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Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Over the years I have tried many DAWs. I was a user of Cakewalk from the very early days, so I pretty much stuck with it. When things went to the subscription/update system, I was careful not to update unless a new feature made it easier to use. I didn't do much updating.

The Cakewalk Application Language (CAL) was one of the things that I really liked about Cakewalk. It was "somewhat" easy to figure out by looking at how others got CAL to work. Over the years, it was only maintained for backward compatibility. It's a shame it wasn't improved upon and made a bit easier to use without having to take a lot of time to learn it.

Years ago, I tried Reaper. I don't actually remember much more than I tried it. Because of a recent recommendation from a friend that I try Reaper again, I did. Very soon, I saw the tremendous potential of this DAW. As with any new software, there is a learning curve, but there's plenty of help on the web to straighten the learning curve quite a bit.

I've always stayed away from recommending DAW's. The biggest reason for that is that one could write a #1 song using any of the DAW software available today.

I will recommend Reaper for several reasons:
  1. You can download the latest version and try it out for 60 days. After that, it still works, but you're supposed to pay for it to continue use. 
  2. You can install it on as many computers as you wish as long as only one copy is being used at a time. 
  3. You can install it as portable software because the program saves all program files and settings in the install directory. So no more having to chase down files from all over your hard drive just to take a copy of the program and run it on another computer.
  4. It's $60 for personal, non-profit or educational use. If you use it commercially and your gross yearly income is less than $20,000, it's still $60 -- more than $20,000, it's $225. 
  5. There are a ton of actions (similar to running a CAL script in Cakewalk) that are not built into the core program but can make repetitious actions for you. They are NUMEROUS, but you can search them with keywords to find what you want. And they can be mapped to keystokes.
  6. As stated above, YouTube has many good to great videos explaining the basic to the advanced. 
  7. It has a performance meter that lets you know the percentage of CPU use overall and for each track. The program itself doesn't appear to be a CPU hog.
  8. It boots up fast.
  9. Keyboard shortcuts can be set to mirror other DAWs you may have used before.
  10. Once you have some of the basics down, the program just makes sense.
  11. There are Reaper related sites and blogs galore.
The down side for me has been frustration in learning some of the Reaper terminology. What most DAW's refer to as a "clip," Reaper uses the term "item." When I was looking to separate a stereo track into two mono tracks, I discovered that I needed to "Explode" the items on the stereo track. One click from that discovery, the L and R channels appeared on separate mono tracks with both in a folder. "Imploding" will do the opposite action and make two mono tracks a stereo track.

 I'll update this as I learn more.

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