Reason Rack Extensions suffer under bad CPU performance

Rack Extensions

A few months ago, Rack Extensions (RE) was introduced by Propellerhead Software. This new plug-in format is specifically designed for Reason. Now the first REs have been released, it appears that these plug-ins burden the CPU much more heavily than other plug-in formats. The CPU load of the REs is about twice as high as comparable VST plug-ins.

For example, recently the RE version of the synthesizer Predator was released by Rob Papen. This beautiful synthesizer was released a few years ago in other formats, including VST, and is CPU wise not the most heavy plug-in in the market.

The RE version of Predator looks graphically different, but it sounds as great as the VST version. So the sound in Reason is as good as in other sequencers. But the CPU load of the RE version of Predator is much higher than the comparable VST version. For example, after loading the same patches, we found that the CPU load of the RE version of Predator is 10 percentage points higher than that of the VST version. And that’s just too much. After loading other REs in your project, for example some effects, then you will be running out of CPU cycles very soon. You can render the MIDI tracks to an audio track of course, but it would be more useful if you don’t have to.

If nothing changes then it probably means that Reason users may (temporarily?) forget about great plug-ins like Diva, the synthesizer by U-he. Hopefully, Propellerhead Software manages to bring down the CPU load soon. On their own user forum the software maker says that they will take a look at this issue, but that’s obviously no guarantee.

Propellerhead Software has released some interesting REs which are worth to take a look at for Reason users. The pitch shifter Polar is one of the most interesting REs at the moment. This one is unique, because there is no version available in any other plug-in format. In the nice video below, Polar is demonstrated. This pitch shifter allows you to do some creative things, for example with a simple guitar melody:

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