Step 3: What do you need?

As a beginner, you will want to have a good basic suite of instruments and effects.

  1. you need bread and butter sounds, such as drums, bass, guitar, brass, strings, etc. In Cubase these are provided by the horrid Halion player. The source for these sounds can be synthesised but it is normal today to find these provided by sample libraries (such as Halion). The good thing about samples is that they can sound very good. The bad thing about them is that they are (or should be) very large. A decent sample library will be many GB in size. I suggest getting a sample library player for your rig at home and a little synthesised one for your USB key.
  2. you need some synthesisers. These are usually quite small as they do not require sample data.
  3. you need some good effects. Reaper already has nice effects, but you could always do with more. You will want a set of the ‘standard’ effects: reverb, delay, chorus, compressor, filter, etc. Effects are usually very small.
  4. you will also want some more sophisticated effects: transient modeller, spatial enhancer, exciter, side chain compressor, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t know what these are yet. You will want them once you know.
  5. you might need a sampler. Reaper ships with the badly titled but perfectly capable ReaSampleOmatic5000. This is a neat little sampler for everyday use, featuring the (excellent) ability to easily grab selected audio from a track and use it as sample instrument data. For more complex sampling duties, you will need something more.

The following posts will suggest likely downloads to fulfil these needs.

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