Propellerhead Reason Essentials 6 review

Price when reviewed

The moment Reason Essentials springs to life, it’s obvious this is a program with the power to create exciting music. Where other packages can seem cold and technical, Reason’s more organic approach – with a “rack” interface that makes it feel like you’re using real-life hardware – begs you to get stuck in and play.

Propellerhead Reason Essentials 6 review

Reason Essentials is a stripped down version of Reason 6, with only five virtual instruments and ten effects, but it’s more than just an introductory package. lt has sequencing, audio recording and some amazing quality effects. The virtual instruments, with their virtual knobs and faders, are arguably more intuitive to use than your average dialog or menu. The buttons are clear and switching between windows is simple using FS, F6 and F7. Although Qwerty keys can be used to play the virtual instruments and program the drum machines, a MIDI keyboard is highly recommended.

Propellerhead Reason Essentials 6

One highlight of recording with Reason Essentials is the ability to sample audio into the NNXT Sampler and Redrum drum machine using a microphone or line-level input and have it played back instantly; literally turning whatever you record into an instrument. The program edits and adjusts the sample automatically.

The Timestretch feature makes it easy to get tracks down quickly and change the tempo later, or record an awkward section at slow speeds and then adjust it upwards to match the rest of the track. Throw in some superb virtual guitar and bass amplifiers, and Essentials 6 makes for a great recording suite.

Reason doesn’t really do basic drag-and-drop loop-based music making, but its Dr Octo Rex Loop player gives the user an opportunity to explore a library of the program’s loops, known as ReFills.

Younger students will struggle to get much out of Reason Essentials 6, but older, secondary school students will find it a powerful and inspirational piece of music-making software.


Software subcategory Audio production software

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