Reaper DAW Review

Cockos Reaper DAW Software Review

Are you dreaming of making your own music but are not sure where to start? Why not turn that dream of yours into reality by using Cockos Reaper digital audio workstation (DAW) software?

Digital Audio Workstation or DAW is software for recording, mixing, editing, mastering, and processing of digital audio. DAW lets you bring all the different elements of various pieces of music, like musical instruments, effects, and more, into one computer package which you control.

You will need more than software though – transform the audio you create into popular music by editing it with the use of DAW software with the best mini MIDI keyboard or 88 key MIDI controller.

If you want to make sure the Reaper is the one for you, we are here to help you out with our Reaper DAW review.

We should start by talking about what DAW is. Let’s begin!

What is DAW?

Digital Audio Workstation or DAW is software for recording, mixing, editing, mastering, and processing of digital audio.

The most commonly used DAWs are Audacity, GarageBand, Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, and, of course, the Reaper.

While each software has its own unique interface and features, all DAWs are capable of recording digital audio, editing and processing them, and mixing multiple tracks together. Most of them also incorporate MIDI functionality, which allows notes to be programmed or played via MIDI controller to let you control different virtual instruments like synthesizers.

Plugins are also a major feature of DAWs. Doing everything from simple EQ and compression to amp modelling.

Things to Consider When Buying a DAW

There are a lot of options in the market, free and pricey. And it can be a daunting task to make sure the DAW that you are getting will suit your needs and your computer. We listed 4 things you need to consider when buying or installing your DAW, enjoy!

Windows or Mac

This can be very simple, but a lot of DAWs is only available in Mac while some only in Windows, and several both Mac and Windows. You have to be mindful of this because you will be wasting money if you buy a software that is only compatible with Mac and you are using Windows 10.

Genre of Music

Some DAW is great for electronic music while others are good for recording and editing live instruments. There are also DAWs perfect for scoring cinematic music for movies. And, of course, you have DAWs that can handle all genres!

Knowing what type or types of music you want to produce will greatly help you in choosing the right DAW for you.

Technical Skills

Is this your first time creating music or using DAW? Or are you an experienced one and knows how to engineer aspects of music? Do you know what synthesizer is and how it works? If you have no idea what I am talking about, don’t fret!

There are a lot of manuals and tutorials online and offline that can help you turn from a noob to a master. And, there are DAWs available to help you get started as well!

However, if you are more into the experienced side, there are DAWs available for you.

You have to be realistic in evaluating your technical skills when it comes to using DAWs to be able to choose the right one for you.


This is the first and foremost thing to think about when choosing your DAW because they come with various price tags.

Sometimes, there is a free trial version for paid DAWs and some are even free like GarageBand but this is only available for Mac users. You should maximize these trial versions to make sure it fits you and not waste your money when you buy the software.

It is very important to have a realistic budget for your DAW. Remember, you might have all the gear to make great music but your DAW is what ties them all together.

Keep these 4 things in mind to help you choose the right DAW for you.

Cockos Reaper Review

Cockos Reaper is just over 10yrs old. It was created to compete with big and pricey DAW software in the market. The main selling point of Reaper is its flexibility, stability, and devoted community. Its development team focused on its continuous improvement to make sure this software remains affordable but with competitive functions.

Pros and Cons of Reaper

Features of Reaper

Reaper is a complete DAW application for Windows and Mac. It offers full multi-track audio and MIDI recording, editing, mixing, processing, and mastering tools, effects, and plugins.

First up, check out the price tag. The Reaper offers a full version 60-day trial and a full personal license for only $60.

Cockos Reaper is highly compatible with flexible designs and comes with a customizable user-friendly interface that is easy to learn and use. It supports pop-out windows with the main screen only for the timeline. Everything is drag-and-drop oriented, so navigating through the Reaper is easy. Project windows are also divided into various tabs, which allows you to jump between projects easily.

The sad part is the Reaper doesn’t come with a sound library of its own but do not worry! Reaper can read almost 25 different file types and can export projects into 15 various file types.

It comes with built-in plugins but if you want to add more, you can download and install third-party plugins, which is a great plus. Reaper offers great tools for editing digital audio and building new sounds.

All in all, Cockos Reaper comes with a lot of room for improvement but it lets you explore your creative side and with its low price tag, you will get a lot compared to other DAWs.

Also, if you encountered some problems with this software, you have to check the internet and troubleshoot on your own. Because Cockos do not offer any phone support. Which can also be problematic at times.s

System Requirements

Cockos Reaper is compatible with

  • Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 (32 & 64-Bit)
  • macOS X 10.5 – 10.14
  • Linux (Still Experimental)
    • Requires GTK+3 and ALSA
    • Supports x86_64, i686, and armv7l


While Writable Formats are as follows: AIFF, AVI, BWF, CD ISO (CUE/BIN), FLAC, MIDI, MOV, MOGG, MP3, OGG VORBIS, OGG OPUS, W64, WAV, and WAVPACK.

To make sure your computer can handle the Reaper, you can check out their website for more information.

User Reviews: Reaper

This is a bit outdated but this is the best video review that we found online about Reaper made by Supercy. His review is very detailed and in-depth. Maybe, this video can help you in making sure if the Reaper is the right DAW for you.

Competitors of Reaper

We figured that you might need time to make sure Reaper is the one for you. So, we listed 3 DAW software that you can also use. Check them out and see if any of these or if the Reaper fit your needs.


GarageBand is the most popular DAW ever created! This software is FREE for every Macintosh computer. It features its clean and simple interface that is easy-to-use and very straightforward.

The main selling point of GarageBand is its simplicity. Which makes it ideal for beginners. You can produce music quickly because of its straightforward interface. You will be able to hear basic results immediately to motivate yourself to keep going.

But of course, there are a lot of limitations because it’s just for free. It has limited virtual instruments but GarageBand allows users to supplement the existing collections with third-party instruments.

Also, GarageBand’s pitch correction is quite basic at best. Which lacks the capabilities that you need to be able to clean vocals.

Trivia: The drum loop of Umbrella by Rihanna comes from GarageBand. Also, Love in this Club by Usher is said to come from GarageBand as well.

If you are just starting out and wants to learn the basic in audio editing, GarageBand might be the one for you because of its simple interface! But if you are looking for more advanced and expert-level editing, Reaper can be the one you need.

Keep in mind that GarageBand is for Mac users only!

Apple Logic Pro X

Apple Logic Pro X might be a little on the pricey side but in regards to its editing and production tool, you are getting great tools comparable with software 3x the price of the Logic Pro X. Its virtual instrument library includes almost all the instruments you will need to be able to produce your unique music.

We really like its Drummer Track plugin of Logic Pro X. It makes writing and making the melody easier because of the AI-controlled virtual drummer. While you are playing the bass, the virtual drummer can continuously play along. Also, you can choose the genre of the virtual drummer and it will adapt to its tempo and melodic changes!

The virtual drummer is highly customizable and you can also create a customized kit where you can play it!

It comes with up to 7000 loops to choose from! The loop window lets you sort and search by time signatures, beat lengths, name, tempo, and key! It is also easy-to-use. All you need is drag and drop them into arrangement windows to let you hear if they fit in your composition.

If you have a Mac computer, Apple Logic Pro X can be what you are looking for if you want to explore and dominate the world of music production. This software is not ideal for beginners because first, it might be too pricey for most people. And lastly, Logic Pro X is only available on Mac.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live focused on live performances but it is also ideal DAW for recording and mixing. It is great for DJs and electronic musicians. It comes with a built-in feature that lets you match two selected audio clips. Which allows to quickly drag and drop various sounds and let them automatically sync up.

This is software is easy-to-use. But what sets this apart from others, is its Session View. It is divided into columns instead of rows and doesn’t follow the usual left-to-right timeline. Ableton lets users to easily experiment and save work without pressing the record button while in Session View.

Live comes with 5 software instruments and over 1800 sounds with 34 audio effects and 6 MIDI effects to choose from. This might seem less compared to other competitors but Live lets you sync all main file types except VST3 plug-in format so you can add more sounds and effects.

Ableton Live is created for musicians looking for a quick way to create music and for live performances. But it is not only great for live performances but also for editing and recording music.

Meet Cockos

The company, Cockos Incorporated, was founded in 2004.

Cockos build top-quality software that will help not only for musicians and music producers but for other creative people as well.

Their goal is to develop sustainable software that gives maximum benefit to its users.

They develop software for audio and music industry and also made image and file tools for image and animation editing, and more!

The Verdict: Cockos Reaper

If you are starting out and using a Mac computer, it might be best to start with freeware like GarageBand. But if you are serious and wants to improve as well as produce great music and audio, we suggest, try the full trial version of Cockos Reaper first.

Maximize the 60-day trial version then, if you want to continue using Reaper, get the full personal license for only $60.

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