Show 131 – What’s so great about REAPER and more

This week Jon goes on and on and on about how great REAPER is. In the Rapid Fire section we cover: budgeting for gear purchases; Favorite studio snack; One piece of production advice.

With us this week is Travis Jay and Sydney Galbraith.

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18 thoughts on “Show 131 – What’s so great about REAPER and more

  1. There was an article in tapeOp a couple issues ago with plans for DIY BBC diffusors. The prime number math and layout all done for us in a color coded chart. And the cost seems to be quite a bit lower than it sounds like you guys are expecting. Could be as low as $20 for each 18″ square panel. I’ve had the issue open to that page on my coffee table since it came out, since I wanted to brighten up my live room a bit, swap in some of these diffusors in place of a few absorbers I have.

    Would you all be interested in a post, or some kind of write up or segment about this project?

  2. Great shows once again, thanks for answering my question about impedance. BTW Ryan, i found another way to make my piece of crap usefull, it’s a great paperweight.

    Loved the discussion on Reaper, gotta say it’s looking nicer and nicer every time i hear about it.

    Thanks for another great show.
    PS. i spot a typo, i think you mean download show #131 not #113. Fixed – Jon

  3. Jon – I’m curious to hear about any specific setting changes or customization you did to make Reaper look and behave more to your liking… or more like PT perhaps. I haven’t dug too deep yet, but I know you can change a bunch of stuff like you said on the podcast. Since installing the new update I’m not sure how much I like the default skin. You using a custom skin and which one?

  4. I have Reaper trial but haven’t really tried using it yet because I’m quite comfortable with Ableton Live. But I do want to learn how to use it. Your review just inspired me to really get started using it… BEFORE Cockos decides to up the discount price.

    I kinda wish you hadn’t done this review because it might go the Sony F-98 way but then I’m glad that you did because it’s kind of a slap in the face of big name DAWs tbat cost way way way more than Reaper… Like I said, I hope Cockos keeps its price low for non-commercial users. I bet after this review there will be a huge bump on their download traffic.

  5. Best line of the show:
    Ryan: “I doubt I’ll ever be without a pair in my career.”

    Let me just say, of all the podcasters in the world, Ryan you have one of the biggest pair around!

    Great vibe today with Sidney; you make having a desk job tolerable.


  6. Thanks for a shout-out to my favorite DAW! Reaper is amazing and criminally underrated. Anyone thinking they might give it a try will probably forget about it for months. Just download it now from and do yourself a favor. It’s just really well made software. Incredibly powerful and stable and infinitely useful. Thanks again guys!

  7. Hey guys, after listening to the last show again and then listening to this one, I realized I had not been paying attention the whole time the first time I listened to show 130, walking the dog has lots of distractions! Anyway I stand corrected on the VariOhm transformer issue. Although if they are available for $150 as you guys stated, I would then question the quality of the transformer to not add a lot of color itself. That is one difference between using a transformer and resistors to change impedance. A quality resistor still costs no more than a couple bucks or so as opposed to the big bucks (upwards of $70 or so) most premium transformers cost and a decent resistor doesn’t color the sound like a transformer can and/or does. I only mention this because i wonder how much of the change in sound was due to the transformer and not the change in resistance. For example, my ISA 1 has a very high end Lundahl transformer and is known for not imparting a lot of color while the Manley transformer in my Langevin Dual Vocal Combo does impart color, although not as much as a Neve does…I prefer it that way. I think it is safe to say that the input transformer on the Pre 73 probably adds more color that might be influencing the difference in sound at the different impedances. This is not intended as any kind of criticism, just an FYI.

    Also, while there is a lot to understanding impedance, as it relates to mics and pre amps, it really isn’t that difficult. I would suggest just to refresh your memory you reread the Recording Magazine article Ryan and Jon just read it if you haven’t. The guy that wrote the article and “designed” ( I use that term loosely…) the Gizmo is a recording engineer, audio enthusiast, and instructor in recording technology and the whole idea came from a recording class he was teaching at Webster University. I only mention this because he does a really good job of explaining the electromechanics of varying the impedance in this type of situation. And Jon, to answer your question, there is a huge relationship between, noise floor, and gain. Stamler does a great job of explaining it in a very easy to understand way. Basically, if you lower the impedance as Ryan does with his Pre 73 and SM7, you are damping the moving coil and it does lower the gain a few dbs. Anyway, it is a really good article that sort of demystifies the whole concept.

  8. I am submitting this separately because it is actually a question I would like answered if possible. I am curious why you guys always mention Cubase or Logic or any of a number of DAWs including Cubase, but I don’t think I have ever heard you mention or discuss Sonar and I was just wondering why? Jon’s piece on Reaper is what prompts this question. And if it is simply because you think it is shitty, it won’t hurt my feelings, but it might make me question your objectivity or experience somewhat…just kidding…First, I was a Cubase user for 3 or 4 years before I switched to Sonar 8.5. I switched because after downloading the SE version for $9.99, I immediately noticed a difference in sound from Cubase, and it was noticeably better which says a lot about the sound engine. I moved to studio for a mere $49 and ended up going all the way to Sonar Producer including the new X-1 which only cost me $99.

    Also, Sonar can do virtually everything Jon said he liked about Reaper, including being able to make your own screen sets (10 per project and are accessible anytime). Although they are project based, you can import any of them into another project with a click or two. Sonar also does slip editing, has input trim on every channel, is customizable, although admittedly not as much as Reaper, has an easy and intuitive create send/buss function, and unlike most DAWS, with the release of X-1, the collapsing docking feature allows access to access to any feature, window, etc. with one click. I can switch back and forth from console view to track view in real time with one click, or open Matrix view or the inspector, media browser, etc, anything you have docked the same way. Or you can float some windows if you want. And you can dock anything either on top, on the bottom, or either the left or right side of the screen. And everything is drag and drop.

    The plugins (instruments and FX) are as good as any DAW including Pro Tools, and there are a lot of them including excellent pitch correction/auto tune, audio snap audio to MIDI conversion (Jon, if you haven’t tried it, I assure you you would love it….) and the entire thing is fully 64bit and has been for a while. Also, my friend uses Reaper and I had no trouble adapting for the most part because in many ways it is very similar to Sonar. One other thing worthy of mention, when it comes to portability and Pro Tools, both PT and Sonar can export/import files as OMF files so compatibility really isn’t that much of an issue. Granted, you can’t use PT specific plugins in Sonar but there is a VST equivalent for most Pro Tools plugins including TDM format. As long as both parties have the same plugins and somebody writes down the settings, even FX can be used the same way in both DAWs. I have yet to find anything Pro Tools can do that Sonar can’t, but I also admit that is based on what I have been told about PT because I have never used it. There are also several things Sonar can do PT can’t. I mean Pro Tools is only recently able to do delay compensation, although from what I hear, it still needs work..

    One other feature that reminds me of Reaper and has so far been exclusive to Sonar, even though they added plugs and VSTi’s, Matrix, view, etc., etc., etc., with the release of X-1 Producer, Sonar actually DROPPED the price $100!!! I’m not trying to shill for Sonar, but I have never heard you mention it and considering its sound engine quality, full 64bit capability, functionality, and extensive included FX/instruments, I am just curious why I have never heard you talk about it?

  9. Have used a lot of the DAWs out there but REAPER is the only one I can stand. It’s probably the most frustration-free DAW there is. 32/64bit VST bridging and firewalling is pretty amazing, can read and write almost any format you want (including video), is insanely cheap, insanely portable (5.8mb download, how the freak do they do that?) and fast as lightning. You can load and start recording/editing/mixing in seconds, any time I boot up Cubase now my blood pressure rises from all the crap that gets in the way of what you want to be doing.

    On Reaper’s Wikipedia page it mentions that REAPER is an acronym for “Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording”, but I can’t see any mention of this on the Reaper or Cockos websites?

  10. Jon, great segment on Reaper, I am a Reaper user since the beginning and it has been exciting seeing its evolution to what I agree is the best DAW out there. I love the fact that in Reaper a track is a track and anything can live on it, you don’t have to specify if it is midi, aux, etc. Another great feature is you can install it on a flash drive and take it with you, super portable. Donating again!

  11. Nice segment on Reaper Jon. I’ve been dabbling in the DAW for the past 2-3 years and like it a lot – especially the cross-platform distributed processing option. I’m experimenting with trying a small film project with it in the fall… We’ll see.

    Guys, I gotta put together a different PSA option for you. No disrespect to the production, which is fantastic and quite funny (the first couple of times), but I found that I let out a small groan in a crowd when it came on this show … kind of embarrassing…

  12. Oh yeah, I forgot about mentioning bookshelves for diffusion – couple of Ikea models and a trip to old book sales and you’ve got something that’s great at randomizing the reflections and much, much cheaper…

  13. Great show guys. I’ll check out a couple more now.

    Nice segment on Reaper. Glad you like it so much Jon.

    I’ve used it for a lot of tasks. It’s kinda what Soundforge used to be for 2-track editing. Fast, efficient, versatile, customizable, in other words fun and useful.

    I’ve done effects for post production, dialogue editing for a couple of sequences(mostly still Protools because of session compatibility requirements), podcasts, game videos, single effect designs, mastering… everything I don’t have to use Protools for, which in my case is dialgue editing and mixing on a four year old PT7.3 system, and a little Protools 9.

    If you guys want to check out Reaper without all the work, and don’t mind paying $30, check out Kenny Goia’s “Reaper 4 Explained” videos at . I just bought a copy for a buddy of mine. Great stuff. Protools users will know how good Kennys videos are.

    Should any of you still be wrestling with downloading a 6 MB installer(Windows) or 10 MB(OSX), keep the following in mind.

    It runs on netbooks, is being used to record and run live shows, has a community of hobbyists and professionals as most of us probably wished the DUC had always been.

    There’s a very good manual. And the SWS extension, a function-filled extension, which any user can create because there’s an SDK anyone can get. I could easily write ten pages about the stuff in this program and how easy it is to discover and how helpful everyone is in the forum. I certainly saturated a bunch of editing and mixing collegues that I gave a talk to for over three hours straight about what Reaper does well.

    But if you have $30 get Kenny Goias videos. They’ll give you the quickest introduction possible.

    There are a lot of former and current Sonar users in the Reaper forum. If you want to compare the two, you’ll get good information from those people.

  14. @Dave Chick

    Hehe. I used the Digibeta tape rack in my mixing room at a show to do just that. Was a suggestion of a collegue of mine and it works great.

  15. protools protools protools protools…..and at least now some coverage on Reaper which was very interesting.

    But I use Sonar for my heavy lifting and Audacity for mastering and light work. Yes, I know Protools is the high-end standard but Sonar is pretty easy to use and has all kinds of cool stuff in it as well.

    Anyone have any thoughts to share on either of these tools? I don’t recall anyone ever even mentioning them.

  16. The WinAmp “llama” most likely orginates from the old school leet (l33t) way to say “lamer”. QuakeWorld-style…like, from the night BEFORE back-in-the-day.

    Etymologically, “llama” occupies a place in Middle Leetspeak dialects, which predates more modern game slang, such as “pwnd” (see also: “ownd”, “owned”, and “pawnd”).

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