I got a chance to work with the inexpensive (US$99) but high-quality library of acoustic drum kits for Reason, Reason Drum Kits, in a brief review for Keyboard Magazine. You can read the full review online. What most impressed me was how cleverly the samples were integrated with Reason:

Via what Propellerhead calls â€Å“hyper-sampling,â€Â? you can assemble endless realistic combinations of sounds. Everything’s here: multiple dynamic levels, mics, playing techniques, and other variations of each sample. Thanks to Reason’s ReFill format and features like the Combinator, the variety is inspiring, not overwhelming. Multi-output drum kits automatically connect to Reason’s mixer so you can adjust the mix of different mics.

As I noted, these kits won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a Reason fan and want acoustic kits, they’re a sure bet. Now, Propellerheads is applying the same technique to acoustic pianos, announced earlier today:

Reason Pianos

I like the lightweight approach: the idea is to give you lushly-recorded sounds without bringing your hard drive and CPU to their knees. The Props are emphasizing rock and pop production, so classical pianists might want to look elsewhere (like Native Instruments’ superb Akoustik Piano, or the upcoming Steinway sample library from Garritan). But whatever they say about pop, these instruments could mix nicely with any music production, thanks to the emphasis on mixing as in the drum sets:

  1. The pianos: Steinway D grand piano, a Yamaha C7 grand piano, Steinway K upright piano (it’s especially nice to get the Yamaha and Steinway upright)
  2. The mix: Four stereo pairs, two mono ins, all mixed from the Combinator
  3. Mics and environment: Think hardwood recording studio rooms with both vintage and modern mics. No concert hall here, though if you’ve got a reverb of choice you can add that when you need it (or use one of Reason’s reverbs).

I’ll reserve judgment until I can test these; stay tuned. But do I want more sampled pianos? Yes! Yes, I do! I’m personally interested because, in their reverb-added and reverb-free versions, they look like they could be perfect resource-light instruments for live performance. I’ll know once I’ve played them.

More Reason ReFill goodness, in case you missed them:

Drums in Glorious Mono: Free Reason ReFill for Reason Drum Kit Owners
Free IK/Sonic Reality Sounds for Reason: TasteFill

Got more ReFills of choice, Reasoners? Let us know.