When comparing Cubase vs Reaper, the Slant community recommends Reaper for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs? ” Reaper is ranked 1st while Cubase is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose Reaper is:
As well as making your own themes, you can configure the Reaper interface to best suit your needs. There are no limitations to how customizable or programmable Reaper truly is. It's almost magic. Couple this with shortcut editing and you have a winner.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Powerful range of audio editing tools
Pro Supports chord tracks
Pro All takes can be shown in a single track
When in stacked mode, all of your takes can be shown in a single track side by side. You can then select what parts of which take you need. If you are recording MIDI, the Cubase DAW allows creating a pattern that can overlap and be re-used as many times as needed.
Pro Large selection of time stretching methods
The Cubase DAW offers 11 different kinds of time stretching methods.
Pro Great MIDI editing options
Pro Great summing engine
The summing engine is responsible for processing tracks and combining them into the correct output. In comparison to other DAWs, Cubase's summing engine is excellent.
Pro Quantize can automatically tighten MIDI inputs
Automatically tightens your MIDI inputs to be on time. Quantize has two modes. Hard Quantize will adjust based on strict settings (precisely on beat by default) and Iterative Quantize will adjust in increments. Excellent for keeping the human element in recordings.
Pro The industry standard for MIDI sequencing and arranging
Pro Pro edition is also excellent for audio mixing
It provides all the industry requirements and features an optimized workflow for mixing.
Pro Incredible and well integrated EQ
Pro Recent updates have added some great features
Pro Powerful, time-saving Logical Editor
Logical Editor allows customizing MIDI data according, in order to set rules to save time.
Pro Batch export
You can pick separate tracks to export in one pass. You can even have them open up a new project or drop in the same project automatically. Huge time saver and DSP Saver.
Pro Sampler track
Has an awesome and easy to use sampler.
Pro Superior sample editing
Lot's of options to edit samples on the fly with direct offline processing you can apply effects without sacrificing performance. You can even use Wavelab as an external wave editor.
Pro Great for Sound Design
Excellent time stretching , editing and bundled plug ins as well as powerful software instruments for creative synthesis.
Pro Allows changing a pattern in one place to effect each instance of it
Using Parts, the Cubase DAW allows creating patterns that can be re-used as many times as needed, and can be edited in a single place.
All in one plugin for advance audio analysis.
Pro Scale assistant
Great for those who are not piano players or just for quick ideas.
Pro Direct offline processing
Apply any kind of process offline for selected single or multiple events . Without CPU load great for sound Design.
Pro Vari Audio better than Melodyne
Pro Best stock plug-ins
Best stock plug-ins in any DAW. Powerful yet easy to work with.
Pro Control room
A unique recording and monitoring for personal or studio use.
Pro ARA2 implementation of plugins
Plugins that use the ARA2 technology can be implemented into the DAW for seamless and "native" like editing.
Pro Latency monitor
Great for tracking latency for each channel and plug-in.
Pro AAF support
Great for those who collaborate with pro tool users.
Pro MPE support
Compatible with the various MIDI controllers.
Pro SpectraLayers one
Great visual editing and audio separation source.
Pro Apple metal acceleration
Maximum performance for macOS users.
Pro Eucon support
Avid console compatibility.
Pro More features than any other DAW
Pro Highly customizable
As well as making your own themes, you can configure the Reaper interface to best suit your needs. There are no limitations to how customizable or programmable Reaper truly is. It's almost magic.
Couple this with shortcut editing and you have a winner.
Pro Extremely stable, rarely crashes
Reaper receives high praise for its stability. It's one of the many talking points of the software.
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 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 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 Easy to install
No complex activation shenanigans. No dongle and such.
Pro Huge community support
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 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 Multiple recording and playback formats
Records in WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WAVPACK, OGG and MP3.
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 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 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.
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 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 Free Reaplugs VST/VSTi bundle
Allows usage of the basic bundled like EQ's and comp plugins in any DAW.
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 Lua scripting can be done in the DAW with a built-in IDE
Pro Supports ReWire
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 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 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 Many time-saving features
Thought has been given to many time-saving features and shortcuts which speed up workflow considerably.
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 Notation editing
Miraculously, composition-focused musicians can now find a home in Reaper.
Pro Native Linux support
No need to install Wine, Reaper supports Linux natively!
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 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.
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 Potential to be the most beautiful DAW
You can customize Reaper with hundreds of themes, or make them yourself.
Running smoothly with 50 tracks on i5 gen3 RAM 4GB laptop (mixing and mastering work done separately).
Con Quite expensive
This costs significantly more compared to other DAWs.
Con Closed source
Con Not the most stable of DAWs; crashes relatively often
Software is relatively unstable. It is quite temperamental and can crash at times, especially when you're working on big projects.
Con Lack of built-in noise reduction
There's no built-in noise reduction FFT profiler like you might see in some other DAWs. There's noise gate but it's not the same. If you're on Windows, then you can get around this by downloading ReaFir.
Con A small number of slots for effects in the channel (max 16)
Con Confusing pages
The Cubase DAW displays pages that tend to confuse users.
Con Installs third-party software on your computer (e-licenser)
Con Poor sample editing
The sample editor isn't too great and there's no option to launch external sample editors.
Con Not what it used to be
The new updates kind of ruin the old classy feel.
Con Runs poorly
Con Not the DAW for tech savvy users
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.
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 Midi latency is still an issue
Con Overwhelming amount of features available
The programmable interface means that tweaking features is daunting for some.
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 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 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 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 Midi drum editing not so fast or easy
Cubase has more features for creating and editing midi drum tracks.
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 Poor MIDI editor
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 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 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.