Reaper DAW, tips, tricks, praise and questions

Since this discussion is turning into a Reaper discussion, better start a new thread.

Let this be the place to discuss Reaper. Share tips and tricks, and post the occiasional quick question.
Of coruse for questions it’s recommended to head over to the official reaper forums:

A little sum up from what has been said so far in the Keeping it cheap discussion:

Also, we all seem to agree that Reaper has a great business model!


And let me continue the discussion by saying (in reply to @kirklandish) that I like how you can just ALT+grab one end of a clip to time-stretch it and that I can double click it and change its speed. Plus you can easily set it up to not quantize your audio clips to the BPMs in any way. So many things to love.


Oh damn. I’ve done quite a lot of slicing, rearranging and timestretching but have always done it through the item properties. Thanks for this tip!


You’re welcome!
On another topic, the only thing keeping me from completely ditching Ableton Live, is the lack of something like Sampler in Reaper. Or of a plugin that is affordable and does more or less the same.
Though maybe I have to give Redux another go.


I’m not too familiar with Ableton, but for sample-based stuff I’ve had good luck with Kontakt and Battery.

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Ableton’s Sampler is (in my experience at least) a totally different beast from Kontakt. A little less flexibility, but it being well baked in to the DAW means it’s stupidly fast in comparison. Kontakt always seems so sluggish and resource hungry for me when I just want to play a cat meow with MIDI or something.

A comparable 3rd party sampler would be a godsend for Reaper as I’m in a similar boat to @papernoise


@hermbot I do have Kontakt as well, and It’s increadibly powerful of course.
Still I have to agree with @vcvcvc_val it’s just not as quick and easy as Ableton Sampler, and to me it always feels more like a “library framework” than like an actual sampler.

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I didn’t know that! Very useful… I’ll be testing that out soon.

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I love Reaper and I love Renoise so I was really hopeful that Redux would give the best of both but I find it compromises performance.

Using a high spec 13" mbp so was a bit surprised. Does anyone know of a setting that would help?

In the meantime I’ve been ping-ponging between the two and using TAL as the main sampler inside Reaper (which is pretty decent).

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I’ve been using reaper for years, but only last week tracked my modular from it. It got tiresome pretty early to

  1. insert track
  2. rename track
  3. change input to midi, correct device
  4. send to correct channel, correct device
  5. arm record

A quick search and I discovered track templates

Today i spend 10 mins setting up TouchOSC to control reaper from iPad, don’t think I’ll use it much, but it’s cool…


Track templates are cool. I use them with plugins too, so if I want 808 kit it’s quick to just insert a template with Battery already in there with the right sample set, and VMR too because I probably want that too to thicken up the sound. FX chains haven’t really found their way into my workflow, but track and project templates for sure.


You can double click on the media item and change the time stretching algorithm and some properties, as well. It’s not terribly deep but there are lots of combinations to try out. I’ve been experimenting with making iterative passes on time stretched items recently and it’s quite interesting.


A day where you learn something new is a good day :slight_smile:


I was thinking about using my arc as a set of fine grained controls in Reaper, but does anyone know of a good method to get Reaper to listen to it?
Do I have to set up a max patch that will connect to my arc and send OSC messages on to Reaper? I was hoping there would be a more direct solution solution.
Mapping to the controls in reaper is not a problem, I’ve been using the CSI with decent succes, it’s more a question of getting reaper to listen to the arc. Has anyone been doing this?

If not, can anyone point me in the direction of where to look, if i should make a solution to this? I haven’t ventured beyond the lua-scripting yet, but I don’t mind getting my hands dirty.

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here’s a Reaper pro tip - switch to Bitwig)

I’ve been using Reaper since version 3.
For years and years Reaper devs couldn’t make all the fonts to scale. For example, the fx browser stays super tiny no matter what, and the only somewhat of a fix is to edit the exe file with the process hacker.

Too many menues with too many points in those menues, too many options in the setup, weak design (both in taste and function).

Reaper is okay for recording and mixing, but as creative daw - no, its not worth the time.

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Calling malarkey on that. Reaper is an absurdly amazing value for the money, and one should know better than to blame their tools.

If I wanted to roll all opinionated like that I’d tell you that you’re wasting your time with Bitwig and there’s no true “creative DAW” aside from Maschine. :slight_smile:


Agreed on value for money, but I don’t blame anything at all. The reality is that all those problems I’ve mentioned are actually there and nothing was done to make it at least a bit more usable, the fonts and gray backgrounds for text being probably the biggest issues.
And the saddest part is that its not rocket science to fix, yet they don’t care.

Reaper can be a creative tool if you know how to be creative with it. Their UI can be better. Those points you made about the interface is very true but they don’t relate to the conclusion that you draw and that seems a bit unfair imho.


anyhow, here’s the hack:

  1. install the Resource Hacker from Angus Johnson.
  2. open reaper.exe in the Resource Hacker, choose the “Dialog” folder.
  3. go to “Action” menu, click “Save [Dialog] group to an RC file”.
  4. open the file we just saved with a notepad, replace all “FONT 8” lines to “FONT 10” and save the file (its easier to replace all of them and 10 is a decent option)
  5. open the modified rc file in the Resource Hacker, compile it via “Action” menu and “Compile Script”, then save as RES file.
  6. open reaper.exe in the Resource Hacker once again, click “Action/Add from resource file”, choose a RES file from step 5, then choose “Overwrite” and “Check all”, then click “Import”.
  7. Save our modified reaper.exe.
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For someone like me for whom the Ableton/Bitwig workflow never worked (years of trying) for my particular music, who hates using a mouse/trackpad, and found themselves cursing at the inability to customize ProTools/Logic to do what I want it to do, Reaper has been a dream come true. But I don’t think of it as a DAW that works well as-is. I think of it as a toolset to build one’s OWN DAW that primarily runs on keyboard commands, external controllers, custom (DIY and community-sourced) add-ons. My config is now very close to the DAW of my dreams. Yeah, there are unchangeable interface atrocities, but at least the interface doesn’t impose a mood or style that distracts me. And once I’ve memorized where things are and set up shortcuts and actions to navigate the way I want to, I don’t even notice it.
It did require a pretty huge time investment to get to this point. If it was the cost of ProTools HD/Ultimate, which I now only have to deal with on other people’s systems, I’d complain about that. It isn’t.
I can, however, see how some types of sound/music making would fit better with the Bitwig way of things. And there is nothing like encountering a tool that meshes with your needs right out of the box. I went through all of the DAWs, though, and none did. Reaper at least let me build something close.