Over the years, users have noted Reason’s shortcomings. Let’s take a brief look at some.
Reason’s Synths Sound Weak
Soft synths don’t have to sound weak, but Reason’s praise for super efficient CPU use comes at the price of weak sounding synths.
Personally, I kind of like it that way. I can’t stand synths and sound designers that want to write your track for you. Sure, I like big sound, but I also don’t see why a chorus patch should take up 50% of your processing power.
Of course, to counter this shortcoming the Propellerheads had an ingenious idea: One synth isn’t good enough? Let’s cram 7 of them together into one stereo output!
Of course, it’s only 7 in that example – but choose the units you think make a sufficient single instrument and you’re on your way.
Okay, they don’t suck as bad as they once did.
Using ReFills in pre-3.0 Reason is tedious. There used to be no search or favorites feature. The ReFill developer decides for you how to best manage your sample library.
Plus, there’s no official way to use ReFill sounds in other applications. Like those drum sounds but want to use them in Ultrabeat or Battery? Too bad. Each ReFill you buy increases the cost to ditch Reason.
Software That Looks Like Hardware That’s Sold To Users That Don’t Use Hardware
Imagine if Microsoft Word wasn’t like the word processing programs that we know today. Instead, what if Word was an onscreen representation of a typewriter?
That’s ridiculous, right? But really, that’s an accurate way to think of Reason.
Reason has a usability issue that isn’t mentioned very often (although, sometimes it is) – the rack metaphor. Reason is a software rack unit down to the mounting screws and cables that shake when you press tab. Cute, but completely irrelevant to software studios, and only slows down the workflow.
Meanwhile, software like Ableton Live is completely easy to pick up and intuitive to use, and looks nothing like hardware. There’s a user-interface compromise somewhere.
Today, ReWire feels like a hastily put together solution to create compatibility on some level with other DAWs. Propellerheads doesn’t have all the blame here – almost every music software app handles ReWire differently, sometimes in tedious fashions.