When it comes to DAWs, the market is fast becoming saturated and the competition stiffer.  With new digital audio workstations being released every day and old ones upgrading, it becomes very difficult to find one that stands out from the crowd.

Reaper has managed to do just that.

I know. You want a “Reaper music software review” before you take the plunge. I hear you. Here goes.

Reaper Recording Software – Not Your Average DAW

Reaper is a full-fledged digital audio workstation that you can get for the price of a basic DAW – under $100. For those looking for a budget-friendly digital audio workstation that can contend with the big boys, this is it. Yes, that is a good selling point but that’s not why it stands out. Here’s why – it doesn’t come with its own library (most come with baggage you won’t even use).

reaper recording software

Image via Amateur Audio

I know, you’re shocked at the fact that a DAW can come without music. There are big advantages to that, and Reaper saw them. You see, even though Reaper does not come with a preloaded library, it can read almost 25 different file types and can export projects into 15 different file types. Now that’s something every music creator would love to do, no is often times forced to do out of necessity. Honestly speaking, no other DAW can boat to be as compatible as Reaper. They really went out of their way to make sure people can easily create and collaborate on projects.

Because of this unique “no library” feature (or lack of it, whichever way you choose to look at it), Reaper allows you to use the sounds you like and that without draining your computer’s resources unnecessarily – It gobbles up a paltry 66MB when fully installed.

Another factor that makes Reaper stand out from the crowd is the fact that it’s fully customizable. Many times, when you hear the phrase “fully customizable” it refers to the music side of things. With Reaper, it goes beyond that.  Unlike many DAWs, with Reaper, you can build your own menus, toolbars, and macros, as well as change the entire look of the interface.

The downside, there is a downside to nearly everything in life, is that Reaper is a bit complex and needs you to put in a bit of time to learn how to use it best. But once you pass the learning curve, you’ll definitely love working with it.

Reaper Audio Production – How Good is It?

When it comes to DAWs, the most important factors are functionality, ease of use, and quality of the end result. How does Reaper fare? Very well actually, once you’ve learned the ropes.

Reaper is very well equipped for recording multiple audio channels of live instruments simultaneously, and also from multiple interface inputs. This is something some big name DAWs can’t handle. As long as you’ve got the necessary equipment, (I think the best audio interface for Reaper is the Scarlet range from Focusrite) recording a five-piece band is no problem with Reaper.

Online Reaper Recording Software

Image via Lynda

Another complaint many people have against Reaper is that it doesn’t have any virtual instruments of its own. But again, I think that is a good thing if you will be running it in conjunction with other DAWs, which is what you should be doing. After all, no single DAW can satisfy your deep musical creativity. To work with Reaper, you will have to get 3rd party plugins, and again, Reaper is very compatible in this area too. Whether you get them free or paid, Reaper will help you put them to good use.

Once you’ve set up shop and recorded a few projects, Reaper’s tools for editing both audio clips and MIDI data are powerful and flexible, making the process a breeze. Well worth the learning curve and hassle of getting add-ons. All in all, Reaper provides a fluid workflow that makes it not only easy to work but a whole lot of fun too – especially seeing that you can customize nearly everything, making your own unique DAW.

Will the Real Reaper Stand Up – Not Grim

Using the Reaper is not a grim affair at all, in fact, once you get in the flow you’ll love your work more. This is one DAW that gives you more value for your money and keeps giving even after that. Yes, Reaper keeps giving – free updates that is, but only up to the next full tier. There’s nothing to wait for my friend, get the Reaper music software download and beef up your studio. Give a shot and reap the rewards.


Feature Image via Reaper

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