It seems that I am forever behind the curve on these sorts of announcements, but if you haven't already seen the videos and pages, Propellerhead Software have finally announced Reason 5 and an upgrade to Record, announcing version 1.5. The announcement is coming in daily releases and started yesterday with a short video introducing the new Dr. Octo Rex loop player. No word if all of Reasons other new modules will be named after Spider-Man villains, but I am hopeful we'll see the Green Gobverb, Mysteremixer, and a Vulturemetrix EQ in the next few days.
Okay, okay, jokes aside, I think we'll see a handful of new devices, like the Dr. Octo Rex. I think the odds are good that we'll see a new synth, but it's just as likely we won't. It's hard to think of anything that Thor doesn't already cover, except for maybe a physical modeling synth, a la Logic's Sculpture.
If you're a fan of Record's arrangement and editing tools, which I certainly am, I suspect you'll see those tweaks and enhancements making their way over to Reason (which I predicted back in October). Some of those tweaks that Reason users should be excited about are the "Explode" option, the ability to easily move notes between clips, a virtual keyboard, and a number of other tiny tweaks that add up to a better, faster experience. I think multi-core support is almost a given, which for many of us, will make Reason easier to use. As I said, Record is our roadmap toward where Reason is going, and given the time I've spent with Record, I think we're in for some nice, tasty treats.
One aspect of Reason that usually gets overlooked is its hardware integration and stability for playing live. I think using Reason as a live instrument is pretty high on the programmer's priority list, so I suspect we'll see additional upgrades in using Reason in a live setting. Will we see new Reason-specific hardware, a la Live's Launchpad and APC40? I don't know. They may have worked something out, like they did with Line6 in Record, but given how hot grid controllers have been the last year or two, it wouldn't surprise me if we saw a new kind of Matrix device.
I don't know. I'm not much for reading tea leaves or gazing into crystal balls. I will say that Reason 4 didn't initially impress me and it took a few months of use before I grew to appreciate all of the little tweaks that made it such a powerful tool. I don't think I was alone in that experience, so I predict that Propellerheads have been busy creating additions that will really surprise us and make Reason seem as innovative and intriguing as it has always been. Only time will tell.
I'll probably post updates, but they'll be slow coming, so if you're dying for news about the latest version of Reason, you should probably check in with the Propellerheads website and get details from them directly.