REAPER is a digital audio workstation: a complete multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering environment.
What's a DAW?
Using your current computer and no other software, you can import any audio and MIDI, synthesize, sample, compose, arrange, edit, mix, and master songs or any other audio projects.
If you add a hardware audio interface of your choice (AD/DA: analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog) and a microphone, you have a complete recording studio, suitable for recording anything from a soloist to a band to an orchestra (even if the orchestra is just you).
Nondestructive multi-track recording means that you can record and layer take after take, correcting, editing, revisiting, and tweaking to your heart's content.
There are inexpensive audio interfaces designed just to plug guitars in to, and there are very fancy audio interfaces designed to convert many simultaneous line and microphone inputs.
REAPER converts your computer into the full power of any top-of-the-line recording studio. Minus, of course, a room full of shockingly expensive converters, microphones, amplifiers, and, well, talent.
If you are a top-of-the-line recording studio interested in REAPER, this part of the discussion has probably insulted your intelligence. So we'll just say that unlike some other DAWs, REAPER will support almost any existing audio interface, even interfaces manufactured by companies whose software does not allow you to use any other hardware interface.
Easy to use:
Â· Equally usable by hobby users and professionals alike. Simply drag and drop one of many kinds of files in to edit existing material, or insert a track and arm it for recording. No complex project settings or definitions are required.
Extremely small footprint:
Â· REAPER is full featured, but its installer is barely over 1 megabyte. It starts and closes fast, and is easily installed on new systems or on portable drives.
Fast and powerful editing facilities:
Â· Split, resize, fade/crossfade, pitch shift, timestretch, copy/paste and loop media items with ease. Ripple editing is available, too.
Unrivaled routing capabilities:
Â· Send tracks to any number of other tracks or hardware outputs, with lots of options (pre-fx, post-fx, independent faders, mono or stereo). Not interested in advanced routing? You don't have to use it (and it certainly won't get in the way.)
Powerful recording options:
Â· Supports pre-fx, post-fx recording, can record mixed output of multiple tracks, etc, supports switching record inputs/modes on the fly, input monitoring options (including tape-style auto input monitoring mode), supports auto-punch-in/punch-out, and more. If you want. Otherwise, it just behaves as you would expect.
Wide open compatibility:
Â· Sane, human readable, human editable project file format. Support for reading and writing many common file formats. Support for consolidating track edits and rendering track stems, to enable easy export for other applications. EDL import/export for Samplitude and Vegas.
Â· Support for MIDI files, recording MIDI, and VSTi / DXi softsynths. MIDI can be integrated and mixed with audio.
Customizeable user interface:
Â· User arrangeable user interface with color themes: make REAPER look how you want it to look, and arrange (or hide) elements of the user interface to suit your needs.
Bundled Effects and 3rd party plug-in Support:
Â· Includes built in effects including a compressor, gate, FFT EQ, and some basic synthesizers, and includes many Jesusonic effects, and supports many plug-ins (including VST and DX plug-ins) with full plug-in delay compensation.