Propellerhead and their focus on workflow

Say you want a piano sound. In a typical system, what is the first decision you need to make? It is “What plug-in?” That’s not right. You wanted a piano sound. I didn’t say if it was going to be a synthesized piano, a sample piano, electric piano – you want to mess around and see what works on your track.

Ernst Nathorst-Boos of Propellerhead Software in issue #77 of TapeOp

Propellerhead is unveiling a new feature in Reason 5 and Record 1.5 each day this week.

After trying Record 1.0 I felt it wasn’t for me. I admire the simplicity Propellerhead appears to take in their development, although I don’t always agree with how it’s implemented. However, I can always seem to start ideas faster in Reason than I can in Logic Pro.

I think that’s because of the above, how Propellerhead presents the sound to you before the instrument. Start doing that in Logic and you’re asked to pick one of their instruments or from your AU library. You could go through Logic’s channel strips which have tons of insert effects by default. It’s a good way to make your Macbook fans kick in.

Or think about how the very first window you’re presented with when starting a new track in Logic is the “Save Project” dialog box. It’s playing it safe, but how are you even supposed to know what kind of project this is yet? I can’t think of any other software that does that. Textedit gives you a blank window. Reason – it gives you the blank canvas to start working on.

Actually, Coda asks you to define your projects, but if you’re making an entire website you usually have a pretty good idea of what you’re after. You probably have some sketches on your desk. You don’t really open a window and write HTML thinking that maybe if you see the right arrangement of markup you may be onto something cool.

Propellerhead seems to make software for composers looking for sparks. Apple, at least with Logic, seems to make software for mixing engineers with clients ready to go. That’s not me. I’m just some dude with a spare room, a computer, and a MIDI keyboard.

Things like that make me think of making the leap to Record sometimes. I may dislike some of the ideas (the rack, ReFills) but I think at the core we’re very similar.

It costs $150 for Reason users to get a Record license. I think that’s how much I’d pay for AU/VST versions of Reason’s synths and effects. I like Reason’s synths more than Logic’s and would love to have direct access to them in Logic rather than through ReWire.

But I think the Props have made it pretty clear they’re not interested in doing that. I could almost see them making Reason 5 the last version of Reason they ever make and trying to migrate people over to Record with Reason instruments and effects.