Reaper: The Final Destination

After trying out the demos of all the DAWs possible. I finally settle for Reaper. Here’s why.

Its cheap. Seriously $60 (if you are like me, a music hobbyist) for a DAW that does everything all the major DAWs do.? Yes it lacks in some features. It has no VST instruments. But with some research online you can find that there are plenty of Free VST instruments for you. Which can do almost everything that the instruments most of the DAWs offer. A good piano? Piano One. A good synth? There is Tone Bird, FMMF, and plenty more. More instruments?, There is DSK free collection of instruments that you can use. There is Alchemy who shell out plenty of good instruments to demo their line of virtual instruments that you can buy. NI (Native Instruments) give you some instruments to use so that you would buy their collection later and yes, you will :).

The number of things you can tweak in this DAW are literally endless. Everything that you can possibly think of, there’s always a way to do it, a short cut that can be assigned to it or, an easier way to do it. Every little Keyboard shortcut or Mouse Action can be changed. You can make your DAW look like how you want it to look like.

The user community is great. There are loads of good people who come for rescue when you do not know how to tackle some specific situation. There are loads of people who make plugins, themes and scripts to help you do commonly tasks easier.

Vast library of plugins. Do not be disappointed at how the the plugins look like in reaper and oh the Js Plugins, don’t get me started. But, There is more to them that what they seem like. If you know to wield your sword, you are in for a real treat. At first I couldn’t get myself to use plugins that look so plain and simple. We are so used to plugins with really good UIs that it takes some time to actually get over it. But after two months of using them, the simplicity actually makes sense to me now. Now I PREFER using the Rea Plugins for the very reason I was not interested in them at first. The Looks!. It just gets the job done quickly. I also assure you that it will take quite sometime to actually experiment with all the plugins that come with reaper.

The functionalities are very straight forward. The work flow is amazing and what’s not to like when you can tweak Reaper to bend to your workflow!

Its Light!. So light that you can carry it around in a pen drive. Downloads and updates are a bliss. It hardly takes me 5 minutes to update the whole software. Let me just say that the size could be less than the size of a song you would produce in it!

I do accept that in order to fully utilize all of reaper’s functionalities it will take you a really long time and some might find the learning curve to be a bit steep as well especially because of the Trust factor(you need to trust your DAW can do everything). But if you are new to using DAWs and if this is your first DAW, you’re gonna have to learn all the functionalities anyways so it doesn’t make a difference.

I’ve listed just a very small portion of the positives I have experienced with Reaper. I also need to talk about the negatives as well. Nothing is perfect. But the good thing about this is that it’s not a long list. The first and foremost problem that comes to my mind is the delay before playback whilst using VSTs. There is a good solid 1-2 second delay based on the number of plugins you use for a particular project. The audio plugins that come with reaper do not cause any delay. But external VSTs do cause a problem. I have not investigated this over at the forum. Did not bother me enough to spend time on investigating it. But I have a feeling those guys over there would have a solution for that as well.

Eh….. That’s it. Nothing else comes to mind. I guess that’s a good thing. I’ll wrap this up.

Thanks for reading.


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