Reason and Huge Track Counts

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Benedict
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Hi

Does anyone have any experience with Reason and high Track-count mixes (80+ Tracks)?

I have been doing high-track count mixes for a client for a while. Approx 70 tracks are normal for him. He has one Song at 125 Tracks and apparently one to come at 200 Tracks. I have had nothing but trouble with this 125 Track mix.

Image
6.66 GB Audio File on save, File approx 7.3BG

The files seem fine when I start and drag in and arrange all the files to Buses etc. Will even open and seem fine. Until the client arrives to get to work when it won't play and the Disc Can't Cope Warning lights up. My options seem to be it is:
  • a) a corrupted file that generally behaves but has some sort of "leak" that means the disc IO won't cope or
    b) Reason just isn't designed for this work.
Thanks for anyone who has experience in this arena or would that be stadium (not sure which is bigger)?

:-)

p.s. It is not likely to be my machine as it is still pretty new and the very same 125 tracks dragged into the Mixbus Demo seem to flow easy as peasy.

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Benedict
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Post 13 Sep 2021

UPDATE:

Whilst writing this post I was dragging the 125 tracks + Guide Mix into a whole new Reason File - 10 Stems at a time - and saved it off. I got to play it for a few seconds and then silence. The Blue Disc light is on again which indicates that it is a Reason thing as this is new file:

Maybe Reason is:
1. not capable of doing this sort of serious work
2. there is a memory leak or similar

:-(

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utdgrant
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Out of interest, what is the sample rate and bit-depth of these stem files? What is the sample rate of your Reason session?
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guitfnky
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Post 13 Sep 2021

are you using SSDs or spinning hard disks? with that number of tracks you might need a faster hard drive. and probably as much RAM as you can throw at it.
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rootwheel
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Benedict wrote:
13 Sep 2021
Hi

Does anyone have any experience with Reason and high Track-count mixes (80+ Tracks)?

I have been doing high-track count mixes for a client for a while. Approx 70 tracks are normal for him. He has one Song at 125 Tracks and apparently one to come at 200 Tracks. I have had nothing but trouble with this 125 Track mix.

Image
6.66 GB Audio File on save, File approx 7.3BG

The files seem fine when I start and drag in and arrange all the files to Buses etc. Will even open and seem fine. Until the client arrives to get to work when it won't play and the Disc Can't Cope Warning lights up. My options seem to be it is:
  • a) a corrupted file that generally behaves but has some sort of "leak" that means the disc IO won't cope or
    b) Reason just isn't designed for this work.
Thanks for anyone who has experience in this arena or would that be stadium (not sure which is bigger)?

:-)

p.s. It is not likely to be my machine as it is still pretty new and the very same 125 tracks dragged into the Mixbus Demo seem to flow easy as peasy.
From experience I have noticed in the past that there's a certain threshold of track count where once you go over it Reason starts to really slow down exponentially. I think it's something in the SSL mixer code because for each new channel created it just takes longer and longer to show up in the song until eventually adding another channel just doesn't even happen and the whole song seems to lock up.

As a result I try to never go above around 80 channels.

You may need to use another DAW first to bus down the channel count and create more workable stems that Reason can handle without problems arising...

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esselfortium
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Post 13 Sep 2021

I've had a lot of trouble with large (MIDI) track counts, including frequent sequencer lockups and crashes when the number is high enough. Very frustrating.

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selig
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Biggest I’ve done in Reason was just over 50 tracks, came in at 96kHz on as SSD, which played fine but I converted to 48 kHz for the mix JIK…
Reason ran smoothly on my 2015 iMac, which was good because it was a VERY quick turn around for a big client!
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PhillipOrdonez
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Just out of curiosity, have you tried disabling stretch on all the tracks? If it works, it could be a neat temporary solution.

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fullforce
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Benedict wrote:
13 Sep 2021
6.66 GB
Oh dear. :twisted:
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MixerJaexx
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Maybe you could have a fast computer and it’s just Reason. But… regarding running something from an SSD, as other’s have mentioned, is outdated. You need to be concerning yourself with not if you’re running Reason from an SSD but what kind of connection you’re running it with. In short? You should be connecting with as fast of connection as possible, such as (if using a desktop) using NVME and an equally fast drive. Amazon’s your fiend as reviewers post disk performance claims. Find one of the fastest drives within your size and budget.

But what if you’re using a laptop? Well, let the forum posters fight it out regarding goofy add-ons. But for buying something new? If you’re fine with the Apple ecosystem, Apple M1 contains the CPU, GPU, RAM and hard drives all on the same chip to achieve incredible speeds.

And hey, M1’s make Reason look good…
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r2101
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Post 13 Sep 2021

i am afraid reason is not really well suited for xxl-sized projects. reaper might be interesting for that kind of work, that is if you can stomach the somewhat different gui... performance wise it should run circles around everything else.

i was using relatively large project templates for a while in reason 11 and navigation and responsiveness became rather excentric after a certain track count, like others reported aswell.

one thing to keep in mind is that you could always try to install an older version of reason with audio track support on the same machine. these should perform better, of course with reduced functionality.

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Benedict
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Hmm, thanks for this. I have let Support know but honestly don't expect a useful answer, hence why posting here.

Reaper and I do not get on:


I have a pretty new machine and seeing these 125 tracks ran smoothly in Mixbus. AND later in the day it all seemed to be running fine in Reason again, I don't think that it is a simple as not liking my D Drive.

:-)

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Aquila
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Post 13 Sep 2021

I seem to recall a prominent user mentioning Reason loads audio files into RAM rather than streaming direct from disk.

From my experience mixing client projects involving 30-60 tracks, I observed Reason's "calc" icon slowly loading for the first couple of minutes after opening a song. So, have you waited long enough to see if Reason loads the entire project into memory?

Also, Windows can sometimes needlessly start using the pagefile instead of actual RAM. It could be causing a bottleneck as it tries to swap data between the system disk and RAM. If you have sufficient RAM (ie 32GB or higher) you could try disabling the pagefile and see if that improves anything.

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r2101
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Post 13 Sep 2021

well yeah... reaper is kinda polarizing. it works for some and for others not so well, and i totally agree it is as complicated as powerful :)

but... i have one more :)

what about...

https://zynewave.com/podium/screenshots/

?

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MarkTarlton
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Post 13 Sep 2021

Yeah you have to wait for the calculation to do it's thing before the mixing can start, not sure if that was part of it. I just did a test and imported 130 plus tracks into a R10 session with no effects but enabled EQ on in the mixer, so just audio and my dsp was idling around 1 bar, when I hit play after waiting over 15 minutes for it to calculate it went up about half way. This isn't exactly real world results without actually mixing it, but as a quick test that's what happened.

My system is a mid 2012 macbook pro I7 with 8gb ram, so it's very old at this point. If I was to use a lot of VST's or effects like Reverb I would choke it up pretty fast on a session this big. But if I only had to use the SSL EQ, Pan and level I could make it work.

I actually find using other DAW's much easier on large mixing projects, and stick with R10 when I need to do musical tasks like synths or drum machine programming, I'll bounce that out and mix in another DAW.

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marcuswitt
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Post 14 Sep 2021

Benedict wrote:
13 Sep 2021
Hi

Does anyone have any experience with Reason and high Track-count mixes (80+ Tracks)?

I have been doing high-track count mixes for a client for a while. Approx 70 tracks are normal for him. He has one Song at 125 Tracks and apparently one to come at 200 Tracks. I have had nothing but trouble with this 125 Track mix.

Image
6.66 GB Audio File on save, File approx 7.3BG

The files seem fine when I start and drag in and arrange all the files to Buses etc. Will even open and seem fine. Until the client arrives to get to work when it won't play and the Disc Can't Cope Warning lights up. My options seem to be it is:
  • a) a corrupted file that generally behaves but has some sort of "leak" that means the disc IO won't cope or
    b) Reason just isn't designed for this work.
Thanks for anyone who has experience in this arena or would that be stadium (not sure which is bigger)?

:-)

p.s. It is not likely to be my machine as it is still pretty new and the very same 125 tracks dragged into the Mixbus Demo seem to flow easy as peasy.
Hi Benedict,

my advice is to change Reason's Preference "Scratch Disk" to the fastest storage medium that you have at your disposal. And as Mark Tarlton has mentioned, it often takes Reason quite a while to analyze all imported audio files. The highest track count I had to deal with is 136 (mono tracks), whereof the the Reason song file was stored on a different SSD than the the "scratch" files. I had no problems by utilizing that method, i.e. neither dropouts nor performance issues have occurred.

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QVprod
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Post 14 Sep 2021

Like other said, it's likely the calculation. It. takes a while since Reason copies all the files and then analyzes them all. It's not the fastest process. I've had similar happen to me in Studio One when time stretching tracks to a new tempo.

Mixbus and all other DAWs just read the files from the original location, so there's not much processing that needs happen. It's the downside to using Reason for audio. It wasn't optimally built for it. For audio that's directly recorded in Reason on the other hand, you won't likely have this issue.

MuttReason
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Post 14 Sep 2021

I love using Reason (DAW and RRP) and can get a lot done in it, but I have to say I’d personally be wary of running a project with so many tracks in Reason. I think of DAWs a bit like I think of my bass guitars…. they each have particular characteristics, and they each do some things well, and others less well. I’d turn to something like ProTools, Luna or Logic for a mega track monster (or Mixbus, which you’re already using). Reason is my joyous crazy rack and grooves DAW but I’d never think of it as the optimum tool for a massive audio mix like the one you’re describing (nor would I use Ableton for a task like that either, for the same reason). The lack of track folders and limits on mixer layout would be a problem for me, apart from anything else… personally I’d really struggle to navigate around the arrangement with that many tracks, even without disk errors etc.

That’s not to say that Reason *cannot* do this (and I’m certainly not saying it’s wrong for the task in your case… whatever works for you, works, clearly) but I think you’re probably pushing right at the edge of what can reliably be done with this software… IMHO. And if we’re talking about v12, if the worries expressed on this board are any guide, it’s pushing it to get much past a dozen tracks at the moment (at least until the RS cavalry appear over the hill and, er, fix the bugs they shouldn’t have let through in the first place…).

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joeyluck
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Post 14 Sep 2021

I was blown away by the demonstrations of Logic and the number of tracks it can handle BEFORE the M1. After that, what I've seen is insane. I would definitely consider Logic or something else for such large projects. Although I think Benedict is on Windows?

I know graphic processing is now offloaded to the GPU with R12, but I do wonder if some of the animation is still a culprit for such large projects? I mean we have meters in both the mixer and rack running with no way to hide a single channel and its meter. I wonder if an option to have meter animation only in the mixer would make a difference? Or any little adjustments like that where it might seem minimal for average tracks, but could really add up with 200 tracks? Maybe track folders and being able to hide channels would help?

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Benedict
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Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 14 Sep 2021

I did wonder over a processing lag but not so. Or if it is, it is beyond usable. Besides, I have no spinny thing. Only the blue Drive Unhappy warning when it balks.

I started a whole new Reason +126 Audio Tracks project with a restarted machine and it is working - not that I have tried actually mixing yet. This morning I loaded the older file which played for a few secs and then stiffed. Then I launched the new project and after the waveforms appeared hit play and it seems fine. This still makes me feel that after a certain amount of session data, Reason breaks and saves that break into the project so it is curtains. If you can prevent that break, it is fine but if not the fail is inevitable. I worked out how to avoid the break with podcast editing by cutting to shorter sections and then constant render/bouncing every 5 mins - and then bouncing to the template at the end. A bit annoying and 1999 but works. Seeing I am not yet sure what causes the break in the Song Mix, it is hard to avoid.

Yes, Windows only. I cast off the shackles of my Apple affliction decades ago. That said Logic does look pretty spiffy these days. If only it didn't require a boat anchor as a dongle LOL

I just had Mixbus there for a review so wondered what would happen to see if it was a drive thing. Harrison Mixbus will NOT be with me long as the more I look at this the more they look like a flim-flam operation overall (I'm not the only one asking this Q - even Dan Worral has entered that fray but that is a whole other conversation).

Is Podium still a going concern? Ooh, last release 2018 seems not so. While it may be cool, I can't gamble with paid work on a dead platform.
That leaves me at Cubase (still with the dongle), Studio One, or Bitwig if Reason is not the right tool for this kind of work (ProFools would probably be tres solid too but their sales model leaves me cold).

A lack of engagement from RS is not reassuring. If they need to say "not us for this sort of work" they could do so privately and I would respect that and not blabber ;-)

:-)

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Loque
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Post 14 Sep 2021

Could be a bug by a number overflow. Typical sizes are around 2 or 4GB. If any file or the whole project exceed this limit and than the problems appear, it's suspicious.

Maybe it's the count of something, like more than 32, 64, 128 and so on.
:reason: 11, Win10 64Bit.

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thefixr
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Post 14 Sep 2021

Benedict wrote:
14 Sep 2021
I worked out how to avoid the break with podcast editing by cutting to shorter sections and then constant render/bouncing every 5 mins - and then bouncing to the template at the end. A bit annoying and 1999 but works.
I too have done a lot of podcast producing and editing in the past and what I found that helps avoid having things grind to a halt when you are doing a lot of edits is to use the "Delete Unused Recordings" edit option. This essentially cleans up the duplication of audio files. What I do is every 10 to 20 edits I will highlight all audio clips, right click and choose Delete Unused Recordings.
YouTube.com/iamthefixr

MuttReason
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Post 15 Sep 2021

Thinking more about this, the DAW options for mega-large audio track mixes are pretty limited because the target sales market for people who want to run dozens of audio tracks in a mix is also pretty limited. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of the target market for all DAWs will be working on fairly simple songs with maybe a dozen or two dozen instruments/tracks at most.

This might be a false memory on my part, but in the early days of digital audio editing there seemed to be more high-end professional platforms in the market designed for big complex mixes than there are today, including SADiE, Radar and Soundscape. ProTools kind of ate everything else up I guess.

I only ever really see PT and Logic in studios now, plus Ableton sometimes as a second DAW. Mixbus looks interesting but like the OP I'm not sure about it long term. I like Luna a lot (it's been built as a PT competitor and has a beautiful UI and many clever features) but you have to buy into the whole UAD universe as well as the Apple universe, and it's also fairly buggy and CPU-intensive IME (although getting better with every month that passes).

Reason is wonderful (of course...) but doesn't have that professional user mass. Current marketing focused on bedroom producers won't help that either (although is commercially correct of course.... way more producers in bedrooms than people sitting in high-end studios... )

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Benedict
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Post 15 Sep 2021

I think that is it Mr Loque - once over a certain size/complexity the file structure can't keep up and corrupts. My file is over 7GB already. I would rather Devs be honest if it is the case and set some limits like 99 Tracks or be honorable about their claims and make more robust systems that don't crack under serious use.

That is a thing to consider with the de-duplicating move.

Yes I agree that while stability and true professionalism used to be what drove the market (with lightweights like Fruity and Home Studio in the amateur market) it is now driven by the amateur market, only it pretends to levels of pro-ness that exceed ProTools! Harrison seems the poster child for that right now. Sadly Reason seems to be vying for their crown :-(

Still nothing back from Reason. Maybe I should use that annoying logging version and make it crack so they can see it. Even tho I have sent videos of these things happening which prove that there is something up. Something they should be able to stress-test and replicate themselves.

:-)

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Loque
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Post 15 Sep 2021

Benedict wrote:
15 Sep 2021
I think that is it Mr Loque - once over a certain size/complexity the file structure can't keep up and corrupts. My file is over 7GB already. I would rather Devs be honest if it is the case and set some limits like 99 Tracks or be honorable about their claims and make more robust systems that don't crack under serious use.

That is a thing to consider with the de-duplicating move.

Yes I agree that while stability and true professionalism used to be what drove the market (with lightweights like Fruity and Home Studio in the amateur market) it is now driven by the amateur market, only it pretends to levels of pro-ness that exceed ProTools! Harrison seems the poster child for that right now. Sadly Reason seems to be vying for their crown :-(

Still nothing back from Reason. Maybe I should use that annoying logging version and make it crack so they can see it. Even tho I have sent videos of these things happening which prove that there is something up. Something they should be able to stress-test and replicate themselves.

:-)
If it's crashing, than there might be a crash dump in the logs folder or maybe at %localappdata%\crashdumps.

Another way to get the dump if Reason hangs is by using the task manager.

You can also try the free Visual Studio version if you can work with such tools.

Bugs are fairly easy to create. In case of a number overflow it can be enough to forget a unsigbed type declaration or to forget the limits of numbers when making calculations. I bet 95% of devs are not aware that using an expression like "x=a+b" can be a quite complex problem.
:reason: 11, Win10 64Bit.

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