When comparing MuseScore vs Reaper, the Slant community recommends Reaper for most people. In the question“What are the best stand-alone or in-DAW scoring / notation software?” Reaper is ranked 1st while MuseScore is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose Reaper is:
You can easily customize a GUI.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and open source
The pricing means you can dump it on any computer you like, without having to empty your wallet for a license. It also means you have a chance to use this program as a starting point for your own engraving software program, if you are also a programmer.
Pro Polished GUI
Looks on par with Apple software. Better than almost all FOSS software.
Contrary to most of its commercial counterparts, MuseScore is lightweight (less than 100MB) and can run acceptably on aging computers.
Pro MusicXML import and export ensures a degree of compatibility with other programs
If you are submitting files to a publisher, MusicXML format can be read by the big engraving programs: Sibelius, Finale, MuseScore, etc. Often there are some display issues that will need to be tweaked when using MusicXML between different programs, but publishers will spend a lot of time tweaking the file anyhow.
Pro Great sheet sharing web page
So you composed a new score! Now what? Well, you can start by putting it on the muse score sheet music sharing web page where others will be able to enjoy it and comment on it. Or maybe you're just looking for a score from an old video game: in that case, you should probably search the page for it, and download one of the many available formats (pdf, muse score format, mp3, xml, etc).
Pro Bugs quickly fixed
The fact that Musescore is open source and relies on a huge community of volunteers, combined with a strraightforward issue tracker ensure the rapid development of musescore.
Pro Easy inscription
The newest version of MuseScore added collision detection for elements - so unless you're importing something really wonky, you shouldn't have text and notes overlapping or hitting each other. You can save your favorite spacing and size preferences to a file and have MuseScore automatically load it when you start a new project, or load it manually from the file.
Pro Easy to add new sounds
If you're not happy with the default sounds (a good, but aging set from Roland), you can import any .sf2 and .sf3 soundfonts and easily use them. You can even have multiple soundfonts running simultaneously.
Pro Decent tutorial
Walks your through all the features.
Pro Automatic part generation
MuseScore can automatically generate scores for individual parts which 'link' to the main score - you can change things on the score and see that change appear in the relevant part, and vice versa.
Pro Available on Mobile
Android and iOS.
Pro Ultimate Guitar Merger gives hope for professional improvements
With Ultimate Guitar merger, hopefully, needed improvements will be done in a timely fashion and a lot fewer workarounds.
Pro Highly customizable
You can easily customize a GUI.
Pro Extremely stable, rarely crashes
Reaper receives high praise for its stability. It's one of the many talking points of the software.
Pro Constantly updated
Reaper's developers add features based on user request at lightspeed. This is what makes Reaper reliable and trustworthy. Fans of Reaper are so adamant about the software because of this.
Contrary to Music Radar's review of FL Studio, Reaper is the true "People's DAW".
Pro Supports unlimited number of tracks with unlimited number of effects
There are no limits to the amount of tracks or effects that Reaper can run. Reaper is stable enough to handle comically dense projects with style.
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 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 Easy to install
No complex activation shenanigans. No dongle and such.
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 Multiple recording and playback formats
Records in WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WAVPACK, OGG and MP3.
Pro Huge community support
Pro Comes with ~300 free plugins
In addition to its powerful inbuilt plugins, Reaper comes bundled with about 300 little plugins written in its own EEL2 (aka Jesusonic) scripting language. This is also open-source so the end user can create or edit preexisting ones to get exactly what they want.
Pro Multi-level freezing
A freeze can be applied to a group, and then picked apart track by track.
Although it may seem otherwise, Reaper is shareware. After your 60-day free trial runs out, the program remains full-featured. Like WinRAR, the only person forcing you to get a license is you.
Pro Free Reaplugs VST/VSTi bundle
Allows usage of the basic bundled like EQ's and comp plugins in any DAW.
Pro Application is extendable
Reaper has no limitations. Once you understand it, Reaper becomes a mixing, mastering and editing mainstay. Reaper punches way above its price range in terms of sheer brevity.
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.
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 Highly Affordable
Reaper can be purchased in two different ways: A commercial license (225 USD) and a discounted license (60 USD).
You can use Reaper unhindered with either license. You can only get the discount if your salary does not exceed 20,000 USD.
Pro Lua scripting can be done in the DAW with a built-in IDE
Pro Many time-saving features
Thought has been given to many time-saving features and shortcuts which speed up workflow considerably.
Pro Supports ReWire
Pro Tool-less interface
Set the cursor, press a key, done. Reaper's cursor is extremely intuitive. A monkey could understand it.
Unlike Cakewalk, Bitwig, etc., there is no need to switch cursor editing modes or work around "smart" cursors.
Pro Universal tracks
In Reaper, you can record MIDI and Audio onto the same track. As well, there are no distinctions between any form of audio. Surround Sound, Mono, Stereo files, and anything else you can think of; all of this can be recorded onto the same track.
Pro Tabbing multiple projects
You can have multiple projects open via tabs at the top left. You can then drag and drop clips, instruments or ideas between projects with ease.
Pro Notation editing
Miraculously, composition-focused musicians can now find a home in Reaper.
Pro The software advances with you
If you want to use it as a glorified tape machine and nothing else, you'll still be able to get work done. If you want to learn all the shortcuts, scripts, custom actions and macros and really unlock what Reaper can do, you can do that as well. Either way, you'll still be able to make music.
Pro Runs well on Wine in Linux
While other DAWs drag their feet on Windows, Reaper hits a solid stride even on Linux.
Pro Clean, easy-to-read GUI
While some may disagree, the GUI has been widely celebrated for its informative nature. Everything you need to see is there or reachable. For more analytical types, Reaper can be of use.
Pro OSC support
You can control almost everything via OSC (and MIDI, too).
Pro Potential to be the most beautiful DAW
You can customize Reaper with hundreds of themes, or make them yourself.
Pro Native Linux support
No need to install Wine, Reaper supports Linux natively!
Pro Lightweight and affordable price
These two things are the biggest advantage of Reaper. No other DAW can beat it based on CPU efficiency. Some people say Reaper isn't a professional DAW by look, but it's not true. Reaper is a full-featured professional DAW. You can do anything whatever you want for music production.
The price is also reasonable. They are even generous with the evaluation policy. If they offer the simple and intuitive version, I'll be back to Reaper.
Pro Can edit while you're recording
Reaper allows editing while you're recording for a performative and fluid workflow. This feature can also help save time when mixing.
Running smoothly with 50 tracks on i5 gen3 RAM 4GB laptop (mixing and mastering work done separately).
Pro Script Tools
Can run edited Script tools programmed by users.
Pro Excellent License Model
You can have one version and the future version when its out .
Pro Can Mix On Arranger View Without Console (Mixer) Or Inspector
Con No real-time transcription tool
If you are looking to play your MIDI keyboard and have the computer attempt to transcribe and print out your latest masterwork as you play, MuseScore is not the tool for you. It does, however, have a "semi-realtime" note input mode, which is kind of the same thing as a transcription tool.
Con Cannot copy and paste time signature changes
Copying a section of music with multiple time changes not possible. Muse developers talk of this as an enhancement rather than a basic need.
Con Cymbal rolls sound bad
There is no easy way to add good-sounding cymbal rolls.
Con Bad sounds
Although its ok for basic composing, the default sounds can sound inferior to other more polished sounds. In fact, it will remind you of old mario games with midi music; because that is pretty much what it is.
Con Bad support for microtonal music
Although Musescore does offer in addition to the Western 𝄫/♭/♮/♯/𝄪 accidentals also nonstandard ones, but they are essentially just glyphs; MuseScore does not know how to resolve them or use them in key signatures, let alone offer proper tuning of the playback pitches. (Playback pitch can be set manually in cents, but this is very cumbersome and error-prone.)
Con Long drop down menus
There are many features that you'll find nested deep in the menu system. This is fine, but can be a bit of a workflow-stopper. Everything is there but somethings are difficult to find. This can be remedied, somewhat, using the action list.
Con The MIDI editor is not intuitive and feels very clumsy and inconsistent
It costs time and extra clicks to control the MIDI velocities. If you use the MIDI editor a lot, Reaper is just not for you.
Con Overwhelming amount of features available
The programmable interface means that tweaking features is daunting for some.
Con Midi latency is still an issue
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.
The privacy conscious may be unnerved to find that Reaper is closed-source. This means that what the software may or may not know about you is invisible. Try to protect your data when using closed-source software.
Con Super complicated and unintuitive DAW
Although many users have asked to make it simple, the dev team hasn't listened to it at all. Plus, many things are opposite comparing to other DAWs and it's pretty annoying. They may have reverse psychology. They're trying to make musicians to coders. You'll waste your time for tweaking it. Reaper also gives you a challenge how your memory function sucks. You'll easily forget anything if you don't use it for several days. Even though Reaper offers many time-saving features, you'll waste time remembering all of them. It's non-sense.
Con Bad defaults, especially MIDI Editor
People dislike reaper because of the bad defaults. This is something the devs can work on but chose not to.
Con Unreliable controller interface support
Reaper may or may not natively support your control surface. If it doesn't, you can add it manually, but it may often lose connection to it (and will constantly nag you about the lost connection).
Con Midi drum editing not so fast or easy
Cubase has more features for creating and editing midi drum tracks.
Con Feels like an unfinished product
There are lots of menu options and shortcuts, but then there's a ton of other stuff that's hidden away in options and "actions" screens, and absolutely none of it is intuitive. Also, many controls default to text boxes or basic sliders, when knobs would be more useful.
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 Some edge features come across as somewhat janky
The video editor acts as its own little IDE rather than a polished plugin with a frontend like other JS plugins. The MIDI export function is not integrated with the larger render window. It's a sort of death by a thousand paper cuts - although many of the features that are janky here simply don't exist in other DAWs.
Con Midi dropout or inconsistent when render a track
When rendering a track with multiple vst, the midi note either having drop out issue, or not playing on time in render. Tried all render method such as offline full speed, offline 1x and online render, with both case of enabling or disabling the "allow anticipative FX processing", even tried to change the performance options on individual track, the problem still occurs. However, it is still nice to do mixing and recording with all these handful of tools.
Con Potentially unattractive GUI
For some, Reaper appears very dated or clunky. The GUI is nowhere near as fluid as its competitors. Ableton, Bitwig, Reason (and others) all provide smoother animations or skeuomorphic feedback.
Reaper's instruments and effects come in the form of sliders and very small knobs. It takes the user out of the fantasy of working with certain equipment. This makes Reaper very boring to watch from a distance for some.
However, this means nothing in terms of Reaper's raw power. By trading appearance and initial impression for functionality, Reaper stays ahead.