Propellerhead is pushing Europa (their flagship synthesizer) into all sorts of places. Recently they ported it to VST and even had it running in a browser online. Now they’ve followed Thor into the land of iOS with Reason Compact.
Now, wait just a minute. This isn’t Reason by any stretch, not even a “compact” version of Reason. This is a reimagining of the very cool Europa synthesizer for a phone shaped space. So the name is instantly misleading and a very weird marketing choice. But let’s get over that nonsense and have a look at what we’ve got.
Reason Compact is Europa redesigned for your fingers and the small form factor of an iPhone. It will run on iPad too but I get the impression that the iPhone is really where Propellerheads see this operating. We already know that Europa sounds great and you’ll get some great control in this app. You’ve got 16 waveforms, shape controls, morphing, unison modes, distortion, reverb and delay effects and they’ve added a chord mode, sequencer and arpeggiator to get those rhythms and melodies flowing.
The best feature by far is this one:
Press any key to make professional-sounding melodies with the smart keyboard
We all need an “any key” to make that sort of thing happen.
They’ve stuffed in a load of presets from very clever musical people in order to make it instantly satisfying. It comes with a bunch of sounds to get you going and offers a load more if you come up with the in-app cash. It will interact perfectly with other music apps via Audiobus or Ableton Link. You can even export your fiddling into full-fat Reason and continue your music making.
It’s a useful app built around a fabulous sound engine and offers a lot of creative tools – what’s not to like about that? They probably should have called it something else but maybe there are plans to add further synths and devices down the road. Who knows? What we do know is that it’s fun and free to download and the promotional video is pretty darn convincing.