Macro promises to be an essential building block for some terrific Reason patches, with a new look for the interface that’s both attractive and at home in Reason’s Rack. Plus it’s free.

Macro is the latest unofficial port of the open-source module Plaits. Mutable Instruments fans will need no introduction here. The full story – Macro is built on the code from the MIT-licensed Plaits module by Emilie Gillet, now it has a new look, it’s in your Reason Rack now with everything patchable using Reason’s CV, and it’s free. End of story. Here’s the link, and you can probably stop reading here:

But it’s worth saying why that’s so useful. Plaits has been a “cult favorite” because it has what a lot of other modules lack. It’s distinctive in sound and design. It works as a standalone synthesizer, even before you start patching. And it still works well as a module in a larger context. That’s a near-impossible balance. It’s far more often you wind up with modules that do too much, that make less sense in a patch, or modules that do too little, requiring you to wire up exactly the same patches over and over again and giving you something that’s easily replaceable.

Of course, it’s also a total cheat of a module in hardware or software form, just because it has so many beautifully dialed-in sound sources ready to go. You get a rich selection of sound engines – really many modules in one, each with distinctive personalities – and Plaits’ ingenious integration of filter, lowpass gate, envelope, and amplitude control. It’s a melodic source; it’s a percussion source. It covers the usual virtual analog stuff; it has every beloved edgy experimental exotic option, too. That gives you all you need to shape sounds and give them musical forms.

Plaits and its 16 sound engines feel perfectly at home in Reason, especially with this reskinning. Plus, as developer Presteign Sound Labs point out, then you get the unique context of the Reason platform and all the work of its native tools and developer ecosystem:

Just like in Eurorack, if you want more complex envelopes, filters, or other modulation or effects, all you have to do is add them! Between Pulsar’s LFO and envelope generator, Sweeper’s secret treasure trove of filters, and all the other tools in Reason’s toolbox, Macro is the perfect foundation on which to build a modular masterpiece.

There’s a nice manual, worth reading from top to bottom:


  • 8 pitched sound engines – from simple detuned virtual analog oscillators to 2-op FM to additive, wavetable, chord, and speech options
  • 8 noise and percussion engines, including granular, noise, dust/particle, Karplus-Strong, modal resonator, and analog kick + snare + high-hat
  • Lowpass Gate / Envelope section (which integrates the VCA and filter… always loved this sort of approach generally in modular, as anyone who sits through my modular classes knows. It involves me getting distracted and playing with an LPG for half the time, the moment I get my hands on one.)
  • Trans/Atk is a useful knob for taming that sharp transient you get from LPG

Tons of back-panel patching – of course!

  • Sequencer control: Gate and CV inputs, Gate Out and CV Out
  • Generator Mod A/B/C, Mix, and even Model Select (which quantizes to the nearest 1/16 so this doesn’t get out of hand).
  • Envelope / LPG filter, attack, and release modulation
  • Envelope mapping switch (LIN / EXP / DIR-LIN)

Thanks to Clayton Miller for the UI and concept and letting us know they did this. Yan Pujante did the engineering work.

The original – and yeah, you might be very tempted to grab this surprisingly inexpensive module on its own, on top of using the free one inside Reason:

All of Mutable’s stuff is worth a look:

And it is available from your local dealer – I see these are all available now from Schneidersladen near me.

Enjoy the Reason version meanwhile!

VCV Rack users may want to check out Audible Instruments Macro Oscillator 2.