I’ve been using Audition since it was Cool Edit 1.0. It has always been my go-to software for getting things done. And coupled with Pro Tools, I had a mighty editing suite indeed. But last week I stepped up to a personal challenge that changed my workflow permanently. And now I use Reaper almost exclusively for my DAW.
I had one week to edit a half-hour audio piece for Halloween, Vultures over Low Doves.
Getting Started with Reaper
I typically design in Pro Tools and use Adobe Audition as my go-to tool for builds and destructive work. However, the dialog editor, Eli McIlveen works predominantly in Reaper, so I decided to give it a go to keep things consistent. To cover clean-up and mastering, which I typically do in Audition, I opted to use iZotope RX Advanced.
The first day was slow but eye-opening: I had before me a suite that made designing feel like an artistic process again, rather than a technical one. Despite the learning curve, I was still able to flow and work within Reaper, and it required almost none of the special tweaking I have to do to get Audition or Pro Tools running smoothly.
Getting Set up
All total, it probably took me about 45 minutes to get my computer setup into a reasonably workable configuration and start designing. That said, Reaper also incorporates a lot of new functionality that I will definitely be implementing.
One of my favorite features is the folders. Both Pro Tools and Audition have grouping functions, but nothing like this. Reaper allows me to configure groups of people, settings and grouped builds under a master folder that acts as a bus for all of its subfolders. This is incredibly useful if, like me, you tend to build your designs into a space.
Another super easily accessible feature of Reaper is the ability to render audio quickly on the fly. This takes a lot of power off of the processor, which means I can use all the plugins I need to without burning out all my available processing.
Perhaps the most outstanding feature of Reaper is its versatility. Got a unique workflow that other DAWs handle only one way? Reaper often has three to five ways of performing any action or arranging and personalizing your tracks. Finally, a DAW that learns to work with you!
Combining with RX
As for RX, the ambience matching alone makes the software indispensable. After all, with enough room tone, one could conceivably build the world. More than that, though, is RX′s De-reverb and EQ matching, which allows you to take otherwise unmatched material and make everything sound clean and usable. It’s no substitute for a clean track, but anyone who’s not listening for it will hardly know the difference, making it perfect for tracks that are otherwise buried in the mix.