Reason 11 Review: Classic studio gear emulator becomes a VST Plug In

Reason 11 Review: Classic studio gear emulator becomes a VST Plug In
Reason 11 $399

Name: Reason 11

  • User Interface
  • Stability
  • Sound Library
  • Features
  • Price


One of the OG music making suites, Reason is a virtual rack of sound modules and effect boards, wired to a limitless mixing board – and whatever else you decide to throw in the signal chain. 


All of Reason’s rack devices can be used within another DAW of choice Excellent, stable rack extension platform Superior Audio Stretching/Pitch Engine High-quality Sound Library



Reason was the first music production DAW that I ever installed on a computer of mine, it came bundled as Reason Adapted (an LE version) with an M-Audio MIDI controller back in 2004 – when the program was just 4 years old and company behind it was known as Propellerhead. It was a comprehensive program, one that was visually presented as an virtual studio rack of stacked gear – including everything from drum machines, sound modules,synthesizers,samplers and effect racks. I eventually updated to the full version of the program, Reason 2.5. 16 years later, it has evolved to a full-fledged DAW in it’s own right with version 11, (a DAW that gives you access to all of it’s rack gear inside other DAWs might I add.) Check out our listening session video above, or keep scrolling for more about Reason 11 by Reason Studios…

What is Reason?

Reason is music production software, that offers a collection of instruments and effects – which are presented as virtual emulations of analog sound modules. These synthesizers, samplers drum machines, sampled instruments, along with audio and MIDI effects stack up in your virtual studio rack as you add them to your project. They can also be routed to and through one another before their output is sent to an Solid State Logic styled Mixer that is as complete as DAW mixers come.

Reason’s SSL 9000k analog modeled mixer

Reason can also be expanded with more devices through Rack Extensions, where you can find tons of unique gadgets and popular VSTs in RE format alike in the Reason Shop

It seems the guys formally known as “Propellerheads” shook off the slumber and got a new attitude along with a new brand and look. Check out the new logo to go along with the name change from Propellerhead to Reason Studios:

What’s New in Reason 11?

The Reason Rack plug in is clearly the highlight of the Reason 11 update , which makes it possible to use any of Reasons’ devices in your preferred DAW of choice. Yes, ALL of Reason’s 17 instruments and 29 effects are available within Cubase, Studio One, Bitwig, FL Studio or even Pro Tools…”if your Nasty.”

The Reason Rack inside of Bitwig Studio

There’s also five new effects that comes with the standard version of Reason 11: The Quartet Chorus Ensemble, Channel EQ, Channel Dynamics, Master Bus Compressor and the Sweeper Modulation Effect.

While there weren’t any new instruments added in Standard version 11, there are already 17 to date. Greats like Thor and Kong are on deck,as well as the newer devices like the Europa synthesizer and Complex-1 (Reason Suite only)


Reason 11 costs $399 for new users, and $599 for Reason Suite – which comes with a slew of extra goodies, instruments, effects, rack extensions and Refills. And while the Digital Audio Workstation space has been crowded for quite a while – in a clever Zen Buddhist type maneuver, someone in the idea room at Reason Studios decided to open up the Reason ecosystem to be used with all competing products. And that’s how you control the narrative, ladies and gentlemen.

Cheers to the team formally known as Propellerhead , way to play the long game. I say that because what seemed like a program that was becoming a bit dusty in the crate and headed to a vintage niche like the analog equipment that it emulates, has actually evolved into a major factor. In one fell swoop, making all of Reason VST compatible makes what seemed like years of dull uninspired updates – now look like a 15 year/11 move Chessmaster strategy.

Reason Rack running in Bitwig Studio as a VST plug-in

Regardless if you’d rather use Ableton Live, but you wish you could easily incorporate the Thor synthesizer or Korg Drum Designer into your Live compositions; Or you desire to use Reason’s MClass suite to mix and master a client’s stems that you imported into Reaper – say no more. This opens up TONS of possibilities in studios around the world that make use of the latest version of Reason, and puts it in a new category of all in one plug in suite that I would say is a worthy alternative to Native Instruments’ Komplete. And dare I even say the Waves Plug-In Bundles on the effect side. Especially when you consider the many tools included with Reason Suite 11 and expandability that Rack Extensions bring to the table.

The flexibility, depth, and versatility that blossoms from Reason in version 11 makes for what could be it’s biggest update ever and elevates the software from an acquired taste to must-have for any music production studio.

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