When comparing Ableton Live 9 vs Reaper, the Slant community recommends Ableton Live 9 for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs?” Ableton Live 9 is ranked 1st while Reaper is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose Ableton Live 9 is:
Ableton's session view gives a much quicker, more flexible way of experimenting with ideas than a typical linear interface. In session view, each instrument part is a separate entity that can be mixed and matched with other parts without having to rearrange anything. Any and every effect is consolidated into one clean looking interface. It allows users to experiment with effects and other manipulations very quickly. Because of this, Ableton is known as one of the most creative DAWs out there.
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Pro Great creative DAW workflow
Ableton's session view gives a much quicker, more flexible way of experimenting with ideas than a typical linear interface. In session view, each instrument part is a separate entity that can be mixed and matched with other parts without having to rearrange anything. Any and every effect is consolidated into one clean looking interface.
It allows users to experiment with effects and other manipulations very quickly. Because of this, Ableton is known as one of the most creative DAWs out there.
Pro Advanced automation
You can add curves to automation. Additionally, Ableton lets users duplicate certain automations quickly.
Pro Great for sampling
The Ableton DAW offers a great sampling experience, which can be approached in many different ways. Audio can be directly chopped, quantized, warped, and even chopped into MIDI clips. Ableton's built in sampler also allows clean pitching along with useful loop functions.
Pro Optimized for playing live music
While all DAWs are capable of playing music live, Ableton Live is the most DJ friendly DAW out there as it allows mixing and mashing various MIDI or audio clips together in real-time while still making sure that they're in sync.
Pro Max for Live lets users build custom tools
With Max for Live, users can create custom synthesizers, audio effects, sequencers, samplers, and more. Max for Live is a feature that is available with Live 9 Suite.
Pro Many software specific controllers
Many MIDI controllers have been developed for the exclusive purpose of being used with Ableton. Some popular Live controllers include Push, APC40, and Launchpad.
Pro Minimum skeuomorphism
Skeuomorphism is described as retaining antiquated aesthetic features on an updated version of a device. For DAWs, this happens when an interface is littered with analog nobs, wires, and other things that are reminiscent of older technology. While this can be considered a stylistic choice for some DAWs, it tends to block progress towards better practices in music production.
Pro Supports "scales" plugin
If you want to write in a specific scale, choose it from the scale plugin and your music will automatically be configured to be that key.
Pro Advanced content browser
The browser lets users choose from live Sets, tracks, clips, devices, presets, samples, etc. There is also an auto-play function for audio clips that enables users to browse samples quickly. The search function is also handy, but only for clips that are labeled appropriately.
Pro Exemplary time stretching facilities
Not only can the time stretching can be done in real-time, there are about a dozen of TC/E algorithms to choose from.
Pro Comes with 54GB included sounds and 40 effects
Pro Outstanding EQ
Ableton's new EQ includes an integrated spectrum analyzer so users can see exactly which frequencies need to be adjusted. Additionally, this EQ cuts by 48 db. In the previous version of Ableton, the EQ only cut by 12 db.
Pro Dual monitor support
Live 9 lets users see session and arrangement views at the same time with dual monitor support.
Pro Endless creativity
After some training this daw can be used for doing anything. There are basically no limits.
Pro Multiple "workflows" or ways of achieving an outcome
Not everyone realizes this, but anything can be done in multiple ways in Live. Multiple ways of playing samples, multiple ways of slicing samples, multiple ways of sequencing MIDI, etc.
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.
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.
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 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 Lua scripting can be done in the DAW with a built-in IDE
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 Free Reaplugs VST/VSTi bundle allows usage of the basic bundled like EQ's and comp plugins in any DAW
Pro Notation editor added recently
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 Supports ReWire
Pro Runs well on Wine in Linux
Pro Huge community support
Pro Multiple recording and playback formats
Records in WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WAVPACK, OGG and MP3.
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.
At around $749, the Ableton Live 9 Suite DAW is more expensive than other DAWs. Ableton live 9 standard can be bought for $449, and Ableton Live 9 Intro can be bought for $99.
Con Plugins on frozen tracks are loaded and unloaded as the session opens slowing down opening and creating DSP limitations.
For example: If you freeze more than the allowed number of plugins on a UAD DSP device, when you open your session, Ableton will open and close all the frozen plugins on every channel even though they are not active in the session. The UAD control panel application displays the DSP usage of the hardware. During loading the levels (bars) will fluctuate by extreme amounts and typically will produce errors once the Ableton session is loaded.
After the session is loaded, UAD plugins that should be running are disabled because there wasn't enough DSP available during load.
The user then has to open and look at each UAD plug in to see if they are disabled and turn them off and on again to enable them. This illustrates there is enough room for the DSP load for unfrozen plugins, but that the loading process was at fault.
Con Interface looks terrible
It really looks shoddy. The fonts are much too small to be comfortable and there is no return to beginning button included in the navigation controls. (But font size can be increased)
Con Sometimes very slow reaction, if you switch from one track to another with APC- or Push-Controller
Con Menu drop downs can be a little long
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.