My friends, manage your files properly

So far, I’ve recorded five covers, with one new one in progress.

When I started this endeavor, it was all new to me and I didn’t know what I was doing. I barely knew the software (not that I know it any better now) and didn’t understand how all the files interacted. Here’s the basic process I’ve been doing:

  1. Get the song’s MP3.
  2. Use Spleeter to split the song into separate tracks (bass.wav, drums.wav, other.wav, vocals.wav).
  3. Import the separate tracks into Reaper, record my new bass track.
  4. Mute original bass track.
  5. Use OBS to record video from webcam while playing back the Reaper project and using “Desktop Audio” to capture it with the video.

Those five songs, along with all the various other testing and horsing around I’ve done, lead to a very large “REAPER Media” folder and all sorts of folders all over the place containing output files from Spleeter.

Today I decided I was going to setup my default paths in Reaper and organize all my files. Here’s what I found out: Spleeter outputting the same named files for each song, each imported into Reaper, meant that whatever the most current project’s files were is what ALL the projects had, because it just kept overwriting the files.

I know, duh. A software guy should know that ahead of time. And I did, my assumption was that by default Reaper put stuff into separate folders. But it does NOT!

I knew something was wrong when I opened up the “ACDC - Have a Drink on Me” project, started playing it back, and heard the vocals from “Styx - Renegade”.

♪♫ oh, momma, I’m in fear for my life of the long arm of the law ♫♪


Luckily, I still had all of the supporting files spread out over my machine, but it’s been a stressful hour putting it all back together. Luckily, in the end, I’ve lost none of the recordings I’ve made.

So, the lesson here is don’t be a Tim-level geek and think about file management before you start a new recording project. Not afterwards.



First thing I ever do, make a new directory for each new project and save everything only under that.

Reaper will still save the stems in the same place but at least it’s all in the same place.

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That’s what I do NOW, after this morning. :smiley:

I set this:


Then as soon as I start a new project I save it like this:

And I’ve got no more file management issues. There are a lot of tutorials out there showing how to set folders underneath the project folder and have Reaper keep it all organized, but I’m totally fine having all the project’s files sitting in the same folder.

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Ahh. Yeah, I organize everything under the project folders. Seemed like chaos otherwise.


I use a Mac, and it’s so easy to keep things organized. That’s bizarre that Reaper chooses to organize files that way. I become incredibly stressed out with disorganization, so here’s what my desktop looks like

Once you finish a song, can’t you just export the audio file to the desktop? Then you can categorize it yourself without having to dig through the sometimes cumbersome PC folder menus?

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Oh yes, totally. This is in fact the default. I agree that I am not really understanding the problem here because as long as you create projects in their own directories, reaper will manage the stems alongside the project files in those directories and not pollute a global space.

I have FL Studio set to do this natively every time I open the thing, after an early mishap.