Have you been checking in with the Propellerhead website to see what else is coming for Reason?
I'm not a Reason apologist, nor am I a frothing fanboy. I see the warts in Propellerhead software just as well and as easily as other people, but given that I have a blog dedicated to posting new Reason patches, obviously I've found enough things in the software that appeal to me and make sense for my workflow. That isn't to say that I think Reason or Record are the end-all, be-all software solutions for making music. If I felt that way, I wouldn't spend so much time with Logic, Renoise, or the strange collection of hardware and noise-makers I've amassed. However, even after admitting that I see Reason's warts and that I do use other software, when I have some free time on my hands and a desire to make music, I usually reach for Reason.
Why? Well, Reason was my first software tool. I got Logic shortly after I wrapped my brain around Reason, but as intrigued as I was with Logic's possibilities, there was something about Reason that made sense to me. I liked getting my hands dirty, even if only virtually, by messing with routing and I liked the fact that for every limitation I found, there was usually a handful of creative solutions or workarounds if I just looked hard enough. That tinkering, experimental spirit has stayed with Reason from the first version I loaded onto my computer up through version 4, and I think what has me most excited about what we've seen about version 5, is that none of that has changed. Reason, to me, seems to reward creativity. Its software that dares you to be clever and then rewards you when you are.
I don't usually use loops, so Dr. OctoRex isn't very appealing. Blocks? The video on the Propellerhead website says that musicians think in terms of intro, chorus, and fill, but I don't. It's a neat way to arrange things, but again, doesn't look that appealing to me. Neptune? Now we're talking. I don't record vocals, rarely use more than a few spoken word samples, but like other very specific instruments or effects in Reason, such as the BV512 Digital Vocoder and the Redrum Drum Computer, I suspect there will be aspects about Neptune that make it something more than it first appears to be. Using that same spirit of creativity and experimentation, Neptune could be a game changing addition to Record.
So, what about today's announcement explaining that all of Reason's samplers are now... samplers? It seems pretty obvious. It's been talked about and suggested since Reason 1, if my memory serves me, so its a change that makes a lot of sense. Do I support this change? Absolutely. I'd say "it's about time," but the truth is, Propellerheads have always done things by their own timetable, and the users are usually rewarded for their patience.
There's still one more announcement to be made and so it looks like some of my predictions earlier in the week are looking less and less likely. I don't think we'll see a grid sequencer. If you've signed up for the beta, you saw that multi-core support is coming. Also, the brief shots of the screen seem to show a Record-ized sequencer, so those predictions, which weren't exactly going out on a limb, look like they're accurate. Tomorrow? I think tomorrow will be a new instrument, but we'll see... in less than 24 hours.
Given what we've already seen, I have to say my enthusiasm for Reason 5 is building. No individual addition has me drooling into my computer keyboard, but taken as a whole, I think 5 is going to be a nice upgrade. There's still time for that drool-inducing announcement. Tomorrow might be it. But, it looks like Propellerheads are going to continue to allow for and reward creativity. No matter how many new gadgets we get and features get rolled into the software, that core of experimentation remains. That's probably what has me the most excited.