I realized today that something significant had happened and I hadn't even noticed it:
I open Ableton Live now when I want to get to work.
This is a pretty huge deal- Live has officially supplanted Reason as my initial go-to for composition. I think that's a true testament to the quality of the program, seeing as I was a die-hard Reason guy for a good... gosh, I guess about five years. Not that Reason has gone away by any means- I still rewire it into Live for a lot of things- but it's not my primary workhorse anymore.
[Warning: possibly boring details follow, feel free to skip this part]
There were always a few little things that bugged me about Reason, but I never really knew what I was missing until I got comfortable with Live. In general, it's just so freeing to be able to work with sound any way you want. In Live I can do the same kind of MIDI sequencing I've always done, but if I want I can also bounce that MIDI data to an audio track and manipulate the sound directly. And being able to do all kinds of non-destructive editing to actual audio eliminates the second-guessing that I always used to be plagued with when I had to prepare sounds ahead of time and play them through a sampler instead of just throwing them directly into an audio track. I'm still pretty green when it comes to this kind of stuff, but I'm getting more and more comfortable with it, and it's opening a lot of creative doors for me. We'll have to see what Reason 4 has to say when it comes out, though.
In other equipment-related news, there's a new addition to the studio that I'd like to introduce:
It's an SE 2200a condenser microphone! Finally, I can get sounds into my computer that don't originate from a stringed instrument or tiny perturbations on a piece of vinyl. I have a couple of tracks mostly written that are just waiting for a writer / vocalist to finish up, and now I have the goods to record him / her, so if you've got the skills, come on down!