March 15, 2008

Reason 4

So, my live set! Its going... meh actually, I'm still adjusting to Reason 4, and the Thor synthesizer is scary-crazy looking. I've used Reason 3 in the past, so I'm familiar with the software, and for the most part it's unchanged in 4, but my Reason 3 tracks were all house-glitch-tech-techno music, and I'm trying for a more energetic (Read: Good) sound more in the style of Ghostland Observatory.

Just for you, I'm writing a first impressions reviewish thing of the software. Check below the fold.

First of all lets start with the returning feature. Reason 4 still has everything Reason 3 had, so if you tried liked Reason 3, you'll like Reason 4.

MIDI Support: Reason 4's MIDI support is fantastic, you can control anything on the machines easily with a MIDI keyboard. (Though obviously you won't have great control over certain knobs).

The combinator: I've never used this thing to a large degree, its mostly an organizational tool, especially useful for saving large, customized instruments. It is not anything great, but it is occasionally useful.

Subtractor and Graintable synths: The Subtractor synth is a standard subtractor synth. I don't like it much, it isn't nearly powerful enough to justify its complexity, just listening to some of the presets suggests you can't get to much out of it. I suppose if you had a joystiq and a MIDI keyboard you could use it for some good synth solos, but Reason either needs to make this synth more powerful and easier to use, or add a nice 3x Oscillator synth, because this synth just doesn't get its job done. 
    The Graintable on the other hand is brilliant. Though I have to admit I've never used any Graintable other than Reason's, so I might just not realize it sucks. It's pretty easy to use, and it is fairly powerful, though it has its limits. Basically it lets you combine to sounds to create a more complex sound, kinda like combining colors to get the color you want. It really excels at making Synth pads.

NN samplers: There are two samplers, the standard and the Advanced. Basically the standard samples a single file, while the Advanced lets you set up elaborate multi-sample stuff. They're samplers... not much else to say.

Dr Rex Loop Machine: Loop machine... that is it. Pretty good actually.

ReDrum Drum Machine: Friggin brilliance. It has some minor inflexibilities, but it is a straight up Drum Machine, very to the point. I would like it if the velocity choices were more numerous than soft, moderate, and hard, and trust me, this is a big complaint, but otherwise it is fantastic. Pretty much the driving force behind Reason.

The Mastering Tools: I never really used these, partially because I like a raw, naturalish sound, but mostly because I'm more comfortable mastering stuff in Acid Pro, or FL Studio.They seem powerful from looking at them though...

Advanced Reverb: Fantastic, easy to use and figure out. Reverbs are pretty much awesome.

Scream 4: This thing is utterly insane. It's easy to learn, hard to master. I love it, but it takes some getting use to. Probably the best distortion effect machine I've ever seen. Scream 4 is highly versatile, and there is very little that couldn't benefit from a carefully balanced Scream 4.

Vocoder: I've never been able to get this damn thing to work.

Other Effects: A simpler reverb, flangers and LFO's, phasers and what not. I don't like the LFO much. Also comes with the Unison. I'm not sure what exactly it does, but I like it! I use it to combine several sounds into a single output so I can route them easier.


Thor: Scary scary scary. This thing is very scary!. It sounds a lot like the DX10 in FL Studio, but it is far more intermediating. Listening to some of the presets, it is fairly powerful, though it always has this kind of bellish sound to it, hence the DX10 comparsion. I can't make out much of it.... hard as hell to figure out.  It has a built in sequencer which I would call powerful if not for one painful oversight, you can only have one pattern store at a time! I haven't spent enough time with it to say to much, but it seems like it probably would have been better off with an interface more like DX10, far simpler but from what I've heard at least as powerful.

Matrix Sequencer: Hurrah they replaced that horrible sequencer from Reason 3! Booh! This one sucks almost as much! So much wrong with it! Just perverse!

Arpeggitator (Damn I can't spell it!) : I only *think* this is new, I'm not 100% certain. I can't get it to work for the life of me!

New track sequencer: This isn't the same as the machine sequencer BTW... It is shinier, and easier to see the buttons, but the differences seem fairly aesthetic in nature, it is easier to make out and use though...

ALL TOGETHER: Reason 4 is very good for live music, especially with the powerful ReDrum and easy to configure MIDI support. It really isn't that much of an improvement over Reason 3 however. It does come with more samples... and it is prettier! If you want to do live music beyond a single synth keyboard, it is fantastic. However, if you just want a Synth workshop download Psycle for free, or use FL studio, I know Reason is supposed to be a synth workshop, but if you are just going to be playing a synth on a keyboard, its better to go with a different option. It also is not for producers and if you have no intention of playing your music live you are probably better off with FL Studio and/or Psycle

Posted by: DJBeatless at 04:04 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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