I'm seeking comments on my proposed enhancements for Reason version x.x. I will submit this through their official feature request email after taking into account comments. Pretty much all of these are usability enhancements. Some are easy, some aren't. The major requests are the effects and instrument boxes. In theory these are "just" a front end to existing devices. (No doubt in practice they will be harder to implement.
Peace - and happy Remembrance Day
Device and Track names
Space for longer names for every damn thing in the program. More characters don't need to be displayed (that is, to see the whole name, the user could be required to click on the text, with default display limited to 20 characters). The current arbitrary (and extremely short) length of device and track names is unduly limiting. Names can be used as a place to store notes about how the device is intended to be used or a shortlist of patches that are being auditioned. This is also a collaborative tool (see below).
Notes memo for every device.
Like to have the ability to add text to every device in the rack/each track in the sequencer to describe a little bit about it and what it's intended for. Notes would be available through clicking a button. This is also a collaborative tool (see below).
The death of refills.
They're a white elephant which reduces useability. Please get rid of them, or create a refill extractor so no one has to work with refills ever again (viva la revolution!).
Ability to name groups.
Non destructive stacking of groups. Two groups should remain as separate groups when overlapped.
Ability to name tracks with meaningful names (the 20 odd characters at the moment is too short).
These would be a rack unit the height of an effects device, but taking the full width of the rack. It would have ?4? mono ins and ?4? mono outs (ie 2 stereo pairs) and 4 CV ins + 4 CV outs. A user would be able to drop any number of effects devices into the box and hook up the box in/out jacks to those of the devices in the box without the box taking up any more room on the rack. (The user would have the option to explode the box to show all effects devices in the rack). The box would have a bypass/on/off switch that is applied to all effects in the box and ?4-6? controller knobs, each of which could be assigned to one controller of one of the effects in the box (another solution would be to be able to add controller knobs at the user's option). Each effect should remain individually tweakable. Effects boxes (or patches for them) should be able to be saved separately. The effects box would serve a number of purposes: (a) saves space on the rack; (b) allows a series of effects to be A/B ed easily; (c) allows favourite series of effects to be loaded instantly rather than being re-wired each time/cut and paste from another song; (d) allows people to trade their favourite effects (and is therefore a collaborative tool); (e) allows de facto effects presets. Effects boxes would permit box nesting - ie an effects box could be put inside another effects box. Don't know about this bit: ?Devices inside a box would only be able to be wired to other devices in the box/to the boxes in/out ports?
These would be similar to the effects boxes, except that they would allow a collection of instruments and effects to be packaged together into a single box, full width, half height. The instrument box would have 4 mono outs and ?4? controllers on the front panel (or controller boxes could be wired into/dockable with the instrument box). Each of the controllers could be mapped to a separate controller on any of the devices inside the box. As with the effects box, the instrument box could be exploded. For example, if a subtractor bass patch sounds great when EQed in a certain way, with some reverb and separate delays on each channel, then you should be able to put that whole set up into a single box and save it for future work/ distribute it (this would function as a collaborative tool). As with the effects box, this would also save space on the rack.
Presets for each effects device:
Ability to capture the state of each effects device and save it as part of that device. Presets would be available via a drop down menu. Presets would be more useful for the effects and instrument boxes.
New effects devices: Audio + CV + LFO Splitters.
These would be boxes with 2 mono ins + a CV input [+ LFO input?] and which would split that signal into 8 mono outs (stereo pairs) + 8 CV outs [+ 4 LFO outs]. May have controls at front of box eg amp? cutoff? quantize?
New Effects Device: Controller box
This would be exactly like a hardware controller box, with x knobs - either make the number of knobs user assignable, or do it in modules of 4/6/8 knobs. Each knob can be routed to any controller on any device on the rack. Like audio wiring, but for controller (ie midi) information.
New Effects Device: Controller splitter
A separate splitter device could be created for the new controller box effect with 4 sets of: one controller in 2 controllers out (or 2 sets of one in 4 out).
EQ Device to have a bias knob
This would allow the user to turn the baseline for all frequencies up or down. This way, the sweet frequencies for a sound can be found, peaked, then baised so that the peaks are at +0db and all other frequencies are (eg) at -18db. This would preserve the relative effect on the frequencies, but make it easier to avoid distorting the enhanced frequencies.
Back of rack: Better wiring view
There should be an option to show only wires to+from selected device (other wires heavily ghosted or absent).
Sampler (XT and 19) - better automap
The sampler can be used for sound effects or vocals rather than for an "instrument". When so doing what is important is to map a collection of samples to a set number of keys and have the root note placed at the middle (or one end) of that range. The actual root note of the sample is irrelevant to this mapping. There should be a mapping option which maps a given number of samples across a given range of keys, with an even spread of keys per sample, and the root note automatically assigned to the middle of the range of keys.
Reason's growth will be multiplied by facilitating the exchange of information between its users. At the moment that exchange is facilitiated on a refill, song and patch level. However, there are improvements to be made in each, and the addition of effects and instrument boxes will allow better exchange between users of useful devices which don't fall into any of these levels (ie collections of devices).
Ability to save creation details and some notes for each patch within the patch. If a patch has a couple of sweet spots that users might like to try, it should be possible to tell them about it in the patch (eg "try osc 2 at +5 semitones"). If a patch has a history, then multiple contributors and notes should be permitted.
In addition, effects and instrument boxes, presets, notes and longer names for everything are also collaborative tools, especially if instrument and effects boxes can be saved separately with presets included in the file.
Super Sweet - Supremely Usable, Completely Sweet