When comparing Reaper vs FL Studio, the Slant community recommends Reaper for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs? ” Reaper is ranked 2nd while FL Studio is ranked 6th. 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 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 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.
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 Huge community support
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 Free Reaplugs VST/VSTi bundle
Allows usage of the basic bundled like EQ's and comp plugins in any DAW.
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 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.
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 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 Many time-saving features
Thought has been given to many time-saving features and shortcuts which speed up workflow considerably.
Pro Lua scripting can be done in the DAW with a built-in IDE
Pro Supports ReWire
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 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 Runs well on Wine in Linux
While other DAWs drag their feet on Windows, Reaper hits a solid stride even on Linux.
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 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 Native Linux support
No need to install Wine, Reaper supports Linux natively!
Pro Potential to be the most beautiful DAW
You can customize Reaper with hundreds of themes, or make them yourself.
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 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 Free lifetime updates
With the producer or signature bundle, updates are free forever.
Pro Excellent for visual learners
All the stock plugins look really nice and really show users what is being done, it's a great way to learn mixing theory for a beginner. This approach makes FL Studio easy to learn compared to other DAWs.
Pro Easy to install
No complex activation shenanigans. No dongle and such.
FL Studio has a very unique sampler which allows all kinds of sounds to be experimented with, be it a siren, a water drop, or more commonly, the infamous "Progressive House" Kick. The Sampler also allows the user to retune a sample to any key he/she desires.
Pro Very comprehensive plugin suite included
You have basic and advanced plugins right out the box.
Pro Easy to learn DAW
The FL Studio DAW utilizes drag and drop, and can generally be learned quickly without any prior knowledge. There are also a lot of resources to help begginers and experienced users learn.
Pro Each update is major
When Image Line releases an update, it's safe to assume that there are major improvements in there.
Pro Intuitive piano roll
Piano roll is a FL Studio's instrument step sequencer. It is considered to be among the most intuitive and flexible tools for quickly creating patterns and manipulating all aspects of each note. A single left click inserts a note, while a right click deletes it. It's possible to mute notes, splice them, stretch them, add shuffle, etc quickly.
The Piano Roll caters for those new to Music Theory as well, containing an array of chords from which to choose, be it a Major, Minor, Minor 5th, Minor 9th, what have you.
Pro Fully open: accepts a variety of formats
Accepts VST/VSTi (v2,v3) Wav, Aiff, Rex, Acid, Apple Loop, Ogg, Mp3 as well as almost every video format including Mov and Mp4.
Pro Inbuilt cross 32/64bit plugin bridge
You don't need to install/configure a third party bridge.
Pro Supports resampling
Supports resampling (non stretch) which is something some DAWs don't support.
Pro Scalable interface
The interface adapts to the screen size it's used on.
Pro Sample/MIDI Manipulation in the Playlist Mode
The Playlist mode comes with various tools for cutting out sections of a sample, midi arrangement, or otherwise. One can also clone, mute, solo out, and stretch a sample by any degree, although the sample's key will change.
Pro Fully vectorial UI that will scale to virtually every screen
Because most DAWs don't scale well yet.
Pro Perfect for engineering because of the production style workflow
The workflow for creating beats in FL Studio is among the fastest which make mixing and mastering a breeze inserting plug-ins and routing on the mixer.
Pro Can import/export 32bit audio
Just as the internal engine bit depth, there's no loss in quality.
Pro Unlimited creativity
With tools in the piano roll like the "Riff Machine", and the "Randomize" tool, you can literally let the computer automate the production if you want. In addition to plugins like "Gross Beat", Slicex, DirectWave, the ideas can be limitless.
Pro The only DAW with a VJ graphic generation suite (ZG Editor Visualizer)
No other DAW has that.
Pro Smooth UI
Compared to other DAWs, FL's UI moves at full monitor refresh rates while others are somehow laggy.
Pro Patcher: Modular environment
Pro Good for the studio
Some DAWs are good for live shows, some DAWs are good for production, but the FL Studio DAW has carved its niche in the studio recording arena.
Pro It comes as VSTi and Rewire
So you can use it inside another DAW. There's no other DAW capable of doing that.
Pro Non-invasive DRM
Forget copy protection USB-dongles and phone-home activation. Just import a reg key file and your license is activated.
Pro It is the only DAW where you can program real scratching sequences (Turntablism)
You can make your own scratches with the "Fruity Scratcher" or "Wave traveller".
Pro Flexible internal linking engine
Its linking engine and controller plugins are very flexible and useful all across the software. For mixing and also for performance mode.
Pro Imports video for scoring
You can open several video players.
Pro Powerful Sound Editor
Edison is a great way to record and edit samples, sound effects and is a very easy way to create sample packs and sound libraries.
Pro Reasonable and liberal license
Buy once, and you're allowed to use it on every computer you own.
Pro Amazing sequencer to input midi
Pro Has the best startup sound
Pro It's possible to run FL Studio on Linux via Wine without a noticeable performance impact
Version 12 of FL Studio includes a new Generic ASIO driver that's capable of achieving same low latency performance as the native Windows version. Instructions on how to set up the DAW to run on Linux via Wine can be found here.
Pro Complete control over multiple Launchpad Pro animation lightshow projects
Live can, but working with more LPs is a pain.
Pro Shows other instrument notes in background if needed
Pro Best stretching algorithms in the market
Pro Very flexible timeline
Pro Developed by a team of friends
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 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 Overwhelming amount of features available
The programmable interface means that tweaking features is daunting for some.
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 Lacks LV2 support
Does not support the LV2 plugin standard.
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 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 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 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 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.
Con Not intuitive for track based recording approach
Con Audio recording not as good as the other DAWs
Recording audio is always a problem in FL Studio.
Con The Browser is archaic
Every time it has to refresh, it closes the entire menu. So if you just navigated several dropdowns to find an automation parameter of a third party plugin and you want to automate a second parameter, you have to navigate back to that dropdown all over again. Searching within the browser is a slapped on feature that only shows you a single result at a time, and you have to press a hotkey to cycle through them one by one. Really, your browser in FL is the Windows File Explorer, or Finder in OS I assume. The FL Browser is workflow molasses and should be avoided at all costs except to find samples you already know the location of.
Con Most controls are hidden
In the mixing console, mid, bass, and treble are not explicitly stated as they should be.
Con The GUI is very difficult to see
The color scheme of GUI is terrible. They use a lot of dark and similar color for the GUI. And not skinnable without special knowledge of hack.
Con Shortcuts are weird
It is more like a Fisher Price My First Daw than a real, truly professional DAW.
Con Not great for Mixing
Every channel should have input gain controller and extra plugins should be added for more creativity.
Con The soundfont player will trash your projects, no 64-bit version available
Remember that nice project with a soundfont in it ? Yeeeah, load it again and prepare to face stuck MIDI notes and a trashed project.
Con Has a slight tendency to crash
Always save before loading a new VST or doing something important: FL is prone to crashes.
Con Lack of other midi keyboard brands
Con Bad sound for expensive piano plugin
Rendered using the same MIDI note and compared it to the render on other daws, it's really bad.
Con Non-free software
Con Can not customize the GUI
Can not change the UI as I Like and Altering UI is