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Propellerhead Balance with Reason Essentials

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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  • 2-in 2-out audio interface. sounds as good as it looks, works as great as it feels. we've taken care of all the tedious stuff - calibration, setup, the works. you can concentrate on having fun instead: making music. with two channels of pristine audio recording, and with inputs for all your gear, your instruments are always connected and you are always ready to record.
  • Integrated music recording environment. balance is perfectly integrated with reason (not included) and reason essentials (included). with clip safe you'll never lose a good take to distortion again. big meter lets you tune your guitar and set the levels from across the room. use it with our software, other pro audio apps, or even itunesTM - balance works with everything.
  • Reason essentials packs all the recording, editing, effects, instruments, and mixing tools you need to sound great. with its generous sound bank and familiar creative flow, it's the software that lets you focus on the music and finish that song. need more? upgrade to reason 6 for even more instruments, sounds, and effects.
  • Reason essentials comes with a great selection of instruments and effects in a virtual rack that builds itself, or can be tweaked to your heart's content-drum machine, loop player, sampler, synths, reverb, delay, distortion and more.
  • For guitar players, the built-in virtual guitar and bass pod® from line 6 brings a wide range of top quality guitar amps, cabinets and effects. the intuitive audio and midi sequencer makes recording and arranging your music a breeze.
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Product Information

Technical Details
Item Weight794 g
Product Dimensions16 x 16 x 23.6 cm
Item model number99-101-0026
Country Produced Inchina
  
Additional Information
ASINB005GSZ3F8
Best Sellers Rank 38,960 in Musical Instruments (See top 100)
Shipping Weight1.1 Kg
Date First Available29 Sept. 2011
  
 

Product Description

Manufacturer's Description

Propellerhead Balance, a two-in by two-out audio interface for Mac and Windows, is designed for the single person operated home/project studio. Fully USB 2 powered with separate volume controls for monitors and headphones, it contains 8 input connections to keep all instruments, mics and devices connected and ready to record with the press of a button—without software pop-ups or control panels. The included Reason Essentials packs in all the recording editing, effects, instruments and mixing tools needed to create great sounding tracks. Balance’s class compliant drivers on the Mac and ASIO/WMD driver for Windows ensure hassle free installation and compatibility with all applications from iTunes to ProTools. Integration with Propellerhead products goes further. Hardware buttons on Balance bring up a large meter/tuner in Reason and can also enable “Clip Safe,” Propellerhead’s new recording technology that with one click heals clipped recorded audio. Musicians no longer have to worry about losing a great recording because gain levels were too high, and can stay focused on creating that goose bump evoking performance. Built for independent minded musicians, the included Reason Essentials has the feel of a million dollar recording studio with the streamlined simplicity of a tape deck. Distilled from the core of Reason, Reason Essentials contains a great selection of instruments and effects in a virtual rack that builds itself, or can be infinitely customized—drum machine, loop player, sampler, synths, reverb, delay, distortion, mastering effects and more. For guitar players, the built-in virtual guitar and bass PODs from Line 6 bring a wide range of top quality guitar amps, cabinets and effects. The intuitive audio and MIDI sequencer makes recording and arranging music a breeze. With an easy to grasp interface, it won't get in the way of ideas and will inspire users to make more music.

Box Contains

1x Propellerhead Balance audio interface
1x USB cable
1x Reason Essentials Software Installer & Sound Bank DVD
1x License number and Registration code sticker ( fixed to DVD Holder)
1x Quick Start booklet
1x Warranty leaflet


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This is an amazing piece of hardware and I don't think Propellerheads really do enough to market exactly what it is. It's a recording device and that's what most people stop at but it's more than that. It's also a high quality soundcard type device with its own ASIO driver which lets you record with a latency of 2ms. I use headphones primarily so I just plug them into the jack socket on the right hand side of this unit. If you want to plug in PC speakers then you could use the same jack socket with a 6.35mm to 3.5mm converter (which it doesn't come with) or you could plug in studio monitors to the left and right mono out sockets on the rear of the device.

A nice thing about this is that I could also use it on my laptop, giving it the same high quality audio capabilities as my desktop so my set-up becomes completely portable if needed. I took out my old sound card now that I have this and it replaces all PC audio, not just ASIO drivers. Obviously it doesn't do fancy surround sound or anything so you would still need your internal sound card if you have a surround set-up for playing games or movies that utilise surround sound.

For recording, I've only used it so far with a mic which worked very well. The 2x XLR mic sockets on the back provide phantom power and both have independent power buttons.
I noticed a slight buzzing sound when I first tried it out but it turned out to be my cordless landline phone base station that was too close to the Balance and caused interference. It went away completely when I moved the phone away.

It also acts as an ignition key that saves your license information so you wouldn't need this and an ignition key to authorise your Reason session.

As for downsides.
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Verified Purchase
Firstly, if you have any version of Reason (full Reason, not Essentials) when you order this unit then you will be given a full upgrade to the latest version of Reason, in my case from 6.5 to 7. This is not obvious unless you look carefully at the Propellerhead site and it makes this unit something of a bargain because a Reason upgrade alone (best price) is £90.
Secondly, this unit is really useful. It looks great and works perfectly. I upgraded Reason (install the included Essentials software, register it with the supplied codes, then Propellerhead will automatically give you the Reason upgrade via a download), installed the latest Windows drivers for Balance (via the Propellerhead site), plugged in to a USB 2.o port, chose ASIO BALANCE as my input Audio device in the Reason config and off it went. I plugged in a guitar and Balance gave me perfect performance with good sound quality. The headphone output is just adequate but drives my Sennheisers to an acceptable volume. I will probably take advantage of the outputs to drive an amp and speaker before too long. Bear in mind that you can't use Balance AND your computer's soundcard simultaneously with Reason. It has to be one or the other.
Highly recommended!
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I bought this unit from dolphin music uk and was pleasantly supried to recieve it 2 days later. Out of the box it is wonderful and i am going to copy+paste a short review i did on the propellerheads forums:

I have a Dell Studio 1558 laptop with a core i5, about 3gb of ram, and a 7200rpm hdd

First looks is that it's a SWEET looking interface and sounds great aswell (i think, though not much experience in this area, so i'll just assume it does due to the price).. Have to put the input knob up to full to squeeze a good sound out of my beta 57 going straight into the mic in - but it sounds clear and like it should do.

The fingerprints show up a lot on the rubber.

Been trying to get used to reason again as it's been so long, but essentials is great too.

[rant]
I have to say moving from an mBox mini 2 & pro tools - balance & essentials has a much nicer 'workflow'. The installation was weeks before I bought it (Love this decision Pheads), and unlike pro tools, it didn't crash my computer 50 times on installation. It also doesn't stop halfway through a recording 80% of the time complaining there's not enough cpu, and this was at 512 sample buffer anyway *angry face*
[/rant]

On the subject of latency, balance kills it. On Edit->Preferences->Audio, I use 64 sample buffer size, and it displays I get 2ms Input, and 1ms Output.
I can't hear any delay when recording anything so thumbs up!
I did have a slight problem at first though, which caused the audio to glitch randomly - but I found it was due to a WLAN driver. Now that's sorted, I haven't heard a glitch since, and I can happily browse the internet while my friend records bass (hehe).
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Verified Purchase
Reminds me of the thrill of buying your first piece of Apple gear. The packaging, the feel of the product. The design is worthy of an award. The sound is sublime. If only Reason accepted video, it would be the ultimate DAW in the world. This replaced my Pro Tools LE set up and my recordings sound infinitely better. Clever people those Propellerhead
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