Propellerhead today unveils the new Reason, incorporating Record functionality in both the full-blown and “Essentials” versions, a new audio interface in their first-ever hardware, and a beta that will at last make ReCycle a modern Mac tool.

Record added some wonderful stuff to Reason, including a terrific analog-style console, modeled EQ and dynamics, the ability (finally) to place racks side by side, and extra effects modules, including nice Line 6 modeled guitar kit. In other words, Record introduced a bunch of stuff you’d really want in Reason all along. Conversely, if you only bought Record, you were left out of a bunch of useful stuff that was only in Reason.

Yes, there was the “Duo” box that included both Reason and Record. But what you really wanted was both. Since neither app supports plug-ins, you really, really wanted both.

Propellerhead has apparently heard us, because Reason 6 now includes everything. It’s effectively Duo, with both Reason and Record. If that’s overkill, Reason Essentials gives you Record plus the bits of Reason Record users most wanted — the ReDrum drum machine, the NNXT sampler, the Dr OctoREX loop player. Essentials also has a smaller mixer (actually, I rather hope that’s accessible from the full-blown product, too.)

Onto what’s new: Reason adds a bunch of new goodies:

  • Pulveriser : “crushing” effect with “crunchy” compression. Given the niceness of previous distortion efforts for Propellerheads, I think there’s reason to be optimistic.
  • Echo: stereo effect with “modern” delay and analog tape echo. Sounds delightful, that one.
  • Alligator: three-band pattern gate.
  • Higher-quality audio transpose. One of the most overlooked features of Record was its exceptional-quality time stretching; getting better transpose alongside could make a formidable audio tool.
  • True 64-bit compatibility.

The biggest piece of news here – the one Propellerhead didn’t even include explicitly in its press release – is that ReWire is 64-bit. That ensures ReWire’s place in the future of the product line.

Finally, in its first foray into hardware, Propellerhead is unveiling Balance, the lovely design of which you can more or less make out at top. It’s a two-in, two-out audio interface, but with eight connections – that way, while you can only record stereo, you don’t have to swap cables.

The new metering overlay, for further musician-friendly emphasis on actual recording – nice.

There’s also this feature: “Hardware buttons on Balance bring up a large meter/tuner in Reason and can also enable Clip Safe, Propellerhead’s new recording technology that with one click heals clipped recorded audio. Musicians no longer have to worry about losing a great recording because gain levels were too high, and can stay focused on creating that goose bump evoking performance.”

I’ve confirmed with Propellerhead that the basic means by which this works is that the software automatically records extra audio, so that when you do clip a recording, you can effectively borrow additional dynamic headroom (in that you’re recording additional dynamic information) by using the additional recording. There’s some clever means by which this is automatic; it should be fun to test, intentionally setting gain wrong. (I was just looking at a Sony mobile recorder that does something similar, albeit using additional bits by recording at 24-bit over 16-bit, etc.)

The other good news on the audio interface: it’s WDM/ASIO on Windows, but class-compliant for Mac (and Linux, and iPad, and other things). The Balance upgrade will come bundled with Essentials for US$499; clearly, part of the idea here is to offer in one box some complete software for use by newcomers to music production tools, with everything they need in one box.

If you do want Balance and intend to use the full-blown Reason, Propellerhead tells us, “If you already own Reason or Record or the Duo you get a free upgrade to Reason 6 when you buy Balance. If you buy Balance new without owning any Propellerhead software previously, you can upgrade to Reason 6 by buying the Reason 6 upgrade ($169).” (See further discussion in comments.)

There are still things I’d complained about that appear not to be here – namely, MIDI output for hardware synths and the ability to run Record (now Reason) as a ReWire host and not just ReWire client, which I think would make it an ideal mixing, arrangement, and mastering console. (I do track the things I write in the “Cons” column.) But I’m very excited about this release. I’ve been a great fan of the work on Record, and it seems only natural to bring it to a broader audience of Reason users. This appears to make the product line more sensible and friendly, and I’ve long found those couple of simple effects additions in new Reason versions can turn out to be the ingredient in entire tracks.

Stay tuned for a hands-on when this ships. Ship date: September 30.

Pricing: US$449 for Reason 6, US$299 for Reason Essentials (without the hardware), or US$169 for an upgrade from any Reason version or Reason Essentials to Reason 6.

Full details:
Reason 6 minisite

There’s a public beta signup if you just can’t wait:
Beta Test Reason

And in other news, Propellerhead have an update on Lion compatibility. Their software, apart from its usual Windows function, will work on the upcoming new release of Apple’s software. Because Apple is, as expected, removing Rosetta, the now-ancient compatibility layer, it’s time for a native Mac OS X version of Propellerhead’s ReCycle loop creation software. There’s a beta coming for that, as well:
Lion Info

There’s also this nice video of Reason users, set in New York City, with a few people I know mixed in. It’s an advertisement, of course, but I like them focusing on the human side of music software.

  • Bynar

    Whew! I just slipped into the free upgrade time table. Not to mention Reason 6 comes out on my birthday! I have to say that I have produced more music recently with the record and reason workflow then I ever did with Logic or Ableton previously. IMO working without plugins has really allowed me to sit down and focus on using Reason devices much like older producers would use just a couple pieces of hardware to do everything. It has actually kind of killed gear lust for me recently. I for one hope that they don't introduce midi out. That would mean that I might feel pressured to buy more analog gear again 🙂

  • oh yes!  i dig the move towards a single program.  i dig the 64-bit compatibility.  I like how they've gone for Quality over Quantity when adding new rack modules.  And then you've got the new Recycle coming out which hopefully unifies the interface…it's a good time to be a Reason use.  I haven't felt this giddy since 2.0

    The only think i'd like to see that hasn't been mentioned is the ability to add track markers, track folders (things can get really busy in the sequencing view), and a 'notes' window for lyrics or changelog. 

  • Why there is no Balance with Reason 6 upgrade bundle for Reason 5 user?

  • Leo

    @musiXboy Owners of Reason and/or Record who buys Balance will receive an upgrade to Reason 6! More info here:… /Propellerhead-Leo

  • aje

    A great announcement. The paradigm of having two separate programmes was confusing and, well, a bit dumb. This gives Propellerhead the chance to capitalise on the powerful brand that is Reason, something Record never really did.

  • I'd be interested in the ability to fold the mixer view down as well.  it's either that or i need to go get a second monitor and put it in portrait orientation.

  • KJs

    Now that Reason can accept an audio input, will be able to use Reason modules as insert effects in our Rewire host (e.g. Ableton)?

    Those new filter/delay effects look like they'd be a lot of fun for Live performance.

  • @Leo Yep, but as a Reason user I don't need a copy of Reason Essentials…

  • lead singer of the DollyRots in this video? i just met her and her band mates….cool band and wonderful people. i noticed that the alligator resembles features in the Rob Paben line of arps…i wonder if that was an influence. i like "playable" delays…reminds of the Ibanez AD202 i use live with a waldorf synth.

  • jakub

    Is it finally allowed to call it DAW now? : -)

  • Jake Gilla

    I can't believe they still haven't integrated Recycle into Reason.  With the new audio tracks it just seems like that functionality is begging to be there.

  • brett weldele

    Balance kinda reminds me of the old tv switcher box I used to use. I like the concept.
    Just listing that it has Hi End Converters and Preamps without additional info makes me shrug my shoulders a bit though.

    Reason 6 on the other hand is a bit underwhelming for those of us with the Duo. 

  • I couldn't find a comparison between Reason and Reason Essentials anywhere. Since I use Reason more as a soundbank than anything else, it would be nice to know if I could get the cheaper version and still be able to do what I need.

  • @ Fabio FZero

    "Reason Essentials gives you Record plus the bits of Reason Record users most wanted — the ReDrum drum machine, the NNXT sampler, the Dr OctoREX loop player. Essential also has a smaller mixer (actually, I rather hope that’s accessible from the full-blown product, too.)"

  • Those of you who want "ReWire"-ish behaviour from Reason can always just use JACK to do 99% of the same thing (you won't get shared transport control, but that's about it). It will work in conjunction with other non-ReWire apps too. Better and simpler on OS X than on Windows, but works on both (and other OS's too)

  • Nice tease on ReCycle Peter. The lack of that update is one of the reasons I didn't bother with the Reason/Record 5 update previously. When you say it "will at last make ReCycle a modern Mac tool" can you elaborate?

  • James

    Unless i missed it, has Props mentioned anything about the price of buying just Balance. From what I understand, if I already own the Duo, buying Balance gets me a free upgrade to Reason 6.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Brian: As in, OS X native … at last. Previously, it required Rosetta.

    And yes, Balance nets existing users a free upgrade to Reason 6, so that's the solution for anyone wanting a new USB2 audio interface … though I imagine that most folks who bought Reason already own one?

  • ReCycle is OS X native…. and that's it? Oh good lord. One would think that with audio being integrated so well into Reason now, and a record button being tacked onto the samplers in Reason 5, that this feature would be what it actually is. A feature. Not another total application.

  • genjutsushi

    Recycle integrated into Reason would be amazing .. they were edging there with the simple audio editor in Reason 5.

    The combination of the two doesnt really appeal to me though. I use both extensively, but peversely for different things. Reason is a great sketchpad and creation tool with clear interface and a low CPU impact on my ageing 13" macbook. Record then becomes a great assembly tool for finishing a track off, providing some mix polish etc but it really needs a bigger monitor due to the size of the epic SSL-a-like mixer.

    The point of reason was to focus solely on the components that it contained and maximise your understanding of their signal flow. By integrating the Recording elements, this is broken to some degree… though i will admit, i bet it sells better than the two seperately did

  • sjc

    Loving a single integrated version. 

    The Props are getting a lot of bitching on their forums over what's been left out etc…. Developers always catch the flack. I personally think when they just have the one product to work on, we'll see more cool stuff sooner. I mean this is really kind of a 1.0 of their deluxe version. I have no doubt they are heavily weighing the midi, channel groups etc. requests and have good reasons (no pun) for the evolution. 

  • Jonah

    8 ins is sorta ridiculous without MIDI no? …Combined with say a Behringer MX882 on the outs it might be an badass way to do effect loops with external hardware.

    I hope it based off isn't Line6 tech. I've never had so many driver problems.

  • Vinayk

    I wish some of this stuff had come out before I bough ableton – I really loved working in reason 4 but the lack of audio in was getting to me! My modular synth has taught me about limitations and helping creativity and I think that's what reason is doing now! I would also love a nice reason style mixer in ableton! 

    Problem is I'm waist deep in ableton – and use the external instrument plugin(midi out) for all my analog synths – so it's too late for me now – if I were really new to this I'd be all over the reason/balance bundle! 

  • mckenic


    Duo now packaged as one app and a hardware interface from a software manufacturer…

    Props – I like you. Reason 5 was fun (have Duo but dont care for Record much – I want MY compressors and MY reverb if you get me). Whats the great advantage of 6 to me? Im still on 10.5.8 because Im happy with it…

    I have an Mbox2 because of PT, Kore 1 hardware because of Kore, FW410 because it came with my iMac, a Line 6 UX2 and a MOTU Ultrallite for silent way and modular.

    PLEASE dont go the 'This is everything you ever need in one package and here is the hardware that makes it all work' route.

    NI burned that bridge well and good!

  • Benny

    Nice, but there are two things missnig: Recycle integrated into the DrRex devices and a session view like ableton live. The Reason 5 sequencer is already better, but a session view would give it more live capabilities.

  • Paul

    Recycle needed to become OS X native because the old version wouldn't work in the forthcoming release of OS X 10.7, due to the new OS not supporting Rosetta.

    Reason 6 looks very nice tho! But im still a bit flummoxed that the propellerheads still shun proper midi support.

  • propellerhead rules!
    especially when you have recognized, that the au/vst interface is also an interface to your wallet… and that you are paying the developer´s hobbies by buying the newest, coolest plug in…and that it takes precious creative time trying them out. but since everything works in record/reason, there´s no need for it.
    well? now? just make music? can you face it? try it !

  • Peter Kirn

    Took me some time to appreciate that people are complaining about MIDI support *in the software*, not the lack of MIDI jacks on the device. (The latter is much easier to fix!)

    Yes, I still like MIDI connectivity to hardware, so I hear you. 😉 Actually, I think it's worth complaining about in a way that the absence of plug-in support is not.

  • Jonah

    I mean, I can't imagine a real world use case where I would have 8 devices hooked up and not want to MIDI(or osc or whatever) sequence most of them. Could someone give me an example? Guitar, bass, mic x2, what else? 
    (I play my synths live often, but I like to sequence stuff like filters or overdub more automation.)
    If I have to buy/open another program to sequence my gear then the quick, all in one appeal of Reason/Balance is lessened. It's not like you can't sequence the internal synths, so I'm not sure what the issue is. 
    Lack of physical MIDI i/o isn't a huge issue for me. Although if Reason does eventually sequence external hardware, it will feel like more of an oversight…

  • Peter Kirn

    @Jonah: Here's one. Just because a synth has MIDI doesn't mean you necessarily want to sequence everything. Sometimes I do try to play things live and then don't touch it afterwards, as I would with an acoustic instrument. That's not to say I don't want the *option* to choose, still, but it's worth saying that you don't always choose sequencing.

    Another easy way to use up those inputs: think drums. Or anything with multiple mic sources (piano's another good example, sometimes you go stereo pair, sometimes more)

  • Peter Kirn

    Don't get me wrong; I'm still at a loss on the absence of MIDI output. Plug-ins are a support nightmare, but I'm not sure the same can be said for hardware MIDI I/O. 😉

  • "oh yea, it's 64-bit!"

    love it! can't wait

  • salamanderanagram

    yeah the lack of MIDI output means i'll sit this update out. i also find it ridiculous that the creators of the rewire protocol still can't get it together to release a rewire host.

    plus recycle belongs as a free add-on or dr. octorex should have it integrated in some way. ableton lets you slice to transient, even reaktor has ensembles that are more or less like recycle. it's time.

  • Peter, one reason (haha) to have MIDI is simple…i want to sync my external hardware sequencer with ongoing vocal tracks in Reason/Record. So it would be fine if Propellerhead would finally take the stick out of their asses and at least implement THAT.

  • Oh and of course Reason should be than at least be Midi-clock slave…so MIDI-in at least, please

  • Jon

    I sorry that I'm going to poop in the punchbowl, but I feel very underwhelmed by this announcement. I run the Duo, and I can't see that there is a good reason to upgrade now. Come on, a new distortion device, a new echo, and a triple gate (for that ever popular Trance effect from 1994)? Oh, but there's 64-bit support now, which if I needed it might be useful. I guess I'll have to wait until version 7 or spend more time in my other DAW (REAPER). Rather disappointing, Props.

  • rondema

    I agree with Jon. I'm a Duo user that doesn't want to play the upgrade game any more…
    it feels more like an anual subscription.

  • rondema


  • john

    hah ahaaha reason still sux.. hack the planet

  • john

    no 3rd party vst compatibility and all the ad ons are whack. to all people who dont know shit and use reason. go get a copy of reaktor or get the whole NI bundle. the reaktor user library alone is free and has thousands of fx and synths. plus all of the dope vst out there like sonic charge, rob papen, linplug ect.. better yet fig out how to get these programs for free reason's the easiest one to hack but i instantly deleted it cuz it was whack compared to whats out there

  • I think the most astonishing thing about Reason 6 for Mac Users…you need OSX 10.6.3 at least.

  • billy bob

    ableton is by far the easiest to hack along with traktor.

    either way reason 7 should finally catch props up to the rest of pack, but i'll still upgrade for 64 bit

  • Paul

    pulsn. It does have midi in. Not just for a controller keyboard. But clock too.

  • poodleface

    Record functionality in Reason is nice, but I'm not too fond of the Ignition Key dongle coming along for the ride. I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned:

    Note the audio interface doubles as an Ignition Key… 

  • @poodleface that makes sense… but is hilarious. Digidesign finally lets go of the 'audio interface as dongle' model as props slides into it.

  • rouge skematik

    From the first advertisement of Record, I felt the features it boasted should have been apart of Reason all along. not to mention intergrating recycle as well. I guess it all being done the way it is in the pursuit of generating revenue. while I believe Reason is the shit, it has left me wanting more options. I  started courting the Ableton Live website for that very reason pondering whether or not I should make the switch, but due to the  price tag, and the fact that I'm well invested in propellerhead products, I'm a Reason User for a while longer.

  • For those of you wanting to learn how to use Reason 6 and the previous versions, check out 
    Tip: Get 20% off by using coupon RC20

  • andrek

    When is this released?

  • andrek

    When is this released?

  • andrek

    When is this released?

  • Mike

    I recently purchased reason essentials so I could teach my nephew about composing strong music. Unfortunately I can’t open the program once it has been installed. Any ideas would b helpful.

  • Mike

    I recently purchased reason essentials so I could teach my nephew about composing strong music. Unfortunately I can’t open the program once it has been installed. Any ideas would b helpful.

  • Mike

    I recently purchased reason essentials so I could teach my nephew about composing strong music. Unfortunately I can’t open the program once it has been installed. Any ideas would b helpful.