It’s not easy picking out the top 5 Rack Extensions from the nearly 100 released in the past year. And with so many industry heavyweights embracing Propellerhead’s Rack Extension technology there’s never been a greater time to be a Reason user. Below are my favorite Rack Extensions of the last year, in no particular order. Feel free to let us know some of your favorites in the comments!
My favorite episode of Sesame Street as a child centered around Ernie eating the cookies Bert left out on the counter. In the episode Ernie eats the cookies around the edge making the cookies smaller, meanwhile hoping Bert won’t notice the difference. Rob Papen’s Punch BDRE initially left me feeling like Bert in the above episode. You see Rob Papen already has a Punch VST plug-in featuring full drum kits, but the new Punch for Reason is just a kick drum…. But what a kick! Drum synthesis, samples, filters, envelopes, LFO and a mod matrix that leaves Subtractor feeling jealous. This bass drum badass will deliver everything from thumping Trap style kicks to the clicks that drive minimal techno and modern R&B. Punch BDRE may be the last word in bass drum sounds.
Back in my early twenties I played guitar in a local punk rock band and was always searching for the perfect guitar tone. Until one night when my group opened for an Iggy and The Stooges cover band named Raw Power whose guitarist had a Les Paul plugged directly into a Marshall head thru a Leslie Rotary Speaker cabinet! It was pure sonic nirvana. With Propellerhead’s Rotor Rack Extension that sound is available in the Reason rack! Yes Rotary speaker effects sound great on guitars and of course organs, but Rotor also does wonders to vocals, synthesizers and even drum beats!
Just when you think you don’t need another subtractive monosynth, FXpansion releases Tres, a synth with DCAM circuit-modelling technology and advanced TransMod modulation. Tres’ sound has a warmth to it that usually is only found in hardware, courtesy primarily from the time-variant shelf-EQ Emphasis knob and Saturation section which allows you to emphasize or cut harmonics before sending the sound on to a switchable multimode resonant filter! Where Tres really shines in my book though is the elegant Modulation Source Selection Section that’s ease of use easily belies it’s deep signal routing possibilities. Check out Tres today and not just because I helped with the factory soundbank :-).
Softube’s Spring Reverb Rack Extension captures the magic of old dusty amplifier reverb tanks and brings it into the Reason rack. With controls for tension, number of springs, bass and treble tone controls, dry/wet and a Shake control for the sound of a reverb tank being jostled, the breadth of reverb sounds available are immense. And with CV input for every control knob the palette of sounds becomes as big as your own imagination. Give Softube’s Spring Reverb a try and you’ll quickly find Spring Reverb isn’t just for surf guitar and trip hop beats.
I came to know Parsec well when working on Nucleus SoundLab’s own Hyperdrive ReFill and quickly fell in love with Propellerhead’s latest great synthesizer. Early on in the design of the ReFill, Shaun from Sonic Elements referred to Parsec as Propellerhead’s take on Native Instruments Razor, which really stuck with me. You see Parsec is dubbed a Spectral Synthesizer, but at it’s heart is an additive synth, one of the most difficult kinds of synthesis to master in my mind. Yet, Propellerhead take this concept and created a synthesizer that is both a pleasure to play with and can create sounds never heard before in the Reason rack.
Happy New Year everyone and best wishes from RER in 2014!