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What is Reason Software?

01/03/2012

If you’re around the music recording scene at all, chances are you’ve heard of a software called Reason. This program is especially popular with sound designers and electronic musicians because it gives users the ability to control and process a wide range of virtual instruments, either in recording settings or with live performance.


What is Reason, exactly? Created by Propellerhead Software in Sweden, this program is essentially a self-contained digital music studio, with an array of software-based musical instruments, samplers, mixers, signal processors, etc. It displays as a virtual “rack mount,” effectively duplicating the large racks of modules and processors found in professional studios, except in a completely virtual environment. The various components can be arranged in many configurations according to need and application, the same as if the components were actual, physical devices. Reason can be used as a stand-alone virtual recording studio, or can be controlled by other applications like Pro Tools or Logic.


What makes Reason different from other DAWs like Pro Tools? While Pro Tools effectively operates as a multi-track recorder and mixer, controlling both audio and software-based signals, Reason has historically been all software-based, with the primary function of sequencing and mixing only electronic and virtual instruments. However, newer versions of Reason now claim to include audio recording capabilities, expanding its abilities as a stand-alone software.


How can Reason help you? Because its strengths are on the electronic and virtual side of things, Reason is very popular with musicians and producers in various genres of electronic music, including dubstep, hip-hop, trip-hop, DJ, big beat, house, trance and various other styles. If you are primarily an acoustic musician, or an audio engineer focusing on guitar-driven material, Pro Tools will probably be your DAW of choice, because you’re going to want a program that is good with actual audio signals. However, if you lean more toward the electronic genres (especially if you want to self-produce), Reason will be more of a good fit for you—or at the very least, a welcome addition to your recording setup.


Reason is also a good tool if your music style requires a lot of pre-production. Because of the self-contained nature of this program, entire sequences can be developed, processed and mixed with Reason from the comfort of your home studio before you even set foot in the recording studio. Obviously, this saves a lot of time and money. In fact, some electronic musicians like Owl City have been known to record entire projects in home studios using Reason. In fact, the popularity of this software has prompted many recording and audio engineering schools to include it as an option in their curriculum.


This software program is not mandatory for every musician or every studio, but if you are into electronic music and sound design, Reason can be a helpful tool for you.