A Reason To Link

Choosing a DAW can be difficult – from Pro Tools to Reaper, each has its own pros and cons. Although you can try demo versions – and Reaper is actually free – it can take quite a bit of time to get to know a program well enough to really leverage its potential…

Keeping it Together

For anyone getting started with producing music in a home studio (or on a laptop), the two standout packages are probably Propellerheads’ Reason and Ableton Live. Not only are they extremely intuitive and user-friendly, but they are both extremely capable DAWs for end-to-end recording and production of your musical ideas.

Way back in the 1990s, Propellerheads introduced the concept of ReWire, which allowed Reason to be connected to another DAW – much like an external software instrument. At the time, Reason didn’t have any audio recording capability of its own, so this was an extremely sensible move – it allowed users of other DAWs to integrate Reason’s instruments into their workflow, and provided Reason users with a way to incorporate audio recording without being forced to ditch Reason altogether.

Setting up ReWire is very straightforward; the main item to watch for is that Reason is always the slave in the Host/Slave partnership. Basically, this means you need to start the other program first; for example, start up Ableton Live, then start up Reason. Reason will detect Live and put itself automatically into ReWire mode; in Live, you can then set an audio channel to have Reason as the track input. For a more detailed guide to ReWire, check out this post at Ask Audio.

By running Reason and Live together, you can avail of the features of both without having to choose between them; for example, if you’re particularly fond of Reason’s Players, Thor synth and ReDrum, you can use them all whilst also harnessing the power of Ableton’s unique looping prowess.

The Live Link

Moving on from ReWire, both Reason and Live now support Ableton Link – this is a protocol that allows multiple instances of Reason/Live and other apps to sync and jam together over a local network connection.

To use Link, you need to start Reason first and then Live (because if you do it the other way around then Reason will default to ReWire mode, as mentioned above). Link is designed as a way to enable multiple people to jam together electronically, across multiple devices and programs; for more info on Link, check out the Ableton site.


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