Capture That Hot Take

It’s the last day of this year’s RPM challenge, and many participants are putting the final polish on their submissions. This year, I’ve returned to Reason after a long absence, and was pleased to discover its new compositing functionality…

Putting It Together

In recent years, I’ve created RPM albums using Ableton Live, ProTools and Logic – in fact, I haven’t used Reason since the venerable version 4. This year, however, I decided it was time to revisit the Propellerheads’ flagship, and indeed much has changed in the interim.

Perhaps most notable of these changes is the addition of direct recording and mixing features; the short-lived standalone Record software is now integrated with Reason itself, and the result is a very user-friendly platform for quickly getting instrumental and vocal takes into the box. Previously, the only way of getting your own audio into Reason was via a sampler – now, it’s just a matter of plugging in your guitar/mic, selecting the input and hitting record. This really transforms Reason into a fully-fledged DAW – albeit one that doesn’t run VST plugins (which is very much a policy decision on the part of the Propellerheads team, and does have some significant advantages).

Take What You Want

Having previously used Ableton Live and ProTools for audio input, it’s fair to say that Reason has a lot to recommend it in terms of functionality (over Ableton) and ease of use (over ProTools). One feature that is available in ProTools is audio comping, but I always found it a bit cumbersome – in contrast, this is far smoother experience in Reason.

The basic workflow involves setting up your loop start/end points, selecting your input and recording a take. Once you hit the end of the looped section, recording continues seamlessly again from the start of the loop – effectively recording another take. You can keep recording takes until you feel you have enough material to work with.

When you stop recording, you can then click into the clip you’ve just recorded and select ‘comp edit’ mode. This will break out all the takes you’ve just recorded, one below the other. Now, you can use the razor tool to quickly select sections from any of these takes to create your final composite. You can select the first note from take 4, the mid-section from take 12 and the end section from take 8, for example. What’s more, you can keep the loop playing while you’re changing your selections, so you can audition each piece in real-time.

Compositing is a very useful tool in any DAW (and most do offer this functionality) but the usability of Reason’s implementation here is impressive, and really helps to streamline the workflow. So if you’re just trying to get an idea recorded with the minimum of fuss, it’s definitely worth a look…


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