Step 1: Why Reaper Rocks

A modern Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) needs to have a hefty number of features, but essentially you should view it as a shell in which to house your instruments and effects. The idea that the DAW should do everything from playing bass to making the tea is a common pitfall. Let the DAW do what it’s good at, and hand pick your instruments elsewhere.

With this in mind I have tried to assemble a “perfect’ DAW setup based around Reaper.

Reaper is a fantastic DAW these days. I have Logic and Samplitude and access to Cubase and ProTools but I use Reaper all the time.

It is very fast, stable, very light on CPU usage, nicely designed and incredibly small. The download is around 4MB. You can install it on a USB key and use it on any computer, anywhere. It is supported by a friendly and useful community and is constantly being updated. It has so many neat features and yet it has an elegant, unfussy interface. At the time of writing it costs £38.

It works very well indeed and I find it faster than any of the others, which now seem overweight and out of date.

Two potential pitfalls:

  1. Although Reaper comes with great processing effects, they are minimal in appearance and don’t excite new users who want sexy graphics. Sexy graphics are important to software.
  2. Reaper does not come with any real instruments, so you can’t start sequencing right away.

This all helps to keep Reaper portable and focused – I wouldn’t have it any other way. You can easily download sexy looking high quality free instruments and effects to complement Reaper: problem solved.

Download a free version of Reaper here (uncrippled for 30 days) and try it out. Then look at the other posts and get some quality free VSTs to run with it.


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