Reaper vs. Ableton

I recently replaced my DAI (I went from a Behringer UM2 to an IK Multimedia AXE I/O ONE) and the new one came with Ableton Lite software. I’ve been using Reaper for almost a year now, and while I can do basic things, I feel I haven’t scratched the surface of understanding it.

In your opinion, is Ableton Lite worth the switch? Or should I uninstall it and keep going with Reaper?

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I use Abelton and it’s way overkill for what I do, but, I know how to use it now. I originally decided on it cause a very musical buddy of mine used it and I figured he would be great local tech support.

I ended up taking an excellent online class to learn about all it can do and realized I will never use a ton of it. Especially its usefulness in programming live music scenes and scenarios for performance.

What I do like about Abelton are the two views they have unique to them which come in super handy when I’m mixing and editing etc. To me that part of its GUI is a great feature. I’m very used to Abelton (full version) now so doubt I’d ever switch to anything else.

Long story longer, I played with Reaper a bit just to learn how it is and its GUI. It’s nice and simple and does the job well. I don’t see much value in what you do to switch honestly.


If you are already invested in Reaper I personally wouldn’t switch over to Ableton lite. The full version has ton of useful plugins, but the upgrade path is kinda expensive.

You could always try it out and see for yourself which workflow you prefer. I got Logic and Ableton installed.

There are also tons of DAW comparisons videos on YouTube if you are curious.


I would second @Paul 's suggestion and stick to the one you already know a bit. And, yes, find YouTube comparisons to see whether Abelton might have a feature that you think you’d really need.

In their basic feature set, all modern DAWs should be pretty equal, and you might as well stick to (and learn more about) the one you already have used.

I use Logic, but that is also because I had been using Garageband for a while before. I also got Abelton Lite with my first DAI, but never really got to like the GUI or invested much time to get to learn it better.

I certainly can’t claim I know Logic inside out, but I learn its features and its power as I use it, bit by bit, and with the occasional YT video to learn more tricks.


Ableton Live Lite is very limited compared to Reaper but frankly you won’t run in to those limits.

Logic has a similar option now too, plus Mainstage as well. But yes, Ableton was made for this.


I spent sometimes with Ableton lite, it’s pretty similar to GarageBand and Logic. I’m an apple user house brand is definitely more integrated. Apple has a $199 bundle for one computer(I guess) with Final Cut Pro, logic, MainStage, and a couple more apps. I already own Final Cut Pro but bought it for the rest anyways.

Most are pretty similar, you just have to find the feature(s) that you can’t live without and it’s unique to that app.


If you’re going to switch anything, you need to ask yourself “what does my current (thing) not do for me that the new one is going to do better?”. Sometimes a workflow is better, sometimes there are features present in one software not present in the other, sometimes the UI just makes one more pleasant to use. Often what makes software “better” as a new user is not a benefit when you become more proficient.

I suggest you read/watch many of the Reaper/Ableton comparisons that are out there so you can better determine which will fit your needs.

I think that Reaper is better for recording music and Ableton is better for producing music (especially live). Ableton includes a lot more instruments/effects but reaper has a lot of great features and plugins that aren’t available anywhere else.

You can try both out and see which suits you better but you’re probably better off spending more time learning how to use Reaper more effectively than you are switching.


Yeah, in the end they are both great, with slightly different workflows, and Live has the looping/performance mode that Reaper doesn’t.

Live (even lite) also comes with a sound library and some instruments, which is nice; these are the biggest delta really, unless you are using it live as an EDM producer.

Reaper, on the other hand, actually has a huge set of features - it’s basically the equivalent of Pro Tools, more than Live. It also comes with a lot more plugins than Live Lite, though you need to get used to their fuglyness.

But really the biggest difference is Live Lite’s 16-track limit, which makes it a laughable hard NO for me. This won’t matter for just recording bass covers but is unacceptably limiting for working on original material. And to remove that you need to spring for full Live.


Hello John, Can you share that online course for Ableton please? Thank you!

Here you go….