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Reaper 5: Digital Audio Workstation


Cockos has launched REAPER 5, their multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering environment for Windows and Mac.

REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production and Engineering) is a top notch (DAW) Digital Audio Workstation created by Cockos, the people who developed Winamp. REAPER offers impressive versatility, yet has a lightweight footprint – so light and fast that it can easily be installed on a Flash drive as a portable DAW and used on a multitude of systems.

Integrated are a selection of functional processing plugins. This includes a number of compressors, limiters, EQs, pitch shifters, a convolution reverb etc. The user interface for the plugins, a lot like the program itself, is pretty spartan with no extravagant visuals, and yet the plugins perform perfectly as intended.

REAPER 5: Features

REAPER’s strength is the ease of use of its core functions. Multitrack recording, flexible audio and midi routing, audio editing and so on are built-in just as you would find in most other DAWs. The ultra basic interface is offset however by it’s ability to be customizable and the REAPER community builds customized themes and skins, modifying the look and feel of the application.

While REAPER 5 is actually a very straight forward system that does virtually all DAW functions by the book, it does have a few slight variations to the approach of tracks and bussing that are innovative. There is no “audio” or “midi” track. All tracks are just all purpose tracks that can contain a MIDI or audio item or even both in the exact same track.

Additionally, you can conveniently make any track function as a bus just by dragging tracks directly beneath it and clicking on the folder icon. This will nest the other tracks below the parent track and route all audio via the signal path. Very user friendly and intuitive.

REAPER Community

REAPER users have developed literally thousands of JS audio and MIDI plugins, many of which are incorporated with the installer, as well as many more which can be located in the user community forum or on a variety of user web sites.

3rd party programmers have additionally produced studio class 3rd party VSTs and audio effect and processing extensions. These add-ons incorporate directly into the software, to offer new customized functionality and options which are just as accessible as any integrated other Digital Audio Workstation.

New in REAPER 5:

  • FX: VST3 support, sample-accurate automation for VST3 and JSFX, FX browser improvements.
  • ReaScript:API and scripting improvements, including a built-in development environment for creating and debugging scripts in LUA, EEL, or Python. Create anything from simple macros, to complex new functionality.
  • Control grouping: Flexible, automatable VCA control. Link groups of track controls together at any point in the signal flow.
  • Video: Many improvements to video support and performance, including real-time programmable track and item effect processing.
  • FX parameter automation: Full automation and MIDI/OSC learn support for per-take FX, improved FX envelope and modulation management via the Project Bay, increased automation recording speed.

REAPER 5 full list of features and available for download for a free, fully functional 60-day evaluation. No registration or personal details are required.