Octoloopy: a new Dr. Rex allows loading multiple loops, at last. But drum synthesis, sampling in Reason may steal the show.

As I mentioned earlier today, the big news story in the Reason and Record announcements is that you don’t need Record to record; Reason now does sampling. Here’s the full look at what’s new from Propellerhead’s software music workstations.


  • A new drum designer. Drum synthesis, sampling, REX loops, physical modeling, and effects modules drive a 16-pad drum instrument, so you’re no longer limited to faux 808s or samples – you can make your own drum sounds. This alone could help Reason find its way back into some workflows, I’d guess.
  • Everywhere there’s a sample, there’s sampling. Propellerhead have told me in the past that they really focus on consistency in engineering; in this case, I think they deliver. Anywhere you now see a sample waveform, in Reason 5 you can click to sample from an input. It’s simple, it’s in a way somewhat obvious – but that’s also why it matters.
  • Multi-core optimization. Reason and Record are already pretty light on system resources for what they can do; multi-core optimization is good news for newer CPUs.
  • Neptune pitch adjustment / voice synth: I’m still waiting on how this can be used in ways other than the generic-sounding, AutoTune-style correction and harmonization. Formant shift and other features look like they could be abused for more creative sound deign. Imogen Heap covers, also likely.
  • Dr. Rex Plus Eight. The “Octo” version of Dr. Rex makes it easier to load multiple REX audio loops, the Props’ format for beat-sliced audio. I’m assuming you’ll be able to use this in conjunction with sampling, but will confirm that. You actually can’t sample into Dr. Rex, unfortunately; it seems to me that the Rex workflow is an area that could use revisiting in Reason, generally. Let me know what you think, particularly if you use this aspect of the tool.
  • Block pattern sequencing. The sequencer continues to mature with arrangement features.

Other, more subtle features are improved, too, in each. It looks like some focused updates, at least, for current users.

The Record update is free for current users; Reasons upgraders will spend US$129 regardless of version. All other information: