Reaper Love

Ever heard how “pro” producers are saying that Reaper is not professional software (which always makes me chuckle)? This video nails perfectly why Reaper is the best DAW out there.


Yeah, and there’s probably an equal number of videos out there like this one, of people switching from Pro Tools to Reaper :slight_smile:


I agree, I’ve found Reaper to be the best of all the ones I’ve tried ( haven’t tried ProTools). Professional or not, it’s number 1 in my book.


Every DAW is just a studio in a box. Tracks are musicians behind the glass, fx section is a rack of outboard gear and mixer is just a virtual version of SSL, Trident, Harrison console. In the end the selection of DAW is only a personal choice. I am using Ableton, because of the layout. But after trying literally every DAW out there I dare to say that it really doesn’t matter. The issue with Reaper for me is that it actually doesn’t do anything the best way out there. Cubase have insane amount of layout/template modification available, Ableton is one screen performance power house, BitWig has bajillion of modulation and routing options and we can go on and on. … it’s a personal preference. I remember watching “In Studio with Chromeo” which is synth-pop, funk, electro duo and definitely professionals, yet they at the time used years old version of Cubase because they were used to it. Some of the best albums of all time were recorded through 4 track tape machine … which is a toy in comparison with even the basic DAW nowadays.


Oh but it does…nothing touches speed and performance of Reaper.



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I kind of see what he means. Reaper (and Pro Tools, for that matter) are kind of the kitchen sinks that do everything without a specific focus on workflow. They come with a ton of stuff and have relatively steep learning curves but don’t favor anything specific; don’t have a specific “flavor.”

I mean that’s fine with me, but he’s right that there are DAWs optimized for one thing or another.


Yes, at least in my opinion.

I will give Reaper the primate in the bang for the buck category, but that actually isn’t a factor for me tbh. . The side effect of my gear hoarding is that I have some kind of license to most of the DAWs out there which is a frequent bonus to a hardware purchase.

I believe that Reaper’s open-source nature and origins are both a blessing and curse of the program. You can fiddle around with settings, layouts even script on the top layer of the DAW, but that should be a bonus on the top of well-polished product. Reason is this mix of everyone’s needs and desires, but as a product, it lacks some kind of directed vision which is a core value of commercial products that makes DAWs stand out.

About the performance, it’s also not a factor for me as the price. No matter which DAW with hundreds of tracks I open it will not max out my system. (One of the side effects of my job, I can get server-grade performance hardware for a reasonable price.) And even with my older consumer grade Ryzen 3k7x I never hovered above 80 percent on CPU no matter what I threw at it.

Because if a person gets a DAW for making music, developing his/her own environment by cutting really rough Reaper diamond and spending days just with that isn’t necessarily a good option. It’s neither a bad option, I would call it just an option to be considered.

Reaper is absolutely sufficient DAW, but so is Garage band, Reason, FL Studio, and many more. The reasons for the sound difference between DAWs are long gone and since 64bit systems are in the game the information threshold overhead is well beyond what music production needs, so atm. the only difference between “established” DAWs is what a DAW has what others don’t, and how important this feature is for one’s workflow.

I’ve launched Reaper now, and I am sorry I don’t see a single aspect of the program which, if it would be a key aspect of my interaction with the software, I wouldn’t find in a more refined way elsewhere.

The absence of a good single display layout is the real deal-breaker for me. R’s modulation and routing are extensive and powerful, but the ease of use and flexibility is nowhere near the way how Bitwig does it. Hardware integration out of the box? Presonus with its Studio one and Faderprort line are untouchable in this department. (If you don’t want to spend a few grand on Avid control surface monstrosities.) The bundled VSTs in FL Studio is far beyond what the REA bundle has to offer. 3rd party hardware/software integration? Ableton with various Launchpads, sequencers, and quite an insane amount of professional-grade remote control via apps like Lemur, Touchable, Remotify, TouchOSC, etc. is a clear winner here. And when I am going through Reaper now I really cannot see a place on the screen which I would say “yes, this is the best way how I’ve seen this done”.

In the end, I will just say that frankly I really don’t care. Not in that bad way, more like “Ok, ok, I get it, this can be a point of strong opinion for many, but it’s definitely not the hill I will die on.” I am just glad that whatever DAW works for you and if it makes you feel like it’s actually the best thing in the world? More power to you and I hope you will convert this enthusiasm into music.

I firmly believe that “best DAW” is mainly about the Placebo effect of how well a DAW suits our needs and in the end, when you sit down Hans Zimmer in front of a DAW he will be able to create something excellent and much better than most of us with any possible DAW and hardware at hand. In the same way, how Josh can make a cheap Squire to sound much better than most of us can make sound even the highest quality Stingray.

Sorry for the wall of text, but the “best DAW discussion” is one of my musical pet peeves.


I don’t think it needs any, if you think about it both Reaper and ProTools are essentially console emulators so the workflow emulates engineer sitting in front of the desk with tape machine on the side.

This kind of workflow won’t appeal to everyone especially to musicians who are predominantly electronic based. This is where Ableton with it’s immense out of the box hardware support and integration will shine. On the other hand Reaper with it’s endless tracks and routing possibilities will sure inspire some engineering creativity on it’s own.

To each his own, use whatever makes you productive.

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For sure. I just feel really lucky we have so many great tool choices these days.


I have used the evaluation version of Reaper for quite a few years, primarily for creating drum backing tracks. Note - The evaluation version is the same as the licensed version but has a short nag screen after the evaluation period ends.

Step forward to the present - I decided a month or so ago to get more involved in music production.
I decided a 4 octave midi controller would be a great help and ordered an M-Audio Oxygen 49 MK5 with a sustain pedal. It arrived 2 days ago.

After seeing what could be done with this keyboard and Reaper, with supplied plugins alone, I was blown away. I immediately purchased the license and felt guilty I had not done so earlier.
Kenny Gio1a’s videos on the Reaper website are amazing.

The only downside to this is the learning curve. It is VERY steep and therefore cuts into practice time. I spent 4 hours today getting set up and watching 4 or 5 videos on the Reaper site.

Do not get me wrong I do not regret the decision to get involved in this but I just turned 71 in June and am wondering if I will master Reaper and the controller before I am dead :slightly_smiling_face:

I can see all sorts of possibilities to this Midi/DAW journey and all for just $100 in my case.

Maybe I’m wrong but I liken using a midi controller and the Reaper DAW in the same light as a new instrument and it’s going to take time and practice…

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No worries, using and learning Reaper adds years to your life.


REAPER is what I use. I like it, easy to use, cheap, and does what I need.


You got your Oxygen MKV for only $100? Wow, that’s a steal. I can’t find them anywhere for less than $179.

Yep. The deal was that I pay the MKIV price for the MKV. That’s why I jumped on it as soon as the offer was made.

So, you should be able get the MKIV for around the same price or even less used.
Good luck.


Reaper is fantastic but I gotta tell you some of the VSTi suppliers make it so hard to install their plugins into Reaper.

I just spent 3 hours figuring out how to install Piano One, also known as Neo piano, and get it working in Reaper.

The issue is not with Reaper but with the producers of Piano One (Sound Magic).
I searched the internet for a solution to get it working and all I found were other people having the same issues to get it working. That was not much use.

I would list a set of instructions but there were so many iterations I used that I cannot remember exactly what I did to get it working. I think the final result was installing the piano .dll file and the .ins and .png file into the Reaper plugins folder. At least that is the last thing I did and it worked for me.

Just thought I would let you know.

Now I can go and watch the Kenny Gioia video on using Piano One :slightly_smiling_face:

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I was under the impression that you could just install Piano One on your computer and it would work with the Oxygen plugged in. I didn’t realize you need to get Reaper involved in order to get it to work.
I’m starting to regret this purchase now :scream_cat:

@PamPurrs Piano One is a virtual instrument(VSTi) plugin that is installed in a DAW. In this case Reaper.
Virtual instruments do nothing by themselves and are not used as stand-alone programs.

The Midi controller, M-Audio Oxygen 49 in my case, is used to access the Piano One VSTi plugin, installed in Reaper, and play it, modify it, record it etc.
Midi controllers do not make any sound by themselves and, in the case of Piano One, only send midi messages to the DAW it is installed in to control it.

I was under the impression that you already used and understood Reaper and it’s function with midi controllers so am surprised you seem confused. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I do use and understand Reaper, and I’m not confused. However, when I asked this question in another thread I was told this could be installed on my computer and it would work with whatever device was plugged in. I was under the impression that Oxygen (or any piano keyboard) could be plugged directly into the computer and would work with whatever software is installed for it (IE: Piano One).
I’m just a little bit annoyed that I have to launch Reaper just to be able to use this thing.

It should work with any device that sends MIDI. I have a drum pad which sends midi info and can trigger keyboard/synth virtual instruments (so that I get piano sounds from every hit). Piano One should be the same.

Some VSTs can run standalone (Superior Drummer, for example); others cannot. I don’t know much about Piano One, but from the sounds of it, it falls into the latter category.