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Old 06-05-2017, 09:49 AM
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DonaldM DonaldM is offline
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Default How to use Reason 9.5 with VST hosting with Pro Tools

As most of you have heard by now, Propellerhead Software has just released Reason 9.5 which now includes VST hosting for the first time ever in Reason. Many of us were excited when we first heard the news, only to be disappointed later when we learned that VST hosting would not work with Reason in slave mode, hosted in another DAW via Rewire, which is how most of us use Reason.

We discussed all this early on in this thread when the announcement was first made. Now that 9.5 is released, I've had some time to play with it and I am happy to report (as you will see in the referenced thread) that there IS a way you can use 9.5 to take advantage of the VST hosting and Reason's unique architecture to create whole new instruments and sounds. You just can't do it with Reason in slave mode...at least not yet. We hope the P-heads will address that in a future upgrade. Until that happens, though, there is a viable workaround, which I'll describe below. It'll take a bit of work to set up. But once you've got all the pieces in place, it won't be any more trouble to use than having an external MIDI instrument or synth controlled by Pro Tools. You just have to take the time to get everything set up in Pro Tools and Reason...which is a one time thing.

Some might ask "is it worth the time and trouble to do in the first place"? Good question. My view is that with VST hosting, combined with Reason's very unique instrument and patch creation architecture, has made now made Reason one of the most powerful virtual instruments on the market, because in effect it is now ALL VI's! If you can imagine combining your favorite VIs in one set up with the Reason Combinator, to create a massive, multilayered patch that you can save and easily call up again and again to use, you get the idea. Its a sound designers dream and can open up all sorts of new sonic possibilities. You'll only be limited by your imagination and your system's CPU/RAM power.

To make it work, you need to solve 2 things: 1)getting Pro Tools to recognize audio output from Reason with Reason in standalone mode and 2)sending MIDI from PT to an instrument in Reason to play a part.

There's no "one size fits all solution" to this, but the basic elements required to make it work will be the same for all systems. You'll have to find what will work best with YOUR system, if you want to do this.

Audio

Audio can be addressed a couple of ways. If your interface has an audio loopback feature (my Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 does, for example), then you can use that to send audio to a PT audio track to record a part from Reason. If your interface doesn't have it, you can set up Virtual Audio Cables to do it. You'll have to Google that to see what VACs might work best with you particular set-up. But, once you've got them installed, you should be able to easily route the audio output from Reason to the VACs and have PT recognize the VACs as audio input. There's several VAC options out there. There may be others here that have experience with different ones on Macs or PC's and can provide advice on which will be most efficient to use.

The important point here is that you need to just figure out on your system what will get the audio from Reason standalone to Pro Tools with both open at the same time.

MIDI

The other thing to address is how to get MIDI output from PT to be recognized by Reason. For me the solution was virtual midi cables. Again there are many options available. I landed on these as the best option for me. It took all of 5 minutes to set up. I just had to name the VMC something, and then set that up in the PT MIDI Studio as a MIDI output, and do the same in the Preferences for Reason as a MIDI input. You may also be able to accomplish this with an external MIDI In/Out/Through if you have the proper hardware. Some interfaces might have the option as well. Again, it depends on your system. The important point is defining a viable MIDI send/receive for PT and Reason. Once set up, you will need to make sure that any track your working on in Reason can recognize the MIDI input from a Pro Tools MIDI track. If everything is set up properly, then all you need to do is expand the MIDI module in the Master rack in Reason, and then select where the MIDI input is coming from and what instrument in the Reason rack it needs to play.

SYNCING

You can also have the PT MIDI clock control the tempo in the Reason instrument, which is very useful for rhythmic and arp'd sounds. You just need to make sure the PT MIDI clock out is turned on for the MIDI set up you're using to send MIDI to Reason. In Reason, you need to check "Preferences" "Sync" and select external MIDI clock source. Also, (and don't overlook this one), you will need to select "MIDI" as the Sync source at the bottom of the Reason rack in the sequencer, just to the left of the transport controls. You can have internal or MIDI as options there. Internal just means that the Reason tempo is controlling the beat. MIDI means the external source is (PT in this case).

If set up correctly, you should be able to play a part in Reason with PT tracks playing, or have a MIDI track in PT play an instrument (or Instruments) in Reason, and it should all be in sync.

RECORDING AUDIO

Laying down Audio tracks gets a little more tricky because of MIDI delay. You need to deal with it the same way you would deal with MIDI delay with some external synth or module controlled by a PT MIDI track.

Also, if you're using the audio loopback from an interface, then you will probably only be able to record one track at a time from Reason, and it will have to be in real time, too. Loopback generally includes ALL audio outputs, including any other tracks that are playing at the time, even the click track! So, when you're ready to lay down a track, it will be best to mute all but the track you're recording, otherwise you'll likely be recording the audio from not only the Reason instrument, but any other tracks playing.

Once recorded, you might need to edit the audio for any timing delays from the MIDI delay.

So, that's pretty much it. Obviously, it would be way more efficient if Reason would allow VST hosting while in slave mode. But, if you think of this as similar to what you would do to have Pro Tools control and play an external hardware synth, then its a good workaround for now, if you want to have the power that this new feature in Reason will provide.

I hope this is helpful to some of you.
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:44 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: How to use Reason 9.5 with VST hosting with Pro Tools

Thank you Donald for breaking this out into a separate thread; the original has gotten into a bit of a mess.

For those on Macs one will have to get cozy with OSX's IAC business in OSX audio/MIDI setup for MIDI and Soundflower for audio.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: How to use Reason 9.5 with VST hosting with Pro Tools

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Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
Thank you Donald for breaking this out into a separate thread; the original has gotten into a bit of a mess.

For those on Macs one will have to get cozy with OSX's IAC business in OSX audio/MIDI setup for MIDI and Soundflower for audio.
Maybe you can offer some insights on that if you have time. Thanks
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Old 06-05-2017, 03:25 PM
musicman691 musicman691 is offline
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Default Re: How to use Reason 9.5 with VST hosting with Pro Tools

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Originally Posted by DonaldM View Post
Maybe you can offer some insights on that if you have time. Thanks
I'm learning my way around this at the moment; I want to make sure it's bullet-proof before I write up something. Back when I used to work in aerospace they would give me software to test because I had a knack of finding weaknesses if there were any. I also want to try audio loopback through the digital I/O on my 11 Rack and see how and if that works.
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Old 06-05-2017, 04:17 PM
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DonaldM DonaldM is offline
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Default Re: How to use Reason 9.5 with VST hosting with Pro Tools

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Originally Posted by musicman691 View Post
I'm learning my way around this at the moment; I want to make sure it's bullet-proof before I write up something. Back when I used to work in aerospace they would give me software to test because I had a knack of finding weaknesses if there were any. I also want to try audio loopback through the digital I/O on my 11 Rack and see how and if that works.
Just remember to mute all the other tracks, unless you can tell it which tracks to loopback. I can't on the Scarlett. Otherwise, you'll get ALL the audio from every track running!
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