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Reason: Complex-1 Modular

Propellerhead Reason Tips & Techniques
By Simon Sherbourne

Screen 1: The Init Patch comes with some basic connections in place.Screen 1: The Init Patch comes with some basic connections in place.

Propellerhead's new instrument is a modular within your modular.

In December Propellerhead unveiled their latest creation: a fully modular synth Rack Extension, available as an £89$99 add-on for Reason 10. Complex‑1 is an absolute beast. It's a true modular synth with a ton of possibilities, and a big headline feature...

Front‑panel Patching

Yes, Reason is the software that pioneered the virtual patch cable, but the cables have always been tucked away on the rear panel. With the surge of interest in modulars and Eurorack, we apparently love our cables front and centre. The semi-modular Thor synth introduced a routing and modulation matrix to patch and scale connections on the synth's front panel. This went on to be used on the Europa, Grain and Parsec synths. Complex‑1 instead opts for a complete simulation of physical patching, which is more visual, promotes experimentation, and is a lot more fun.

Patching is implemented entirely within the Complex‑1 Rack Extension's own user interface: this is not a wider change in Reason. You can't directly connect Complex‑1's front-facing patch points to other devices in the Rack. However, two CV and two audio ports are looped through from the front to back panels, giving you a conduit to the wider Rack environment. Just two externals is pretty limiting when you want Complex‑1 to interact with other devices, but the fact is it can do an awful lot on its own.

Complex System

Complex‑1 offers a lot of modules, covering some broad territory. The design hints at a Buchla influence, and certainly there are low-pass gates and a wave shaper that bring 'West Coast' synthesis flavours to Reason. However, it's a hybrid...

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Published March 2019