Balance with Reason Essentials from Propellerhead Software pairs a 2-in, 2-out audio interface with a streamlined version of Reason 6. With both, you can directly record music from a microphone, guitar, or bass onto your computer and produce songs. Powered via a USB port, Balance directly connects to your computer and has a built-in Ignition key. The interface is plug-and-play, so you can plug in your microphone or instrument and then record. It features two XLR microphone inputs with phantom power, two 1/4" guitar or bass inputs with PADs, two 1/4" TRS balanced main outputs, and four 1/4" balanced line-in jacks. The built-in Clip Safe technology allows you to manage clipping when you record takes and any latency problems can be eliminated by directly monitoring your signal.
As part of Reason Essentials, you will receive these virtual devices: audio and MIDI sequencers, mixers, mastering modules, instruments, samplers, and effects. It also comes with a 1GB factory sound bank and relies upon Propellerhead's ReWire technology for integration with other music programs, like Sonar, Cubase, Pro Tools, and more. Although Reason Essentials is a more basic software package with less frills than Reason 6, it can still provide you with that which you need to record, add effects, arrange, mix, and master your music.
On the pre-production side, you can record audio to as many hard disk tracks as your computer can handle. You can change the tempo of your audio after it's recorded. For instance, you can record a guitar solo slowly and then speed it up on your computer to fit into the tempo of your song. With the Comp Editor function, you can record multiple takes and build one track from the best parts. The fast, flexible audio and MIDI sequencers easily let you lay out your music. The MIDI sequencer allows you to automate every button, fader, or knob and fine tune your sound, to boot.
For playing music, you have the option of utilizing the Subtractor synth, the advanced NN-XT sampler, the Dr. Octo Rex loop player, the Redrum drum machine, and the ID8 Instrument device with its wide palette of sounds, including pianos, guitars, basses, strings, brass-wind, synths, drums, and brass. If you want to write ReBirth-style synth runs, the Matrix is a 32 step-per-pattern sequencer. For organizing all of these while you work, you can use the Combinator, which allows you to build chains of instruments, effects, pattern sequencers, and more. Plus, you can save these chains for use in other projects.
To add to the impressive list of features, the Spider Audio and Spider CV modules allow you to merge or split audio. That means you can merge audio from multiple tracks if you want to process them with the same effect. You can also split output from a track into four different outputs with different effect processors. In terms of effects, Reason Essentials lets you soak your sound with the Scream 4 distortion, RV7000 Advanced Reverb, Line 6 guitar and bass amps, delay, and flange/chorus.
On the production side, Reason Essentials gives you a virtual mixing console with flexible routing options, a built-in two-band EQ on every channel, advanced effects handling, full automation, and that radio-ready master bus compressor gives you a big studio sound. In addition, you can use the ReGroove Mixer to give your music a more human feel. To top off all of these offerings, Reason Essentials also offers the MClass Mastering Suite for adding polish to your songs.
Reason offers a huge array of modules for use with each track in your song. Ever-tweakable, each rack can be edited from its own front panel and multiple instances of all the modules can be opened. You are only limited by your computer's processing capacity. Choosing an item from the "Create" menu places the module in the rack, logically patched into the signal chain. A single key-press will turn Reason's rack around to reveal patch points for every port on every module, allowing you to make custom patch configurations.
The software can function either stand-alone, or as a ReWire application. Full Integration with other manufacturer's audio software via ReWire allows audio from Reason to be output to an external software workstation, for further processing and/or mixing with other audio tracks. When the overall project is ready to be saved, the whole studio setup is stored along with the music, including the associated sounds, samples, loops and drum kits.
- Clip Safe
- Clip Safe is a magical lifeline for distorted takes - a red-eye tool for recorded audio. Clip Safe records your take on two channels, one at a lower volume. If your recording clips, it lets you substitute it for the other one. Don't ask us how it works, it just does.
- Recording Meter/Tuner
- Just a button-tap away, Reason Essentials' Recording Meter lets you tune your guitar and set the levels from across the room.
- All the Inputs You'll Ever Need. And Then Some.
- On the back of Balance you'll find inputs for all your gear: two microphone preamps with phantom power, high impedance guitar and bass inputs with pads, and four line inputs.
- Hardware Input Source Selection
- With Balance your instruments are always connected and you are always ready to record. Use the buttons on the front panel to select the active inputs. We've put all the controls at your fingertips.
- Record Ready LEDs
- When a Reason Essentials audio channel is active and armed for recording, the Ready LEDs light up. Just hit record and play. The software will take care of the rest.
- Large Main Output and Headphone Level Controls
- On Balance the controls you reach for most often are the easiest to find.
- Output Muting and Direct Monitoring
- Hit the Mute button once to mute the main outs. Press and hold the button to activate direct monitoring of the input channels, for latency free recording or standalone use.
- Powerful Headphone Amplifier
- No headphones are too tough for Balance's powerful headphone amp, ensuring ear-shattering volumes with even the quietest of headphones.
- USB 2.0 Powered
- Plug and play - Balance is powered through the USB port. On the Mac, no drivers are required. On Windows, the drivers come pre-installed with Reason Essentials.
- Built-in Ignition Key
- Your license is stored on your interface. When you're at your friend's house, authorize the software through Internet Verification. Or bring Balance - it fits in your laptop bag.
- Create and Record
- Create record ready audio tracks in an instant. Simply plug in and you're ready to go. Reason Essentials gives you unlimited audio tracks and instrument channels.
To help you arrange your tracks in a smooth, effortless way, Reason Essentials comes with a fast and flexible audio and midi sequencer. Immediate and intuitive, Reason Essentials' sequencer puts you in control of your arrangements, letting you move and edit parts as you go along. The MIDI sequencer also handles all the automation. Every thinkable knob, button or fader can be automated with ease, and then edited and fine tuned in the sequencer.
In addition, the sequencer allows you record multiple takes and then select the best parts of each take to fashion a perfect track. The sequencer in Reason Essentials also allows you to change the song tempo after you've recorded audio. So, if you want to record a fast, tricky guitar solo but can't nail it in real time, you can slow down the song, record the solo, then bring the song back to the original tempo on your computer.
- The Mix
Reason Essentials' masterfully modeled mixing console gives you flexible routing, a built-in two-band EQ on every channel, advanced effects handling, full automation, and that radio-ready master bus compressor gives you a big studio sound.
In addition to the mixing console, the ReGroove Mixer is a real-time groove management device designed to give your music a more human and less programmed feel. You can apply different non-destructive groove settings to up to 32 musical elements in your song. Each of the groove channels feature controls for groove amount, slide, and shuffle plus more detailed settings. The Reason soundbank comes with a great selection of groove patches, many of them created from analyzed recordings of real musicians as well as classic groovy tracks.
- Mastering Suite
- The MClass Mastering Suite brings you four separate pro level mastering units designed to add power, presence, and an overall professional feel to your Reason mixes. Load up the MClass tools as a complete mastering suite in the Combinator for finalizing whole mixes, or use the units separately. You receive the MClass Equalizer, Stereo Imager, Compressor, and Maximizer.
- ID8 Instrument Device
The ID8 Instrument Device provides a wide palette of sounds useful for building a steady foundation for your tracks. Also, the ID8 device is used by default when you're loading a standard MIDI file into the Reason sequencer. For every MIDI track in the imported file, you will get an ID8 device loaded with a sound that resembles the original sound. This serves as a starting point for playing back the imported MIDI file. After, you can change the sound or replace the ID8 with another instrument device. The ID8 includes the below:
The Piano category features a grand piano, an upright piano, a dance oriented piano sound and vibes.
The Electric Piano category holds two classic electric piano sounds plus a digital FM type piano and a Clav.
The Organ category contains two classic tone-wheel organ sounds, one transistor organ sound and a pump organ.
The Guitar category sports an acoustic steel string guitar, a clean electric guitar, a half-acoustic jazz guitar and a dulcimer.
The Bass category features one fingered and one picked electric bass, an acoustic upright bass and a synth bass.
The Strings category holds orchestral strings, arco strings, a small string section and a choir sound.
The Brass-Wind category features Fat Brass, Brass Section, French Horns and Flute.
The Synth category contains two classic monophonic synth lead sounds and two characteristic polyphonic pad sounds, one with fast attack and one with slow.
The Drums category sports four extensive combinations of drums and percussion instruments aimed at different musical styles. Each "drum kit" contains between 53 and 65 different instruments, so there is plenty to choose from!
- Subtractor Polyphonic Synthesizer
- The Subtractor Polyphonic Synthesizer is an analog type polyphonic synthesizer based on subtractive synthesis, the method used in classic, analog synthesizers. Its two oscillators can produce well known basic waveforms like square, sawtooth, triangle and sine plus an additional waveforms based on samples. It also features phase offset modulation.
- Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player
- Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player loads eight Rex loops into one player and lets you switch between them on the fly. This makes arranging a breeze - load the drum loops into one player, the guitars into another and use the sequencer to select what loop to play in a pattern-like fashion. The Rex player also comes with an expanded set of per-slice settings. Set pan, pitch, filter frequency and level, reverse slices, use multiple outputs, create alternating groups of slices and much more.
- Redrum is a drum machine with a built in pattern sequencer. It has ten channels that can play samples loaded by the user or from a preset drum kit. In addition to the pattern sequencer, Redrum can also be played from Reason's main sequencer or via MIDI. By combining the pattern sequencer and the main sequencer you can easily create fills and variations to the patterns without having to create new patterns for every variation. It has two built-in effects sends with send controls for each channel.
- NN-XT Advanced Sampler
- The NN-XT Advanced Sampler is designed with an intuitive user-interface but with an excess of sophisticated features for sound design and life-like instrument emulation. You can edit one or more zones with parameters that you set. You can cross-fade velocities and layer zones with overlapping key ranges. The sampler can automatically detect pitch and you can configure it to emulate real instruments. You can load and map sampler patches from SoundFont 2 and you can control this sampler like an analogue synth via its CV and Gate ins and outs on the back of it.
- The Combinator is a sophisticated device that allows you to build elaborate chains of Reason units - instruments, effects, pattern sequencers, you name it - and save as Combi patches. When a Combi patch is opened, all units in the created setup are instantly loaded, complete with sounds, settings and routings. With its ability to load up complex instruments routed through effect units and dynamic processors in one go, the Combinator is an extremely playable, extremely performance-friendly device, perfect for both stage and studio use.
The Matrix is an analog style sequencer with a maximum of 32 steps per pattern and is really the part of Reason to use for ReBirth style sequences. Just like ReDrum, Matrix has 32 patterns and each can be freely sized regardless of what time signature has been chosen in the sequencer. So for instance a simple 5 step pattern played back as 16th notes in a 4/4 song would only repeat itself at the original starting position every 5th bar. (No, we didn't use a calculator to work this out, keep reading and the answer will come later).
With Matrix, the resolution selector allows playback of the pattern in a range between 1/2 notes to 1/128th notes. The playback resolution is of course completely independent of the sequencer, which means you can try out different resolution ideas while the sequencer is playing.
- Spider Audio and Spider CV
With Spider Audio and Spider CV, you can either merge or split audio. The Spider Audio allows you to merge multiple audio signals and process them with the same insert effect, as in sending three of Redrum's toms to the same compressor. You can also split an instrument's output into four, and send them to four different effect processors.
The Spider CV can split and merge audio on CV and gate signals. For instance, you can split the CV signals from the Matrix Pattern Sequencer to trigger several synths with the same pattern. You can merge the outputs of several LFO's to create some very complex modulation patterns.
The Reason Essentials rack can be stacked with an infinite number of reverbs, distortion units, delays, dynamic processors, mastering EQs - everything you need to shape and color your sounds. Click and drag effects straight to the rack or load any of the expertly crafted patches. It includes the Line 6 Guitar Amp, Line 6 Bass Amp, Chorus/Flanger, Delay, the Scream 4, and the RV7000 Reverb effect racks.
The Line 6 Guitar Amp and Bass Amp are amplifier and speaker cabinet simulators based on the renowned modeling algorithms developed by Line 6. The two devices feature accurate simulations of five of the most coveted vintage amplifier and cabinet models, that you can freely mix and match.
The Scream 4 is an effect rack with ten different types of distortion: Overdrive, Distortion, Fuzz, Tube, Tape, Feedback, Modulate, Warp, Digital, and Scream. It also includes P1 and P2 knobs that let you tweak parameters, the former controls bit resolution and the latter controls the sample rate. In the "Fuzz" setting, P1 alters the Tone and P2 controls the level of Presence. Plus, this effect has a +/- 18 dB Equalizer and a type of speaker simulator for tweaking or beefing up your distortion.
The RV7000 Advanced Reverb is an advanced and flexible reverb effect that lets you dial in your desired reverb sound in seconds, and saving it as your own preset. The reverb engine consists of nine carefully crafted reverb algorithms, with seven individual parameters each: Small Space, Room, Hall, Arena, Plate, Spring, Echo, Multitap and Reverse, each with up to seven individual parameters. This effect also has a built-in EQ and Gate knobs for further tweaking your reverb.
- Reason Essentials with Other Music Programs via ReWire
- If you want to use Reason with other software products, ReWire is there to help you. ReWire is there to help you. ReWire works like an invisible cable that handles audio, MIDI, and sync between music applications. Reason can become a rack of instruments and play alongside another program, or sequenced entirely from the host application. ReWire has grown into an industry standard and is used in applications like ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Live, Sonar, and many more.