Review of Reaper, a DAW That’s Competing With the Big Name Players

REAPER is an affordable DAW capable of competing with established products like Pro Tools. Gary begins by discussing installation process before diving deeper into audio, MIDI, and automation aspects.

Tracks in REAPER serve both audio and MIDI purposes, providing standard controls for muting, soloing, panning and more. Furthermore, JSFX scripts serve as full-fledged plugins offering audio effects, synths and samplers – another unique aspect of REAPER!


Reaper doesn’t include any built-in instruments, but that doesn’t matter: freeware synth and sampler plugins work flawlessly with Reaper. Reaper offers the standard features found in DAWs such as MIDI recording, looping, auto arm when selecting tracks, bussing to apply FX simultaneously on multiple tracks at the same time, bussing (to apply FX effects to groups of tracks simultaneously) as well as bussing for applying FX to groups at once.

Reaper is unique in that each track can be used for audio or MIDI, multiple clips can be stored within it and it acts as a folder track. Furthermore, tracks can also double up as midi tracks or act as parent tracks (similar to what other DAWs offer).

Reaper provides many workflow lifts and shortcuts designed to make learning the program simpler for newcomers, with regular updates and bug fixes from Cockos so the program continues to get better over time. Users can create their own shortcuts and macros; additionally there are numerous keyboard layouts to select for an optimal workspace experience.

Reaper’s extensive FX library makes Reaper an indispensable recording software, from basic EQ and compression to high-end reverb and delay effects. Multiple FX chains may also run simultaneously; additionally, take automation follows an item, meaning when moving a clip or track its effects will move with it.

Cockos software includes an easy and powerful scripting language, so you can write custom scripts to automate tasks or plug-in parameters. There are numerous template scripts already available on its website and, if you use Windows shortcuts frequently, an extension to ensure full compatibility is available as an add-on download.

Reaper v7.001 features numerous major new features, user interface enhancements, and behind-the-scenes improvements, among which are Razor Editing for surgically cutting, splitting, moving or copying media or automation envelopes, ReaLimit brickwall limiter/loudness maximizer plug-in and Track Lanes as a means to manage alternate takes or composite versions of tracks as well as layer sounds or store playlists.


No matter the genre of music you create, the sound quality relies heavily on the software and hardware you choose for recording, mixing, and mastering. Your budget and capabilities of your computer may play an important part in this decision; Reaper stands out as an affordable yet robust DAW option that can rival more costly options in terms of sound quality. With its extensive collection of plug-ins, robust mixer panel, and advanced features it makes Reaper an attractive solution that provides top quality productions at a very reasonable price point.

Reaper is capable of processing multiple tracks simultaneously and supporting many interface inputs at once; recording full bands should not present any problems if you have enough microphones. With advanced features like MIDI track mapping and flexible routing capabilities, Reaper makes a perfect solution for classroom and home studio settings – especially with students who might otherwise struggle to afford industry standard software.

Automation lanes in Reaper are among the most essential features of a digital audio workstation (DAW), allowing you to work more efficiently by automating virtual knobs and sliders for you, saving time by automating repetitive adjustments of settings over and over again. This frees you up to focus more on creative aspects rather than constantly tweaking parameters manually.

Reaper’s ability to store and recall self-contained FX chains, saving both CPU and RAM resources, is also highly valuable. Reaper also boasts a more sophisticated bussing system than most DAWs that makes signal flow much more intuitive; with Reaper v7 this capability was even enhanced further with options to collapse/show/hide tracks in folder view as well as Child Track Sizing support for Folder Tracks.

Reaper’s support for various themes is considerable and some come very close to replicating the look and functionality of popular DAWs such as Pro Tools, Logic and Cubase. This helps create a familiar environment which students can quickly grasp its functions.


Reaper supports MIDI, but its additional features make working with it even better than expected. Tracks in Reaper serve both audio and MIDI purposes simultaneously and can hold multiple tracks as group tracks or folders to facilitate smooth workflow and make Reaper one of the top DAWs for mixing and mastering.

Reaper’s MIDI feature can be used for many different things, from note selection and controlling plugins and effects, to sending data between devices like keyboards or drum pads. When connecting hardware controllers such as keyboards or drum pads with Reaper, it’s crucial that they’re set up correctly – depending on which type they are it may vary according to how they’re set up – it is always advisable to refer back to its documentation for assistance on setting it up correctly.

Once installed, Reaper will automatically detect MIDI input and output on your computer, and allow you to customize its MIDI port settings, specifying which devices it communicates with. Furthermore, its script window allows users to create custom actions with complex automation features – ideal for adding advanced automation effects into projects.

Reaper makes using MIDI just as straightforward as any other file type: simply select tracks and events, drag-and-drop onto a timeline, add effects and instrumentation effects as needed, move or copy regions for experimentation, copy them back out again to try alternative arrangements, or set up projects to record automatically when selected tracks are chosen; saving yourself from having to arm each individual track separately!

Reaper is equipped with an extensive library of free instruments and plugins that work seamlessly with its program, making it especially helpful for users without the budget to invest in top-of-the-line DAWs yet require professional-level tools. You can even install themes to customize Reaper to look more like other popular DAWs.


Automation is a cornerstone feature of any DAW, providing the ability to automate parameter changes such as panning between channels or raising vocal volume during an important passage. Reaper offers various forms of automation with customizable features.

Reaper allows users to develop scripts – mini programs that run in real time and perform specific tasks – for complex audio processing, advanced track management, or even MIDI mapping. These scripts can be created using either Reaper’s free IDE, EEL2, its native scripting language; alternatively they may be written using another programming language like Java Script. A wide community of Reaper users – many students included – has come up with innovative and useful scripts which can be freely downloaded for use.

Reaper’s procedural audio creation capability is another impressive advantage of Reaper, allowing you to generate unique, non-repetitive sounds at the press of a button – saving both time and effort from tedious edits or repeating of sounds – this feature alone is why so many game audio companies rely on Reaper for production needs.

Reaper features that aid workflow include the Navigator window, which functions like a zoom tool for your project and allows you to select any part and move it around quickly by right-clicking and dragging. Scrolling the mouse wheel over any area within the Navigator window also delineates that area as you move along your journey – making large projects much faster to navigate!

Reaper’s interface can be customized with various themes, and has access to an impressive library of plugins. While its basic synths and samplers may not provide enough output, top-of-the-line freeware instruments and effect plug-ins work seamlessly with Reaper, offering students a significant cost saving by deferring costly commercial upgrades until they know that Reaper is something they wish to continue using and can afford upgrades.

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