Category Archives for Reviews

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 (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.

My thoughts on Reason 9.2 Update

Propellerhead just released the most recent update to their Reason DAW, version 9.2. You can find my full Reason 9 Review here. Version 9.2 adds powerful back end tools for rack extension developers, allowing them to create powerful new synths and effects.

So that sounds pretty cool, right?

My first reaction was that it’s awesome, but on second thought, It troubles me slightly.

Why I Worry About Reason 9.2

First of all, while some developers have updated there Rack Extensions to take advantage of these new features, there’s no guarantee that any other developers will. This means that existing users of Reason 9 might not really see any benefit unless they buy more Rack Extensions from the Prop Shop.

Historically Propellerheads have been very good about rewarding their customers. There are probably upgrades coming for Reason 9 users.

So it’s not the end of the world. But as I noted in my Reason 9 review, there are some more pressing issues with reason that I’d prefer to see fixed first.

Reason 9.1 gave us the ability to sync with other instruments over wireless. Cool but not essential.

Reason 9.2 gives developers more power, but I’m unclear what it means for users.

I’m worried that developers will now stop creating rack extensions backwards compatible with Reason 7 and Reason 8.

Think about it for a second. As a developer, if earlier versions of Reason don’t support your RE, are you going to spend the time to develop to different versions of it?

It is going to be more cost effective to just develop for Reason 9.2+.

Similarly, if developers start upgrading their rack extensions to use the new features, will they stop supporting the older versions of the REs?

It’s really too soon to say.

Reason 9.2 is good for active users of Reason 9, but Propellerheads are really nudging users of older versions of Reason to upgrade.

What do you think about Reason 9.2? Would you upgrade to Reason 9 for it?