Reason Essentials from Propellerhead Software is a streamlined version of Reason 6 that gives you the fundamental set of tools needed for making music with your computer. This software offers you 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, it can still provide you with that 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 a 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.