Reason’s approach: use their workflow wherever you want, in whatever DAW you want. And now, in case there was any doubt, they’re adding an AAX-format plug-in for Pro Tools users.
All of this makes sense in the grand history of Reason. The company formerly known as Propellerhead first made Reason work as a virtual rack of gear inside any DAW using the company’s own ReWire technology. But now, plug-ins are generally the accepted way to go for most software integration to provide the same essential functionality. You want to sync the two sets of tools, transfer audio between them (and drag-and-drop files, where appropriate), and sequence patterns and parameters. Plug-ins have generally gotten better at doing that, and modern plug-in formats have 64-bit support so they can use all that memory you’ve got crammed into your computer.
So plug-ins, it is. You don’t get to run the full version of Reason inside your DAW, as you did with ReWire, but the current Rack approach probably makes more sense for most workflows, anyway.
It’s just usually Pro Tools users who now get left out. Also part of a long tradition, Pro Tools is still a little more demanding of its third-party developers.
Reason gives you a choice.
You can run Reason Rack (the essential instruments, effects, and routing from Reason) inside your DAW. Or you can run your favorite plug-ins inside Reason.
You can run both VST and AU plug-ins, Mac and Windows, inside Reason. And now you can run Reason itself in your DAW as VST or AU or Pro Tools’ AAX.
There’s not another tool that is that agnostic about how you want to work. The closest equivalent is probably Image-Line’s FL Studio, which makes some of its bigger instruments and effects available as individual plug-ins (something Reason Studios doesn’t do). But while FL Studio can run as a plug-in, it can only do so as a VST. And individual plug-in support is a bit spotty on the Mac.
Reason remains one of the most powerful sets of virtual instruments and effects you can find. It’s certainly the kind of thing you can get lost in on quarantine.
If you’re a Pro Tools user, I’m curious how it works for you.
Reason 11.3 includes the AAX plug-in and other improvements and fixes, available now for free for registered Reason 11 users. (And they’ve updated their website, too.)