirated.  That said, the investment needed to do an RE is astronomically high in comparison to packing a refill, unless you are able to do all of the coding and GUI design yourself (and even then, it's time invested).  IDT seems like the best alternative for refill designers, as they are much easier to do (apparently, although they do face their own challenges when designing).  

From a consumer standpoint, RE's are obviously more exciting.  You get personalized GUI's and function instead of the same Combinator skin/GUI we've been staring at for a decade.
Win 10 | Reason 11 |  Studio One 4.5 | i7 3770k @ 3.5 Ghz | 16 GB RAM | Reactor 1TB SSD | RME Babyface Pro | Nektar Panorama P-4 | Akai MPC Live | Roland System 8 and System 1 | Roland TR-8 with 7x7 Expansion | Roland TB-3 | Roland VT-4 | Roland MX-1

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