Gone are the days when digital audio workstations were a big investment. With the expansion of the internet and upgrades in technology, now there are many alternatives to more popular choices like Ableton or Logic and musicians are able to choose between many different options.
But when it comes to lesser-known DAWs, you might be wondering if they’re worth downloading.
Although REAPER DAW was first released in 2006, it’s been one of the least popular DAWs and is only beginning to see some traction. That said, it’s a great alternative with some unique features, and it might be one that you’re considering.
So is Reaper a good choice? What kind of music is it good at making? Does it work as a DAW for professional work? If you’re wondering about these questions then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to be introducing you to Reaper and explaining what makes it unique.
So let’s get right into it.
Reaper General Overview
Reaper (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) is a MIDI sequencer and digital audio workstation made by Cockos. Whilst it doesn’t do anything too different in terms of features, it’s a uniquely customizable DAW with an impressive bundled package of effects plugins.
Reaper also has video editing capabilities that allow you to cut videos, or replace and edit their audio. It works with the Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems and offers a fully functional free 60-day trial period.
One of the main draws to Reaper is that it is a lot cheaper than other DAWs that you might find, and because of this a lot of people don’t take it as seriously as Ableton or Logic – but that’s not to say it’s completely inferior.
In the sections below, we’re going to take a look at some of its features to see how it stacks up against other DAWs.
So the first thing we’re going to consider is Reaper’s overall performance as a piece of software. There’s nothing worse than a DAW that freezes and causes issues for you when you’re in the depths of the creative process.
Reaper is written in C and C++ coding languages, and we can say that the team has done a very good job of creating a piece of software that runs smoothly and efficiently. It’s not hugely draining on your CPU and has an extremely fast startup speed.
It’s also very lightweight, with its main download being only 15MB.
Reaper also performs well even with gigantic projects, and you can expect to see no differences in performance even with well over 100 tracks.
Using Reaper For Recording
There is a tried and tested user interface that almost all DAWs adhere to, and that’s to say a series of tracks that you can assign different colors to, in order to easily distinguish between them and create your song layer by layer.
One thing that Reaper does differently is not to separate tracks into audio types (for example MIDI, instrument, audio, sample). This makes it a lot more simplistic for beginners.
Like other DAWs, it also incorporates a full MIDI piano roll which allows you to manually input notes.
It comes with a series of editing tools including copy, cut, fade in/out, join, split, duplicate, and volume control (see also ‘How To Make Your Mic Louder‘). If you’re worried about having to learn elaborate keybindings to get good at the system, Reaper had an elaborate keybinding system allowing you to turn any key you want into a command.
Using Reaper For Editing
Same as before, you’ll notice that Reaper doesn’t stray too far away from other DAWs in how they handle the editing. There is a mixing desk built into the software that looks much like a physical one and all the controls you would come to expect.
It also features a configurable track display, effect buses, FX plugins that are drivable from the mixer, a series of configurable meters with different styles, and individual the ability to isolate or group tracks together.
What Makes Reaper Unique?
The two key things about Reaper that we think make it unique are its stability and customizability. Generally, anything you’d want to do with a DAW you can do with Reaper.
What sets it apart from other, cheaper DAW is its impressive engineering and how you can customize anything you’d like right off the bat.
This makes it a great DAW if you are already used to specific key bindings from another system then it will make the transition smooth for you. Another thing that’s important to note is that any portable installations you’re looking to add to Reaper can be run from a USB stick.
What Is Reaper Used For? (Final Thoughts)
So to conclude, Reaper is a piece of software that allows you to easily record, mix and compose tracks with a simplistic user interface.
It’s a good fit for a musician who doesn’t want to shell out a lot of money for the more elaborate DAWs, but still wants something in which they can use the comprehensive features of a professional DAW. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to develop your composing skills and begin to make intricate music.
We hope that this article has explained to you what Reaper DAW is used for and that you’re not a lot more confident about this piece of software. We wish you the best of luck with your music production journey and hope you make some awesome tracks soon!
If you still have some questions, check out our short FAQ below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Reaper Better Than Audacity?
Audacity is a fairly simplistic piece of software for music makers, and it doesn’t have the complex features of something like Reaper. While Audacity can be a great first step in the digital journey of a musician, it’s not the most robust piece of software if you’re looking to make professional quality music.