Reaper has a user-friendly interface that allows you to record an unlimited amount of audio tracks per session. The layout is intuitive and customizable, with a wide range of editing and effects plugins. For a $60 investment, you get a full-fledged digital audio workstation (DAW) instead of an entry-level audio editing software. There are better programs to restore a noisy recording or remove clicks and pops from a vinyl conversion. However, if you plan to record and edit multiple sources simultaneously, this is one of the best options, especially for less than $100.
Reaper works on both Mac and Windows computers and is a light load for the processor. We uploaded a 1.5-hour podcast segment in just a few seconds and didn’t have any problems with crashing during our tests. It is compatible with more than 20 of the most popular audio formats and can export most of the important file types, including MP3, and lossless formats like AIFF and WAV. Reaper also supports popular video formats, and allows you to overdub a better audio file to a video you record on your phone or camcorder. If you plan to post a video of your podcast, you can record the audio and video separately and sync the files together with Reaper.
This software is compatible with almost all third-party plug-in formats, including VST, VST3 and AU, but you may not need to buy any additional plugins because the included package is extensive. The EQ and compression plug-ins sound natural and are easy-to-use. Reaper also includes all the mastering tools to make sure your finalized recordings are at a proper volume to post online or for physical copies. We added more than 10 plug-ins to our test project and saw no signs of latency or crashing.
This program lands near the bottom of our ranking due to the lack of restoration tools. You can build a proper restoration suite by adding multiple editing tools together, like EQ, gates and filters, but that’s a daunting task for novice users. We were able to remove a decent amount of room noise, and edit out some microphone pops from our test podcast segment, but it took significantly longer than programs like Adobe Audition that have a one-click repair or restoration tool.
Reaper is a powerful recording and audio editing program with an extensive list of plug-ins. The user interface is infinitely customizable and easy-to-use. If you add a third-party repair plug-in alongside this software, you could have a powerful audio production toolset for less than $200.