The subject has come up time and time again, why doesn’t Reason support VSTs? Why isn’t [insert popular VST here] available as a Rack Extension? These are the questions that annoy me to no end and I’m sure I’m not alone.
The answer to the first question is simple, Propellerhead doesn’t (and won’t for the foreseeable future) directly support VSTs in Reason, this is because they offer a very unique modular environment for their users, so the addition of VSTs would completely ruin the experience that the virtual rack offers.
The second question is a bit more complex. Rack Extensions are still fairly new and developers are still deciding whether or not to adopt. A big factor in this decision making is the current limitations of the Rack Extension SDK. These limitations could be the answer to why your favourite VST hasn’t already made it into the Reason rack. Of course there are other explanations to why they haven’t been ported, including (sadly) lack of interest from some developers.
Keeping all that in mind, we’re going to look past the current restrictions of the RE format and take a look at some of the most popular software instruments on the market today. These are the instruments that have been mentioned on countless posts from all corners of the internet.
Before we start I would like to stress that this is NOT a list of rumoured releases, it’s more of a wish list for Reason. At the moment the only way to use these instruments in Reason is to either ReWire to another DAW or sample and import them into your projects. Both of these methods aren’t really ideal when it comes to streamlining your workflow, what would be ideal though is having these available as dedicated Rack Extensions (we can dream, right?).
So let’s take a look at what we’re missing out on…
5. Cakewalk – Z3TA+ 2
Z3TA+ 2 has been around a while and it’s rightfully earned its place in the hearts of producers everywhere. It’s powerful waveshaping synthesis would be a welcome addition to the Reason rack. We also know that Cakewalk isn’t against the Rack Extension format as we’ve already seen their RE-2A Leveling Amplifier in the PropShop. Maybe with future revisions of the RE SDK we will see Z3TA+ 2 in the rack.
4. ReFx – Nexus
Nexus is the oddball of the list as it’s the only one here that’s not a synthesiser. In fact Nexus is a very powerful and insanely popular rompler that relies on pre-recorded samples. Nexus provides a vast palette of sounds covering everything from epic orchestral to modern day electro-house (and everything in between).
3. Arturia – Minimoog V
You probably know that Arturia’s plugins are some of the best quality analog emulations available. Their Minimoog V synth is renowned as one of the best software recreations available, proven by the late Bob Moog himself putting his name on it.
How great would it be to have a dedicated Minimoog in the Reason Rack? What’s more this is probably the only plugin on this list that could actually live within the Reason Rack due to GUI restrictions. Of course it would have to be a stripped-down version, but the addition of CV control would more than make up for the missing features.
2. LennarDigital – Sylenth 1
Sylenth 1 didn’t quite make the top spot but there’s no denying that this synth has made an impression on the music world. Sylenth’s superior sound quality and versatility has made it a staple for both music producers and sound designers alike. To see this beast coupled with Reason’s modulation flexibility would be a dream come true.
1. Native Instruments – Massive
No top synth list is complete without the godfather of software synthesizers. Native Instruments sure know how to make quality music software and Massive is certainly no exception.
The sheer power of Massive in Reason would be unreal, but sadly I don’t think that we will be seeing it in our racks any time soon. Massive relies on a routing and modulation system that isn’t possible to re-create within Reason. However if it were, Massive would give us a rich selection of modulators to twist our productions into something beautiful.
Again, I want to remind you that this isn’t a list of rumours but a simple wish list. What would your dream Reason synth be? Let me know in the comments section below.