Hands On Review: Reason 8 Arrives!

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Reason 8 is here and it rocks! The software was officially released today, and I’ve already downloaded my copy and started putting it through its paces. With this release, Propellerhead has drawn the focus in tight on user interface and speed — the idea is to get the software out of the way and make the process transparent so that you can get right to work making music. Everything in Reason 8 has been streamlined and optimized for a faster, creativity-inspiring user experience using the new browser and search window. And, with drag-and-drop available from anywhere to anything, you don’t have to think or mess around with menus — just click, drag, and drop. It’s all super intuitive. Sequence editing is much more powerful so you have additional tools for shaping and crafting your music. Plus, there is a collection of new virtual guitar and bass amps created by Softube, so you can plug in your guitar or bass and instantly be laying down tracks.

Browser & Search

With the new Browser window, you really do have one-stop access to your content — loops, patches, presets, instruments, effects — everything is available right there. You can quickly and easily find exactly what you want. The search function lets you dive in deep with no effort whatsoever; just type in a word or phrase and the Browser will try to find something that matches. With these new features, finding sounds and devices is faster than ever.

Drag ‘n’ Drop

With the new drag-and-drop functionality, you simply click on what you want — an instrument, an effects device, a rack extension, a preset, a loop — whatever it is that you want to add to your rack or song and pull it over to where you want it to go and Reason makes it happen. This is so intuitive; as fast as you can think of it and point your mouse, you can make it happen.

Bass & Guitar Amps

The new Softube-created bass and guitar amps provide instant access to authentic amplifier tones for guitarists and bassists. Just drag the Amp into the Reason rack, plug in your guitar or bass and start rocking! A number of useful presets are included for both the guitar and bass amps, which you can use as-is, modify to suit your taste, or, start from scratch and make your own tones. The amps are fully featured and easy to work with — they make sense to a guitarist or bassist — so making your own sounds is a breeze.

But it would be a mistake to think of these as only for guitars and basses. I routed a synth bass loop in Dr. Octo Rex through the Guitar Amp set for the “Single Bite” preset and got an amazing punchy, crunchy tone that was perfect with the Bomb Squad beat I had playing in another Dr. Octo Rex. I threw an Alligator effect on the amped up synth bass and got a metallic but soupy bass bubbler that hit hard and suited the track perfectly.

Enhanced Editing

In the past, some people have complained about a lack of editing for sequence data in Reason. While some saw this a limitation, others reveled in how simple it made the software to operate. Now, with Reason 8, sequence editing has been kicked up big time, so while it’s still simple and intuitive, you can also dig in and tweak things as much as you like.

 

Who Needs a Reason?

I’ve been a Reason user since version 1, and the innovations from the Propellerheads haven’t stopped since that first release. Now with version 8, Reason completes its evolution into a master tool for making music quickly, easily, and intuitively – allowing you to capture creative inspirations instantly, without the technology getting in the way.

If you’re familiar with Reason, you’ll be up and running instantly, with no learning curve. If you’ve never used Reason before, then you’ll also find that the software is super fast to learn; you’ll be making music in no time.

Above all, Reason 8 is just fun. It’s so intuitive. I had a beat going and a song in the works within minutes of firing up the new version for the first time. This is the way that music software should be — it should provide the tools you need to get the job done, but also get out of the way and stand politely in the background while your creative mind gets to work. reason 8 provides all the options you need, comes with tons of sounds, loops, instruments, and effects, offers audiophile-quality audio recording and mixing…it’s a complete music-making solution in one easy-to-use, fun package.