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Cockos REAPER: A DAW offering much bang for a few bucks

Anyone shopping for a DAW at the moment but not really convinced by the the likes of Apple’s Logic, Ableton’s Live, Steinberg’s Cubase, Cakewalk’s Sonar and the rest of them?

While most of the leading DAWs are loaded with bells and whistles you may soon start to see through the shining armor and wonder whether or not there is available an audio-workstation that’s straight forward to tackle, excellent in quality and doesn’t force you to make this crucial decision towards the plug-in format you will have to use in the future. And most importantly - you shouldn’t have to break the bank in order to afford it.

A different DAW that works nicely with Liquid Notes

Cockos Reaper. The new kid on the block.

Well, we might just have a suggestion for you: REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production and Engineering) for Mac and Windows is a first rate digital audio workstation developed by Cockos, the folks who came up with Winamp and a range of other fine products and technologies. This very capable DAW provides remarkable flexibility, yet is light as a feather - in fact so light and tight that it can be installed on a Flash drive.

Granted, the GUI may not be the prettiest to some tastes - but does it matter anyway? What matters are the functionality of the application, the adaptability to varying workflows, the number and quality of plug-ins being included and certainly last but not least - the quality of the audio engine and other fine technical details. And boy, that’s where REAPER really shines:

  • Third party plug-ins in the formats VST, VSTi, AU (Mac only) and DX and DXi (Windows only) can be used simultaneously.
  • Mixed media of audio, MIDI, video and still images can freely be mixed on any track.
  • The number of tracks is limited by the performance of the user's hardware rather than the software.
  • 32 and 64 bit versions available. The 64 bit version includes bridging technology to enable the use of 32 bit VSTs in a 64 bit environment.
  • Comes with a number (about 20) of native FX plug-ins including a Delay, Compressor, Reverb etc. and a larger number (about 180 or so) of effects written using JS, some of these are written by Cockos and others by 3rd parties.
  • REAPER doesn't force you into a particular workflow. 25 pages of categorized, fully searchable user preferences allow you to set REAPER's look, feel, and behavior to whatever best suits you.
  • Audio items can auto-crossfade when they overlap, or not. Set the VU meter ranges, looping behavior, automation return speed, tab-to-transient sensitivity, even the audio vs. graphics thread priority.
  • And much more, the list goes on - this is just the start. Just check out the reviews in Sound on Sound (SOS) and the ongoing and exhaustive series of tutorials and workshops in that space.

Setting out with the first release of REAPER in 2005, the team behind it is known for high responsiveness and very tight update release cycles. The documentation available in English, German, Polish and Spanish is excellent, and one of the greatest assets is REAPER’S creative, helpful, and engaged user community, including talented developers of plugins and extension code.

Users have created literally thousands of JS audio and MIDI plugins, many of which are included with the installer, and many more of which can be found in the user forum or on various user web sites. Third-party developers have also created interesting and useful extensions. These add-ons integrate directly into the application, to provide new custom features and actions that are just as accessible as any built-in functionality.

The best is yet to come: The demo version of REAPER is complete and uncrippled. There are no artificial interruptions or restrictions, you can save and load projects normally and the application can be evaluated for 60 days. Beyond this period a nag screen at startup will gently remind you to purchase the application.

The cost? Not so much! Check it out at - you will be very pleasantly surprised.

And find instructions on how to setup Reaper with Liquid Notes in this article on our FAQs.

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