Beatmaking in Reason 12

If you’re looking for a DAW for beatmaking, Reason Studio’s Reason 12 software comes highly recommended. Many a music producer and budding beat maker has kick started their career or hobby with Reason and in recent years the popular DAW has undergone a number of – sometimes controversial – changes.

September 2021 saw the hotly anticipated launch of Reason 12 featuring an all new Mimic sample instrument, an overhauled Combinator device, more sounds, high resolution graphics and more.

Is Reason 12 good for Beatmaking?

Packed with genuinely useful and inspirational devices including drum machines, samplers and a powerful new Mimic sample device, Reason 12 has everything a producer needs to create beats and complete tracks. You can even make your own drum machines in Reason!

Key to the Reason way of working is the ‘Reason Rack’. It’s a virtual studio rack fitted out with of any combination of Reason Studio’s instruments, synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, effects, MIDI tools and mixing tools you choose as well as third party VST plugins and rack extensions.

Reason 12 now comes in two versions:

  • Reason 12 DAW software. One off purchase, lifetime license. No free updates.
  • Reason+ subscription. Monthly or annual subscription with access to 75+ instruments, devices and effects, weekly Sound Packs and regularly updated software.

Let’s check out some of Reason’s core beatmaking tools:

Redrum Drum Computer

Clearly taking inspiration from vintage Roland TR style drum machines, Redrum is perhaps the device which did the most to put Reason in millions of bedroom studios back in the day and it remains a fun and useful tool even in an era in which it faces much more competition.

Redrum is a drum machine with a built-in pattern sequencer and the ability to load your own drum samples into any of its ten channels.

Redrum comes with hundreds of tasty preset kits covering most genres including house, hip hop and techno.

If you’re new to beatmaking then Redrum is a great way to get started – it’s a very easy tool that total beginners can pick up within minutes.

This being a Reason device, there’s a near infinite variety of ways you can manipulate and effect your Redrum sounds by hooking it up with other Reason effects and instruments.

Watch the video below to see what Redrum can do:

Redrum Overview.

Is Redrum included with Reason 12?

Redrum is the granddaddy of the Reason studio drum machine devices. Redrum is included as standard with both Reason 12 software and a Reason+ subscription.

Kong Drum Designer

The Kong Drum Designer is a deep, powerful drum module.

At the heart of Kong Drum Designer are nine different drum sound generators: Synth Bass Drum, Synth Snare, Synth Hi-hat, Synth Tom Tom, Physical Bass Drum, Physical Snare Drum, Physical Tom Tom, NN-Nano Sample Player, Nurse REX loop player.

Using these 9 modules you can create an infinite variety of drum kits made up of any combination of electronic, modeled and sampled drum sounds.

Each drum generator can be shaped with 11 support generators and effects.

The support generators can be added after the drum module in the Kong signal flow. They can add noise or tone to your sounds – perfect for creating electronic and edgy drum sounds for techno, IDM and the like.

Kong features 9 effects (and you can also easily route your Kong drums to additional effects in the Reason rack). The 9 effects are: filter, compressor, overdrive, parametric EQ, Rattler, ring modulator, drum room reverb, tape echo and a transient shaper.

Is Kong Drum Designer included free with Reason 12?

Kong Drum Designer comes as standard with both Reason 12 software and a Reason+ subscription.

Rytmik Drum Machine

Reason’s Rytmik device is a very easy to use sample based drum machine that comes with 16 ready to use drum kits. Kits are made up of 8 drum sounds (kick, snare, hi hat, cymbal, tom, clap, perc 1 and perc 2) and you get basic sound shaping tools including pitch, fade in/out, distortion and filter. Each drum sound has access to a delay/ever send FX.

Rytmik is an incredibly simple, no thrills sample instrument which makes it ideal for beginners or any producers who just need to quickly lay down some basic drum tracks.

Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player

Dr. Octo Rex is Reason’s loop player. Each player can contain up to eight individual REX loops and lets you switch between them on the fly.

The Dr. Octo Rex loop player can manipulate and export individual slices of a REX loop and you can trigger individual slices of the loop in the Reason sequencer.

Dr. Octo Rex has a comprehensive sound sculpting section too, with filters, envelopes and modulation settings to help you craft the sound you are looking for.

If you work with loops then the Dr. Octo Rex loop player is an incredibly handy tool.

Get up to speed with the Dr. Octo Rex loop player by watching the guide below:

Dr. Octo Rex Guide

Umpf Club Drums

If you’re into making electronic dance music (EDM) then Umpf Club Drums is a Reason device you’ll certainly want to check out.

Umpf Club Drums is an incredibly powerful and easy to use tool for making dance music beats.

Umpf Club Drums is a great source of ready to use sounds but it’s also get plenty of advanced sound processing options including filters, LFOs and envelopes, EQs and compressors for when you want move beyond presets and craft your own kits.

As well as creating drum sounds you can also sequence them with the powerful Umpf Drum Sequencer.

Is Umpf Club Drum Free with Reason 12?

Umpf Club Drums is not included with the core Reason 12 software DAW. Umpf Club Drums must be purchased separately.

Is Umpf Club Drums included with Reason+ Subscription?

Umpf Club drums is included with the Reason+ Subscription. For a full list of list of included drum machines and samplers check the list below.

Umpf Retro Beats

Umpf Retro Beats is a similar device to the Umpf Club drums but isn’t just a simple clone of Club Drums with a different set of drum samples.

The focus here is on authentic vintage drum machine sounds sampled from classic drum machines, making it a good choice for your hip hop, electro and 80s inspired music productions.

Reason Drum Kits

When you want to move away from electronic drum machine sounds and explore acoustic drums then the Reason Drum Kits device has got your back. Reason Drum Kits is a collection of expressive and playable acoustic drum kits, recorded in real studio spaces.

Reason Drum Kits has options galore to shape your kit, 600+ MIDI drum performances in a wide range of styles and its own reverb and bus compression. Each drum part has its own individual out so you can further shape the sounds via Reason’s effects devices and the Reason mixer.

Reason Drum Kits is part of the Reason+ subscription, it is not included with Reason 12 software.

Mimic Creative Sampler:

The Mimic Creative Sampler brings modern sampling techniques to the Reason Rack – perfect for the beatmakers and producers who work with samples and loops.

Mimic features four different sample modes:

Pitch mode: any sample loaded into Mimic is spread across the keyboard and pitched accordingly.

Slice mode: Automatically chops up a sample up, placing each individual slice on the keyboard.

Mimic’s Multi Slot and Multi Pitch modes make use of Mimic’s eight sample slots to create multi-sampled instruments.

Mimic is included with both Reason 12 software and Reason+ subscription.

Reason+ Subscription: List of included Drum Machines & Samplers:

Subscribe to a monthly or annual Reason+ subscription and you will have access to the drum machine and sampler devices listed below:

  • Kong Drum Designer
  • Rytmik Drum Machine
  • Redrum Drum Computer
  • Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player
  • NN-XT Advanced Sampler
  • NN-19 Sampler
  • Klang Tune Percussion
  • Umpf Club Drums
  • Umpf Retro Drums
  • Reason Drum Kits
  • Mimic Creative Sampler

(For a full list of all Reason subscription instruments and effects you can check the Reason website here.)

List of Drum Machines & Samplers included with Reason 12 software:

If you purchase Reason 12 software you get all of the drum machines and samplers listed below. Additional drum machines and samplers can be purchased from the Reason store.

  • Mimic Creative Sampler
  • Kong Drum Designer
  • Rytmik Drum Machine
  • Redrum Drum Computer
  • Dr. Octo Rex Loop Player
  • NN-XT Advanced Sampler
  • NN-19 Sampler
  • Klang Tuned Percussion

Reason 12 software vs Reason+ Subscription

It can be confusing trying to work out which instruments are included with Reason 12 and which are included with the Reason+ subscription only. Use the table below to check what version of Reason is best for your needs. Devices are listed in alphatebical order.

InstrumentReason 12 SoftwareReason+ Subscription
FM Synthesizer
Complex 1 Modular SynthNOYES
Dr. Octo Rex Loop PlayerYES YES
Europa Shapeshifting Synthesizer YES YES
Friktion StringsNOYES
Grain Sample Manipulator YES YES
Humana Vocal Ensemble YES YES
ID-8 Instrument Device YES YES
Klang Tuned Percussion YES YES
Kong Drum Designer YES YES
Layers Sample PlayerNOYES
Layers Waves EditionNOYES
Malström Graintable Synthesizer YES YES
Mimic Creative Sampler YES YES
Monotone Bass Synthesizer YES YES
NN19 Sampler YES YES
NN-XT Advanced Sampler YES YES
Pangea World Instrument YES YES
Parsec 2 SynthNOYES
Processed PianosNOYES
Radical Piano YES YES
Reason Electric BassNOYES
Reason Drum KitsNOYES
Redrum Drum Computer YES YES
Rytmik Drum Machine YES YES
Scenic Hybrid Instrument No YES
Subtractor Analog Synthesizer YES YES
Thor Polythonic syngYESYES
Umpf Club DrumsNOYES
Umpf Retro BeatsNOYES

Can Reason devices be used in any DAW?

You can use the Reason Rack Plugin to use any Reason device in a DAW of your choice, outside Reason. This opens up a whole new world of sound design and music making possibilities.

Whichever Reason device(s) you want to use, and whatever DAW you happen to be using, the core principle is the same: Fire up an instance of the Reason Rack Plugin in your DAW and you’ll be shown an empty rack and a browser window. Browse through Reason’s devices and then just double click a device to add it to the rack.

With devices added to the rack plugin you can use the browser window to broswe the full Reason factory sounds and presets and you have full control over instrument and effects routing just as with the standalone version of Reason.

Reason Rack Plugin comes in AU/VST 3/AAX formats and works in any suitable DAW including FL Studio, Logic, Pro Tools and Live.

You can run as many instances of the Reason Rack as your computer can handle.

More Reason related reads: