Having started out with Reason 4 back in early 2008, I was quite impressed with what this virtual rack and sequencer music production suite could do, it was definitely an eye opening experience. This was all good and fun, but then Propellerhead unleashed Record (ver.1), which was a game changer within the DAW and professional studio settings. With Record, you were able to easily integrate all of the racks and the sequencer utilized in Reason without any of the headaches of routing Reason through a third party recording vendor, such as Digidesign’s Pro Tools or even Apple, Inc’s Logic Studio.
Then Propellerhead released new versions of Reason and Record. Reason 5 and Record 1.5 worked like a charm with new additions and bug fixes from the prior versions. Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoyed using these two new updates back in 2010 and for the most part of 2011, but their latest version is by far Propellerhead’s best Reason update release as it now has Record fully integrated into the core components of Reason.
Even more so today, having the recording studio and music creation technology found in Reason 6 at your disposal is like having your very own music production studio with all the bells and whistles, and the good thing is that you get to be the producer/engineer and composer.
First of, the user should take notice of the studio-grade mixer, which is modeled after the classic SSL (Solid State Logic). What’s pretty good about this mixer is, you get a studio quality mix of all your instruments and rack effects units. This is where you can fine-tune the overall sound of the song and the individual tracks contained within your songs. This mixer features a built-in equalizer, dynamics and advanced routing capabilities. Since I am not an advanced user, I did not use or even try out the advanced routing features for my test song. The EQ alone changed the feel of the whole song as gave it a much cleaner, crisper and tighter sounding feel to it, so I was quite content.
Recording all of my audio instruments and rack effects were a breeze in Reason 6 due to its comprehensive multi-track audio recording interface. One of the features I really like about Reason is that once you’ve recorded your music, you can easily convert your recorded audio track into visual blocks for ease of editing and arranging your songs within Reason’s sequencer. This makes changing and editing your songs much faster. While you’re in the editing mode, you can even non-destructively stretch your track’s time, and the audio will change along with your tempo – very brilliant, indeed. This way you are assured of having your song played on beat and in the appropriate time signature specified from the start. This is a very cool feature to have at your disposal should you need to make any tempo changes within a recorded piece of music.
For those of you who also play the guitar or bass guitar will be very thrilled about the next two items I am about to tell you about. This version of Reason 6 now features within its effects menu, Line 6 guitar amp and Line 6 bass amp. You can select from numerous amounts of patches from both Line 6 effects. Both of these effects also give you the ability to choose from at least a half dozen unique cabinet and amp configurations. The really cool thing about these two effects is that you can still further customize your tone and sounds from within the patches, cabs and amps. These two effects are highly recommended for guitarists and bass guitarists alike, as they are great songwriting tools.
Another one of my favorites here is the Neptune device as it lets the user do the complex tasks of vocal transposition, pitch correction, harmonization and playable vocal synthesis. Mind you, Neptune is not only used for correcting any off notes in vocals as it can be used to correct pitch on the instruments used in your recordings as well. I love the fact that you can preview all of these changes in real-time, all the while your song is playing, so you can see what the different changes will sound like. The harmonization on Neptune is also remarkable as you can create different variations on the any harmony whether it be vocals or music, and the end result can be unexpectedly out of this world, wow!
The transposition feature was pretty cool too as I was able to create some interesting vocals by changing the keys around, and this one too was pretty good to work with. The transposition feature is really useful for remixes, which is commonly found in Bollywood Music soundtracks.
Additionally, you can also utilize the pitch shifting feature for vocals or even instruments all with the aid of this very useful device, which I tried on some of the demo songs included with Reason 6, and I was more than just impressed. No matter how extreme the changes were in the song’s overall pitch, the tempo and quality of that particular song stayed truly consistent. Neptune is definitely a worthy addition to Reason 6.
Here is something totally new to Reason 6, one-click export of individual channel stems with or without effects, and this can be achieved via the Bounce Mixer Channels. This was something real neat to try out and see it how it works, especially if you want to use particular audio tracks from another recording for use in another project. You just have to indicate the mixer channels to be exported individually or as a group. Then you apply the mixer settings, where you have been given three choices (All, All except fader section and None), Normalize, and lastly you need to indicate the file format – easy.
Keep in mind that Record no longer exists as a standalone product as it is fully integrated within Reason 6. As far as the recording aspects are concerned, Reason 6 now features within its arsenal of killer useful tools, audio metering and a tuning display, so you need not get a separate tuner for your guitar, and also you can see the audio level without crouching over your keyboard to see what’s going with the audio output level. This is very handy as I used it frequently on my newly written composition.
Pulveriser is something new to Reason 6 too, and I tell you, it not only smokes your sound, but also will smoke you, as you get as crazy and creative with this sound effects processor. The possibilities are endless and this is what makes Pulveriser a worthy tool at your disposal. Pulveriser is comprised of the following: Compressor, Distortion, Multi-mode Filter, Modulation and Blend. You can work with any of these five features on an individual basis or use one of Pulveriser’s many patches, whereby the above features have already been set for you. All you have to do is provide the instrumentation, such as playing your guitar, synthesizer or bass guitar through it to get some of the Pulveriser’s off the wall sounds and effects. I gave it ago with my MIDI controller and was simply amazed at the limitless creativity that can be had with the use of Pulveriser.
And you thought Pulveriser kicked ass, huh? Well, wait ‘til you experience the sonic nuances of The Echo, as this device is sure to knock you on your ass and take your music to the next level of total surrealism. You have five options to manipulate your sounds on this one: Adjustable Delay, Stereo Effects, Feedback, Color and Modulation. After going through and trying out all of these effects here I had the opportunity to take my song to another world, whoa, this was a trip. And the cool thing is, with all of these sound-shaping features utilized, nothing sounded too distorted or noisy. It just sounded out of this world and something I will be using more of in my future compositions. Just achieving that Ping Pong effect via the Stereo Effects was quite brilliant, too.
The Echo is great for making your song sound fuller in depth, giving it that eerie echo and reverb sound, something comparable to that of a hauntingly, mystery movie soundtrack. The creative possibilities are endless with The Echo device as you’ve countless presets to load here and use within your songs if you do not want to create your own monster of a sound.
Last but not least, the Alligator is a mind blowing Triple Filtered Gate with 64 patterns to choose from or you can create something unique by combining it with one of Reason’s instruments. The Alligator as well gives you added flexibility to come up with your own sound shaping and altering filters. I used it in association with Thor and I was in sweet-soundland, oh ya, I was able to play presets within Thor like I’ve never been able to do before – now this was a lot of fun as I was able to shape the way my rhythms sounded. Another awesome aspect about Alligator is that you can separately control and work with the three filters individually; so how cool is this for even more user flexibility. This Alligator will not eat you alive, but it surely will eat your music alive, ha, ha.
Also, with this version of Reason 6, you even get more patches and presets to work with and it also makes for one hell of an experience trying out all of these sounds, presets and patches. Reason 6 should be a vital part of any recording studio’s weapons of mass production.