Reaper is a full-fledged digital audio workstation for under $100, and a great option for users looking for a budget-friendly program that has the same capabilities of a more expensive DAW. While it doesn't come with a built-in sound library, Reaper is compatible with a range of file types.
Reaper also provides a solid level of customer service support, with an online community, knowledge base and YouTube tutorials to learn the software. It features a 60-day trial, so you can test-run the software and see how you like it. It's also one of the few DAWs with unlimited free updates through a certain version – you'll be able to update Reaper for free through version 6.99.
The current program Reaper offers is version 5.7. Reaper's compatibility, combined with its built-in features, makes it a great DAW at a low price.
Reaper is available for $60, and a commercial license can be purchased for $225. The $60 version, which is known as a "discounted license" can be purchased by individuals, businesses with yearly gross revenue under $20,000 or educational and nonprofit organizations.
If you're running a business making more than the income threshold, you'll have to invest in the commercial license. While this is more expensive than a discounted license, you'll still be getting a powerful product that's less expensive compared to other DAWs.
Its compatibility is also unmatched, as it supports nearly all file types and can integrate with all plug-in types. As an inexpensive DAW, it can be used to sample, compose and arrange tracks as well as record and produce audio.
Reaper offers a full stack of features that make it a powerful program despite its low cost. It's highly compatible, and offers a flexible design and interface that is easy to use and learn.
- Ease of use. Reaper's interface is easily customizable, so you can change toolbars, layouts and other appearance aspects. It supports pop-out windows for most features, so the main screen stays devoted to the timeline. Everything is drag-and-drop oriented, so navigating and using Reaper is easy to pick up. Project windows are also divided into tabs in the upper left-hand side of the program, allowing you jump between different aspects of your project easily.
- Sound library. Reaper does not come with a sound library but can read almost 25 different file types and can even export projects into 15 different file types.
- Plug-ins and effects. Reaper comes with plug-ins already built into the software. If you want to add others, you can download and install any third-party plug-in, including VST, VST3, VSTi, DX and AU. Reaper offers good tools for editing audio and building new sounds.
- Support. Reaper offers solid support but no direct phone line for technical support specifically for Reaper. Users can contact the parent company for technical support via email. There's also a knowledge base, user forum and YouTube channel with tutorials. Reaper's primary support is offered through the user forum, where licensed users can post questions and browse past discussions. Because of this format, support is available 24/7.
- The commercial license is pricey considering it comes with no sound library.
- The user interface is easily customizable but not as sleek as some other paid programs.
- Reaper does not offer phone support, so if you have a problem you must post online or troubleshoot using the existing knowledge base.
Reaper is a great digital audio workstation for a low price. Its YouTube tutorials and forum make learning more about the software easy, and its interface is intuitive and easy to use. This program is ideal for business owners or users looking to get use a full-fledged DAW to learn more about creating music and building audio projects.
Reaper's compatibility is virtually unmatched by competing DAWs. Its various built-in plugins and overall low price make this an affordable, powerful DAW.