Shamelessly retreating from a beautiful sunny day I spent Saturday afternoon watching the new and newsworthy of the Reason 4 software, presented by its makers, Propellerhead. The event took place at Clinton Studio on 10th Ave. According to an informal survey of the participants, most users of this production tool are in advertising, television and film, hip hop, country, rock – but not in experimental or classical music although in my experience it works just as well in these styles.

I got hold of an earlier software package by Propellerhead as early as 2003 and before Finale had the capability to play back with the Garritan sound library, I used to export my Finale midi files into Reason to demo and mix the orchestral tracks. Reason has come a long way since then.

The current Reason 4 package works in a similar fashion as a modular synthesizer to offer powerful desktop production possibilities in sampling, synthesis, sequencing, with particularly efficient drum programming tools. The new “Thor” virtual synthesizer seems to offer infinite flexibility because any of its various modules can be routed to control another, in other words allows the users to practically build their own virtual synths. In addition, as was demonstrated at the workshop, the multiple effects in Reason can be combined to afford mastering-level precision.

The only thing that Reason does not do is: audio recording… but all you have to do is get the latest Pro-Tools (version 7 and 8) and from that program choose the Reason plug-in and both programs can be used simultaneously.

I really enjoyed the unpretentious and informative presentation by producer Chris Petti, who is about to start a New York Users Group for Reason… something to follow closely; Also presenting were Chris Griffin, Aaron Albanoand Ben Weinman. I hope we can get more of these events in New York.

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