Despite the fact that there are now countless third-party and user-designed Reason ReFills on the market and the internet, Propellerhead, creators of Reason itself, seem strangely reticent to produce content bundles of their own. So far, their commercial ReFill output totals two: Reason Strings and Reason Drum Kits.
Reason Drum Kits 2 takes full advantage of Reason's powerful new Combinator device, and requires Reason 3 to run.
While the original RDK comprised a load of NN-XT patches, the Combinator has allowed Propellerhead to get infinitely more creative, building entire mix set-ups
separate mixer channels for each of the full range of microphone tracks captured in the original recording sessions, and per-drum EQ, compression and reverb, with everything stored as a single Combi preset.
As Propellerhead boast, these aren't just sampled drum kits – they're entire drum sessions in Reason format, even down to the drummer himself, if you choose to deploy the included MIDI files.
That would be enough to warrant the very reasonable 29 euros upgrade price, but there's more new stuff in RDK2 than 'just' that. While the
10,000-odd samples that make up the collection have only had two new multisampled snare drums added, there are new kit patches galore.
If you want to keep things simple, you'll appreciate the 25 new ReDrum kits, which operate on only a handful of samples, as opposed to up to 1,000 in the full NN-XT kits.
There are seven new Preset kits and 20 Style kits – Combinator patches aimed at processing their hosted drum sounds towards certain genres.
But most exciting of all are the Producer kits, which is where Propellerhead and chums have really gone to town.
There are 13 Producer kits in all, full Combinator patches lovingly created by ten stylistically varied (and top-flight to a man – although largely in Europe) producers and engineers.
These guys have clearly put the hours in and the results are amazing. Each engineer has a sound of their own, and deconstructing their mix and processing set-ups is invariably fascinating.
As an added bonus they've also contributed six full tracks, so you can see and hear the kit patches in complete and fully professional context.
Great for the analytical Reason user, and a convincing testament to the flexibility and sound of Reason outside the dance music arena.
An essential purchase
As we've already stated, RDK2 is a must-upgrade for existing RDK users, so if that's you, go get it.
For everyone else, this is unquestionably the best drums package available for the software – it sounds stunning, and puts the Combinator system to such good use that you wonder whether the two were actually designed in tandem!
And you don't have to use it purely for your Reason tracks. In ReWire mode, RDK2 can easily be used with Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools et al, making it a very serious rival to the likes of BFD and DFH. If Reason and real drums are your thing then you won't be disappointed.