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I’ve switched to Reaper and I can’t be happier. The most powerful DAW I’ve ever used.

What exactly is Reaper?

Cockos make Reaper, and it’s well known for its complete, flexible feature set and stability wherever digital audio is used. It’s been used in a wide variety of fields – commercial, home studios, broadcasting, live recording, education, scientific research, sound design, game development, etc. There is only one version of REAPER from professional environments to student laptops, fully functional and with no artificial restrictions.

My personal experience with Reaper DAW for Music Production

I’ve been using many different DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) for music production over the past eight years. I finally switched to Reaper, and I’m never going back. Here’re 14 good reasons why I decided to stick with Reaper for music production after using it for a solid two years.

You should know that I’ve been using Reaper mainly for editing vocals, recording, mixing, and mastering tracks and not for music production.

1) Reaper is a blazing fast and lightweight music software

I can’t stress enough how fast this thing is. We’re talking – lightning fast.

Reaper performs enviably well compared to its competitors. Not only when recording, but it’s also fast while editing and rendering. It utilises your CPU and RAM efficiently. Reaper is one of the better DAWs out there with good hardware acceleration. The reason’s that it’s well programmed and optimised for the computer on a lower level.

Before switching to Reaper, I remember editing heavy sessions with lots of stems and VSTs on Adobe Audition. I know Audition’s not a DAW for professional work, but those were the sessions I had to work with. It was a nightmare to mix and master inside the same session in Audition. It was simply impossible. With Reaper, I’m easily using 42 plug-ins in my presets from the start, and I’m not experiencing lags, delays, or crashes.

2) Reaper is the most customisable DAW I’ve used

Reaper is all about customisation and user experience. The user can shape his vision for a DAW into reality. I know at first you may find Reaper ugly and odd to work with, but please give it a shot. Its customisations aren’t only in terms of control groups, keys, settings, and other minor tweaks, but you’ll be able to change the program’s looks and make it appear and feel almost precisely every different DAW out there you are familiar with.

Reaper has professional-looking user interfaces in Logic X, Premiere Pro, Cubase, and others. You name it. Just open their forum and look for your preferred skin. Most of the skins you’ll find out there are free to use. Some have PRO versions you can donate for. You can even create your own personal icons sets, user interfaces, and others, or tweak and edit those already shared on their website.

3) Why isn’t Reaper an Open Source? Or is it?

The short answer is – No, it’s not!

The core of Reaper may not be open-source, but besides that, it can be scripted and automated with custom user functionalities almost infinitely, which isn’t available in other DAWs.

They’ve been tons of scripts you’ll find ready for download, which will optimise your workflow. When I’ve looked for special macros, I haven’t done a single search without a satisfactory result. Even if you can fill a blank spot, you can easily create a simple macro inside Reaper for your needs.

4) Reaper’s not wayward. It works with every VST out of the box.

It just is a VST friendly music production software. Unlike Ableton and many other DAWs, Reaper works great with different types of virtual instruments. Reaper can’t run only unique formats for Pro Tools’ – AAX¬†and¬†RTAS. It works perfectly well with all¬†VST,¬†DX,¬†AU, and even¬†JS¬†(JavaScript) variants.

In addition, Reaper has its own integrated VST plug-ins, which are available in 32-bit and 64-bit formats.

5) Stable and Reliable. I haven’t experienced a single crash in months.

When working with many plug-ins and virtual tools, Reaper crashes far less repeatedly than competing DAWs, and its reliability is unrivalled. Many performers prefer using Reaper for their live sessions because of its stability. It works straight out of the box, recording many stems with no issues. Please don’t blindly trust me. See the opinion of the users who use Reaper as a daily driver for their highly complicated projects¬†containing thousands of tracks and VSTs.

6) Live performances

Probably the DAW with the least delay time for live performances. I’d rate Reaper as the best DAW for live performances in terms of latency. Straight after Reaper comes Ableton Live. I used Ableton Live for live performances back in the day, and it was pretty good. Almost as stable as Reaper, but it has other problems. Sometimes there was a bit more delay, and sometimes it crashed for no reason.

7) Reaper for Studio work

For recording, many professionals and big companies such as Electronic Arts, BBC, FabFilter, Ville Sorsa, Wilbert Roget, Caro Emerald and even deadmou5 use Reaper. Surprisingly, many individuals utilise it for blending TV and movies. It’s not only about sound design, mixing and mastering. Many severe names in the music industry out there work with Reaper for music production on the top level.

8) Reaper is an affordable solution. It’s unbelievably cheap.

You can fully evaluate REAPER within 60 days. REAPER licenses are reasonably priced and have no DRM. After the trial period, the developers want you to pay $60 for a personal license, but you can still use it for free, thanks to its unlimited trial license-basically making it a free DAW. It can easily be ranked as the best DAW out there in its price range.

9) It’s supported, well documented, and has an active community

The¬†Reaper user guide here is written in English, Polish, German, and Spanish. Even though I didn’t own a Reaper license, I could freely register on their forum system and ask questions related to the DAW. I got an answer in no time. Some members take care of various forum sections. There is a very easy to navigate file archive sorted by categories. It contains everything you’ll need for the DAW.

14) Reaper’s internal sum mixer and audio exports sound better.

All DAW software is based on 32 bits, with 64 bits of internal summing floating points, but each sounds different. This can be very subjective, and users can judge for themselves. This is my personal opinion, and it corresponds with the best sound engineer’s opinion in Bulgaria I know.

15) It runs great on different Operating Systems.

We just can’t skip this point. This may be a strange reason for some people, but we often have to send versions of the projects and load them in different environments when working on a project with other audio engineers. That wouldn’t be possible with every other DAW. Reaper works equally well on Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 10, Linux, and even mac OS X.

I remember using my portable audio interface (Baby Face PRO) with a laptop running Windows XP to record vocals in a studio at the end of the world and then transferring this session to my main workstation for further edits. Then the session gets sent to my associate working on MAC OSX and then again back to me.

16) If you are looking for an Intuitive workflow, choose Reaper.

Again the workflow may vary and be subjective for the user, but in Reaper, everything is customisable. You can even write your macros and script the whole process. I’d choose Logic over Reaper when it comes to intuition, although some things in Logic feel counter logic to me. With that said, you can bind every key and combination in a way that satisfies you the most. This includes replicating your previous DAW key bindings, commands, and user interface.

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