Review: Reason Studios Scenic Hybrid Instrument

Want atmosphere by the bucket load and then loads of hands-on control, modulation and effects? Scenic Hybrid Instrument will certainly deliver it in spades.

Reason Studios Scenic Hybrid Instrument
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Price £89
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Scenic Hybrid Instrument is a brand-new Rack Extension from the newly named Reason Studios (ex Propellerhead Software). It is sold as a separate instrument, but also comes bundled with the full version of Reason (Suite, which costs €549/$599).

Scenic is described as the perfect instrument to deliver “thrill-inducing electronic rhythms, mood-setting orchestral textures and morbid drones for blockbuster impact” so is clearly wedging itself into the soundtrack sector. But these are the kinds of soundtracks to those Scandi-dramas, or off-kilter murder mysteries so popular on our screens over recent years.

The main UI is pretty simple: you get two elements to control, A and B, and you can alter three overall parameters using clock-like hands. These typically control filter sweeps, EQ, echo, or other big effects.

At the bottom, you get a global signal path for both engines that allows you to switch either on or off, or to select Insert, Echo or overall Master effects. Step through the presets here and you’ll have a combination of two sounds playing and can adjust the big dials for some pretty dramatic effects. Already, you can drastically alter the initial sample mixes, especially when you get the Sweep option that doesn’t always sweep quite how you’d imagine.

The larger of the dials here also gives you some fantastically dramatic shifts in the sound; basically, you could spend an age just stepping through the sounds and messing with options and you’d get some amazing and different results, but that’s just scratching the surface.

Hit the Edit button and you step down a layer or two. Here, you get to choose your core samples for Engines A and B, plus other parameters including pan and envelope data.

There is a filter here, too, with six types plus Envelope, Filter and Resonance dials per Engine. Tab over and you get to choose Insert FX and Echo effects per engine, too, plus the overall Master FX. There are also extensive modulation options via two LFOs and a Pulse control.

That’s more than enough to take some very decent sample combinations to gloriously atmospheric heights. The SHI offers high-octane atmosphere, specifically designed for emotive music, but is wide-ranging and on occasion, simply stunning.

Key features

  • Hybrid sample playback and granular synth instrument
  • Reason Rack Extension
  • 140 patchesExpressive performance controls
  • Dual sample/grain engine
  • 100+ multi-sampled instruments and effects
  • Five effect processors
  • Advanced modulation capabilities

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