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Reaper Review

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An entry-level recording studio program for under $100 is a great deal. A full-fledged DAW for under $100 was basically unheard of, until Reaper broke into the recording software scene. Initially, Reaper started as a DAW that you could download for free. Recently, Reaper has started to charge only $60 for full access to the software, and this low price alone is enough to make this program relevant.

What's Unique

Besides the price, another major reason to consider this program is its open-sourced compatibility with plugin formats. Reaper is compatible with just about every plugin format on the market. If there is a specific compressor, equalizer, delay, or any other plugin that you really like from a third-party manufacturer, it can be used in Reaper. A handful of music creation programs are switching to single-format compatibility, forcing you to buy from that specific company to expand the plugin library. Reaper has done the opposite. This makes it much more user-friendly, expandable and downright awesome.

Reaper is flexible in many aspects. For starters, there is only one track type in Reaper. Most DAWs need to have separate tracks for audio data and MIDI data, or stereo and mono audio. This is not the case with Reaper. You can literally put all of those pieces of audio data within a single track. Why is this important? First, this helps to consolidate a ton of audio tracking to a handful of manageable tracks.

Secondly, you can group any variety of tracks and/or audio data together. This makes it convenient to play, adjust or render a handful of different audio information simultaneously. For example, let's say you want to mute all of the MIDI trumpets on a project, but there are several of them. You can group them all together and then you can click mute on the group track and it will mute all of the MIDI trumpet parts instead of having to individually mute each one. That are far more parameters that apply to grouping beyond muting.

Finally, you can route anything to anywhere. Reaper does not limit the number of inserts, effects, sends, master buses, group buses and so on. If you want to send or receive a signal somewhere, it can be done.

Maybe you have used other recording studio programs in the past and have decided to give Reaper a try, but after you download the software, it doesn't have the feel or look that you are used to. This can easily scare people away. Reaper's skin (layout or theme of the interface) can be completely changed to suit your preference. There are a handful of options within Reaper, or you can go to stash.reaper.fm for more free, downloadable skins that look more familiar. This can make the transition to Reaper pretty seamless.

Hard Disk Space
Many good studio recording programs take up a gargantuan amount of hard disk space and computer resources. Reaper has a smaller footprint on your CPU than most WAV files. It only takes roughly 13MB to download and install on your computer. This leaves you room to add as many plugins as you want and eliminates the worry of running out of disk space. You can download Reaper from the company website and have it up and running on your computer in less than a minute.

Reaper also comes in a portable version that enables you to run the home studio software from a USB. This means you can share the program with other users fairly easily without any performance drop.

There are a handful of reasons to make Reaper your DAW of choice. It is very customizable and flexible, and it's far less expensive than most home studio programs.