VSTs in Reason

Some people said it would never happen – including people who actually work for Propellerhead Software – but this year one of the most long-awaited feature releases has finally appeared…

With the release of Reason version 9.5 you can now use VST plugins within Reason. This is a very significant expansion of the software’s capability, and really brings Reason into the category of a fully-fledged DAW.


For a long time, Reason resisted the addition of third-party plugins, opting instead to keep it as a self-contained music production studio.

This meant that it was both extremely stable and processor efficient – able to run on relatively low-spec machines, and making the transfer of projects between users very straightforward.

However, the lack of VST support meant that many musicians still opted to use other programs as their primary DAW, with Reason as an additional creative resource.

Now, however, you can add your VST effects and instruments to Reason in pretty much the same manner as you would for any other DAW – simply add the location of your VST folder to Reason’s file path. You can find this under Preferences>Advanced Settings.

You’ll need to restart Reason to see the plugins show up in the available FX/instruments menu, but basically they will then be available to select in the same way as Reason’s native devices.

VST in Reason

I haven’t done extensive testing of this implementation, but it certainly is as user friendly as you would expect and fits seamlessly into the existing Reason workflow.

Presuming that stability isn’t impacted, then this will be an invaluable addition to the Reason arsenal.

Having tried the feature with some Native Instruments plugins so far, it seems they are running just as well here as within Ableton and ProTools, with no slowdowns or crashes following these initial (admittedly limited) trials.

It will be interesting to see how this opens up the Reason experience…


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