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Reason 2.0 Beta Testing Starts Monday

First 300 applicants get download right away By Dave Nagel
Propellerhead Software says its previously announced Reason 2.0 will go into beta testing beginning May 6. According to the company, the first 300 people to sign up as beta testers will be able to download the software immediately to begin testing. With each new beta release, Propellerhead will let in another 300 testers.

Propellerhead says Reason 2.0 is still scheduled to ship between now and the end of June. Reason is a software-only suite designed to look like a classic studio rack, packed with samplers, analog synths, mixers, step time drum machines, effects and a real-time multitrack sequencer. All of Reason's devices have the look and feel of actual hardware, and users can access as many devices as the CPU will allow.

As previously reported, the software will be available for Mac OS X. Version 2 will have a new feature called the "Malstrom Graintable Synthesizer." Propellerheads says this combines granular synthesis with wavetable synthesis for comprehensive manipulation. This includes being able to move through a sound by controlling the movement with real-time controllers, velocity and modulators. Malstrom's two filters each have five different modes, including 12dB/oct low pass, band-pass, subtractive and additive comb-filters and an AM mode. A shared filter envelope is also included, which can control either or both of the filter sections at the same time.

The Shaper shapes the input signal with either a sine wave or noise or can transform the sound using saturation, digital distortion or bit-reduction. The oscillators can be routed in various ways to the two filter sections. Malstrom also features two modulators/LFOs with a variety of curves available.

Reason 2 will also include the NN-XT Advanced Sampler, designed to build realistic instrument patches. Features include automatic pitch detection and mapping of samples, graphical zone editing, loop editing, layering with zone velocity switching and crossfading.

In Reason 2.0, the main sequencer breaks apart from the rack and can expand fully across the screen or be resized and moved, even to a second monitor.? New tools include Zoom, Line and Eraser tool.

Reason hooks up to a MIDI keyboard, giving the user MIDI control of all devices, knobs, faders and parameters. Devices available include:

  • NN19: A sampler able to play standard WAV and AIFF audio samples. It includes five filter options (notch, highpass, bandpass, lowpass 12db, lowpass 24db) and resonance, two envelops, one LFO and portamento. NN19 comes with 294 sampler patches standard, including Grand Piano, Rhodes, Guitars, Strings, Bass, Choir, Woodwinds and Synth samples.
  • SubTractor: Polyphonic two-oscillator synth with 32 waveforms, noise generator, FM, ring & phase modulation, three envelope generators, two LFOs, portamento, five filter options (notch, highpass, bandpass, lowpass 12db, lowpass 24db) and an additional second lowpass filter with resonance. More than 400 patches are included standard.
  • ReDrum: A 10-channel drum machine that plays WAV or AIFF audio files. Each channel has control over pan, level, velocity, length and pitch, plus two effect sends. The programming interface has 32 patterns, three dynamic levels, flams and shuffle mode. Programmed patterns can be dumped to the Reason sequencer for further manipulation. A choice of 60 drum kits is included.
  • Dr Rex: Rex files automatically match the tempo of the sequencer. Users can choose from the 300 drum loops and 100 music loops included as part of Reason's sound library. The triggering of each audio slice can be dumped to a MIDI track. It also features pitch, pan, level and decay parameters for each individual slice, plus five filter options (notch, highpass, bandpass, lowpass 12db, lowpass 24db) and resonance, two envelops and one LFO.
  • Mixer: The Reason mixer features 14 stereo channels each with four aux sends, two-band EQ, panning, mute, solo and volume control. More channels can be added by adding another mixer to the rack.
  • REV-7: Digital reverb with 10 preset algorithms.
  • DDL: Digital delay line with settings by note value or milliseconds.
  • D-11: Foldback distortion.
  • ECF-42: Envelope controlled filter, a choice of Bandpass, Lowpass 12db, Lowpass 24db filter with resonance and ADSR.
  • CF-101: Chorus/flanger effect.
  • PH-90: Phaser.
  • Comp-01: Auto Makeup Gain Compressor.
  • PEQ-2: Two band parametric EQ with curve display Matrix Sequencer, analog and monophonic. A total of 32 patterns per song can be programmed complete with ties, CV and velocity curves. Users can also use the Matrix to generate complex LFO curves to control parameters such as filter, FM, panning, volume, etc. in other devices. Matrix patterns can finally be dumped to the sequencer for further manipulation.
  • ReBirth Input Machine: An interface allowing users of ReBirth to connect to any device within Reason.
  • Reason Sequencer: The sequencer offers the fundamentals of MIDI sequencing, including arrangement view, key-, velocity, rex-, drum-, controller and automation editors.

For more information on Reason or to sign up for the beta project, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at [email protected].

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