Reason running luxurious choirs, orchestras, and multisampled drum kits? Absolutely.

Sure, you could run sample libraries in any number of software samplers. But Reason is inexpensive, portable (thanks to ReWire), easy on system resources, and friendly to use (especially with Reason 3’s new features). Soundware libraries like the Sonic Refills series have been out for a while. But what about heavy-duty, multisampled sounds? If that doesn’t say “Reason” to you, two ReFills announced this month could change your mind: IK’s Miroslav Orchestral ReFills, and Propellerhead’s own Drum Kits 2.0.

IK Multimedia showed off not one but an entire series of Miroslav Orchestra ReFills at New York’s AES show earlier this month. Sonic Reality did the design work, with libraries of string enembles, solo strings, brass, woodwinds, choirs, and percussion & keys going for US$199 each. I like the fact that they unbundled it, because for those of us who don’t need to be doing whole orchestras all the time, we can go a little easier on our wallets and hard drives.

This week, Propellerhead announced its own Reason Drum Kits 2.0 ReFill for just US$129. The previous library was fairly well-received (and if you bought it you can upgrade for just $36), but the upgrade is a lot closer to a serious drum sample library. 17 presets kits are on the DVD, with both 16-bit and 24-bit variations. (A/B them to settle that argument with a friend about whether you can hear the difference). And they’re “hypersampled,” which is the Props’ marketing speak for:

  • Multiple velocity levels (as many as 80+ samples per note)
  • Multiple microphones, each on its own Reason channel (perfect for ReWire)
  • Multiple same velocity samples
  • Multiple variation sampling (techniques, grips and playing styles)

  • None of these are new ideas in multisampling, but I can’t think of another sample library for around a hundred bucks that has these kind of features. And I’m especially excited about the ease of getting at things like different mic positions, thanks to Reason’s Combinator, mixers, and ReWire support.

    The Props also include Producer Kits from producers who have worked with The Hives, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue and Mary J. Blige. Whether or not you’re a fan (ahem), it’s further evidence that Reason gets used in the studio. (Actually, you can just take my word for that — Reason is all over studios.)

    All in all, good news for Reason fans. I’m really enjoying Reason 3’s ability to map automatically to keyboards like my Novation X-Station and Korg Kontrol, and the ease of using Combinators. I’m anxious to see if these sound libraries are up to snuff. Stay tuned.