Reason 7 works better with the outside world, thanks to mix groups, much-welcome external MIDI support, and audio slicing, among other improvements. Image courtesy Propellerhead.

Reason 7 works better with the outside world, thanks to mix groups, much-welcome external MIDI support, and audio slicing, among other improvements. Image courtesy Propellerhead.

Reason 7 is available now, in the full version, upgrades, and entry-level Essentials editions. You can download the new release right away – including, intelligently enough, as a torrent for downloads even if Reason users get overexcited. (Cough, Ableton. Hope you’re paying attention.)

There are lots of improvements, but the banner features are clearly integrated slicing and external MIDI sequencing.

Those features have been a long time coming. The ability to sequence external MIDI gear seems a no-brainer for a tool with so many great sequencing tools and robust MIDI input control support. And integrated audio slicing is, oddly enough, something Propellerhead was instrumental in advancing through their REX format and ReCycle product. What you get in Reason 7, though, in exchange for the wait, is an implementation that only Propellerhead could pull off.

Reason 7’s external MIDI support, for instance, has extensive integration with the slick modular capabilities integrated in Reason. We covered that in depth with Propellerhead in a preview:
When Reason Met MIDI Out: How MIDI, Virtual CV Work in the New Reason 7 [Pictures, Details]

I’m covering the slicing workflow today:
Reason 7′s New Tools for Slicing, Stretching, Retiming Audio: Q&A, Tutorial Vid

The other good news is that Reason 7 works with any Rack Extensions you’re adding. After all, Propellerhead promised that Rack Extensions would provide deep integration but forwards compatibility – so when you update Reason, all the extras you’ve added work, too. Propellerhead tells CDM that all currently-available Rack Extensions do indeed work with the new release.

Third-party developers are saying the same thing. Producer and developer Peff posted via his Facebook page that he’s happy with compatibility with the new release:

Buffre and Directre are both running stable in Reason 7. No code updates required = Propellerheads are awesome!

Rack Extension forward compatibility appears to deliver, as you'd hope. Superstar developer Peff posts visual proof of Buffre and Directre working in the new release.

Rack Extension forward compatibility appears to deliver, as you’d hope. Legendary developer Peff posts visual proof of Buffre and Directre working in the new release.

What else is new:

  • Mixing with a spectrum analyzer, visual EQ tools (something becoming almost expected in software EQs these days)
  • One-click group and parallel mix channels – meaning Props are happily not being too slavish as they emulate big, traditional consoles
  • Automatic Retro Transformer has settings like vinyl and VHS tape (interestingly, also available as €39/$49 purchase if you don’t want the other new features in 7 and want it as an extension instead)
  • MP3, AAC, WMA import, etc.
New visual EQ.

New visual EQ.

$449/€405 for the full Reason 7 release; $129/€120 for Essentials. Essentials owners get the new release free. Reason users can upgrade to 7 for $129/€120.

Obligatory videos.

  • dajebus

    I hate reason. Not for the reasons you might think.
    After I got Reason 3.0 I loaded up a demo track and liked the way it sounded. So i erased the note data and started over. After about 5 hours of work I had a really nice song. So i decided to save it. Saving disabled since it was someone else’s “work”. 5 hours of my life gone and I lost a good song.

    I never used it again. I never will.

    • gLOW-x

      I’ve lost a LOT more than 5 hours with Reason limitations and Props “vision” 😉
      But i stopped to hate it. I just don’t want to touch it again. Even a demo.

    • adam

      i switched to reason from live – best decision ever

    • gunboat_d

      cool story, bro. i assume you save all your incisive comments for gearslutz?

    • Sheldon

      You are an idiot my soon.

    • Tibor Szász

      Yeah, but you could hit CTRL+N and copy paste the devices. Pleasant experience? No. Work saved? YEEES :)

    • foljs

      Besides starting work on a demo song, what sort of idiot works for 5 hours without attempting to save anyway?

    • foljs

      So you did a stupid thing without even trying to see, and you blame the software…

      Not to mention how idiotic it was even working for 5 hours without attempting to save your output regularly in between. If the computer crashed or you lost power, you would have lost your track all the same, even if saving was enabled.

      “””I never used it again. I never will.”””

      Probably this decision raised the IQ of Reason users by a few decimal points.

  • Ianto_Jones

    So how many versions will we have to wait until Reason has VST support? Or until it at least becomes a Rewire host? A technology the Props invented which almost every other DAW except Reason can do? I imagine we may never see any of this since the Props want you to pay for all of your VST instruments all over again by purchasing them as rack extensions. What a pain in the ass.

    • foljs

      1) You can use VSTs already, control them via MIDI out and record their audio — albeit in a cumbersome way, through virtual MIDI ports and audio loopback.

      2) VSTs are not speced for the Reason rack, they don’t support the CV, modulation etc port system Reason uses for control.

      So, if you want to use VSTs might as well use something else. Reason is all about the rack metaphor.

  • erja

    I’ve been beta testing for a month and can’t imagine going back. I agree that none of the features redefine the state of the DAW art, but they add up to a radically faster workflow and have that typical Props elegance. A lot of people are surprised at how “playing around with Reason” results in a track, and I think they’ve only improved that sense of immediacy.

    I love how they’ve implemented busses and parallel tracks – they’re remarkably easy to invoke in either the mixer or rack and are both a great use case for the rack. It’s nice having all of the relevant controls for a fairly complex signal chain onscreen at once (without the mental gymnastics of having to route it all as in past Reason versions).

    On the Rack Extension side, the ability to authorize Reason and every RE on one computer with no dongle or login really enhances that sense that your entire DAW setup is “hardware”.

  • Bosse Löthén

    Reason is something you love or don’t. Which is great. When Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, Sonar and the rest of them basically have the same approach Reason is different, You could say the same about Live. But Live isn’t my cup of tea. That doesn’t mean I think it’s bad software. For those who make great music in that environment it’s the best and what they should use. I’ve worked more or less in all the other big DAW’s. I have a Cubase 7 license. I prefer it over the others. But to me it doesn’t come close to Reason when it comes to making music. When you get the hang of Rack Extensions you realize that VST or AU support wouldn’t do. But there are plug ins I would like see as RE’s. Reason is my main tool for music making and now with the new features my first choice for mixing. So it’s great with software that has other solutions and to me clever solutions. I think Reason is the best there is but I would never say that people using other DAW’s are wrong. They are only wrong if they can’t make the music they want to create with their choice of software.

  • Genjutsushi

    When i was looking for a replacement for Audiomulch as a sound mangler, i chose Reason v4. It has a comprehensive selection of great sounding units that make sound creation a real joy. I bought Record, and liked being able to add the DAW functions when i needed them. But having upgraded to V6.5 to be honest, i still just use the core of Reason – the rack routing and synth engines. All the extraneous guff is lost on my workflow. I dont need to Rex loops in situ as i prefer the offline element of this. Any on the spot sampling is done ‘one hit’ in the same way i used to use my Akai rack sampler, or MPC. The new 7 features dont really appeal to me, but i can see they may draw more people to Reason who might otherwise balk at buying just the synth rack and then having to pony up for another DAW on top of it.

  • Andy

    People need to check their normalcy bias. Used to be you had to spend thousands on Pro Tools, and thousands more on Waves or Bomb Factory or whatever. That was then! As always, investment in software should only be expected to result in immediate to short-term return (but that immediate moment can last a lifetime if it does what you need).

    Any VST, RTAS, or AU only emulates a basic set of tools. Compressors, filters, reverbs, etc. In Reason we have every opportunity to design any sound we can imagine. Rack Extensions give us an a la carte menu with many many options. In Reason, we design sounds with basic tools and audio and CV routing. Now, we have MIDI out and bounce to REX. I don’t get the craving for another instrument. What would it be? A 4th synth? A 3rd sampler? A 3rd drum machine? If you’re not making the sounds you want with the existing tools, you probably don’t know how to use them.

    I’ve been a registered user since version 2 and every update has been a delight. 7 is the best yet. I’ll continue to pay for updates because I value the DAW with the best workflow that doesn’t crash!

  • A

    Keep in mind MIDI out isn’t only for hardware people. If you use any other software, especially on OSX because of the IAC bus, you’ll be able to mess with it with reason. Pick up Mainstage cheap and pipe it back into reason. Run the NI plugs standalone. Or Audiomulch, Bidule, Numerology, and so on.

    I’ve never liked, or found re-wire useful. I’d much rather and am more productive recording the audio, dropping it back into my main program and continuing on with the one interface paradigm. HD space is cheap, so why not!

  • @donmiller83 twitter

    I’m tired of waiting for reasons to come out with vst support. I’m giving FL Studio a try. Rewire takes up too much system memory. Bad LAG, and you can’t use reason as a host. I’m a fan of sounds, and I’m tired of using the same shit in reasons. I would like to use my nexus, komplete, omnisphere, and my virus, but this shit just sucks. I’ve been a loyal customer since day 1. It’s holding me back. I need more sounds, and f*ck the sounds in Rack extensions. That aint nothing but another fancy word for reason’s VST’s. They should’ve just rolled with the program. Everyone else has VST support. I love using reasons sequencer, and mixers. Reasons sounds are exhausted, and they can’t compete with those I mentioned. So I guess I’m trying something else… Any daw suggestions with vst support?

    • JustSaying

      You do realize with midi out you can run vst’s?!?

  • Kurt Deluxe

    When I heard Kanye West’s “Big Brother” was made start to finish on a laptop in Reason (vocals imported as waves into NNXT) years ago I knew I was using the right software for me. I’ve sort of grown up with Reason from version 2 so it keeps getting better in my opinion. It’s made my production solid and crisp over the years and people never ask what I’m using. I’ve sold music made strictly from Reason and the people who bought it never asked what version of Pro Tools I’ve used or what plug-in did what. They just like what they heard. So Reason it is.

    PS. Waves Update plan sucks donkey ass anyway.

  • Greg Savage

    Reason has been my ‘go to” application for years. I’ve used it for writing cues, film scores, sound design etc.

    It’s a great piece of software if you use it correctly