Before I go into how I believe Propellerhead Reason can dramatically improve, I’ll first lay out some personal history and impressions.
I began my journey with Propellerhead’s Reason with version 8. I looked up my original order as I finished writing this post, and it’s been 3 years, 6 months and 22 days. I’ve used the software nearly daily, and have had soaring highs and incredible lows, in terms of productivity. I upgraded to 9.5 for VST support. Then, I upgraded to version 10 for the hope of a significant performance update.
Version 10 will be my last Reason upgrade, until several much needed additions are brought to bear. It will take much more than just a new instrument or another ‘content dump’ of samples to get me to spend another $129. For another upgrade fee, now, I’ll want a lot of performance and workflow improvements. Many workflow improvements.
I need click-labor reduction. I’m looking for faster and faster ‘getting things done.’ That’s what will cause me to buy not one, but many more upgrades in the future. That’s benchmark.
Hopefully Propellerhead Software will see this post, and realize that money is on the line, and understand that I am not the only user of their software who wants these core feature additions, and that they shouldn’t abuse our patience. The post is date stamped, obviously, so it’ll serve as a record to know when, or if, progress is being made.
VST performance fixes, I’m aware, will come with a promised Reason 10.x free update that they’ve already announced. They missed their ‘by the end of the year (2018)’ goal, and that’s disappointing.
Reason doesn’t have the greatest reputation in the industry. “You use Reason? You’ll get a real DAW someday!” I get that a lot. My Sweetwater Sales guy turns his nose at me for using Reason, and has said many things over the last few years that have fused doubt as to whether Reason will ever improve in the areas that I sorely wish it would. “…Reason’s DAW features were brought in from another application they didn’t want to support, and because it started as an instrument stack, they don’t care to update the DAW component.”
Many of the changes users have begged for, are really small additions. One or more could have been added with each update over the years, and it would have satisfied so many people. The obvious question is: Does this mean they can’t add these features? Or do they have contempt for their customers? Who knows.
I’ve gotten the impression that Propellerhead Software has had a lean budget, prior to recent outside investment, especially compared to other major DAW companies. Perhaps this is at least part of why they’ve neglected the DAW component of the application. Everything else gets priority; extraneous products like sample collections and Rack Extensions seem to get prime development budget. The Rack Extensions, many times, feel like a cash grab. Even when I like the ideas, it stings because they’re ignoring DAW pain points that need improvement.
I love what Propellerhead have brought to the table, in many areas. In the realm of Instruments and Effects, I would put Reason 10 at the peak of creative expression in software. Some of their Instrument designs are genuinely mind blowing, and rival any VST instrument on the market. Objective minds give them universal acclaim in this department.
In terms of DAW workflow, I would call it a frustration machine at times. “How can a company release a piece of software that is so amazing in one area and so poorly executed in another?” is something I’ve asked myself more than once. It seems incomprehensible that this could happen, but that’s what Propellerhead Reason is.
So let’s point out the things Reason’s DAW component lacks, that would take it from Good, to Great. Let’s go!