This is really a personal decision. Really any DAW will be capable, alot depends on your mindset and workflow. To me ones with the most similar workflow to Reason would be:Arrant wrote: ↑18 Sep 2021R12 has come along and it has some decent features but if the browser is not fixed I am forced to move to another DAW or keep using R11 forever.
For those of you who have already moved or are investigating the options, which competing DAW did you move to or recommend?
Look at it from a perspective of having a long history of Reason projects that you want to move over and keep working on, probably using the Reason Rack Plugin (R11).
Logic is not an option here since it's Mac only (Yes, I still carry a grudge against Apple for this).
1. Studio One (Studio One sort of feels like Reason if they decided to upgrade their sequencer. Many of the basic sequencer key commands are similar to Reason. Studio One while it lacks a SSL mixer does have analog mixer emulation and IMO is one of the better programs for mixing. It also has a version of Melodyne built in, so it will have Reason's Pitch edit functionality. Studio One also has a version of Blocks and Drum Sequencer (a more powerful version of the latter)). Studio One lacks the biggest in included instruments. So the Reason Rack would be a good benefit to Studio One's basic Instruments.
2. Cubase (I only listed this because Studio One is based off of Cubase. I also heard Reason's sequencer was based off of Cubase so that might be why I see some simularity. I hear Cubase has one of the best Piano Rolls. Other than that I'm not that experienced.)
3. Reaper (Basically the price is low, so I would definitely try this for $60). For Audio production Reaper is a fully functional DAW that has many great features but the program can get pretty deep and its midi workflow I find a bit "weird" (although it has gotten more powerful over the years, but the midi workflow leaves me scratching my head). Reaper's midi is more powerful than Reason, but if you enjoy Reason's fast workflow style midi sequencing, I'd guess you might not enjoy this one (as the default Reaper settings while they work pretty good for Audio tasks, are pretty strange for midi). That said plenty of people do and I think if you are a tinkerer and love creating custom templates, toolbars, piano Roll tools, keybindings, macros, Graphic GUIs, then Reaper might be the perfect program. Reaper also severely lacks instruments so the Reason Rack would fit nicely here.
4. Cakewalk (Free program. I used to use this. An all around good DAW. Good at a bit of everything. I'd guess it is somewhat similar to Cubase although it might be geared a bit for more audio centric stuff than midi (although it features a fully matured midi editor). This program gets compared against Reaper although I'd wager Sonar's midi is alot more user friendly (but probably alot less customizable but still nontheless customizable). Its a no-brainer though for a Windows user to at least try.
5. Live (One of my favorite programs. Similar to Reason as they both have sort of non-traditional workflows, but Ableton took a whole different direction than Reason). Ableton Suite actually comes with nice instruments, powerful synths, probably even more powerful samplers. Great built-in effects, Max4Live integration which is kind of a mix between Reason Rack Extensions and NI Reaktor. Like Reaktor M4L programming isn't for the faint hearted but there is plenty of great free stuff available, You can have Synths, Audio Effects, Midi Effects, and Utilty devices that can add extra commands to Ableton like being able to chop midi notes a la FL Studio. Also the Push Integration is great. This adds a hardware approach to sequencing to Ableton with a Step Sequencer similar to FL Studio's but on hardware. Ableton was a program with a decent foundation with Session View sequencing but overtime Ableton slowly added to their feature set. About 10 years ago It didn't seem as powerful as other DAWs in terms of Audio (and even Midi) but most of their glaring omissions they have taken huge strides to fixing. Ableton definitely isn't the same DAW it was 10 years ago and it is mostly for the better. Ableton's biggest issue IMO is the price, Suite is very steep, combined with Push and you have the most expensive DAW on the market. And Ableton also lacks ARA functionality. Reason lacks this as well but sort of makes up for it with integrated Pitch editing. That said Ableton is pretty non-traditional and its biggest competitor is Bitwig which is getting alot of steam these days although I haven't really tried it as Ableton alone has about everything. That said without knowing your workflow it would be hard to recommend Ableton as although I love it, I'll admit it's workflow isn't for everyone as many people are turned off on Session View sequencing, Track controls on the right side, no Track Inspector, and it's bland colors (although this can somewhat be changed).
6. FL Studio (Was this even on your list? Honestly I don't get along well with this DAW, but it does actually have pretty good instruments, good effects, and a powerful midi editor, as well as a powerful Audio editor. Similar to Reason and Ableton with non-traditional workflows. FL feels sort of more like a drum machine but a very powerful one. FL is probably responsible for more Trap style songs than anything but many EDM artist also swear by it. FL's piano Roll seems to be more geared for folks who write solely in the piano Roll (where other DAWs, the piano Roll seems to be more geared for editing played in parts). It has a learning curve though as it has plenty of features but stuff seems buried or located in very weird places. I can't vibe with it for some reason.