Are Reason Rack Extensions Dead?

Will Reason VST Support Kill Rack Extensions?

Now that Propellerhead Software has announced that Reason 9.5 will support VSTs, will Rack Extensions survive?


Having used the Reason 9.5 beta, I can tell you that Rack Extensions are still as great as they've always been. In many ways they feel like the core of Reason, with VSTs there in a supporting role​. 

Rack Extensions are fast, clean, and easy to use within Reason.

Update: it looks like major developers like Rob Pappen are still going to be supporting Rack Extensions, so I don't see them going anywhere. If anything, it will put more pressure on Propellerheads to improve the format!

What do you think?​

Use VSTs in Reason 9.5!

Reason VST Support (and automated delay compensation) Coming Soon!

Reason VST support, the long awaited, holy grail of music production was announced last week. This is huge, huge news. Using VSTs in Propellerheads’ Reason DAW will open up an entirely new world for producers to create huge, professional sound tracks.

It will unleash waves of creativity, I bet.

Using VSTs in Reason will not prevent you from controlling them with Reason’s super flexible CV routing structure, which means that you can get all sorts of powerful effects from VST instruments and effects that may not have been easy to do in other DAWs.

Reason VST support also promises to easily find your VST files (we’ll see). Not only that, they claim that crashes will be localized to only the “wrapper” containing the VST, and will not spread beyond to affect the Reason app itself.

Which plugins are you most looking forward to?

For me it’s going to be using the great tape, tube, saturation, and compression plugins from Waves, getting access to Massive, Monark, and Analog Machines in Native Instruments’ Komplete Ultimate.  Oh, and exploring SoundToys’ Echo Boy and Decapitator.

While we can debate whether VST should have been there all along, I think this is going to be a great new frontier for Reason. And it doesn’t mean the death of Rack Extensions (at least not the existing ones). They are still going to be the most tightly integrated and stable way of doing things in the Reason ecosystem.

Automated Latency Compensation

And as an added plus, it also looks like Propellerheads is adding automated latency compensation, which is absolutely huge.

It’s always been frustrating to see that Reason creates phase issues when you start using different plugins on sends or parallel channels. There used to be work arounds, but it was cumbersome. Now we should just be able to fire up our songs and make great music.

What do you think? What are you looking forward to most?

Warm Audio Tone Beast Review

Warm Audio Tone Beast Review (TB12)

The bottom line of this Warm Audio Tone Beast Review? The TB12 is an amazing value, with great sounding, vintage tone.  Retailing for around $599, it’s got good build quality, a ton of flexibility, and is very easy to use.

For those visual learners, here’s a video review of the TB12 Tone Beast.

To begin this Warm Audio Tone Beast review, the TB12 features, from left to right, the input control section, the tone control, and finally its output section.

The input control is incredible, and one of my favorite features that Warm Audio added. It can take an xlr mic (with or without phantom power), a line level instrument, or an hi-z instrument like a guitar. You can pad down the instruments if they’re too loud (which allows you to use more of the TB12’s tone shapping), and add a decent sounding high pass filter.

From there, the real power of the Tone Beast comes out. With two discrete signal paths made with high quality cinemag transformers, as well as multiple tone shaping options for each signal path, you have a ton of flexibility in shaping your sound.

Sometimes these changes are very subtle. To really hear a different, you need to start cranking up the saturation knob on the output section. As the different signal paths get gained up, you can really start to hear the differences.

No Warm Audio Tone Beast review would be complete without digging into the sounds, though. With the x18 sounding a little brighter and “present,” while the 731 has more of a vintage, warm sound. Just be careful not to overdue it with the saturation. It is absolutely possible to get full on saturation and distortion effects on the unit, but it’s also possible to clip, which sounds decidedly un-musical.

But of course, tone is notoriously difficult to describe. So you can listen to a Tone Beast demo recordings here.

If you can only afford one preamp, I’d recommend the TB12 Tone Beast. Warm Audio did a great job in creating a high quality, affordable preamp that provides a ton of flexibility to the recording engineer.

How to Chop Samples in Reason

Complete Guide on How to Chop Samples in Reason DAW

Propellerhead software makes is so anyone can learn how to chop samples in Reason. It’s so easy, in fact!

There are at least four different ways to chop samples in Reason, and each of them has their own pros and cons.

Note – this post may contain affiliate links, which means that I receive a commission if you purchase through them, nonetheless, this did not affect which products I recommend. 

Update (2/2/18): These days I’m pretty much exclusively using Serrato Sample to chop samples. It is like the future of sampling. It makes chopping so fast and easy! Much better than any of the methods described below, but it costs $99. 

You can use the sequencer, Kong, Dr. OctoRex, NN19 or the NN-XT.  This article will tell you how to chop hip hop vocals in Reason and explore when you may want to use each of the devices.

And if you’re looking for a good source of vocal samples to chop, I’d recommend Loopmasters. I get most of my samples from their massive library.

How to chop samples in Reason with the Sequencer

Reason 9 has added a bunch of new features to the sequencer that may make the Reason 9 sequencer the most powerful sequencer in the DAW workspace.

The huge benefits of using the sequencer – unlike Kong, NN19, and the NN-XT – are that you can time stretch a sample without affecting the pitch. And you can change the key of the sample without affecting the tempo.

These two features are huge.

Here’s an in-depth video tutorial on using Propellerhead’s Reason sequencer to chop samples.

But wait, there’s more….

Using Reason’s sequencer, you can easily edit the pitch of individual notes and move the time of transients. You also have access to the forment control to create unique effects.

And it also makes it really easy to cut tails, mute small sections and re-arrange fragments.

The downside to chopping samples in Reason’s sequencer is that it’s not very creative.

When you use Reason’s sequencer to chop samples, you’re not going to be able to use a keyboard. Instead you need to hunt through your sample library and place the samples you want directly on the sequencer timeline to use them.

As a result, it doesn’t lead to nearly as many happy accidents as the other methods, and can be quite time consuming.

How to Chop Samples in Reason with the Kong

The Kong is my preferred way of chopping samples in Reason. To me it feels the most natural and musical, like old school hip hop chops.

Aside from feeling highly musical, chopping samples with Kong has a few other benefits. You can use the pad groups to create mute and choke groups, easily set up round robins, and get easy access to certain effects only available in Kong (there’s a workaround for this, though).

Here’s an in depth video on chopping vocal samples in Kong.

The big downside to the Kong (aside from the pitch and timing issues mentioned above), is that it’s a bit of a pain to actually set the sample start and end point.

Chopping Samples in Reason Using Dr. Octo-Rex

Dr. Octo-Rex is probably my favorite way of chopping samples in Reason. It makes it really easy to pick slices, apply the most typical types of filtering, and loop things, if necessary.

You can easily make quick changes to the sound of individual slices, like reversing them, changing the pitch, or volume. However, it’s not that easy to move the location of the slices. You’ve basically got to convert the loop to an audio track, then move around the slice points. Then reconvert to Rex. The video details this more.

But yea, moving slices in Dr. Octo-Rex ain’t the easiest.

How to Chop Samples in Reason Using the NN-XT

Reason’s NN-XT Sampler is a super powered tool for creating complicated layers of sampled sound. Learning how to chop samples in Reason using the NN-XT is very similar to chopping samples in the Kong. In fact, the sampler used in Kong is just a striped down version of the NN-XT sampler. So if you understand the basics of setting the stop and start times from the Kong video, you’re off to a good start.

When you first create an NN-XT, you’ll want to right click on the interface and select “Reset Device.” This will clear out the current samples. From there, you want to click on the tab to expand the NN-XT’s “remote editor” and click on the file icon to load up your sample.

When sampling in Reason’s NN-XT, you can easily layer multiple samples. You can also chromatically map the samples  across the keyboard, or just assign them to one note each. Please note that when chopping samples in the NN-XT, changing the pitch will effect the speed of the sample. Sometimes this creates cool effects, so experiment with it.

The NN-XT also provides a ton of tools for modify the pitch, amplitude, filtering, and velocity, among other things, of each sample. When used well, these additional tools can add a lot to a performance. However, if you don’t need the full flexibility these tools provide, it is often simpler to chop samples in Reason using the NN-19 or the sequencer.

And, of course, here is a detailed video on how to do it.


Chopping Samples in Reason Using the NN-19

The NN-19 is really just a stripped down version of the NN-XT. It’s easier and faster to load samples in the NN-19, and it provides a little less strain on your CPU.

The cost is that you have fewer filtering and modulation options, and layering samples isn’t nearly as powerful.

But if you are perfectly content with the sample you’ve got, there’s no need to use the more complex NN-XT, and this is probably the most light weight way how to chop samples in Reason.



Creative sidechain compression effects in Reason

Creative Sidechain Compression Effects in Reason

Last week I showed you an ultra-detailed tutorial about all the cool ways that you can trigger sidechain compression in Propellerhead Software’s Reason 9 DAW. Now that you know how to use sidechain compression though, I want to help you think about some creative ways that you can use it to further your sounds.

This guide includes a lot of really cool, unique sidechain compression effects. These techniques work in Reason 9, but should work in most versions.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Sidechain reverb for a rhythmic pumping effect
  • Create a free dynamic equalizer
  • Duck multiple instruments at once
  • Throw sidechain compression on a delay for other worldly effects

You can download some of these creative sidechain patches here.

Now without further ado, here’s an in-depth exploration of all the cool things that you can do in Reason with sidechain compression.

Did I miss any? What creative ways do you use sidechain compression in Reason?