Reason’s Rack, a walled garden no more. Hmmm… “reason.” “Logic.” I’m calling my next musical creation “Inanity.” Sound good? Who’s in? Photo (CC-BY) Marco Raaphorst. He’s a fan.

Users want more: that much is clear. But for years, Reason has famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) resisted plug-in formats as a way of extending its production environment. At the moment, plug-ins have been dominate largely by Avid (RTAS), Apple (AU), and Steinberg (VST), as open source alternatives have failed to gain wide commercial traction. Those formats apparently didn’t make the cut with Reason.

That changed officially tonight. Reason’s rack is open to third parties, via something called Rack Extensions, previewed and available by summer for all Reason users. What you’re getting is not so much a new plug-in format as a new set of ideas about what a plug-in should be, in the form of a way of making add-ons for Reason alone.

The ability to get more out of Reason’s rack will clearly mean more for lovers of Reason, who at last will get some favorite sonic toys and tools without switching hosts. But how exactly do the specifics work? I spent some time with Ernst Nathorst-Böös, CEO of Propellerhead, as well as other developers working on the program to try to understand what it’s all about, and trying strange new green sauces known in Frankfurt. (Non mood-altering substances, mind. Just stuff you put on potatoes; don’t read too much into it. German cuisine.)

Before we get to that, though, here are two obvious take-aways for other plug-ins. To me, the benefit for the Reason community is pretty clear. But I think even for Propellerhead, the best thing that could happen here is if other plug-in formats follow the lead. Plug-in formats in general could work better than they do. It’s frustrating that they’ve made little progress since their introduction in regards to some obvious shortcomings, over a range of years. (Don’t believe me? Ask almost any plug-in developer, anywhere.) There are two obvious elements of the Propellerhead announcement that could mean something to competing plug-in formats (AU and VST in particular). Propellerhead aren’t the only ones complaining about them.

Note that given the nature of this being a fresh announcement, we haven’t yet fact-checked this with Propellerhead, and some statements here are interpretive or speculative. And, of course, some stuff is still in the works as this is developed. We’ll cover it as it evolves.

1. Plug-ins shouldn’t bring down hosts. One of the most important point Propellerhead made was widely misunderstood. The idea is this: when a plug-in crashes, the host shouldn’t crash with it. Now, the developers of Reason are obviously very proud of the stability of Reason, but that isn’t the issue here. However stable or instable your host is, the notion is that a plug-in shouldn’t be the reason that host crashes. Some effect you downloaded shouldn’t send your whole session toppling to the ground. Various forms of sandboxing can prevent this. We’ll have to test the Reason solution in practice, but in principal, I know of no reason every plug-in couldn’t support this basic notion. And even if you’ve seen Reason crash, as some commenters have said, the idea here is that a plug-in won’t be the cause.

2. Plug-in developers ought to be able to sell their stuff right in the host. This is a no-brainer. Set aside the obvious success story of Apple’s App Store on iOS and Mac. Plug-in developers have an impossible time these days just selling their work (or, indeed, even giving it away). It’s kind of bizarre that in the Internet age, no other host makes it easy to find and try out the work of other developers. (I was going to give an exception, but … there isn’t one. Seriously. What the heck?)

It’s pretty easy to make an extended argument for either of these ideas without talking about the Reason announcement. And I’m not trying to sell Reason here: believe me, I’d like to see other plug-in formats advance, too. Reason might want that, as well, since they rely on that same developer ecosystem. (Translation: they need devs making enough money to spend the time to keep making plug-ins … for anyone, not just Reason.)

As for Reason, here are some answers to frequent questions and comments from readers.

What will it cost? When can I get it? It’ll be free for existing Reason users, available by end of Q2 (beginning of summer, more or less).

Which add-ons will be available? So far, all we know is the developer list: KORG, SonicCharge (of uTonic and Synplant fame), Peff (Kurt Kurasaki), Softube, and Urs Heckmann (u-he). I also saw iZotope in the crowd, but make of that what you will. Props aren’t saying much more than that; other developers may be involved but aren’t yet public.

Will there be an SDK for any developer? I got a clear answer from Ernst on this: yes. Anyone will be able to download the SDK and make add-ons. There are a couple of caveats. First, you have to have an established business entity (in the EU, with a VAT ID / outside Europe, just some legal entity). Second, it’s just not ready yet. What we saw today was a technology preview, but Propellerhead says they’re eager to open this up to other developers; they’re just not quite prepared to handle that process yet. We don’t yet know to what extent the store you see in Reason will be curated or how, and I wonder if free add-ons might get around the need for a publishing business. What I can say is, there won’t be a developer fee.

Will hardware DSP be supported? Not at this time, or evidently in the forseeable future. Ernst emphasized that Propellerhead feels the current multi-core engine is sufficient. So, no Universal Audio add-ons — but remember, if you really want that, you can just ReWire Reason into a host.

Will you be able to make open-source plug-ins? This seems possible, given you can run DSP code. Your code is your own. I didn’t have time to get an official answer on this; I think it’ll be easier to look at once we can see the SDK.

Can you have UI elements? This came up in the press conference. There are some limitations in the “first release,” say Propellerhead. But there was an impressive demo from SonicCharge with a nice, animated visual display for Bitspeak; suffice to say, you won’t directly port VST UI code, but plug-in devs can work with what Propellerhead is giving them. It’s not so much having to deal with having a new plug-in format as having to work with some new UI requirements – and, quite frankly, that’s a potential issue with any plug-in that has any UI at all. On the upside:

Can you use Reason back-panel routing tools and the like? Yes. You can do all the CV routing and automation and other good stuff a conventional Reason device would have.

These are just more Combinator skins, yeah? No. We’re talking low-level DSP – which also means the DSP portion can be ported really fast. Propellerhead said Softube compiled in 15 minutes – for both Mac and Windows. Most of the time you’ll now wind up investing in UI. (That chuckling sound you hear from developers is because this is generally the case with plug-ins.)

But I can do this with existing plug-in formats. Not quite. There are several elements missing. First, Reason will have an integrated store for this stuff, which also means the ability to move between users, computers, and operating systems more seamlessly. Second, existing plug-ins don’t do things like true host-integrated undo. (Ernst gave the ugly example of tweaking a knob in a plug-in, hitting undo, and undoing the last step – inserting the plug-in – making the whole thing disappear.) Third, and perhaps most importantly, you don’t get sandboxing features in any current plug-in format, meaning a misbehaved plug-in can theoretically crash your whole host.

What’s in it for developers? A 70/30 split — developer/Props — just like Apple’s iOS and Mac stores. And it’s free to join the developer program, so there’s nothing to lose but, uh, time.

But this is just proprietary tech. What experience does Propellerhead have with third-party developers? Oh, just these little things called ReWire and (loop format) REX – which, along with Steinberg’s VST really led the way as far as third-party, cross-platform formats. (REX arguably had a lot to do with the rise of looping software.) Each of these have been used in multiple operating systems and hosts, and require dealing with developers. This is much bigger, of course.

How does this help me collaborate? Propellerhead brought this up with a selling point, so I followed up. Basically, the scenario is this: you’re sharing a track with another Reason user. They don’t have the Squidoodlidoo plug-in you purchased. They can use a 30-day demo, and try it for free. (Otherwise, they have to buy the plug-in, too, naturally.) Also, Ernst tells CDM that the store will maintain every back version of every plug-in. So if you need a previous version, you can revert to that on a set. Reason itself can still open, in version 6, files created in version 1.

So, why would I use an existing plug-in format, if this is The Future? Probably because there’s a host you like better than Reason, or you have one of the many plug-ins that won’t yet support this new thing. But you knew that, right? The payoff here is clearly if you like working in Reason and want more flexibility.

Why a new format? Actually, I’ll editorialize on this one. The kind of integration with Reason here just wouldn’t work with any plug-in format – we’re talking routing control voltage in and out via the back of the rack, integrated automation, and a UI that seamlessly blends with Reason. It’s not a question of formats; you have to write a plug-in for Reason or none of that is possible. As for why existing plug-in formats don’t do some of the things Reason’s tech here does, that’s easy. No one has actually proposed a plug-in format that does that, a handful of vendors control existing formats in wide commercial use (Apple, Steinberg, Avid), and efforts to build a new standard haven’t gotten traction. So, in the meantime, if you want these ideas in practice, you have to build them in your own software, which is what Reason has done. If you want these ideas elsewhere, let’s see it.

Got more questions? I’ll append answers here if I can find them. Expect more once we hear more on what’s actually available to add onto your rack (for users) and once we’re closer to having stuff ready for a wider audience of developers (for you coders). No images or video yet – I know we still owe you a look at the new iOS app – but that’ll get posted when ready.

More details, and ugly speculation about whether or not I was wearing pants, in the live event coverage:
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2012/03/propellerhead-announces-mobile-app-figure-live-announcement-coverage/

  • jakub

    Will it be finally officially allowed to call it DAW?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I’m not calling it a DAW until it sends MIDI note data. ;) Heh…

    • Mr Nix080586

      Thats coming.

    • Jim Aikin

       Is this a guess/wish on your part, or do you have inside information?

    • Paul

      I would hope so. But they have not confirmed or denied anything on that front yet. Your comment is wishful thinking, at best.

    • Mr Nix080586

      it should be called a D.A.S.W Digital Audio Synthesizer Workstation, or in a perfect world…. a D.A.P.S.W Dominant Animal Predator Super Warrior!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! LoL

  • Beguin

    If i buy a futur softube plugin for reason, will i have the same plugin in vst format?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Licensing is going to be up to the developers. This seems like a good idea, but because purchases for Reason are routed through Props’ store, I don’t know how it’d work. Vouchers?

  • Jim Aikin

    Do they have enough market share to pull this off? Probably. I’m jazzed to see Urs Heckmann expressing an interest, as his synths are just about the best on the market. Now if we can get Eric Persing on-board….

    –Jim Aikin

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I think so. Reason puts up some really big numbers, and their users are hugely passionate. The challenge for developers is working out pricing. It seems there’s an opportunity for some simpler things that you sell at a lower price to more people – not quite iPhone apps, but the same basic notion.

    • Mr Nix080586

      Exactly

  • Freesoulvw

    So the Aria iOS DAW model of building/porting a “vst” for in-app purchases is coming to Reason?

    Basically plugin devs can build plug-in “apps” that only work in the environment they are built with/for?

    Sounds logical enough. Not a big jump in theory. We’ve all had experience,well I assume most of us anyway,have experience with some for of proprietary SDK/store service,wether it be Android,IOS,even Amazon Music/video.

    Not too much in the “far out,bring down the system,change the world to fit their beliefs” situation. Just a question of if your ready to buy into another system,either as a developer or user. Maybe taking a few cues from Ableton’s rack system as well. Buying the Analog rack “vst” instrument allows you to throw it in the rack and dial up a synth.

    At first I was a little confused about the talk of this “new” plugin format but when I started to think how ableton sells their instruments and rack components it all starts to make sense. Just imagine operator or analog built by Korg engineers or other out-of-house devs and things start to clear up. In fact Ableton already makes third party add-ons just like that.

    If I’m wrong in my thinking please correct me. These are just questions/observations and might not be correct. I/we don’t really know too much about this topic.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No, I think that’s a reasonable parallel. Ableton obviously has a spec with which you can write instruments and effects that run inside their host and match the look of their UI. And even like this announcement here, licenses can be associated with the license for the host, and thus be verified online.

      Of course, opening up such a spec to more than a couple of hand-picked developers has some pretty major implications. So, I don’t think instruments and effects in Live are sandboxed – a crash in one ought to bring down the whole host. But that’s not such a big deal, because they’re testing those personally. And, of course, there’s the store for add-ons, and the assumption that there’s a whole lot more work once you “open the flood gates,” as Ernst put it.

      It is a plug-in in the broad sense, no question, in that it’s an add-on spec for Reason. It’s not a “new format,” because it’s entirely for Reason. And frankly, that’s not a big deal – most of your work is going to be in building your UI for Reason; the bulk of everything else here is just low-level DSP code, which you can port from an iPad app to embedded Linux to VST, if you really like.

    • MTT

      Isn’t Analog in Ableton developed by AAS?

    • aje

      Yes, as are some of the others. And their Amp was done by Softube IIRC. Plus they have a growing range of third-party “partner instruments” which are fully integrated into the Live environment. Thsee can all be purchased and downloaded from the Ableton store, and the license is authorised directly within Live.

      Sounds familiar?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      The Ableton thing is very, very different. Propellerhead is saying they want to open this up to any interested developer. Contracting out work on stuff you bundle with a host has gone on for ages – a lot of the tech in your host is licensed. That’s been true for a long while. And it’s a far cry from having a store, doing this 70/30 split with any interested party, and – as Props says they intend to do – offering an SDK anyone can sign up and grab. That’s much closer to VST than it is what Ableton or Cakewalk are doing.

  • Musosnoop

    I just wish there were one standard plugin format. Someday it will happen but its a long way off,

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      This is the opposite of that. Everything here is tailored specifically to the way Reason works. It couldn’t be any less generic. But that’s also because Reason works in some ways that other hosts don’t. Common plug-in formats only really work when you have hosts that have more or less identical needs and functions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dejan.soskic Dejan Soskic

    i have a question will we be able to make combinators have more then 4 knobs ?

  • Ken Hughes 214

    I’m excited to see Korg among the developers. It’s a pipedream, I know, but I think a Wavestation in Reason would be tasty. More practical, perhaps: A drawbar organ module. More _likely_? Some overtly EDM-oriented synth featuring “MS-20 filters.” 

    • slabman

      Oh yes. How about a n MS20 with a working patch panel, that you can wire other Reason stuff into? Reason would veer into Reaktor territory. Eat that, VST!

      Or even, now this is nuts, a Reaktor player in Reason, that can load Reaktor patches. 

      Must take my medication…

    • cerebrus909

      There is already an excellent drawbar organ “module” refill that’s built from Thors.http://baumanproductions.com/SeligProductions.html

  • http://www.valhalladsp.com/ seancostello

    A question: Will the Reason Extensions store be totally “sandboxed” as far as customer data? In other words, will plugin developers have access to the user info for their customers, or will developers be able to create authorizations for their existing users to be able to access the Extensions versions of their VST/RTAS/AU plugins?

    If the in-app store is totally sandboxed from the developers, it will be impossible for a developer to create a single license that would cover all of the plugin formats (AU/VST/RTAS/AAX). This makes a straight port of existing VST/AU/RTAS plugins a bit of a dodgy business proposition: either the customer has to pay the same price for Reason plugs as for the native plugins they already own (and has to buy things twice), or the Reason plugs are discounted, which would piss off non-Reason users.

    I’m not trying to argue that the in-app store shouldn’t be sandboxed. All I’m looking for is clarification around this issue, as customers have already started to ask me if I am porting my plugins over to the new Reason format. The substantial differences in GUI code, as well as the different input/output possibilities of the “back” of the plugin (most VSTs don’t have anything on the back), seem to point towards a plugin format that doesn’t lend itself to straight ports from VSTs/AUs in the first place.

    It would be interesting to hear from the Propellerhead folks if they envisioned plugin developers porting over existing work to the new format with few changes, versus creating new or heavily modified plugins that are better suited to the format.

     

    • http://twitter.com/soniccharge Magnus Lidström

      Naturally, because it is a new format we will initially see fairly straight ports of existing plug-ins that *fit* this format (plug-ins that don’t fit simply can’t be ported), but Propellerheads is staking out a route that will take us beyond ports. I would almost claim that they have taken measures to *prevent* porting (although sharing DSP-code between your VST/AU/etc and RE is still easy).

      There are *very* strict limitations to what you can and are allowed to do GUI-wise and to some extent even how things look because RE uses full 3D-models and PH decides lighting etc. 
      Some developers may do this format as well as VST/AU, some will *only* do this format (trust me, using the RE SDK will be the quickest way for a new DSP-developer to create full featured cross-platform products). Of course a lot of existing devs won’t care, ever. Just like you don’t see every game manufacturers do Nintendo DS games or all OS X developers do iPad-development. (Coincidentally, the best DS games and iPad apps are never the simple ports.)

      Details of the shop are still being worked out. Hopefully we can create discount-codes etc already from day 1. But I don’t primarily expect VST/AU users to jump on this. This is a format created to let Reason users buy 3rd party stuff for their beloved rack. Reason users love their rack more than people love DAWs in general IMO and this is going to be a blessing for them and a business opportunity for us.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, precisely. It seems some of the biggest succeses here are likely to go to devs who really tailor what they’re doing to Reason.

      (I don’t know that the Props intended to force you guys to redo your UIs – seems a natural outgrowth of the way their UI works. But it is a nice upshot for them, huh? ;) )

    • http://www.valhalladsp.com/ seancostello

      Not really sure how redoing the UI is a nice upshot for anyone, as the work required for this might drive off a lot of plugin developers. Plus, developers who have non-skeuomorphic interfaces will stand out like sore thumbs in the ultra-skeuomorphic Reason environment. It looks like you either need to have fake 3D GUIs, or stand out like the one silver Eurorack module in a Fracrack system (to put the metaphor into electronic music geekspeek).

  • http://rekkerd.org Ronnie

    Nice, for Reason users. I guess.
    Not sure if it’s good news for non-Reason users when people like Urs are going to be spending time developing for yet another plugin/extension format.

    • aje

      Urs has commented about this elsewhere (on KVR forum):


       This is *not* another plugin format. It’s something different. We are very happy about it. 

      As for pricing, I don’t think we can give it away as a free crossgrade. We’ll unbundle Uhbik and we’ll work something out.OTOH we couldn’t do Zebra, ACE or even Diva just yet. But we’ve got a close wire to Props to work out ways to port a few things. ”So some interesting observations. I hear what you mean about timing, though Urs doesn’t show any concern about that and seems very happy about the whole thing.On the plus side, his comments suggest that developers might prefer to code devices for Reason that aren’t simply ports of their VST range. I think that would be good, and makes more sense given the unique positive qualities of Reason’s rack paradigm.On the minus side, this hints at the possibility the Re format isn’t yet capable of the more advanced DSP stuff that makes synths like Zebra so far superior to the Reason ones. 

  • gesslr

    Two quick comments. I’ve no problem paying for a separate Re version of a plugin I already own (as long as the price is…wait for it…REASONABLE). Not sure if folks were implying that we are entitled to a license if we already own the VST. Hope not. Devs need to be compensated for their work and this is extra work. Second and this is about Figure. Anybody know if the songs you develop can be opened in Reason?

  • Coops2

    This initially seems very good for Reason users but looking at the bigger picture I think it is a disappointing direction for the audio software industry as a whole as we are going to see more of this type of proprietary extension appearing. If I by a RE then I am buying something that is locked to a particular host. It is just another tightly controlled ecosystem in a similar manner to Apple where PH can control how and what is released.

    • Mr Nix080586

      I think that’s the goal, to use Reason for everything. In the past it has been the DAW crowd and the Reason crowd, the main gripe DAW users had with Reason were no audio channels, (until v6) and no plug in support, and on the flip side Reason is much easier to use than a DAW (unless you want it to be complexed ie routing etc). Now Reason will have the best of both worlds, as a huge  (64 bit) Synth Workstation, and now a DAW. It should be called a D.A.S.W.

    • ifthenwhy

      I disagree. Proprietary platforms (as in the case of Reason) can offer stability and UI cohesiveness in ways that open systems just cant manage. If the company is proven to be exceptionally good (again, as is the case with Reason), then what’s wrong with them controlling the experience? Personally I find “tightly controlled ecosystems” to be much kinder to my creative process. Why? Simply because I’m spending less time dicking around with multiple shitty GUI’s and managing performance issues. 
      And I, for one, can say the inclusion of “Softubes” in Peter’s list has made me rather giddy.

      But I also worry that the Pandora’s box of engineering folly may have been opened here. Again this is all based on how Propellerhead’s police the third party plugs. Hopefully a system like the Apple App store (or something like it) will be in place to ensure that Reason remains consistant and crash free.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I wouldn’t read too much into it. Every other host already has a huge investment in plug-ins. Reason had zero investment in plug-ins – never had them, (obviously, now) never will. And it’s not as though all of these problems with plug-ins were invisible until Propellerhead did something else.

      If anything, I’m still hoping there’s *some* pressure to actually work on addressing plug-ins to make them more friendly to developers. It’s not that there hasn’t been good engineering work done on plug-in formats, it’s that those efforts seem utterly disconnected from what plug-in developers have been asking for for years.

      Ironically, if there were a threat that other hosts would go this direction, maybe that’d be more likely. But this is Reason’s direction for the moment, not anyone else’s.

    • aje

      Well SONAR has it’s “ProChannel” modules…. Ableton has “Partner Instruments”…. platform specific development seems to be an emerging trend.

    • foljs

      And Logic had its integrated instruments (ES-1 to EXS24 et al)…

      Since Logic is now sold through the App Store,  I can see Apple doing something similar with third party plugins too, especially after Mountain Lion / Logic Pro X, when they will also enforce the GateKeeper for system protection / sandboxing.

    • foljs

      And Logic had its integrated instruments (ES-1 to EXS24 et al)…

      Since Logic is now sold through the App Store,  I can see Apple doing something similar with third party plugins too, especially after Mountain Lion / Logic Pro X, when they will also enforce the GateKeeper for system protection / sandboxing.

    • foljs

      It’s not like a professional musician hops from host to host.

      And if he does, it’s not to reuse the same plugins he used in another host, but to take advantage of some specific feature of that host.

    • foljs

      It’s not like a professional musician hops from host to host.

      And if he does, it’s not to reuse the same plugins he used in another host, but to take advantage of some specific feature of that host.

  • http://twitter.com/plgDavid David Viens

    An interesting development indeed. Just one to make one thing clear, protecting a host from a plugin crashing has nothing to do with the plugin format. A host which sandboxes VSTis can do that right now.
    A host can use some protection already (which Bidule does just by catching exceptions), but for 100% crash prevention from plugins (read: unwinding stack is screwed up), the only way to do it is just like Bit Bridge, meaning IPC (inter process communication), and this has a Hit on CPU, its not transparent.

  • Benny

    Will this also make it possible to develop tools that can manupilate note data (I’m dreaming of a sort of Numerology in Reason)? And will they also make extra tools to make Reason more usable as a live tool (something like Reason Session View)?

    • Jim Aikin

       Ideally, what Reason needs, and has needed for a very long time, is a module that will process control data in arbitrary ways — such as what FL Studio does already. Scaling, limiting, switching to different outputs in response to logical tests, and so forth. Whether a developer will see a profit incentive in developing such a thing … who knows? Whether it would be easy to include notes arriving in the module from the sequencer as elements in that data … difficult to say without being a developer, but I’d guess you could do that.

  • Oscilator

    I’m still waiting for program change messages to work with Reason’s devices.  I hope this will open that up.  If only these devices worked like hardware, like they’re supposed to.  Peter’s right about sending Midi Note data too.  Reason still has tons of potential for receiving data in terms of live performance or even better, live generative computer music.  Would be nice to change patches easily with existing and new instruments.

    • JonYo

      I’ve heard this request before for Reason, and I can’t say I quite understand it. Program change seems to me to have come about to work past the limitations of old 8 or 16 MIDI channel hardware. With Reason, why send a program change to a device when you could just stop sending notes to it and create a whole new device to send notes to. If you want your 2 different patches (done with 2 different Reason devices, even if they’re the same device type), you can easily route them through all the same insert effects before the mixer, or even to the same mixer channel. I don’t see the Propheads ever adding midi-style program changes to Reason.

  • http://buttonsandlights.com/ griotspeak

    This is quite good. I had hoped for something else in terms of extending reason, but I will take this. CV and Audio In and out make this much like max externals.

  • Shiah Coore

    About dam time

  • Ernest Amp

    Would you be able to save the crazy melody you just did with a demo Rack extension? and/or open the project, after the 30 day trial is over, without losing your progress?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Well, that uses the Reason sequencer, presumably, so yeah, of course you could do that.

    • foljs

      Well, you could “open the project without losing your progress” after the trial is over, but you would have to pay to use that plugin to hear that melody again. Except if you have bounced it down.

    • foljs

      Well, you could “open the project without losing your progress” after the trial is over, but you would have to pay to use that plugin to hear that melody again. Except if you have bounced it down.

  • aje

    I hope they will have a good way to deal with plugin delay compensation, as well as a freeze function. Fairly crucial to get these basics right in the host environment …

  • Djeroek

    Would be fun if someone created some kind of unofficial, vst-bridge-rack, where you can open up vst(i)’s. Why treat your userbase as babies? Let them be responsible for their own crashing farts :)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That’s not the issue. You wouldn’t be able to support things like real undo, patch routing, and the way Reason does automation and control, because VST can’t do those things. There are hosts built around supporting those plug-in formats, so they work in a different way, and do a better job. I don’t think that kind of bridge makes much sense – and you already have the ability to bridge Reason to other tools with ReWire.

  • http://www.valhalladsp.com/ Sean Costello

    Any word on what format the UI elements will take? Are the knobs the filmstrip-style images that are commonly used in VST GUI, or can developers create their own procedural controls? Also, will example controls be supplied with the SDK?

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

      First, you have to have an established business entity (in the EU, with a VAT ID / outside Europe, just some legal entity).

    This is the same nonsense that Propellerheads quoted at me when I asked them, 8 or 9 years ago, for the Rewire SDK/API docs. “You’re not a real company”. Ardour hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, but JACK has done OK for itself, and I’m still not a real company (they claimed back thenthat a US sole proprietorship did not count).

    Thanks, Propellerheads.

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    As a technical note: any attempt to “sandbox” plugins comes at a price. If the communication between the host and the plugin is to have the absolute minimum overhead, then they need to live in the same address space, which on any vaguely sane contemporary OS means inside the same task/process. If the plugin does something wrong, it will inevitably bring down the host too. Yes, you can try to catch things that go wrong while executing the plugin – that has its own costs in terms of CPU cycles and code complexity.

    Moving the plugin out of the process/address space prevents this, but at the price of requiring inter-process communication between the host and the plugin.  This has become cheaper than it was 10 years ago, but it still doesn’t scale well to a system with dozens of plugins (as might be found in a large scale DAW session with lots of processing per track).

    The best compromise, IMHO, is to move the GUI for the plugin into is own process and leave the DSP side of the plugin inside the host. Most of the bugs tend to be in the GUI code anyway, which is normally far more complex than the DSP side of things. AU tries to encourage this design pattern, but very few hosts actually impose it.

  • Josh

    Any idea what the average rack extension will go for?

    • foljs

      $99 dollars/euro sounds like a possible median price.

    • foljs

      $99 dollars/euro sounds like a possible median price.

  • Attic

     Peter said “Plug-in formats in general could work better than they do. It’s
    frustrating that they’ve made little progress since their introduction
    in regards to some obvious shortcomings, over a range of years. Don’t believe me? Ask almost any plug-in developer, anywhere.”

    ===========    Amen to that.    =================
    It also seems strange that software built to easily design plugins such as Synthedit and Synthmaker totally ignore the fact that their base midi functionality is meager and has huge gaps. Midi is the foundation of control functions for most plugins the developers sit back and obsess over the Dsp side while leaving the Midi part of the equation unfinished and only partially developed.

  • NiceAndAll

    I like Reason. A lot. But only up to version 3. (Admittedly I sampled the heck out of Kong on a later demo, then quickly reverted back!) Since then it’s been a mix of ideas, generally good but curiously executed… I guess I’d rather have a solid subset of tools than a mixed bag of stuff.

  • David Robillard

    I’m quite certain that an even *more* proprietary locked down exclusive anti-open-source plugin format is not the future of plug-ins.  Well, not a very nice future, anyway.

    • foljs

      Open source plays, well, almost no role in the music world, either professional or hobby.

      The only OS music specimens (from JACK to audio programming languages) have less than minuscule user bases (and mostly for obscure experimental avant guard stuff or weirdo laptop performance audio art).  

    • David Robillard

      It doesn’t really have anything to do with how much of a role particular pieces of open source software have in the music world.  It has everything to do with an “open” plugin format in the sense that anyone can use it (open, closed, whatever).  That would benefit users.

      Locked down proprietary APIs exist for a few reasons, but benefiting users is certainly not among them.

    • Jonjons

      I disagree – an open plugin format would come with it’s own set of compromises. Chief of which would be that it would not take full advantage of any unique strengths of the individual host platforms (as represented by it’s APIs). In this regard, cross-platform standards benefit developers more than end users who have selected a particular platform because of these unique attributes.

    • foljs

      Open source plays, well, almost no role in the music world, either professional or hobby.

      The only OS music specimens (from JACK to audio programming languages) have less than minuscule user bases (and mostly for obscure experimental avant guard stuff or weirdo laptop performance audio art).  

  • Zootook

    If other host developers could support RE (like rewire) the potential would be even greater. Maybe the app store is a show stopper for that?

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