How to Rewire Reason into Pro Tools

The basics of “Rewire-ing” are actually fairly simple. One program is known as the “Host” and one program is known as the “Client”. Host programs are used to control the client programs. In this particular instance, Pro Tools is the host, and Reason is the client.

One of the most important things you need to understand when using Rewire are it’s limitations. With Rewire, audio travels in only one direction; from the client to the host. MIDI data can travel in both directions, but is usually only done from host to client. Pro Tools currently limits the MIDI data coming from the client to the host to cc messages only (a feature that I’m hoping will expand in the future), but fully supports all MIDI from host to client.

Although there are multiple different ways to Rewire Reason into Pro Tools, depending on what you are looking to do, the simplest way is the following:

  1. Create or open a Pro Tools session.
  2. Create a stereo Instrument track.
  3. Insert Reason on the track.The Reason program will start automatically when you do.
  4. In Reason, open or create a Reason session.

That, right there, is the absolute basics of Rewire-ing Reason to Pro Tools. Seriously. At this point, when you press play in Pro Tools, Reason will follow along at the same tempo and the transports will be in sync. If you opened a pre-created Reason session, the audio from reason will come through the instrument track you have it inserted on.

Now what if you didn’t open a pre-created Reason session? What if you are trying to create new music? This is, again, where things get complicated and can be done in several different ways. I’m going to cover the most basic and widely used method here in it’s simplest form:

  1. In your new Reason session, create a device that you want to use to produce the sounds, and select a preset. (Reason Adapted users can actually skip this step because you are forced to use a specific set of devices because of the limitations of the Adapted version)
  2. On your Pro Tools Instrument track, in the Instrument section (make sure your instrument section is not hidden from view on the mix or edit window), select the device that you are going to use from the MIDI output selector. When you add devices to the Reason Rack, they automatically appear in the MIDI output dropdown. (Again, Adapted users will get the fixed set of devices in this list; just select the one you are going to use)
  3. Make sure that the MIDI input is set to “All” or the specific MIDI input that you are using.
  4. At this point, as long as your hardware is setup properly, you should be able to play your controller and hear the preset you selected on the Reason device, assuming that you have the Default Thru Instrument set for “first selected MIDI track”. If not, either make that setting (Setup->Preferences, MIDI tab) or record enable the track.(the next few steps are a little obvious)
  5. Record the MIDI
  6. Playback at will.

The MIDI data will be recorded in your Pro Tools session on that Instrument track, and it will control the device that you selected, producing sound that is then passed back into Pro Tools on the same instrument track.

There are some more complex ways to use and setup Reason over Rewire, but since this is a “basics” tutorial, I will stop there. Check out some of the other tutorials here if you wild like to know more.