Propellerhead Software

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"Propellerhead" redirects here. For the music group, see Propellerheads.
Propellerhead Software
Type Private[1]
Industry Technology
Founded 1994
Headquarters Stockholm
Area served Digital audio production
Products Reason, ReCycle, Record, ReBirth RB-338, Figure
Website www.propellerheads.se

Propellerhead Software is a music software company, based in Stockholm, Sweden, and founded in 1994.[1] They are most notable for the studio emulation Reason.

History[edit]

Propellerhead Software was founded in 1994 by Ernst Nathorst-Böös, Marcus Zetterquist and Peter Jubel, who still hold prominent positions within the company.[1] Their first release was ReCycle, a sample loop editor that could change the tempo of a loop without affecting the pitch. The export medium was Propellerhead's own REX format. ReCycle was launched in conjunction with Steinberg, who marketed it as a companion to Cubase, as it brought a simple way of gaining control over tempo and timing of audio loops.[2]

In 1997, Propellerhead released ReBirth RB-338, a step based, programmable sequencer which emulated classic Roland instruments commonly associated with techno: TB-303 Bass Line Synthesizer and the TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines. It was hailed as an affordable alternative to buying old, unreliable hardware devices. Roland Corporation requested that an acknowledgment be added to the ReBirth packaging and splash screen; the unofficial endorsement became a marketing boost for Propellerhead, and they have retained a close relationship with Roland ever since.[3]

ReWire was developed jointly between Propellerhead and Steinberg for use with their Cubase sequencer. Released in 1998, it provided a virtual audio and synchronization connection between Cubase and ReBirth. In January 1999 the protocol was opened for general use by third parties without any license fee,[4] to allow communication between different sequencers.

Propellerhead soon focused their attention on their new product, the award winning[5] Reason, released in 2000. Reason was an entire studio emulation complete with virtual cables and representations of a subtractive synthesizer, sampler and drum machine, alongside a REX file loop player, a pattern step sequencer and a multitude of effects units. Making Reason's appeal even greater was the ability to create as many of each device as a computer could handle and a simple sequencer for notes and device automation. Additionally, Reason could run on average spec computers and was extremely competitively priced.

In May 2009, Propellerhead announced a new product, Record.[6] Designed for recording, arrangement and mixing, Record is made along the lines of Reason and continues the tradition of emulating hardware and the rack.

Record emulates a recording studio, with a mixing desk, a rack of virtual instruments and effects, and an audio sequencer (similar to traditional MIDI sequencing.) It is also made to work alongside Reason; if Record is installed on a computer with Reason on it, the modules from Reason will be usable inside of Record.[7]

Released September 9, 2009, Record has been praised for its stability, seamless integration with Reason, and sound quality,[8] and has received a number of awards, including Future Music's Platinum Award,[9] Computer Music Editor's Choice and Performance awards,[10] and the MusicTech Excellence award.[11]

In April 2010, Propellerhead released their first app for mobile platforms; a remake of their ReBirth RB-338 software for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Developed together with Retronyms,[12] it's a 100% port of the original with added functionality for sharing song files with other iPhone users, zooming and panning.[13]

In July 2011, Propellerhead announced plans for Reason version 6 which includes all the features of Record 1.5. This allowed Propellerhead to discontinue Record and create two different versions of Reason.[14]

In March 2012, Propellerhead announced Rack Extensions and the Rack Extension store, a software architecture that will allow 3rd party developers to use their own instruments and effect devices inside of Reason. This technology was announced to appear alongside Reason 6.5 as a free update. Rack Extensions will be sold in an app store similar in a fashion in which Apple Inc. sells applications for the popular iOS platform. Hosted by Propellerhead Software, developers are free to use their own DSP and existing code to develop instruments and effects for use in Reason. When purchased, the Rack Extensions appear in Reason as a native Reason instrument or effect module and are privy to all of the features that Reason offers in its native instruments and effect devices.[15]

Name[edit]

The name propellerhead comes from the pejorative term used to deprecate science fiction fans and other technophiles, who are stereotypically drawn wearing propeller beanies. The company is not related to the British big beat musical ensemble Propellerheads.

Use of the Internet[edit]

From early on, Propellerhead used the Internet as both a marketing tool and as a method of ensuring they could communicate with their user base. An alpha version of ReBirth was made available for free download on the Propellerhead website in December 1996, and the company even searched the internet for active users of the TB-303 and sent them invitation emails to try the new software.[16]

The user forum has always been at the forefront of the Propellerhead community, with many employees checking them every day.[17] Allowing users to make requests and suggestions directly to the developers led to the first downloadable ReBirth update in 1997, and still today registered users of Propellerhead software can download updates and much additional content online. In November 2013, the forums were shut down indefinitely due to security concerns with the forum software. On December 17th they were resurrected with 4 new forum categories: Beginner, Advanced User, Rack Extensions and Post Your Music. [18]

Current products[edit]

  • ReBirth RB-338 (discontinued)
  • Reason
  • Reason Essentials - an entry level version of Reason also bundled with Balance Audio Interface.
  • Record (incorporated into Reason as of version 6)
  • ReCycle
  • Reason Adapted - a cut down version of Reason distributed as part of various software bundles
  • Figure - an iOS app that utilizes some technology from Reason's Thor synthesizer and Kong drum machine. It allows users to compose short loops by drawing figures on a touch screen device.
  • Rebirth for iOS - an iOS app that brings almost all of the functionality of the desktop version of now discontinued ReBirth RB-338.[19]
  • Balance Audio Interface - an external soundcard audio interface developed for integration and use with Reason (although it can be used with any digital audio workstation that utilizes ASIO drivers).[20]

Rack Extensions[edit]

  • Audiomatic Retro Transformer [21]
  • Parsec Spectral Synthesizer [22]
  • Polar - Dual Pitch Shifter [23]
  • Pulsar - Dual LFO [24]
  • PX7 FM Synthesizer [25]
  • Radical Keys [26]
  • Radical Piano [27]
  • Rotor [28]

Technologies[edit]

  • ReWire
  • REX2
  • Remote - a communication protocol for use between control surfaces and software applications, first incorporated into Reason 3.
  • Rack Extensions - a software platform that allows the use of instruments and effects developed by 3rd party companies for use inside of Reason.

Reason ReFills[edit]

ReFills compress sounds, settings and instrument configurations into single files, and are the only way of mass importing additional sounds into Reason.

  • Reason Pianos
  • Reason Drum Kits
  • Reason Electric Bass ReFill
  • RDK Vintage Mono ReFill
  • ElectroMechanical 2.0 ReFill
  • Strings ReFill
  • Abbey Road Keyboards - discontinued, developed with Abbey Road Studios[29]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Propellerhead Software. 2007. Quick Company Facts. Propellerhead Software - A Company on a Mission. Available online: [1] accessed 23 August 2007.
  2. ^ Propellerhead Software. 2007. Interview Man of Reason. Available online: [2] accessed 21 January 2010.
  3. ^ ReBirth Museum. 2005. The Roland Seal of Approval. The Debut. Available online: [3] accessed 23 August 2007.
  4. ^ Walker, M. November 1999. ReWired for Sound. Sound on Sound. Volume 15, Issue 1. Available online: [4] accessed 23 August 2007.
  5. ^ Musikmesse International Press Award. 2002. Software-Instruments. MIPA 2002 - Winner. Available online: [5]. Accessed 23 August 2007.
  6. ^ http://www.soundonsound.com/news?NewsID=11529
  7. ^ http://www.musicradar.com/gear/all/computers-software/digital-audio-workstations-daws/record-215617/review/4
  8. ^ http://www.musicradar.com/gear/all/computers-software/digital-audio-workstations-daws/record-215617/review
  9. ^ http://record-you-uk.blogspot.com/2009/08/record-reviewed-in-future-music.html
  10. ^ http://record-you-uk.blogspot.com/2009/08/computer-music-front-cover-and-editor.html
  11. ^ http://record-you-uk.blogspot.com/2009/08/musictech-magazine-give-propellerhead.html
  12. ^ http://news.cnet.com/8301-13526_3-20004046-27.html?tag=hotTopicsBody.1
  13. ^ http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/05/01/rebirth-reborn-as-synths-in-your-hand-qa-with-ernst-nathorst-boos/#more-10827
  14. ^ http://www.propellerheads.se/products/reason/
  15. ^ http://www.propellerheads.se/news/rackextensions/
  16. ^ ReBirth Museum. 2005. ReBirth for the Masses. The Birth of ReBirth. Available online:[6] accessed 23 August 2007.
  17. ^ Johnson, D. October 2005. Beta-testing Reason. Sound on Sound. Volume 20, Issue 12. Available online: [7] accessed 23 August 2007.
  18. ^ http://www.propellerheads.se/forum-info/
  19. ^ http://rebirthapp.com/
  20. ^ http://www.propellerheads.se/products/balance/
  21. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/audiomatic/
  22. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/parsec/
  23. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/polar/
  24. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/pulsar/
  25. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/px7-fm-synthesizer/
  26. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/radical-keys/
  27. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/radical-piano/
  28. ^ http://shop.propellerheads.se/product/rotor/
  29. ^ Abbey Road Studios. June 2007. Abbey Road and Propellerhead Software announce "Abbey Road Keyboards" for Reason. Abbey Road News. Available online: [8] accessed 23 August 2007.