Remember when the main draw of Reason was adding a whole bunch of toys to your computer and playing until you couldn’t play any more? Those days are back.

The last few years have seen lots of workflow refinements and maturity in music production software. And that’s all fine and well. We’ve even seen new DAWs entirely, new combinations of hardware controllers and software (Maschine, Push), standalone production tools that work without a computer (the new MPC). And we’ve seen a whole lot of music production software evolution, gradually working through the elaborate wish lists we foist on the developers – and with good reason. Heck, maybe you begin to think that adding new sounds is about buying fancy modular rigs, and the computer will quietly disappear into the background.

But since the beginning, Reason was always about something different. Reason users didn’t just get a whole bunch of effects and synths as a bonus, icing to sweeten the deal. Reason was those effects and synths. And you’d be forgiven if you assumed that era had come to a close. After all, most Reason upgrades focused on adding in the openness and multifunctional capabilities of rivals – audio recording, Rack Extensions and a store to buy add-ons, even VST plug-in compatibility. Once you have VST support in Reason, maybe Reason isn’t really about the stuff Propellerheads put in the box.

Think again, because – Reason 10.

Now, there’s some chatter at Propellerhead about this being the “biggest content upgrade” ever, but let’s talk specifically about which instruments are getting added. And it’s a big ‘ol Swedish smörgåsbord of the kind of synths that made us notice Reason in the first place.

So, to answer Thor, there’s Europa – a wavetable synth.

To those granular goodies in Reaktor and Max for Live, there’s The Grain.

And in the tradition of Reason, they look, well, Reason-y. Functions are encapsulated, simplified, hardware-like, but without sacrificing deep modulation. The Grain, for its part, looks like the native granular synth Ableton never quite got (outside Max add-ons). Europa has its own biggie-sized instrumental quality.

For more acoustic timbres, you get new sampled instruments: Klang for tuned percussion, Pangea for a potpourri of “world” instruments, Humana for choir and vocal sounds. (Even if Humana makes those of us in Germany think of retro DDR fashion…)

Happily, these aren’t just ROMplers or sets of presets – you still get the control panels that mimic vintage hardware, and CV routing for patching monster hybrids and strange sound designs.

Propellerhead took a similar approach with their aptly-named Radical Piano, which allows the construction of hybrid, physically-modeled piano instruments, and it’s nice to see that instrument now included in the box.

And there’s one really killer effect, too: Synchronous, which brings modulated signal processing, with sidechaining and LFOs, even with the ability to draw your own curves to route into filter, delay, reverb, distortion. That alone could fill albums of material, and with a lot of different takes recently on how to do this, the Props’ take looks genuinely unique.

There are a lot of samples, too – Drum Supply and Loop Supply get a refresh. Now, that would normally bore me, except — oh yeah, that granular thing. Interested again.

In beta now, out 25 October.

I think it’s going to be a good winter.

They’ve worked hard; let’s embed their video. They earned it.

  • As a long time Reason user I’m still excited by their offerings, and 10 is no exception.

    But I really wish they’d hire another ad agency and abandon their current insufferable marketing. Yuck.

    • Polite Society

      it sure was pretty hard to watch

    • Pop

      Agreed. Its like they are aiming their software at children.

    • lzap

      Disagree, I feel young when I watch this 😀

    • Andy Vietri

      I am pretty sure that is one of the propellerhead guys or the lead engineer of reason. They have heard that VO voice since 2008.

    • Dumbpublic Hater

      Do you mean the hipsterous emos showing how easy it is to také loop and put it in the sequencer and hit play? Or recording guitar chords to mic. I think Reason is supposed to be advertised in an oposite way- it is modular cable monster in first place dammn. Who wants to use make up and download loops, they can go and get some magic musician studio or similar crap. The ads are definitely downgrading it, I agree.

  • So, “more everything” – but still those awful, aliased pre-high resolution graphics. Seriously, Props? This is a joke.

    • Brad oh Bama

      I believe all their new devices use 3d textures and antialiasing. Didn’t they switch their rendering engine from 2d to 3d sometime around the introduction of rack extensions?

      • I have no idea what they did or not did under the bonnet. All I can see is that the promo video and the screenshots show standard OS objects (like file dialogs) and text etc. in pristine hi res, but all graphics are still aliased and steppy as crap. 🤷‍♂️

    • foljs

      Yeah, because music software is all about hi-dpi UIs…

      • …and you just *want* to misunderstand what my point is? As far as I know, hi-res screens are available from Apple since 2012 and all other major DAWs have been upgraded to hi-res UI since then. If small companies were able to do this in the past five years for their plug-ins and other software, why can’t Propellerhead do it? And yes, non hi-res software is a pain on the eye on a hi-res screen.

        • EnochLight

          Something to consider: it’s possible that the vast majority of Reason users are still on 1080p panels, which Reason doesn’t look bad on at all. And to be clear, I agree that Reason needs higher definition graphics and high def zoom – it’s long overdue. But Apple and OSX users still represent a far microscopic user base of worldwide computing. To be blunt: “Retina” displays aren’t as common as you might think. Windows still dominates worldwide computing, and most Windows users are still on displays with far less resolution than Retina. Just say’n…

  • itchy

    i hope there working on using rack extensions in other daws
    i have a feeling they are. my intuition is good

    heres a funny bitching video , im so glad im not him thats for sure jesus
    this is the funniest shit i have seen in a while

  • I always loved Reason and since the last version I’m using via rewire into Ableton again.

  • fishphacurr

    I’m surprised that they positioned v9.5 and v10 apart by only 5 months- that puts some users in the spot of paying back-to back upgrade fees in a very short window. 2x $129 upgrades in 6 months time is surprising, considering how their upgrade schedule has happened in the past. Both upgrades are still worth the value *to me*…and this one is really the most interesting upgrade they’ve done in awhile (although adding VST is probably the most useful for me). If they had just skipped 9.5 and rolled everything into 10 that would have been one hellova update though… actually, they could have just played up the joke, pulled an Apple by skipping a number, and made Reason GO TO ELEVEN hahaha.

    • JonYo

      Not sure what you mean. 9.5 was a free update for 9.0 users, so the last paid Reason update before 10.0 was over a year ago when 9.0 came out. I think 9.0 came out in June 2016.

      • fishphacurr

        Yeah I realized that after I posted that but then couldn’t delete my comment. I didn’t realize that 9.0 had been out so long, and I upgraded to 9.5 back about 5 weeks too early to get rolled into a 10 upgrade. So just disregard my post. Admin please delete my original comment, and sincere apologies for the noise/distraction 🤓

  • The new Europa synth is going to be so fun!

  • Hotmilk

    Are all the controls still 128 steps?
    That is just way to low.

    • Tom Riddler

      Not really, no. There are all sorts of possibilities, it depends on the developer. I’ve seen REs with 1000 steps or more.

  • Dubby Labby

    Desktop computers as standalone machine… one with reason, another for traktor…. uhmmm

  • I skipped 9 completely. It was sort of lackluster. But, this is enough for me to spend my upgrade dollars later this month.

  • Matt Leaf

    Good to see them adding to the base offering. While Rack Extensions are cool, in-app purchasing has never really appealed to me, so nice to see these ‘official’ additions to the main rig. And while I don’t use Reason all the time, I’ve always loved having a copy on hand for Rewire into Live to add to a tracks sound palette. Look forward to the update 🙂

  • Alperian

    I did think that after adding VST integration to 9.5, that 10 was just a quick cash grab. R10 may not be that, although PH are still asking for beta testers and the launch is only in 2 weeks away Yikes!!

    IMHO I thought the video ad was compelling, slick and attractive. Still beta testing though Aargh!

  • drno

    they fixed nothing people really wanted, but I guess THOR 2 and Malstrum 2 is suppose to get us excited with all the wonderful synths in the RE shop already. no GUI zoom. no dsp optimization (getting harder and harder to do full arrangements now with the modern RE’s), no simple recycle implementation, piano roll update, blocks update, no ssl channel bus grouping….it goes on and on.

    The new devices should have been put in the shop (so many synths in the shop that do what these new ones do) and Reason 9.6 should have addressed all the issues long time users have been pining on about for years now. I wont upgrade till they fix the DSP issues. Out of my 12 nores/threads I have 7 of them sitting doing nothing while DSP usage in Reason is at 95%. Beginning to be a real issue for me, especially with no freeze function.

    So disappointing.

  • Paul Antonio Ortiz

    I mean, having played with the beta I gotta say Europa and Grain are *really* fun. They’ve got me writing music which, ultimately, is the aim of any DAW so long as its shortcomings don’t totally prevent that. You could easily pay the cost of Reason for two instruments of this quality as VSTs, so when you consider you’re getting an arranging and mixing environment as well as the rack and all included modules…it’s really pretty amazing, even if you use it just to compliment your existing DAW.

    With that said, obviously there are some things that even the longest serving and most loyal Reasoners are screaming out for now and they’re small enough (in my case at least) that they could conceivably arrive in 10.5 if Props really are in tune with their user base. Which 9.5 and 10 *do* indicate that they are. People have been asking for VST forever. And people like me said it’d never happen. Then when we did get VST people were saying it was the end of PH stock devices, and then they hit us with this (plus the RE format is giving us the likes of eXpanse 3.0 which is just fantastic).

    So I’m hopeful. It’s a really good time to be a Reason user IMO!

  • Serouj

    Cant wait tilllll tomorrow!!

  • drno

    Back to form, all about the instruments? like the RE shop doesn’t exist lol. Reason has PLENTY of synths doing all kinds of wild and crazy stuff. would rather they would address workflow, block and regroove updates, better indexing, a zoom-able GUI, better DSP, grouping n busses… ect. But hey….who needs that crap eh? Its got 2 new synths you can’t get in the RE shop lol!!

    Reason is like NASA complex but they advertise it as romper room simple. They shouldn’t do that because folks will keep asking for shortcus like the players instead of learning how to play, program, route ect. I know some rap producers that are using Reason now because the Players allow them to play steely dan type chords with 1 finger and arrange Giorgio Moroder with a thumb. I guess this simplification of music creation has its crowd out there who will gravitate to a DAW if the easy button is there. Pity because REason is truly never ending in what you can do with it and surpasses a lot of other DAWs and analog setups I have come across out there.

    Folks I know who use VSTs now in Reason…….their music sounds the same. There’s no immediate ‘big impact’ like a lot of people think they are going to get with VSTs vs Reason synths. Problem is is those mega bling VSTs like serum and omnisphere, they take a ton of juice so unless you have a computer with a i9 you can be limited to what you can do pretty quickly. Especially seeing that Reason has no FREEZE function which would be a blessing. Nice thing about Reason is that you could stack up synths in combinators and through a little sweat build some original lush sounds using very little DSP. Those days are gone now, since people want immediate impact and new forms of synthesis. Still for all the hype I heard for VSTs in Reason I’m not hearing much of a difference with peoples productions.

    LAst thing I was hurting for was sounds with Reason. I have no use for VSTs and there are synths so complex that it would take me a lifetime to fully wrap my head around them. Propellerhead knows it has its long time users wrapped around their fingers (I can bitch n moan all I want but I can’t imagine making music with anything else but Reason) so I suppose they will start addressing things that really need improvement with Reason 14!

    • Dumbpublic Hater

      Truth. This simplifying and “gaying” of a product happens with everything. Games, movies, everything. We got to point when people are lazy to learn stuff, to even consume complicated stuff. So now we have these bearded slime trausered “skateboarders” on boards that are not capable of jumping or any tricks. Computer games are made like one long tutorial, having arrows showing where to go, tootips showing what to do next. They are not even games, rather semi-game movies. And Reason thanks god still IS what it was, but with all the redundant lazy stuff on top, advertised like some female caraoke loop-player. I dont know. I love Reason and even with 10 I will never stop building combinator patches with crazy cv, because thats where the waves start sound and dance.
      If Props destroy the product one day, I will use Reason 5 rewired to Reaper.