FM: How long has this new version been in development?
Props: “We started as soon as the Bug Fix updates were done after 3.0, so it’s been a while … The goal is the same as always: to create an application that helps people make better stunningly sounding music more often. We’re going for a hard combination: to provide the best tools required for the job and at the same time get out of the way as much as possible.”
FM: What’s been the biggest challenge when working on version 4?
Props: “Getting it ready. We do what some other software companies rarely do, which is to constantly rework the inner workings of the program. This time we dismantled the sequencer more or less completely before we built it back up again. The normal ways would be to just slap a bunch of features on to what we already have, but then we would never have been able to do what I sincerely think is the best sequencer on the market. It’s maybe still not the one with the most features, but the best.”
FM: What’s the best new feature for those who have never used Reason?
Props: “We actually made a large number of small changes to support the workflow for experienced users and at the same time allow newcomers to get into the game quickly. It’s so much, the new one-track-one-device paradigm, lanes, the device palette, the fact that devices are preloaded with sounds, the new transport and more. Those features are not really meant to be noticed, they’re just there to support you when inspiration hits.”
FM: What about audio quality?
Props: “There’s a continuous debate on sound quality – all software companies have it. It’s very frustrating. We have the facts and we know that the basic stuff we do, samples, mixing and playback is well on par with anything else out there, whether you use ReWire or not. And the quality of our signal processing (which is what really matters) actually kills the competition. Some people can’t quite believe it; I guess it’s because the program runs so efficiently. You know, too good to be true… It’s actually sad because there are so many misunderstandings about these issues and they make people make the wrong choices sometimes. At least we decided to never capitalize on some of the myths that are floating around.”
More snippets from the interview:
“The sequencer is a total redesign and rewrite, with some completely new concepts and tons of refinements – the way we do vector automation, how we handle pattern changes, tempo and time signature changes, the new tools and functions, the ultra-high resolution and precision editing … The ReGroove mixer is a completely new concept in beat quantising, it’s a big step forward for anyone doing beats and I also love it because we personally were very involved in it.”
“We wanted to create a synth that sounds better than anything ever done on a computer. It’s cool, it’s semi-modular and it’s got more possibilities than you could ever create patches for. But the best thing about it is the sheer sound quality. Among other things, Thor works like a classic modular analogue synth where audio and control signals can be freely exchangeable, and as far as we’re aware, this is a first. When you design things that just can’t cheat, you’ve made things really complicated for yourself. The up side is that it really affects the end result in terms of sound quality. Another thing is that we managed to do this without taxing your CPU too much, which was hard.”