Propellerhead Reason 3 review

£255
Price when reviewed

Considering that Reason’s greatest strength has always been the quality of its instruments, it’s a little disappointing to find no new ones in this update. Admittedly, it’s hard to find any gaps in the capabilities of the six instruments provided, but an analog drum machine (using modelling rather than sampling) wouldn’t go amiss, and it would be interesting to hear Propellerhead’s take on acoustic modelling – a relatively rare but potentially a highly expressive form of synthesis.

Propellerhead Reason 3 review

It’s also a real shame that even basic audio recording remains unavailable. If you want to add a vocal or other live instrument to your Reason tracks, you’ll need to use it in tandem with another audio sequencer that supports Rewire. This is an expensive solution if you just want to add the odd live vocal.

But the bottom line is that Reason is fantastic fun. Its sounds are brimming with life, from the upfront attitude of the granular synth to the expressive, elegant orchestral samples and the show-stealing Combinator walls of sound. They sound fresh and up-to-date, and the vast majority quickly inspire musical ideas. By itself, Reason’s lack of audio recording limits it to electronic music production or use as a musical sketchpad, but when linked to another sequencer the quality and versatility of its instruments will find uses in a far broader range of musical styles.

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