Reason Studios

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(Redirected from Propellerhead Software)

Reason Studios
Company typePrivate[1]
Area served
Digital audio production
ProductsReason, ReCycle, Record, ReBirth RB-338, Figure
Logotype (1994—2019)

Reason Studios (formerly known as Propellerhead Software) is a music software company, based in Stockholm, Sweden. Founded in 1994,[1] it develops the studio emulation digital audio workstation Reason.


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: two TB-303 Bass Line synthesizers and a TR-808. A TR-909 drum machine was added in version 2.0. 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] digital audio workstation; Reason. It first released in 2000.

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 9 September 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]

In April 2017, Propellerhead announced plans to support VST plugins in Reason, starting from version 9.5 [16]

Reason 12 is available as a forever license for $499.[17] Alternatively, users can get Reason 12, with all the instruments, as a subscription service called "Reason+". The subscription service is $19.99 per month.[18][when?]

In November 2019, Reason studios announced their roadmap for 2020 which would include support for VST3 and native M1 support.[19] Various delays led to VST3 being introduced in December 2022.[20] Native M1/M2 support was added in version 12.6.

In May 2023, Reason Studios announced that they would discontinue support for Reason 1-11, including discontinuing support for the online only authorization. Owners of previous version of Reason, including owners of "Perpetual Licenses," may be locked out permanently with an OS update.[21]


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 electronic music duo Propellerheads.

On 26 August 2019, Propellerhead announced they would change their name to Reason Studios to have a name more closely tied to their core product: Reason.


From early on, Propellerhead used the Internet as both a marketing tool and as a method to 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.[22]

The user forum has always been at the forefront of the Propellerhead community, with many employees checking them every day.[23] 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 17 December, they were resurrected with 4 new forum categories: Beginner, Advanced User, Rack Extensions and Post Your Music.[24]

On 16 January 2014, Propellerhead Software announced that they will close down the 15-year-old Reason community forums, shifting online customer interaction to their general social media accounts instead.[24] The unofficial new forum, run by Reason users rather than by Propellerhead, is Reason Talk.[25] Though this is an independent forum, some Propellerhead employees have posted there and the forum hosted the official Reason beta test forum for Reason Version 9.



Developer(s)Reason Studios (formerly Propellerhead Software)
Stable release
12.5.1[26] / 13 February 2023; 12 months ago (2023-02-13)
Written inC++, Objective-C (Mac), Lua
Operating systemmacOS, Windows
TypeDigital audio workstation

Reason is a digital audio workstation developed for macOS and Windows. The first version was released in 2000.[27] When launched Reason could run on average spec computers and was competitively priced.[citation needed] Reason simulates a recording studio with virtual cables and representations of a subtractive synthesizer, sampler and drum machine. It also has a REX file loop player, a pattern step sequencer and a multitude of effects units. Reason has the ability to create as many instances of each device (limited by compute power) and a simple sequencer for notes and device automation.

Current products other[edit]

  • Reason Rack Plugin — Included with the Reason DAW (VST3/AU/AAX) works in all major DAWS.[28]
  • Reason+ — Reason Studios Subscription Service. Available since Jan 2021.[29]
  • 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.[30]
  • Reason Compact — an iOS app that combines some of the devices from Reason, most notably the Europa synthesizer
  • Take — an iOS app for recording song ideas
  • Thor — an iOS app version of the powerful synthesizer that was introduced in Reason 4

Rack extensions[edit]

  • Algorithm FM Synthesizer[31]
  • Beat Map Algorhythmic Drummer [32]
  • Complex-1 modular synthesizer [33]
  • Drum Sequencer [34]
  • Fingerpicking Nylon A-list Acoustic Guitarist [35]
  • Friktion Modeled Strings [36]
  • Layers [37]
  • Layers Wave Edition [38]
  • Parsec [39]
  • Polar [40]
  • PolyStep Sequencer [41]
  • Processed Pianos [42]
  • Quad Note Generator [43]
  • Radical Keys [44]
  • Reason Drum Kits [45]
  • Reason Electric Bass [46]
  • Rotor [47]
  • Scenic Hybrid Instrument [48]
  • Umpf Club Drums [49]
  • Umpf Retro Beats [50]
  • Audiomatic Retro Transformer [51] (included in Reason 9)
  • Pulsar - Dual LFO [52] (included in Reason 9 [53])
  • Radical Piano [54] (included in Reason since version 10 [55])
  • Synchronous [56] (included in Reason since version 10 [55])


  • 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.


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 Soul School
  • Reason Electric Bass ReFill
  • RDK Vintage Mono ReFill
  • ElectroMechanical 2.0 ReFill
  • Strings ReFill
  • Abbey Road Keyboards — discontinued, developed with Abbey Road Studios[57]


  • ReBirth RB-338 — now reworked as an iOS app
  • Record (incorporated into Reason as of version 6)
  • Reload — a utility to import Akai S1000 and S3000 sample CDs into NN-XT ReFills
  • Europa — a VST implementation of this synthesizer that was introduced in Reason 10. Discontinued with Reason 11 as Reason 11 can now be used as a plugin in other DAWs.
  • ReWire — discontinued since Reason 11 as it can now be used as a plugin in other DAWs
  • Balance — an audio interface with optimizations for use with Reason
  • A-List Series Rack Extensions — The A-List series of rack extensions were a set of samplebased rack extensions.
  • PX7 FM Synthesizer
  • A-List Acoustic Guitarist [58]
  • A-list Classic Drummer [59]
  • A-list Power Drummer [60]
  • A-list Studio Drummer [61]
  • Pop Chords A-list Electric Guitarist [62]
  • Power Chords A-list Electric Guitarist [63]
  • Reason Intro — an entry level version of Reason with fewer devices
  • Reason Suite — the full Reason package plus all rack extensions from Reason Studios. Available since version 11


  1. ^ a b c Reason Studios. 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: "Propellerhead Software". Archived from the original on 22 April 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2015. accessed 23 August 2007.
  4. ^ Walker, M. November 1999. ReWired for Sound. Sound on Sound. Volume 15, Issue 1. Available online: [3] accessed 23 August 2007.
  5. ^ Musikmesse International Press Award. 2002. Software-Instruments. MIPA 2002 - Winner. Available online: "Mipa 2002 - Winner". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007.. Accessed 23 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Latest News".
  7. ^ "Propellerhead Software Record | Page 4 | Tech Reviews |". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Propellerhead Software Record | Tech Reviews |". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  9. ^ "Record reviewed in Future Music (Platinum Award)".
  10. ^ "Computer Music front cover and Editor's Choice Award for Record".
  11. ^ "MusicTech Magazine give Propellerhead's Record 10 out of 10".
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ "Create Digital Music » ReBirth, Reborn, as Synths in your Hand: Q+A with Ernst Nathorst-Böös". Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Reason 11: Music Production Software | Reason Studios".
  15. ^ "Propellerhead unveils Rack Extension technology for... | Reason Studios".
  16. ^ "What's New in Reason 11 | Reason | Reason Studios".
  17. ^ "Reason 12".
  18. ^ "Reason Studios".
  19. ^ "Roadmap Update from our new Chief Product Officer".
  20. ^ "Reason 12.5 with VST3 support released".
  21. ^ "Upgrade At 60% Off And Say Bye To The Old Authorization System".
  22. ^ ReBirth Museum. 2005. ReBirth for the Masses. The Birth of ReBirth. Available online:"Propellerhead Software". Archived from the original on 15 August 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007. accessed 23 August 2007.
  23. ^ Johnson, D. October 2005. Beta-testing Reason. Sound on Sound. Volume 20, Issue 12. Available online: [5] accessed 23 August 2007.
  24. ^ a b "The forums are closed | Reason Studios".
  25. ^ "ReasonTalk". ReasonTalk.
  26. ^ "Reason 12.5.1 released!". Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  27. ^ "Learn about Reason Studios: makers of Reason and more | Reason Studios". Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  28. ^ "Reason Rack Plugin | VST/AU Plugin | Reason | Reason Studios". Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Reason+ Sound Like You". 27 January 2021.
  30. ^ "Music production with Reason Studios".
  31. ^ "Algorithm FM Synthesizer | Reason | Reason Studios".
  32. ^ "Beat Map Algorhythmic Drummer | Reason | Reason Studios".
  33. ^ "Complex-1 | Reason | Reason Studios".
  34. ^ "Drum Sequencer | Reason | Reason Studios".
  35. ^ "Fingerpicking Nylon A-List Acoustic Guitarist | Reason | Reason Studios".
  36. ^ "Friktion Modeled Strings | Reason | Reason Studios".
  37. ^ "Layers | Reason | Reason Studios".
  38. ^ "Layers Wave Edition | Reason | Reason Studios".
  39. ^ "Parsec 2 | Reason | Reason Studios".
  40. ^ "Polar | Reason | Reason Studios".
  41. ^ "PolyStep Sequencer | Reason | Reason Studios".
  42. ^ "Processed Pianos". Reason Studios Shop.
  43. ^ "Quad Note Generator | Reason | Reason Studios".
  44. ^ "Radical Keys | Reason | Reason Studios".
  45. ^ "Reason Drum Kits | Reason | Reason Studios".
  46. ^ "Reason Electric Bass | Reason | Reason Studios".
  47. ^ "Rotor | Reason | Reason Studios".
  48. ^ "Scenic | Reason | Reason Studios".
  49. ^ "Umpf Club Drums | Reason | Reason Studios".
  50. ^ "Umpf Retro Beats | Reason | Reason Studios".
  51. ^ "Audiomatic | Reason | Reason Studios".
  52. ^ "Pulsar | Reason | Reason Studios".
  53. ^ "Propellerhead Releases Reason 9 Music Production So... | Reason Studios".
  54. ^ "Radical Piano | Reason | Reason Studios".
  55. ^ a b "Propellerhead Releases Reason 10 Music Production S... | Reason Studios".
  56. ^ "Synchronous | Reason | Reason Studios".
  57. ^ Abbey Road Studios. June 2007. Abbey Road and Propellerhead Software announce "Abbey Road Keyboards" for Reason. Abbey Road News. Available online: [6] accessed 23 August 2007.
  58. ^ "A-List Acoustic Guitarist | Reason | Reason Studios".
  59. ^ "A-List Classic Drummer | Reason | Reason Studios".
  60. ^ "A-List Power Drummer | Reason | Reason Studios".
  61. ^ "A-List Studio Drummer | Reason | Reason Studios".
  62. ^ "A-List Electric Guitarist Pop Chords | Reason | Reason Studios".
  63. ^ "Power Chords A-List Electric Guitarist | Reason | Reason Studios".

External links[edit]