Default Song Preferences

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 | 12:18 pm and filed in Reason, Tutorials.


Customizing your preferences is important to optimize your workflow with Reason. One of these is the ‘Default Song’ setting located in the General page of the Preferences window. I prefer a minimal starting point since I like the flexibility of a blank canvas. Many others have fairly elaborate custom setups, complete with patches preloaded allowing them to get right into developing a song. It’s one of the small features in Reason, that everyone should know, but a lot of people seem to overlook.

To open the Preference panel on a Windows system, go the the Edit Menu and select the “Preferences” Item. On a Mac, the Preferences item is located under the “Reason” menu.

On the Preference menu, you have three options listed under the Default Song settings: Empty Rack (hopefully needs no explaination), Built In (Minimum setup with a Mastering Combi and Mixer), and Custom (User Definable Default Song).

As previously mentioned, I like starting with the minimal set up of the “Built In” setting. This has a MClass Mastering Combi with the Maximizer set to prevent clipping, and a ReMix 14:2 Mixer. I never know what i’m going to be working on. I might be programming synth patches one minute, or developing combis the next. Each RNS file is saved separately, so there’s no need for me to have a populated rack for each instance. The extraneous devices will clutter things up, and for me, simple is better. I also disable the “Load Default Sound in New Devices” option, preferring to work with initialized patches rather than having a patch automatically loaded.

I have a little issue with the ‘Built In’ setting: When you launch Reason, the default song opens up, so you’re required to open another “New” song file before the basic rack appears. To work around this, I have a copy of the basic rack saved in the Reason application folder and assigned as a Custom Default Song. When Reason is first launched, the initial document is the Built In rack, and not the demo song.

Here’s how it’s done:

1. Open a New Reason Song Document. At this point, you can populate the Rack with the devices you want or leave it with a minimal setup.

2. Save the Reason song file in the Reason Application folder. It can be named to anything like “Built In Default.rns”

3. Open the Reason Preferences General Page, and click on the Radio button for ‘Custom:’

4. Click on the Folder Icon to open the Browser Window.

5. Navigate to the Reason Application folder - a handy shortcut is to click on the Reason Factory Soundbank, and then select the “Reason” Folder from the pull down menu.

6. Select the saved Default RNS file and click on the “Open” Button.

7. Uncheck the “Load Default Sound in New Devices” box. Skip this step if you like the default settings. The one benefit is that the patch browser is automatically directed to an appropriate directory in the Factory Soundbank, but if you have a large library of 3rd party patches, this might not be optimal.

8. Close The Preferences and quit Reason.

9. Launch Reason to verify that your default song opens automatically.

Download my Default Song: Built In

4 Responses to “Default Song Preferences”

  1. davidkain Says:

    Along these same lines, I also find it helpful to create custom templates for different types of projects.

    For example:

    If I know I’m going to be using Reason as a ReWire slave in a DAW (usually Ableton Live in my case) I can load a template document containing a number of mixers routed to separate channels on the Audio Output device at the top of the rack. This lets me output submixes (e.g. Drums and Piano) to separate tracks on my DAW quickly.

  2. blacktiger Says:

    I’ve made the addition using your “Built-In Default” patch, and it’s really a time saver (this I believe will still come out negative relative to the time I am now wasting on Facebook). Anyway.

    I should also say I further customized the “Built-In Default” patch by adding common keyboard control commands: “A” for stop, “D” for record, and “V” for count-in are the most handy for me personally.

    Thanks for making our lives simpler, Kurt!

  3. Peff Says:

    Very Cool Ideas! Premapping your setup is another great feature of the custom default song. Mapping various buttons from controllers to the transport and such. If you’re inclined, post up your defaults :)

  4. blacktiger Says:

    OK, I’ll start: You can pick up a copy of my .rns mod, as well as my other craziness, at this site:

    Let me know if there are any problems, and I’ll email the respective peeps.


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