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Best DAW for Beginners Under $100

These days, everyone from novices to Billie Eilish writes and records music inside a Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW. There are a ton of DAW choices out there, but they aren't created equal. And most of them aren't very beginner-friendly!

In this article, I'll show you why Reason 11 Intro is the best DAW for beginners under $100. I'll then show you how to turbo charge your new DAW with a bunch of hand-selected free plugins and free loops. 

By the time you're done with this article, you'll be on the road to a pro-grade studio, on a budget. And one that's actually accessible to beginners!

Note: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I would receive a commission - at no cost to you - for any products you purchase.

What Makes a DAW Good for Beginners?

A beginner DAW isn't necessarily the same as the best DAW for the pros. First, beginners and pros and have different needs. Second, they have different levels of experience.

You wouldn't want to let a...

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Logic Live Loops and Reason 11 - What You Need to Know to Use the Reason Rack in Logic 10.5

Logic Pro X 10.5 added a ton of incredible new features to Logic, including Live Loops, a non linear sequencing tool. And Reason 11 (affiliate link) added the ability to use Reason as a plugin inside of other DAWs. Using Reason in Logic is pretty straightforward, although there are a few quirks that address in this blog - especially regarding how to record midi data from players.

But Logic's Live Loops add a few new wrinkles and twists to using the Reason plugin. The video below will walk you through the main ways of triggering Reason with Logic's Live Loops.

Using Dr. OctoRex with Logic Live Loops

First, you can directly drag Dr. OctoRex loop patterns into live loops and trigger the patterns directly through Logic Live Loops. To copy the Rex pattern data to the Live Loops, simply drag the music note into your desired Live Loop cell.

Then be sure to turn off "Enable Loop Playback" on the Doctor OctoRex, otherwise it will keep playing the loop,...

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How to Record Reason Plugin Player Midi Output in Logic Pro X

Reason 11 and Logic Pro X are a match made in heaven. They offer a very complimentary sound set and tools that really work well together. While getting them to work together is pretty straightforward,  I did encounter one confusing problem: recording midi data from Reason Players.

Thankfully I found an easy solution for you.

Reason Players are powerful midi sequencing tools that let you do thinks like easily create chords and arpeggios. Unfortunately, there's not a native way to record the data into Logic. First, you'll need to download the free plugin MidiFX Freeze.

Then create an instance of the Reason Player in Logic's Midi FX area, followed by an instance of MidiFX Freeze. After you've created your part, you need to open MidiFX Freeze. Then follow these steps:

  1. Hit the record button in the middle of MidiFX Freeze and play your song. When done hit stop and the recording will stop.
  2. You'll now see that a new icon that says Midi and has some musical notes
  3. Drag...
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What You Need to Know to Make Great Music in Reason

Are you confused by trying to learn how to make music in Reason? Do you want to speed up your workflow, or learn some advanced tips for using this powerful DAW? This page gives a high level overview of how to use Reason, as well as links to more in-depth resources.

Over the past five years I've taught nearly a million people how to use Reason through my YouTube videos. This page collects some of my best tips, tricks and tutorials all in one easy to find place.

I've been using Reason for about fifteen years, since Propellerhead's Software released Reason 2.5. In that time, songs I've recorded in Reason have been on TV, Netflix, and even an award-wining indie film. So step right up and prepare to learn all about Reason!

Note: some of the links in this article may be affiliate links.

Reason DAW Review

Reason 11.2.1 is the most recent version of the Reason DAW. Reason 11 added two new effects, Quartet (a chorus) and Sweeper (an advanced filter). Reason 11 also added the ability to...

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How to Master a Song in Reason

Reason is a full fledged DAW, loaded with effects and tools. Not only can you record and mix in Reason, you can also master your songs. If you want to be sure to create loud, punch mixes every time, download this mastering cheat sheet, then keep reading for instructions on how to master your song in Reason.

Note: this post may include affiliate links.

What Is Mastering?

At its simplest, music mastering is the final step of getting a song ready to be heard by the public. It involves everything from converting the song to a .Wav or .Mp3 to trimming extra silence. It even includes making sure that the file name is correct!

But when most people think of mastering, the first thing that comes to mind is polishing a song and making it loud. And that's what you'll learn here. 

Before you start mastering, it's a good idea to make sure you're happy with your mix. As the old saying goes, it's better to make your mix sound good than to try to fix it in the master.

So go ahead and...

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Best Reason 11 Mixing Template

Mixing with a template lets you save a ton of time and get better sounding mixes. After years of using other versions of Reason, I've put together the best Reason 11 mixing template for you, for free.

You can download your free Reason 11 template here.

What's Included in the Free Reason 11 Template?

This Reason 11 template is full of features, from parallel processing to color coding. It also features the best way to use send effects in Reason. I've loaded it with my go to send effect presets.

On top of that, there's even a section for organizing your song by verse, chorus, etc!

If you want to learn how to use the template and all its powerful features, please watch this video.

Please note that this template only works with Reason 11. If you're looking for a free template that works with Reason 10, check this one out.

The Importance of Busses in Mixing Template 

This free Reason Mixing Template relies on busses to make the most out of your mixes. Not only does bussing...

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How to Setup Kontakt Multi-Output In Reason

Kontakt is an incredibly powerful tool for creating lifelike music, and to fully unleash it's power, you need to start using it in multi-output mode. Because once you learn how to setup Kontakt multi-output in Reason, you'll be able to save a lot of CPU resources and improve performance by needing fewer instances of Kontakt.

Just follow the simple steps laid out in this video, and you'll be layering multiple instruments in Kontakt like a pro. And layering is one of the keys to creating lush, rich mixes.

To Enable Multiple Kontakt Outputs, You Need to Create Multiple Mix Channels in Reason

To create multiple mix channels, simply right click on any blank space on the Reason Rack and select "create new mix channel." For every layer that you want to separately, you'll need a new mix channel.

For example, if you're setting up a three piece orchestra, you could label the channels "Violin," "Cello," and "Bass." Then you'll want to hit the tab key in the rack view. On the Kontakt rack...

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10 Best Free Reason Rack Extensions

Today I want to show you the 10 best free reason rack extensions. Now I’ve done a video like this previously, but the free rock extensions are changing all the time.

They’re available at the Propellerhead shop. Just log in and if you’re running reason you should be able to download these and get them into your rack and start doing a lot of fun stuff.

If you’re also looking for the best free VSTs, I made a post about that earlier.

Before we go any farther, I’d just like to invite to let me know if you know of a great free rack extension. If so, please leave a comment down below. There’s probably 20 to 30 free rack extensions available, so I’ve tried to do a bit of editorializing about the ones that I’ve enjoyed a lot. 

They’re not listed in any order. Without further ado, the best free Reason Rack Extensions.

KiloHartz Chorus

The first one I have here is the chorus by KiloHartz. This is just a really nice really...

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How to Use Reason's Drum Sequencer

Today we’ve got an overview of Reason’s new drum sequencer player. 

This here is just going to be an overview of Reason Drum Sequencer features and I’m also going to make a video on some of its more advanced abilities.

Basics of the Reason Drum Sequencer

As an overview of the Reason drum sequencer, let’s talk about a few things. So it’s a drum player. Players are a unique type of Reason device that needs to be inserted/attached directly to an instrument. If you want to learn about all of Reason's devices, check out this free Reason cheat sheet.

So the Drum Sequencer has eight channels which are mapped to the notes. Which is crucial, because this will allow you to use it with any device in Reason or you can use this with any type of device. You can alter which note each step of the sequencer triggers.

For example, you could use it with Battery by Native Instruments which is a third party VST. Basically, you can use it with any...

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Complete Guide on How to Chop Samples in Reason DAW

Anyone can learn how to chop samples in the Reason DAW. There are at least four different ways to chop samples in Reason, and each of them has their own pros and cons.

Note – this post may contain affiliate links, which means that I receive a commission if you purchase through them, nonetheless, this did not affect which products I recommend. 

Update (2/2/18): These days I’m pretty much exclusively using Serrato Sample (affiliate link) to chop samples. It is like the future of sampling. It makes chopping so fast and easy! Much better than any of the methods described below, but it costs $99. 

You can use the sequencer, Kong, Dr. OctoRex, NN19 or the NN-XT.  This article will tell you how to chop hip hop vocals in Reason and explore when you may want to use each of the devices.

And if you’re looking for a good source of vocal samples for Reason to chop, I’d recommend Loopmasters (affiliate link). I get most of...

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