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Why I use Reaper DAW (and why you should too!)

I get lots of questions about my studio setup and what I use to get my “signature” sound. This article covers my choice in DAW (Reaper) and I’ll give some insight in why I prefer this above anything else (tho I occaisionally use a second DAW , more about that later in this article!)

Reaper by Cockos; power and flexibility!

As you might have guessed by now, I use Reaper by Cockos. I’ve been using this tiny piece of software for almost 10 years now and it’s one of the best buys in my carreer. REAPER is a complete digital audio production application for computers, offering a full multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering toolset.

  • Price – This is one of the cheapest DAWs ever at only $60 or $225, depending on which license you need. A 60 days full evaluation version is also availble
  • Size – The full Reaper package is just 11mb for windows! No huge files, no included soundbanks that you’ll probably would never use anyway.
  • Performance – A DAW this small runs with a tiny footprint, saving up valuable resources for plugins. I can run over 40 plugins and it won’t glithc for a second on my 16GB laptop, while other DAWs did freak out pretty fast.
  • Customizability – Everything is customizable. And I mean EVERYTHING! Automation, modulation, grouping, VCA, surround, macros, OSC, scripting, control surfaces, custom skins and layouts.
  • Plugins – Reaper comes with all the basic plugins like rever, delays, compressors etc. The best part is these are also very tiny with no fancy UI which makes them ligthning fast.
  • Video compatibility – As a composer for media it’s nice to have a DAW that supports all major video formats. Scoring music to a video is simple to do and very efficient. It can even exports the video with music afterwards so sending WIPs (work in progress) to customers is easy as it can be without the need of another piece of software.
  • Updates – Reaper is updated very frequently, almost weekly, with new features and bug fixes. It just gets better with every update it gets!

Here’s a screencast of me using Reaper to re-create one of my favorite tracks from the Batman Begins movie by Hans Zimmer. This was recorder over 7 years ago!


A second DAW??

While Reaper can do just about everything I need I sometimes prefer a more visual experience. I also use this second DAW for it’s awesome workflow and the ease to lay down new ideas in seconds thanks to the built in effects. I’m talking about Propellorhead Reason 10!

The downside of this DAW is that it’s just so heavy on CPU. It’s impossible to create large complex tracks using lots of VSTi’s without freezing or bouncing down tracks. This is not ideal, so therefor I almost only use Reason for short intro’s and quick ideas.

So that’s it, this is what I use for my music. And just as a side note – I did not get paid by Cockos for this article 😉

Looking for my Royalty Free Music portfolio? Click here!