Monday, May 11, 2009

My Thoughts on Propellerheads Record

Alright, I've had a chance to digest this a bit, so here are my thoughts (like you care!):

• No support for external plug-ins.

This is insane to me. I understand that restrictions can be a good thing in terms of productivity, but Propellerheads' refusal to let users integrate VST/AU plug-ins in their software is a step too far, in my opinion, and seriously effects the shelf life of the product. I hear people all the time who are still using Logic 5. How many people do you know still using Reason 2? Now, the program does implement Rewire, just like Reason did, but if I have to take my tracks out to another DAW to process them with the plug-ins I want, what's the freaking point of having Record?!

• That interface.

Simply put, it's a nightmare. It looks like it was designed by someone with A.D.D. Over the years I've come to really appreciate the importance, especially in a DAW, of a clean, nice-looking interface. This just looks like a disorganized mess to me.

• Dongles Suck.

I know some people don't care, but I am of the firm opinion that dongles suck. I make it a point to buy my software to support companies who are doing good work and I find it insulting when a company burdens their honest, paying users with a dongle. Yeah, I understand that piracy is rampant (I'm a professional musician... believe me, I understand it...), but I know I'm not the only one out there who won't buy dongled software, so they're already insuring lost sales from people like myself. On the plus side, they're not charging extra for it, and if you are a dongle hater, you have the option of using an open internet connection as your copy protection, but this option isn't going to work if you're on a plane or somewhere that doesn't have an internet connection, as I often find myself when I am travelling. Neither option is very friendly for laptop users, which is a rapidly growing demographic among electronic musicians. And if you're using Record with another DAW such as Protools or Cubase? Guess what? That's two dongles.

• The Time-Stretching.
The effortless time-stretching thing is neat, but, for me at least, this doesn't outweigh the other significant shortcomings. My guess is that programs like Cubase, Logic, and Live will integrate something like this in the future anyway. (That's pure speculation on my part, it just seems to me like that's the direction things are moving in...)

• The Old Ways Aren't Always Better.

The hype around Record has been its supposed ease of use because its set up just like hardware. I actually think this makes it more complicated than it needs to be. In Logic, I basically open up a blank page and add channels as I need them. When I need send or insert effects, I just click and select the effec I want and I'm done. This means there is nothing on the screen I don't need and my set-up for a song is only as complicated as it needs to be. I guess their approach might be good for people who are used to Reason, but again, they ignored their users requests for audio record in Reason for so long, that most people who need this feature, already have DAWs.

As I said before, I am totally open to being proven wrong. I haven't used the software myself and am relying entirely on what I've read and observed in their promotional videos. But the market for DAWs (and let's be honest, despite Propellerheads' insistance that Record isn't a DAW, that's what it is) is already full, and any new entry really needs to be revolutionary in order to compete. I think they need to bring more to the table than this offers.


dave romero (a.k.a visitour) said...

I don't think you're wrong

it looks like Record is too little too late, and poorly implemented to boot

urbster1 said...

I agree with your thoughts 100%. On the other hand, I am not a Reason user and the lack of external plugs was a put-off for me from the start, so I'm not sure this was really designed to appeal to me in the first place. I do appreciate what you've been posting though and am always interested in what you post here!

Bob's Country Bunker said...

there's no MIDI out -- WTF?!

if the point of Reason is synthesizers, then why not let me sequence a (cough) real synthesizer?

Reason is ridiculous. They should've sold off v2.5 to m-audio when they had the chance and retired happy and/or made a new niche product.

Fixate said...

Yea, the no MIDI out is the last nail in the coffin for me. Sorry Props.

XET said...

Lame. They could have just added the ability to rewire external audio in to reason and I would have praised the gods. maybe in reason 5. :(

fernando said...

Yep, it feels like a step in the wrong direction. They've just created an ugly and under-featured DAW.

Part of Reason's appeal was always that it was light and fast - a great way to sketch out songs, create beats and develop sounds. All they really needed was a rethink to REX/ReCycle to make it easier to handle 4-16 bar chunks of audio.

Doug said...

The tempo/audio stretch aspects sound just like follow tracks in logic, it'll be interesting to see how different they actually are.

Anu said...

I hate to gloat, but I *TOTALLY* called this one:

No Plug-ins!

lineofcontrol said...

what is MIDI out for???

seriously... i have no idea. i know that pegs me as a non-technical loser. but that is what i hate about making music these days. unless you have a PhD you can't use any of the programs. i have a PC, so none of the MAC programs are available to me. i have bought Cubase and Protools and experienced nothing but confusion. such incredibly poor interfaces. sooooo unintuitive.

as a Reason user since 1.0 i have loved it from the very start. i never ever missed having VST's and plugins. to me i have always loved the interface and how it looked like something real. that was its beauty. you almost never ever need the manual because everything makes sense.

for years due the lack of audio in , i have only made instrumental music... this is finally the Godsend i have been waiting for...

and yes, i am in the minority on the Prop forums in my like for this product.

Tom said...

MIDI out is for sequencing hardware synths.

lineofcontrol said...

ahhhhh.... thanks

digital lofi said...

@lineofcontrol Here's one problem: I have a little bass sequence that I wrote on my evolver and MPC. I want to bring it into my *cough* DAW. Now, I can roughly line up the tempo and hope that the tracks will line up, especially if I need to record 1 or 2 channels at a time (not all of us have multi-channel devices; I when with 2-channels of top-notch conversion rather than 8/16 mediocre conversion). No MIDI out means a lot of extra steps to get sequenced audio to line up. Nor can I bring my outboard sequences into my DAW to edit them further before rendering the resultant tracks.

That's just one example of why it's a weird choice.

But I'm on board with this post. I'm trying not to be a hater, and who knows really until it's in the wild. But so much seems wrong with this, least of which is how they're tagging it as some be-all/end-all for recording digital audio.

And the thing about no VST/AU. So you're stuck with whatever EQ/Comp/etc PH coded/licensed. The great thing about multiple FX plugins is all the different flavors you can get. Even if they're all top-notch , don't you think your users are going to want to try some other flavors?

Anonymous said...

It looks like all the audio recording features that should have been part of Reason in the first place are being released as a separate program. So no, it's not a DAW...but one third of a DAW. With the shortcomings mentioned above, it's too little, too late, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

(To repeat what Dave Romero already said, as I've just noticed...)

Anonymous said...

I was on bug team from Reason 2.5 to Reason 4, and I can tell you that over the years, it was not audio, but the lack of Midi Output, that forced me to stop using Reason, and I have absolutely no intention of buying Record because... no Midi Output!

So much for software being harder than hardware.

Max said...

My view of record:


- nice interface (yes!)
- fast action
- stability
- sound is good


- relies on Reasons outdated
LoFi effects (the reverb is good

- no Midi out is a joke. NOT EVEN
MIDI CLOCK OUT !!! Ignoranz and
arroganz pure. The may think
that their synthesizers are the
best of the world LOL!

- no VST is acceptable, VST
standard from programming
point of view is utter crap.

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