Since Prop... I mean Reason Studios released Reason in 2000, we like to think we’ve made Reason quite a lot better. Reason Studios has evolved as a company too, but one thing has remained constant at Reason Studios: we’ve always kept our cards close to our chest. There was good reason to do so in the era of big box releases when we started out. Long release cycles meant that it was important to make sure our competitors never knew what we were up to.
But today in 2021, the world has changed and we believe being transparent about what we are working on suits both us and the community better. I’ll be the first to admit this is for selfish reasons too, if we can get your feedback earlier that means we can build better stuff. But we also know that buying software today is different than in 2003; you are not just buying some music making software, you are investing your time and energy into the whole Reason ecosystem and to do that you need to know what direction we are going in.
To be just a little bit overly dramatic, this blog post is the start of a new chapter for us where we will be more transparent towards the community about what we are working on and what you can expect going forward.
And we don’t want this to be a speaker blasting out our plans to an audience that at best are invited to sing along in the chorus. We hope you will all join us at the microphone and tell us your thoughts too. The virtual microphone in this case being Reason Talk, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so feel free to speak up on what you think of our direction.
But before you do that, I want to share our vision for Reason.
Our vision for Reason
Our vision for Reason is to make it the place where you get lost in the fun of serious music making. Opening Reason should never feel like a chore, but instead the place where you have more fun making music than anywhere else (ok, that’s a lofty goal, I know, but let’s aim high!). When we add things to Reason we tend to choose things that we believe will make Reason more fun or help you generate more musical ideas.
We also want Reason to have the depth you need to take your creativity in unique, weird and exciting directions. Just like you can never own enough guitar pedals, we want Reason to always have one more knob to twist, have one more slider to add to your Combinator or one more device to explore. In marketing speak we sum this all up in our tagline,” Sound Like You”. It’s never easy to convey the depth and richness of something like Reason, but we think those three words do a pretty good job of explaining to a newcomer the creative freedom and expressiveness that is unique to Reason.
We don’t see Reason as either a plug-in or a DAW – Reason is both! While most of the features that excite us and make Reason more fun almost always benefits everyone, you’ll notice there’s some features on the roadmap that’s more plug-in focused and some more focused on Reason standalone.
The story so far
I’ll admit I’m biased, but I believe this is an exciting time to be a Reason user. Thanks to the ability to use Reason as a plug-in in Reason 11 and the low barrier of entry with Reason+ there’s now more people than ever using Reason.
Monthly Reason users over the last few years
We as a company are also more focused on Reason and are investing more in Reason than we have been in a long time. It might not be apparent from the outside, but Reason 12 is a testament to how committed we are to Reason.
In Reason 12 we updated the graphics and improved the browser. But I want to take a moment to highlight the engineering effort behind it. Reason is now over 20 years old, and the graphics engine used to be one of the oldest parts of the code. For years we’ve put off changing the graphics engine because we knew what a massive undertaking it was. But in 2019 we decided that enough was enough.
Yep, you read that right. The work to deliver those beautiful hi-res graphics, spinning fans and wear and tear on Subtractor started in 2019. Some of our best engineers spent almost one and a half years performing the brain transplant that updating the graphics engine was. They meticulously moved Reason over, bit by bit, testing on more and more hardware configurations until we in early 2021 opened for a broader public beta test.
Not only did they make Reason work great at any zoom level, but they also switched out all graphics processing to use the dedicated graphics card that all modern computers have.
To put it in perspective, we estimate this investment was on par with building the whole RE-technology. There’s still room for improvement in how Reason handles application zooming, but it’s a huge leap for us to have this out – Reason is more future-proof than ever and we have a great platform to build all those features upon.
Looking ahead - our roadmap
This is the first time we do this, but we’ll keep iterating on the format until we find something that works. This is a plan, not a promise. Plans sometimes change, and if they do, you’ll be the first to know in a follow-up post. Beyond what's here, we'll of course continuously fix bugs and improve stability and performance.
Smart browser – October
In Reason 12 we delivered a new fresh and fast browsing experience. In October we plan to ship an update that organizes all your content in a better way and makes finding patches and sounds much easier
Hi-res rest of Reason – October
For Reason 12 the focus was to make the rack hi-res but in October we will ship an update that updates the remaining parts of the sequencer and UI to hi-res too.
More styles for Combinator 2.0 - November
Most of us spend too much time choosing the right button or knob to make our Combinators really pop. They make the Combinator so much more fun, and we want to have an even broader selection. And my personal testing shows that good looking Combinators sound better too..
M1 support – December
Reason will be updated to run natively on the Apple M1 processor.
VST3 support –January
Yes, you read that right! VST3 support is coming to Reason. This is a big project, but we are working to deliver this as soon as possible which is why it’ll take a bit longer than other stuff on the roadmap.
Reason+ subscribers will get these as part of their subscription and the plan is to deliver them as free point upgrades to Reason 12 owners too.
Things that are under investigation are things we are looking closely at. No decision has been made as to exactly what we’ll release and when. But follow this space (and give us your feedback online) and things listed here should magically transform into more detailed items that are “Planned/Under development” by the time the next blog post is out in a few weeks.
New devices – We're currently in the research phase of what our next device will be. We have many cool concepts, but please send us your feedback on what you'd like to see (and hear)!
Tight integration with other DAWs – Roughly half of you are using Reason in another DAW and we want that experience to be as seamless as possible. Supporting more VST features and decreasing startup time are some of the key things we are looking at here.
Immediate musical results – Reason can take on many roles, but we believe its strength is getting ideas going quickly. We're investigating improvements to the current workflow, sequencer, and more.
Authorization/Offline mode for Reason+ – We know that many of you depend on Reason and Reason+ in situations where there’s not always internet access. For Reason owners, authorization can sometimes be flaky and there is currently no way to use Reason+ without Internet-access. We are researching a new solution to solve both issues, hitting two drums with one stick so to speak.
If you made it this far, thank you for following along on our journey. Now I’ll step away from the microphone and leave the stage to you.