Don’t Fear the REAPER

Been getting to know the REAPER. He ain’t so scary really. Here’s some observations.

1. I was able to set up a basic input with FX to an output in about 30 seconds. I have never used REAPER before, and I never read the manual.

2. REAPER uses standard GUI / Widget / Menu elements (on the most part). This makes it easy to navigate because the UI is familiar to anyone who has ever used notepad or any other application that follows Windows (and other OS’s) conventions.

3. REAPER has Multi-touch settings for touch sensitive screens. Now faders can be used like faders rather than mouse dragging.

4. Windows shortcut keys can be shown as a searchable web page. There is a link that opens the browser to this page within the REAPER GUI. No more fishing around in PDF’s !

5. REAPER has a 30 day evaluation period. It does NOT cripple itself beyond that period and remains fully functional. Cockos reasoning probably going along the lines of something that has occurred to me before. Why cripple/restrict software when the likelihood is that many people will pay for a license in order to support the project ? There may be lost customers who simply will never pay because they can use the full software beyond 30 days. But all the while REAPER is being spread around all over the place. More people get to use it and show it to their friends without any contact with pirated (and possibly virus filled) versions of the software. Cockos are being clever here creating a sort of guilt free grassroots culture around the software.

6. REAPER has a full forum and wiki as well as an IRC channel.

7. REAPER does not obfuscate the GUI and the normal methods of working with audio in order to appear “professional”. Other DAW’s do this to scare the user into paying for £500 pound “power user” courses. Hmmm, moving swiftly on to …

8. REAPER is aware of Winamp visualisation plugins like AVS.

9. REAPER is written by a team who got fed up of corporate control. Think of the software corp that Neo works for in the film The Matrix; FREE THE MUSIC !

10. Making music should be open to all. That includes using a computer. Anyone can pick up a guitar and start learning so why can’t they do this with a computer as well ? With REAPER we seem to be closer to that.

There’s no instant access to electronic computer production. Some corporate/commercial forces have a vested interest in making it appear that “if you buy our software you will soon be DJ Sasha”. This just creates frustration and loses potentially talented musicians to the industry. Like anything else DJ’ing or making music (just like learning the guitar) requires dedication and “staying power” in order to become talented. That is as true if you are a stadium playing rockstar or a busker in the town center playing on a Saturday night.

It took me a long time to find REAPER. Finally we seem to have a decent DAW for the people.


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