Review: Propellerhead Reason 6


Reason has two dedicated drum machine instruments: ReDrum and Kong.



  • Quick, direct sampling
  • Classic step sequencer

Not Great:

  • Limited choke/mute group options
  • No layering

ReDrum has been around since the beginning, and despite being somewhat inflexible, suiting a very specific workflow, it gets the job done and sports a step sequencer that will be instantly recognisable to anyone with any experience with classic hardware drum machines. Super complex routing, layering, and editing is not ReDrum’s forte… getting things done is. In the end, Redrum’s a bit of a throwback, but its step sequencer can be used to drive Kong if you like steps!



  • Superb drum synths
  • Great Effects
  • Flexible pad grouping

Not Great:

  • No Sequencer
  • …?

Kong, on the other hand, is one of Reason’s most impressive devices. A ’16 pad’ style drum sampler, it happily loads up a mini ‘NN-nano’  sampler, ‘Nurse Rex’, a rex file loader that can play any and all slices in a rex file, as well as both analogue and acoustic modelling engines for kicks, snares, and tom toms, and an analogue high hat modeller.

Each drum pad can have its own device or trigger another pad, and have multiple triggering modes that can be selected independently for each pad. This means that a rex loop can be loaded into one pad, but its slices can be triggered by all the others, a Nano patch can have multiple samples that can all be loaded together and assigned to different pads to speed up your workflow, and a single synth module can be set to, for instance, open or closed high hats.

On top of the drum instruments, there’s also a noise and tone generator, nine effects available to slot into two insert effects banks per pad, as well a send effect and a master effect. To keep things nicely contained within Kong, these are all new ‘mini’ effects that aren’t available in the standard full sized Reason rack. All sound great.

The only thing missing from Kong, in fact, is a step sequencer of its own. Part of the beauty of Reason is that you can create one by repurposing other instruments’ sequencers, or of course (as is our preference) do things in the main sequencer view.

If NN-XT is dragging its heels when it comes to instrument sampling, Kong is racing ahead of the pack with drums. We’ve spent hours coming up with amazing electronic drum kits capable of driving an entire track on their own. We can’t think of a single drum sampler that we prefer to Kong – it’s that good.

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