The biggest question any Reason 9.5 review has to answer is: how well do the VSTs work in Reason? Well, they work pretty damn well. And they’re a joy to have in the software.
I think that Reason is now, hands down, the best DAW for musicians. You can buy your copy here.
Now, I’ve always been a fan of Reason, and I though Reason 9 was great (here’s my original Reason 9 review).
Review: Using VSTs in Reason 9.5
Many VSTs in Reason 9.5 work perfectly, have no performance issues, and integrate tightly into key Reason features like CV control and automation.
But they certainly are not implemented perfectly.
First of all, there seem to be some performance issues with certain VSTs. It’s unclear whether this is on Propellerhead Software’s side (does Reason need to be better optimized?) or on the VST plugin manufacturer’s side. But performance could be a bit better.
The second issue is consistency. Some VSTs allow you to easily create “Images” so you can see them in the rack, but others don’t. And some VSTs respond weirdly when you click to close certain sub windows. Now, this inconsistencies don’t massively detract from this Reason 9.5 review, but they do exist. I appreciate though, the Propellerheads chose to give us Reason 9.5 now instead of waiting for everything to be perfect.
The third issue is stability. I have had one full blown crash in the few weeks on Reason 9.5, which is as many as I’ve had in other versions of Reason over 15 years. But mostly Reason 9.5 limits VST crashes to within the VST plug in themselves. So it doesn’t create a huge problem. You just need to restart them. It would be great if Propellerhead software would give us the option of how frequently Reason auto saves now that crashes may be more common, though.
From a philosophical standpoint, I think too many people are going to think that VSTs are world changing. They’re not. Many things are still easier and cleaner to do with a rack extension. I think the VSTs will have a major place in the Reason ecosystem, but there is still a lot more work that Rack Extensions will be called on to perform.
Review: Automated Delay Compensation is a Godsend
The other brilliant change that this Reason 9.5 review can’t ignore is the addition of automated delay compensation.
Honestly, if that was the only update, it would have been enough for me. Automated delay compensation gets rid of the phase issues cause be plugin lag. In the past if you had a parallel channel with a bunch of effects on it, it might sound awful and phase, and the only way to fix it was to put those same effects, on bypass on the original channel. This was a pain in the ass and it took up additional system resources. But now, you can fix that with the flick of the compensation switch.
Of course, this Reason 9.5 review would be worthless if it glossed past all the little minor distractions that affected Reason 9 and still haven’t been resolved. These are things like having a sequencer window that is not synchronized with the mixer and rack view, which affects Reason’s browser, mute, and solo buttons and a few other things. It also includes short comings like the lack of preset automation curves and the inability to control multiple faders simultaneously.
For a full list of things that could be fixed, here’s a video.