This Reason 11 review will help you figure out if Reason 11 is right for you. If you’re looking for a great DAW for hip hop and EDM, Reason is a lot of fun and may be just for you. However, if you like to make more complex styles of music, the Reason 11 workflow will bog you down.
In summary, I'd give Reason 11 an 8/10. You can buy it here (affiliate link).
Note: This Reason 11 review was updated on 12/17/20 to note the updates that have been made.
Updated Reason 11 Review video
About Reason 11
The Reason 11 update is the latest version of Propellerhead Software’s flagship DAW. Of course, Propellerhead has now changed its name to Reason Studios. Which makes sense, I guess, since that’s basically what they do.
Reason 11 was released on September 25, 2019. It added two totally new effects: the Quartet chorus and the Sweeper phaser as well as a half dozen minor workflow improvements. Update June 2020: Reason 11 added a new "player," which is an algorithmic tool for creating beats and patterns. It also repackaged a few pre-existing effects. Still, I’m making the Reason 11 upgrade from 10 (here’s my Reason 10 review for reference).
Which Version of Reason 11 to Buy?
There are 3 versions of Reason 11: Reason 11 Intro (review), Reason 11 standard, and Reason 11 Suite.
You can see the differences between each version of Reason in the tables below. This review is focused mainly on Reason 11 standard, but in my opinion, it's the worst value of the three. If you're considering getting Reason 11, you should either start with intro until Reason 12 is release, or jump all the way in and grab the suite.
Reason 11's New Features
The biggest new feature of Reason 11 is that it can now be used in other DAWs as a plugin (except Logic and ProTools, for the time being). Update June 2020 - Reason 11 now works as a plugin in every DAW.
Reason 11 has also added a host of minor - but hugely important - workflow improvements. For example, you can now have curves in your automation lanes and export files as .mp3s. If you want to learn more, check out the ultimate guide on how to use Reason 11.
Reason 11 also added two new effects, Quartet and Sweeper, and a new player, "Beat Map."
Quartet is a new chorus plugin for Reason 11 that includes four different chorusing modes. This plugin sounds really nice, and means you probably won't need to purchase a third party chorus plugin, unless you're really into the sound.
The four different modes allow you to go from subtle to extremely mangled sounds. And the controls are simple, straightforward, and make it easy to dial in your perfect sound.
The Sweeper is an incredible plugin that does phasing, flanging, and filtering. It sounds fat, lush and delicious, and includes incredibly complex options for advanced modulation. From simple LFOs to custom envelopes (and everything in between!), Sweeper lets you quickly dial in a powerful sound.
On top of that, the Sweeper can be used as a volume controller, and or triggering the CV inputs of other plugins.
Beat Map Review
Beat Map is an algorithmic drum machine capable of making some really cool, creative patterns. While it's an inspiring, creative tool, the interface really disappoints. Instead of having a straightforward way of selecting beats, though, you select locations on a "map." It makes it very difficult to know what your song will evolve into, or to dial in the perfect sound.
Original Reason 11 Review Video
Skip to your favorite part:
What’s new: 2:07
New User 5:26
Plugin User 7:58
Upgrading from Reason 9 – 11:56
Concluding Thoughts About Reason 11
The bottom line for my Reason 11 review – if you’ve got Reason 9 or below, it’s worth upgrading. If you’re using Reason 10, hold off. If you’re interested in getting started with Reason, there’s never been a better time! Even if you don’t love using Reason as a DAW, the ability to use it as a plugin in your favorite DAW makes it incredibly powerful!
But what do you think? Would you buy Reason 11? Which version? Why or why not? Do you think it's worth the upgrade cost? Leave a comment below!
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