On Saturday, Propellerhead Software introduced Record, a very impressive standalone audio recording program for Mac and Windows that can seamlessly integrate with Reason to become a fully featured and very powerful recording/MIDI sequencing environment. Rumors had been percolating about it on the Web for a while, but the company announced it officially at a series of Propellerhead Producers Conferences in London, Berlin, Los Angeles and New York, all of which took place on Saturday. Watch the video (part 1 and part 2) that I shot at the New York event.
My biggest headline about Record would be the incredibly impressive timestretching capabilities of the program. Propellerhead CEO Ernst Nathorst-Böös, who demoed Record, opened a song originally recorded at 140 BMP, and then sped it up to 160 and slowed it down to 113 as it played, with no audible artifacts. The crowded room—the event took place at Clinton Studios, a large commercial recording facility—broke into applause after Nathorst-Böös had navigated the song through its tempo changes. He then demonstrated how you can automate tempo changes, as well.
“The concept of recording stuff on a computer, from our perspective, which we like to think is the musician’s perspective,” said Nathorst-Böös. “It’s a little bit different from what’s out there today, a lot of which we think is designed from an engineer’s perspective.”
The mixer section of Record is an emulation of an SSL 9000K console, and includes the EQ, dynamics, and even the master bus compressor. There was an audible gasp and then applause from the gathered Reason users when the mixer screen was first shown.
Record’s editing features are designed for ease of use. It has a comping feature that appears really user-friendly and is similar in basic concept to those now included in Logic 8, Pro Tools 8, and Digital Performer 6.
As mentioned, when you run Record alongside Reason, the two programs integrate into a single production environment. You get the full MIDI recording functionality of Reason and its sequencer together with Record’s audio prowess. Reason’s sequencer tracks appear alongside Record’s audio tracks.
You also get Line 6 guitar- and bass-amp models and effects, and if you use a Line 6 hardware device (like a POD or audio interface), connected via USB to Record, you can access all of the models from that device in the software.
One area that may give pause to some users is Propellerhead’s decision to make Record a closed environment, that is, it will not support outside plug-in formats like Audio Units or VST. As a result, your plug-ins will be limited to those in Record, or Record and Reason if you’re working with both together.
Nathorst-Böös explained the decision by saying that by not having to support the outside formats, Propellerhead was able to make the system much more efficient for using its included effects (and instruments when you’re running in tandem with Reason). “It’s not that we don’t acknowledge that there’s all this cool stuff that you can use,” he told the crowd, “we figured we’d rather give you 30 or 40 channels of true, really good, mixer processing, and being able to use it on a computer you already have.”
And he demonstrated that capability by playing back a song from his MacBook Pro, and showing the huge amount of effects that were included on it (there were at least 50 different instances of effects on that song, and probably more). For situations where one wants to export a project out to another DAW, Record has an incredibly easy setup that lets you select the tracks you want to export, hit a button, and boom, it’s done—and all the tracks are automatically set to start at the beginning of the song, making syncing them in another host a breeze.
Record will ship on September 9th of this year (that’s 9/9/09 for you numerologists out there), and there is an almost fully functional public beta that is available now.
Oh, and one more thing, the street price for Record is $249 (there was another audible gasp from the crowd when that was revealed). Registered Reason users will be able to upgrade for $149. A bundle of Reason and Record will street for $499.