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The Reaper Q&A Thread

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Postby futures_untold » Sun May 31, 2009 6:26 pm

The Reaper Questions & Answers Thread

This thread has been created to discuss Reaper. Feel free to post any questions or tips you have regarding Reaper below. Links to useful Reaper resources and tutorials appreciated! :)

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Useful links

Reaper download ---> http://www.reaper.fm/download.php

Reaper based complete music studio ---> free-portable-music-studio-updated-to-v3-t73393.html

DSF Reaper Q&A thread ---> topic91084.html

Reaper forum ---> http://forum.cockos.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20

Reaper colour themes ---> http://stash.reaper.fm/tag/Themes

Reapers Manual. (Contains a useful clickable contents list on the first or second page) ---> http://www.reaper.fm/userguide/ReaperUserGuide3141.pdf

Books on Reaper ---> http://www.reaper.fm/userguide.php

SWS extensions ---> http://www.standingwaterstudios.com/new.php

Colours toolbar ---> http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=48049


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How to get the piano roll.

Hold down Ctrl-left-click to draw a new 'item' anywhere on the main sequencer. Once you've drawn a box, double click on it and the midi piano roll will be displayed.

This can be simplified in the Preferences menu (Ctrl-P or 'Options' menu > Preferences) Got to the 'Mouse' tab and tick the "Click+drag in empty area of track draws item in 'pencil mode'" box. this means you don't even have to hold down the ctrl button to draw a new item in the sequencer. Just Left click and drag a new box, then double click the box to bring up the midi piano roll.

A quick tip about the piano roll. You can change it to 'drum mode' from the 'View' menu within the midi editor. This makes using drum samplers slightly easier, especially when combined with the 'Named notes' mode available from the same View menu.

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Metronome

Go to the 'Options' menu. Listed halfway down is the metronome settings option. Click the 'enable' box to switch it on.

I'd assign it to a toolbar or keystroke, as it seems you reach for the metronome a lot.

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Mapping midi controlers to FX parameters in Reaper

Open the plugin you want to use, click on the control you wish to assign, click the 'param' button at the top of the plugins GUI window, then click 'learn' and tweak one of your hardware controls for the mapping to be assigned.

Another way to do this, click again on the 'param' button at the top of the plugins GUI window, then go to the 'FX parameter list'. You will see all the controls that can be assigned listed in the 'learn' drop down menu.

Yet another way to do midi control mapping is to open your plugin, then click on the 'env' button on the track the plugin is loaded upon. Each parameter listed by the plugin has a 'learn' button next to it. Click on the 'learn' button and then tweak your hardware control for the mapping to be created. There are also some other options you can select using this method, which allow for things like ensuring the plugin is in focus before the mapping will take effect etc.

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Assigning actions and tools to keystrokes or toolbars.

Click 'Show Action List' in the 'Actions' menu (or press the ? key). Go down the list of actions and click 'Add'. Press the keystroke you wish to use and press OK. (A keystroke could be one key or a combination of keys pressed together like Shift-S or something)

To create custom toolbars, right click on the main toolbar or the floating toolbar. This brings up the Actions editor, only in 'toolbar' mode. You can also access this editor via the 'Menu Editor' button in the main actions editor.

There is a drop down menu at the top of the actions editor which selects which 'view' you edit. Thus, if you want to customise the menus and toolbars in the midi editor, this drop down menu is where you can select to customise the midi editor.

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Custom Themes and Icons

Remember that you can assign any icon to your custom toolbars, and that icons can be edited directly in any graphics program. In fact, any of the images Reaper uses for its GUI can be edited directly in a graphics program.

The images and icons can be found in the following folder > C:\ > Program Files > Colour Themes > Default

For more info on customising Reaper

Themes ---> http://stashbox.org/v/238949/WT_Power-of-Pink.pdf

Advanced themes ---> http://www.reaper.fm/sdk/advtheme/

Midi colour maps ---> http://forum.cockos.com/showpost.php?p= ... ostcount=6

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SWS and other extensions

Finally, I'd strongly recommend downloading the SWS extensions for Reaper. These give extra functionality to Reaper such as 1-click beat slicing and 1-click zoom on a waveform etc. These are useful for using Reaper as an audio editor amongst other things.

Another great adition to Reaper is the colours toolbar. This allows you to colour any sequencer channel or any item on that sequencer to any colour you like. If you prefer multi colour visual guides, this isn't to be missed!

Download it here ---> http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=48049

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Customising Reaper for audio editing

The most common things you'll want to achieve are simple edits, reversing audio, normalisation and effects processing etc.

Although Reaper by default doesn't make the best audio editor, it can be customised to be a perfect audio editor. This is done by using Reapers 'Action' customisation features and SWS extensions. I'll explain further below.

First of all, audio editors allow users to zoom right into a waveform. This allows for really precise edits. To accomplish this in Reaper, download the SWS extensions and assign the horizontal/vertical zoom actions to a toolbar or keyboard shortcut. This will allow you to select a waveform, press one button and be zoomed in solely on the waveform you wish to work on.

Reaper allows you to chose different methods of displaying ultra-zoomed waveforms in the Preferences window. Go to Options > Preferences > Media > Sample-level Waveform view.

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You may also find it useful to assign the 'reverse item as new take' and 'normalise' commands to either a toolbar button or keyboard shortcut.

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To slice audio in Reaper, you can simply place the play head at the point on the item you wish to slice and press 'S'... This splits the audio non-destructively, meaning that the file itself isn't split, only playback within Reaper.

If you wish to bounce only part of the item split in half, you can assign the double 'double-mouse click' action to automatically place the loop marker at each end of your selected item. This enables you to render the audio selected in the normal fashion using the 'Render selection' command within the Render window.

On the topic of slicing, one can assign the 'Dynamic split selected items' command to a button on the toolbar. This gives you automatic slicing and gating features that are better than Propellerhead's Recycle for auto-slicing drum loops etc.

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There is an SWS action for applying the current effects to the audio and resetting the channel volume to 0dB. This allows effects to be rendered 'offline' directly onto the audio as a new take at the click of a button. This process is destructive, although the process renders a new take of the file instead of ruining the original file.

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Another idea is to include the item 'fade type' selection action to a toolbar button. This will allow you to do precise and controlled fade ins & outs and quickly choose the fade curve most appropriate to your material.

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That info should help you enjoy using Reaper as much as I do!

Pat :)
Last edited by futures_untold on Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:16 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Postby MidnightMassDubstep » Sun May 31, 2009 6:55 pm

Can someone tell me how to adjust the grid snapping so it's like 1/16, 'cause I couldn't figure it out. Safe cheers :)
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Postby futures_untold » Sun May 31, 2009 7:06 pm

DJPavillion wrote:Can someone tell me how to adjust the grid snapping so it's like 1/16, 'cause I couldn't figure it out. Safe cheers :)


Click on the 'grid' button that looks like a naughts & crosses game. Alternatively, press Alt-L or go to the 'Options' menu, and click on 'Snap & Grid settings'.

Also, you can switch on/off snapping by pressing 'Alt-S' at any time.
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Postby MidnightMassDubstep » Sun May 31, 2009 7:22 pm

futures_untold wrote:
DJPavillion wrote:Can someone tell me how to adjust the grid snapping so it's like 1/16, 'cause I couldn't figure it out. Safe cheers :)


Click on the 'grid' button that looks like a naughts & crosses game. Alternatively, press Alt-L or go to the 'Options' menu, and click on 'Snap & Grid settings'.

Also, you can switch on/off snapping by pressing 'Alt-S' at any time.


Ahh there we go cheers man
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Postby alphacat » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:37 pm

Been thinking of switching to Reaper (from Acid Pro 6.0) - so I upgraded my machine from old Reaper v2.5 to the current 3.03 last night...

WHOA. :o

First off, it's insane how many improvements Reaper's made just in the last year or so!

Second, it's turning out that many of the irrational fears I had about switching are unfounded and, well... irrational; like, worries about highest quant. rate supported (I love my 1/64T's don't ya know!) and all that.

What it really boiled down to was a fear about having to start learning the new environment from scratch, since I've been using Acid since it was 1.0. And it's looking like Reaper's so well designed from the bottom up that if anything, I'll have more problems unlearning long-ass workarounds I picked up in Acid than anything else...

Any other former Acid users have any thoughts? Or anybody at all, regardless of past DAW?
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Postby megaladon » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:44 pm

How do you do stuff. Seriously! I can't do anything in reaper. I like it, but I think it hates me. I can load up a synth and make a sound, but I can't see where it goes, or how you record it, or where the automation is, or anything. You want to see a spastic, just watch me trying to work this program.
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Postby alphacat » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:58 pm

I had sorta the exact same issue - at first.

The tutorial videos on Youtube are a great place to start. Just have a little patience, as with learning any new software.
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Postby futures_untold » Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:46 pm

Megaladon wrote:How do you do stuff. Seriously! I can't do anything in reaper. I like it, but I think it hates me. I can load up a synth and make a sound, but I can't see where it goes, or how you record it, or where the automation is, or anything. You want to see a spastic, just watch me trying to work this program.


Maybe I can explain how it works (very roughly haha)? With Reaper open, double click on the left hand panel to create a new sequencer lane.

The key to understanding and using Reaper is to realise that one sequencer lane can do all things at once. Any lane can record audio, midi and automation envelopes as well as act as a send channel or parallel fx bus. It all depends on how you configure it.

Configuring it isn't hard. If you look at the control pane for an individual sequencer lane, you will see all the controls you need.

Each channel has a VU meter for monitoring its audio input. Clicking on this brings up a drop down menu where you can tell that lane what to record. The options basically include your soundcard audio inputs and midi inputs.

Once you have assigned the lane to record something using the drop down menu, simply press the record button on the transport bar to start recording.

If nothing records, you will have to arm the track to record. First click on the individual sequencer lanes 'record' button (red circle), next right click on the word 'In' to bring up a list of what you want to record. (To record audio, select 'Record Input'). One final thing is to check if the lane has 'On/Off/Auto' set. You want it set to 'On' to record. (The button is located just to the left of the 'In' button, and with Reaper 3's default skin, looks like a white speaker icon on a dark grey button'.)

That sounds waaay more complicated than it actually is. With Reaper open in front of you, that should make sense.

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Try clicking on the other buttons on the sequencer lane left hand panel to see what they bring up.

The first button titled 'IO' (short for 'In/Out') will bring up a panel where you can assign the sends and recieves. This panel is where one can create buses and parallel routing chaines etc.

The second button titled 'Env' (short for 'Envelope') brings up your automation options. Click on the tick box next to one of the listed parameters to show the automation envelope in the sequencer lane.

The third button titled 'FX' (short for, ...well you figure it out) brings up insert FX. One also 'inserts' VST instruments in this way. Simple click add, then choose your instrument or effect. A quicker way of creating a new virtual instrument is to right click in the left hand pane (not the sequencer window) and then choose 'insert virtual instrument on new track'. This creates a new track and brings up the FX list with all your virtual instruments listed.

With the icon that loocks like a paper dossier, you can set the track to act as a folder track, allowing you to nest tracks inside it (such as fx buses or drums tracks).

Remember that you can switch on/off snapping by pressing alt-s, and you can change the quantisation grid by clicking on the button 3rd in from the right on the bottom row of the controls at the top.

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I've made it sound way more complicated than it is, but opening up Reaper and clicking on things will yield results pretty quickly. I learnt it in a matter of hours by googling for tutorials etc when I didn't understand how to do something.

The beauty of Reaper is that each lane can do anything. It is truly flexible. I used to use Cubase before, and found that painfully rigid and laborious. I recently went back to Cubse to bounce some audio from an old project and almost cried at how unintuitive it was after Reaper, especially the lack of mouse zooming/scrolling (which may have been fixed in C5?).

I've also used FL for a while too, but didn't really like the more modular approach it took with all the different windows.

I'm definately hooked on Reaper, and can't see myself changing sequencer program anytime soon! :)
Last edited by futures_untold on Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby futures_untold » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:04 pm

With regards to seeing where the audio is going, each sequencer lane has its own mixer channel at the bottom (alt-D if it isn't displayed).

The mixer channels have insert and send fx slots, but remember that you will need to create a new 'channel/sequencer lane' to act as your send fx bus. This is fairly logical for recording engineers or anyone used to using real consols. This may be confusing to people used to programs like Cubase and FL that have dicated Send channels.

What Reaper doesn't do is show virtual patch cables like Reason (sadly), but I'm not sure it really needs to. If a sequencer lane is number '1', then the audio from that lane is tied to 'channel 1' on the mixer. The audio from all the channels on the mixer sums at the master output channel (the channel on the very left of the mixer that says 'master' on it!). Audio in is set on a chanel by chanel basis.

If you struggle with anything, Google/Youtube/Reaper forum is the way forwards! :)
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Postby megaladon » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:17 pm

Thanks a lot for those, I always open it up when I have an idea but give up because I can't get my idea into sound quick enough. I'll have another look when I've got a few hours to mess about.
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Postby futures_untold » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:28 pm

nowaysj wrote:Installed reaper on my work computer to work up a few little bits here and there when the boss man wasn't about. I got it working no problem. Its different than FLstudio, but it made sense. I did have a few little hitches with multi channel instruments that ultimately I couldn't figure out.

Everything seemed alright, but kind of clunky. I don't like how they handle clips in their playlist or whatever you call it. If I remember correctly, I don't like how they handle automation either, like the automation starts at the beginning of the time line, and runs through. I far prefer having automation clips that can be moved around so you don't have to draw the same thing 18 hundred times.

If cubase is more clunky than reaper, maybe I should just sit tight w/ flstudio, and forget about dsp cards.


Automation clips sound like a really useful idea! :) It is actually posible to move automation with an audi or midi clip. First draw your automation, then press the 'automation lock' button which is located in the middle of the bottom row of the controls at the top of the page.

Admittedly, FLs automation clips and I think even Cubases event regions are better, because you can copy and paste the clip/region instead of having to select the actual automation drag handles, and then copy and pasting those.

Two tips that you may find make Reaper less clunky and faster to use.

1> You can right click drag a selection box over automation drag handles. This selects multiple automation points/drag handles, which makes copy and pasting automation shapes easier.

2> If Reaper feels clunky, it is most likely because the auto snap is set to its default 'bar' setting. Alt-S switches off snapping, so everything will feel smooth. Or if snapping is useful, right click on either the snapping button (second from right/bottom row of the top controls) or the quantise grid settings (third from right/bottom of the top controls).
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Postby futures_untold » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:35 pm

Regarding dsp card support, I did a very quick search of the Reaper forum and found this post ---> http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php? ... +dsp+cards

Basically, I think Repaer does support dsp cards :)

You may want to post a thread on http://forum.cockos.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20 asking what level of support Reaper has for various dsp cardsbefore making any purchases.
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Postby futures_untold » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:03 am

Using VSTis with multiple outputs is not obvious at first, but is actually very easy. If you have experience patching real equipment (or Reason), then you may find it quite logical.

I've created a basic walk-through for you guys.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

When I get the time and inclination, I'll create a set of tutorials that explain all the basics (ie, how to add vst instruments/FX, how to create a send fx bus, how to do parallel routing etc).
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Postby futures_untold » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:26 am

Compared to FL, it certainly sounds like this is a lot of steps just for a multi out instrument...!!! :o

What I've described with the channel output matrix pretty much sums up the flexible routing system in Reaper.

For instance, even for an instrument that only has stereo out, you can create multiple outputs for parallel fx processing. (in the matrix pin connector window, there is a small '+' sign, clicking this adds extra outputs for the track) ;)

Remember, one channel in Reaper can be anything and everything, all at the same time if you want! :o

Press Alt-R to bring up the global routing matrix where you can easily assign basic sends between any track/input/output available in Reaper. Using ReaRoute, you can also send audio via your ASIO drivers to any other ASIO compatible program (or any hardware you have hooked up)... :)

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The skin in the screenshots is a custom theme I created. You can grab the theme from here ---> http://stash.reaper.fm/theme/325/Bold%2 ... 0Theme.zip (or preinstalled in the'portable freeware pack' linked in my signature strip) ;)

Reaper 3 does have a hugely improved GUI however! (compared to v2 which was sickeningly ugly)...
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Postby futures_untold » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:39 am

nowaysj wrote:
futures_untold wrote:The skin in the screenshots is a custom theme I created.


Nice work, very logical of u!


Thanks. Tbh, I skanked elements from several existing themes (available from the Reaper site) and 'compiled' this theme (which is more to my liking).

I fecking hate being controlled by software (or anyone/thing for that matter hehe). The more logical a layout, the quicker/easier the workflow becomes. There are many great programs/VSTs I refuse to touch because of poor GUI design (with no option to reskin)... :(

Reaper does what I want in a way I find logical. That means I spend less time getting fucked off and more time experimenting with audio! :)

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I see what you mean about the clunky sequencer now. Dragging blocks/events up and down between sequencer tracks is rigid. With snapping off, moving blocks/events horisontally on a sequencer track is smooth though.
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Postby alphacat » Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:03 pm

Alright, alright, so I haven't spent too too much time in the how-to's and all that-

How exactly do I activate the draw/paint mode, so that each time I make a cursor-stroke in a channel lane it 'paints' a .wav file associated with that lane?

BTW, the piano roll setup is - dare I say it? - WAY better than Acid's...
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