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Reason is the most popular and one of the most versatile sampling and sequencing applications available today. Unlike other programs like Fruity Loops, Reason is used by musicians from all sorts of genres: folk artists, rockers, contemporary classicals and, of course, electronica artists.
New to Reason? Feeling a bit lost? Look no further: here’s your one stop shop to all things Reason.
Where to Get Reason
There are plenty of places you can get Reason. Here are a few of the reputable options:
1. The Propellerhead Store—the official online store from the developers of the software sells Reason 4 for US$499.
2. zZounds.com is selling Reason 4 for US$399.95, plus free shipping.
3. Amazon.com currently has the cheapest price, at US$339.99. See the product page here.
Beginner Reason Tutorials
Now that you’ve got Reason, it’s a good idea to get some training! Dive in and fiddle around to get to know the interface, but don’t forget that a good set of tutorials will show you things you would have otherwise missed.
The first few pages of a Google search typically reveals a bunch of spammy-looking video tutorial Web sites, so this list should help you get started without wading through the mess:
5. Reason 4 Tutorials has 8 free video tutorials, from setting preferences to inserting devices in the rack—all the basics.
6. If that site left you wanting more video tuts but you’re broke, YouTube has a lot of great free videos. Warning: nasal voices galore ahead.
7. Peff’s introduction to the Thor synthesizer is a good one.
8. Into drum n’ bass? There’s a brief Reason tutorial for that here.
9. Blisstix has a great tutorial on engineering and mastering in Reason.
10. ReasonStation has a bunch of good free tutorials.
11. MusicTech Magazine has some very professional magazine-style tutorials, but they’ll cost you £1.99.
12. VTC sells Reason tutorials in video format, but everything you need to know to get started with the program is free.
13. Between Reason 3 and Reason 4, many changes were made to the sequencer part of the application—these free video tutorials bridge the gap.
14. Tunetorials has a bunch of free video tutorials. That link will take you to the Reason category, but there are many other sections.
15. Take a look at DocTech’s Malström tutorial if you want to create your own synthesizers.
16. And this one explains the various waveforms included in the Subtractor synth.
17. And of course, Propellerhead—Reason’s developer—has a bunch of high-quality tutorials too.
Helpful Reason Applications
Once you’ve got Reason, you might think you have all the apps you need for music making—but there are a few more you’ll want to grab if you want full control over Reason and your Reason files.
18. The Mu Midi Controller allows you to use your keyboard and mouse to control both hardware and software MIDI devices.
19. ReMIDI lets you cheat your keyboard skills a bit by turning single notes into chords and chords into arpeggios.
20. MIDI Remoter is a remote control designed with Reason in mind, but capable of controlling anything that runs on MIDI. Useful for live work that depends on Reason backing.
21. Scherzkeks offers two tools that make your Reason files more useful: SkReasonPlay allows you to play Reason files as if they were MP3s in a playlist, and SkReasonExport allows you to quickly turn your Reason files into WAV or MP3 files. Batch export and MP3 export capabilities are not built into Reason.
22. CDXtract is software for converting sampler CDs and libraries to a usable digital format.
23. PeterTools has a couple of apps designed to make Reason easier to integrate into a live situation.
A refill is a package of synths, loops, sampled instruments and Redrum kits that you load up in Reason to give you a greater range of sounds for your compositions.
It’s important to build up a nice library of Reason refills, including those you sample on your own. You could just use the instruments that come packaged with the software, but everyone else is: you need a sonic library that gives you a combination of sounds nobody else has.
24. Peff has a long page of quality refills.
25. Reason Fan has a monster list of free and demo refills.
26. Doru Malaia offers 49 free refills, and if you’re comfortable with manually creating sampled instruments, there are 22 WAV sample packages.
27. ReasonBanks has a collection of free refills in addition to their commercial selection.
28. YouProduce.net also offers free refills (as well as a few tutorials).
29. Marco Rapphorts, one of the sound designers on the Propellerhead team, has links to his free, Creative Commons refills on his Squidoo lens.
30. Reasonix has some free refills and synths under “Reason & Musik.”
31. CombinatorHQ is all about the combinator tool and has a bunch of Combinator patch refills available.
32. MigMusic has a few hundred Reason synths.
33. One Nil has more synths and, if you’ve got Reason Drums 2, a drum kit set, too.
Software is mostly useless unless there’s a bunch of people you can beg for help when you screw up. I suggest pestering these folks:
34. ReasonFreaks is a popular Reason community—with a bunch of other stuff, including music, downloads, and tips.
35. ReasonStation has another popular Reason forum community and blog.
36. And of course, the official Propellerhead forums are here.