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Dont Fear The Reaper

Proving that the world of digital production software isnt just a two-horse race, Reaper aims to reinvent the wheel with its trim DAW.

When it comes to DAWS, most peiople think that it's a two horse race between Cubase and Logic, and while these two are the most popular, they are also expensive and arguably bloated as far as install size, CPU and memort use is concerned. Reaper has thrown away the DAW rulebook and done things truly differently to the big two in pretty much every respect. The orginial version of Reaper was released in 2006, and at the time was missing some of the features that have made Cubase and Logic so successful, but all that has changed, and now Reaper can truley go toe-toe with the big boys.

What is so different abioyt Reaper? For starters, there is a small, dedicated team working behind the scenes that are there simply to make Reaper a dream to use, and not to do what the marketing department tell them. The result is that the programme is so small, it can be installed onto a USB key, the software is as tyable as a rock and it runs fast, even more so on multi-CPU systems with Reaper handling load balancing across the cores much better than most of the competition. The other big difference is the pricing. For individual use, where the producer is earning less than £20,000 a year from their studio or productions, the license costs around £25, and the full-blown commerical license is about £100. This is done on an honesty basis. Also incluided in the license cost is a free upgrade to the next version, so anyone buying Reaper 3.75 will have free upgrades up till version 4.99, which is a refreshing change to the normal process or forking out hundreds of pounds when an upgrade version is available.

The approach manufacturers Cockos took when it came to building Reaper was to include everything that is necessary and helpful in a DAW, and leave everything else out. No bloated sample libraries and example songs, no trial versions of plug-ins that are either crippled or timeout after a set period. Instead, Reaper is a lean, mean sequencing machine that has matured enough to be a real contender in the work of top-end DAW software. Reaper will will run VST plug-ins to be run on a 64-bit system, as well as allowing to be run in a firewalled environment, which protects your system from crashes causedby the plug-ins -- nice! Another fantastic feature is the ability to use networked computers to act as ''FX Farms''. taking the processing load away from your main computer.

Reaper 3.75 comes with 15 top-notch plug-ins which cover the bases for most day-to-day production work, and has so many neat features, that anyone who is looking for a new DAW -- or looking to break into the production scene -- but hasnt got the big bucks that it costs for the major sequencers needs to fully download the fully functional demo, and see what it can do for themselves.

Verdict

Price   £25.00
Contact   reaper.fm
Build Quality
  8.0
Ease of Use   8.0
Features   8.0
Value for Money   9.0
Sound Quality   8.0
Hype   A lean mean sequencing machine that is fast, stable and costs much less than the competition, i.e. Cubase and Logic.
Gripe   Reaper will do everything a producer or engineer needs to do, but it differently to most other DAW software, so there is a learning curve that can be frustrating.
Conclusion   Reaper is now a fully-fledged member of the Big Boys club, with a full set of features, many of which are unique. It runs lightning fast, is very stable and is worthy of consideration for use in any studio.
Overall Score   8.2/10
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