PROS / The software has limitless recording capabilities, including flexible track types.
CONS / It doesn't offer a loop library.
VERDICT / Reaper is a great budget buy with lots of recording power, but until the virtual instruments and loop bundle are upgraded, it will stay behind the competition.
Reaper began as a free program for those beginning to download and make music. Since the audio production software has gained popularity, it now needs to be purchased but is inexpensive and lightweight (only requires a few megabytes to download), so it won’t eat up all of your computer's storage space. It is comprehensive music creation software with many plugins and recording capabilities.
Reaper has theme options or layouts to make the transition to this software feel more familiar. These layouts change the look and feel of the interface. If you are coming from another DAW but want to give this one a try, you can select a theme that resembles your old DAW so the transition isn't as daunting. This customizability makes using Reaper easy for new users. Additional themes can be downloaded from the Cockos website, the manufacturer of Reaper.
Plugins are the extra sounds, noises, effects and musical textures that bring your audio recordings to the next level. Reaper understands that plugins make a tremendous difference, and that’s why this music production software offers over 300 plugins. You can produce full songs using a MIDI controller, six virtual instruments and the 40 MIDI plugins to add texture to your digital recordings. On top of providing ample plugins, the program is compatible with a plethora of different plugin formats. You can add your favorite plugin packages to this software to create clean recordings.
Reaper offers a large number of plugins but lacks a sound or loop library. The virtual instruments are not as easy to use as those in other audio production software. Other programs' virtual instruments represent the actual instrument visually. Compressors, delays, equalizers look like their real-life counterparts. When the instruments look familiar, they are easier to use. That is not the case with Reaper. Most of the plugins within Reaper are just sliders and knobs, showing no resemblance to their real-world counterparts. The lack of a loop library is also disappointing, considering all other programs offer one.
The music production software features unlimited audio and MIDI tracks per session, and you can record unlimited tracks simultaneously. Unlike other audio production software, Reaper does not have track types. Any track you add to your session can be turned into a bus channel and used as audio or MIDI. Reaper provides recording versatility like no other DAW.
Recording with this software is easy. After you mike your instruments, routing each track to the correct input is as easy as clicking on the input marker and scrolling to the correct input.
Reaper streamlines your workflow by allowing you to edit various parts of your recording audio without having to change tools every time you want to make an adjustment. Every recorded track has points or handles which you can click and adjust to create fades, volume swells, snap-points and more.
The mixing board is clean and easy to navigate. You can apply unlimited insert and send effects to your tracks. One of the insert effects available is a multi-band equalizer that lets you get in depth with the frequencies of your recorded tracks and dial in the tone you want. Within the mixer you also have pitch-correcting abilities that allow you to change the pitch of an incorrect note without having to re-record anything.
Reaper has entered the studio recording software scene with an inexpensive DAW that is intuitive, flexible and packed with recording features. This software offers a large list of plugins to add to your recorded music as well as unlimited audio tracking. This gives you freedom to create professional-sounding recordings in your own home.