Within Reason – Part 1: The Conception of Reason

Before Reason ever saw the light of day, there was ReBirth.

Rebirth was Propellerhead Software‘s first attempt at software synthesis. It was originally intended to be much like Reason – an all-in-one electronic music application1. With the revival of electronic music in the early 90s (808 State, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, to name a few), the prices of hardware typically used in these genres were rising astronomically due to the demand and the rarity of those pieces. It was clear that there was an opportunity for a software version of popular, vintage synths.

Thus, ReBirth was born.

ReBirth was a software emulation of Roland‘s TB-303, TR-808 and TR-909 units. It made its public debut at the 1997 Winter NAMM show. While Propellerhead Software faced criticism regarding sound quality, Roland asked that a phrase citing Rebirth’s inspiration from their hardware be added to the packaging and fine print. Maybe it didn’t sound perfect, but it sounded good enough – even to the original sound developers.

Shortly after the release of Rebirth 2.0 in 1998, (with its support for the Prop’s new ReWire technology), development began on Reason, then known as “Project X”2. Computer processors were close to breaking the 1ghz barrier and with the success of ReBirth it was evident that the age of a software based electronic music studio was coming soon. Propellerheads knew it and they were preparing for this new age of music creation.

So was Steinberg.

1. Rebirth Museum – Part 3<br/>
2. Rebirth Museum – Part 7

Previously: Within Reason – Intro<br/>Next: Within Reason – Part 2: The Birth of Reason