REAPER's full, flexible feature set and renowned stability have found a home wherever digital audio is used: commercial and home studios, broadcast, location recording, education, science and research, sound design, game development, and more.
From mission-critical professional environments to students' laptops, there is a single version of REAPER, fully featured with no limitations. You can evaluate REAPER in full for 60 days. A REAPER license is affordably priced and DRM-free.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Highly customizable
Reaper lets users change to different themes, supports the use of a wealth of (free) extensions and has a lot of options when it comes to rendering.
Pro Constantly updated
Alongside generally quick pace of updates, Reaper developers pay very close attention to user feedback and are constantly adding features based on their requests so much so that some even consider it somewhat of a crowdsourced DAW.
Pro Supports unlimited number of tracks with unlimited number of effects
There are no limits on amount of tracks and effects that those tracks can be equipped with.
Pro Auto-bridges 32-bit plugins in a 64-bit environment
When using a 64-bit installation of Reaper, all 32-bit plugins will still work alongside 64-bit plugins. On computers with an x86-64 CPU and an OS that supports multi-architecture, you can also run bridged 64-bit plugins on 32-bit Reaper.
Pro Rarely crashes
Most DAWs have a tendency to crash constantly, reaper crashes very rarely.
Reaper is lightweight enough to be run off of a flash drive; the installer weights less than 20 MB and the portable installation option is included in it.
Pro Highly affordable
The Reaper DAW offers 2 licenses. A commercial license at $225 and a discounted one at $60. Both licenses give access to the complete DAW. The discounted license is for non profits, educational programs and personal use as long as yearly gross revenue does not exceed USD $20,000. There's even an indefinite free trial with no limitations for evaluation purposes.
Pro Multi-level freezing
A freeze can be applied to a group, and then picked apart track by track.
Pro Comes with ~300 free plugins
Pro Simplified workflow
In Reaper, a track is a track is a track. There is no distinction among MIDI, stereo, mono, surround or any other tracks, and that means it's possible to put clips of all kinds on the same track. This approach makes the Reaper DAW seem a lot more intuitive than other DAWs.
Pro Lua scripting can be done in the DAW with a built-in IDE
Pro Free Reaplugs VST/VSTi bundle allows usage of the basic bundled like EQ's and comp plugins in any DAW
Pro Easy to install
No complex activation shenanigans. No dongle and such.
Pro Very low cpu usage
Reaper's will tailor itself to fit your computer's processing power by automatically using the "anticipative FX processing" feature.
Pro Notation editor added recently
Pro Supports ReWire
Pro Huge community support
Pro Multiple recording and playback formats
Records in WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WAVPACK, OGG and MP3.
Pro Runs well on Wine in Linux
Essentially shareware. After your 60-day free trial runs out, the program does not enforce the end of the trial period, and you may continue using the software for further evaluation or non-revenue generating purposes indefinitely. The only "DRM" is your conscience, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the fact the program is awesome.
Pro Tabbed projects
You can have open multiple projects via tabs at the top left and easily drag and drop clips, instruments and ideas between each project at ease.
Pro Application is extendable
The Application itself has no limitations. Once you understand it you can progress onto the better mastering and editing qualities then all other DAW applications.
Pro Very full featured but basic recording and production can be learned and done in a few hours
Without prior experience with DAW, you can install Reaper, set up ASIO drivers, connect to your amp and mikes, get the hang of recording/re-recording tracks, and render an mp3 in just a few hours. You can accomplish the basics very fast.
Pro Editing audio can be done on track
You don't have to go to a separate editor to edit audio files. You can work directly on the track, and drop/drag pieces to other tracks, sew them together. It's a fun sandbox and easy peasy.
Con Long drop down menus
There are many features that you'll find nested deep in the menu system, but it's really clunky. Everything is there but it's difficult to find. It's also really easy to accidentally click an option that you didn't intend.
Con Lacks VSTis
Doesn't come with a wealth of VSTis. Plugins for things like piano, cello, guitar have to be found elsewhere. But is highly compatible with other providers of those products.
Con No native groove quantize feature
Straight quantization is available, but the Reaper 4 DAW is still missing groove integration. This feature can be made available with the free SWS extension.
Con No PFL metering
If you want to meter your input levels before your FX and volume fader, you'll need to insert a metering plugin as the first part of the chain, since there is no option for PFL metering.
Con Midi drum editing not so fast or easy
Cubase has more features for creating and editing midi drum tracks.