Propellerhead launches free Reason Compact app for iOS... but it isn’t quite what you might have been hoping for

UPDATE: Propellerhead has confirmed that there is more to come from Reason Compact by posting the following statement on its website: "The first version of Reason Compact features a slimmed down version of the Europa Shapeshifting Synthesizer from Reason 10. Reason Compact will be developed further to contain more tracks and instruments - including drums - so this is just a beginning."

Original story

An iOS version of Reason has been on many people’s wish list for some years now, so the announcement of Reason Compact, billed as “a slice of Reason on your phone,” was always going to generate considerable excitement. However, the title of this new app is slightly misleading, for while it does contain a touch-friendly version of Reason’s excellent Europa synth, which is also available as a plugin, that appears to be about it.

Reason Compact comes with 35 presets and enables you to create synth patches using 16 types of waveform. You can then hone your sound using the Shape controls and add effects. A smart keyboard enables you to record patterns, and performances can be tweaked using the note grid.

“Making music on your phone has always required musicians to have either great skill or make compromises in sound, features, or flexibility - until now,” says Hanna Åstrand, Product Manager at Propellerhead. “With Reason Compact you have everything you need to get started making music right on your phone. Start with an inspiring preset, lay down a melody with the smart keyboard, and touch up your performance with the note grid. It’s that easy - with Reason Compact you can make music everywhere.”

All of which is fine up to a point, but there’s bound to be a certain amount of disappointment that we’re not getting a rather larger slice of Reason here. Yes, your projects are compatible with Reason 10 and the Europa plugin and there’s support for Inter-App Audio, Ableton Link and Allihoopa, but this isn’t a full-on mobile DAW by any stretch of the imagination.

That said, Reason Compact is free to download on the Apple App Store (opens in new tab) and has a powerful synth engine behind it, which is reason enough, if you’ll pardon the pun, to give it a try. Let’s hope there’s more to come, though.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.