Reason was always extremely popular among musicians precisely because of its powerful integration of instruments, tools and effects, initially available on the Swedish company's own rack format and more recently also through its Rack Extension platform, currently embraced by over 1000 software companies. Still, many musicians wanted to combine available virtual instruments and effects that where not available as Extensions. Also, many users simply export their work to one of the many popular studio DAW applications, precisely because of VST support. With Reason 9.5, Propellerhead Software finally found a way to bring its popular application to another level, introducing a practical workflow that allows Reason users to discover new creative ways to use VST plugins within the same familiar environment.
“Today’s music makers need access to all the great software instruments and effects out there – but without compromising their creative process,” says Mattias Häggström Gerdt, Reason Product Manager. “Opening your favorite VST plugins in Reason taps into Reason’s legendary workflow, from simply playing your favorite instruments to using the audio and CV connections for a truly modular music-making experience."
Reason 9 was released in June 2016 and introduced a host of new devices, sounds and creative tools that inspire music makers to create more and better music – from creative spark to polished production. Since Reason 9’s release, Propellerhead has released two free updates, bringing Ableton’s Link technology to the Reason rack and improving their Rack Extension SDK with highly requested features.
As Propellerhead explains, introducing VST support doesn't mean that the company will replace its Rack Extension technology. The update basically allows the support for plugins to complement Rack Extensions in a truly transparent way for users. The company even says this will allow them to focus the development of the Rack Extension platform even more. Reason’s VST implementation is based on VST 2.4, allowing all compliant instrument or effect plugin to work in Reason.
Reason will find any VST plugin that users have installed on their computers, making those available among Reason’s own devices and Rack Extensions in the browser. Users just need to drag the VST plug-ins to the rack and those will basically function from a new plugin host device in the rack, which also allows audio routing and CV control. The only difference is that the VST plugins open in a separate window for specific controls.
More importantly, Reason will compensate the delay introduced by VST plug-ins in the signal chain, exactly as it does with any Extensions. With the delay compensation on, Reason will calculate the total delay in each signal path and adjust the timing of each discrete signal path accordingly, to assure perfectly timed, phase correct playback. The adjustment is automatic but can also be set manually for each mixer channel.
To be able to support a significant number of VST plugins, users also need to check the specific performance requirements and need to make sure they have available enough memory in their computers - Mac or PC. Reason 9.5 is now available as a beta version and will be released on May 29, 2017. Current owners of Reason 9 will receive the new version for free through Reason’s auto update.