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Editorial: Propellerhead’s Rack Extensions Is No Friend Of Plugins

Posted By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 11:00 am In Editorial,Music Production | 58 Comments

[1]

I’ve been using Reason ever since version 1.0 to make video game remixes. Reason has always been plagued with problems that its community has suffered through, accepting its flaws as features. I have always been a huge supporter of Reason but it’s only until recently that I have grown to dislike Reason 6.5 due to certain features offered in the latest software. I’m talking about Rack Extensions, which is essentially Propellerhead’s version of Plugins for Reason. It’s such a gamble to allow plugins after releasing 6 versions of Reason that I feel it’s only fair in critiquing them on their flaws surrounding Rack Extensions. For me, these flaws are so bad, I’d rather not use Rack Extensions. I’d like to go though some of these flaws, and offer some solutions to the problems in Rack Extensions.

More after the Jump.

    Make Rack Extensions Easier to Buy

The video above is six minutes long, making it seem as though it’s very easy to download, try, and install Rack Extensions. However, the process can vary. It took about two hours to properly install the Reason 6.5 update, and another hour just trying to download and install Rack Extensions. Just a quick glance at the comments on the video points to people complaining about installing plugins after having spent a considerably large amount of money.

The fault is entirely on Propellerhead to fight piracy. You see, you need a dongle to use Reason, and you need to download these Rack Extensions and install it onto the dongle. If you are using a demo version to try Rack Extensions, then you have to login to your account using an internet connection regardless of if you have the dongle plugged in, no exceptions. Makes you wonder why you would even have a dongle if you get prompted to log in anyways. It’s a bit redundant. The dongle already has my information, and it knows what Rack Extensions are installed, there really is no real need to log in other than to accuse the user of piracy if they don’t.

Propellerhead is currently going after the pirates by going after the consumers. Because piracy is an issue, it shouldn’t be an excuse to give the user a detrimental experience. These software developers can learn something from the mistakes of video game software developers such as Ubisoft to Electronic Arts. There are more than enough examples suggesting that punishing the consumer for piracy is not the best course of action to take for any developer.

A solution to this could be to have the user log in once and have the codemeter software, which is always running in the background for the dongle, take note of this so you can open and close Reason software without logging in every time. Of course, this throws anyone under the bus who has a Reason DAW disconnected from the Internet. If Propellerhead continues to alienate the consumer like this, it doesn’t matter how long the consumer has supported them; they will either abandon Propellerhead software out of pure frustration, never update to get Rack Extensions, or never use the Rack Extensions, which is currently where I stand.

    Make Rack Extensions Cheaper to Buy

I understand this is not something Propellerhead themselves can control as the market will decide the prices. However, Propellerhead themselves can be pioneers, setting examples for other developers.

Propellerhead’s Rack Extensions could be a game changer if instead of charging $99 for one plugin, they’d charge $10. Purchasing plugins would be like buying candy. People would want more, and would want it often. It would be cheap, and to the consumer, worth-every-penny. The argument that somehow the plugins are worth $99 doesn’t work in our software driven society. People are not naïve. All you have to do is compare the workload of one software company to one developing Rack Extensions.

[2]

If I had a $100 and a choice between buying two different software; Propellerhead’s Radical Keys Plugin, or Halo 4, I would purchase Halo 4, and have money left over to purchase a cheaper Plugin. Halo 4 is a bigger project consisting of a couple of hundred contributors, from a couple of dozen artists, animators, FX artists, along with designers and a hefty amount of programmers, to hundreds of testers off and on through the life-cycle of the project, the asking price is $60. Something like Radical Keys can be (and often is) made with two to three programmers, maybe one artist designing the interface and a few engineers. The asking price of $99 for Radical Keys is steep compared to other software prices. Some might say that Halo 4 is more popular than Radical Keys, but that isn’t any justification for charging people so much over such a minuscule workload.

A solution to really making Rack Extensions accessible, and have them be a real game changer, is if the price for Instrument plugins like Radical Keys drops down to $10. 10 people purchasing Radical Keys for $10 would be more beneficial than one $99 purchase because of the increased number of exposure from those 10 users. Effect plugins could be cheaper ranging from $5 to $0.99. Introduce seasonal sales, with prices ridiculously low when people buy bundles, like a Steam Sale [3]. Consumers loves sales, they love bundles, they love paying less for more. That would be more of a game changer. This move would also be a huge blow to piracy. It would be too much of an effort to hack something so cheap.

People might argue that plugins don’t have a big market as opposed to games like Halo 4, but that feels more like an admission that the Rack Extensions weren’t anything special to start with. From an economic standpoint, people love things that are free, or are on sale. You will have people lining up in drones for a sale regardless of what’s being sold. You’re guaranteed a demand on selling cheap unless you’re selling shovelware. I can imagine a few plugin developers complaining about making the price of plugins cheaper, but I find that view egocentric. Reminds me of developers who mocked the price of software in the App store, only to see them become hypocrites a year or so later developing apps because it yielded a higher return. Making things cheap really does work.

    Make Rack Extensions Easy to Program for, and Open Source

Or charge the developer $99 for the Rack Extensions SDK like Apple does with theirs. Currently, Propellerhead requires that a developer be associated with a company that is registered as a technology partner with Propellerhead. So someone like average Joe can’t program and release Rack Extensions unless Joe was with a registered company. You also have to sign an NDA, and Propellerhead has to approve your registration, and then you can have the SDK. It also seems as though it is not easy to program Rack Extensions either, as Chris Randall of AnalogInsudtries.com [4] describes

“If a plug-in dev doesn’t have someone on staff that has a fairly extensive knowledge of 3D modeling software and how assets from that software are utilized, that plug-in dev is gonna be pretty much out of luck when it comes to Rack Extensions.”

A solution, which I might point out is everywhere from Google [5], to Microsoft [6], to Apple [7], to even Valve [8], would be to make it easier for the consumer to program Rack Extensions. User friendly is the key here. Perhaps getting rid of that NDA, and allowing people to post videos of how to program for Rack Extensions wouldn’t hurt. It would be like opening the floodgates of the gigantic Reason fan base to rescue Rack Extensions from corporate jumble. Buying a plugin would not be about which company developed it, but browsing what good quality plugins average Joe has developed. Some major developers are currently using Rack Extensions to create overpriced, copy-n-paste, deformed versions of their VST counterparts, which in turn hurts the image of Rack Extensions. (I’m looking at you iZotope’s Ozone [9]) Thank FMS you can try before you buy.

If Propellerhead was really willing to emulate the app store, perhaps it’s time to consider hiring a team of people who approve plugins at the Rack Extensions store, instead of approving developer applications before the plugin is even made. Perhaps it’s time to hire a team of people who can program with ease in mind for the developer so even the average Joe can pick up the tools to learn and create plugins. Since our culture is changing to where we are considering teaching elementary kids how to program, perhaps it’s time to not hide behind an NDA and “trade secrets”, but to teach your own community, and become a beacon for other software developers to follow.

[10]

I know I’ve rambled on about Rack Extensions and the potential they hold. Propellerhead has always been a strict and tight group of people who go against the tide of VST’s. However, consider that Reason has never been the sole DAW for the majority of musician who use them because it lacks so many fundamental elements DAWs need. Currently, you can purchase a more powerful tool than Reason called Reaper [11], priced at $60, 10 times cheaper than Reason, with VST support, video Support, and more. But I don’t like using Reaper, I like using Reason, therefore I feel absolute justification in criticizing Propellerhead for lacking those fundamental elements. I can’t help but feel that Propellerhead is now selling a brand name, even their iOS app [12] was nothing special compared to other music apps. Currently, with the quality of Rack Extensions, the installation, the price, and the development, Rack Extensions feel like a Band-Aid not even properly placed on the problem area.

Again, I’m critical because I like using Reason. Almost every one of my songs currently is 99% Reason, the rest is another DAW, mostly for mastering. I will continue to use Reason, sadly without ever indulging in Rack Extensions, unless they make those changes challenging today’s VSTs, or throw in the gloves and create a Rack Extensions VST. I wonder, is a Rack Extensions VST the reason Rack Extensions SDK isn’t available to the average Joe? I think Propellerhead is essentially building software around protecting their philosophical image, more so than being innovative with Rack Extensions. There is potential there, I see it, it’s clear as day. But I recommend that no one else use Rack Extensions because it’s just so much easier to ReWire to another DAW with VST support. VSTs can be used on a handful of other DAWs, and there are free VSTs all over the internet, so it’s a win-win without ever using Rack Extensions. Maybe in the coming years, this may become a more prominent, I really do hope so. You have to wonder if Propellerhead ever realized its musician don’t use Reason exclusively because, unlike other DAWs, musicians still don’t trust Propellerhead with their audio pipeline. And that’s saying a lot.

What do you guys think about Rack Extensions? I liked Polysix [13]but am hearing complaints that after purchasing, it’s difficult to activate if you tried the plugin already.


58 Comments (Open | Close)

58 Comments To "Editorial: Propellerhead’s Rack Extensions Is No Friend Of Plugins"

#1 Comment By Brad Dyck On December 5, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

Interesting article! I haven’t used Rack Extensions myself but from what you’ve explained it sounds as though something like Ableton’s Partner Instrument Packs is a better business model and more reasonably priced.

#2 Comment By KNS On December 5, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

1. The third party devs decide what price they will charge for their plugins. If you are serious about developing REs to make money its not that hard to register a company.

2. The installation and purchase of Rack Extensions has been painless for me and many others. Follow the instructions. Its not that hard.

3. Why is it you complain about RE prices but go on the mention VST which cost even more most of the time.

4. If you are going to talk about REs being hard to develop. Please show the point were many, many devs consider the SDK and the RE store one of the best solutions they have ever seen. Please be balanced with your critique. You are coming off very bitter and very ignorant.

5. I take it you do not buy any of the VSTs you use. After all you don’t seem to mind there high cost. Sure they can be added to other DAWS. Newsflash many reason users are not using other DAWS or care to. I am one of those users. Who are you exactly to tell people not to buy REs? You seem very ignorant to the concept and I get the feeling you have not done your homework thoroughly about the concept. Please stop telling lies.

6. Are you getting paid to bash REs? Yes that is a serious question because there is so much garbage and untruth in this critique its quite disgusting really.

7. Ah yes the dongle. The argument that customers are being punished because of a dongle needs to stop. The only people being punished are pirates. Funny I used Live in the past and every time I had to reinstall I had to contact Ableton a lot of times I felt like a thief but I understood this was their way of protecting there product. Alot of times this was on the weekends as well. Talk about inconvenience. If we should get rid of dongles. I suggest we get rid of serial keys and trial and answer methods. After all these are very inconvenient for the customer. Why do I need a serial key after I have purchased the software. Why I am being punish to enter a serial key? What happens if I lose my serial key? See the ridiculousness here.

I like the RE concept. I have had zero issues trying, buying and installing REs. I also like the fact that 10 years from now I will still be able to open a project and have my song play back with all plugins intact. Can you say the same for VST? Can you?

#3 Comment By Boogaloo On December 5, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

Just a few points:

- purchasing REs: In my experience getting a RE takes about three minutes from decision to buy to using it within Reason.

- RE pricing; Totally up to the developers, lots of REs available for bargain prices; just stay away from the expensive ones if you don’t spend the cash. No-one taking that road suddenly had to stop producing tracks with Reason afaik.

- open source REs: Thanks, but no thanks. The current scheme of things gives you REs approved to work with Reason without hassle; I’d prefer tha anytime over buying a RE from someone just to find out its main use is to crash my DAW…

#4 Comment By Ben On December 5, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

On price: maybe you haven’t peeked into the shop lately? Aside from the 3 or 4 free RE’s, there are 8 or 10 going for $10, and another 10 or 15 going for between $15 and $45.
As for ease of installation – I saw that there were a couple people that had problems, but most seem to have had no issues.
Open reason>help>propellerhead shop>download demo or buy>let the license write>restart reason. Depending on the size of the rack extension it can be anywhere between a 2 minute and 10 minute process.

#5 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

Hi, just to point out that editorial means that this is an opinion piece. There is no need to be angry. Lets go over what you wrote.

Understand that just because I criticized Rack Extensions, doesn’t mean I hate reason. I don’t like a lot of things President Obama did, but that doesn’t mean I hate him, I voted for him. This is not so black and white, you can dislike certain aspects.

1) The very first thing I said in that paragraph is that Propellerhead can’t control the market prices, that doesn’t mean they can’t control their own. I go on to make a point about how that would be beneficial to Propellerhead. Yes, I am serious about making Rack Extensions but I don’t have a registered company. Propellerhead asks for a lot more than just the name of the company, for instance, they ask for a financial person for the company, I don’t have such resources. I suppose I can try to put my name on the company name, the registration, and the financial person, but I may not get approved. Meaning average Joe cant just sign up.

2) Understand that you are one of millions who purchased Reason. Because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening. That would be like saying that if you’ve never met an astronaut, then they don’t exist.

3) I mentioned why VSTs could be beneficial, because they can be use in other DAW’s. You also said “most of the time”, isn’t that an admission that VST’s aren’t expensive all the time?

4) The person I quoted is a trusted source in the plugin community. If you’re saying he’s lying, you have to show how. Saying that other devs haven’t complained it not a legitimate claim.

5) I have bought my VST such as Waves, I’m a big fan of Ozone, and I love using CurveEQ but I shouldn’t need to say this. No one should have to reveal their purchase history to argue why there may be problems with the software. Please understand you are one of many reason users, because you don’t use other DAW’s that doesn’t mean others don’t. Some people like Renoise, some like Finale, and some, like myself, have to master using Sound Forge, or Cubase.

6) I am no getting paid to bash anyone. I take it as a compliment.

7) I never said anything about getting rid of dongles. Do you not feel it a bit redundant to ask to login even though the dongle already should have the information on RE trials and purchases?

Keep in mind that you may be able to open the reason file on your machine, but now you can’t send the file over to your friend or a collaborator unless they also have the plugin. It’s why I abandoned Cubase, and use it only if I need to open an old project. I stopped updating after Cubase Studio 5.

#6 Comment By tuut On December 5, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

I experience RackExtensions like a present, being able to extend the software I love in a way I can choose. Some might be pricy, though they are still lower priced than their VST counterparts.
The installation process is fairly easy here, works like presented in the video. There might be some individual minor issues some people might have due to their system or something. Compared to the problems I experienced with other softwares´ installation procedures in combination with crashing plug-ins, Re´s offer an easy stable way increasing the programs versatility far beyond the possibilities there were before 6.5. Regarding you polysix issue, it´s as easy as it is to install the trial.

In many cases there´s an exchange between RE-developers and users, all united in one Reason userforum. There are also Reason exclusive devices developed, contributing very well to Reason´s individual environment.

Rack Extensions is a young format and thatfore pretty much advanced regarding the integration/handling of a software´s plugins.

#7 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

I’m not sure what the problem is yet, but following the process on the video doesn’t work for me. I think I figured out that there is an extra step I have to preform before it shows up on my machine. I don’t know why, but I have to log-in, go to my products page, click on the Rack Extensions tab, and manage license, that’s not covered in the video, as I previously thought I was following instructions. Besides, it’s okay to complain, especially if you paid for a product that doesn’t work following the directions in the video. Read the complains in the video, I’m not alone.

Now I do mention that pricing is totally up to the developer. But I wouldn’t be surprised if people didn’t want to use Reason after knowing the price and paying a little extra for the VST.

I only wish you could see the benefits of open source. Having a discussion through a whole community is always beneficial than talking behind closed doors.

#8 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

I did, I go there often, but I did also mention that the price would be irrelevant if shovelware is being sold. It’s why I really like the whole star system they have going.

I think I figured out that there is an extra step I have to perform before it shows up on my machine. I don’t know why, but after going through the instructions, I then have to log-in, go to my products page, click on the Rack Extensions tab, and click manage license, then I have to restart, and login. Imagine someones frustrations after having spent the money on RE only to not have it work.

#9 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

I agree. I was also very excited. The idea of using new instruments really tickled me funny. I still wish some of the prices were a bit low. And I think it’s okay to complain about the price.

I don’t know about stability in 6.5, installing it was not a fun walk in the park for me, and it’s the first time I had such an experience with Reason. I hope that having updated my dongle, that installing Reason if I have to re-install it would be easier next time… I hope. I honestly felt like I was installing Cubase.

I also agree that this is a young format, it’s why I was compelled to write this piece. I only hope someone from Propellerhead reads this and goes “you know what, this guy is right, these problems shouldn’t be an issue.” I even went an extra step to offer solutions. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s day from Propellerhead, but really, there is no harm in legitimate criticism.

#10 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 5, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

I’ve been using Rack Extensions since their release. I was using Live and some VST’s before, but bought Reason 6.0 back in early June 2012 when I realized I would get 6.5 for free.

My experience has been nothing like what Haroon Piracha describes. I find pricing fair and competitive, I find the selection of RE’s massive, and any technical issues I had were at the very beginning when their authorization server was getting hammered (all fixed now).

Additionally, I have beta tested for several developers (all of which also do VST’s). In the spirit of honoring the NDA, I won’t go into which companies, but every dev that I have spoken to – in detail – has stated that developing Rack Extensions is extremely easy once you figure out the SDK. Limitations aside, they have also said that it is light years ahead of VST as far as being future-proof.

At first when I read this article, I thought Haroon Piracha was writing for The Onion. I realize now it’s an opinion piece.

It’s a bad opinion, IMHO.

#11 Comment By KNS On December 5, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

1. You are speculation about being qualified for the SDK. There are a few devs who seems like regular joes that are creating Rack Extension. If you have a registered company apply for the SDK. Do not speculate whether or not you will be accepted. Just register a business and apply.

2. I am very much aware that I am one of the million Reason users.

3. Correct the same way REs are not expensive most of the time. There are many of them available for under $10.

4. I never said Chris Randall was lying. I am familiar with his opinions on RE development. You need to be balanced are give examples of others praising the SDK. You ignored them simply to justify your argument against REs.

5. I am very much aware that other Reason users are using DAWs. You made it seems like all reason users use other DAWS. I simply made it clear that I was one of many who don’t.

6. Good for you.

7. Redundant no. Can it be made better certainly. It no more of an annoyance when trying out VSTs that quit after 20 minutes are play back noise etc during the trial period. I mean really you get to try the RE for 30 days un-crippled. Login in to try them should be the least of your worries.

Your friend can always download trials of the missing REs. Or you can simply record tracks that uses the RE. Its very easy to do in Reason. Perfect solution no, but it is a solution.

#12 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 5, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

Oh and, speaking of Chris Randall (from Audio Damage), my favorite quote from him is: “Look at it this way: Rack Extensions are highly-educated Swedes with a good job, a nice family, and nationalized health care. VSTs live in a trailer park in Alabama, watch NASCAR, and are married to their 1st cousin. While both are arguably human, in very real terms they simply can’t understand one another, and it isn’t likely they’d ever be friends.” – Chris Randall, Audio Damage

:D

#13 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

I’m afraid I can’t share the same enthusiasm as I don’t find about 65+ plugins a list massive compared to thousands upon thousands of VST’s commercial and free.

I would love to actually read that it’s easy to developer from the developer. I’ll put it up on this article if you can find me anything suggesting so. How are there limitations to RE’s yet they are light years ahead, Please elaborate.

#14 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 5, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

When VST was 6 months old, how many were available at that time? You’re expecting a choice of thousands at launch? Please explain.

I’m certain you would love to read that from a developer, but I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word for it. Needless to say, you yourself can look in the Rack Extension store and see many VST developers who are continuing to release RE’s. They’re not doing it for the hell of it or because it’s too difficult, that’s for sure. Additionally, there are a plethora of small name start-ups that are releasing RE’s regularly.

You hear there’s some challenges from one guy and that blankets the entire process as being “difficult”? Great journalism there, Haroon. Please reference my other quote from Chris Randall to see the same dev offer quite a different take on RE’s.

Of course there are limitations in the SDK, Haroon – it’s a brand new format that’s first generation. Do you realize how primitive the VST format was upon the first few months of its existence?

I’ll give you a little insider information on the history of VST: Propellerhead Software were there at its beginning and contributed to some of its critical features. They chose to develop a proprietary format for very good reasons, and were even assisted by a very well known and respected VST dev in creating the format.

Alas, NDA’s and professional courtesy keep me from revealing my sources, but I suppose that’s no worse that the ridiculous opinion piece you wrote that makes incorrect assumptions.

#15 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

2) If you are aware, that means your original argument is false.

3) I hope you are saying that with the realization that there is a huge market of freeware VST’s. I don’t understand why VST’s are getting such a bad rap, they aren’t bad. Propellerhead’s rewire was one of the best features of Reason, and there is nothing wrong with wanting a VST over RE.

4) Again, your original argument, which was about having many dev’s complain is still invalid. If you have found articles that talks about how easy it is, send me a link to it at haroon (at) originalsoundversion.com I promise I’ll post it up. I searched for if it was easy and I couldn’t find anything saying it’s easy. That’s why I quoted Chris Randall as it’s his statement you’re up in arms over, not mine. I’m sorry you feel I haven’t done my research, I was really trying to make sure I hadn’t said anything false. In fact, anything that was false, has been removed from this article, approved by Propellerhead. I’m writing a follow up as fast as I can.

7) I’m sorry you don’t feel it’s redundant to log in every time you want to use Reason. Seriously, what about people who don’t have their DAW’s disconnected from the internet? Having DAW’s disconnected form the internet is still a completely illegitimate issue. Yet they can’t try at all. I make this point in the article, but I have to repeat myself because I suppose redundancy isn’t an issue for you, which is quite an unfair assessment.

#16 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 5, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

“Look at it this way: Rack Extensions are highly-educated Swedes with a good job, a nice family, and nationalized health care. VSTs live in a trailer park in Alabama, watch NASCAR, and are married to their 1st cousin. While both are arguably human, in very real terms they simply can’t understand one another, and it isn’t likely they’d ever be friends.” – Chris Randall, Audio Damage

#17 Comment By Brian Findlay On December 5, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

You need to understand that the Propellerheads worked very hard to conceptualize this format, and the whole point was NOT to make a plugin format, with all its pitfalls.

Certainly there are grinds with RE’s, but compared to VST, I have to say they blow the standard right out of the water, even with an early and heavily limited SDK, which is holding back most of the major players such as NI.

The entire argument here seems to be reactionary to you having problems with the “logging in to use trials” part of the business plan. Well, this is stopping piracy, so why the long face. Using Halo as an analogy is just absurd really, when you consider the sheer size difference of their user bases. Outside of them being digital media there really is no comparison between them.

Apologies if I come off as harsh but this is just nonsense, and ignores everything positive that the Propellerheads have achieved by forcing the industry to start developing tools which have a higher standard.

My gripe with the SDK is that they need to maybe be a bit quicker in getting it updated for the likes of NI and Camel Audio so they don’t lose momentum. So long as they follow up as strongly as they have started though, then they cannot fail.

#18 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

I never said anything about expecting thousands of choice. I complained about three things, Ease of installation, Price, and making it easier to program for. In fact, my argument had nothing to do with the release of RE’s, or the limitations of the SDK.

To be honest, the one guy I quoted is all I could find, I can’t find anything saying otherwise.

I read your quote on Chris Randall, however it doesn’t really hurt my argument, and it’s more sad that RE and VST’s can’t get along.

#19 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 5, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

Im sure they worked very hard, I didn’t say otherwise, but that is irrelevant, problems exist, as a constant reason user, I’m pointing them out. Look I’m not a big vst user here, I use Reason exclusively, but if I had the option to buy Ozone RE and Ozone VST I would buy VST simply because so many DAW’s are compatible. Maybe that may change later on but it would be wrong to ignore these things now. I have three different arguments, three different claims, so the entire argument is not about logging in. I explain how logging in every time could be detrimental to the user, how there are other ways to stop piracy without being so accusative, how other digital companies have done that in the past and got backlashed. I figured someone might say that Halo is an absurd analogy, which is why if you read what I wrote, I say that’s an irrelevant argument to charge more. You were not harsh but I hope you understand rather than regard this as nonsense.

#20 Comment By Guy Spondentre On December 6, 2012 @ 12:13 am

The whole argument over how many daws you can use a vst in is ridiculous imho. Realistically no one actually really uses more than 2 daws extensively, maybe 3 at the most. When I can open up a Pro Tools session in Logic and have it load all the plugins I used then maybe that argument would make sense.

*Just a small correction Haroon, The RE is just the maximizer not the entire ozone suite.

I rather like that REs aren’t particularly “easy” to make. It guarantees quality. Open source does not.

As of the radical keys statement….. point me to a quality keyboard/piano vst that cost the $10 you would have radical keys cost. Is it relatively expensive – well yes – but only relative to one’s individual pocket size and yet quite on par with it’s competition. In fact most would actually be more expensive than this. Welcome to the world of music where alot of the things we want aren’t cheap.

I think everyone else covered your other points well enough.

PS: The user forum finds this article hillarious [14]

#21 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 12:33 am

Look, in my personal experience, I have switched from three different DAW’s but have always kept Reason. In all those three cases, my VST’s came in handy. I used them on Reaper, Sounde Forge, Vegas, Ableton, Renoise, even on Pro tools with an Rtas to VST plugin. I’m not the only one who has this opinion about VST’s. The fact that I can move them around from DAW to DAW year after year is ecstatic.

I know the RE is a maximizer, I dislike it very much.

Being un-easy doesn’t guarantee quality. Reason wasn’t a quality product compared to the VST’s it competed against (ie like Pro-53) but it survived due to it being so damn easy to use. I don’t think it’s okay to undermine the inability of something because it’s easy.

I would say that the Piano in ID8 is relatively inexpensive. But there is tons of great refills here [15]

I’m sad to hear you would just accept the price even if you may be paying more.

It also doesn’t surprise me that there is a circle jerk happening in the forums.

#22 Comment By Brian Dowling On December 6, 2012 @ 12:56 am

Have purchased a number of Rack Extensions at a variety of prices,from $10 to $99 and have had no problems downloading, installing,trying or using. Neither Dongle or accessing via Internet has ever been a problem.

All software has its own pricing, use, copy protection or other issues. Go with what you like and enjoy. The market will eventually decide which models work and which don’t. Manufacturers continually adjust their pricing structures their add-ons, base prices and just about everything else in relation to the competition.

#23 Comment By Guy Spondentre On December 6, 2012 @ 2:28 am

“but it survived due to it being so damn easy to use” – While I agree I find reason easy to use, I can’t there are countless people who think otherwise so I doubt that is the cause for the program’s longevity. Also I was referring to the easiness in making a RE not the easiness of using one. that being said….

“Being un-easy doesn’t guarantee quality”- I submit to you that quality vsts- the ones everyone swears by are indeed not “easy” to make. definitely not by the average no computer science background novice.

“I would say that the Piano in ID8 is relatively inexpensive. But there is tons of great refills here [15]” – 3 part answer

1st. the ID8…really???? That does not count as a quality instrument on par with something such as Radical keys. It may have its uses but the ID8 is basically a GM device and is a stock instrument at that so can’t be compared in the sense of price either. And in case you didn’t know GM (general midi) sounds are not very highly favored in quality by most people.

2nd. I recall saying this “point me to a quality keyboard/piano vst that cost the $10 you would have radical keys cost” You pointed me to the refill section of the props site instead. but since we’re there, aside from the free electromechanical refill, you won’t be able point me to a cheap $10 refill on par with radical keys either. Reason pianos- $129,Jeremy Ellis refills – $30 each $60 if you get both and only has one of the three keyboards offered in radical keys.

3rd. Now lets look at vst prices; Lounge Lizard $199, Neo Soul Keys 3x (Kontakt) $199, original Neo soul Keys (kontakt) $99, Neo Soul Keys refill is also $99. MrRay73 Mark II ~ $70. True Pianos $180, Alicia’s Keys (kontakt)$99, Ivory II $349… and the list goes on. I accept the price because its realistic. As you can see I’ve done my research to know how much things cost. considering all other options $99 for Radical keys- yeah that sounds about right, it’s the cost of quality.

#24 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 3:17 am

I’m sure it could be argued that it’s not, but come on, heresay is not really a sufficient argument. I dont doubt it for a second that it was the ease, unless you’re making my point that now Propellerhead sells a brand name.

“I submit to you that quality vsts- the ones everyone swears by are indeed not “easy” to make” – that STILL doesn’t mean that being un-easy doesn’t guarantee quality. There are so many open source applications like google, open office, firefox, Linuz, Perl, PHP, Python. You just read the list of Server software that are open source, and you would realize we wouldn’t be talking on the internet if it wasn’t for open source.

“really????” You said ” “point me to a quality keyboard/piano vst that cost the $10 you would have radical keys cost” I point to one and all of a sudden, no that’s not right, you want a different one. Great.

Look, add a few reverbs, tweak the ID8 and you got yourself some great sounding keys. You make it sound like there was a void, nonexistent of anything good. Seriously, ID8 is good enough.

Now why you even brought up VST prices, like I was ever arguing that point with you, is beyond me.

#25 Comment By John On December 6, 2012 @ 3:26 am

““Look at it this way: Rack Extensions are highly-educated Swedes with a good job, a nice family, and nationalized health care. VSTs live in a trailer park in Alabama, watch NASCAR, and are married to their 1st cousin. While both are arguably human, in very real terms they simply can’t understand one another, and it isn’t likely they’d ever be friends.” – Chris Randall, Audio Damage”

Yeah…I wonder how he feels about that now….

#26 Comment By LABONERECORDINGS On December 6, 2012 @ 3:47 am

We @ Lab: One are a new developer to the RE world (and also looking into VST / AU programming soon too). RE SDK IS very easy to manage and create Rack Extensions, without trying to find out all the ‘black art’ to creating VST/AU plugins. From the point of view of a novice, try hunting down bits of code to create say a multiband compressor, and putting that into C++ into the VST/AU plugin. Not an easy task.

Ok on to pricing. You mention about Propellerheads setting a price that you believe is too high, for their own RE’s, such as Raadical Keys being $99, but you believe it should be say $10.10. Ok We understand what you are saying, but we don’t believe this is right. Put into context, if say you have 5 end users buying full price Radical Keys for $99, that’s $495 total. To reach the same revenue you would have to sell 49 units to make the same revenue. Sell 49 units @ $99 is a substantial amount of cash (near $5k), but to match the unis you would have to sell 490 units. Also, pricing *does* seem to tie in with what the Devs believe is the right fair pricing for the work involved with the RE. Something like Radical Keys is a multisampled modelling device. You could get a sample pack for one of the keys (Rhodes for instance), but would you have the diversity and the modelling features? and also would the samplepack be half the price or the RE? or even nearly match it, due to the hard work involved in all the sampling?

RE’s are price accordingly to what either has been ported from expensive yet to us fairly priced VSTs / AUs to open up new possibilities with Reason, which has thrived recently, and we also believe the way in which Reason has been built *has* been done the right way. You say you’ve used it since Reason 1, can you find any other product available that lets you do undo operations on plugins via the host menus? Still not possible in all other DAWs. Does Reason crash as much as VST hosts with 3rd party plugins which have limited / no support? Not to our knowledge.

another point to make…. Propellerheads are the only location where Rack Extensions will be purchased from, they all go through a rigourous testing protocol to ensure that coding works correctly, controls are correct, no conflicts with OS system, generally so they are SOLID. This way there is no ‘alternative source’ which could cause issues (ie like VST plugins which *could* crash systems) 0 Again this to us seems the best method. Going forward, Properllerheads are going to make sure ALL Rack Extensions are futreproofed, and will work with current version (6.5) and all future versions, so users will not lose anything.

For us as a young Developer in this grand world of plugins and REs, we have found the current setup to be a perfect model to learn from and to produce a fully functional bug free plugin from the off. We also discuss our plans with users, to see if we are going in the right direction and to build the tools the users want, opposed to making weird and wonderfull plugins which on the surface look c=great but may not be what users would turn to.

The additional of REs allows the end user to use both stock devices & 3rd party, and to build their own racks how they want, alike a real hardware rack studio. And portability is another great thing too. Versions from v1 to v1.1 / v.1.99 MUST also be usable and compliant, so older presets can be opened by newer and older versions of the RE, for mor esolid music production and collaborations are now far easier than they ever were. Oh, and if your collab partner does not have a specific RE, a 30day try before buy option of a fully working RE is simply perfect, you dont have to fill our forms, track down where to get the plugin, get the right version etc, they are presented all in front of you.

To us this is the model that VST / AU should have been able to follow, but left the 3rd parties to create their own VSTs how best they thought, without any GUI compliances

Just our $2 worth :D

#27 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 3:53 am

It’s great to get another devs input. Thank you! Do you mind if I could quote you on that? I had been trying to track some devs who have worked on it for their opinion. I’m just going to add a few bits from the reply an a link for people to see.

Now, I’m certainly not arguing that you will make less if you make it cheap, I’m using a economical model for selling, which actually says that people like free things, they like cheap things. But I think it’s fair to say that Propellerhead shouldn’t charge that much. The fact that you can do all those things seems like a steal for $10 than $99 and for people to pass up such an opportunity for $10 radical keys, economically speaking, should boost the demand. That was essentially my point.

Now certainly having an undo is really cool. No argument there.

I seriously can’t recall the last time a VST crashed on me though I could understand the danger looming. Am I the only person who removed a VST that crashed rather than keep using it? That helped me greatly but I can’t speak for other peoples experice.

I liked that in reason I could send my friend a song and he would have everything he needed to listen to the song as I did.

Though you can download a RE trial for 30 days, those who have already tried the RE would be out of luck. This is a little troubling. I would now have to bounce those instruments down and I already have diffiulties sending reason files due to file size.

RE really does feel like Propellerhead has opened pandoras box. Truthfully though, the argument that you can customize your rack also would work for VSTs

#28 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 6, 2012 @ 6:30 am

Hilarious. The “mods” are clearly only “approving” comments here that keep Haroon safe on his soapbox. Half of mine haven’t even shown up.

Original Sound Version is a joke. Mods here should be ashamed of themselves.

#29 Comment By joshua jameson On December 6, 2012 @ 7:31 am

The RE concept is effectively creating new jobs, which is brilliant. Think about it.

#30 Comment By Koshdukai On December 6, 2012 @ 8:10 am

…still waiting for mine to be approved (posted twice)
If this comment shows up, then I guess something went wrong on my end and I’ll re-submmit it even though many of the existing comments already say what I originally wanted to say about this editorial.

#31 Comment By Guy Spondentre On December 6, 2012 @ 9:40 am

CLearly Haroon didn’t understand any of my statemets. I got a politician response rather than rather than a well thought out one..bu I’m done here. No sence in a pointles argument :)

#32 Comment By modulala On December 6, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

Christ, leave the guy alone you animals.
Talk about sticking one’s d!ck in a hornets nest.
This is why Reason users have the reputation they do man.

#33 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

Honestly. It’s totally fine. I’ve dealth with worse being a reddit user, this is kiddy stuff.

You have to be able to defend your word. Its easy to tell when someone is being unreasonable after not reading any of the reasoning behind any of the arguments put forth. But man they needed to hear it.

#34 Comment By Luke Goerwer On December 6, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

I could care less about someone else’s opinion of a tool that works for me but loser DAW? [16] among many other sources says otherwise .

And Haroon I think your last comment “You have to be able to defend your word. Its easy to tell when someone is being unreasonable after not reading any of the reasoning behind any of the arguments put forth. But man they needed to hear it.” applies to you as well. Sorry but everyone else’s responses make more sense than yours. And you didn’t really respond to everything well showing that you didn’t necessarily read the reasoning behind all the comments yourself.

#35 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

This is what I’m talking about. If you read what I wrote, I never called it a loser DAW. In fact, I said I will continue to use Reason because I like it over other DAW.

Just because I don’t like one thing, doesn’t mean I don’t like everything.

Just because more people agree with you, doesn’t mean you’re right. what you’re experiencing is called Bias.

#36 Comment By Luke Goerwer On December 6, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

As Patrick stated, the “Loser Daw” response was not directed at you but the guy who posted before you.

#37 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

I see. Sorry. If I’m wrong I’ll admit it. But I disagree with you because if what you said wasn’t true, it would be easy to knock down my arguments instead of speculation and accusations, which means its not a matter of opinion, it’s just wrong. Also the loser daw comment was removed for trolling.

#38 Comment By modulala On December 6, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

RE “loser DAW” – it wasnt trolling. Rude perhaps, but not trolling. Trolling is saying whatever it takes to piss people off for ones own entertainment. Im not getting entertained by this. I just hated seeing you swarmed for being critical of Reason. Which, if you’ve ever been on their forum is a fact of life.

What I’m really saying, as you said in your article that Reason lacks standard functions (like busses and midi out to name only the two most commonly griped about) and PH and their users act like these absences are features.

One person somewhere on the internet says something bad about reason and a thread is started over there and they pile on you over here.

Pick your adjective. My point still stands.

#39 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

Yea, I actually think its funny that a lot of similar problems that VST have, got ported over to RE while RE is advertised as something revolutionary. It’s one of the reasons why I wrote this because I think it’s false. Having said that, I think it’s also fair to say that the problems I outlined on RE also exist on VST though I’m not really arguing for VSTs. I was only being critical of RE because we should be; unlike VST, I think propellerheads has the ability to actually change or impliment some of these things. so why not voice your concern. Sorry to remove your comment.

#40 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 6, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

The thing is, Haroon, it’s clear that only your opinion appears important here on OSV. Literally almost everyone in this thread has listed their own “opinions” – the majority bringing up valid points that counter your own and yet you seem none the wiser.

I’ll go on record and agree there is MUCH that Reason and its Rack Extensions could improve on – that’s pretty obvious. But I’ll also go on record – as did most of the people in this thread – that every one of your points in your article are not necessarily… correct.

#41 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 6, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

Hey, because people agree with you, does not mean that you are right. Because people had a rebuttal, does not mean that they are good rebuttals. The only reason I’ve been able to knock people’s arguments down so easily is because they are full of fallacies. It’s easy for me to reply and explain how it’s a wrong opinion or its riddled with logic holes.

In your case, attacking me personally by telling me I’m not ‘wise’ is not really much of an argument.

Thank you for reading and engaging me in a discussion.

I’m happy I’m a huge reason fan, and nothing like some of you guys at the forums. Shows me that my opinions are grounded and not wowed so easily.

You’re also using the word literally wrong.

#42 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 7, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

So attacking grammar is what you’ve resorted to? Cute. You haven’t knocked anyone’s arguments down – are you that delusional?? Also, no personal attacks were made on you, Haroon – they were made at your “opinion” piece and it’s blatant poor conclusions and outright lies. Your opinions aren’t grounded in anything more than inaccuracy.

Your hubris is astonishing.

#43 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 7, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

*it’s = its. Though it necessary to point out before Mein Fur decides to get all grammar nazi again.

#44 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 7, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

Right, the last comment where I corrected your use of the word is me somehow attacking you, not the previous two paragraphs.

Also, it’s incorrect grammar to add two question marks. Attacking you would be something along the lines of calling you a name. Seems like I’ve hurt your because you can’t argue your point well enough, so you say really unorthodox things like “your hubris is astonishing.” I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings but commenting on me personally is not going to prove RE’s are good to use.

If my argument was inaccurate, it would be easy for you to knock them down. Otherwise we could have had a good discussion.

it’s okay man. I’m one of many, you shouldn’t get so upset over this. The world hasn’t ended because I don’t like RE. :)

#45 Comment By Patrick Gann On December 7, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

It’s “Mein Führer” — GERMAN GRAMMAR NAZI!

Please don’t resort to disparaging the author over his opinion. As can be deduced from the lengthy series of comments between Haroon, readers, and various product developers, Haroon is taking things into account. He’s edited the article for any factual errors and is certainly open to critique. I’ve known Haroon for years and “hubris” is not a quality I’d associate with him. This editorial may have come from left field for some people, but for Haroon, this didn’t just come out as some hare-brained scheme in a night of mad rage. He checked out the product, saw flaws, was disappointed in the price point, and decided to let people know how he felt. As managing editor, I saw this as a great opportunity to get the ball rolling and see if RE could be improved in any way.

And frankly, I think that’s exactly what’s happening. Haroon has been talking directly with many people at Propellerhead and I only think good can come of this, even if the initial statements can be interpreted as “damning” the product.

#46 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 8, 2012 @ 12:29 am

“Seems like I’ve hurt your because you can’t argue your point well enough, so you say really unorthodox things like “your hubris is astonishing.”

I could say something like, “It’s ‘you’, Haroon, not ‘your’. Your managing editor should probably start by editing your posts”, but that would be just stooping to your level.

No worries, you haven’t hurt me nor my feelings. It’s actually quite entertaining to read biased stories such as the ones you and Mr. Gann seem so proud of. Most of the people posting here have quite easily pointed out how ridiculous your points of criticism were, oh and – Patrick – “fact checking” isn’t defined by one statement from one developer. The tens of dozens of other developers seem to be quite happy with things (one even chimed in here).

I posted this earlier but apparently your “moderator” chose not to post it conveniently. Let’s see if it works this time:

Haroon’s first point – Make Rack Extensions Easier to Buy…

Right, because clicking “Buy” in one spot and transferring the license to your Ignition Key is so difficult? I mean really – that’s ridiculous. Took me all of 3 minutes. I can’t get much easier than that!

Haroon’s second point – Make Rack Extensions Cheaper to Buy…

Already pointed out by others above, but I’ll say it again: the dev sets the price, not Propellerhead. Most RE prices that have VST counterparts actually cost *LESS* than their VST counterpart!!! Exactly how much cheaper does Haroon expect them to be? Regardless, your paying for perfect integration into the Reason ecosystem, automatic 32/64 bit OS support, and future-proofing. Any RE you buy is guaranteed to work in Reason version 20. Do you know how many VST’s have simply disappeared or are no longer supported because the dev went belly up? Regardless, the prices of RE seem just fine.

And finally, Haroon said – Make Rack Extensions Easy to Program for, and Open Source…

I said this before (when it wasn’t posted) but I’ll say it again – I actually agree that it could be easier, but for a version 1.0 SDK, it’s pretty damn easy in comparison. But the open source part? Good lord no – that’s insane. Open source may work in the VST world, but most Reason users have grown used to a level of quality that simply cannot be matched by a practically unregulated codec. Charge for the SDK? Right… yet you think devs should charge LESS for their RE’s…

I get that this is an OPINION piece Haroon and Mr. Gann. It’s just a BAD OPINION.

#47 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 8, 2012 @ 2:11 am

You Honestly didn’t read past the title of the paragraph did you?

It’s easy to tell. Well this is the problem with most of the comments. Too eager to respond, no idea what the opinion even is.

I’ve spoke with Propellerhead and there seems to be a genuine problem with most some Reason users. So you’re wrong, it took you three minutes, but you are not everyone, and if you read what I wrote, you would know it’s very easy to find tons of people in the video who have also complained about the same thing. Because it’s not happening to you, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

If you read my second point, you would know that the very first thing I mention is that the devs set the prices, not Propellerhead, so whatever could I have spoken about? If only you read the article instead of the title. Once you realize that there is a freeware market for VST’s it kind of crushes any argument about RE prices you may offer. I seriously don’t know why people keep talking about RE working in Reason 20, implying that somehow VSt’s don’t have this functionality? what, VST’s where? (Massive, Kontakt 3, Absynth 4, FM8, Reaktor, Akoustic Pianos, Pro53, B4) ran fine on my Win7 64bit rig.

I’m glad to hear that you agree on ease of program. But I don’t actually think you know what open source means if you think it has anything to do with Quality. Android is open source yet it’s not affected by your argument of quality. You realize apple charges $99 a year to use the SDK, test and release. Yet the prices on their store, which btw is what Propellerheads store is based off of, is $0.99. You have to have some sort of evidence suggesting that this wouldn’t work, you have nothing.

I even pointed out that economically speaking, cheap things sell. So I used real world examples while you’re submitting to what if’s which is a fallacy. It’s broken logic.
Also, I think it should be mentioned again that if you have devs saying good things about RE, link it and I will post it, no one came back with a link. The fact is, that one developer, is the only statement I could find of a dev expressing their opinion, and it’s a truthful opinion. I like that.

I wish you read past a few lines here and there. You say that a lot of people have the same opinion you do yet you don’t realize they also didn’t read past a few lines. Many didn’t read past to the point where I offer solutions for every one of my problems I mentioned. It’s why the argument that I’m only bitching is just plain false. It’s why a lot of people were saddened by Reason fans. One person even pointing out how ironic it is that you quoted VST fans as NASCAR fans yet the level of ignorant insanity is by far more prominent in Reason users. I’m sure if Randall read some of the things you guys posted here, he would revert his opinion on the analogy of Reason fans being civilized.

I also like how you think my opinion is bad but you agree with me. At least I didn’t stoop to your level and call you names. I used logic to break your arguments.

Thank you for posting. Again, I’m one of many, you shouldn’t get so upset over this. The world hasn’t ended because I don’t like RE.

#48 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 8, 2012 @ 10:33 am

Oh I’m not upset at all, but I’m interested to see where you claim I called you names? You also seem so eager to categorize “Reason fans” into some sort of collection of people that can’t understand anything you write and sadden the whole of society or something. Cute. Woefully out of touch with reality, but cute nonetheless.

I did read your entire article. More than one, unfortunately. BTW, you owe me those 60 seconds of my life back.

Your economics theory simply does not work, Haroon. Although the “app store” setup is similar to Apple’s iOS, the math just doesn’t add up. Why, you ask? Because there are a hundred million iOS users on the market, and lets just say there are substantially less Reason users in the market. If a dev were to offer their RE for .99 cents or whatever, they would make laughably less. This is a niché market that sells substantially less per capita – devs MUST charge more for their products. But you seem to cling to the idea that just because there is a freeware market for VST that it somehow equates to RE as well. Well, Haroon, please reference my quote in Chris Randall.

I know very well what open source is. Android beng open-source is not even an accurate comparison. Although the Open Handset Consortium (which includes Google BTW) allows handset manufacturers to modify and customize the version of Android sold on their phones, Google took over development of Android years ago once Google realized they needed to step up the quality if they ever wanted to compete with Apple’s iOS. Hmmmm…. quality… Sound familiar?

You claim to have been in contact with Propellerhead and that all of these points in your piece are real problems that many people experience and the are working on a solution. Well I call BS on that, because I am also in contact with Propellerhead and that’s doesn’t seem to be their opinion at all.

See how that works? I can make blanket statements to support my writing regardless of whether or not they are true as well.

Anyone can visit the Propellerheads own forums and see the problems reported. Sure, some users have issues – BUT THE VAST MAJORITY???? Sorry – not having them. You’re hinging your entire opinion piece on the experience of a handful of naysayers and your own. Again, great journalism there Haroon.

#49 Comment By Haroon Piracha On December 8, 2012 @ 10:59 am

Aside from comparing me to Hitler and calling me “Mein Fur”? Hilarious, now you’re saying I’m out of touch with reality, essentially calling me crazy, while asking me where you call me names. Oh yea, both of those things are totally going to prove that RE is good while not explaining how or why. Let alone those deleted comments which were clearly you trolling.

Sir, I don’t know what universe you read my article in 60 seconds, but you have wasted more of your time replying here than you have reading. You seriously didn’t read this article.

There weren’t always millions of IOS users, as there aren’t a lot of RE users, so that’s not a correct comparison because you’re comparing iOs now to RE now instead of when the iOS first came to exist while you don’t even know how many people use RE, or have any information to go by. RE just got up on its feet, give it some time to get to that. “If a dev were to offer their RE for .99 cents or whatever” or whatever, hilarious. As I pointed out in this article, had you read it, you would know that a) I used Propellerhead as an example because devs decide their own prices b) and devs are already selling for $10 or free. So now you’re saying that those devs are laughable idiots. If this is a “niche market” then why are there developers that are selling RE for so cheap or free? You shouldn’t cherry pick your arguments.

Again, that Randall quote is really not helping your case.

I also like how anything that’s open source that works, is not “even an accurate compassion”. All you’ve done is successfully prove that Propellerhead doesn’t have to sacrifice quality to make things open source as Google did with Android.

So you’re admitting that you’re lying about talking to Propellerhead? In other words, you’re trolling. I certainly didn’t say the vast majority. You certainly are trolling, especially now that you’re calling Chris Randall’s quote naysayer, while, how convenient that Chris Randall had a quote about NASCAR.

Your comment will be removed if you keep making blatantly false accusations.

#50 Comment By Jayson Napolitano On December 8, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

Just a note about moderating comments. If you’re not logged in, your comments have to be approved. There are only a few editors who can do that, and sometimes it can take a bit of time. Nothing malicious going on with comment approval/disapproval. Just a tool to help us intercept spam posts.

#51 Comment By Patrick Jameson On December 8, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

@ Jayson – yeah, well – I just wrote an extensive reply to Haroon right after his post, pretty much debunking everything he accused me of and pointing out his own errors. Nothing trolling nor malicious, yet the “mod” seemed to remove the post.

This place is a joke.

#52 Comment By Per Lichtman On December 15, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

Over the years I’ve listened to several of Haroon Piracha’s video game remixes. I know that he was one of a handful of people on OCR that was doing a good job in the genres he worked in over a decade ago. So when I saw he wrote a blog on this topic, I was very curious to see what he wrote. Since there’s been a lot of (apparent) controversy about style, tone and specific examples I will instead try to mainly address his three main points: ease of installation, price and ease/difficulty to program. I will only comment that I do not feel the blog’s title is a good representation of the content and think it should have been changed before moving. First, a little background on where I’m coming from on this.

In addition to my music, photography and film work, I’ve worked as everything from a journalist and editor in a music tech. publication to a consultant to several music software and hardware companies over the years (as well as doing technical writing and marketing) and beta-tested and done forum support work for some of the largest audio companies in the industry. I’ve also worked with almost every audio plug-in format developed since I really got active in music tech. almost 15 years ago. I’ve consulted on the design and content of at least 9 released or soon-to-be-released REs, tested using Reason Essentials 1.5 (the stripped down version of Reason 6.5 which shares RE support).

Ease of Installation: Haroon makes several very good points. While many users had an easy time, my initial experiences were needlessly difficult and I had to use many plays from my beta-testing debugging playback to get things working properly the first time. As far as I can tell, those challenges are unlikely to be repeated now that I’ve learned the process – but there is definitely room for improvement. I haven’t tried using demo licenses with the dongle installed so I can’t speak to that area – if Haroon’s suggestion that you have to go online, even if the demo licenses are on a dongle you have connected, then that seems needlessly difficult and I would agree should be remedied. So lots of good points there. I have no experience working with sessions sent to me by a colleague that feature an RE I do not have – my take on it is that such sessions should load with the a placeholder RE that just passes that ins and outs bypassed (much like Sonar and Reaper do with other plug-ins). If RE does not support working on projects that feature REs you do not have (with those REs disabled or similar) then that is a feature that should be implemented.

However, there are things I disagree with. When collaborating with someone else there are essentially two primary workflows: one where you can count on each of you having the same everything and ones where you have to check. Any project that used VSTs/VSTis is already in the latter category but wouldn’t that be true of many ReFills as well? REs do not seem to have changed this equation very much from my perspective and collaboration between two Reason users is still just as easy as long as they either 1) both use the same version and stick to the built-in tools or 2) both have the same REs. If you know someone doesn’t have a given RE, don’t use it in your project or render it to audio before you send. It’s pretty much the same as dealing with other plug-ins.

In addition, the universal and standardized approach to RE trials (especially the full functionality in during the 30-day trial period) means that when things are working properly (and many did not seem to have the early issues that Haroon and I each encountered) then there is great consistency and simplicity for the user. They get to know what they’ll be buying with any of the REs and don’t need to worry about a specific developer deciding not to make one. From my perspective, that is a good thing.

Price: At the time of writing, the price range for available Rack Extensions is Free to $199 USD when logging in from Los Angeles. Only 4 cost more than $99. VSTis I have bought or received from developers over the last decade have ranged in price from Free to $2495 USD. I fail to see any controversy in comparing the formats.

Some of the REs are only available as REs at this time. But that I mean that I have encountered REs that literally have no commercially available equivalent for another format. I’d argue that this is a good “reason” for “Reason” to support operating as a ReWire host so that audio could be piped through the REs from other applications, but for now I’ve had to make do with rendering the audio in question before importing it into Reason (which I do not enjoy as a workflow). However, I wouldn’t even be doing it in the first place if I did not think that there were some very high quality REs, especially for their price.

I would also add that the suggestion that demand is highly elastic by price is really only true with some very important caveats. It often is far less than linear – so if you cut the price of your RE from $70 to $60, you won’t necessarily see a 16.7% increase in sales (let alone more than that). There are several pricing tiers but changes within each tier may not make a big difference in sales – it’s up to each developer to figure out which tier they want to fit in based on the costs of development and expected sales.

I would also add that one of the REs I currently use the most retails for around 1/5 the price of a VST plug-in for the same task that is less advanced and has (to my ears) a far less musical sound.

Ease to Develop For: Making an RE for Reason is sort of like the opposite of making a VST/VSTi. The environment is standardized, there are rigorous QA standards (which include forward-thinking future-proofing) and there is certainly an attempt to place a consistent user-experience at a higher premium than quickly building a large number of REs.

I know of at least one single-person developer that is making REs and there may be several others. Haroon, if you think you have something to offer the community through developing REs, I suggest you apply to the program because being a single-person developer should not stand in your way.

I don’t program REs myself so I can say nothing useful about the SDK.

In short, I feel that Propellerheads Rack Extensions are good plug-in friend and at the same time there are several important issues worth addressing. I think that a lot of people may have missed some of Haroon’s valid points because of the blog’s title and the style of presentation. However, I would urge people to take his underlying points seriously as the comments of a passionate and talented composer whose opinions (and experiences) may differ greatly.

I hope that Propellerheads address the remaining issues regarding installation and that it’s not long before I see an RE developed by Haroon himself.

#53 Comment By drno On June 16, 2013 @ 3:13 am

Nice write up. I’ve stuck with 6.02 and have invested money into some of the wonderful refills made by Nucleus SoundLab and jiggery pokery. More for my money. Way more. When you factor in that you can substitute patches with any sounds you want, the possibilities are endless.

This is something Reason users have had to endure for a long time. They throw crumbs at you, and after awhile you get used to it. To think in 2013 the user forums are all excited about ancient things like MIDI out, parallel processing, bus channels or Recycle implementation is kind of sad to me.

While I think extensions can be a good idea, most of what I’ve heard with the extensions (from the small amount of synth extensions) sounds like stacked Thor patches. Not a ‘new kind of sound’ that I would come to expect from different methods of synthesis. Also a lot of the extensions seem more like aged VST’s that are finally being brought to the Reason environment. THOR, Scream, KONG and Malstrom are (still) truly truly amazing. I’d like more of that. They just released an 808 extensions that sounds like a toy compared to Peff’s (free) 808 refill. Not good.

I also have a hard time seeing the point of paying $99 for something designed for a closed system. You can take your VST’s with you. You can’t do that with extensions. If extensions were between $10 to $30, then I would consider upgrading for sure. That’s the ‘don’t think about it’ price point for me. Right now they are way to steep. It’s too bad, your not going to see nice free Extensions like you do with VST’s…which keeps lazy developers on their toes.

It would have made for sense for Prop’s to offer 6.5 as a free upgrade, so that users with older versions of reason could also take the RE plunge. Instead they have to start all over again with sales based on 6.5 and up. Not good. Competition is offering so much more now, and a lot of the tools are cross platform. I’m a LONG TIME reason user and I am not blind to this fact. I’m sure Propellerhead isn’t either, but I’m not sure about the changes they have made as a response.

I have a lot invested in Reason so it will be my music haven for years to come, as ver 6.02. I hope they get it together.

#54 Comment By vanKloot On December 2, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

Anyone who states that it’s hard to sign up as a RE dev or that “the average Joe can’t just sign up” instantly loses all credibility with me. ANYONE can sign up in minutes. You don’t have to show any proof of any kind of your business. You can be the sole point of contact for all matters, financial and otherwise. They don’t even require you to have a business license, so a Sole Proprietorship (or whatever the equivalent of that is if you’re not in the USA) will work just fine. No financial information is required at time of signup, only at time of putting a RE live in the shop.

If you’re serious about being a RE dev, go sign up. You don’t have a single legitimate excuse not to. It’s easy, free, and anyone – I mean A N Y O N E – can do it in 5 minutes if they type very, very slowly. It will likely take up to a few weeks for the Props to get around to approving you, but they ask no questions at all. At least that was my experience signing up as a “one man shop” so to speak.

Don’t say you’re serious about developing software and then let something so utterly trivial be your excuse for not following through on it. This sounds like someone’s blowing smoke to me, and has no genuine intentions/ability to develop a rack extension but just wants to sing the praises of VSTs.

#55 Comment By Jeremy Janzen On January 3, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

I felt like responding to the author point-by-point, but it doesn’t seem necessary after Per Lichtman’s excellent comment.

My very short take on it: Rack Extension’s are still a very new format and hold some large advantages over other plugin formats – standardized interfaces and CV/Audio inputs; inability to crash the host; one single shop for all purchases; ease of song-sharing; 1 copy protection method for everything.

I think from an ideal standpoint there is room for improvement still. But in comparison to the ‘wild-west’ world of VSTs, REs already represent an excellent value.

#56 Comment By C+C+ On January 11, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

I like RE’s but I dont like tuy online so this ends the story pretty fast , I whant to buy cards to pay for them LOL

also I think vst’s got very good presets and only few RE’s go fare in developing those apart from Props and brand like robpappen, korg etc…

The price is OK but the fact that you can sell your vst’s and not your RE ‘s and also the fact that this format is new they should have droped those prices , I sayed the exact same as you sayed here but on the forum the day they arrived , they could sell like candys if they where half priced for most !

so yhea I love Reason and I like RE’s but I dont think Props are doing everything the best way neaver !

the DAW is perfect and in progress and the RE’s are real nice ! but then I really hope they are going to make a better SDK and also a better model to sell them because it’s not going to work if there is so much troubles for the clients and the devs and this is what is coming unless they already working on something :D

I got a crush on this software but they could do it another way for shure I would say .

#57 Comment By Michael wallace On March 29, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

I am looking for a cheaper way to buy all the rack extensions from propellerhead in a bundle?

#58 Comment By drno On November 18, 2014 @ 4:48 am

Well written. I think extensions are a desperate cash grab by a company that realized after 10+ years of offering basically the same thing, that something had to be done to sway kids from the competition. Rack extensions should be priced like tablet apps. Propellerhead turned their backs on their loyal base, and in a way had to start over. Time will tell if it was the best move. I’m still a happy 6.02 user.


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