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Cockos Reaper: The Underdog of Digital Audio Workstations



Cockos Reaper is a digital audio workstation (DAW) that provides a platform for audio recording, mixing, and editing. Originating from a small California-based company, Reaper has evolved since its 2006 debut to compete with leading DAWs in the market.


Ease of Use

While Reaper boasts a plethora of features, its interface can be perceived as uninviting and non-intuitive, especially for beginners. However, with time and dedication, users can harness its full potential.



  • Audio Capabilities: Offers live audio and virtual instrument recording, a full mixing console, and real notation editing.
  • Customizability: Allows users to build their own menus, toolbars, macros, and even change the entire look of the interface.
  • Plug-in Support: Compatible with VST, VST3, AU, DirectX, or JS formats.
  • Automation: Full automation capabilities for tracks, instruments, and effect parameters.



Reaper offers a personal, school, or small business license at $60. For commercial music purposes with grossing over $20,000 annually, the cost is $225. A 60-day unlimited trial version is available, and purchasing ensures free updates through the next full point version.



Customer Support

Reaper has a dedicated online community that provides guidance, updates, and bug fixes. The company website also offers a comprehensive 440-page manual in PDF format.



Reaper has steadily gained traction in the DAW community, especially among those looking for a cost-effective yet powerful solution.



  • Affordable multi-channel audio recording, mixing, and mastering.
  • Highly customizable and fast.
  • Light on system resources.
  • Comprehensive VST effects.



  • Lacks built-in instruments or loops.
  • The interface might be challenging for newcomers.


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 stars. While Reaper might have a steeper learning curve compared to other DAWs, its affordability, flexibility, and feature set make it a worthy contender in the audio editing world.


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