Reason Needs These Changes
EDIT: I don't mean to sound so bossy in this, please be assured that any bossiness is for comic effect / dramatic emphasis! And yeah for the conceivable future it won't matter to me whether these are implemented or not, as l'm happy enough with all the features l can use / all the features l have yet to explore. So these suggestions are really "take it or leave it, l'm happy either way"
I understand that this will incite some amount of negativity, but as a music tech n00b l think l have a precious perspective on things. And yeah, l've known about these problems since around 2004 but l still eventually purchased Reason.
I would like Reason to make a few changes. If l remember rightly, l'm not actually entitled to cheap upgrades for Reason, as l'm on a student licence. So l hope you see that l am trying to be altruistic here by making these suggestions:
# Screen size: sort it out, seriously. Whether two columns of racks are used or just one, make the display fill the whole screen. And preferably, have one column with the racks wide enough to fit the whole screen. I know other DAWs have small discrete racks, but Reason is rack-focused and we are well into the touchscreen era. And personally, l find the concept of two columns confusing. I mean, it's hard enough thinking about all the wires at the back, but then you have two columns ...
# Touchscreen: sort it out! For every aspect of operation. Will bring you closer to tablet PC implementation too but that's just an asides, l'd love to have touchscreen-ready Reason on a 24-inch HP Touchsmart computer. Apart from Tablet PCs, DAWs are the *biggest* application for touchscreens as far as l am concerned. I mean, software was supposed to supplant hardware right? Touchscreen completely closes the gap between software and hardware - esp. multitouch.
# Recording area: Must be floatable, and most importantly: Make the display M*A*S*S*I*V*E. I want to see waveform displays showing artefacts from crickets chirping on the lawn outside the recording studio. At present, the recording screen just looks weird and unnatural, like staring down at shipping containers from a space station. Also l don't want zoom in / zoom out to be a special reward for a zillion mouse clicks. I want fast fast fast zoom in / zoom out, and l want a good level of zoom by default. I recommend copying AcidPro's setup - it is a much overlooked program today, esp. because Sony took it over and the original team have all gone (?). With Acid Pro, you can zoom the x-axis (horizontal zoom, zoom into time axis) by pressing the magifying glass at top of sample screen (not weirdly tucked away to one side) OR by using the middle mouse wheel if you have one. Let me tell you, that middle mouse wheel functionality is fantastic. And if you want y-axis zoom (vertical zoom, increase displayed height of a soundwave), you need only drag down the lower edge of the track's border, and the track increases in height. Simple!
I also want to be able to see loop blocks clearly defined in the recording area, as they are on Acid Pro and Ableton. You know, the way a complete loop looks like a cartouche. I've heard Reason lets you beat sync. Well that is good, but l've not looked into it. I'm guessing it's not simple like in Acid Pro, where you import a sample, select whether to beatmap / loop it or make it a one shot etc. and then go ahead and paint it on the channel. If you elected to loop it, then it automatically beat matches the existing samples in the other channels.
# Record What U Hear: Apparently this will be simplified in Reason 7, but l've a funny feeling it won't be done properly, probably will be half disabled through paranoia - let's face it, even operating systems and manufacturers are hiding their soundcard controls now to make Record What U Hear as esoteric as possible to prevent people copying Shania Twain's back crapalogue of "hits". How about this: A simple red or blue button that records whatever is playing right now. No, really, whatever is playing right now, whether FX mono ring modulation is added to it or whether it is MIDI synced with some duplex technotronic rack extension, whatever you can hear right now, is what will be recorded.
# Autotune: Have this: Select input as mic. Then you are asked if want to autotune incoming vocals and further, if you want to add phaser FX or whatever it is they use on those cool vocoders in electro music. This would not just benefit vocalists, but users who don't even want to make vocals will be encouraged to have a laugh and try it out. After all, Reason is so-called because it "does everything within Reason".
# Audio to MIDI: Enough said. And there are freeware tools for doing this, in the Lua programming language l think, and probably others. So as with a lot of these ideas, much of the work has already been done for you, in the freeware world.
# Beatmatch: Audio in and MIDI in, once recorded, should have beatmatch / one shot as a simple right mouse option, i.e. done in two clicks after selecting a recorded area.
# DJing: Either put in some decks with a beat slicer grid added, or make it blatantly obvious and easy to sync Reason with Virtual DJ and other such programs.
# Sample editor: Yes l understand Recycle is out there and Audacity is free. But Reason needs a basic sample editor for completeness, one with the following features:
For entire sample OR for selected part:
* Increase amplitude
* Decrease amplitude
* Add amplitude curve, user-drawn
[* Assign some existing FX to the curve instead of making it an amplitude curve?]
* Fade in
* Fade out
* Mix with another sample / another part of a sample
* Loop (forward / forward-back)
* Apply delta filter (a sort of muting, de-hissing effect)
* Sharpen (converse of delta filter)
Even without the FX, part, l could turn white noise into a piano using these simple functions. Even without mixing with another sample. So l think Reason needs this, simple but powerful.
Or are you scared ppl will sample the Refills and thereby steal them? Nobody cares, samples are everywhere.
# Rack extensions: inspired by Ableton selling extras? But the dollar chase ended up in some of Ableton's team separating and making Bitwig (chasing the dollar for better or for worse - and it looks lovely - that's beyond the scope of what l'm saying here, l have Ableton and l love it, l have Reason and l love it, if l had another program, l would love it, because l would have checked it out in advance and my loving it would be why l bought it). Bitwig version 12.6.3 will die away and so eventually will its successor. Gratis stuff is what sets my pulse racing - as a newbie, it creates good feeling (thanks for the free sounds by the way, Propellerheads, some nice stuff there). I'm sure professional musicians have deep pockets and more discernment than me, but for me, the concept of a shop for Rack extensions is a little disheartening even if really complex professional tools are on sale.
If you want a multiplicity of extensions, then open Reason up to a well-known scripting language. I dunno anything about scripting apart from some languages can be used in audio to make add-ons that can work on a variety of music programs. It would be nice to see a user repository of free tools, all with bugs of course, but they work and they get better every month as users build on them in their spare time, and they cover every aspect of music and then some. And it's all free, free as in beer and free as in freedom. What's not to like?
P.S. I'm not saying all add-on tools should be free. Just that users should have a scripting language available and a free tool repository to showcase their efforts. All this alongside commercial products that of course will be more polished and bug-free. I repeat that l hope the scripting language will create tools for other DAWs too, thus giving that extra appeal. I think Lua is a good one from what l've seen (works with another DAW called Renoise, which is tracker-based, quite cute), but there is also Pure Data. I'm no expert.
# VST support: I'm a total newbie here and l don't know VST from DST but there are tools out there which can be used to create as many VST instruments as you want, the one l'm looking at looks a bit like Pure Data but with pretty colours for the dials etc. So l think Reason needs VST support.
# Output channel for your USB soundcard: Make selecting a soundcard channel for output simpler. I don't know the ins and outs of it (pun) but just do it. Like, for each instrument, have an LCD display saying "This instrument is going to channel 4". But no, instead we have to press tab, look at the back and then mess up our day.
# Matrix sequencer: Gotta be a way of recording the note-by-note output of the Matrix sequencer, at the time cursor. Perhaps keeping it as a "Live" Matrix sequencer as opposed to the "Pattern" Matrix sequencer that we have anyway. Must be able to copy and paste from the Live version back to the Pattern version. Must be able to randomise pitches on both Matrix sequencer versions, not just randomise pitches. Any recording on the Live version must still indicate the "block" structure as markers. Please search my other posts for more on the Matrix sequencer suggestions.
Original Matrix = "Pattern" Matrix
Second Matrix = "Live" Matrix, recording all MIDI notes played at time cursor point on the Pattern Matrix, as one long piano roll, for as long as the recording continues
Recording section = Waveform of the Pattern Matrix + Instrument (e.g. Subtractor) combination, or blank if nothing is connected to the Pattern Matrix. Remember, the Live Matrix will already have a record of any live MIDI note sequencing.
Extra option: Ability to link the Live Matrix to any new instrument and render the waveform right away. Then when "Record" is pressed, the waveform recording continues from the time cursor on the Pattern Matrix for that instrument. [For a Live Matrix to exist, there must always be a Pattern Matrix automatically set up that it feeds off the moment the "Record" button is pressed]
Extra option: Parts of any Live Matrix can be copied and pasted into any pattern on any Pattern Matrix
Finally: I think a "Live" Matrix window will be great as the Go-To MIDI section, perhaps also allowing you to import MIDI files from other programs.
[Somebody else has also recommended making Matrix polyphonic, which is great for drum loops, dunno how it can be implemented though. They also recommended one separate output for each voice.]
# Undo / Redo: Like on any decent wordprocessor, have "Undo" / "Redo" visible always at the top of the screen, it's a must.
# Computer keyboard as instrument: I have searched for a way to do this, and l know there is mapping for it on Reason, but apart from that, l don't see any way of making notes using my computer keyboard. Perhaps if there is a way it should be made simpler, more immediate.
Update: Pressing F4 renders the computer keyboard. But l want 2 full octaves (and more ... considering the O, P, [, ] keys) to be mapped onto the QWERTY keyboardm, instead of just 1.
# Mp3 codec: Yes l know Recycle and Audacity are out there but for completeness, have an mp3 codec. So you can send your friends a quick demo of what you're up to.
# Sample browser: Oh yeah, when browsing samples, it's nice that you can preview a sample, but it would be extra nice if you could perform "Cut / Copy / Paste" on the files / folder area - thus allowing you to keep a copy of a previewed sample that you particularly like and paste it onto a desktop folder, without having to dig into your hard drive separately to get to it. Oh and as someone else pointed out, the sample browser loading can be slow sometimes.
# Free updataes for 1 version span: Give free updates for integers not fractions, dude. Like, the equivalent span of one full version. 5.2 to 6.2 (or 6.5 if there is no 6.2). 6 to 7. You get the picture.
Please don't overlook any of this. The only complex thing l have mentioned is the part about scripting language for user-submitted extensions. Everything else is of immediate relevance to the n00bs and speculators that l'm sure you want to attract as much as any other level of musician.
EDIT: P.S. Yes, a lot of these changes are to facilitate the dream of live performance, which is still quite hard whatever DAW uses these days, but no harm in making this dream just a bit more attainable.
Last edited by DynamicDontPanic; 2013-04-26 at 04:56.
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