If you've grown even a smidge tired of the Reason factory sound bank, rest assured; help is on the way. The race to develop cool, new Reason loop and sample fuel, called ReFills, is on, and hosting www.reasonrefills.com is London's AMG. So, when AMG offered Remix a look at its new batch of ReFill CDs, we jumped at the chance. Topping the list, Dirty Ol' Relics is a hearty batch of classic synthesizers, organs and other various keyboard instruments multisampled for Propeller-head's Reason (NN19 sample player). And after placing the entire ReFill contents on their hard drives, Reason users are also able to access the raw individual samples in AIFF format to conserve memory or to build personalized sample banks.
The wide range of sampled instruments on Dirty Ol' Relics includes a superclean Yamaha DX7, a slightly dirty harpsichord (single and double stop) and a rustic accordion. You'll also find an antique sounding Clavinet, a biting Yamaha CS80 (brass patches) and an authentic Wurlitzer Electric Piano. But wait, there's more. Relics' producer, Mr. Xeno (short for Xenophonix) has carefully captured the dirty and distorted imperfections of favorites such as the Fender Rhodes (seven varieties), the Hammond B-3 (five flavors) and the Mellotron (male choir, mix choir and strings). Many of those banks were made by individually sampling each key or note. The Hammonds, for instance, were sampled at each key interval and in full Leslie cycle, no less.
For those operating with a small amount of RAM, don't fret. Mr. Xeno thoughtfully added “LM” patches for the Hammonds and the Wurlitzer, with only a small sacrifice in sound. I was easily able to load a Moog, a Hammond, a Rhodes and a Wurlitzer in a single tune full of several other Reason instruments and effects, and I noticed no system drag.
I also tested how these instruments sound, and I have to report that this is an amazing collection. The 10 different Minimoogs, which include five basses and five wave sounds, are inspiring as well as authentic. Bundle those with the Hammonds and the often-melancholy Wurlitzer, and I say kudos to Mr. Xeno for only charging $49.95. Granted, many pros will favor Native Instruments' B-3 soft synth or Emagic's EVP88 (for Rhodes), but for the cost and access within Reason's environment, Dirty Ol' Relics is hard to touch. My only sonic disappointment was the plain acoustic piano, which seemed bland next to the accordion and pipe organ, in which you will find the original character that first charmed users into loving these instruments. The sounds are authentic and nasty in a way that can warm up a cold-sounding track.