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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sep 2019 > WELCOME TO REASON COMPACT IN REASON


Mobile music-making has, of course, been with us for many years. However, Propellerhead’s new Reason Compact looks set to bring some of the stunning drum, synth and bass sounds from this most popular DAW to the masses…

Proper mobile music-making has been a reality for a while now, especially on the iOS format. With a 12-plus-year history, the iPhone has had plenty of time to bed in, so iOS music-making has really exploded, with incredible apps – from full-fledged DAWs to incredible soft synths – produced by both the established players in music production and newer app developers. Some of those established players include Apple (with GarageBand), Steinberg (with Cubasis) and Korg (with Gadget and a many mobile synths). Now Propellerhead looks like taking further strides into mobile music-making with Reason Compact, the subject of this workshop.


We say ‘further’, because this is not the first app in the Propellerhead armoury. Reason’s mighty Thor synth is available as an app – and a very good one at that – while the company recently acquired Figure and Take, free apps that allow you to create beats and record and import audio. Reason Compact is not really like anything that’s gone before from Propllerhead, although it does share some characteristics with the company’s now sadly discontinued RB-338 synth and drum machine app. Like RB-338, Compact includes two synths and drums, but is very much its own entity and produces its sound with some very high-level synth and drum engines – almost a ‘best of’ suite of instruments from Reason itself. As a result, it could well be the best thing that you’ll hear from your iPhone this year!

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About MusicTech

It’s probably not all that contentious to say that everybody, at some stage in their music-making journey, needs a synth. Whether you’re working on deep, intricate soundscapes, creating pounding dance music or concocting chart-climbing pop hits, taking advantage of the myriad textures, pads and leads that the synthesiser provides is a no-brainer. This month, we celebrate this beloved instrument with a series of linked features, highlighting the history, science and ongoing development of the synth. We speak to Georgia, an artist who wowed Glastonbury with her retro synth-pop stylings; take a trip to Bristol to visit UDO and look at the making of the Super 6, a synthesiser that merges the very best of old and new technology; while Andy Jones delves into the synth’s pivotal role in shaping dance music. We also continue Adam Crute’s Sound Synthesis Masterclass series, this time exploring the science and mechanics of sampling and synthesis. Aside from our synth focus, we also have a fantastic interview with The Prodigy engineer and co-producer Neil Mclellan, who tells the inside story of the making of their classic record Music For The Jilted Generation. We also speak to MPG Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year 2019 Dani Bennett Spragg about her incredible career to date and her best-practice advice. Later, we experience the mind- (and ear-) blowing wall of sound that is James Murphy and Soulwax’s Despacio sound system. Our review section this month continues the synthy vibe that runs through this issue, as we get hands-on with Native’s latest iteration of Massive X, have some fun with Modal’s CRAFTsynth 2 and explore the scope of Softube’s Volume 3. I hope you enjoy the issue.