Its been a while since I worked on my blog, and its also been a while since I kept up with the current developments in the “synthesizer scene”, or perhaps better put: the world of DAWs. So a little recap is in order I think, and what better way to kick of with the environment which has managed to intrigue me ever since I got to know it ?
I think its amazing to see how some companies have produced some major changes to their product where others expanded on other aspects.
Reason 6.5 and the Marketplace
One of the environments which has managed to intrigue me right from the moment where I learned of its existence is Reason. What started out as a love / hate relationship with Reason 4 quickly evolved to a point where Reason easily took the place of my 2nd most favoured DAW, the first place being taken by Ableton Live (I hardly use Reason stand alone, but almost every time rewired into Live).
Needless to say that I was quite interested to see the new developments, even though I still favour Reason 4. But that’s mostly because I use Live as my main environment; I hardly use Reason’s sequencer, I’m also not interested in Reason 5’s sampling capabilities and although I heavily admire devices such as Alligator and Neptune it doesn’t weigh up for me to the crazy stuff I can do using Max for Live (or Max).
Reason going more mainstream ?
The thing striking me the most when looking at Reason 6.5 and the Reason marketplace is that on one hand it seems to be going more mainstream. The Reason marketplace for example; like many other DAW’s have done before them Propellerhead software now allows 3rd parties to develop extensions for Reason and sell those using their shop or marketplace. This is comparable to some extend with the Ableton Partner Instruments (which is now simply called the Ableton Library); here Ableton provides 3rd party instruments and effects which you can purchase on the Ableton website.
Another interesting development is that Reason and Record have been merged into a single program called Reason 6 thus turning Reason more and more into a ‘real’ DAW. After all; it can now sample audio, you can record and arrange your audio data, and so on.
Still doing things differently
Its the one thing which I always admired though; Reason has always managed to stand out from the crowd. For starters; Reason was never considered a real ‘DAW’, even though its functionality came pretty close. For example; out of all “DAW-like software” Reason managed to postpone the ability to record audio the longest.
The question though remains how long Propellerhead can keep this up…
For example; one of the key features in Reason 6.5 is the Rack extension. Rack extensions are 3rd party plugins developed specifically for Reason. The format isn’t compatible with other DAW’s. So Propellerhead finally acknowledged the necessity for a more modular approach yet still chose to keep this somewhat “locked down”.
Take ReWire for example; even though Reason is now closer to being a real DAW than ever before you still can’t use it as a ReWire host, only slave mode is usable.
That’s something I don’t understand, but also something which makes me wonder about how long Propellerhead can keep this up without annoying customers. Because basically they’re keeping their user base pretty much locked into Reason. Nothing wrong with that perse, I know how deep and extensive Reason can be, believe me, and then I’m only talking about Reaon 4.
But think about it: If you could rewire other environments into Reason, say Max or Reaktor, you could basically do anything you want. Yet its that portion of freedom which all other DAW’s provide which is still lacking in my opinion.
Buying things twice ?
I think the lock down could become an issue. Most people I know don’t bet on a single horse; but instead work with different programs to satisfy different needs. In all honesty: no too many of those use Reason, but that’s besides the point.
Say you already bought into iZotope’s Ozone (very impressive product IMO). Thanks to the Reason Rack extensions you can now also use some of the Ozone devices from within Reason; for example the Ozone maximizer. Of course this does mean that you’ll have to purchase the device again, without a discount, even if you already own Ozone.
I think that could easily frustrate people. If you’re into buying some extensions for Reason then the prize can easily and quickly jump up to 200 – 250 Euro’s considering the average price of E 50,-.
And although I wholeheartedly agree that Reason devices will also benefit from the very specific Reason interface – and thus its extensive routing capabilities – let’s also not forget that the competition hasn’t been asleep either.
These are interesting developments but I truly wonder if keeping people “locked in” is a smart thing to do. Because in general people often desire the things they can’t get the most.
I’m pleased to report that the Regular Expression tutorial has been repaired. All four parts are once again fully completed, including the several pictures. Next week I’ll be focussing on the next batch of posts.