Propellerhead Reason


propellerhead reason


What is Reason 9?

Propellerhead Softwares, a Swedish developer, designed the “Reason” (a digital audio workstation) to revolutionize the way music is created. Reason 9 features a design that mimics a physical studio effects rack. You can insert instruments, effects, mixers, processors, and other devices into the virtual rack. And most importantly, you will also be able to control them with a MIDI controller like the M-Audio Keystation 88 II keyboard controller.

Brief History and Overview

Propellerhead Software was born in 1994. Before unveiling Reason, the company created several other successful projects that naturally lead to the conception of Reason. The company’s first musical project was ReCycle, a software specially designed to chop up loops and samples and rearrange them to make new sounds.

Meanwhile, the company developed the software alongside Steinberg, the creators of the well-known Cubase software. Before ReCycle came into being, producers relied on hardware samplers in order to rearrange and modify samples.

With ReCycle, samples could be modified in the software and then transferred to a hardware sampler to be played via the REX or REX2 file format. Shortly after its inception, Propellerhead Software released their second project, Rebirth RB-338 in 1996.

The software’s powerful emulation of real hardware synthesizers such as the then popular Roland TB-303, TR-808, and TR-909 sparked a new interest in software synths. Despite Rebirth’s success, Propellerhead ceased development to focus on their most successful and revolutionary product – Reason.

Consequently, in December of 2000, Propellerhead Software unveiled Reason 1.0. The market was booming with new DAWs and a new generation of musicians began creating music in their home studios. However, the Reason software mimicked what one would see in a real studio, with its full emulated rack of instruments and effects that could be manipulated digitally.

By pressing a key, the user could  see the back of the rack, with audio inputs and outputs as well as other connections. The software combined the interactivity of real hardware without the annoyance of dealing with complex audio routing.

You may also like: Finding the Best MIDI Controllers

propellerhead reason 9

The Devices

Basic Devices

1. The Hardware Interface: The fundamental device in Reason is its hardware interface. It controls up to 64 output connections between hardware and the Reason software.

2. Mixer 14:2: Groups device outputs in a stereo output. From there, the user can use the 14 stereo channels to manipulate volume, EQ. The mixer has 4 auxiliary sends. A channel can be muted or soled, and the level, pan, and aux output level may be altered.

3. Line Mixer 6:2 (Also known as the Micromix): This is a smaller version of the Mixer 14:2. It is a 6 channel meter with no EQ, limited metering, smaller level controls, and only one auxiliary input and output.


1. Subtractor Analog Synth: This synth uses subtractive synthesis to make sounds. It can produce basic waveforms such as sine, triangle, sawtooth, and square.

This is a method used by many mainstream analogue synthesizers. It can be controlled with devices within Reason, such as the sequencers.

2. Thor Polysonic Synth: The Thor Polysonic Synthesizer simulates a semi-modular synthesizer. There are six slots for oscillators and filters that can be customized to one’s preferences.

3. Malström Graintable Synth: A unique synthesizer that uses Propellerhead’s Graintable technology. It blends granular and wavetable synthesis to create its unique sound.


1. NN-19 Digital Sampler: This sampler is the flagship sampler for Reason, introduced in the first release. The controls can be fully automated using another device. A sound file can be uploaded, and it will automatically be transposed across the keyboard.

2. NN-XT Advanced Sampler: This is a more advanced sample created to deal with multiple samples, assigning them to different keys on the keyboard. The NN-XT is a useful tool in emulation as well as sound design.


1.Dr. Octo REX Loop Player: The Dr. Octo REX Loop Player is designed to work in conjunction with Propellerhead’s ReCycle software.

It takes a drum loop and modifies its speed to fit a track. The player can increases the loops tempo, without altering the pitch.

It does this by slicing the loop into smaller pieces, giving each beat its own sample, rather than the traditional method of stretching the loop which in turn increases the pitch.

2.Redrum Drum Computer: This is a drum machine with a ten channel sample player and a built-in pattern sequencer.


1. RV7000 Advanced Reverb: A reverb with eight knows for algorithms and parameters, as well as nasic controls which are located on its panel.

2. Scream 4 Distortion: A versatile distortion featuring cut and body filters, ten modes. It can be used for regular or digital crushing, and can even add analog warmth to a track.

3. BV512 Digital Vocoder: A 4 to 512 band vocoder that also works as an automatic equalizer.


1. MClass Equalizer: 4-band EQ specially designed for either minor or major frequency alterations. Features low and high shelving bands, a low cut switch, and two peak filters.

2. MClass Stereo Imager: Splits incoming audio into low and high frequency bands and allows independent adjustment of each.

3. MClass Compressor: Single-band compressor with sidechain input, enabling advanced compression techniques.

4. MClass Maximizer: Special mixer designed to maximize the volume of Reason track without crushing the sound.

Miscellaneous Devices

1. Combinator: A device designed to create chains of units within the Reason software. These can be saved as Combi patches, which can be opened up later with all sounds and settings loaded.

2. Spider Audio & CV Merger & Splitter: Splits and merges audio.

3. Matrix Pattern Sequencer: This imitation analog sequencer can use a maximum of 32 steps per pattern.

4. RPG-8 Monophonic Arpeggiator: Contains a pattern selection to create mute notes in an arpeggio.

5. ReGroove Mixer: This mixer applies its timing in real-time, and lets users adjust music while it plays, altering different settings at different times. Tracks can be locked together, or up to 32 tracks can be individually altered throughout different time points in a track.

  • Miscellaneous Effects (Self-explanatory)
  • CF-101 Chorus/Flanger
  • COMP-01 Compressor/Limiter
  • D-11 Foldback Distortion
  • DDL-1 Digital Delay Line
  • ECF-42 Envelope Controlled Filter
  • PEQ-2 Two Band Parametric EQ
  • PH-90 Phaser
  • RV-7 Digital Reverb
  • UN-16 Unison


As of 2016, the latest version of Reason is $400. To upgrade from an older version of Reason, the upgrade pack can be purchased for $130. You can learn more about how to purchase Reason here.

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