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Product of the Week: Reason Studios/Propellerhead Reason 11

Reason 11 will be released on September 25. The highlight of the new version is the Reason Rack Plugin, which will allow you to open Reason’s Rack inside of almost any DAW. No need to hassle with ReWire anymore. Initially, the Reason Rack Plugin will come only in VST3 format, but an AU version is promised before the end of the year.

The other significant bullet point is that Propellerhead is changing its name to Reason Studios. I’ll address that at the end of this post, but first let’s talk features.

It wouldn’t be a major update of Reason without some new processors. These include a pair of new modulation effects: Quartet Chorus Ensemble, a versatile chorus effect; and Sweeper Modulation Effect, a phaser/flanger/filter. You’ll also get versions of the dynamics and EQ processors from Reason’s excellent mixer that you can open in the Rack, including the Master Bus Compressor.

Read more Product of the Week: TC Electronic Finalizer.

The standalone version of Reason 11 features several workflow enhancements that users have requested. Most of these are standard features on contemporary DAWs, so it’s not surprising they were requested. They include drawing automation curves adding crossfades between audio clips, MIDI note muting and drawing multiple MIDI notes, among others.

Starting with version 11 there will be three tiers in the Reason hierarchy: Reason 11 Suite ($599) is at the top end, and includes all Reason instruments, effects and Rack Extensions. It’s also the only version to include the new Scenic Hybrid Instrument, which is described by the developer as “a cinematic dream machine of atmospheric sounds and powerful performance controls.” Scenic Hybrid Instrument will be available as a separate purchase if you own one of the other Reason 11 versions.

Speaking of which, Reason 11 ($399) is the standard version but doesn’t include the Rack Extensions or Scenic Hybrid Instrument. Reason 11 Intro ($99) is an entry-level version, which has a significantly reduced but still powerful feature set.

Finally, let me briefly address Propellerhead’s name change. According to the company’s website, “We wanted to clearly show our commitment to providing the best music-making experience, guiding and inspiring people to keep creating. And, the world really knows us for Reason. Reason Studios better encapsulates our mission.”

I will be the first to admit that I’m hardly a marketing whiz, so take my comments with a grain of salt (or perhaps an entire saltshaker).

To me, Propellerhead—even if it’s often mistakenly called “Propellerheads”—is a long-established brand name with a lot of positive connotations.

“Reason Studios,” on the other hand, strikes me as kind of blah and generic. If you have an iconic brand, which the Propellerhead name is, you should think long and hard about ditching it. Those old enough to remember “new Coke” will definitely know what I’m talking about. But, hey, I hope the new Reason Studios name works out well for the company, and I’m certainly looking forward to checking out Reason 11. Get more info about it here.