If you know me, or have read any earlier blog posts you would know how much I’ve hated Reaper, and the “Reaper Users” (out in the wild at least).
So if you’ve been following my blog you may or may not be surprised at the conclusion of this, especially after my recent trials of Studio One and Cubase.
I’ve been doing this “30 days” thing, where I rework a habit or try something new, for a few years. Last year I decided to start working in trying some other DAW products just to see what’s happening in the world. If anything it’s helped me use DP much better by immersing myself in another product, then integrating these workflows in to my usage of DP.
There’s always been features missing from DP that have bothered me. I’ve written about some of the annoyances.
While the net outcome of using DP has been a positive compared to using Pro Tools, there are some things that annoy me on a daily basis when using DP:
- VCAs - Working with automation without VCAs is an awful, awful experience. It’s doable obviously, but VCAs make life SO much easier.
- Absolute Grid - This should go without saying. The DP quantize window haunts me.
- Resizable Mixer - DP has the most horrendous mixer.
- Mixer Undo - Add some automation, then add an effect, then move a fader? Watch chaos unfold as you try to undo what you did! Some actions undo, others do not.
- Working remote control app - This has become such a huge workflow improvement to me. Having near-full DAW control on my iPad is fantastic.
There have been times where I’ve walked away from my computer in the middle of working on something and muttered, “I’d swim through razor-blade-laden lava to just have X.” With X being one of the above features.
Using Reaper has been a trying experience. However it has the capability to support the workflows that I need, and the customizability to create an experience that I enjoy.
It’s also the first DAW that I’ve encountered that has a proper replacement for my beloved POLAR! The rendering capabilities have already saved me dozens of hours alone. Plus Reaper’s community has created some amazing things. Radial Menus and Track Inspector VIP are at the forefront with SWS.
While I’ll still be using Digital Performer 9, though I am beginning the process of converting to Reaper 5 for a lot of work.
It has everything I need and I feel I’ve sufficiently overcome the awful learning phase.
If you told me 2 years ago this day would come, I would laugh at you then probably never speak to you again. Seriously. Back then it didn’t even support some of the functionality that I need, plus the terrible UX.
This is why I do the 30 days thing. Most of the time nothing great comes out of it, but sometimes I end up completely changing my opinions and preferences through perseverance and acceptance that there’s a good chance that there’s a better way.
Plus, I’m writing this in VS Code, after nearly 2 decades of using emacs (and vim for some things). Sometimes the grass is greener.
I’d like to give a shoutout to motunation for censoring the word “Reaper”, which caused me to google it a bunch of times to find out why it’s censored. Then wandering around and finding some videos about it… and some blog posts… and then deciding to give it another shot. Without their unwavering dedication to the streisand effect, I’d never have given Reaper another chance.
Heck, I’d probably still be there spending 100+ hours categorizing and testing bugs for the community.
Luckily the Reaper forum has a mature and progressive attitude towards bug reporting, testing, development and frequent releases with communication from the developers (who have among the highest post counts on the forum).
DP9 is a great product though, and should one day it end up with some of those issues fixed, I’d probably switch back to it full time in a heartbeat. Right now though, Reaper let’s me gets some stuff done faster and that’s the goal.
That was nice. Made me smile.
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