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Top Reason Studios Instruments: NN-XT, ReDrum, Dr. Octo Rex


Top Reason Studios instruments (plugins). Everyone has their own list, these are our favorites still after more than 20 years of using Reason.

Reason Studios 13 comes out this month. If you’re not familiar with who they are, or their history, I suggest checking out this post. Reason has been a powerhouse in this industry for many years. Starting as primarily a sound design application (to many) and flourishing to a well respected DAW.

In this post, we’ll explore why Reason is so beloved, delve into some of its iconic units, and take a sneak peek at the exciting features coming in Reason 13.

Favorite Reason Studios Plugins (Instruments)

Several units in Reason have become legendary among users for their power, flexibility, and ease of use. Here’s a closer look at some of the instruments


Dr. Rex Loop Player

Dr. Octo Rex Player

The Dr. Rex Loop Player is one of the first reason devices sample based producers latch onto, a powerful tool for working with REX files (loop files sliced into individual segments). It allows producers to manipulate loops with precision, enabling time-stretching, pitch-shifting, and reordering of slices. This unit is perfect for adding intricate rhythmic textures and variations to your tracks effortlessly.

ReDrum Drum Computer: Top Reason Drum Machine

ReDrum Drum Machine

ReDrum is a classic drum machine emulator that offers a straightforward and effective way to create drum patterns. It features 10 channels for loading drum samples, each with its own set of parameters for shaping the sound. ReDrum’s step sequencer is intuitive, making it easy to program complex beats and rhythms.

The ReDrum draws inspiration from classic drum machines like:

  • Roland TR-808: Famous for its booming bass drum and snappy snare sounds.
  • Roland TR-909: Known for its punchy kicks and crisp hi-hats.


NN-XT Advanced Sampler: Favorite Sampler In Reason

NNXT Sampler

The NN-XT is similar to the NN-19 but has more advanced features, especially in the layering department, allowing users to create unique sounds easier. I really enjoy the multi-sampling, auto map and zone features which makes it great for loading in multiple samples and mapping them quickly.

You can set the sampler to switch between samples (Alt mode) as you play, helping to create more realistic drum and instrument performances.

Another great feature is having multiple outs which allow you to export groups of samples to be routed to specific fx for processing.

Hardware Samplers the NN-XT draws inspiration from

Akai S-series: S1000, S3000

The Akai S1000 offers 16-bit stereo sampling, 32-voice polyphony, a built-in hard disk drive, and comprehensive sample editing. At the same time, the Akai S3000 enhances these features with improved sampling quality, increased memory, digital filters, pitch-shifting, and built-in effects.

Yamaha A-series: A3000, A5000

The Yamaha A3000 and A5000 are known for high-fidelity sampling, memory, interface, multiple outputs, detailed editing options like time-stretching and pitch-shifting, and built-in effects such as reverb and delay.

NN19 Digital Sampler: A lot of Top Music Producers Still Use This Sampler

NN19 Sampler

The NN19 is a simpler, more straightforward sampler than the NN-XT. It’s ideal for quick sample playback and straightforward sound manipulation. This is the sampler you’ll use if you’re playing back Horn patches, strings, or one shot samples and using them to 16 levels, so to speak, as you would on an MPC.

It’s simple, but it really does get the job done, and it’s perfect at Hanging handling the most basic of sampling tasks.

The hardware equivalents of the NN19 would be simpler samplers like:


  • Akai S950: A classic 12-bit sampler known for its gritty sound and straightforward operation.
  • Ensoniq Mirage: One of the first affordable digital samplers known for its distinctive 8-bit sound.
  • Roland S-50: An early digital sampler that provided a user-friendly interface and solid sound quality.


Moving Forward: Reason 13

As Reason Studios continues to innovate, the upcoming release of Reason 13 is eagerly anticipated by the music production community. While details are still emerging, some exciting features are expected to include:

1.Better Sequencer: Improvements to the sequencer with new editing tools and a more flexible workflow.

2.New Instruments and Effects: Addition of cutting-edge instruments and effects to expand the sonic palette.

3.Better Integration: Enhanced integration capabilities with other DAWs and hardware, making Reason even more versatile in various production setups.

4.User Interface Upgrades: Refinements to the interface to improve usability and accessibility for both new and experienced users.





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