With Live 5 on its way, it’s a good time to consider Reason, which many people like to pair with Ableton’s host for additional instruments. Macworld has a review I wrote of Reason 3 available online in its entirety. The initial release date for the new Reason caused quite a stir here on CDM — Reason haters and aficionados alike had plenty to say about this program.

Of course, the hardest part about evaluating Reason is figuring out what it is, exactly. Is it a bundle of soft synths? Well, no, that does no justice whatsoever to some slick effects and powerful routing options, not to mention the handful of people who use it as an all-in-one performance/production tool. Ah, that’s it — an all-in-one workstation. Nope again. There’s still no external audio recording or effects hosting, and its MIDI sequencer still comes across as afterthought.

Beginner’s tool? Er, only if you use the presets as-is: the Combinator is for power users, and the real fun of Reason requires that you know about Control Voltage routing, hardly light stuff. Competitor to Arturia Storm? Again, not quite, and I still can’t track down anyone who uses Storm, let alone overlaps with the Reason user base. (If you’re there, drop me a line.)

All of this brings us back to where we started: Reason 3 makes a great companion to Live or another DAW/host; it’s in a product category all its own. Check out the Macworld review, and let me know what you think of this tool in your work.

  • damonp

    I would like to use reason and Live together live/in the studio, however rewire (which I cant turn off) kills my machine.
    I have since been moving towards VSTis in live in hopes of replacing it…

  • admin

    Define "ReWire kills my machine." What do you mean? And no, you can't turn off ReWire, that's part of the idea. Works fine on all the machines I use . . . but plenty of possible things to go wrong; what are the specifics?

  • damonp

    It basically makes my machine grind to a halt… and with 1GB of RAM and a 3ghz P4 that shouldnt be the case

  • admin

    Very strange; has nothing to do with your machine specs. Maybe a corrupted DLL somewhere . . . hard to say. But there has to be a cause / fix.

  • cycle60

    live and reason 2.5 on a 933MHZ G4ibook with 640MB is just swell. how fast is your harddrive? i get better performance by storing all libraries on an external drive vs the internal 4200rpm laptop hd. maybe windows is running something in the background too.

  • theo

    You are right in that Storm and Reason are not competiors.

    Storm is much simpler to use and does not have the routing options.

    The killer feature for me with Storm is the composition wizard which provides a starting point for various music forms.

    I also found the instruments and effects very accessible to use.

    I have used Storm for sound track work for my art videos and for my corporate videos.

    Reason didn't appeal to me because of its over reliance on the hardware metaphor.
    (And the icons looked too windowish.)

    I tried both as demos and with Storm I felt inspired and was making some music in minutes – with Reason it was too much self assembly required. Though that is obviously the attraction for many.

  • Guest


    You know, after years of not writing anything, because of the too-many-options illness, it was reason that got me rolling again. Because it's so very simple…

  • Guest

    javascript:ac_smilie(':grin')Being so old that my first synth had Patch chords and no presets, i LOVE the hardware metaphor. the flexibility and efficiency of this program makes any other app i use (SX3 Logic7 Tools ) seem slow CPU hogging and cumbersome.
    Sequencer is not enough for serious film work (i use SX) but great for POP or groove writing and the synths a so flexible i use them as my FIRST and SECOND Go To synths.
    HIGHLY recomend a proper look at it. :grin

  • xiontz

    I tried to create a midi file with Reason using "export" feature but in effect a single-channel file was created. Why can't I produce a multi-channel midis?

    I got PIV machine with 1 GB RAM aboard with Fortissimo III soundcard.

  • Hi Xiontz, you should ask questions like this (especially on posts that are several months old) in the Forums


  • YEP!

  • xiontz

    Right Jaymis, it wan't happen again.

    But this "feature" of Reason sucks anyway :/

  • Haha, don't let me tell you what to do, it turns out I was wrong anyway, you got an answer 🙂