Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00

Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
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Up and Running:
A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
Version 5.00
August 2015
This guide will be updated regularly as the software itself is further improved and developed.
Check for updates and other information at
http://www.cockos.com/reaper/
This document has been produced, compiled and rendered to PDF format using the
wonderful LibreOffice Writer software.
For more information about LibreOffice go to http://www.libreoffice.org
How to Use This Guide
REAPER is a sophisticated program and there is no single obvious or easy way or order to present all of the
information contained in this guide. If you need more information about any topic than appears on any
particular page, try searching! The PDF edition is bookmarked, and your PDF reader includes a Find feature on
its toolbar. Also, both the PDF and printed editions feature a comprehensive index. Use it!
For a spiral-bound hard copy of this User Guide for about $30 go to LULU.com
1
Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
ReaRead: REAPER books and training manuals printed and bound are now available from
http://stores.lulu.com/spotlight/glazfolk
REAPER 4 Unleashed: Unlock Your Inner REAPER!
“REAPER Unleashed” picks up where "Up and Running".leaves off.
This book lifts the lid off REAPER's most powerful features, including custom actions, menus and toolbars,
FX chains, screensets, snapshots, templates, mouse modifiers and more. Many resources are supplied,
including files with sample mouse modifiers, track templates, custom toolbars and much more.
Its sample work files and dozens of step by step tutorials will help you to understand how you can use
these features in combination with each other to make REAPER behave for you the way you want it to.
Will it teach you everything that you could possibly ever want to know about REAPER? Most definitely not.
But will it help you unlock the creativity inside you to help you get the very best out of this program for
yourself? Most certainly, yes!
Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide
The essential and definitive guide to recording, editing and mixing with REAPER. Now fully updated
for version 4.0. Includes sample project files and step by step examples to help you learn how to use
the many features of REAPER.
Includes special sections on key REAPER features such as routing and audio channel splitting, as well
as numerous examples of how to use and apply many of the supplied FX plug-ins.
"Up and Running is not only a comprehensive guide to using REAPER, it's also full of an amazing
amount of information on audio recording and engineering. I simply cannot recommend it enough!" Justin Frankel (COCKOS Inc and REAPER Developer).
ReaMix: Breaking the Barriers with REAPER
This book does much more than just teach you how to use basic tools (such as volume, panning, EQ,
gates, compressors, delay, reverb etc.) to get an OK mix. It also guides you thru the relationships –
some simple, some complex – that exist between the dimensions of sound and the dimensions of
space. It guides you to use this knowledge to transform your OK mixes into great mixes.
Although not light on theory, it has a definite practical emphasis, with links to archives containing
some 40 or so project files, with step by step examples to help you put your knowledge into practice.
"Wow! So much good stuff - from mindbending advanced techniques to solid sensible advice. This
guide should have a positive effect on just about anybody interested in mixing (and especially those
using REAPER)!" - Justin Frankel, Cockos Inc, developer of REAPER.
For a spiral-bound hard copy of this User Guide for about $30 go to LULU.com
2
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Foreword and Acknowledgements
REAPER isn’t just about software, and it isn’t just about making music. It’s about a whole lot more. REAPER is a whole
entity. It represents the way music should be, the way the internet should be, the way computers should be, the way
program development and licensing should be …. in fact, the way the world should be. It’s about collaboration and cooperation, and it is truly awesome.
This User Guide could not have been produced without the help of many in the REAPER community, and especially:
Malcolm Jacobson for his efforts in getting together the first REAPER manual. Art Evans for his
technical advice and constructive input.
Mario Bianchi (aka Mabian) for his help with document formatting and layout and for his constructive
suggestions and ideas. Also, a special “thank you” for comprehensively checking the document.
Simon Mullings for his suggestions and the patient hours spent on the tedious job of proof-reading.
Darkstar and musicbynumbers for too many helpful suggestions to mention!!
Bevan Fowke (aka Bevosss) for his advice and assistance with custom actions and macros.
Susan G for her assistance and advice, especially (but not exclusively) on MIDI matters.
Jason Brian Merrill for, amongst other things, review and comments.
Pipeline Audio for the original video tutorials. White Tie for awesome graphics. Xenakios, Jeffos and
SWS for their extension sets.
And, of course … Justin, Christophe, Schwa and Jeffos, for bringing us REAPER
So welcome to REAPER! This User Guide is intended to get you up and running in REAPER, and to help you
understand better how the program works, so that ultimately you will better be able to help yourself.
If you are new to the world of digital audio, you’ll find that there is more than enough information in here to get you
“up and running”. You’ll probably find that some sections contain information that you’ll find difficult to understand
and which you might not need at first. You can just skip over those sections and come back to them when you’re
ready. If, like me, you have come to REAPER with experience of other DAW software, you’ll find that it pays to go over
even the most basic sections, to help you understand how REAPER is designed, and how it slots together. You’ll find
yourself asking, “Why can’t they all be like this?” You should also find plenty more to interest you.
It is not intended to be (and nor will it ever be) a 100% reference manual covering every single aspect and detail of
REAPER. I’ve tried to approach the topics in what seems a fairly sensible order, introducing items pretty much on a
“need to know” basis. In doing so, I’ve been as careful as I can be to ensure its contents are clear and accurate, but
cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or problems you may encounter in applying it to your work.
REAPER Web Resources
The REAPER project is a live, dynamic and ongoing one. Be sure to check these web sites often:
http://www.cockos.com/reaper/
The REAPER Home Page
http://www.cockos.com/reaper/download.php
The REAPER Downloads Page
http://www.cockos.com/reaper/about.php
REAPER Features summary
http://www.cockos.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=20
The REAPER Forums
http://www.cockos.com/wiki/
The REAPER Wiki
Sample Project Files
These are available for download from http://www.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_User_Guide
Note that the links are case sensitive. The media files are in .MP3 format. Some of the examples outlined in this
book require recording further tracks in MP3 format. In order to be able to do this, you will need to have an
MP3 encoder installed in your REAPER program directory. The encoder file can be downloaded from a number of
locations, including http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Lame_Encoder.htm
Be sure to select the correct file for your system. For example, for 32 bit Windows this will be lame_enc.dll.
After downloading the file, simply copy it into your REAPER program folder. Start REAPER, then open the sample
project file and play it. If you hear no sound, you should check the routing settings for your Master Track and
make sure that output is correctly directed to your sound device.
For a spiral-bound hard copy of this User Guide for about $30 go to LULU.com
3
Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
What's New In This Edition ….
The table below summarizes the main changes introduced to REAPER in REAPER 5. In addition to these, there are numerous
more subtle changes, for example to some preferences and dialog box layouts or options. This user guide includes these. For
a comprehensive list of all changes, choose Help, Changelog from REAPER's main menu bar, or choose Options, Show
REAPER resource path... and double-click on the file whatsnew.txt to open it. Also included in this list are a small
number of features introduced in 4.xx that were previously not documented.
Changes in 5.00
Where ...
VST3 plug-ins now supported.
Pages 27, 40
Transport Bar layout changed.
Page 36
Metronome: beat patterns can be configured by the user. Option to play Metronome thru
Monitor FX.
Pages 59, 60
Preserve PDC delayed monitoring in recorded items.
Pages 62, 77
Media Explorer: New chapter added. New features include buttons added to navigate
browsing history; new option to play previewed item thru selected track; options to show
selected file in explorer/finder; option to toggle search in subfolders/current folders only;
option to toggle search in folder names/supported media only.
Pages 79 to 84
Auto naming multiple new tracks.
Page 87
VCA track parameter grouping.
Pages 103 to 106
Creating smart FX folders.
Page 109
JS FX display options.
Page 111
Propagate items to similar items on same track/all tracks.
Page 144
Time/tempo signature markers: more settings, including metronome pattern.
Pages 172, 182
Propagate takes to similar takes on same track/all tracks.
Page 158
New default theme: theme element customization now moved to Action List.
Page 202
Parameter learn available for per-take FX, record input FX and monitoring FX.
Page 214
MIDI editor: More note naming options.
Page 228
Options to show/hide markers, regions and/or tempo/time sig markers in piano roll.
Page 231
Scripts can now be written and imported in EEL or Lua as well as Python.
Page 269
User created toolbars: up to 16 general and 8 MIDI now available.
Page 282
The Toolbar docker.
Page 284
Adding FX comments.
Page 304
Automation: Option to use amplitude scaling or fader scaling on volume envelopes.
Page 330
Automation of item take FX parameters.
Page 344
Phase setting for LFO parameter modulation can now be user defined.
Page 352
Managing FX parameters from the Project Bay
Page 357
New chapter: Using REAPER with Video. Many new features including video FX.
Pages 361 to 370
Rendering a video project.
Page 383
New vertical envelope editing options.
Page 399
More information about VST compatibility preferences.
Page 405
Slaving REAPER to a software MIDI sequencer.
Page 428
Note: With REAPER's rapid rate of development, this edition may not be 100% up to date. For a full list of new and recent
features, choose the Help, Changelog command from the REAPER menu. To check for the latest versions of both REAPER
and this User Guide, go to http://www.cockos.com/reaper/download.php
For a spiral-bound hard copy of this User Guide for about $30 go to LULU.com
4
Contents
1 Setting Up and Getting Started.................................................................................19
1.1 Downloading REAPER.............................................................................................................. 19
1.2 Installing REAPER on an OS X Mac........................................................................................... 19
1.3 Installing REAPER on a Windows PC......................................................................................... 19
1.4 The Install Options (Windows only).......................................................................................... 20
1.5 Enabling MP3 Recording.......................................................................................................... 20
1.6 REAPER Software Updates....................................................................................................... 21
1.7 Starting REAPER..................................................................................................................... 21
1.8 REAPER Startup Tips............................................................................................................... 21
1.9 REAPER Selections, Controls and Commands............................................................................. 21
1.10 The REAPER Screen.............................................................................................................. 22
1.11 The Track and Track Controls................................................................................................. 23
1.12 Setting Up For Audio ............................................................................................................ 23
1.12.1 Setting Up For Audio (PC Windows).......................................................................................24
1.12.2 Setting Up For Audio (Mac OS X)...........................................................................................24
1.13 Input Aliasing....................................................................................................................... 25
1.14 Output Aliasing..................................................................................................................... 25
1.15 Setting Up For MIDI.............................................................................................................. 26
1.16 Enabling VST Plug-ins............................................................................................................ 27
1.17 REAPER’s Installed Folders and File Location............................................................................ 28
1.18 Localization and Language Packs............................................................................................ 30
1.19 Backing Up Settings.............................................................................................................. 30
1.20 Running REAPER on a Flash Drive.......................................................................................... 30
1.21 REAPER Start Menu Options (Windows only)...........................................................................31
1.22 REAPER File Types................................................................................................................. 32
1.23 Pops and Clicks..................................................................................................................... 32
1.24 Uninstalling REAPER.............................................................................................................. 32
2 REAPER Project Basics............................................................................................... 33
2.1 Section Overview.................................................................................................................... 33
2.2 Opening an Existing Project..................................................................................................... 33
2.3 Project Settings...................................................................................................................... 34
2.4 Directing Audio Output............................................................................................................ 35
2.5 The Transport Bar................................................................................................................... 36
2.6 The Big Clock......................................................................................................................... 37
2.7 Track Controls......................................................................................................................... 37
2.8 Pan Law and Pan Mode........................................................................................................... 38
2.9 Navigation and Zooming.......................................................................................................... 38
2.10 Keyboard Shortcut and Mouse Defaults................................................................................... 39
2.11 Using the Navigator............................................................................................................... 40
2.12 Track FX Basics..................................................................................................................... 40
2.13 Using the Supplied FX Presets................................................................................................ 41
2.14 Controlling Track FX............................................................................................................... 42
2.15 Creating a Default FX Chain................................................................................................... 43
2.16 Using an FX Bus.................................................................................................................... 44
2.17 Analyzing FX Performance...................................................................................................... 46
2.18 Selections and Loops............................................................................................................. 47
2.19 Managing Time and Loop Selections....................................................................................... 48
2.20 Navigating by Jumping.......................................................................................................... 49
2.21 Time and Loop Selections and the Transport Bar......................................................................49
2.22 Item Names, Buttons and Icons............................................................................................. 50
2.23 REAPER Routing Essentials..................................................................................................... 50
2.24 The Routing Matrix................................................................................................................ 51
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
2.25
2.26
2.27
2.28
2.29
2.30
Docking and Floating............................................................................................................. 52
The Undo History Window...................................................................................................... 53
Keeping a Window on Top...................................................................................................... 53
Multiple Project Tabs............................................................................................................. 54
Opening Multiple Project Tabs Together................................................................................... 54
Managing the Play Cursor...................................................................................................... 54
3 Recording Audio and MIDI........................................................................................ 55
3.1 Creating a New Project............................................................................................................ 55
3.2 Setting Media Project Options.................................................................................................. 56
3.3 Saving the Project File............................................................................................................. 56
3.4 Creating and Naming Tracks.................................................................................................... 57
3.5 To Prepare and Record One Track............................................................................................. 57
3.6 To Prepare and Record Multiple Tracks...................................................................................... 58
3.7 Auto Arming Tracks................................................................................................................. 59
3.8 Using the Metronome.............................................................................................................. 59
3.9 Recording Stereo Tracks.......................................................................................................... 60
3.10 Multi-Channel Recording........................................................................................................ 60
3.11 Track Templates.................................................................................................................... 61
3.12 Importing an Existing Project................................................................................................. 61
3.13 Project Templates.................................................................................................................. 61
3.14 Layered Recording................................................................................................................. 62
3.15 Overdubbing and Punch Recording......................................................................................... 63
3.16 Non-Destructive Punch Recording........................................................................................... 63
3.17 Destructive Punch Recording.................................................................................................. 64
3.18 Fades and Crossfades............................................................................................................ 64
3.19 Recording Multiple Takes........................................................................................................ 64
3.20 Showing Takes in Lanes......................................................................................................... 65
3.21 Using Color Coded Takes........................................................................................................ 65
3.22 Working With Multiple Takes.................................................................................................. 66
3.23 Overlapping Items................................................................................................................. 66
3.24 Recording Multiple Additional Items........................................................................................ 67
3.25 Recording with Empty Events................................................................................................. 67
3.26 Recording with Input FX Plug-ins............................................................................................ 68
3.27 Preserve PDC Delayed Monitoring in Recorded Items................................................................68
3.28 Recording a Track’s Output..................................................................................................... 69
3.29 Recording FX Bus Output....................................................................................................... 69
3.30 Recording MIDI..................................................................................................................... 69
3.31 Other MIDI Recording Modes................................................................................................. 71
3.32 Recording With a Virtual Instrument....................................................................................... 71
3.33 Using Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth.................................................................................72
3.34 Looped Overdubbing and Looped Time Selection Recording......................................................72
3.35 Recording with External Hardware FX..................................................................................... 73
3.36 Preference Settings for Recording........................................................................................... 74
3.37 Track Preferences for Recording............................................................................................. 75
3.38 Projects with Mixed Formats................................................................................................... 75
3.39 REAPER Audio Recording Checklist.......................................................................................... 76
3.40 Recording an Internet Audio Stream....................................................................................... 76
3.41 Converting Audio Media Item Format...................................................................................... 77
4 Importing Media: The Media Explorer.......................................................................79
4.1
4.2
4.3
4.4
4.5
Introduction and Overview....................................................................................................... 79
Searching the Media Explorer................................................................................................... 80
Media Item Preview................................................................................................................ 80
Inserting an Audio File as a New Take or Item........................................................................... 81
Creating and Using a Media Explorer Database..........................................................................82
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4.6 Replacing an Item's Source Media............................................................................................ 83
4.7 Importing MIDI Files............................................................................................................... 84
4.8 Importing Media from Audio CD............................................................................................... 84
4.9 Media File Import Formats....................................................................................................... 84
5 Project Arrangement Basics...................................................................................... 85
5.1 Managing Tracks..................................................................................................................... 85
5.2 Track Control Modifiers............................................................................................................ 86
5.3 Solo In Front.......................................................................................................................... 87
5.4 Auto-Naming Multiple Tracks.................................................................................................... 87
5.5 Searching the Preferences Settings........................................................................................... 87
5.6 Track Colors............................................................................................................................ 88
5.7 Color Themes......................................................................................................................... 89
5.8 Track Icons............................................................................................................................. 89
5.9 Track Layouts......................................................................................................................... 90
5.10 Headphone Monitoring.......................................................................................................... 90
5.11 Creating a Headphone Mix..................................................................................................... 91
5.12 Displaying Grid Lines............................................................................................................. 92
5.13 Understanding Sends, Buses, Submixes and Folders.................................................................93
5.14 Track Folder Essentials........................................................................................................... 94
5.14.1 Drag and Drop Folder Management........................................................................................95
5.14.2 Nested Folders.....................................................................................................................96
5.15 Track and Track Parameter Grouping....................................................................................... 97
5.15.1 Basic Track Grouping............................................................................................................97
5.15.2 Track Grouping Matrix Basic Controls......................................................................................99
5.15.3 Track Grouping Indicators.....................................................................................................99
5.15.4 Master and Slave Group Relationships....................................................................................99
5.15.5 Track Grouping Window........................................................................................................100
5.15.6 Track Grouping Window Basic Controls...................................................................................102
5.16 VU Meters on Multichannel Tracks........................................................................................... 102
5.17 VCA Grouping....................................................................................................................... 103
5.18 Audio Jogging and Scrubbing................................................................................................. 107
5.19 Default Toolbar Summary....................................................................................................... 108
6 Managing Track FX.................................................................................................. 109
6.1 Grouping FX in Folders............................................................................................................ 109
6.2 Plug-ins Settings..................................................................................................................... 110
6.3 Backing Up FX Chains and FX Presets....................................................................................... 110
6.4 Filtering Track FX.................................................................................................................... 110
6.5 JS FX Display Options.............................................................................................................. 111
6.6 Showing VST Folders............................................................................................................... 111
6.7 Replacing One FX With Another................................................................................................ 111
6.8 Copying Track FX.................................................................................................................... 111
6.9 FX Quick Display..................................................................................................................... 112
6.10 Moving Track FX.................................................................................................................... 112
6.11 Managing FX Parameters....................................................................................................... 112
6.12 Changing the Default FX Name............................................................................................... 113
6.13 Renaming Track FX Instances................................................................................................. 113
6.14 Using Default FX Parameter Settings....................................................................................... 113
6.15 Hardware Output FX Monitoring............................................................................................. 113
6.16 Optimizing FX Performance.................................................................................................... 114
6.17 FX Notes and Comments........................................................................................................ 114
6.18 Wet/Dry Mix and Bypass........................................................................................................ 114
6.19 Plug-in Delay Compensation................................................................................................... 115
6.20 Opening a File in Recovery Mode............................................................................................ 115
6.21 Stem Rendering.................................................................................................................... 115
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
6.22
6.23
6.24
6.25
6.26
6.27
6.28
6.29
Rendering a Group of Tracks to a Single Track.........................................................................116
Freezing and Unfreezing Tracks.............................................................................................. 116
Vertical/Horizontal FX Tree Display.......................................................................................... 118
Track Templates Revisited...................................................................................................... 118
ReaEffects User Guide Supplement......................................................................................... 118
Drag and Drop from FX Browser............................................................................................. 119
Audio Signal Flow Chart: Master Track.................................................................................... 119
Audio Signal Flow Chart: Tracks and Folders............................................................................ 120
7 Editing Tracks and Items......................................................................................... 121
7.1 Using an External Editor.......................................................................................................... 121
7.2 Editing Items in REAPER.......................................................................................................... 121
7.3 REAPER's Smart Editing........................................................................................................... 122
7.4 Standard Windows Editing....................................................................................................... 123
7.5 Editing Behavior Preferences.................................................................................................... 125
7.6 Separating Loop Selection From Time Selection.........................................................................125
7.7 Snapping with Combined Snap/Grid Settings.............................................................................126
7.8 Snapping with Separate Snap and Grid Settings.........................................................................126
7.9 Trim Behind When Editing........................................................................................................ 127
7.10 Item Take FX........................................................................................................................ 127
7.11 The Nudge/Set Items Window................................................................................................ 129
7.12 Media Item Properties............................................................................................................ 130
7.13 Media Item Icons.................................................................................................................. 131
7.14 Item Notes........................................................................................................................... 131
7.15 Coloring Individual Items....................................................................................................... 132
7.16 Adjusting Item Volume........................................................................................................... 132
7.16.1 The Item Volume Knob/Item Volume Handle...........................................................................132
7.16.2 The Volume and Pan Faders..................................................................................................133
7.16.3 Normalizing Items................................................................................................................133
7.17 Changing Item Channel Mode................................................................................................. 133
7.18 Take Source Properties........................................................................................................... 134
7.19 REAPER Editing and Auditioning Example................................................................................ 134
7.20 Editing Multiple Media Items................................................................................................... 136
7.21 Slip Editing........................................................................................................................... 137
7.22 Adjusting Fades..................................................................................................................... 137
7.23 Crossfades and the Crossfade Editor....................................................................................... 138
7.24 Crop Project to Selection........................................................................................................ 140
7.25 Grouping Items..................................................................................................................... 141
7.26 Storing and Recalling Item Groups.......................................................................................... 142
7.27 Glue Selected Items............................................................................................................... 142
7.28 Creating and Copying Items in Pencil Mode.............................................................................143
7.29 Propagating Items................................................................................................................. 144
7.30 Insert Space in Selection........................................................................................................ 145
7.31 Ripple Editing........................................................................................................................ 145
7.32 Trim to Selected Area............................................................................................................. 146
7.33 Free Item Positioning............................................................................................................. 146
7.34 Mouse Modifiers.................................................................................................................... 147
7.35 Dynamic Splitting - Remove Silent Passages............................................................................149
7.36 SWS Extensions.................................................................................................................... 150
8 Arranging, Comping and Editing Takes...................................................................151
8.1
8.2
8.3
8.4
8.5
Using Item FX with Individual Takes......................................................................................... 151
Exploding Takes to Multiple Tracks............................................................................................ 151
Crossfades with Takes............................................................................................................. 152
Exploding Takes in Place.......................................................................................................... 152
Play All Takes.......................................................................................................................... 152
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8.6 Editing and Comping Multiple Takes.......................................................................................... 153
8.7 More Take Commands and Actions........................................................................................... 156
8.8 Managing Comps with the Project Bay...................................................................................... 157
8.9 Propagating Takes................................................................................................................... 158
9 Loops, Markers and Regions.................................................................................... 159
9.1 Creating Loops........................................................................................................................ 159
9.2 Creating and Navigating with Markers....................................................................................... 160
9.3 Time Selection Start/End Markers............................................................................................. 161
9.4 Snapping to Markers............................................................................................................... 161
9.5 Removing Markers.................................................................................................................. 162
9.6 Marker Actions........................................................................................................................ 162
9.7 Creating and Using Regions..................................................................................................... 163
9.8 The Region Manager............................................................................................................... 164
9.9 Project Building with Regions................................................................................................... 165
9.10 Changing the Project Timebase.............................................................................................. 165
9.11 Markers and Media Cues........................................................................................................ 165
9.12 Tempo Based Music Production.............................................................................................. 166
9.12.1 Time Based Music Basics.......................................................................................................166
9.13 Project Settings..................................................................................................................... 167
9.13.1 Audio Media Item Properties.................................................................................................168
9.13.2 Creating a Loop from a Time Selection...................................................................................168
9.13.3 Creating a Loop from Transients............................................................................................168
9.13.4 Transient Detection Settings..................................................................................................169
9.13.5 Beat Correction....................................................................................................................169
9.13.6 Quantizing Items..................................................................................................................170
9.14 Dynamic Splitting.................................................................................................................. 170
9.14.1 Splitting a Media Item into Samples.......................................................................................171
9.14.2 Changing the Project Tempo..................................................................................................172
9.14.3 Creating a Chromatic MIDI Item............................................................................................173
9.14.4 Saving and Using Samples....................................................................................................174
9.15 REX File Support................................................................................................................... 174
10 Pitch and Time Manipulation.................................................................................175
10.1 Changing Pitch for Individual Media Items............................................................................... 175
10.2 Using ReaPitch...................................................................................................................... 176
10.3 Using ReaPitch with Multiple Tracks........................................................................................ 177
10.4 Instrument Tuning with ReaTune............................................................................................ 177
10.5 Pitch Correction with ReaTune................................................................................................ 178
10.6 Changing the Project Play Rate............................................................................................... 178
10.7 Time Stretching..................................................................................................................... 179
10.8 Stretch Markers..................................................................................................................... 180
10.9 Using Time Signature/Tempo Change Markers.........................................................................182
11 The Mixer and Master............................................................................................ 183
11.1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 183
11.2 Mixer Commands.................................................................................................................. 183
11.3 Mixer Layouts and Screensets................................................................................................ 183
11.4 Mixer Menu Commands and Options....................................................................................... 184
11.5 Showing and Hiding Types of Mixer Tracks..............................................................................185
11.6 Working with FX in the Mixer.................................................................................................. 185
11.7 Working with Sends in the Mixer............................................................................................. 188
11.8 Showing Track Icons in the Mixer............................................................................................ 189
11.9 Managing the Mixer............................................................................................................... 189
11.10 Track Control Menus............................................................................................................ 191
11.11 Introducing Windows Screen Sets......................................................................................... 192
11.12 Mixer Appearance Preferences.............................................................................................. 193
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
11.13
11.14
11.15
11.16
11.17
11.18
Stereo and Dual Panning...................................................................................................... 194
Master Track Options and Settings........................................................................................ 196
Master Hardware Outputs.................................................................................................... 196
Master Track Channels......................................................................................................... 197
Avoiding Channel Leakage.................................................................................................... 198
Reset VU Meter Peaks.......................................................................................................... 198
12 Project Management Features............................................................................... 199
12.1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 199
12.2 Setting the Project Start Time................................................................................................ 199
12.3 Locking Media Items.............................................................................................................. 200
12.4 Locking Track Controls........................................................................................................... 200
12.5 Project Lock Settings............................................................................................................. 201
12.6 Customizing Colors and Fonts................................................................................................. 202
12.7 The Project Media/FX Bay...................................................................................................... 203
12.8 The Track Manager................................................................................................................ 207
12.9 Track View Screen Sets.......................................................................................................... 209
12.10 Windows Screensets............................................................................................................ 211
12.11 Auto Saving Screen Sets...................................................................................................... 212
12.12 Item Selection Sets.............................................................................................................. 212
12.13 Track, Mixer, Transport and Envelope Layouts.......................................................................213
12.14 Further FX Parameter Management....................................................................................... 214
12.15 Track Control Panel and Menu Bar Help................................................................................. 216
12.16 Using Multiple Dockers......................................................................................................... 216
12.17 Saving New Project Versions................................................................................................. 218
12.18 Multiple Project Backup Versions........................................................................................... 218
12.19 Associating Rendered WAV Files with Source Project Files.......................................................218
13 Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items...................................................................219
13.1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 219
13.2 Monitoring an External Synthesizer......................................................................................... 219
13.3 Using Track Controls with MIDI.............................................................................................. 219
13.4 Controlling MIDI Data Sends.................................................................................................. 219
13.5 Configuring and Accessing the MIDI Editor..............................................................................220
13.6 The MIDI Editor Window........................................................................................................ 220
13.7 Control Change Messages...................................................................................................... 223
13.8 Control Channel Basics.......................................................................................................... 224
13.9 Working with MIDI Editor Lanes............................................................................................. 225
13.9.1 Sysex Events........................................................................................................................225
13.9.2 Text Events.......................................................................................................................... 225
13.9.3 Bank/Program Select............................................................................................................225
13.10 MIDI CC Lanes: Tips & Tricks............................................................................................... 226
13.10.1 General CC Lane Editing Techniques.....................................................................................226
13.10.2 Right Click Marquee Selection..............................................................................................226
13.10.3 Intelligent CC Lane Dropdown List........................................................................................227
13.10.4 14-bit CC Lanes and Actions................................................................................................227
13.10.5 Resizing CC Lane Height......................................................................................................227
13.11 Navigating the MIDI Editor Main Window..............................................................................227
13.12 Basic Note Selection and Manipulation..................................................................................227
13.13 Loop/Time Selections and Smart Editing................................................................................228
13.14 The MIDI Editor Menus........................................................................................................ 228
13.15 Note Creating and Editing.................................................................................................... 233
13.16 Using the Keyboard............................................................................................................. 234
13.17 Transposing Notes............................................................................................................... 235
13.18 General MIDI Program Patches............................................................................................. 235
13.19 MIDI Preview Scrub............................................................................................................. 235
10
13.20 MIDI Editor Modes and Views............................................................................................... 236
13.20.1 Note Modes.......................................................................................................................236
13.20.2 Note Styles........................................................................................................................237
13.21 Quantizing MIDI Data.......................................................................................................... 238
13.22 Input Quantization............................................................................................................... 239
13.23 Humanize Notes.................................................................................................................. 240
13.24 F3 - The Panic Button.......................................................................................................... 240
13.25 Using the MIDI Editor: a Basic Exercise................................................................................. 240
13.26 Working with Multiple MIDI Tracks and/or Items (Overview)...................................................242
13.27 Managing Multiple MIDI Tracks and Items.............................................................................243
13.28 Editing Multiple MIDI Items.................................................................................................. 244
13.29 MIDI Editor Mouse Modifiers................................................................................................ 245
13.30 MIDI Editor Actions............................................................................................................. 246
13.31 In-Line MIDI Editing............................................................................................................ 247
13.32 Copying MIDI Items in Arrange View..................................................................................... 248
13.33 Joining MIDI Items.............................................................................................................. 249
13.34 MIDI Preferences Settings.................................................................................................... 249
13.35 MIDI Output Direct to an External Synth...............................................................................250
13.36 Exporting Project MIDI......................................................................................................... 250
13.37 Feedback Routing with MIDI Tracks...................................................................................... 250
13.38 MIDI Routing, MIDI Buses and ReWire.................................................................................. 250
13.39 ReaControlMIDI................................................................................................................... 251
13.40 Some MIDI Plug-ins............................................................................................................. 252
13.41 MIDI Controlled Pitch Shift with ReaVoice.............................................................................. 252
13.42 JS: IX/MIDI_Router............................................................................................................. 254
13.43 Working with Piano Roll Synced to Project Arrange View.........................................................254
13.44 The Scale Finder................................................................................................................. 255
13.45 Sequencer Megababy........................................................................................................... 255
13.46 Using MIDI CC Messages to Control FX Presets......................................................................256
14 Customization: Actions, Mouse Modifiers, Menus and Toolbars............................259
14.1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 259
14.2 REAPER Actions Essentials..................................................................................................... 259
14.3 The Action List Editor Environment......................................................................................... 260
14.4 Creating a New Keyboard Shortcut......................................................................................... 263
14.5 Removing an Existing Shortcut............................................................................................... 264
14.6 Changing an Existing Key Assignment..................................................................................... 264
14.7 Examples of Possible Simple Keystroke Assignments.................................................................265
14.8 Keyboard Shortcuts for Recording........................................................................................... 265
14.9 Keyboard Shortcuts for the MIDI Editor................................................................................... 266
14.10 Keyboard Shortcuts for the Media Explorer............................................................................266
14.11 Assigning Actions to the Mousewheel.................................................................................... 267
14.12 Exporting and Importing Keyboard Shortcuts.........................................................................267
14.13 Creating Custom Action Macros............................................................................................ 267
14.14 MIDI Editor Custom Macros.................................................................................................. 269
14.15 Importing Scripts................................................................................................................. 269
14.16 Using a Control Device with REAPER..................................................................................... 270
14.17 Meta Actions....................................................................................................................... 272
14.18 Mouse Modifiers.................................................................................................................. 273
14.19 Saving and Restoring Mouse Modifier Settings.......................................................................275
14.20 MIDI Editor Mouse Modifiers................................................................................................ 275
14.21 Customizing the REAPER Menus........................................................................................... 277
14.22 Customizing the REAPER Toolbars......................................................................................... 279
14.23 Creating Additional Custom Toolbars..................................................................................... 282
14.24 Creating Smart Tools........................................................................................................... 283
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
14.25 The Toolbar Docker............................................................................................................. 284
15 REAPER Plug-ins in Action..................................................................................... 285
15.1 What Are Plug-ins?................................................................................................................ 285
15.2 The Three Laws of Plug-ins.................................................................................................... 285
15.3 The Five Types of Plug-in....................................................................................................... 285
15.4 Adjusting Plug-in Parameter Controls...................................................................................... 286
15.5 Sound Shaping Effects: ReaEQ............................................................................................... 286
15.6 Time Based Effects: Delay...................................................................................................... 287
15.7 Volume Changing Plug-ins: the Limiter.................................................................................... 288
15.8 Analytical Plug-ins: the GFXAnalyzer....................................................................................... 289
15.9 Using FX Presets................................................................................................................... 289
15.10 Time Based Effects: ReaVerb................................................................................................ 290
15.11 Volume Control with Compression: ReaComp.........................................................................292
15.12 LOSER’s Transients Plug-ins.................................................................................................. 293
15.13 Liteon's De-Esser................................................................................................................. 293
15.14 Volume Control with a Noise Gate......................................................................................... 293
15.15 Sstillwell Chorus and Delay Effects........................................................................................ 294
15.16 Noise Reduction with ReaFir................................................................................................. 295
15.17 Multiband Compression with ReaXComp................................................................................ 296
15.18 LOSER’s TimeDifference Pan................................................................................................. 298
15.19 LOSER’s Exciter................................................................................................................... 298
15.20 SSTillwell's HugeBooty......................................................................................................... 298
15.21 Some Unusual JS Plug-ins.................................................................................................... 298
15.21.1 Utility/bufsave....................................................................................................................298
15.21.2 Sstillwell/thunderkick..........................................................................................................299
15.21.3 Remaincalm_org/tonegate...................................................................................................299
15.22 Some Guitar FX Plug-ins....................................................................................................... 300
15.23 Some Other REAPER JS Plug-ins........................................................................................... 300
15.24 Installing Extra JS Plug-ins................................................................................................... 303
15.25 Specifying VST Plug-in Run Mode.......................................................................................... 303
15.26 Third Party Plug-in Presets .................................................................................................. 303
15.27 Adding FX Comments.......................................................................................................... 304
15.28 Losing the Graphic User Interface (GUI)................................................................................ 304
16 More REAPER Routing Examples...........................................................................305
16.1 Controlled Bleed.................................................................................................................... 305
16.2 Splitting Channels................................................................................................................. 306
16.3 Full and Fat Vocals with ReaDelay........................................................................................... 308
16.4 REAPER Send Types.............................................................................................................. 309
16.5 Channel Splitting and Pitch Shifting......................................................................................... 310
16.6 Audio Ducking....................................................................................................................... 311
16.7 Double Ducking..................................................................................................................... 313
16.8 Using VCA for Track Volume Control........................................................................................ 314
16.9 ReaSamplomatic and ReaDrums............................................................................................. 315
16.10 Round-Robin Multisampling.................................................................................................. 317
16.11 Multi Output VSTi Plug-ins.................................................................................................... 317
16.12 Using Parent Channels......................................................................................................... 319
16.13 Parallel FX Processing with the Channel Mixers....................................................................... 319
16.14 More Parallel FX Processing.................................................................................................. 321
16.15 Channel Splitting and Parallel Processing with Item Take FX....................................................321
16.16 Other Channel Routing Plug-ins (Overview)...........................................................................321
16.17 REAPER’s Routing Interface.................................................................................................. 322
16.18 Multichannel Track VU Meters............................................................................................... 322
16.19 Surround Panning with ReaSurround..................................................................................... 323
16.20 Routing to/from Other Applications with ReWire.....................................................................325
12
16.21 Introducing ReaRoute.......................................................................................................... 326
17 Automation with Envelopes................................................................................... 327
17.1 Understanding Automation..................................................................................................... 327
17.2 Automation Envelope Methods................................................................................................ 327
17.3 The Track Envelopes Window................................................................................................. 328
17.4 Available Track and Send Envelopes........................................................................................ 328
17.5 Writing Automation................................................................................................................ 329
17.6 Envelope Points Options......................................................................................................... 330
17.7 Writing Mute Automation....................................................................................................... 331
17.8 Automation Modes................................................................................................................. 331
17.9 Global Automation Override.................................................................................................... 332
17.10 The Envelope Panel Controls................................................................................................. 332
17.11 Manually Adjusting Envelopes............................................................................................... 333
17.12 Using the Mouse with Envelopes........................................................................................... 334
17.13 Envelope Edit Mouse Modifiers.............................................................................................. 334
17.14 Managing Automation Envelope Display................................................................................. 335
17.15 The Envelope Panel Controls................................................................................................. 336
17.16 Managing and Manipulating Envelopes.................................................................................. 337
17.17 Envelope Shapes................................................................................................................. 338
17.18 Envelopes in Track Templates............................................................................................... 338
17.19 Envelope Preferences........................................................................................................... 338
17.20 Using an Envelopes Toolbar.................................................................................................. 339
17.21 Locking Envelopes............................................................................................................... 339
17.22 Automation With Grouped Track Parameters..........................................................................340
17.23 Moving and Copying Envelopes with Items............................................................................. 340
17.24 Automation with Track Sends................................................................................................ 341
17.25 Automation with FX Parameters............................................................................................ 342
17.26 FX Parameter Automation in Learn Mode............................................................................... 343
17.27 Automating a VST with MIDI CC Messages............................................................................343
17.28 Automating FX Parameters on the Fly.................................................................................... 344
17.29 Automation with Item Take and Take FX Parameters...............................................................344
17.30 Automation with Hardware Output Sends..............................................................................345
17.31 Automating Automation........................................................................................................ 345
17.32 Actions for Managing Envelopes............................................................................................ 345
17.33 Automating the Metronome.................................................................................................. 346
17.34 Tempo/Time Signature and Play Speed Envelopes..................................................................346
18 Automation with Parameter Modulation...............................................................347
18.1 The Concept......................................................................................................................... 347
18.2 The Interface........................................................................................................................ 347
18.3 Defining a Parameter for Modulation....................................................................................... 348
18.4 Defining a Parameter for Modification..................................................................................... 350
18.5 Parameter Modulation with Audio Control................................................................................ 350
18.6 Using an LFO Shape with Parameter Modulation......................................................................352
18.7 Using Parameter Modulation for Dynamic Compression.............................................................353
18.8 Bypass Mode........................................................................................................................ 354
18.9 Parameter Modulation Under Parameter Control.......................................................................354
18.10 Using Parameter Modulation with an Envelope.......................................................................355
18.11 Parameter Modulation under Sidechain Audio Control.............................................................356
18.12 Further Applications............................................................................................................. 357
18.13 Managing FX Parameters in the Project Bay........................................................................... 357
19 Using REAPER with Video...................................................................................... 359
19.1 Simple Video Editing.............................................................................................................. 359
19.2 Video Effects......................................................................................................................... 361
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
19.3 Working with Multiple Video Tracks......................................................................................... 362
19.4 Video Processor Parameter Controls........................................................................................ 366
19.5 Video Effects Presets (Examples)............................................................................................ 366
19.6 Understanding Video Formats................................................................................................. 367
19.7 REAPER Video Processing Tips................................................................................................ 368
19.8 REAPER Video Settings and Preferences.................................................................................. 368
19.9 Video Workflow Tips.............................................................................................................. 369
19.10 Making a Home Music Video on a Budget..............................................................................370
20 Exporting Files, Mixing Down and Rendering........................................................371
20.1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 371
20.2 Batch File Conversion............................................................................................................ 371
20.3 Consolidating and Exporting................................................................................................... 372
20.4 Rendering A Project............................................................................................................... 373
20.5 Rendering a Finished Song..................................................................................................... 376
20.6 Batch Rendering.................................................................................................................... 376
20.7 Rendering Selected Media Items............................................................................................. 377
20.8 Rendering Regions................................................................................................................ 377
20.9 Burning an Audio CD with REAPER.......................................................................................... 379
20.10 Saving Live Output to Disk................................................................................................... 381
20.11 Using Presets...................................................................................................................... 382
20.12 Rendering in Surround Format.............................................................................................. 382
20.13 Rendering a Video Project.................................................................................................... 383
21 REAPER's Preferences and Other Settings ............................................................385
21.1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................... 385
21.2 General Preferences.............................................................................................................. 385
21.2.1 Import and Export Configuration............................................................................................386
21.2.2 Paths and Keyboards............................................................................................................387
21.3 Main Project Preferences........................................................................................................ 387
21.3.1 Project Track/Send Defaults ..................................................................................................388
21.3.2 Media Item Defaults.............................................................................................................389
21.4 Audio Configuration and Settings............................................................................................ 389
21.5 Audio Preferences................................................................................................................. 391
21.5.1 Audio Buffering ...................................................................................................................392
21.5.2 Audio Playback.....................................................................................................................393
21.5.3 Audio Seeking......................................................................................................................393
21.5.4 Audio Recording...................................................................................................................393
21.5.5 Audio Loop Recording...........................................................................................................394
21.5.6 Audio Rendering ..................................................................................................................394
21.6 Appearance Preferences........................................................................................................ 394
21.6.1 Appearance Media................................................................................................................395
21.6.2 Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms..............................................................................................396
21.6.3 Appearance Fades/Crossfades...............................................................................................397
21.6.4 Appearance, Track Control Panels..........................................................................................397
21.7 Editing Behavior Preferences.................................................................................................. 398
21.7.1 Editing Behavior, Envelope Display.........................................................................................399
21.7.2 Editing Behavior, Automation.................................................................................................400
21.7.3 Editing Behavior, Mouse Preferences.......................................................................................401
21.7.4 Editing Preferences, MIDI Editor............................................................................................402
21.8 Media Preferences................................................................................................................ 403
21.8.1 Media, MIDI Preferences.......................................................................................................404
21.8.2 Media, Video/REX/Misc Preferences........................................................................................404
21.9 Plug-ins Preferences.............................................................................................................. 405
21.9.1 Plug-ins, Compatibility..........................................................................................................405
21.9.2 Plug-ins, VST ......................................................................................................................405
21.9.3 Plug-ins, ReWire/DX ............................................................................................................405
14
21.9.4 Plug-ins, ReaScript ..............................................................................................................406
21.9.5 Plug-ins, ReaMote ...............................................................................................................406
21.10 Custom UI Tweaks............................................................................................................... 406
21.11 Project and File Management............................................................................................... 406
21.12 Customizing the Performance Meter...................................................................................... 407
21.13 Customizing Undo History Behavior....................................................................................... 407
21.14 Reset REAPER Default Settings............................................................................................. 408
21.15 Some Other REAPER Options................................................................................................ 408
22 Main Right-Click Context Menus Summary...........................................................409
22.1 The Track Control Panel Context Menu.................................................................................... 409
22.2 The Empty Track List Area Context Menu................................................................................ 410
22.3 The Timeline and Ruler Context Menu..................................................................................... 410
22.4 The Media Items Context Menu.............................................................................................. 411
22.5 The Media Items Context Sub-Menus...................................................................................... 412
22.6 The Record Arm Context Menu............................................................................................... 414
22.7 The Envelopes Context Menu................................................................................................. 415
22.8 The Transport Bar Context Menu............................................................................................ 416
22.9 The Routing Matrix Context Menu........................................................................................... 417
22.10 The FX Window Context Menu.............................................................................................. 417
22.11 The Media Explorer Context Menu......................................................................................... 418
22.12 The MIDI In-Line Editor and MIDI Editor Context Menus.........................................................419
23 Using REAPER with Other Applications and Devices.............................................421
23.1 What is ReaRoute?................................................................................................................ 421
23.2 Setting Up Applications for ReaRoute...................................................................................... 422
23.3 Sending Audio from REAPER to Another Application.................................................................423
23.4 Sending Audio From Another DAW App to REAPER...................................................................424
23.5 Using REAPER With a Synth Workstation................................................................................. 426
23.6 Syncing to an External Device................................................................................................ 426
23.7 Generating and Sending Timecode.......................................................................................... 428
23.8 Slaving REAPER to MIDI Sequencer Software..........................................................................428
23.9 ReaMote............................................................................................................................... 428
23.10 REAPER and NINJAM........................................................................................................... 429
23.11 ReaScript............................................................................................................................ 429
24 Troubleshooting REAPER....................................................................................... 431
24.1 Input/Output Issues.............................................................................................................. 431
24.2 REAPER Interface Issues........................................................................................................ 433
24.3 Troubleshooting Record Modes and Monitoring........................................................................434
Index......................................................................................................................... 437
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
16
Summary List of Step by Step Exercises ….
As well as explanations of REAPER's features and guidance on how you can use them, this User Guide contains a number of
step-by-step actual examples which are designed to help you learn. These are summarised below:
Creating a default FX chain.............................................43
Layered recording..........................................................62
Non-destructive punch recording....................................63
Recording multiple takes................................................64
Recording a MIDI track..................................................70
Creating and using track folders......................................94
Creating an FX bus.........................................................95
Track and track parameter grouping................................98
Master/slave grouping..................................................100
The track grouping window..........................................100
Copying track FX..........................................................111
Editing and auditioning media items..............................135
Grouping media items..................................................141
Creating and using markers..........................................161
Creating and using regions...........................................163
Using media cues.........................................................166
Working with FX in the Mixer........................................187
Using the width/stereo panner......................................194
Master track channels (advanced).................................197
Track view screen sets..................................................209
MIDI Pitch shift with ReaVoice......................................253
Creating a custom keyboard shortcut............................263
Creating keyboard shortcuts for recording.....................265
Creating a custom action macro....................................268
Customising mouse modifiers........................................274
Customising REAPER's menus.......................................279
Create Custom Toolbar.................................................281
Creating a custom toolbar.............................................283
Using sound shaping FX (Intro).....................................286
Using time based FX (Intro)..........................................288
Using a limiter (Intro)...................................................288
Using reverb (Intro).....................................................290
Using a compressor (Intro)...........................................292
Using a noise gate (Intro).............................................294
Using noise reduction plug-ins (Intro)............................295
Using a multiband compressor (Intro)...........................296
Simple track routing.....................................................305
Parallel FX processing (Intermediate)............................308
Double ducking (Advanced)..........................................313
ReaSamplomatic and ReaDrums....................................315
Using multi-output virtual instruments...........................317
Parallel FX processing (Advanced).................................319
Writing automation envelopes.......................................329
Editing automation envelopes (2)..................................333
Automating track sends................................................341
Automating FX parameters...........................................342
Parameter modulation with audio control.......................350
Parameter modulation for dynamic compression............353
Parameter modulation under parameter control.............354
Parameter modulation with sidechain control.................356
Using ReaRoute (1)......................................................423
Using ReaRoute (2)......................................................425
Using REAPER with a synth workstation.........................426
Summary List of Main Tables ….
This User Guide includes many instructional and summary tables. In addition to those in Chapter 21 (REAPER's Preferences
and Other Settings) and Chapter 21 (Right-click Context Menu Summaries), the most important of these are:
REAPER's Install Options..................................................20
Installed File and Folder Locations....................................28
REAPER File Types...........................................................32
Navigating and Zooming Shortcuts....................................38
Track FX Management......................................................42
Loop and Time Selection Shortcuts...................................48
Takes Management..........................................................66
Coloring Tracks................................................................88
Move/Nudge Items........................................................124
Marquee Modifiers.........................................................124
Take Sets and Comp Management (1).............................154
Take Sets and Comp Management (2).............................155
Take Actions..................................................................156
Markers.........................................................................160
Regions.........................................................................163
Managing FX in the Mixer...............................................185
Managing Sends in the Mixer..........................................188
Windows Screen Sets.....................................................192
Using multiple dockers...................................................217
Commonly used CC messages........................................224
MIDI Editor: Keyboard Shortcuts.....................................234
Managing Custom Action Macros.....................................268
Customising the REAPER Menus......................................277
Customising the Main Toolbar.........................................280
Guitar FX Plug-ins..........................................................300
Sample JS Plug-ins.........................................................300
Channel Routing Plug-ins................................................321
Track Parameter and Send Envelopes..............................328
Automation Modes.........................................................332
Editing Envelopes...........................................................334
Managing Automation Display.........................................335
Manipulating Envelopes..................................................337
Parameter Modulation....................................................348
Project Rendering Examples...........................................375
Troubleshooting REAPER................................................431
Record Modes and Monitoring.........................................435
17
Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
18
1 - Setting Up and Getting Started
1
1.1
Setting Up and Getting Started
Downloading REAPER
To download REAPER, visit the download page http://www.cockos.com/reaper/download.php. Read the onscreen information carefully (especially about 32 bit and 64 bit) and be sure to select the correct version for
your computer. If you keep the program for more than 60 days then you must purchase a license. To purchase
your REAPER license, go to http://www.cockos.com/reaper/purchase.php
REAPER icon from the Applications folder on to the Dock. We strongly recommend that you should also, under
System Preferences, ensure that for your Mouse right click is enabled as a secondary button.
1.3
Installing REAPER on a Windows PC
To install REAPER on a PC with Windows you should follow this sequence:
1. In Windows Explorer, find
the install file. The file
name includes the current
version number, e.g.
reaper50-install.exe.
2. Double click on this file to
start the install program.
3. Click the I Agree button
to accept the conditions
and continue.
4. For a normal install,
accept the default folder
offered to you (but see
note below) - for
example, C:\Program
Files\REAPER.
5. If you need to, enable the
Portable install option
(see note below), then
click Next.
6. Select which elements you
wish to install (if in doubt
accept the default settings - see also section 1.4 below) and click on Install.
7. Wait while the program installs. When prompted, click on Close to close the Install program. You will be
asked if you wish to run the program now: in this case, choose No.
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19
Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
Note: If you are installing REAPER for the first time, or if you wish to replace an earlier version of REAPER with
this one, you should accept the default destination folder and not enable portable install. If you wish to install
this alongside an existing earlier 4.xx version, change the default directory (e.g. to \REAPER5) and enable
portable install. This will ensure that your earlier 4.xx settings and preferences will be preserved separately.
Tip: If you choose not to install any REAPER program elements or options, you can later change your mind by
simply running the install program again.
1.4
The Install Options (Windows only)
The Install screen lets you decide which REAPER elements you choose to install and which ones you prefer not
to install. Listed below is a summary of your main options. By default, most of them are enabled.
Item
Explanation
Audio Processing Plug-ins
This is a collection of Audio and MIDI FX that is supplied with REAPER –
such as a Compressor, a Noise Gate and a Synthesizer. Usually you
should make sure this option is ticked.
Compressed File Support
This allows you to work with file formats such as MP3, OGG,, FLAC and
WavPack as well as Video files.
Customizations
This allows for the use of European keyboards and offers you the option
to later choose any of a number of color schemes for REAPER.
Additional Functionality
This allows you to install elements such as the Media Explorer, CD
Ripping/Burning, Control Surface Support and ReWire. These aspects will
be discussed at various places in this guide. If you are new to REAPER, or
to audio software in general, you might wish not to install at this stage
the ReaRoute ASIO driver, nor ReWire nor ReaMote. This makes for
simpler options when audio routing. You can always add these later.
Desktop Icon
Leaving this option selected ensures that a REAPER shortcut icon will be
placed on your Windows desktop.
Start Menu Shortcuts
Leave this option ticked to ensure that REAPER is added to your Windows
Start Menu.
Associate with RPP Files
Ticking this option will enable you to open REAPER with any of your
REAPER Project files direct from Windows Explorer or any desktop
shortcut that you might create for your projects.
1.5
Enabling MP3 Recording
If you are intending to record and/or mix down your recordings in, or convert other recorded material to, MP3
format, you will need to install an MP3 encoder. A suitable encoder is LAME, which is available free of charge.
This can be obtained from any of many web sites, including http://aegiscorp.free.fr/lame/. Once there, make
sure that you select the right download for your system and your version of REAPER:
Windows 64 bit systems
lame_enc64.dll
Windows 32 bit systems
libmp3lame.dll
OSX 64 bit systems
libmp3lame_osx64.zip
OSX 32 bit systems
libmp3lame_osx32.zip
Note that if you are using a 32 bit version of REAPER even on a 64 bit computer, you should download the 32
bit encoder, not the 64 bit one.
After downloading, Mac users should unzip the file and then drag the dynamic library file (named something like
libmp3lame.dylib) into their REAPER application launch folder.
Windows users should copy the file into their REAPER Program directory, which by default will be C:\Program
Files\REAPER. It can also be copied to other applications that may need it (e.g. Audacity).
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20
1 - Setting Up and Getting Started
1.6
REAPER Software Updates
REAPER is updated frequently and regularly, with bug fixes, new features and other enhancements. You can
check for updates at any time by visiting http://www.reaper.fm/ Simply download and install. There is no
need to first uninstall any previous version. Existing preferences and settings will automatically be carried over.
Tip: REAPER is frequently updated. An option is
available under Options, Preferences, General
(Startup Settings) to have REAPER automatically check
for updates each time the program is started (provided
of course that you are on-line at the time). By default,
this option is enabled. If you do not wish to be notified whenever a new version is available, you can disable it.
1.7
Starting REAPER
To start REAPER, just double click on the REAPER desktop icon. You might also wish to
consider creating a keyboard shortcut for this. For Windows users, this is done using the
Shortcut tab of the icon's Properties dialog box. Right-click over the icon to display this.
1.8
REAPER Startup Tips
By default, REAPER opens with the last used project. As you will see in Chapter 21 (under Preferences,
General), you can change this behavior if you wish. In addition, you can use hot keys when starting REAPER to
override the default settings.
Action
Booster Key(s)
Open REAPER without loading last project.
Shift (while starting REAPER)
Open REAPER without loading any default project template.
Ctrl Shift (while starting REAPER)
1.9
REAPER Selections, Controls and Commands
Working in REAPER involves making selections and giving commands. For example, to copy a single item you
would select the item (usually using your mouse) and then give the command for REAPER to copy it. Other
times, you will use commands that affect the whole project file without any selection. For example, you might
wish to save all your work. In that case, there would be no need to select anything – you would only need to
give the necessary command. There are four main methods commonly used to give commands in REAPER:
Method
Comment
The Main Menu
As with other applications, this is accessed by the mouse or keyboard.
Context Menus
Click your right mouse button over an item or area of the screen to display a context
menu relevant to where you have clicked.
Toolbars
Click your mouse on any toolbar button for its command to be executed.
Keyboard
Shortcuts
Many commands and actions can be accessed by keyboard shortcuts. You can also
assign own shortcuts to other commands and actions. Chapter 14 will show you how.
In some cases, different modifier keys are used for the PC and for the Mac. The
examples used throughout this guide are PC (Windows) shortcuts. Mac users should
refer to this summary table of similarities and differences:
PC (Windows) Key
Shift
Control
Alt
Windows
Mac (OS X) Key Equivalent
Shift
Command
Option
Control
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21
Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
1.10
The REAPER Screen
REAPER allows you to select from a number of different color themes. The screen shots used in this book
mostly use the REAPER 4 default theme. If you are using any other theme, you might therefore notice some
visual differences. If this causes you any difficulties, consider switching to the default theme. In some cases
modifications have been made to enhance clarity when greyscale printing.
When you start REAPER, it displays a screen similar (but not necessarily identical) to that shown below. The
example shows a very simple project file that has been opened. The table below the illustration introduces
briefly each of the main screen elements.
Element
Explanation
The Menu Bar
This displays the Main Menu near the top as a row of commands – File, Edit,
View, Insert, Item, Track and so on. As in other Mac and Windows
applications, the menu is used to give commands.
The Main Toolbar
Just below the menu are two rows of seven buttons each. This is the REAPER
Main Toolbar. Depending on the color theme in use, your buttons might not look
the same as those shown. However, as with other programs, you can hover your
mouse over any button to obtain a tooltip (see example, left).
The various icons are introduced and explained throughout this guide as they
are needed, and summarized at the end of Chapter 5. In Chapter 14 you will be
shown how you can customize this toolbar.
The Timeline
The timeline runs across the top of the REAPER window, just to the right of the
main toolbar. It measures the length of your project and helps you identify the
position of the various media items. In the example shown, the timeline is
measured and displayed in both measures/beats and minutes/seconds.
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1 - Setting Up and Getting Started
Element
Explanation
The Arrange Area:
Main Window and
Workplace!
This is to the right of the Track Control Panel. It displays the actual media items
(audio and/or MIDI) that make up your tracks. In this example, there are two
tracks each containing one media item.
As you will see in Chapter 19, video items can also be included.
The Track Control
Panel (TCP)
This area is controls the behavior of your audio and MIDI tracks – in this
example there are two tracks, labelled Vocals and Guitar. You can have as many
tracks as you need, subject only to any limitations imposed by your hardware.
Each track has its own set of controls (faders, rotaries and buttons). We'll get to
what these controls do and how they are used in Chapters 2 and 4. Tooltips are
available for each of these (see example, left).
The VU Meters
Each track (and the Master) uses Voluime Unit Meters – VU Meters – as a
visual indicator of the level of the track's audio signal strength (volume). These
are visible in both the Track Control Panel and the Mixer.
The Transport Bar
This is used to control recording and playback – for example, to start and stop
recording. We'll look at this in Chapter 2.
The Mixer and Mixer
Control Panel (MCP)
This is displayed (in this example) across the bottom of the screen. It shows
your tracks in a different way. In this example twp tracks are shown: these are
the same tracks as is shown in the TCP.
Notice that this also includes a Master output track. The output of the Master is
what you actually hear when you play your tracks and media items. The Mixer
and Master will be explored in detail in Chapter 11.
Don’t be surprised if your screen doesn’t look quite the same as this, or even if it looks a lot different. The
REAPER screen can be customized to suit your individual needs. We’ll be covering this in Chapter 2.
1.11
The Track and Track Controls
If you've used other DAW software before you'll
probably want to get to grips with REAPER's track
controls as soon as possible.
This illustration shows the most commonly used of
these. The exact position of some of them will vary
with track control panel width. You can hover your
mouse over any control for a tooltip. In most cases
you click on a control to use it (for example, click on
Mute button to toggle mute status of any track, click
and drag on Volume control to adjust the volume
level), and right click on a control for a menu of
commands, options and/or settings.
Depending on your exact track layout, the volume
control may be a rotary control (as shown above) or a horizontal fader. Also, a rotary width control might be
displayed next to the pan control (as shown, right): if so, you can safely ignore it for
now. We'll get to it in later chapters.
If you're new to digital audio, don't worry. These controls will be explained further as
you work thru this guide.
1.12
Setting Up For Audio
Before you can record or play anything, there are a few setup options that have to be specified. This section
covers setting up audio. This is where you tell REAPER which audio device(s) you have, and how you wish to
use them. There are differences in how you should do this for a Mac under OS X and a PC under Windows
In addition, it is also advisable to disable System Sounds. For OS X users, this is done in System Preferences.
Windows users should use the Control Panel.
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
1.12.1
Setting Up For Audio (PC Windows)
To set up your Audio
Device, first choose
the Options,
Preferences
command from
REAPER's Main Menu,
then under Audio
select Device from
the list on the left.
If on the other hand
you plan to use the
PC's internal sound
card, you should
familiarize yourself
with its control
software (usually
opened from the
Windows Control
Panel). This is
especially important to
prevent previously
recorded material from
being mixed back in,
and re-recorded with,
new material when more tracks are later overlaid. You should also consider using ASIO4ALL drivers, which are
available free of charge. For more information, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_Stream_Input/Output
On the Audio Device Preferences screen, you should set the following options:
Item
Comment
Audio System
The other items on this screen will vary with the audio system selected . Choose ASIO
and ASIO drivers if they are available for your sound card or Firewire or USB device.
Enable Inputs
This option needs to be turned on (ticked) if you wish to use REAPER for recording.
Input Range
If your device has multiple inputs (up to a maximum of 512), specify the first and last
of these that you want to be available. In this example, eight inputs are available,
allowing up to eight microphones or lines (in any combination) to be used
simultaneously for recording.
Output Range
If your device has multiple outputs (up to 512), specify the first and last that you wish
to be available. Usually, your MASTER bus will direct output to a single pair of outputs,
but you can use the others also if you wish.
Request sample
rate/block size
You can set sample rate and block size either here or using your sound card's own
control software. If unsure, start with 44100 and 512.
ASIO
Configuration
Clicking this button gives you direct access to the Control Software for your sound card
or other audio device.
Audio Thread
Priority
Assigning a higher priority will ensure that audio threads will be processed ahead of
other threads (e.g. graphics).
1.12.2
Setting Up For Audio (Mac OS X)
Audio devices on the OS X are set up and selected in the OS X Audio MIDI Setup. Make sure you have first
downloaded and installed the latest Mac updates You should also check your Audio Device in REAPER. To do
this, start REAPER and choose the Options, Preferences command from REAPER's Main Menu, then under
Audio select Device from the list of headers in the column on the left.
In the first example shown below, a USB Saffire device (a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40) has been installed. Saffire
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1 - Setting Up and Getting Started
has therefore been selected so as to ensure that this device is used for both input and output. You can (as
shown here) set the sample rate and block size (which helps determine latency) here, or you can independently
open the device's own control panel and set them there. If unsure, set these at 44100 and 512 to begin with.
If you wish to use the
Mac's internal sound
card, you may need to
take steps to prevent
existing material being
mixed back into, and
re-recorded with,
additional tracks when
they are added later.
To do this, you will
need an aggregate
device. Open the OS X
Audio MIDI Setup
then click on the + in
the bottom left corner
of the window to
create such a device.
Add to this aggregate
device the built in
input and built in
output as shown here.
If you wish to rename
it, double click on the text Aggregate
Device.
Next, in REAPER's Audio, Device
preferences screen, select your
aggregate device and Apply your
changes. You will now be able to use
your headphones with the computer's
audio out socket and your microphone with its audio in socket.
1.13
Input Aliasing
REAPER supports Input Aliasing. This is the ability to give your own names to your audio inputs. It can be
used to shorten the long names that the system will often give to these inputs, especially when your device
supports multiple inputs. An example of the use of this feature might be to change names like Analog In 1
Delta 1010 (1), Analog In 2 Delta 1010 (1) and so on to just Mic/Line 1, Mic/Line 2, etc.
Input Aliasing is accessed from the Audio Preferences screen. Select Input Channel Name
Aliasing/Remapping. The method is similar to that used for output aliasing – see section below.
1.14
Output Aliasing
REAPER also supports Output Aliasing. This enables you to give
names to your audio outputs, names that make sense to you. This is
especially useful if your sound card or other audio device provides
multiple outputs. For example, one pair of outputs might be connected
to your control room monitors, another to studio monitors, and a third
pair to a multi-output headphone monitor.
By default, your outputs will have names something like those shown
here (above right). Clearly, these names are not very useful to you.
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
By assigning aliases to these outputs, you can ensure that whenever you need to list them (for example, when
determining the destination of the output from your Master) your own names will be displayed, instead of the
hardware device names.
Example
To create output aliases:
1. Choose the Options, Preferences
command.
2. Display the Audio page and in the
section labelled Channel
Naming/Mapping make sure you have
ticked the option Output Channel
Name Aliasing (this is almost the last
item on this screen).
3. Click on the Edit Names/Map button
for this item.
4. Double-click in the Aliased Names
column on each item in turn to edit
them. In each case, after typing your preferred alias, click on OK to return to the Output Channel
Alias/Mapping window (right).
5. Click on OK to close this window and return to the Preferences dialog box.
6. Click on OK to close the Preferences dialog box.
Your specified names should now automatically be used throughout REAPER. The topic of actually assigning
outputs to tracks will be covered later, beginning with Chapter 2.
1.15
Setting Up For MIDI
If you intend to
use MIDI at all,
you should enable
your MIDI devices.
Many PCI sound
cards, Firewire and
USB audio devices
include a MIDI
input and output
port (for use, for
example, with a
MIDI Keyboard).
Choose Options,
Preferences from
the Main Menu,
then display the
MIDI Devices
screen under
Audio. You can
select in turn each
of the listed MIDI
Input and Output
devices, rightclick over its
name, then
choose Enable Input. You can double-click on any input device name to display its Configure MIDI Input
settings (see below right). This enables you to assign your own name (or alias) for the device, or to specify your
advanced timestamp options (if required). You can also Enable input for control messages if you wish to
use the device as a MIDI controller – see also Chapter 14.
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1 - Setting Up and Getting Started
To assign your own name or to specify a time offset for any MIDI Input or Output device, right click over the
device name and choose Configure Output from the context menu.
If you have a joystick that you wish to use with REAPER you
should click on the Add joystick MIDI button then select the
device name and processing mode. You can also specify
whether you wish to use it for Virtual MIDI Keyboard input
an/or as a MIDI control/learn device.
If you wish to use a Control Surface, such as a Behringer
BCF2000 or BCR2000, with REAPER, then you should set its
input mode to Control Only. The use of Control Devices will
be explained later in this guide, notably in Chapters 11 and 13.
Other Audio Preferences
You can see that there are other Audio Preference screens that
we have not yet examined, including Buffering, Playback
and Recording. These will be dealt with later in this User
Guide, particularly in Chapter 21. When getting started, you
should be able to just leave these settings at their defaults,
only returning to change them later if you find that you wish or
you need to do so. When finished, clicking on OK will, of
course, close the Preferences box and cause your settings to be remembered.
This section has covered the general issues involved in setting up your system for working with MIDI. For
project specific settings and options, see Chapter 2. In particular, if you are working primarily with MIDI material
you may wish to change the default project timebase setting. This too is explained in Chapter 2.
1.16
Enabling VST Plug-ins
There’s one further Preferences screen you will probably want to visit before you get started – VST Plug-ins.
As with Audio Preferences, REAPER has several pages of Plug-in Preference screens, but these can (at first at
least) be left to their default settings. However, if you already have a collection of VST and/or VSTi Plug-ins on
your computer (including VST3), REAPER needs to be told where to find them. Note that VST3 plug-ins should
be kept in a directory or
directories separate
from other plug-ins.
Choose the Options,
Preferences
command, then select
VST under the Plugins section. You can try
using the Auto-detect
button to locate your
plug-ins, but if they are
spread across several
directories then REAPER
might not find them all.
In this case, you may
need to click on the
Add button to specify
the location(s) of the
folder(s) where your
other VST plug-ins are
stored. You can leave
most other settings as
they are (at least for
now).
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
OS X uses two “built in” folders for installing shared plug-ins. These are ~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins and
~/Users/<your account>/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins. REAPER will scan these by default: you should,
however, check that they are automatically listed as your VST plug-in paths. If not, you should add them.
Windows does not locate any such folders for you. You will need to identify and specify where your VST plug-ins
have been installed. If your VST plug-ins are spread across more than one folder (this is not unusual), you will
need to use the Add button several times, each time selecting one of your folders. Use the OK button in the
Browse for folder window each time after selecting the folder name. Clicking the Re-scan button in the
above window will then make the contents of your VST and VSTi folder(s) available immediately. REAPER will
also scan any subfolders.
REAPER will automatically scan your VST folders each time the program is launched. You can also return to this
screen at any time and add more VST folders later. Specify the extra location(s) of your VST plug-ins, then Rescan then Apply then OK to close this screen and cause your new settings to be remembered. You can find
more information about the various VST Preferences settings and options in Chapter 21.
1.17
REAPER’s Installed Folders and File Location
REAPER’s Installed Folders and File Locations
The Registry
(Windows only)
Windows users note: REAPER does not store any install data, settings or
preferences in your Windows Registry. Windows will set up an item for
REAPER under HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE, Software but it contains no data
other than keeping a record of your file movements in Registry areas such
as its MUICache and creating file associations, so that you can open .RPP
files (for example, in Windows Explorer) by double-clicking on them.
The REAPER Install
Directory – OS X
OS X installs REAPER to its Applications folder.
Copy any PDF files (such as this User Guide) that you want to be able to
access from REAPER's Help Menu to:
<username>/Library/Application Support/REAPER
With some versions (e.g. Lion) you may need to hold down the Options key
while displaying the Go menu to make this path accessible.
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1 - Setting Up and Getting Started
REAPER’s Installed Folders and File Locations
The REAPER Install
Directory - Windows
By default, REAPER on Windows installs to C:\Program Files\REAPER
Copy into this directory any PDF files (such as this User Guide) that you
want to be able to access from REAPER's Help Menu.
Some of the optional install items are held in sub-folders of C:\Program
Files\REAPER. These include the COCKOS ReaPlug VST plug-ins and (if
installed) the SWS Extensions. Anything stored in this directory is accessible
to all users of REAPER on this computer.
Most REAPER features (such as configuration files and custom settings) are
placed into an Applications Data or AppData folder. The location of this will
depend upon which version of Windows you are using.
The Application Data/
Support Directory
To access the REAPER AppData or Application Support folder, choose
Options, Show REAPER resource path... from REAPER's main menu.
Some of the main items you can expect to find there are listed below.
Sub Directories
You should find that you have a number of sub-directories here, such as:
Color Themes
MenuSets
Configurations
Presets
Cursors
Project Bays
Data
ProjectTemplates
Effects
QueuedRenders
FXChains
Scripts
KeyMaps
TrackTemplates
Many of these are self-explanatory, especially those which contain the
various files and items that you can create yourself as an aid to managing
your REAPER projects. For example, any FX Chains that you create will be
stored on the FXChains sub-directory. Custom menu and toolbar data is
stored in the MenuSets sub-directory, and so on.
Topics such as creating FX Chains and Custom Menus are covered elsewhere
in this user guide.
Information held in the Data directory includes track icons and toolbar
icons. The Effects folder is where your JS effects are stored.
preset-vst-plugname.ini
For each VST plug-in, a separate file is used to store any presets that you
have created or imported.
REAPER.ini
This includes all of your Options, Preferences settings, information about
your last screen layout, and your recently used projects history.
reaper-dxplug-ins.ini
reaper-vstplug-ins.ini
These files store information about your installed plug-ins.
reaper-reginfo.dat
reaper-reginfo.ini
Store your product registration data
reaper-recentfx.ini
This file stores a list of your recently used FX: this list is used to produce the
Recently Used FX submenu that is available in the Mixer.
screensets.ini
This file stores details of your windows screen sets. Note that track screen
sets are stored with the relevant .RPP file.
Specify Default Paths for
Recording and Rendering
You can use the General, Paths page of your Options, Preferences to
specify default paths for your recorded media items. Note however that any
path specified in your Project Settings will take precedence over this.
You can also specify default paths for your waveform peak files and for
project rendering.
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There’s one more thing that might interest you here. All of the settings, preferences and custom files are text
files. Any of them can be opened and modified using a text editor such as Notepad. This even applies to
REAPER’s project files, with .RPP extension. Of course, most probably you will never need to do this, and if you
do, you should always take a copy first, just in case of any errors or accidents. However, you should never try
to use a text editing program to open, view or edit any file ending in .app, .dmg, .exe or .dll
1.18
Localization and Language Packs
Selecting a language pack causes REAPER to use that language for its menus, dialog boxes, tool tips, and so on.
The default language is U.S. English. Language packs are managed from the General page of REAPER's
Preferences.
To see what language packs are available, and to download any, click on the link Download language packs
(see below). This will take you to a URL where you can follow the links (including to REAPER Stash) to find your
language. After downloading, close the Preferences window and use the command Options, Show REAPER
resource path in Explorer/Finder to display REAPER's resource folders. Next, drag and drop the downloaded
file(s) into the LangPack folder.
To select a language pack other than
U.S. English, select from the drop
down list (right) and click on OK. You
will need to restart REAPER for the
language to take effect.
1.19
Backing Up Settings
In this chapter you have been introduced to some of REAPER's settings and preferences. As you progress, you
will find many more. You can back up these settings and preferences at any time. This can be a good precaution
to take against system failure, and can also be used to ensure identical REAPER installations on two or more
machines. The procedure for doing this is explained in Chapter 21 under the heading “Import and Export
Configuration.” Don't be concerned if you do not yet understand the meaning of many of the options. Just keep
it in mind that this facility is always available.
If uncertain about what to back up, it can be a sensible precaution to backup all your configuration settings
from time to time, each time to a new ReaperConfig.zip file. How often you should do this really depends on
how often you make changes to any of your settings, and how important those changes are to you. Remember
to keep a copy of your ReaperConfig.zip files off line, for example on an external drive or a USB flash drive.
1.20 Running REAPER
on a Flash Drive
You can install REAPER on a USB
flash device, or other external
drive. This ensures, for example,
that if you are going to be away
from home or your normal
workplace, you can take your
USB Stick (or external drive) with
you, plug it in to a computer, and
away you go. Before you can
install REAPER on a flash drive, it
makes sense to first install it on
your hard drive. When you then
install REAPER to an external
device in this way, all your
settings, preferences etc. are
also migrated.
The install method is different for
OS X and Windows users.
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1 - Setting Up and Getting Started
OS X
1.
2.
3.
4.
Insert the flash drive into a USB port. Create a new folder on this flash drive, e.g. REAPER4. In this folder
create an empty text file called reaper.ini
Open the Mac folder containing the REAPER disk image (.dmg) file: this will most likely be Downloads.
Double click on th
is file to open it. Drag and drop the REAPER icon to the new folder on the flash drive.
Be patient. There is a large number of files to be transferred. This can take 10 minutes or more.
Windows
1.
Insert your external device into an available USB port on your PC. Note its drive letter (e.g. E:, F:. G:, H:.
I:. etc.). This will depend how many internal hard drives, disk partitions, external hard drives, DVD
burners, etc. you have already installed.
2. Double click on the REAPER install file to start the install process.
3. Click on I Agree to accept the license agreement. The Choose Install Location window will be displayed.
4. Enable the option for Portable install.
5. Click on Browse. Select your flash drive and click on Make New Folder. Name the folder (e.g. REAPER)
and press Enter.
6. On returning to the screen shown here, work your way thru the installation process in the normal way.
7. Wait while the various files are installed. There are a lot of files and this might take quite a few minutes.
1.21
REAPER Start Menu Options (Windows only)
Normally to start REAPER you can simply double-click on your Windows desktop shortcut. This will cause
REAPER to be started in accordance with your existing preferences and settings. However, for times when you
do not wish to do this, you should also be aware of other options available from the Windows Start menu.
Click on the Start button, then All Programs then REAPER to be presented with a flyout menu of choices:
Menu Command
Explanation
Install REAPER to USB key
This can be used to install REAPER to a Flash drive or similar device.
However, the method described earlier in this Chapter is simpler!
ReaMote Slave
The use of ReaMote is beyond the scope of this User Guide. However,
you can read an overview in Section 22.
REAPER
Starts REAPER normally, with last project.
REAPER (create new project)
Starts REAPER with a new project file.
REAPER (reset configuration to Starts REAPER and resets all settings, options and preferences to factory
factory defaults)
defaults. Use this with caution!
REAPER (ReWire slave mode)
Opens REAPER as a ReWire slave. This is beyond the scope of this User
Guide, but is discussed in overview towards the end of Chapter 16.
REAPER (show audio
configuration on startup)
Starts REAPER with the Audio settings Preferences page.
REAPER License
Displays License information.
Uninstall REAPER
Uninstalls REAPER. If you need to uninstall REAPER for any reason, you
should always use this method.
Whatsnew.txt
Opens the text file displaying a history of new features and changes
introduced in each version of REAPER.
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
1.22
REAPER File Types
Like any other program, REAPER creates a series of files that it uses to store your work. Some of the main file
types and their purposes are described in the table below, along with other useful information.
File Type
Example
Explanation
.RPP
REAPER Project File
Alone.RPP
This file is the core of your project. It holds all the
information about your tracks, your media and their
settings. .RPP files are stored in text format.
.RPP-bak
Project Backup File
Alone.RPP-bak
When you save an existing project file, the previous version
is saved with the .RPP-bak extension. You can recover a
project from its previous state by opening the backup file.
.RPP-UNDO
Undo History File
Alone.RPP-UNDO
This file type will be created if you select the option to save
your undo history with your project files. This option is
included in the Undo Settings section of the General
settings in your Options, Preferences window. This topic
is explained more fully in Chapter 2.
.reapeaks
REAPER Peaks File
Vox.wav.reapeaks
These files contain the information necessary to enable
REAPER to draw the waveforms etc. on your media items.
.reapindex
REAPER Peaks File
Vox.wav.reapindex
These files contain index information about your individual
media items.
1.23
Pops and Clicks
You're nearly ready to start making music with REAPER! Before you do, though, you should take a few moments
to read this section, which deals with the not uncommon problem of unwanted pops and clicks being heard
when you play back your music. This is a computer issue rather than a REAPER specific issue, and is generally
less likely to occur with a Mac than with a PC.
If you encounter the sound of unwanted pops and clicks when you play back a song in REAPER, then most
probably all it means is that your audio device settings are not right for your computer. As a quick fix, try
adjusting the block size (Preferences, Audio, Device), starting at 128 and working up thru, 256, 512, 768 or
1024 to find the lowest setting for your system at which you can play back your music without any pops or
clicks getting in the way
If you do encounter this problem, you should also read Chapter 21.4 to learn more about this topic.
1.24
Uninstalling REAPER
There is no need to uninstall your current version of REAPER before installing a new one. Your existing
installation will automatically be upgraded from the new installation. However, should you wish to uninstall
REAPER for any reason, OS X users should simply drag the REAPER icon into Trash and then remove the folder
~/Library/Application Support/REAPER.
Windows users should follow this procedure:
1. Click on the Windows Start button, then All Programs, then REAPER then Uninstall REAPER.
2. When the REAPER Uninstall Wizard is displayed, click on Uninstall.
3. When the uninstall process is finished, click on Close.
4. When prompted, choose Yes if you wish to see which files have been left on your Hard Drive,
otherwise choose No.
Tip: If you are likely to be reinstalling REAPER at some later date, do not remove these files. This will ensure
that your previous settings and preferences will be recalled when it is reinstalled.
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2 - REAPER Project Basics
2
2.1
REAPER Project Basics
Section Overview
In this chapter you will be taught the essential basics about working with a project file in REAPER. Topics
include opening and closing files, navigating the REAPER environment, working with tracks and audio effects,
and more. Most of the topics introduced here will be covered in greater depth and detail later in this guide.
2.2
Opening an Existing Project
To open an existing REAPER Project File, use the File, Open Project command, or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl
O. As with other Windows Apps, you will need to navigate to the appropriate folder to find your project.
Recently used projects can more easily be opened using the File, Recent Projects command. This causes a
list of up to the last 100 recently used project files to be displayed. You can then select any file from that list.
The General page of your Options, Preferences window offers a number of options. In particular, you can:
 Manage your Undo preferences (see Chapter 2).
 Specify whether or not you want the most recently used file automatically loaded when REAPER is started.
Choose the Last active project option for this. Other startup options are explained in Chapter 21.
 Specify whether you want to Automatically Check for New Versions of REAPER on Startup.
 Determine the number of files displayed on the Recent project list.
Other General Preferences settings are discussed and explained in Chapter 21.
Notice too the toggle command Continuous scrolling on the Options menu. If disabled (the default), the
play cursor will scroll from left to right during playback. If enabled, this cursor will find and then remain
stationary in the center of the arrange window during playback, while the media items scroll across the screen.
The examples used throughout this guide use the project file All Through The Night.RPP. This can be
downloaded from www.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_User_Guide. It might help you to keep
that project open while using this documentation. Take a copy of this file and work with that. You will then be
able to experiment freely without fear of damaging any of your own important projects.
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2.3
Project Settings
REAPER project settings can be defined to meet the requirements of individual projects. The Project Settings
dialog box is accessed by choosing the File, Project Settings command, or by using the keyboard shortcut Alt
Enter. The dialog box has five pages of
settings - Project Settings, Media,
Video, Advanced and Notes. If in
doubt, leave most settings at their default
values, at least until you understand
better what they are and how they work.
Project Settings: Project Settings
These include:
 Project Sample Rate: for
example, 44100 Hz (CD standard)
or 48000 Hz (DVD standard).
 Option to force the time signature
to beats or whole samples.
 Project beats per minute and
time signature.
 Method for setting the timebase
for items/envelopes markers and for
tempo/time sig - essentially you
have a choice of Time, Beats
(position, length rate) or Beats
(position only). See notes below.
 Project start time and measure.
Leave these at their defaults for
now. In Chapter 11 you'll see when,
why and how to change them.
 Playback and render resample
modes.
 Default mode and parameter
to be used for pitch shifting.
See Chapter 10.
Project Settings: Media
These include:
 Paths (primary and secondary) to
store media files. For example, if
you specify “Audio” then your media
will be stored in a folder called
Audio, as a sub-folder of the project
folder. If left blank, REAPER will use
the same folder as the project file.
 Recording format - typically WAV
or MP3, but there are others , e.g.
AIFF, DDP, FLAC, OGG Vorbis Video
(GIF) and WavPack. Each of these comes with its own set of options and settings.
 Settings and specifications for chosen recording format – e.g. for WAV files this includes Bit Depth.
 Preferred media formats when FX are applied, or items are glued or frozen, and when media items are
rendered. Also, default media format for project and regions. You have the same range of formats,
options and settings as you have for recording format.
Project Settings: Video: These are explained in Chapter 19.
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Project Settings: Advanced







Item Mix Behavior. Determines
how REAPER should behave when
one media item is placed directly on
top of another. The options are for
Enclosed Items to Replace enclosing
items, Items always to be mixed, or
for the newer item to always
replace the older item.
Track mixing depth. If unsure,
leave at the default setting.
The option to allow feedback in
routing. Feedback routing can be
useful for some advanced mixing
activities, but can be dangerous for
audio equipment. If you are in any
doubt, do not select this option.
The option to synchronize the
project with the timecode of an
external device.
The option to limit project length
and recording time.
Specifying a default pan law for your tracks. The pan law determines how the relative volume of a track
behaves when that track is panned more or less to one side or the other. Gain compensation boost
can be enabled or disabled. Pan laws mare discussed in more depth in Chapter 2. Meanwhile, if you are
unfamiliar with how pan laws work, leave these at their default settings.
Default track pan mode. You have choice of pan modes, some mono, some stereo. See Chapter 11.
The Project Timebase Settings
The project timebase controls how media items, envelopes and project markers behave when the project tempo
changes. When possible, get your project timebase settings right before you record or import any items. The
default settings are Beats (position, length, rate) for items/envelopes/markers and Beats for tempo/time
sig envelopes. For more information about the timebase, open the Actions list (from REAPER's main menu)
and run the action Project settings: timebase help. For more about the Actions List, see Chapter 14.
It's worth also noting that you can still over-ride the project timebase setting for individual tracks within your
project. To do this, select the track(s) and choose Set track timebase from the track control panel context
menu. To do this for an individual item, select the item then press F2 to display the Item Properties dialog box.
Project Settings: Notes
This very handy section lets you enter any notes and comments that you would like to be included with your
project file. You can specify that the notes should automatically be displayed each time the project is opened.
Tip: You can save all these settings as the defaults to be used for future new projects. Of course, for any
individual projects you can over-write your defaults.
2.4
Directing Audio Output
Audio output will by default go from your master to the first
available pair of outputs on your soundcard (usually outputs 1
and 2), and only to this pair. If your sound card has multiple
pairs of outputs and you wish to change this, you can do so
via the Routing Matrix (View, Routing Matrix or Alt R).
Your available hardware outputs are displayed along the top of
the grid. Here you can select and/or deselect any of the available outputs.
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2.5
The Transport Bar
If the Transport Bar is not visible in your REAPER window, use the View, Transport command to display it, or
use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl Alt T to do this. The Transport Bar might appear as shown here, as a floating
window (undocked) inside REAPER, or it might be docked just below arrange view. At this stage, the exact
position of the Transport Bar is not important. The main Transport Controls are shown below, though your exact
layout might not be identical: whether docked or not, the controls will appear in a single row if the
window is wide enough.
The first five
transport
buttons are
fairly standard
– Go to Start,
Go to End,
Stop, Play,
and Pause.
The Stop
button stops
playback and
returns the
play cursor to
the position it
was in when playback started. The Pause button pauses playback without moving the play cursor.
The Record button starts and stops recording, without stopping playback. Clicking on the Stop button when
recording is taking place will both stop playback and recording. The Toggle Repeat button turns on and off the
option for any looped time selection to be played over and over again during playback.
The Global Automation Override feature will be explained in Chapter 17. To the right of this the current
time selection is shown (start position, end position and length). This topic will be covered later in this
chapter and in Chapters 6 and 8.
The current play cursor position is also shown: in the above example this is 29.2.54/0:56.722. Next to this is
the playback status (Playing, Paused or Stopped). Next are edit boxes that show the project Tempo (BPM)
and Time Signature values. To change the value of either box click in the box and type the new value.
Depending on your mouse preferences (Chapter 21), you can also use your mousewheel to adjust this. Finally
(in the above layout) is the playback rate. This can be made faster or slower by adjusting the horizontal fader.
If adjusted, the fader background is colored green. Double-clicking resets the rate to 1.0. You can also hover
your mouse over the box and use your mousewheel to increase (up) or decrease (down) the value.
Three other useful transport control keys are Ctrl Left (go back a little), Ctrl Right (go forward a little) and Alt
Space (play, skipping loop selection.
Right clicking over the Transport Bar displays a context menu. This may seem slightly intimidating at first. We'll
get to the more advanced stuff in Chapter 9, but for now just notice that there are menu options available to:
 Select your preferred time display format.
 Dock or Undock the transport in the Main
Window. You can choose the main docker or
any of four other positions – Below arrange
view, Above ruler, Bottom of main
window or Top of main window.
Scrubbing
The top of the edit cursor is marked by an upside down triangle. You can grab this with your
mouse and drag to move the edit cursor without affecting playback. Depending on your
preferences settings, you may need to hold down the Shift key while you do this. If you do
this when the project is not playing, it will have the effect of “scrubbing” your audio.
This topic is covered in more detail in Chapter 5 of this User Guide.
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2.6
The Big Clock
Use the View, Big Clock command (or press Alt C) to toggle on and
off the display of the Big Clock, which clearly displays the current
position of the Edit Cursor. This window can be sized and moved at
will, or docked in the docker. Right clicking over the Big Clock gives
you a context menu of options, including changing the display format.
2.7
Track Controls
If you play All Through The Night.RPP you will notice that the
same sound is coming out of both speakers and that the
different instruments and vocals are all competing with each
other for the same acoustic space. That’s because no
adjustments have been made to the Volume or Pan controls
for these tracks. The exact position of these faders varies
with factors like width and height of the your control panel
and which of the available track layouts is in use.
The rotary fader shown here is used to adjust a track’s
volume. With some layouts, this will be shown as a
horizontal fader. The rotary not far to its right adjusts the
panning, sending the signal more to the left or the right as preferred. If you see a second pan control, ignore it
for now. This is used with some pan modes to control stereo width: this is a more advanced concept, primarily
used for folders and tracks with stereo media files. This will be cove red in Chapters 10 and 11. For now, we will
be working with just the one pan control. In any event, to adjust any horizontal, vertical or rotary faders in
REAPER, you can:
 Click and hold down the left mouse button over the fader, then drag in the direction required, releasing
the mouse when finished. For rotary faders, drag up to rotate clockwise, down for anti-clockwise. Hold
Ctrl while doing this for more subtle adjustments.
 Hover your mouse over the fader, use the Scroll Wheel to adjust the level down/up. To enable this
feature, go to Options, Preferences, Editing Behavior, Mouse and deselect Ignore mousewheel
on track panel faders and on all faders. See mouse behavior preferences in Chapter 21.
Right-clicking on the volume control opens the routing dialog
box (shown right). You can enter values as dB for volume
(e.g. -6) and as percentages for pan (e.g., 25R for 25% right)
and width directly into this box.
By default, the volume and pan controls apply to a track's
audio output. If you want to use these to control its MIDI
signal, right-click on the track number in the TCP, then choose
MIDI track controls, then Link track volume pan to all
MIDI channels from the context menu (see Chapter 13).
Tip: To audition possible changes, hold down the Alt key while dragging the fader with the mouse. When you
release the mouse, it will then return to its original position.
Tip: To work with more than one track, hold down Ctrl while clicking in the Track control panel on each track
number required. Then release Ctrl. Any fader or other movement will be applied to all selected tracks.
The two buttons to the right of the width control fader on each track’s control panel have these functions:
Mute
Toggles Mute on/off for selected track(s)
Solo
Toggles Solo on/off selected track(s)
Note: Both the Mute and Solo controls can also
be used with modifier keys such as Alt and Ctrl
for various functions. See Chapter 5 for details.
By default, track Solo causes the track itself and the output of any sends originating from
that track to be played. If you wish to hear only the track without these sends, hold the Alt
key while soloing the track. Notice that your track controls also include a phase control
button. This can be used to reverse track polarity.
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2.8
Pan Law and Pan Mode
You can also change the pan law for individual tracks. Right-clicking over
a track’s pan fader opens a window where you can select from the list (in
a range 0.0 dB to -6.0 db) or type in your own value. A negative setting
causes the signal at the center to be attenuated as panning increases.
The Gain compensation (boost pans) option can be enabled to cause
the signal's audio strength to instead be boosted as it is panned.
Another option is to select your preferred pan mode (see right). This is
quite a complex topic and will be explained and dealt with more fully in
Chapter 11 when we look at stereo panning. In brief, however, you have a
number of options – Stereo balance/mono pan is the default (see
Project Settings). This is equivalent to the panning mode used in versions
of REAPER before REAPER 4. If you select REAPER 3.x balance, stereo
pan or dual pan, the width panner will also automatically be displayed.
Several of the screen shots used in this guide illustrate dual pan controls.
The various pan modes are explained, along with stereo and dual
panning, in Chapter 11.
2.9
Navigation and Zooming
Navigating within the Track Control Panel
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used to navigate within the Track Control Panel:
Function
Keystroke
Go to next track.
Ctrl Alt Down
Go to previous track.
Ctrl Alt Up
Adjusting Panel Width with Mouse
To adjust the width of the track panel area, place your mouse over the vertical border that separates the track
control panel area from the main workspace area, until the mouse indicator changes to a horizontal black
double headed arrow. Click and hold down the left mouse button while dragging the mouse left or right.
Release the mouse button when the desired track control panel width is reached. Note that double-clicking on
this vertical border will toggle track panel visibility on and off.
Adjusting Track Height with Mouse
Function
Action
Adjust height of single track
Click/drag up/down on lower track boundary
Adjust height of selected tracks
Alt + click/drag up/down on lower track boundary
Adjust height of all tracks.
Ctrl + click/drag up/down on any lower track boundary
Adjust height of all tracks.
Click/drag up/down between + and – on vertical scrollbar
Toggling Track Height with Keyboard or Mouse
Function
Keystroke
Toggle between normal track height and minimised
track height, all tracks
` (this is the key immediately to the left of 1,
usually directly above the Tab key).
Toggle between normal height and maximising
currently selected track.
~ (on most keyboards, this is the Shift key in
combination with the ` key).
Expand height of selected tracks, minimise all others.
Press again to restore all tracks to same height.
! (on most keyboards, this is the Shift key in
combination with the 1 key).
Minimise all tracks.
@ (on most keyboards, Shift with the 2 key).
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Function
Keystroke
Toggles height of all tracks between minimised,
normal and maximised.
Double click mouse on vertical scroll bar
Zooming In and Out with the Keyboard
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used for zooming within a project:
Function
Keystroke
Zoom Out vertically, decreasing track height
Page Down
Zoom In vertically, increasing track height
Page Up
Zoom to current time selection
Ctrl Num Pad +
Zoom Out to entire project length
Ctrl Page Down
Zoom Out horizontal
- (the minus sign)
Zoom In horizontal
+ (the plus sign)
Zoom Out media peaks
Shift Down
Zoom In media peaks
Shift Up
Scrolling with the Keyboard
The following keyboard shortcuts can be used for scrolling within a project:
Function
Keystrokes
Scroll View down
Alt Down
Scroll View up
Alt Up
Scroll View left
Alt Left
Scroll View right
Alt Right
Zooming and Scrolling with the Mousewheel
The mousewheel can also be used for zooming in and out when you are navigating a project file. The table
below summarises how the mouse wheel behaves.
Behavior
Modifier Key for Mousewheel
Horizontal Zoom
(no modifier)
Vertical Zoom
Ctrl
Horizontal Scroll
Alt
Vertical Scroll
Ctrl Alt
Note: REAPER's zoom center settings will determine
exact zoom behavior. These can be found in the
Editing Behavior section of your Preferences. See
Chapter 21 for more information.
You can change any default keyboard and mousewheel assignments. For example, you could use just the
Down and Up arrows (without Ctrl Alt) to go to the next or previous track, or the mousewheel without a
modifier to scroll rather than zoom. You can also use other customized mouse modifiers for zooming,
especially within the Arrange view and Ruler contexts. Mouse modifiers are covered in Chapter 14.
Tip: Making and using a zoom/navigate toolbar. Zooming and navigating are activities that are
performed a lot. You might wish to consider making your own Zoom/Navigate custom toolbar. It isn't as
complicated as it might sound. How to create your own custom toolbars is explained in Chapter 14.
2.10
Keyboard Shortcut and Mouse Defaults
You can use the command Help, Keybindings and Mouse Modifiers (or just press Shift+F1) to open your
web browser with a list of REAPER's mouse modifiers and keyboard shortcuts. As you will see in Chapter 14,
you can also define your own mouse modifiers, keyboard shortcuts and action keys, so that your mouse and
keyboard behavior is determined by the context in which you are using it.
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2.11
Using the Navigator
The REAPER
Navigator shows you
an overview of your
project. It can be
useful to display this
when you are
zooming closely on
an area of your
project.
To display the
Navigator, choose the
View, Navigator
command. The keys
Ctrl Alt V can be
used to toggle the
Navigator display on
and off.
You can also use the
Navigator window to
scroll thru your
project. Simply position the mouse over the box within the navigator window that represents the on-screen area
of your project. Then hold down the left mouse button, and click and drag to scroll the display. Release the
mouse button when finished. Other ways of using the Navigator are:
Activity
Method
Define new area to be displayed in REAPER
workspace.
Hold down right mouse button, drag and
release
Reposition rectangle and workspace display area.
Left click mouse
Reposition and relocate play cursor.
Ctrl Left Click
Use as in workspace to scroll and/or zoom.
Mousewheel
2.12
Track FX Basics
Track FX (JS, VST, VST3 and
Direct X as well as VSTi ,
VST3i and DXi, and, for Mac
users, AU) can be added to
any track by directly inserting
the FX into the FX Chain for
the required track. A good
selection of audio FX plug-ins
is supplied with REAPER,
including Jesusonic and
Cockos effects. We'll be taking
a closer look at many of these
individually later in this User
Guide, especially in Chapters 5 and 14. REAPER also includes a bundle of programmable video effects, which we
will look at in Chapter 19. For now, let's just focus on some general aspects of how audio FX fit in to the
REAPER scheme of things. To use any of these FX, simply follow this procedure:
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1. Click on the FX Button in the Track Control Panel of the track to which you want to add the FX. This opens
the FX window for that track. If the Add FX window (see below) is not automatically displayed, click on the
Add button to open it.
2. Select a category, e.g. All
Plug-ins, DX, VST, JS,
Cockos. All FX in that
category will be listed.
3. Double click on the
required FX name.
4. To add more FX, click
on the Add button in
the Track FX window,
then repeat steps 2 and
3 above.
Note: When you add any
plug-in to any track's FX
chain, that plug-in will then
be displayed in the FX
Browser's Recently Used FX
folder.
2.13
Using the Supplied FX Presets
The excellent FX that are shipped with REAPER can be used to improve the sound of your tracks. The use of
these FX is a huge topic. You will find many examples in Chapters 14, 15 and 16 of this User Guide. For more
detailed information and more advanced examples, you should
consider obtaining a copy of ReaMix: Breaking the Barriers
with REAPER which is available from the REAPER Bookstore
at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=1374784
However, as a means of getting started you might wish to
explore some of the presets that come with these plug-ins. For
example, Cockos ReaDelay includes presets which as a
starting point you can try with your various tracks. Simply
display the drop down list and select the item that you want
(example shown right).
Most of the Cockos Rea series of plug-ins include a number of
presets. You can explore these for yourself to discover what is
available. Of course, you can also make any adjustments and
changes to these that you like, in order to customize them
more precisely to your own needs.
To set any FX preset as the default for that FX
1. Select the required preset from the drop down list.
2. Click on the + button to the right of the list and choose Save
preset as default from the menu.
3. Type your own name for the preset and click on OK.
As well as the presets supplied with REAPER, you can download further
sets by visiting http://stash.reaper.fm/ and following the link to FX
Preset Libraries.
To import downloaded presets into REAPER, follow this sequence:
1. Insert an instance of the plug-in into any track.
2. Click on the + button (just left of the Param button in the FX Chain window).
3. Choose Import Preset Library.
4. Navigate to and select the required file then click on Open.
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To select a preset when loading an FX
1.
Open the track FX window and click on the Add button.
2.
select the required category (e.g. Cockos).
3.
Right click on the required FX (e.g. ReaEQ).
4.
From the context menu, choose presets then select the required preset (e.g. Intimate female vocal).
2.14
Controlling Track FX
REAPER provides you with a number of tools to help you manage your Track FX. For example, you can:
 Change the order in which they are applied.
 Copy or move any FX from one track to another.
 Save (and retrieve) any sequence of FX as a chain that can be easily inserted into other tracks.
 Bypass individual FX or an entire FX chain.
 Specify a default set of FX to be automatically inserted into new tracks for your project.
Task
Method
Dock the FX Chain
Choose the FX, Dock FX Window in Docker command.
Adjust the values for Track FX
parameters
Drag with the mouse,
or scroll the mouse
wheel over, the fader
that controls the value
of the parameter that you wish to change. For fine adjustments,
hold down the Ctrl key while you do this.
If you prefer, select the control with the mouse, then use the
up/down keys on your keyboard.
Adjust the wet/dry mix of any FX
Select the plug-in in the FX chain, then use the mouse to adjust
the small rotary control next to the UI button on REAPER's FX
window interface, as shown here.
A setting of 100% equals completely wet: a setting of 0%
represents completely dry.
Change Track FX Order for a track
Drag and drop FX name up or down within the Track FX window.
Float an FX window
Double-click on the FX name in the FX Chain window (toggles).
The title bar of the floated window will display the track name, the
FX name, and its place in the track FX chain. For example: VST:
ReaEQ, Track 1 “Vocal” [2/3],i.e. the 2nd FX in a chain of 3.
Keep FX or Add FX window on top
Click on the pin symbol at right of title bar.
Close a floating FX window
Double-click on FX window title bar.
Copy an FX from one track to
another.
Hold down Ctrl, drag the FX from the source track FX window and
drop on the track panel for any other track.
Move an FX from one track to
another.
Hold down Alt, drag the FX from the source track FX window and
drop on the track panel for any other track.
Rename an FX Instance
Select the FX name in the FX Chain and press F2.
Bypass an FX
Untick either the check box left of the FX name in the Track FX
window or the check box in the top right corner of the FX window.
Replace one FX with another
Select the FX in the FX chain, then press R. In the Replace FX
window (now displayed) double-click on the required replacement
FX. Any existing routing configuration will be preserved.
Make the current Track FX the
default for new tracks
Within the Track FX window, choose FX, Save Chain as default
for new tracks.
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Task
Method
Remove an FX from a track
Select the FX name within the Track FX window then click on the
Remove button.
Remove all FX from a track
Hold Alt while clicking on the track’s FX button in the TCP.
Search for an FX
Enter text in the Filter List at the bottom of the FX window.
Save the current sequence of Track
FX as a chain
In the Track FX window, choose the FX, Save FX Chain
command. FX parameter settings are saved with the chain.
Save selected Track FX as a chain
Select the names of the FX to be included in the chain (use Ctrl
key while clicking the mouse), then choose FX, Save Selected
FX as Chain
Retrieve an existing previously
saved FX Chain
Within the Track FX window, choose FX, Add FX Chain
command, or within the TCP right-click over the FX button and
select Add FX Chain from the menu.
Load your default FX Chain
Within the Track FX window, choose FX, Load Default Track
Chain from the menu.
Access the FX Preferences settings
Within the Track FX window, choose the Options, FX Plug-in
Settings command. These are discussed in Chapter 21.
Bypass all FX for a track
In the Track Control Panel, click on the
FX Enable/Disable toggle button.
Click again to reverse this.
2.15
Creating a Default FX Chain
If you have used other DAW software such as Sonar, you
might be used to having an EQ Plug-In automatically
inserted for you in every track. REAPER allows you to do
this by creating a default FX chain which is then
automatically applied to every new track that you create.
Of course, this default chain can contain any FX that you
wish. To do this, you simply follow this procedure:
 Open the FX Window for any track.
 Add as many FX you require.
 From the FX window menu, choose FX then
Save chain as default for new tracks.
Tip: If you switch the FX to bypass mode before saving
your FX chain, then the FX chain will be saved in bypass
mode. This means that the FX in your new tracks will
not require any CPU usage until such time as you open the FX window and enable them.
Example
In this
mode.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
example, we will create a default FX chain that consists of ReaEQ and ReaComp, both set to bypass
Open any project file and add a new track at the end. We will use this track to create our FX chain.
Click on the FX button for this track to open the FX Window.
In the first (left) column of the Add FX window, click on Cockos.
Select in turn, first ReaEQ (Cockos) and then ReaComp (Cockos). In each case, either use the OK
button to add the plug-in to the track FX chain, or drag and drop them into the chain.
Make sure that both these FX are unticked – this sets them to bypass.
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6.
Right click over one of the FX and from the context menu, choose Save chain as default for new
tracks.
7. Close the FX window.
8. You can now exit REAPER if you wish. There is no need to save the changes to the project file.
9. Re-open REAPER and open any project file.
10. Insert a new track anywhere you wish in this project file.
11. Open the FX window for your new tracks. You should see that the two plug-ins, ReaEQ and ReaComp
have already been inserted into this FX bin, in bypass mode.
Tip: If you wish to make changes to the contents of your default FX chain, simply repeat the process described
above, this time with the changed set of plug-ins, or (to remove it) with no plug-ins at all.
Tip: If you hold down the Ctrl Shift keys when opening a project file, the file will be opened with its FX off
line. This can be useful if you need to conserve CPU, or if there is a plug-in which might be causing problems.
2.16
Using an FX Bus
If you have used other DAW software, or an analog (tape) recording and mixing desk, you are probably already
familiar with the concept of a Bus. The exact meaning of the term can have several variations, but most
commonly (and in this example), a Bus is used to enable a number of tracks to share the same resource (such
as perhaps Reverb or Chorus FX).
This saves on valuable computer resources such as CPU. For example, instead of requiring multiple instances of
the same FX in perhaps three or four tracks or more, by using a Bus you can ensure that only one instance of
the FX is required. Note that when you use a Bus in this way:

The output of each track is still directed to the Master.

In addition, a copy of the signal from each track is directed to the FX Bus.

At some stage, the output of the FX Bus is then mixed back in with the original signal. Typically (and in
the example shown here) this is achieved by directing the output of the FX Bus to the Master, although
other more complex routing arrangements are also possible.
The Bus can be inserted anywhere in the project that you like. In this example, we will place it just after the
last track. This example uses the sample project file All Through The Night.RPP. Open this file, then save a
copy to a new name such as All Through The Night with Bus.RPP before embarking on this example.
In this example, we are going to create an FX Bus and insert into that bus a Chorus effect. We will then ensure
that both of our guitar tracks use the chorus. You will see that REAPER is different from other audio software in
that it makes no inherent distinction between a Bus and a Track. The difference is determined solely by how you
use it. Notice that the illustration below shows that for a more pleasing sound, the guitar tracks have been
panned somewhat to the left and right respectively.
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To Create the Bus and add the FX to it:
•
Select track 4 (in the Track Control Panel).
•
To insert a new track either choose the Track, Insert New Track command, or press Ctrl ,T or double
click in the vacant track control panel area beneath the last track.
•
To name this new track, click in the area where the name is to go, type FX Bus then press Enter.
•
To insert the Chorus FX into this bus, click on the bus’s FX button. From the list of plug-in types, select
Jesusonic, then in the list of plug-ins double click on JS: Guitar/Chorus. Close the Bus FX window.
To Create Sends from the two guitar tracks to the Bus:
•
Select the two guitar tracks in the TCP. Right-click over the ROUTE button for either of these tracks.
•
From the context menu, choose Sends then Track 5: FX Bus.
Note that for every send there is an equivalent receive, and vice versa. For example, if you now open the
Routing window for Track 5 (click on the track's ROUT button) you will see that it has two receives, one from
each guitar track. You'll learn more about REAPER's routing later in this chapter (Routing Essentials) as well as
in Chapter 5 and 15.
Making Adjustments
When you now play the song, you’ll probably find that there’s more chorus on the guitar tracks than you would
like. There are four main ways to adjust this. Experiment until you find what gives you the results you want:
1.
Adjust the chorus FX parameters. In this case, you could lower the amount of Wet signal in the mix.
2.
Adjust the levels of one or both of the receives in the FX bus routing window.
3.
Display the routing window for either guitar track and adjust the send levels for that track.
4.
Adjust output volume fader for the track called FX Bus.
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Speed Tips
In Order To Do This ...
Do This
Toggle on/off send from track to
Master
Hold Alt while clicking on ROUTING button. Works with single
track or multiple track selection.
Create a quick send on the fly from
one track to another.
Drag and drop from ROUTING button of send track to the track
panel of receive track. This can also be done in the mixer view.
See Chapter 11 for a description of the full range of options.
Send a track's output direct to any
hardware output.
Right-click on ROUTING button and select Audio Hardware
Output or MIDI output (as required) then choose from the submenu. This can be used with a track selection and is
independent of the track's master send status.
2.17
Analyzing FX Performance
FX plug-ins can impose a heavy load on your computer’s CPU. To
help you overcome this, you can use the Performance Meter to
closely monitor your FX in the following ways:
 You can check how much CPU is being used by the FX in
your various tracks and in the master.
 You can disable and enable FX chains for individual tracks,
quickly, easily and conveniently, all together in one place.
 You can toggle on and off the mute status for your tracks,
again all in one convenient place.
To display the Performance Meter, press Ctrl Alt P, or use the
View, Performance Meter command.
Example
In the example shown (right), the Master track with 1 plug-in is
using 0.14% and the Vox, also with one plug-in, is using 0.05%.
If any track shows an unexpectedly high reading, you can examine
the FX for this track, to help you to identify the reason for this. To
open a track FX chain, double click on the track name or number in
the Performance Meter window.
This feature is useful if you have a large number of tracks in your
project. You can use the Performance Meter window to browse thru your project file, checking it track by track,
without having to scroll or navigate thru Track View. You can of course also toggle FX Bypass for any track,
selection of tracks, or all tracks in the Track View or Mixer View. The table below summarises these options.
In order to do this …
In Mixer or Track View, do this …
Toggle FX Bypass On/Off for that track.
Click the FX Bypass button for any track.
Toggle FX Bypass On/Off for all tracks in
the selection.
Select a number of tracks (Ctrl Click) then click the FX
Bypass button for any track in the selection.
Toggle FX Bypass On/Off for all tracks.
Hold Ctrl key while clicking FX Bypass button for any track.
In addition, the Performance Meter has two right click menus, each with a number of options (see above). The
first is accessed by right clicking in the track list area.
In order to do this …
In the Performance Meter window do this …
Open FX Window for that track.
Right click on track name, choose Show FX Dialog.
Toggle FX Bypass On/Off.
Right click on track name, choose Toggle FX Bypass.
Toggle track mute for that track.
Right click over any track, choose Toggle Track Mute.
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In order to do this …
In the Performance Meter window do this …
Show in/hide from Performance Meter
track list tracks with no FX.
Right click on any track, enable/disable Show track FX
when empty.
Show in/hide from Performance Meter
master track/monitoring when these
have no FX.
Right click on any track, enable/disable Show master FX
when empty and/or Show monitoring FX when
empty.
The other menu is used mostly to select what information you
want shown in the window. Right click anywhere in the main
Performance Meter area to display this. You can also use this
menu to move the window to the docker.
Tip: You can select several tracks – using Ctrl Click – then
right click over any of the selected track numbers in the
Performance Meter window to Toggle FX bypass and/or Track
Mute status for all tracks in the selection.
Note: You can find more information about the REAPER
Performance Meter in Section 19 of this guide, Further
Customizing REAPER.
2.18
Selections and Loops
Often you will want to work with just a part of your project for a while. In order to do this, first check the
Options menu to see if Loop Points Linked to Time Selection is enabled. If it is enabled (ticked) then
making a time selection and defining a loop are the same thing. If it is disabled (not ticked) then making a time
selection and defining a loop become two different things. Whichever is the case, you can define your loop area
by clicking and dragging along the timeline.
 Stop the playback at or near the point where you want your loop to begin (or click your mouse in the
background area) to move the Edit Cursor there.
 Place your mouse over
the Timeline (just
above the first track),
then click and drag along
the timeline, releasing
the mouse to define the
exact area that you want
to loop. The effect of this is illustrated above. Notice that the start and end of the loop are marked by two
small triangles. If when you attempt this, the selection snaps outwards to define a larger area than you
want, then REAPER has snapping enabled. Snapping will be discussed in detail in Chapter 7, but for now
you can use the shortcut keys Alt S to toggle this feature on and off.
Tip: To set the loop selection to match a media item, hold Ctrl while you double click on that item. To set the
time selection to match a media item, hold Shift while you double-click on the item.
Now when you play the project, provided that the loop (toggle repeat) button on the
transport bar has been engaged, it will replay over again the area selected for your Loop.
This is known as the repeat function. If loop points are linked to time selection, the start
time, finish time and duration of the selection are also shown on the Transport Bar. In any event, pressing the
R key toggles this repeat function on and off. There is also the option (under Options, Preferences on the
Playback page) to stop playback at the end of a loop when the repeat function is disabled.
To change the region defined as your loop, simply repeat the original procedure. To clear the loop altogether,
without defining a new one, just press the Escape key.
If loop points are not linked to the time selection, you can define a time selection by clicking and dragging in
the space underneath or between the media items, in the arrange view background area. An example of this is
shown below.
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Right clicking on the Timeline then gives you
a menu of commands which you can apply to
a time selection, including Zoom Selection.
You can also use this menu to change the
units used on the timeline – for example,
Minutes:Seconds, Measures:Beats,
Measures:Beats and Minutes:Seconds,
Measures.Beats (minimal),
Measures.Beats (minimal) and
Minutes/Seconds (as in the example above
right), Seconds, Samples,
Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames or
Absolute Frames.
Many of these commands are shown in the
illustration (right) - enough to help you to
understand how important working with time
selections is in REAPER. The other commands
on this menu will be discussed elsewhere in
this User Guide, as the need arises. These are
features that you are likely to find useful when
editing your files.
Incidentally, to zoom out of a time selection
and restore a whole project length to view,
press Ctrl PgDown.
There's more about loops and time selections
elsewhere in this guide, e.g. Chapters 6 and 8.
2.19
Managing Time and Loop Selections
In the previous section you learnt how to click and drag within an empty area of the track view to define a time
selection. This may or may not also change the loop selection, depending on your Options, Loop points
linked to time selection setting. As you progress thru this User Guide, you will see that time selection plays
an important role in REAPER, for example when it comes to editing your media items. You’ll probably find at
first that it’s too easy to perhaps select too large an area, or to miss part of the area that you intended to select.
To modify a loop selection using the mouse, hover the mouse over the edge at the start or finish of the loop
selection on the timeline, then click and drag left or right. Dragging left from the start of the selected area
extends the selection left, dragging right shortens it. Dragging right from the finish of the selected area extends
it to the right, dragging left shortens it. Holding Ctrl while you do this cause any snap settings to be ignored.
To move a loop selection, hold the mouse over the selected area on the time line, then hold down Shift
while clicking and dragging the mouse left or right.
You can also modify a time selection by first clicking then
scrolling the mousewheel over the Selection area of the
Transport Bar. Scroll over the start area to adjust start
time, end area to adjust end time, or over the length of
selection area to move the entire selection. If you wish, you can enter actual times in the start and end time
boxes. There are also several keyboard shortcuts you can use for managing Time Selections, summarised
below. If loop points are linked to the time selection, then the loop area will also be modified.
Function
Keystroke
Nudge Entire Time Selection left a little.
, (comma)
Nudge Entire Time Selection right a little.
. (period or full stop)
Extend Time Selection to left by nudging left edge left a little.
Ctrl ,
Shrink Time Selection to right by nudging left edge right a little.
Ctrl .
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Function
Keystroke
Shrink Time Selection from right by nudging right edge left a little.
Ctrl Alt ,
Extend Time Selection from left by nudging right edge right a little.
Ctrl Alt .
Move Time Selection left by time selection length.
Shift ,
Move Time Selection right by time selection length.
Shift .
Copy portions of selected media items in Time Selection.
Ctrl Shift C
Remove Time Selection.
Esc
If you wish, you can use the keyboard rather than the mouse to define your time selections. First you need to
position the cursor at either the start or the end of the loop, then use one of these:
Function
Keystroke
Drag cursor to the left and create time selection.
Shift Left Arrow
Drag cursor to the right and create time selection.
Shift Right Arrow
The following keystrokes can be used to zoom when you are working with a time selection:
Function
Keystroke
Zoom to Time Selection.
Ctrl PageUp
Zoom back to Project.
Ctrl PageDown
Tip: If you are unable to position your cursor exactly where you wish when creating a loop selection, it may be
that you have snapping enabled. Alt S will toggle
snapping status on and off.
2.20
Navigating by Jumping
You can jump to any point on the timeline using the
View, Go To, Jump To command, or by using the
keyboard shortcut Ctrl J. In specifying the place to jump
to, you should use the same format as is used on the
timeline. In the example used here, the timeline displays
Measures and below it Minutes and Seconds. You could
therefore use either format, e.g. 33.1 or 1:04.
If your project uses markers and/or regions, you can use this box to jump straight to any maker or region. For
example, typing M1 will cause it to jump to marker 1, R2 to jump to the start of region 2, and so on. Markers
and regions are explored in Chapter 9.
Tip: Another easy way to open the Jump to dialog box is to double-click on the time on the transport bar.
2.21
Time and Loop Selections and the Transport Bar
There are two special ways in which the transport bar can be used with a loop selection or a time selection.
In order to do this ...
… you should do this
Repeatedly play the selection
over and over
Make the required loop selection, make sure Repeat is enabled (the
button next to Record on the Transport Bar), position the play cursor
within the loop and press Space.
Play back project skipping over
time selection
Make the required time selection and position the play cursor
anywhere before the start of that selection. Press Alt Space.
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2.22
Item Names, Buttons and Icons
Depending on Appearance, Media preference
settings, you may (or may not) see item names
displayed above the media item rather than on it
(see right). You might also see some media item
icons (or buttons). You'll learn more about this
when we examine media items in Chapter 7.
2.23
REAPER Routing Essentials
This section will teach you more about one of the most important core functions of REAPER – Routing.
Routing is the means by which you ensure that your media (audio and/or MIDI) are directed to where you want
them to go, so that your project can be heard exactly as you want it to be heard. You were introduced to some
basic examples earlier in this chapter, when we looked at creating and using an FX bus. Routing can be very
simple or extremely complex – and anything in between. This section introduces you to basic routing concepts.
More complex routing options will be covered
later in this Chapter, also in Chapters 4 and 15,
and elsewhere.
Each track includes a Routing Button in its
panel toolbar (shown right). Hovering the
mouse over this button will display a tool tip. This will also show any sends and/or receives already associated
with that track. Clicking the button causes the routing window for that track to be displayed. To close the track
routing window, either press the Escape key, or click on the little X in the top right corner of the window, or
click anywhere outside the window.
The actual
contents of your
Track Routing
window will vary
according to
your project
structure and
your DAW
hardware setup
(e.g. sound card
and audio
devices, MIDI
devices etc.).
Depending on the nature of your project, your display should be similar to that shown above, but not
necessarily identical. Notice in particular:
 Master/Parent Send – Enabling this ensures that the track’s output will be directed to the Master. In
the sample files provided, you will want to direct the output of all tracks directly to the Master, as shown
for Track 1 (above). If in doubt, leave this item enabled.
 Sends – In the FX Bus example earlier in this chapter you created sends. A track's output can be routed
via a send from any track to any other track or tracks. This topic will be covered in more detail later.
 Audio Hardware Outputs – in addition to (or instead of) directing output to your Master Bus, you can
also direct output of any track directly to Hardware Outputs on your audio device. If your audio device
has multiple outputs, this can be useful, for example, for creating a separate headphone mix, or as series
of separate headphone mixes.
 MIDI Hardware Output – Use this option to direct MIDI output to an external device or to the
Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth.
 Receives – For every send (source) track there will be a receive (destination) track. In the earlier
example, the FX bus included two receives, one from each of the two guitar tracks in that project file.
 Notice (picture below) that when you create a send, you are presented with volume and pan faders which
can be used to control this. You can also specify whether to send audio output, MIDI output, or both.
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
Whenever you
select any
listed track,
audio
hardware
output or MIDI
device to be
used for a
track’s routing,
controls such
as Level and
Pan are
automatically
added to this
interface.
When you create a
new project, by
default the output
of each new track is routed to the Master track and from there to the output of your sound card. If that is all
you need, you do not need to study the routing options right now. However, understanding REAPER’s routing
capabilities will almost certainly enable you at some stage to get more benefits from the program.
The illustration below shows an example of the Track Routing Window for a track for which both a send and a
receive have been created. You will be shown how to do this later in this User Guide, starting at Chapter 5.
Approach track
routing gently at
first: it is a very
powerful feature
of REAPER. The
early chapters of
this User Guide
will take you thru
the basics of
track routing.
After you have
mastered these,
you will find some
rather more
complex
examples
elsewhere in this
User Guide,
especially in Chapter 16.
Note: Sends and Receives can be any of three types. These are Post Fader (Post Pan), Pre-Fader (Post
FX) and Pre FX. The differences will be discussed in Chapter 16. Meanwhile, if in doubt accept the default
option Post-Fader (Post Pan). See also the flow charts that are shown at the end of Chapter 6.
2.24
The Routing Matrix
REAPER's Routing Matrix is a “one stop” window where you can manage and arrange a project's entire routing
structures. For example, you can add and delete sends and receives and manage their various parameter
controls, such as volume and pan.
Press Alt R to display the routing matrix. For the project file All Through The Night with Bus it should
resemble that shown right: of course your hardware outputs will not be the same.
Observe the cell in the matrix where the Gtr Body row intersects with the FX Bus column. It contains two
small blobs.
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By right clicking over this cell, you can cause the controls to be displayed which determine how the signal from
the Gtr Body track is sent to the FX Bus (see illustration below).
Simplifying the Routing Matrix
Display
If your sound card has multiple
outputs, then by default, REAPER’s
Routing Matrix will display multiple
permutations of paired outputs,
including several that you may feel that
you do not need. By default REAPER
will allow you to use any two
consecutively numbered audio outputs
as a stereo pair. It is quite likely that
you may want to use, for example,
outputs 1 and 2 as one pair (perhaps
for your speakers) and outputs 3 and 4
as another pair (perhaps for your headphone amp). However, it would be unusual to want to use outputs 2 and
3 together as a pair.
If you wish, you can prevent these
unwanted combinations from being
displayed by choosing the Options,
Preferences command, then selecting the
Audio settings page. This includes a
Channel naming section, where you can
turn off the option to Show non-standard
stereo channel pairs (see right). If for some reason you did wish to direct your output to any non-standard
pair, you could still do so by selecting each of them individually on the matrix.
2.25
Docking and Floating
Too many views on the screen at once creates clutter. That’s when the Docker becomes useful. Right clicking
over the title bar or background area of most windows causes a context menu to be displayed which will offer a
list of choices relevant to that window. Usually their purpose will be obvious. This will include an option Dock in
Docker.
When a number of windows are docked, at the foot of the Docker you will see a series of Tabs. These are used
to select which item is displayed by the Docker at any time. In the illustration here, the Docker includes several
items. Notice also that:

If you close a Window, next time it opens its docking status will be the same as when it was closed. If a
Window is docked when it is closed, next time it is opened it will still be docked.

To undock a window, right click over the background or tab area of the window and deselect the Dock in
Docker option.

The Docker can itself be attached to the main window or detached and floated. Click over the small
exclamation mark in the bottom left corner of the Docker and use the option to Attach Docker to Main
Window to toggle.
By default the docker will be attached to the bottom of the main window, but you can use the same menu
to change this position to left, top or right.

Clicking over the exclamation mark after detaching the Docker from the Main Menu will also give you
access to the Set Opacity feature. This can be used to ensure that when floated and not in focus, the
Docker is transparent. Opacity can be set between 25% and 100%.
Tip: The keyboard shortcut Alt D can be used as a toggle to show or hide the Docker or Dockers.
More experienced users might be interested to know that if you wish you can work with multiple dockers. This
topic is covered in Chapter 11, Project Management Features.
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As an alternative to docking windows, you might
consider the toggle command View, Show/hide
all floating windows as a method of handling
screen clutter. Another useful command can be
View, Cascade all floating windows.
2.26
The Undo History Window
REAPER’s Undo feature is user friendly and very
powerful. The View, Undo History command
(or use Ctrl Alt Z) toggles open and closed the
Undo History Window. You can double click on
any event displayed in that window to go back to
that point.
The General settings page under Options,
Preferences includes a section which you can
use to determine the behavior of the Undo
History. In particular, you can:
 Specify the maximum amount of
memory to be allocated to
Undo. Setting this to zero will
effectively disable this feature.
 Specify whether item, track,
envelope point and/or time
selection and/or changes in
cursor positions are to be
included in the Undo History.
 Ensure that if the allocated Undo storage area becomes full, the most recent actions will be retained in
the Undo History.
 Save your Undo History with the Project File and
ensure that this file is loaded with the project. This
means that even after retrieving the project file at some
later date, you will still be able to revert the project to an
earlier state if you wish.
 Store multiple undo/redo paths. Within the Undo
History window you can even store alternate sequences
of commands and actions, then switch between them!
Tip: On the Appearance page of your Preferences settings,
you can enable or disable the option Show last undo point in
menu bar. If you enable this, your last undoable action is
shown after the last command on the menu bar. You can click
on this at any time to open and display the Undo History
window. Click a second time to close this window.
Note also that the Undo History window is dockable. To do this
(as with most other windows), right-click on the title bar and
choose Dock in Docker from the context menu.
2.27
Keeping a Window on Top
The small pin shown on the right of the title bar of most windows (just before the
X) can be used to pin a window to keep it on top. Click on this to toggle its on top
status. When the pin is shown in the down position, the window is locked on top.
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2.28
Multiple Project Tabs
REAPER lets you keep more than one project open at the same time, using multiple project tabs. This makes it
easy for you to jump between different projects if you are working on more than one song, or to move or copy
media items (audio and/or MIDI) from one project to another.
To create a new project tab when you already have one file open, simply use the File, New Project Tab
command (or press Ctrl Alt N). A new tab will be opened (labelled Unsaved), but the previous project will also
remain open on a different tab. You can jump between projects simply clicking on the tab (see below).
To open a file in a particular project tab, simply select that tab,
then use the File, Open Project command in the usual way. To
open it in a new project tab, simply select this option from the
dialog box when opening the project. You may have as many
projects open as you wish. Right click over any project tab to
show the project tab menu. The commands are:
New project tab, This inserts a new tab.
Close project. Closes the current project and the tab with it.
You can also do this by clicking on the X at the left hand end of
the project tab.
Close all projects but current. Closes all project tabs except
current one.
Close all projects. Closes all open projects.
Always show project tabs. Shows project tabs, even if only one project is currently open (toggle).
Show project tabs on left side of window: Displays tabs on left of window instead of top (toggle).
Hide background project FX/MIDI windows. Ensures that when one of a number of open project tabs is
selected, any open FX windows etc. belonging to other open projects are not displayed on top of it.
Run background projects. This allows you to play the project in one tab while working on another.
Run stopped background projects. Commences playback of projects in tabs not currently selected.
Play stopped background projects with active project: Causes background projects (open on other tabs)
to be played with the current project. When this is enabled, you can also select Synchronize play start times
w/play background projects. This will ensure that all open projects are played/stopped in synch.
These commands and Offline background project media are mutually exclusive.
Monitoring FX … This opens the monitoring FX window for hardware output monitoring: see Chapter 6.
Tips: When working with multiple project tabs, they can be reordered using drag and drop. When using
multiple project tabs, you can use the File, Close All Projects command to close all open projects at once.
Note that the small X button used to close a project tab can be positioned to the left or the right: just drag
and drop according to your preference.
2.29
Opening Multiple Project Tabs Together
You can open several projects together at the same time, each in its own project tab, provided all the .RPP files
are in the same folder.
Simply use the File, Open project command, then navigate to the required folder. Use Ctrl Click to build your
selection, ensure Open in new project tab is ticked, then click on Open.
2.30
Managing the Play Cursor
By default, when a project is playing, pressing Stop (or Spacebar) will stop playback and return the play
cursor to its previous starting position.
Pressing Pause (or Enter) will pause playback
at the current play cursor position. You can
also specify that the play cursor should be
moved when you click on the Time Ruler, an empty area of any track or in the empty area below tracks.
These three options can be enabled/disabled in your Seek playback when clicked. (Options, Preferences,
Audio, Seeking settings).
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3
Recording Audio and MIDI
This chapter will take you thru everything you need to know to get started with recording in REAPER. At the
end of the chapter, you will find a helpful checklist.
3.1
Creating a New Project
To create a new project file, you can either use the File, New Project command, or press Ctrl N.
The Project page within the Options, Preferences dialog box can be used to determine how REAPER
behaves each time you create a new project:
Amongst the most useful options on this screen are the following:
 Use project file as a template. This enables you to use an existing project file as a template for new
projects. All tracks, HX, tracks, buses, routing etc. will be copied into the new file from the template file.
 Prompt to save on new project. If you enable this option, you will be prompted to save your new
projects immediately they are created.
 Open properties on new project. If this option is selected, the Project Options dialog box will
automatically be displayed every time you create a new project. This can help ensure that you select the
correct recording format and other settings that you require.
 Automatically create a backup each time your file is saved and overwritten. This helps protect
you against accidental loss of work.
 Whether to create and save multiple project versions. This feature is explained in Chapter 11.
 Automatically save to a timestamped file at intervals you specify. This can help to protect you
from the consequences of an unforeseen circumstance such as a power outage or a computer crash. You
can save these files to the project directory and/or an additional directory. You can also specify the
frequency (in minutes) of automatic saving, and whether to apply this when not recording, when
stopped, or at any time.
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3.2
Setting Media Project Options
After creating a project file, you can
display the Project Settings window –
Alt Enter – to ensure that you are using
your preferred Media Settings. In
particular, check your preferred audio
format. If you are not sure, for CD quality
select .WAV, with settings similar to
those shown here. If you wish later to
use some other format (such as .MP3)
you can render your files in that format.
The settings shown would be suitable
when the output is to be rendered to CD
audio. As a rule, 24 bit is preferred for
recording. If the recording is to be
finalised in DVD format rather than CD,
you should consider a sample rate of
48000 instead of 44100. This is specified
on the main Project Settings page.
Some people prefer 88200 for CD and
96000 for DVD. Be aware that increasing
sample rate also increases media item file
size and slows down processing.
Other formats.
If you prefer, you can record using any of a
number of available compressed formats,
including MP3, OGG and WavPack. Choosing
any of these will present you with further
options appropriate to that format. For
example, if you choose MP3 you will need
also to specify your required bitrate.
There is also a drop down list where you
choose to write as cues to your recorded
media files markers and regions, either one of these, or none of these, or only markers/regions whose name
begins with #. See Chapter 9 for more about markers and regions.
3.3
Saving the Project File
After creating a file, use the File, Save Project command, or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl S, to save it. You will
need to specify a project file name. When saving a new file you are offered a number of options. You can
choose to Create
subdirectory for
project. If you also select
Copy all media into
project directory you
may also specify a format
for these items to be
converted.
If you select Move all media into project directory , then by default all media files used by the project will
be moved into the project subdirectory. Optionally you can ask to Copy rather than move source media if
not in old project media path. You would be likely to choose this, for example, if your project uses files from
a samples library, to ensure that the samples are not removed from the library.
You should also make sure that you get into the habit of frequently resaving your project after making changes.
The easiest way to do this is simply to press Ctrl S.
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3.4
Creating and Naming Tracks
After creating a new project file, the next thing you will want to do is to create a track or a number of tracks for
recording. A project can contain as many or as few tracks as you want. You can add tracks using the Track,
Insert New Track command or by pressing Ctrl T. Alternatively, you can simply double-click anywhere in the
vacant area of the Track Control Panel.
It is advisable to name the tracks before you start recording. To do this, double-click in the track name area and
type the name. The media file that is created when you record will then be given a sensible name that matches
the track. Under Options, Preferences
you can display the Recording settings
page and decide which items are
automatically included in your track’s file
names. These can be any combination of
track index (number), track name, and the
time of the recording. We'll look at more of these recording preferences later in this chapter.
REAPER supports multitrack recording. The number of different sources that you can record at the same time is
limited by the number of enabled inputs (under Preferences, Audio, Device) on your audio soundcard. Before
commencing recording, for each track you will need to:
REAPER's Preferences include a page
 Arm the track for recording.
of Track/Send defaults which you can
 Assign the Input that is being used.
use to set track default characteristics
 Check that the sound level is right for recording.
(e.g. default volume fader level).These
Optionally, you may also:
are explained in Chapter 20.
 Select a recording format other than the default.
 Turn input monitoring on.
Note: You do not need to specify when creating a track whether it is to be a stereo or mono track. When
assigning the track input for recording, you can use either a single mono input or a stereo pair. Note that both
stereo and mono tracks can be panned between the left and right speakers as you wish. Panning is a topic that
occurs throughout this guide, for example in Chapter 5.
3.5
To Prepare and Record One Track
1. Check the Options menu to make sure that Record mode: Normal is selected. We'll examine the other
modes as this chapter progresses.
2. Click on the Record Arm button for that track
(on the left) The button should now appear red.
3. Click the mouse over the Input settings for that
track (below the pan fader - see right) to display
a menu. The exact options on that menu will
depend on which sound card and audio device(s)
you have installed.
4. Select the required input from the menu. This will be the one to which the microphone or line that you are
using for recording is connected. In most cases, this is likely to be one of the Input: Mono options. If you
are not sure which option to pick, choose Mono when recording from a single microphone or lead.
5. Enable Input Monitoring. This is the first item (Monitor Input) on
the Record arm button right-click context menu, or you can use the
toggle Record monitoring button shown here (right). The location of
this button may vary according to your choice of layout and the TCP
column width. If your sound card supports direct monitoring you will
most likely wish to use that, in which case you should not enable
REAPER's input monitoring. Consult the sound card's documentation
for more information about this. If your sound card does not support
direct monitoring, then you should enable REAPER's input monitoring. There's more about input monitoring
in sections 3.14 and 3.15.
6. Audition the sound while you adjust the volume on your audio desk or sound input device, so as to get a
good strong signal without clipping. If in doubt, aim to peak at about –10dB. Note that the recording level
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cannot be controlled by adjusting the Track’s volume fader: that controls only the playback level.
7. Press the Record button on the Transport, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl R.
8. To finish recording, either press Stop on the Transport, or press Space, or press the Record button again,
or press Ctrl R. Now click on the Record Arm button for this track to “disarm” it.
Tip: The Input menu (shown above) includes an item Input: None. This can be used to prevent material from
ever being accidentally recorded onto a track where it is not wanted, such as perhaps an FX bus or a folder.
Note 1:
If you stop recording by
pressing the Record button or
with Ctrl R, the recorded media
are automatically saved.
If you press Space or Stop, the
dialog box shown here will give
you the opportunity to save or
delete any or all of your newly
recorded media items.
Note 2:
REAPER supports “on the fly
recording”. This means that you
can also arm additional tracks
after the recording has started.
Those tracks will then also be
recorded from the point at
which you arm them. Similarly,
if you are recording more than one track, you can stop recording one while continuing to record the others by
clicking on the Record Arm/Disarm button to disarm just that track.
Tip: When recording, make sure that the incoming signal is not too loud, or you can damage your recording
equipment. Here’s what to do:
1. Turn the input or gain control on your input device (e.g. firewire device or desk) all the way down.
2. If recording an instrument in-line, insert one end of the line into the instrument and the other end into
your input device. Turn the output on the instrument fully up
3. Audition the instrument, slowly raising the input or gain control on your input device until it sounds right.
3.6
To Prepare and Record Multiple Tracks
To prepare multiple tracks for recording you could repeat all of the necessary steps as many times as you
require tracks, but that might be tedious – and besides, it’s too easy to make a mistake when selecting your
audio inputs. You could end up with one input being recorded more than once, and perhaps another input being
accidentally missed out. This is something that, at one time or another, is likely to happen with most DAW
software. To avoid this problem, you can follow this sequence:
1. Use the Insert, Multiple tracks command to insert as many tracks as
you require. The Insert tracks dialog will be displayed. Select the
number of tracks required and choose whether they are to be inserted
After the last touched track or At end of project. Click on OK.
Name your new tracks.
2. Select all tracks to be recorded. After making your selection, click on the
Record Arm button of any one of them to arm the entire selection.
3. One method is to use the Routing Matrix. Press Alt R to display this.
In this example, four tracks are to be recorded at the same time. By
default, all four tracks are at first assigned to the first input (above). If
you were to record now, the same signal from the first input would be
recorded four times! (Notice also that by default, input 1 is also
assigned to track 5 - the FX bus - but as this is not armed nothing will be recorded there.)
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4. Click in the appropriate cells in the Routing Matrix to assign each track an
input. The example shown uses audio inputs - Input 1 is to go to Track 1,
Input 2 to Track 2 and so on. MIDI inputs may also be selected – these are
listed below the audio inputs. You can also right click over any red cell to
access the Record Input menu should you wish to do so.
5. Monitor the strength of the signals and record as before.
Tips: Using the Track Control Panel to prepare multiple tracks
Another option is to use the TCP to set up and record your tracks.
1. To define the same record settings for multiple tracks, select the required
tracks, right-click on the arm record button, then make your choices from the
menu. Holding Shift will over-ride this and apply your menu choices to the one
track only. Inputs can be assigned to a selection of tracks in a similar way by
clicking on the Input button.
2. To assign a series of mono inputs in sequence to a set of tracks, select the tracks then click the Input button
of any track in the selection. Next, select Assign inputs sequentially then your required inputs – e.g. in the
above example, this would be Mono, Input 1 to Input 4.
3. To insert a new track at the end of your project, you can simply double click in the Track Control Panel area,
just below the last existing track.
3.7
Auto Arming Tracks
If you wish, you can ensure that tracks are automatically armed for recording when selected and unarmed when
deselected. Simply select the track(s) then right click over the record arm button for any track in the selection
and choose Automatic record arm when track selected. This command can be toggled on and off.
To set all tracks in a project to auto arm, choose the Track command from the main menu, then Set all tracks
to automatic record arm when selected.
3.8
Using the Metronome
You can set up and use a Metronome when
using REAPER for recording. To do this, you
need first to right-click on the metronome
button on toolbar, or the use the Options,
Metronome/pre-roll, Metronome/ preroll settings command to set up your
metronome. Left-clicking on the metronome
button, or choosing the Options,
Metronome/pre-roll, Metronome
enabled command from the main menu, is
then used to toggle the metronome on/off.
The Metronome Settings
Enable metronome: This turns the built-in
metronome on or off.
The I/O Button: Immediately to the right of
the Enable Metronome option, this allows
metronome output to be directed to the
device of your choice (e.g., Headphones). If
any input monitoring FX are in use, the option
to Play metronome thru Monitor FX will
be available.
Run during playback: This will turn the
metronome on during playback.
Count-in before playback : This will enable
a count-in before playback.
Run during recording: This will turn the metronome on during recording.
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Count-in before recording: This will enable a count-in before recording. Useful if you are recording yourself.
It ensures that when you press Ctrl R the recording will not actually start until after the specified count-in. This
gives you time to get back to the microphone and pick up your instrument.
Count-in length (Measures): This defines the number of measures a count in should be. If it is the very
beginning of a project, it will wait those number of measures before starting to record. If you select a place to
record within a project, it will start the count in this many measures before the time that you want to record at.
Primary beat volume: This determines how loud is the metronome volume.
Secondary beat gain:- The amount by which the volume of secondary beats will be adjusted.
Beat pattern: You can accept the default AABB or define your own.
You can also use Samples for your own metronome sounds.
First beat sample: This is the sample for the first beat – e.g., in 4/4 time, this sample will play on the 1.
Subsequent beat: This is the sample for other beats. For example, in 4/4 time, this sample will play on the 2,
3, and 4. To use your samples samples for the metronome in all your project you need to set up the samples,
save a project with no tracks (but with any other project setting you think may be useful) then, in Preferences/
Project specify that project as the default template to use for all new projects.
By default, REAPER uses a synthesised metronome. You can specify in Hz the Frequency of first beat and of
Subsequent beats.
Beat click length xx ms: This is how long each beat click lasts.
Start shape: This can be hard (louder) or soft (quieter).
The Pre roll settings can be used so that when you start recording, or playback, the metronome will play for
the specified number of measures before recording or playback actually begins.
Tip: The Metronome Time Base is controlled by the Project Settings. Press Alt Enter and display the
Project Settings page if you need to change this.
3.9
Recording Stereo Tracks
You may wish to record from two
inputs direct to a stereo track, for
example, if you are uploading some
previously recorded material from
audio tape into REAPER, or are
recording stereo paired microphones.
Follow a similar procedure to that
explained in section 3.5, selecting a
stereo input instead of mono. The
signal from paired stereo inputs can be recorded on to a single stereo item on a single track.
As has already explained in Chapter 2, it is advisable to open the Audio page of your Preferences settings and
turn off the option to Show Non-Standard Stereo Channel Pairs. This will reduce your available stereo
paired inputs to a more logical selection such as that shown above.
3.10
Multi-Channel Recording
This is a more advanced
topic, less suitable for
novices.
If you define a track as
multichannel (for example,
perhaps 4, 6 or 8 channels)
then your recording input
context menu for that track
will include an option for multichannel recording. You can, for example, record from four, six or eight
microphones simultaneously, each to a separate channel on the one track. This method is suited, for example,
for use with four channel ambisonic microphone arrays as used in surround sound production.
For multichannel tracks, there is also a toggle command on the record arm context menu Track VU meter,
Show peaks from all track channels (not just 1+2).
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3.11
Track Templates
After you have set up a track (or a number of tracks) for recording, you might think that you may wish to use
this same track exactly as it is again in some future projects. This can be done using Track Templates.
To create a track template from an existing track (or selection of tracks):
1. Select the track or tracks.
2. Choose the Track, Save tracks as track template command.
3. When prompted, type a template name. If you wish, you can select the option to Include track items
in the template. If so, any audio and MIDI items on the track will be included. You may also choose
to Include envelopes in template. (Envelopes will be explained in Chapter 17).
4. Click on Save.
To import an existing track template into a project:
1. From the REAPER menu, choose the Track, Insert track from template command.
2. Depending on how your templates are stored, either select the required template from the menu, or
choose Open template, then choose the required template and click on Open.
The Insert track from template sub-menu includes Offset template items by edit cursor. If enabled,
any media items and/or envelopes saved with the original template will be inserted at the edit cursor position.
Note: Track properties and settings are saved into the template, including track name, inputs and outputs, any
FX plug-ins (with any parameter settings, parameter modulation, and track controls), sends and receives.
However, if a track included in a track template includes any sends to or receives from any track or tracks not
included in the template, then these sends and receives will not be saved into the track template.
Tip: Organizing track templates. You can find where your track templates are stored by using the Options,
Show REAPER resource path … command (see Chapter 1). Here you can create subdirectories within the
TrackTemplates folder where you to store and arrange your track templates as you please. Your subdirectories
and their contents will automatically be shown on the Insert track from template sub menu.
3.12
Importing an Existing Project
The Track, Insert Track from Template, Open Template command can be used to import an entire
REAPER project into your current project. All tracks in the original project file are imported – media items, track
settings, FX, routing, etc. However, items
that are not track specific (such as
markers) are not imported.
To do this, simply select Project Files
as the File Type when the Open Track
Template dialog box is displayed,
navigate to select the file you wish to
import, then click on Open. The tracks
from the imported project file are inserted immediately below the currently selected tracks.
3.13
Project Templates
A Project Template goes further than a Track Template in that it can be used to create an entire Project File,
based upon the structure and settings of the template file. For example, Project Settings (including Media
Settings) are saved with a project template, along with the screen layout, which views are open, how they are
sized, whether they are docked, and so on. However, unlike when creating a Track Template, you should remove
the media clips and items from a file before saving it as a project template, otherwise every time the template is
used to create a new file, those media items will be inserted. (Unless, of course, there are media clips that you
actually want saved into the template).
To create a Project Template:

With the source project file open, choose the File, Project Templates, Save As Project Template
command. When prompted, give the template a name, then click on Save.
To create a new file based on a Project Template

Choose the File, Project Templates command, then click on the name of the required project template.
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To use an existing file as a template for all new projects:





Choose the Options, Preferences command, then Project.
Click on the Browse button labeled “When creating new projects, use the following file as a template”.
The contents of the project templates folder will be displayed.
Select the required file, then click on Open.
Click on OK to close the Preferences window.
Tip: If you are specifying a default project template it is a good idea to also save an empty project as a project
template called Empty Project. Then, if you want to create a new file that doesn’t use your default project
template, you can do so by simply choosing from the menu File, Project Templates, Empty Project.
3.14
Layered Recording
The term layering refers to a recording technique in which two or more instruments and/or voices are recorded
for the same song, but not all at once. The tracks can be recorded one at a time. An initial track is laid down –
this is often a guide track which will be discarded at the end of the recording process. Then each other track is
recorded while the musician or singer listens thru headphones to a mix of what has already been recorded and
what she is recording now. In order to use this layered recording method:
1. With Record Mode set to Normal, record the initial track, as explained earlier.
2. After recording, make sure the output of this track is directed to the Master. Make sure also that you
“disarm” this track.
3. Make sure that the Master is directed to whichever
hardware outputs are connected to your
headphones or headphone amp.
4. Add another track. Name it. Arm this track for
recording. Select the Input used by the microphone
or line that is to be used to record this new track.
5. Make sure that Record: input(audio or MIDI) is
selected and that Input Monitoring is turned on for this track (see above). This will enable the person
being recorded and the recording engineer to hear in their headphones a mix of previously recorded
material with that being recorded now.
6. Adjust the Volume levels of the previously recorded track (using the track fader) and the volume level of
the incoming signal (using your external mixer desk or audio device, or audio device control software)
until you are happy with your headphone mix.
7. Press Ctrl R to start recording, and Ctrl R again to stop when finished. Again, disarm this track when
you have finished recording on it.
8. Repeat this procedure for all other tracks to be layered. At step 6. you can feed into your Master a mix of
all tracks previously recorded up to that point.
Note: If you notice an echo type delay in your headphones it will be because latency is too high. Lowering the
block size (see 1.12) to 256 or 128 can improve this. On consumer quality built in sound cards, however, this
might cause pops and clicks. For Windows users, the use of ASIO4ALL drivers might resolve this.
Tip: Many sound cards and USB or Firewire audio devices come with software that can be used for zero latency
input monitoring and headphone mixing, especially those devices with multiple inputs and outputs. If you use
that software for input monitoring, then you should turn off the input monitoring option within REAPER.
Try it now! Open the supplied project file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The
Night LAYERS.RPP. Have a go at recording another instrumental track of your choice to go into this project any instrument you choose!
Note 1: Monitor Input (Tape Auto Style). This option differs from normal input monitoring in that it
monitors input only when the transport has stopped or when you are recording. During playback you will hear
only the timeline audio, not the input.
Note 2: If you are monitoring an armed track when an existing track uses a plug-in (such as ReaFir) that has
latency, you may wish to consider enabling the option Preserve PDC delayed monitoring in recorded
items. This more advanced topic will be explained in more detail later in this chapter.
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3.15
Overdubbing and Punch Recording
You can go over an existing track to re-record a section with which you are not satisfied, to correct perhaps just
a few notes of an instrument, or a line or two of a vocal. Use punch recording for this. You can play back in
your headphones previously recorded material along with any other tracks while you record. At the point where
you want recording to begin, the track on which you are recording will cut out, and the recording will begin. At
another point specified by you, the recording will stop, and the existing recording will come back in.
The technique can be applied with both audio and MIDI items. MIDI is discussed later in this chapter when
looped time selection recording is also explained.
3.16
Non-Destructive Punch Recording
By default, punch recording is not destructive: it creates a new take, but does not destroy the original. To use
punch recording, follow this sequence:
1. Choose the Options command, then Record mode: time selection auto punch. The display of the
Transport Bar record button will change. Disable the Toggle Repeat function on this toolbar.
2. Select the track and arm it for recording. View the Options menu and for now ensure that Show all
takes in lanes (when room) is not selected. We'll look at lanes shortly. Also, for this example, make
sure that Loop points linked to time selection is not enabled.
3. Make sure that the track output is sent to the Master and that Input Monitoring is enabled.
4. Make sure that the Master output is directed to the audio hardware outputs to which your headphones
or headphone amp is
connected.
5. Click once on the
existing media item
to select it. Click and
drag along the
arrange background
area to select the
region that you want to be re-recorded (see above).
6. Rewind the track to a point a short way before the position where you wish to start recording. This can
be done by simply clicking at the required place on the timeline.
7. Press Ctrl R. You will hear the recorded material up to the start of the defined region, where you can rerecord that passage. Press Space to stop when you have finished recording. Accept the option to save
your recorded media. Restore normal recording mode when you have finished punch recording.
Your track now
contains two media
items. What's
happened to the
originally recorded
passage? Well, it's still
there and you can still
use it if you like. Pressing Ctrl L toggles the display of all takes or active take only (see above). We'll learn more
about this soon.
Note: You can enable the option Monitor track media when recording. If you do this when punching in,
say, a guitar or vocals, regular Monitor Input will cause you to hear both the existing and the new material
right up to the punch, then only the new material during the punch. Monitor Input (tape auto style) will
monitor only the existing materials up to the punch, then only the new material.
Tip: If you make a mistake or change your mind when overdubbing, you can use Ctrl Z to undo the recording
or you can select the unwanted media item and use the Delete key to remove it.
Getting to grips with REAPER's various record modes and in particular how they work in combination with other
options (such as monitoring) can be somewhat bewildering for new users. Chapter 23 includes a summary table
Troubleshooting Record Modes and Monitoring.
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3.17
Destructive Punch Recording
You have the option when punch recording of actually removing from the existing track the previously recorded
material if you wish. If this is what you want, use the Options, New recording that overlaps existing
media items command to turn on the toggle option Trims existing items behind new recording. Be
careful how you use this. You can restore this option to its default setting by choosing Splits existing items
and creates new takes from the same menu.
3.18
Fades and Crossfades
REAPER allows you to
apply automatic
crossfades and fades
in and out of your
recorded items. This
feature can be turned
on and off or
customized thru the
Options,
Preferences,
Project, Media
Item Defaults. You
can select a preferred shape and duration (length) for your fade curves. Clicking on the
image of the curve (shown above) causes you to be offered a number of choices (see right).
As you will see in Chapter 7, you can easily change the default fade type and/or length for
individual media items. If you prefer not to use automatic fades, just disable that option.
3.19
Recording Multiple Takes
REAPER’s multiple takes feature can help you when you want to record several versions of a
track to see which you prefer. It works like this:
1. Set record mode to normal (Options, Record Mode: Normal).
2. Make sure that Enable track free item positioning (FIPM) is not enabled (i.e., not ticked) for the tracks
being recorded. Use the TCP right click context menu
to do this. We'll get to FIPM later in this chapter.
3. Record your first take of the track.
4. Rewind to the start then record your next take.
5. Repeat step 4. as many times as you wish.
In the example shown, an initial vocal track has been
recorded, then above it three takes have been made of a
vocal harmony track.
Notice the text
displayed with the
name of the media
item displayed for the
Harmony Vox track. It
begins with the text
Take 3/3.
Note: Under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms there is a setting to Automatically
color any recording pass that adds new takes to existing items. When you are recording multiple takes
to two or more tracks at the same time, enabling this option can help you to visually identify which takes belong
in the same set.
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3.20
Showing Takes in Lanes
Optionally, when you have multiple takes, you may choose to have them displayed in lanes. This of course takes
up more room on the screen, but has the advantage that it makes it easier to see for your various tracks which
take is currently selected. This option is toggled on and off by pressing Ctrl L or by choosing Options, Show
all takes in lanes (when room) from the Main Menu.
In the first
example (shown
right), three
takes have been
made of a vocal
duet. The first
and second are
complete takes,
the third is a
punched-in
overdub of only the middle section.
In this case, the option to Display empty take lanes (Options, Take lane behavior menu) has been
enabled. This ensures that the short overdubbed section is given its own complete lane. This makes it easier for
you to keep track visually of which parts of each take belong together.
For both tracks,
the second take is
currently selected
(except for the
overdubbed
section) and will
be played.
In this second
example (right), different takes (and permutations of takes) have been selected for the different tracks.
In this third
illustration, the
track height has
been reduced, so
that at any point
only the selected take is visible. However, as long as the option to Show All Takes in Lanes remains active, the
lanes will automatically be restored to view when the height of these tracks is expanded.
Note: When you create multiple alternative takes in this way you will later be able to easily pick the best
passages from each of your takes and join them together as a single item. The method for doing this will be
explained in Chapter 8 of this User Guide.
3.21
Using Color Coded Takes
REAPER's Item, Item and take colors command offers a
variety of interesting ways that you can use color when working
with takes and items (see right). We'll look at this whole topic in
detail in Chapter7, but for now notice the command Set active
takes to one random color.
If after making your preferred working selection from the
available takes for any track you double-click on that track in the
Track Control Panel then all media items in that track will be
selected.
Choosing Set active take to one random color will now produce an effect similar to that shown below. This
will only be visible if an option to show take color is enabled in the Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms page of your
Preferences.
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3.22
Working With Multiple Takes
Where an item includes more than one take, you can right click over any take and use the Take command to
control and manage your multiple takes. The Take submenu is quite extensive - we'll explore most of its
features in Chapter 8. For the time being, however, you should be aware of the following, especially if your
takes are not displayed in lanes.
Command
Shortcut
Effect
Next Take
T
Displays next take for selected track(s).
Previous Take
Shift T
Displays previous take for selected track(s).
Explode All Takes to New Tracks
Creates a separate track for each take (see below).
Explode All Takes to
New Tracks differs from
Show All Takes in
Lanes in that it lets you
treat each take
separately as a separate
track. The picture on the
right illustrates this. Track 1 consists of two takes which are shown in lanes. After exploding these takes to new
tracks we have (in addition to the original track) two new additional tracks, one for each take.
Caution: One look at the Take submenu (on the media item's right-click context menu) will show you that
there are commands available for deleting takes and cropping to active take. You are advised to avoid these
until you have worked thru Chapter 8 of this guide. In particular, avoid using the Delete key when selecting
takes: you are likely to delete more than just the take that you don't want!
Try it now! Open the project file All Through The Night LAYERS.RPP (which you saved earlier) and add a
vocal harmony track to this project. Use this track to record three takes – then save the file.
3.23
Overlapping Items
You have already
been shown two
of the three
overdubbing
options on the
Options menu command New recording that overlaps with existing media, i.e. Splits existing items
and create new takes (default) and Trims existing items behind new recordings (tape mode). The
third option is to Create new media items in separate lanes (layers).
This example shows this. In the first illustration (top) a part of a track has been recorded. In the second
illustration (above), we have returned to this track and with the option Create new media items in separate
lanes (layers) enabled we have re-recorded the last part again, together with some new material.
In this case, the second take is to all intents and purposes a separate media item. You can choose which of
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3 - Recording Audio and MIDI
these media items are and are not played.
There is also an Options menu command to Show overlapping media items in lanes. The maximum
number of lanes can be set on the Options, Preferences, Appearance page.
This general topic will be addressed again later in this guide, especially in Chapters 4, 5 and 7.
3.24
Recording Multiple Additional Items
We have already seen how you can use REAPER to record multiple takes on the same tracks. Later, in Chapter
8, you will be shown how to edit these, so as to take the best parts from each of several takes and then patch
them together into a single take.
As an alternative to using multiple takes, however, you may wish to record additional items onto an existing
track, perhaps overlapping. This is an example of where free item positioning can offer you greater flexibility. By
default, free item positioning is not enabled. To record extra items (rather than additional takes) on to an
existing track, follow this sequence:
1. Set record mode to normal (Options, Record Mode: Normal).
2. Make sure Free Item Positioning (FIPM) is enabled (ticked) for
the tracks being recorded. Right click on the Track Control Panel
for the selected tracks and select Enable free item
positioning if this is not already ticked.
3. Record your first item for the track.4. Position the cursor at the point where you wish to record the second item. Record this item.
5. Repeat step 4. as often as required.
Example
In the first screen shot shown here,
Track 1 contains a Vocal Track and
Track 2 a Vocal Harmony for part of
the song.
In the second screen shot, the
option for Free item positioning
(FIPM) has been enabled for Track
2. The mouse cursor shows a small
handle that can be used to adjust
the height of this media item.
In the third screen shot, a second
Vocal Harmony has been recorded
on to Track 2, overlapping the
original harmony.
Notice that this is not an alternative
take of the first harmony, but an
additional media item.
Note: In the Options, Preferences, Project, Track/Sends Defaults window there is an option to make free item
positioning enabled for your tracks by default.
3.25
Recording with Empty Events
Empty Events are a clever device which can be helpful when you are overdubbing or layering. If you know
exactly the regions where you want recording to start and stop, you can define these regions by inserting empty
events. Then, when recording is commenced, only those regions defined by the empty events will actually be
recorded.
Let’s take an example where a vocal track has already been recorded, and we want to lay down a harmony
vocal, where this harmony is only used for the chorus line of the song. This is how you would do this:
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1. Insert a new track to be used for the vocal harmony. Ideally, you should name this track straight away.
2. Arm the track for recording. Assign an audio input in the usual way. Turn on Monitor Input for this track,
and make sure the output from the Master is directed to your headphones.
3. Use the Options menu to ensure that Record mode: auto punch selected items is chosen. Notice the
appearance of the Record button in the transport bar changes.
4. To create an empty item, first make sure that your new track is selected. Click and drag to define a time
selection, then use the Insert, Empty item command to create the empty item. Repeat this as often as
required. If necessary, click and drag to adjust their exact positions. An example is shown here.
5. If you need to
resize any of
them, hover the
mouse over the
border between
the end of the
event and the background, about half way up. Click hold and drag to the left to make it shorter, or to the
right to make it longer, then release the mouse.
6. Select all of the required events. To do this, use the Ctrl key while clicking on each in turn. If you need to
reposition the play cursor before recording, do so by clicking on the Timeline. Arm the track for recording.
7. Press Ctrl R to start recording. When finished, press Ctrl R again to stop. If prompted, accept the
option to save all files. Your previously empty media items will have been replaced with your newly
recorded material. Disarm the track.
3.26
Recording with Input FX Plug-ins
Audio effects (FX) are usually added to a track later in the production process, well after the material has been
recorded. This subject was introduced in Chapter 2, and you'll find more about it elsewhere (for example, in
Chapter 15). However, REAPER does allow you to add effects to material as it is being recorded if you wish. Use
this facility with caution, as once an effect has been added to a recorded item in this way it cannot be easily
removed (if at all). The procedure for recording with FX is as follows:
1.
2.
Arm the track for recording and select the required audio or MIDI input device in the usual way.
Right-click on the Record Arm button and choose Track input FX chain from the context menu. This
causes the Add FX to Track window to be displayed.
3. Select any effect required, then click on OK. Set the parameters for this effect.
4. Use the Add button to add any additional effects.
5. Close the FX window.
6. Audition the performance and the effects as necessary (see comment below), then record the track in
the usual way.
Effects placed in a track's input FX chain only use resources when the track is armed, and are applied
destructively to the media item during recording. Most probably, before doing this you will want to audition the
instrument or voice being recorded together with these FX so that you can get the parameter settings right. To
do this, you simply need to keep the track armed and turn on input monitoring while you listen to the live
material and adjust the FX parameters to suit. Input monitoring is explained elsewhere in this guide, for
example in the sections dealing with layered and overdub recording.
3.27
Preserve PDC Delayed Monitoring in Recorded Items
If you are monitoring audio on an armed track against
previously recorded tracks any of which uses a plug-in that has
latency (such as, ReaFir) this will cause the output to be
delayed. In this case you may wish to have the recorded output
sound exactly as you are hearing it while recording. For
example, you might be playing the notes early in order to make
it sound right.
With this option on, it will play back the same way you heard it as you played it, with the option off it will be
earlier (as the PDC of the plug-in will take effect).
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3 - Recording Audio and MIDI
3.28
Recording a Track’s Output
There could be any number of reasons why you might wish to record a track's output. One example might be to
record the output from an external synthesizer directly
onto an audio track, as a wave file or similar. Here is an
example of how you might do this:
1. Make sure that your MIDI keyboard is connected to
your PC.
2. Create a new track. Name it and arm it for
recording. Enable input monitoring.
3. Select Record: output then your required option.
Most likely this will be mono, latency compensated.
4. Select Input: MIDI, then select your input device
from the available options.
5. Make such adjustments as you need (e.g. to the
synth parameters) while you audition the music.
6. When ready, record.
7. Stop recording when finished.
3.29
Recording FX Bus Output
You can record the output of an FX bus track. Doing this opens up creative mixing options. For example, you
could record the output of a reverb bus to a stereo audio track, then use stereo or dual panning to adjust the
positioning of that effect in your mix. Here's how:
1. Set up a FX Bus track, select it, and arm it for recording.
2. You might wish to also turn up the track’s Receives to get a good strong signal – you can always turn
down the volume when playing it back later.
3. Set the track to Monitor Input and chose a Recording Mode. This is likely to be Output, Stereo.
4. Play the song and monitor the signal level.
5. Rewind to start and press Record.
6. Stop recording when finished.
Tip: After doing this you will most likely want to mute the sends to the bus and set the bus FX to bypass. It
can still be a good idea to leave the FX inserted in the bus, as a record of how the output was produced.
3.30
Recording MIDI
You have a number of options for recording MIDI, depending on what equipment you have and how it is set up.
In every case, however, the principle is the same:
 You will need to use either REAPER's virtual keyboard or a MIDI input device, such as a keyboard
attached via a MIDI In port on your sound card or other audio device.
 You will need to create a track (or assign an existing one) for your MIDI recording.
 You will need to assign an output device for your track.
 You will need to assign a Channel for the MIDI item.
 You will need to turn Input Monitoring on to be able to hear what you are playing.
REAPER's Virtual MIDI
Keyboard, can be played
using your mouse or PC
keyboard. This keyboard is
displayed using the command
View, Virtual MIDI
Keyboard. The shortcut keys
Alt B can be used to toggle
display on and off.
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Procedure for Recording to a new MIDI Track
1. Insert a new track into a project file. Arm this track for recording.
2. Make sure that your MIDI keyboard is connected to the computer, MIDI Input of your sound card or Audio
Device and that it is switched on. In this example, we will be using the REAPER Virtual MIDI
Keyboard. If this is not visible, press Alt B. Right click over any key that you wish to be your centre note.
3. On the track you are using, right click over the arm record button (as shown). Make sure that Monitor
Input and Record Input are both selected, and that you have selected the Virtual MIDI Keyboard as
the Input: MIDI device. For this
example, select All Channels).
These settings can be made in the
Routing Matrix if you prefer.
4. Make sure the Track’s output goes
to the Master, and that the Master
output goes to the hardware audio
outputs to which your speakers or
headphones are attached.
5. In this example we will use a
Software Synthesizer. Open the FX
Window for this track. You will need
to insert a Software Synthesizer
here. You can use any such VSTi or
DXi synth that you already have
installed. In this example, we will
be using VSTi ReaSynth (Cockos), which is included with REAPER. For the time being, leave the
ReaSynth parameters at their default settings.
6. Press Ctrl R to start recording. Play a simple tune on the Virtual Keyboard. Use your mouse or PC
Keyboard – e.g., zxcvbvcxz will play half a scale up and down. When finished. Press Ctrl R again to stop
recording. If prompted, save your media item.
In Chapter 13 we will see how your MIDI data can be
edited using REAPER's built in midi editor.
Procedure for Playing Back a MIDI Item
Play the track. As it plays, you can alter the nature and
shape of the sound by adjusting the soft synth
parameters. When you have found a sound you like, you
can click on the
+ button in the
FX Window
(indicated by the
mouse cursor,
shown left) and
then choose
Save Preset to
name and save
that set of
parameters. Your
named preset
can be recalled
from the Preset drop down list any time. You can make
and use presets in this way for all FX Plug-ins and Synths.
With VSTi synths, you are also able to import and export patch/bank files (see above).
Note: The example above demonstrates an important difference between MIDI and Audio. With Audio the
actual sounds made by the instrument or voice are recorded. It is possible to use FX like EQ and Compression to
alter how the audio item sounds when played back, but the audio item itself stays the same.
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With MIDI, you are essentially recording a series of instructions that by themselves have no sound. The music
is created when those instructions are fed to a synthesizer. By changing the parameters of the synthesizer's
settings – or even by changing the synthesizer – we are able to produce a completely different sound.
Despite these differences, both audio and MIDI items can be included on the same track.
Note: Before recording, you can assign sequential input channels to a number of MIDI tracks in one action.
Select the tracks, then click on the Input button for any one of them. From the menu, choose first Assign
inputs sequentially, then MIDI (sequential inputs or channels), then select the MIDI device, then the
channel selection (e.g. for four tracks, perhaps channels 1 to 4).
3.31
Other MIDI Recording Modes
When recording MIDI, you should
select one of six modes. In the above
example, we used Record Input. With
this mode, any existing events will be
retained: the new material will be
recorded as a new take. Four of the
other five are Record: MIDI overdub
replace modes:
 Record MIDI overdub: this will
add new notes on any channel
within existing items while
preserving what is already there.
 Record MIDI replace: from the time you start recording until you stop, existing MIDI notes will be
removed and any new material played on any channel will be recorded in their place.
 Record MIDI touch-replace: existing MIDI notes will be replaced by any new notes played over them on
the same channel as the original material. All other existing material will remain as it is.
 Record MIDI latch-replace: existing MIDI material remains unchanged until you strike the first note. All
of the old material will then be replaced with notes played on the same channel as the original material
until recording is stopped.
 Record Output -> Record: output (MIDI): Similar to the input mode, but records the MIDI signal
coming out of the FX chain.
Note that these options can often be used effectively with time selection recording (see sections 3.16 to 3.18)
and looped time selection recording (see below).
Try it now! If you have a MIDI keyboard, open the project file All Through The Night LAYERS.RPP (which
you saved earlier) and add a MIDI keyboard track to this project.
3.32
Recording With a Virtual Instrument
To use a virtual instrument (such as a VSTi or DXi plug-in) for
recording a MIDI track, you should choose the Insert virtual
instrument on new track… command. This can be done
either by choosing Insert from the main menu (then Virtual
instrument on new track), or by right clicking
over the vacant Track Control Panel area and
selecting this command from the context menu.
You will then be presented with a selection of all the
virtual instruments that you have installed on your
system. Double-click on the required item. The track
will be created, armed and named and the
instrument displayed.
The example shown here is for ReaSynDr, which
requires four outputs. If the item selected (like this
one) requires multiple outputs then REAPER will create the initial track and prompt to ask you if you would like
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the other required tracks to be automatically built. If you select Yes the entire output chain will be built for you.
What exactly this produces will, of course, depend upon which Virtual Instrument you have selected.
Monitoring an External Synthesizer
If you are working with an external hardware synthesizer then it is likely that at times you may wish to monitor
its output in REAPER. This topic is covered in Chapter 13, Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items.
3.33
Using Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth
You can use the Microsoft GS
Wavetable Synth if it is included
with your version of Windows.
This can be especially useful for
playing any MIDI files that you
may wish to import into REAPER.
You will be shown how to import
files in Chapter 4.
To enable the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth:
1. Go to Options, Preferences and display the MIDI Devices screen.
2. Under MIDI Outputs, right click on Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth and select Enable output.
3. Click on Apply, then on OK.
This Synth will now be available
as a MIDI Hardware Output.
You can if you wish now use the
Microsoft GS Wavetable SW
Synth as your output device
instead of using a software synth
(see above right).
3.34
Looped Overdubbing and Looped Time Selection Recording
Loop overdubbing allows you to make repeated overdubs of a section of recorded material without having to be
repeatedly stopping and starting. The technique can be used with both audio and MIDI. In both cases, you will
need to check your Options, Preferences, Audio, Loop Recording settings. Set When recording and
looped add recorded media to project to On stop. Usually you will also want to enable In loop
recording, discard incomplete first or last takes if at least one full loop was recorded. You should
also (from REAPER's main Options menu) disable Loop points linked to time selection and enable Record
mode: Time selection auto-punch.
Now arm your track for recording, select your record options and make your time selection just as you would for
normal punch recording. Click and drag along the timeline to create the loop – this should enclose the time
selection, as shown below. Make sure Toggle repeat (next to Record button) is enabled on the Transport Bar.
When
Record
input
(audio or
MIDI) is
selected,
then both audio and MIDI essentially behave in a similar way. When you record, new material will be recorded
within the time selection (and added to the MIDI item) for each pass over the loop until you press Stop. The
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loop is used to audition material immediately before and after the section being recorded.
For example, you might choose Monitor input and Record Input (audio or MIDI) and Input MIDI then
your MIDI device. If so, the outcome will be similar to that shown here.
Audio material recorded with Input MONO rather than Input MIDI would produce a similar result, except of
course the media items would be audio instead of MIDI. You will, however, get significantly different outcomes if
you use any of the Record: MIDI overdub/replace options with looped time selection recording. In each
case, new takes will not be created. Instead, the existing take will be edited. For example:
Record: MIDI Overdub: with each loop, the new material will be added to the existing material within the
time selection.
Record: MIDI Replace: with each loop, all previous material within the time selection will be replaced with
new material. For example, the first loop will replace existing events within the time selection. Second time
around it will replace the material recorded in the first loop with new events, and so on. Only the most recent
material will be saved.
Record: MIDI Touch-replace: Each time you play a note within the time selection any existing material
concurrent with that note will be replaced with new material is on the same channel. For example, if you play
correctly except for one wrong note first time, you can correct just that one note second time round.
Record: MIDI Latch-replace: Each time round the loop all existing material in the time selection will be
replaced with new material if on the same channel only from the moment you press your first note. This
technique can be useful, for example, if you are replacing existing material little by little.
3.35
Recording with External Hardware FX
REAPER can record a track with an
external hardware FX device in much the
same way as you might use an external
device as an insert when recording on an
analog desk. You use a plug-in called
ReaInsert. If you want to try it out
step by step, create a new REAPER
project file, insert a track, then get your
FX device ready.
Example
1. Connect an otherwise unused
audio output to the input for your
FX device. Connect the output of
your FX device to an otherwise
unused audio input.
2. Create a new REAPER project file
and add a single audio track. Give
this track a suitable name. Let’s
record a vocal with the FX on it.
3. Connect your microphone to an
otherwise unused audio input.
Switch on the FX Device.
4. Arm the track for recording.
5. Select the input device (to which the line or microphone is attached), select Monitor Input and specify
that you want to Record Output and choose your required option (such as Mono, Latency
Compensated), just as we did in the section Recording a Track's Output.
6. Now display the FX Window for this track, and add the FX VST:ReaInsert to this window (see right).
7. Specify the actual Hardware Sends and Returns that you set up at steps 1. and 3.
8. Make sure the FX Device mix is set to 100% Dry, and within ReaInsert enable the option Automatic
device latency adjustment . This enables REAPER to calculate the required degree of delay
compensation.
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9. With the track’s output directed to your headphones, monitor the required Volume and FX Levels,
including the FX Wet/Dry mix.
10. When you are ready, Record.
11. When finished, don’t forget to disarm the track and set the ReaInsert plug-in status to Bypass.
3.36
Preference Settings for Recording
The Recording page of the Preferences window can be used to specify a number of options about REAPER’s
recording behavior. Available options include:










To scroll track view while recording.
To display a preview of media item peaks as they are being recorded. This is useful to confirm that you
really are recording and haven’t, for example, forgotten to arm one or more tracks. You can also specify a
screen update frequency.
When to build the peaks for recorded media files.
To automatically display the whole Track Control Panel (including VU meters) when a track is armed.
Whether to prompt to save/delete/rename files when recording is stopped. If you disable this option, files
are automatically saved.
Whether to prompt to save/delete/rename files on punch out. If you disable this option, files recorded by
this method are automatically saved.
Whether to start recording to a new file after a specified number of megabytes. This can help to make
data secure when recording a long live performance,.
Prevent recording from starting if no track is armed. You may wish to turn this off if you are using layered
recording for a track (or tracks) where recording is not required to start until some way into the song.
Which items to include in the file names for recorded media – you can include any combination of the
track index number, the track name and the time stamp (or none of these).
To check for free disk space before recording, and to display the amount of free disk space and/or
recording path on the menu bar.
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3 - Recording Audio and MIDI
3.37
Track Preferences for Recording
The REAPER Track Defaults settings includes a number of items that you can use to help make the recording
process a little easier. These settings can be found on the Project, Track/Send Defaults page of the
Options, Preferences window. Settings on this page include:
 The default gain level for the
track’s volume fader.
 Whether output should be
routed to the Main send.
 The default new track height.
 Whether new tracks are
automatically armed for
recording.
 A Record Config option to set
defaults for the Record Arm
context menu. Options include,
to turn on by default Input
Monitoring and specify default
record input settings.
 Which Record Mode should be the default for new tracks.
Notice also that under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Track Control Panels there are settings which
together determine how your track VU meters are presented.
For example, you can choose whether or not to Show track input when record armed and to Make
obvious that track input is
clickable. Disabling this latter
option may improve the clarity of
the display on your VU meters.
Enabling Show db scales on
record armed track meters and
Sticky Clip Indicators helps you
to monitor peak levels. MIDI users
may wish to Show MIDI velocity
on track VU and/or Show MIDI
output activity on track VU.
You can also specify whether to
Reset peak indicators on play/seek. If enabled, the numeric peak indicators on track and master VU
meters will cleared when playback is restarted or the play cursor moved.
3.38
Projects with Mixed Formats
REAPER allows you to use different audio formats for different tracks in the same file. The default format for
each new track that you create will be determined by your Project Settings. To change these for any track,
simply right click over the track’s VU meter,
then from the menu choose Track
Recording Settings.
You can choose any of the formats WAV,
AIFF, DDP, FLAC, MP3, OGG Vorbis,
Video (GIF) or WavPack lossless
compressor.
Depending on the format you choose, you
will be presented with a range of options
appropriate to that format.
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3.39
REAPER Audio Recording Checklist
The following checklist is for guidance only. In some cases you may vary the suggested order (e.g., you can
switch on your PC and start REAPER before getting together your microphone and leads). In other cases the
order is critical (e.g. you should always connect your microphone to your preamp before turning on the
phantom power supply). If you are not sure, keep to the exact same sequence outlined here.
Item
Comment
Preparation
Set up all external recording equipment needed (microphones, stands etc.).
All faders and gain controls on mixer and/or sound device turned right down.
Phantom power (if available) turned off.
Everything connected that needs to be connected (e.g. microphone leads to
mixer or sound device).
Turn equipment on, but check volume on speakers isn't too loud.
Connect headphones to headphone amp or sound device.
If phantom power required (for condenser microphone), turn it on.
PC Preliminaries
Turn on PC and wait for Windows to open.
Open REAPER with required project file. Save file.
Project Settings
Check recording format and settings – e.g. 24 bit WAV at 44100 Hz.
Is a different format required for this track?
Make sure Record Mode is set to Normal.
Track Settings
Named and armed for recording?
Track Input Monitoring on or off?
Use the Sound Card’s direct input monitoring if
available in preference to REAPER’s.
Record Input selected?
Correct input channel selected?
Test Recording Levels
Start low and work up.
Record a small sample
to test levels: the
examples here show too
low, too high and about right.
It is better to be too low than too high.
Recording
Press Ctrl R to record and again to stop recording when finished. Save media
items. Press Ctrl S to save project file.
Evaluating
Unarm track before playing back recorded tracks to evaluate them.
Especially if listening thru headphones, disable Input Monitoring (or turn faders
and gain controls on the input device right down), to prevent live ambient
sounds from being mixed in with your recorded material.
3.40
Recording an Internet Audio Stream
You can use REAPER to record an audio stream from the internet. Before doing so you should make sure that
you are not in breach of any copyright restrictions. The exact method will depend on your hardware setup,
including your sound card. Your sound card should include some sort of software for changing its settings. This
may or may not have its own icon within the Windows Control Panel. If you are not sure how to access it, you
can click on the Windows Start button, choose Run, then type sndvol32 –r and press Enter. In overview,
these are the steps that you will need to perform.
1. Access your sound cards control software and modify its settings to select (depending on the options
available) the required option. You should probably temporarily disable input from all other sources
(Microphone, Line, etc).
2. Open your web browser and find the page containing the item that you wish to record.
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3 - Recording Audio and MIDI
3. Open REAPER, create a new file and add a track.
4. The next step may require a little experimentation. Depending on the equipment you are using, it might
be necessary to change your Options, Preferences, Audio, Devices settings to Direct Sound. An
example is shown here.
These settings may not
be the best for your
particular system.
5. Arm your track for
recording, making sure
to select the correct
input.
6. Press Ctrl R to start
recording. In your web
browser, play the item
that you wish to record.
When finished, stop
recording and save your
work.
Note: Don’t forget when you have finished, to restore both your Sound Card Recording Control options and
REAPER’s Audio Device Preferences to their previous settings.
3.41
Converting Audio Media Item Format
In this internet age it is becoming increasingly common for musicians to want to collaborate on projects all the
way across the world. Consider this scenario. You have a part recorded project of perhaps 50 or more 24 bit
wave files. In
some far off
land you have
a friend who
has offered to
lay down a
track such as a
flute. You'd like
to get your
source files to
her, so that she
can do this for
you, layering it
down against
whatever
headphone mix
best suits her.
However, your
recorded
material so far
comes to over
3 GB and she
doesn't have a particularly fast internet connection.
One solution could be to convert the files to a compressed format and send her those. There's a quick way to
do this, using the File, Save project as … command. Choose this command and follow these steps.
1.
If you wish, navigate to a required parent folder.
2.
Enable the three options to Create subdirectory for project, Copy all media into project
directory, and Convert media.
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3.
Click on the Format... button to display the settings box shown above.
4.
Enable the option (top left) Set format to save as.
5.
Select your required format (e.g. FLAC, MP3 or, as shown here, OGG Vorbis).
6.
Specify your preferred format settings.
7.
Click OK then Save.
All audio media items in the project will be converted to the specified format as they are copied across. The
format of the original items will remain unchanged.
You can also convert and export selected individual media items from one format to another without having to
convert the whole project. This topic is covered in Chapter 20.
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4 - Importing Media: The Media Explorer
4
4.1
Importing Media: The Media Explorer
Introduction and Overview
Media Explorer display is toggled using the View, Media Explorer command, or the shortcut Ctrl Alt X. Its
interface is shown in the diagram below.
The REAPER main menu command Insert, Media File … can be used to incorporate existing media items
(such as MP3, MIDI and WAV files) into a REAPER project, but it is often easier and more flexible to use
REAPER’s Media Explorer for this purpose. The media explorer includes several additional features that help
you to find the items that you want. Before exploring its features and its functionality, identify the following:
Explorer/Shortcuts Panel. This can be used to navigate your directories and files, rather like Windows
Explorer. In addition, you can add here shortcuts to your favorite folders.
Browsing History Buttons. A quick way of browsing back and forth thru your browsing history.
Browsing History Dropdown. This stores (and can display) a list of recently visited folders. You can
select from this list to open any of these folders.
Filter Box. Use this to type a text string to filter the displayed file list.
List/Details Dropdown. This selects whether full file details are displayed (as shown above) or file
names only are listed.
Transport Bar. Works with selected media item. Controls are Play, Pause, Stop and Repeat.
I/O Button. Directs output to any audio output, or to play thru any track selected in Arrange View.
Pitch Wheel. Allows pitch of selected item to be adjusted on playback. Use the options menu to
determine pitch shift knob range (by up to plus or minus 12 semitones) and behavior (continuous,
quarter tones, or semitones).
Tempo Options. Allows you to set tempo match off, or on, or to half, or to double.
Volume Fader. Adjusts volume of playback of selected item.
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Although more commonly used for finding and inserting media files, the media explorer can also be used to
find, and open, existing .RPP project files.
Note that the media explorer is dockable. To do this, choose the Options, Dock media explorer in docker
command (or use the right-click context menu).
4.2
Searching the Media Explorer
Although in some respects similar to Windows Explorer, REAPER's media explorer incorporates a number of
extra features which can make searching easier and more flexible. Here is a general summary.
In order to do this …
Do this ….
Browse thru your
folders
Use the Explorer/Navigate panel in conjunction with the main panel. For example,
click on My Computer (Windows) or Home (Mac) in the Explorer panel, then
use the main panel to browse thru your folders, and to open any folder.
Windows users have an option (Options menu) to Use Windows Explorer for
browsing. If enabled, the Windows Explorer context menu will be displayed
instead of REAPER's context menu when you right-click on any item.
Navigate thru
browsing history
Select from browsing history dropdown: all folders and directories visited during
your current session will be displayed and available.
Additionally, the buttons located to the left of this dropdown can be used to move
back and forwards thru your browsing history.
Type any text string (e.g. bass) in the unlabelled filter box (immediately left of the
list/details dropdown) to filter the list of displayed files.
Delete the text string to remove the filter.
Click on any column header to sort by that column – e.g. File name or Date. Click
again to reverse the sort order.
The Options menu includes three items which can be toggled on or off to restrict
file search according to any of the following:

Show all files

Search in subfolders

Search in folder names
Right click on the folder name in the main
panel, then choose Add to shortcut list
from the menu.
This folder will now be displayed in the
explorer/shortcuts panel. You can select this
shortcut at any time to display its contents.
Filter file list
Sort file list
Restrict search
Add folder to
Shortcuts list
Remove a shortcut
4.3
Right-click on the shortcut name (in the explorer/shortcuts panel) and choose
Remove selected shortcut from the menu.
Media Item Preview
The media explorer allows you to preview media items before you decide which to insert into your project. By
default, an item is automatically played when you select it. You also have a number of options available which
determine exactly how the preview feature will behave.
 If Auto play is enabled/disabled by the tick box just below the pitch wheel. There is also an option to
Start on bar.
 On the Options menu there is an option to Auto advance to next file after preview. This will only
work if the repeat function on the transport bar is set to off. Other preview toggle options include Autostop preview after adding media, and Display preview position in tenths of seconds.
 The Transport Bar buttons (L to R) are Play, Pause, Stop and Repeat. The horizontal fader adjusts the
volume of playback.
 Click anywhere on the displayed waveform to play back from there. Use the mousewheel to zoom in and
out of the media peaks horizontally. To adjust the height of the waveform preview, click and hold the
mouse on the top edge of the preview area, then drag up or down.
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4 - Importing Media: The Media Explorer








4.4
You can also scroll by holding Shift while you drag the mouse left or right. You can mark any time
selection by clicking and dragging over the preview display, and move a selection left or right by holding
Alt while you drag the mouse.
Display of waveforms can be turned on and off in the Options menu, Always show waveform peaks
for selected media.
Other playback/waveform Options include Display preview position in tenths of second and Auto
stop preview after adding media.
Enabling Options, Auto advance to next file after preview will cause all files displayed in the media
explorer main window to be played in sequence. For this to work the repeat button on the transport bar
must be set to off.
By clicking on the I/O button (next to Transport Bar), you can direct the Preview to any audio output. The
I/O button menu also includes an option to play the previewed item through a selected track.
The Pitch rotary control adjusts the pitch of the item being previewed. Double-click to reset. The Options
menu Pitch shift knob range command allows you to set its range to +/- 2, 6 or 12 semitones and to
set its behavior to Continuous, Quarter tones or Semitones.
The Options menu includes two toggle options to Preserve pitch when tempo matching and Reset
pitch shift when changing media.
To avoid possible clashes of tempo, you can select an option (including Tempo Match Off and Tempo
Match On) from the drop down list in the preview area. There is also a toggle option to Start on Bar.
Inserting an Audio File as a New Take or Item
Selected media items can be inserted into the current project from the media explorer's main window by rightclicking over the file name and choosing from the options offered (see below). The choices are:
Insert into project (on currently selected track)
Insert at time selection (stretch/loop to fit) (if a time selection is currently active)
Insert into project on a new track
Insert as take in selected item (requires an item to have been selected)
Use as media source for selected item in place of that item's existing media source
Use as media source for selected item (stretch/loop to fit) in place of item's existing media source
Preview (plays item but does not insert it).
Show in explorer (Windows)/finder (Mac)
A quick way is to double-click on the file name, or to select it
and press Enter, or to drag and drop – but it isn't quite that
simple! Using any of these methods will cause a default
action to be automatically applied.
You can determine that default action by using the media
explorer's Options, Default action (double-click or
Enter key) command. This menu is shown here. It might
seem strange at first, because it includes options for both
media files and (.RPP) project files, both of which will most
likely have different needs.
You should specify your requirements in each of the four
sections on this menu.
Choose one of Insert media (if media item) or open
project (if .RPP project), Start preview, or Do nothing.
Specify for media items whether to Insert media on
selected track or insert media on new track.
Set your preference for the toggle option Enable looping
when inserting selected portion of media.
Specify for project (,RPP) files whether to Open projects in current tab or Open projects in new tab.
As well as (or instead of) importing entire individual media items, the media explorer makes a number of other
choices available. These are explored in the table below:
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In order to do this …
Do this ….
Insert part of a
media item into a
project
Select the required portion of the waveform in the preview window.
Right click over the selected
portion and choose one of the
items from the context menu.
The item can be loop enabled or
disabled. It can be inserted at
an existing time selection, on a
new track, or as a new take on
a selected item.
Alternatively, the required portion can be dragged and dropped into the project, in
which case your default settings will be applied.
Insert multiple items
at once
See also note below.
Use Ctrl click to build your required
selection in media explorer.
Right-click over the selection and
make your choice from the menu.
Alternatively, you can drag and drop
the selection into the project. Unless
you have changed the default setting, you will then be prompted to select
whether you want the items inserted on one track or on separate tracks.
Note: The Media screen in the
Preferences window includes a setting
for default behavior when inserting
multiple items. These are:
Insert in one track (advancing
time) – each is placed one after the
other in the same track.
Insert across tracks – each item is placed in a separate track, all starting together.
Decide automatically – if files are of the same length (file size) they will be placed in separate tracks,
otherwise they will be inserted sequentially in the same track.
Prompt user – you will be prompted each time to specify your preference.
If in doubt, set this to Prompt User. Other useful options include whether or not imported media items should
be copied to the project media directory. See Chapter 21 for more details.
4.5
Creating and Using a Media Explorer Database
Within the media explorer shortcuts panel you can create your own database (or databases) to further
customize how your samples and media files are organized and displayed. One benefit of this is that it lets you
display together files that might be
stored in different folders.
For example, you might use different
folders for various types of drum
samples (snare, kick, hi hat, etc.).
There might, however, be times when
you would want to see the contents of
these various folders listed together. To
do this, you could create a database
called “Drums Various” and add all of
these folders to that database.
Databases are set up and managed using right-click context menus in the Shortcuts column.
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In order to do this …
Do this ….
Create a new empty
database
Add folder contents to
database
Right-click over empty area in Shortcuts column. Choose Create new
database... from menu. Type name, press Enter.
Select database in Shortcuts column. Right-click over its name and choose
Add path to database … from menu. Navigate to required folder, select it
and click on OK. Repeat this to add more folders.
Create a new database
from a folder
In main media explorer window, right-click on folder, choose Make
database from folder.
Remove a folder contents
from database
Update database contents
to reflect changes in
folder contents
Select database in Shortcuts column. Right-click over its name and choose
Remove path from database... from menu. Navigate to required folder,
select it and click on OK.
Select database in Shortcuts column. Use Rename database... command
on context menu.
Select database in Shortcuts column. From context menu use Scan
database for new files to find and add new files, Remove missing
files from database to remove deleted files.
Remove a database
Right-click on database in Shortcuts column, choose Remove database.
Change database name
Media explorer databases can be included in your export configuration settings (Options, Preferences,
General): see also Chapter 21.
4.6
Replacing an Item's Source Media
You can select an item in the media explorer and use it to replace the source media in an existing item (or
number of items) in the current project. This can be done from the media explorer menus or by drag and drop.
To replace source media using the menus:
1. Select the media item (or items) in the project.
2. In media explorer, select the required replacement item.
3. Right-click on this item and from the menu choose
either Use as media source for selected items or
Use as media source for selected items
(stretch/loop to fit).
To replace source media using drag and drop:
1. Select the item in media explorer.
2. Hold Ctrl Alt while you drag and drop to the
media item whose source is to be replaced.
3. The dialog box shown here will pop up. You can
choose Insert new media item that
overlaps target media item, Add source
media as new take in target media item,
Replace target media with source media
or (if there is more than one instance of the
item) Replace all x occurrences of the
target media with source media.
4. Specify your preference as to whether to
Adjust target media item length to fit
source media, Stretch source media to fit
target media item, or Loop source media
to fit target media.
Note: This method can be used to replace an existing source media item with part of another item. After
selecting the replacement item in media explorer, click and drag in the waveform preview area to select the
required part of that item, then follow steps 2. to 4. above.
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4.7
Importing MIDI Files
To preview a MIDI file in media explorer, first create an empty track in your project and insert a virtual
instrument or synthesizer into that track's FX chain. You can then select any MIDI file in the media explorer and
preview it. You can also select any part of a MIDI file to import: use the same techniques as those described
earlier in this chapter. Right-click over the file to choose one of the insert options.
When you import a type 1 MIDI file, you are offered the option of separating the tracks, or importing the file as
one track. A message such as that shown below will appear.
If you enable the Expand option, the file will be imported as a series of separate tracks, one for each channel.
Otherwise, the material will all be imported onto different channels within a single MIDI track. You have also the
options of merging the MIDI files tempo map to the project
tempo map and/or importing any MIDI markers (if present) as
project markers.
There are several methods available to you to then assign
these tracks to an external synth for output (to enable you to
play the song). This is one suggestion:
1. Add a new track immediately above the first of your
MIDI tracks.
2. Make this a folder track all of with your MIDI tracks
contained within the folder.
3. Insert a synthesiser (such as ReaSynth) into the FX chain for the folder track.
4. Save and play the file.
You'll learn more about folders and how you create them, set them up and use them in Chapter 5.
4.8
Importing Media from Audio CD
You can use REAPER's media explorer to import into
a project material from an audio CD (such as you
might play on a CD player). To do this:
1. Insert an audio CD into your PC CD drive and
wait for it to be read.
2. Display the Media Explorer, select My
Computer in the left panel, then double-click
in the main panel on the letter which
represents your CD drive.
3. The contents of the CD will be listed.
4. To play (preview) any track from the CD, right
click over that track then choose Preview from the context menu (see above). Depending on what other
software is on your computer, you may also see some non-REAPER related commands below this.
5. To insert the contents of a track into your project as a media item, right click over that track and choose
one of the other commands from the menu. Each of these commands works as explained earlier.
Alternatively, you can double-click on the item to insert it into the currently selected track, or drag and drop to
insert either on to an existing track or to a new one.
4.9
Media File Import Formats
Media files can be imported into REAPER in any of the following formats.
CD Audio (.CDA)
DDP (.DAT)
FLAC (.FLAC)
MIDI (.MID)
MIDI System Exclusive Message
(.SYX)
MIDI Karaoke (.KAR)
MPEG Audio (,MP2, .MP3)
OGG Vorbis (.OGG, .MOGG)
Recycle ([email protected], .REX, .RCY)
AVI Video (.AVI)
MPEG Video (.MG, .MPEG)
WMV/WMA Video (.WMA, .WMV)
MK Video (.MKV)
LCF Capture Video (.LCF)
Quicktime (.MOV, .QT, .M4V, .MP4)
WebM (.WebM)
WAV (.WAV, .W64, .BWF)
AIFF (.AIF, .AIFF)
WAVPACK (.WV)
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5 - Project Arrangement Basics
5
5.1
Project Arrangement Basics
Managing Tracks
In Section 2, we introduced some very basic REAPER track
management features, such as Volume, Panning, Mute and
Solo. In this section, we will be exploring these features in
more depth, as well as introducing several others, including
moving and removing tracks, the use of track folders and track
parameter grouping.
Many of the commands and actions involved in track
management are available from the menu that is displayed
when you right click over any track number. The illustration
(right) shows these.
Remember that at any time you can use Ctrl Z to undo your
last action. REAPER’s Undo capabilities are described in more
detail later in this section.
Tip: Before continuing, you might wish to open the supplied
project file All Through The Night.RPP and save it to a new
name such as All Through The Night EDITS.RPP. You can
then use this file to try out and experiment with some of the
ideas presented in this section.
Basic Track Management
A number of techniques can be used for carrying out these various track management tasks.
Task
Method
Move a track up or down
the track order
Click on the track number, then click and drag the track up or down the
track list, then release the mouse. Media items are moved with the track.
Move two or more adjacent
tracks up or down
Click on the track number for the first track, then hold Shift while clicking
on the track number(s) of the last of the tracks that you wish to select.
Then click and drag up or down. Again. all media items are moved with
the tracks.
Delete a track
Click on or around the track number, the press Delete, or right click and
choose Remove tracks. All media items are removed with the track.
Delete two or more tracks
Use Ctrl with the left mouse click to make your selection, then press
Delete, or right click and choose Remove tracks. All media items are
removed with the tracks.
Copy a track as the next
track
Right click over the track number, choose Duplicate selected tracks. All
media items are duplicated with the track.
To do this with more than one track, select all required tracks first.
Copy a track to a specified
location
Click on the track number. Press Ctrl C. Move to the required location
then press Ctrl V. All media items are duplicated with the tracks.
To do this with more than one track, select all required tracks first.
Display the Master in Track
View
Right click anywhere in the Track Control Panel area, below the last track.
Choose Show master track, or use the keys Ctrl Alt M to toggle.
Make the Track Control
Panel wider/narrower
Click and drag right/left on the boundary between the TCP and the
arrange area. As the TCP becomes narrower, some controls may disappear
from view and faders may change to knobs.
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5.2
Track Control Modifiers
Four of the items used when auditioning tracks are
the Volume, Pan, Mute and Solo controls. These
controls were introduced in Chapter 2.
The Width control is also shown here. A width
control is displayed only if you select the stereo pan or dual pan law (from the pan fader right-click menu). This
will be discussed in Chapters 10 and 11.
By default, volume and pan faders control audio output. If you wish
instead to use them for data on MIDI channels for any track(s) you
should first select the tracks, then right-click over the track number
and choose MIDI track controls then one of the Link track
volume/pan to MIDI options from the menu (see Chapter 13).
Volume and Pan Controls
Modifier Key
with Volume Fader
with Pan Rotary
Alt
When mouse is released, fader returns to
its original position.
When mouse is released, fader returns to
its original position.
Ctrl Shift
With more than one track selected, only
the current track is affected.
With more than one track selected, only
the control for the current track is affected.
Ctrl
Allows more precise control of fader level.
Allows more precise control of fader level.
Double click
Reset to zero.
Reset to centre.
Mute and Solo Controls
Modifier Key
with Mute Button
with Solo Button
Shift
When more than one track is selected,
only the current track is toggled.
When more than one track is selected,
only the current track is toggled.
Ctrl
Clears all mutes.
Clears all solos.
Alt
Unmutes selected track(s), mutes all
others.
Solo selected tracks only, excludes output
from any sends.
Ctrl Alt
Mutes selected track(s), unmutes others.
Solo exclusive: Solos selected track(s),
unsolos all others.
Ctrl Shift
Not applicable
Toggles Solo Defeat mode for the track or
track selection. See comments below.
Note: When a track is muted, a small red M icon is shown in its VU meter. A !S icon indicates
that the track is not being heard because another track or tracks is or are soloed.
Solo Defeat
Solo Defeat can be used to ensure that a track will still be heard even
when another track or track selection is soloed exclusive.
The Mute and Solo control context menus
The options shown above are also available by right-clicking over the Mute
and Solo buttons respectively. These context menus are shown on the right.
They can be applied to an individual track or to a selection of tracks.
Bulk Track Mute/Solo
To mute or solo a range of tracks in one action, click and drag in the TCP
from the mute or solo button of the first track in the range to the same
button on the last track in the range, then release the mouse button. Repeat
this action to unmute/unsolo all muted or soloed tracks within a range.
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Volume and Pan Faders
Right clicking over the volume fader of any track or
folder will open a window displaying volume and pan
faders not only for the track itself but also for any
sends and receives associated with that track. An
example is shown here.
Right clicking over the Pan fader opens a window
which can be used to change that track's pan law.
This subject was discussed in Chapter 2.
Tip: By default, double-clicking on a track number in
the track control panel will cause all media items in
that track to be selected. You can change this
behavior if you wish on the Mouse Modifiers page of
your Preferences. For more information about
customizing mouse modifiers, see Chapter 14.
5.3 Solo In Front
Solo in front allows you to hear
the other tracks quietly in the
background when one track or a
track selection is soloed. This
feature is toggled on and off by
the Options, Solo In Front
command.
The level at which the background
tracks are heard can be specified
via the Options, Preferences,
Audio settings page. This setting
(in the example shown it is set at
18dB) determines the extent to
which the background mix is
reduced. This means that the higher the setting the quieter will be the background mix and vice versa.
5.4
Auto-Naming Multiple Tracks
In one action, you can create and automatically name any number of tracks
that serve a common purpose – for example, a number of backing vocal or
percussion tracks. This can be done using the Insert, Multiple tracks...
command.
In the example shown
here, we are creating three
Backing Vocals tracks (B
Vox) at the end of the
current track list. These
will be automatically be named B Vox 1, B Vox 2 and B Vox 3,
as shown.
5.5
Searching the Preferences Settings
You have already come across a number of REAPER’s preferences settings. For example, we have looked at
some of the preferences settings for Audio Devices, MIDI Devices, Recording and Projects. The more you work
with REAPER, the more you will realise how very many preferences settings there are. In fact, there are so
many that it can sometimes be difficult to remember which page you need for a particular setting.
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To help you there is a text box and a Find button near the bottom of the Preferences window. You can enter
any word or phrase in the box, click on Find and the first occurrence of that word or phrase will be shown. If
this isn’t the item that you’re looking for, each time you click the Find button the next occurrence of that word
or phrase will be shown. The item will be displayed with a colored highlight.
In the example shown
here, a search for
sends has turned up
some information about
various options for
setting the default
parameters for track
sends when they are
created.
Tip: By default, doubleclicking on a track number will cause all media items on that track to be selected. You can change this, and/or
add mouse modifiers of your own via the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers preferences page. For
example, you could assign Alt Double-click to the action View:Toggle track zoom to maximum height.
Instructions for customizing mouse modifiers can be found in Chapter 14.
5.6
Track Colors
You can use color as an effective means of helping you visually identify different tracks. To do this, simply select
the track (or tracks) in the Track Control Panel, then right click, choose the Track Color command, then use
any of these commands from the submenu:
Command
Effect
Set tracks to custom color…
Opens a Color Selection dialog box for you to select a color for the
track’s media items.
Set tracks to random colors
Sets the media items for each track in the selection to a different
randomly chosen color.
Set tracks to one random color
Sets the media items for all tracks in the selection to the same
randomly chosen color.
Set tracks to default color
Restores the track's color to the default for the current color theme.
The illustration (right) shows an
example of how the Colors interface
(displayed by choosing the Set tracks
to custom color… command) can be
used to specify different colors for
different tracks and groups of tracks.
On the Appearance page of your
Preferences settings (Options,
Preferences) you can use the Track
Control Panel options to apply your
colors to the track label background,
the track panel background, or both.
How the colors will be displayed for
your track media items will depend
upon which options are selected on the
Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms
page of your Preferences settings.
Waveform peaks and/or the
Background can be selected. You can also set the color strength (between 0 and 4) for both selected and
unselected tracks. More details of these and other Appearance options are listed and explained in Chapter 21.
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5.7
Color Themes
REAPER also supplies a number of color themes that you can use to present your projects attractively.
To select from the themes supplied with REAPER, use the Options, Themes command. You can modify the
colors and other characteristics of your preferred theme by selecting the action Show theme
tweak/configuration window from REAPER's action list editor. More details of this can be found in Chapters
10, 11 and 13. In addition, a very large number of complete themes are available in the REAPER stash. These
are available for free download at stash.reaper.fm You can also visit the REAPER User Forums for more
themes. Be aware, however, that changing themes can also result in changes in such areas as your track control
panel layout.
5.8
Track Icons
Icons can be added to tracks as you wish. You can drag your own .PNG or .JPG files from Windows Explorer and
drop them on to any track in the track control panel, or right click over the track number and choose Track
Icon then Set track icon... from the track menu to use any of those supplied with REAPER. This opens the
Load Image Resource dialog box. You can view the icons as thumbnails (shown here), tiles, or a list. Make
your selection and click on Open.
Shown left is an example of a project which uses track
icons. Remember that if you create a track template
from a track which displays an icon, then the icon will
be saved with the template. To display these icons also
in the Mixer, open the Mixer, display its menu and
choose Show Track Icons in Mixer. To remove icons
from any track or selection of tracks, first select the
tracks (in either the track control panel or the mixer)
then right-click over any selected track icon and choose
Remove Track Icon from the menu.
If you don't care for the icons supplied with REAPER –
or you can't find what you want – you can download
more track icon sets from the REAPER stash, at
stash.reaper.fm
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5.9
Track Layouts
Different people and different projects have different needs. That's one reason why REAPER's default theme
makes available to you a selection of different track layouts. You can select any of these for your tracks and,
indeed, if you wish even use different track layouts for different tracks. This topic is examined in more detail in
Chapter 12, where we deal with track, mixer, transport and envelope layouts. Here is a basic introduction.
First select the track (or tracks), then right click over the track panel. From the context menu choose Set track
layout then Track panel, then select from the list. New layouts are developed and added or modified from
time to time. Be prepared to explore! Some examples are shown below:
Default: the theme default track layout.
Default + value readouts: Volume and pan settings
displayed as text.
Small: uses less screen real estate.
Large: easier to read but uses more real estate.
Standard media: with horizontal volume fader (rather
than rotary).
5.10
Headphone Monitoring
While you are listening to and evaluating your various recorded items, it’s usually recommended practice to use
the monitors (speakers) in your studio or control room. However, you may wish also to use headphones from
time to time, perhaps for those occasions when you need to focus in detail on a particular track or media item.
Assuming that you have a PCI sound card or other audio device (Firewire or USB) which supports multiple
outputs, here’s a neat little trick.
1. Assign Output Aliases
to your outputs, as
explained in Chapter 1.
2. Display your Routing
Matrix and assign the
output from the Master
to the Control Room
speakers.
3. Put on your
headphones.
4. As you play the song,
click on the appropriate
cells on the routing
matrix to also direct any particular track on which you wish to focus to your headphones. Of course, you
can change from track to track, or add as many or as few as you want at any time.
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In the example shown (above), the entire mix (from the Master) is being heard thru the Main Speakers, but
only track 1 Vox is also being heard thru the headphones.
Remember that you can right click over this grid cell to display the
controls for this send (such as Volume). This can be also a good
technique to use when you have with you a musician who wants to
particularly hear her own track while you are mixing!
When you are mixing down, you might not wish to see all of the
available routing information available – it can get quite complex. You
might wish to keep the routing matrix display as simple as possible for
the job in hand. For example, if you are focussed purely on mixing,
you might not need to see all the various input assignments.
Right clicking over the background area lets you customize its display.
In the example shown here, by unchecking Show audio hardware
as sources we have simplified the display. If you have installed
ReaRoute, consider also disabling the options to Show ReaRoute as
destinations and Show ReaRoute as sources.
5.11
Creating a Headphone Mix
Provided your sound card includes at least two pairs of outputs, we
can make the process of headphone monitoring easier and more flexible by creating a headphone mix. This is
how it is done.
1.
Connect your Headphones to your Headphone Amp, and your Headphone Amp to one pair of outputs.
2.
Create a new track and name it Headphone Mix. Create sends to this track for any and all tracks that
you want to be able to monitor thru your headphone mix.
3.
Choose the Options, Preferences command, select the heading General then click on the Advanced
UI/System tweaks … button. Enable Allow track envelope/routing windows to stay open.
4.
Click OK then OK again to close the Preferences window.
5.
Select your Headphone Mix track and open the Routing Window. Add an Audio Hardware Output
to the paired outputs to which your Headphone Amp is connected. Disable the Master/Parent Send for
this track.
6.
You can now use the Pan and Volume faders for your receives, together with the Mute buttons, to control
your headphone mix.
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5.12
Displaying Grid Lines
REAPER lets you determine whether or not to show grid lines in your projects. If you choose to show them, you
have a number of options to determine how
they are displayed. In this section we will look
at three examples of how you might choose to
use grid lines if you wish.
The display of grid lines is toggled on and off
using the Grid button on the toolbar, or the
Options, Snap/grid, Show grid command,
or the keyboard shortcut Alt G.
Grid line settings are accessed by rightclicking on the Grid button, or choosing the
Options, Snap/grid, Snap/grid settings command or by the keyboard shortcut Alt L. The examples below
illustrate the effects of various permutations of grid setting options. These include options for the display of
marker lines. Markers will be explained in Chapter 9.
Show grid disabled.
Show grid enabled.
Spacing 1 beat, minimum 10 pixels.
Grid line thru items, Marker line over
items.
Dotted grid lines selected.
Show grid enabled.
Spacing 1 beat, minimum 5 pixels.
Grid line under items, Marker line over
items.
Dotted grid lines not selected.
Show grid enabled.
Spacing 1 beat, minimum 5 pixels.
Grid line over items, Marker line under
items.
Dotted grid lines not selected.
Note that you also have an option to set the grid line spacing to frame
rather than to a fraction of a beat. This can be useful when working with
video media. (Frame rate is set in Project Settings, see Chapter 2).
Later in this guide (Chapters 6 and 7), you will be shown how to use grid
settings to automatically snap various objects and items into position.
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5.13
Understanding Sends, Buses, Submixes and Folders
You have already seen that each of the tracks in your
projects has its audio output routed by default to the master,
and that from here the audio signal is directed to your
preferred output device or devices, such as speakers or
headphones. The signal flow that occurs here within REAPER
can be represented by the first diagram on the right, which
shows a simple project with just three tracks.
In Chapter2 of this User Guide, you were shown how to use
a track as an effects bus, for example to add the same
reverb effect to a number of tracks. The signal flow for this
arrangement can be represented by the second of the two
flow charts (below right).
The sends that you create for each track carry a signal to the
Bus track, which applies the effect, and then sends the
processed (wet) signal on to the Master. At the same time, so long as the Send Master/Parent option
remains enabled, the dry signal for each track is also sent directly to the master. Here it is finally mixed together
with the “wet” signal from the bus before being directed to your speakers and/or headphones.
These two example models use routing arrangements that
you would expect to find in probably any DAW program.
However, we are now about to enter territory where REAPER
may be substantially different from other software that you
may have used before. This relates to how you can create
and use submixes.
With most programs, to create a submix (perhaps for your
various drum tracks or vocal harmonies) you will need to
create a bus, add sends from each track that is to be included
in the submix, and then disable the direct sends to the
master from each of these tracks.
You can use this method in
REAPER. Holding the Alt
key while you click on a
track's ROUTE button will toggle on and off the direct send to the master. If
a track's output to the master is enabled the first of the green “lights” on the
ROUTE button is turned on. If disabled, it is turned off. This distinction is
shown on the left. In the
first (top) track, the output
from the track to the master is enabled. In the second
(bottom) track, it has been disabled. If there are no other
sends or receives on that track, the word ROUTE is then
shown in red.
However, a smarter and potentially more powerful way of
creating a submix is to use folders (sometimes called track
folders). We'll look at how this is done shortly, but first let's get
our heads around the concept.
A folder track is created initially in the same way as any other
track. You then tell REAPER to treat this as a folder track - and
essentially that's it. You now have your submix (as shown here
on the right). Direct output to the master from the individual
“child” tracks within the folder is automatically disabled.
Instead, they are passed thru the folder. Note that you should not manually disable the master/parent send for
child tracks within a folder, or their output will no longer go to the folder (the master track).
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Anything that you do to the folder will be done to the entire submix. For example, if you adjust the volume
up or down, the volume of the submix will be adjusted up or down. If you add an effect such as a
compressor to the folder then that effect will be applied to the submix.
Before we see exactly how a folder and its child tracks are set up, there's one more scenario to consider.
Even when you have a folder which contains a submix of other tracks, you can still use buses for the
folder itself or for individual tracks inside the folder
(see right). In this case our folder (submix) still
consists of the same three tracks as before. In
addition, however, a send has been created from
the folder to an FX bus, perhaps to add reverb to
the submix. We'll see an example of this soon.
There are three types of send – Post-Fader
(Post Pan), Pre-Fader (Post FX) and Pre FX.
These are explained in Chapter 16 and illustrated
by the flow charts at the end of Chapter 6. For the
time being, accept the default option, Post-Fader
(Post Pan).
5.14
Track Folder Essentials
When a number of tracks are collected within a folder, you will probably want to use both the individual track
controls and the folder controls. For example, you can use the Volume controls for individual tracks within a
folder to set the volume levels for the different tracks relative to each other. You can then use the Volume
control for the folder itself to control the overall combined volume level of the tracks in that folder.
Another example is that the Mute and Solo controls for the folder will act on the folder as a whole. However,
you do still have the option of using each track’s individual
Mute and Solo controls.
The example illustrated (right) shows a folder called
Instruments that contains three individual tracks. The
faint peaks that you see in the folder's lane in arrange
view represent the combined contents of the folder's child
tracks. This can be disabled on your Preferences,
Appearance, Peaks/waveforms page. Identify the little
icons that you can see below the track number of each
item in the track control panel. These are used to
determine a track's folder status. Ordinarily, this can be
one of four states:
 An ordinary top level track (the default). The icon is displayed as a faint image of a folder. Hover the
mouse over this image and it changes to a+ sign.
 A folder track. This is displayed as in the Instruments track above, as a
stronger image of a folder. Hover the mouse over this image and it changes to
an X (see right).
 A child track within a folder. The track is nested and the icon is displayed as a
faint image of a folder. Hover the mouse over this image and it changes to a+ (see below right)
 The last track in a folder. A folder icon is shown
and the track is nested. Hover over this icon
and it displays a down pointing arrow.
You can click on this icon to set a track's status. Let's
work thru an example.
1. Open the file All Through the Night.RPP and
save it as All Through the Night Folder.RPP
2. Make sure the Vox track is track 1, Gtr Body track 2, Gtr Neck track 3 and Bouzouki track 4.
3. Press Alt Enter to display project settings. Select Stereo Pan as project pan mode. A width rotary
control is now added to every track.
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4.
Select track 1. Press Ctrl T to insert a new track immediately underneath this track. This becomes track
number 2. Name this track Instruments.
5. Click once on the folder button for this track. It becomes a folder and the tracks below it are indented.
6. We want the bouzouki to be the last track in the folder. Click twice on that track to set this. Adjust the
panning of the three child tracks as you wish.
7. To illustrate a point, select the Bouzouki track
and press Ctrl T. A new track is added outside
the folder.
8. Name this track Reverb and insert
ReaVerbate into its FX chain. Drag and drop
in turn from the ROUTING button of the Vox
track and the ROUTING button of the
Instruments folder to this Reverb track. This
will create two sends.
9. Lower the Reverb track volume to about –
10.0 db (see right) and save the file.
10. Play the file. Experiment with folder controls.
For example, mute the folder and you mute all
instruments. Solo it and you solo all
instruments. Adjust the volume and the overall
volume of the instrument submix changes.
11. Use the width control on the folder track to
bring the different instrument tracks closer together or further apart. Use the pan control to move the
whole instrument mix further left or right.
To restore a folder as a normal track, click on the folder control icon as many or as few times as are required to
cycle thru the various options until you see the one that you want.
5.14.1
Drag and Drop Folder Management
Another way of creating folders is by dragging and dropping. You identify which track is to be the folder, which
are to be its children, then select and drag and drop the children into the folder. When you know what you are
doing, this method is probably quicker, but it can be
tricky at first. This process is illustrated below.
Here's the same project file as before (except that this
time the Reverb track has already been added).
Three tracks have been selected and we have began to
drag and drop them up. Notice that the thick horizontal
bar shown above the first of these tracks occupies the
whole width of the track control panel.
Carefully and slowly drag them a little higher and you
will notice that the horizontal bar is now indented
slightly.
Now release the mouse and you will see the three
tracks have been placed as child tracks within a newly
created Instruments folder (see below).
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If you hover the mouse over the folder icon for the
Bouzouki track you should see confirmation that it is the
last track in the folder.
The drag and drop method can also be used to add tracks
into an existing folder, and/or to remove them. However,
the technique may take a little getting used to.
Experiment with this now if you wish.
Notice the small down pointing arrow just above the track
number of the folder track (in this case Track2).
This can be used to toggle the display of child
tracks in the folder between normal (as shown
above left), minimized and collapsed (as shown
below left).
5.14.2
Nested Folders
REAPER allows you to nest folders within folders, to as many levels as you like. This feature is probably more
suited to relatively experienced DAW users than it is to newcomers.
To create a nested folder, first create an empty track
within an existing top level folder, then use the folder
control icon to make that track into a folder. Because
the track is itself contained within an existing top
level folder, it will automatically be made into a
second level folder.
The project shown here is an example of this. Notice
that:
 There is a top level folder called Vox Tracks
which holds a Lead Vox tracks and a Harmonies
sub-folder with four child tracks.
 There is another top level folder called
Instruments which holds two sub-folders (Drum
Kit and Guitars).
 The two second level folders which are subfolders of the Instruments folder each contain
child tracks of their own.
 There is another top level folder (Reverbs) which
itself contains two reverb busses.
Any action taken on a folder will effect its entire
contents. For example, if in this case you were to
mute the Instruments folder, then you would
automatically also mute the contents of the Acoustic
Guitar and Other Instruments folders.
REAPER does not limit you two levels of folders. You
can have more if you like. Be warned, however, that
if you do, life can get complicated!
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5.15
Track and Track Parameter Grouping
Note: As well as conventional grouping, REAPER supports VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) grouping. To help
avoid confusion, VCA grouping will be considered as a separate topic later in this chapter.
The topic of track and parameter grouping is a huge one with an extraordinary range of options designed to
help you especially in your mixing and arranging. It is based upon this principle. You can define group
relationships between different tracks and their controls so as to ensure that when you make a change to one
track in the group, changes are also made to the other tracks in the group.
The nature of these relationships can vary from being quite simple to rather complex, and everything in
between. Everybody will have their own different ways in which REAPER's track grouping feature can be helpful.
Let's look at some possible examples. These examples have been selected primarily for learning purposes. You
might or might not find the actual examples themselves to be useful for you.
 You might have two tracks that you wish to keep at a constant volume relative to each other. In this
case, you could ensure that whenever one is faded up or down then so is the other.
 You might have two tracks that need to be panned opposite each other. In this case, you can ensure
that when one is panned in one direction, the other is automatically panned in the other direction.
 You might have two or more tracks that you wish to treat as a group so that they are always soled or
muted together.
In a moment, we'll work thru some examples. There are two
main ways to create and manage your groups. This can be
done either using the Track Control Panel or the Track
Grouping Matrix. Here is an overview of both methods.
Method 1 uses the Grouping dialog box (shown right), which
can be accessed from the Track Control Panel or the Mixer
Control Panel. The method is as follows:
 In the TCP or MCP, select the tracks whose parameters
you wish to group.
 Right-click over any track number in the group and
choose Track grouping parameters from the context
menu (or press Shift G).
 When the Grouping dialog box is displayed (see left)
specify those parameters that you want to group, then
click on Close.
 Make sure that the option Track grouping enabled on
the TCP or MCP menu is selected (ticked).
You can use this same method later to make changes to your
grouped parameter definitions.
This interface might appear a little overwhelming at first. For
this reason, it may be easier, especially at first, to use the
second method. Method 2 uses the Track Grouping Matrix. This is illustrated overleaf.
The grouping matrix, which can be docked, can be used to manage up to 32 different groups. To display this,
choose the View command, then Track Grouping Matrix, or press Ctrl Alt G. The picture that follows shows
just two groups on display. We can create a special project file for our examples. You can then group any
selection of tracks that you like: in this example, we will be working with two of three tracks enclosed within a
track folder. Note that you do not need to place tracks in a folder in order to be able to group them.
5.15.1
Basic Track Grouping
Example
In the examples that follow, the optional Width control is shown, but not included in any groups. Whether
or not this is visible will depend on your choice of track layout. This is explained in Chapters 10 and 11.
1.
Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and immediately save it as All Through The Night
GROUPS.RPP
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2.
Select Track 1 (Vox) and press Ctrl T to create a new track immediately below it. Name the new track
Instruments. Using the techniques explained earlier in this chapter, make this track into a folder.
Enclose in the folder the two guitar tracks and the bouzouki track. Make the bouzouki the last track in the
folder. Save this file. First, you need to make sure that the track grouping is enabled, Choose the Track
command from the main menu. If Track grouping enabled (near the bottom) is not ticked, click on this
command to select it. If it is already ticked, just click on the REAPER title bar.
3. Choose the View, Track Grouping Matrix command to display the Grouping Matrix.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
Pan one guitar track about 50% left, and the other 50% right.
In Group 1 on the Grouping Matrix, click in the cells representing Gtr Body and Gtr Neck in the
Volume column.
Click in the cells for Gtr Body and Gtr Neck in the Pan
column. In this column, click also in the Pan Reverse
cell for one of the guitars, as shown (right).
The volume controls for these two tracks are grouped so
that when you adjust the volume for either track, both
volume faders will move together in the same direction.
Perhaps more interesting, when you now move the pan
control left or right for either of these tracks, the other
track's pan fader will move in the opposite direction.
Save the file.
Now click in the cells for the two guitar tracks in the
mute and solo columns and again save the file. The
solo and mute controls for these two tracks are also
linked together. Try them out!
To temporarily override the grouping, hold Shift while you adjust the volume of one of the guitar tracks.
Notice only that one fader is adjusted. You can use Shift to temporarily
override any grouped track parameters.
To temporarily disable the group altogether, click where shown (right) on the
Group 1 enable/disable toggle control. You will now find that all group controls
for this group are disabled.
Click in this same cell again to again enable the group. Save the file.
The table that follows on the next page summarizes what you might have discovered
about grouping track control parameters from this exercise.
Note: A item's group control status can be master only (M), slave only (S) or master/slave (the default). In this
exercise, all grouping has been of the default type, master/slave. We'll get to the other two options shortly.
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5.15.2
Track Grouping Matrix Basic Controls
In order to do this …
Using the Track Grouping Matrix
Define the tracks in a new group
Display the Track Grouping Matrix. Select at least one
parameter (such as Pan) for each track in the group.
Adjust all linked faders for a group
In Mixer or Track Arrange view, adjust the fader for any
one track in the group.
Adjust the fader for only one track in a
group containing linked faders
In Mixer or Track Arrange view, hold Shift while adjusting
the single fader.
Define a pan or volume relationship as
reverse for a track within a group
In the track row, click on the intersection cell for Pan
Reverse or Volume Reverse.
Change an existing toggle parameter
relationship (such as Solo, Mute or
Record Arm) into a reverse one
In Mixer view, hold Shift while clicking on the appropriate
button (such as Solo or Mute) for the individual track. Use
Shift again to restore the positive relationship.
Link more parameters for tracks in an
existing group
Click on the intersection cells where the required
parameter column meets the track rows.
Add another track to an existing group
Click on intersection cell where the required parameter
column meets the row for the track that is being added.
Remove a track from an existing group
Click once, twice or three times on the appropriate
intersection cell until it shows blank. If more than one
parameter is linked, do this for each parameter.
Enable/Disable group
Click in the group's Enable/Disable box.
Select all tracks in a group
Click on the group name.
Ensure automation mode of slave tracks
automatically follows that of master
Use the Automation Mode column of for tracks in the
group.
Fine tune behavior of groups which share
common tracks.
Use the Flag: No Slave-Master settings to ensure, for
example, that a track which is a master in group 1 and a
slave in group 2 will not act as a master in group 1 when
being slaved in group 2.
5.15.3
Track Grouping Indicators
By default, colored ribbons are used on the Track
Control Panel to identify grouped track parameters
(see right).
Under Options, Preferences, Appearance
there is a sub-section Track Control Panels
whose contents includes the option to instead use
lines on the edges, or not to use any indicator at all.
5.15.4
Master and Slave Group Relationships
Each parameter that is included in a grouped relationship can take one of three states – Master/Slave (the
default), Master only, or Slave only. The different ways in which this affects that parameter's behavior are:
 A Master/Slave item can control other Master/Slave and Slave only items, but not Master only items. It
can itself be controlled by other Master/Slave and Master only items.
 A Master only item can control other Master/Slave and Slave only items, but not Master only items. It
cannot be controlled by any other item
 A Slave only item cannot control any other item, but can itself be controlled by Master/Slave items and
Master only items.
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Don't worry, this isn't as complicated as it sounds. To make sense of it all, let's work thru a couple of examples.
In the previous exercise, all items within our group had Master/Slave status. This meant, for example, that
when you adjusted the panning or the volume on either of the two guitar tracks, the equivalent parameter on
the other guitar track would move according to the defined relationship. This happened regardless of which of
the two tracks you used to make the adjustment. Let's now look at some different scenarios.
Example
1. Open the file All Through The Night GROUPS.RPP that you made in the last example. We are going to
add the Bouzouki volume control to this group as a slave only.
2. Make sure the grouping matrix is displayed. Click in the
Bouzouki row of the Volume column for group 1 to add
this to your group. It is assigned the default status of
Master/Slave.
3. Click in the same cell again. The display changes to M. It
now has master only status. Click again, and the display
will change to S for slave only status (see right).
4. Observe this track in the track control or mixer panel. You
will see only one colored ribbon on the track's volume
control (instead of two). In the TCP this will be on the
right, in the MCP (mixer control panel) this will be at the
bottom. This indicates its slave status.
5. Play the song. Adjust the volume for either of the guitar
tracks, first up, then down. Observe that because of its
slave status the volume of the bouzouki track will be adjusted with it.
6. Now adjust the volume of the bouzouki track, first up then down. Because of its slave only status, it
cannot control any other track. The volume faders of the guitar tracks will not move as you change the
volume of the bouzouki track.
7. Now, for learning purposes, let's change the
bouzouki volume status to master only. Click
on that cell several times to cycle thru the
options. Stop when it displays M.
8. This is the opposite of what happened at step
3. First, the colored ribbon indicator for this
item is now shown only on the left instead of
the right. This confirms its master only status
(see right).
9. Play the song. If you adjust the volume fader
on the bouzouki track, the faders on the two
guitar tracks will also move. However, if you adjust the volume of either guitar track, the other guitar track
will also move, but the bouzouki fader will not.
10. Save the file when you have finished.
5.15.5
Track Grouping Window
Earlier we introduced the track grouping window, and said that this interface offered a different method of
working with track grouping and with grouped track parameters. Let's now see how.
The Grouping window displays all group information about the various parameters for any selected track or
selection of tracks. Most commonly (and most usefully) it makes sense to use it with individual tracks, one track
at a time. Again, this will be more readily understood if you work thru an example.
Example
1.
With the project file All Through The Night GROUPS.RPP open, select the Gtr Body track in the
track control panel.
2. Either right-click over the track number and choose Track Grouping Parameters … from the context
menu, or press Shift G.
3. This causes the Grouping window for the selected track to be displayed (see below left).
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4. In the TCP, select the Bouzouki track. The display in the Grouping window changes (above right), to show
the currently grouped parameters for the bouzouki – in
this case, just the master control on the volume track.
5.
In this dialog box, click and select Mute Master, Solo
Master, Mute Slave and Solo Slave. These group
parameters are now also selected for this track. This is
confirmed by the display in the track grouping matrix.
6.
One more thing we can do here is to rename the group.
Click on the Rename button, type Instruments and
press Enter.
7.
Close the dialog box. Observe the track grouping matrix.
Save this file.
You can define up to 32 groups in a project file. In the example
below, a second group has been added, to help when adjusting
the balance between the volume of the vocal track and the instrument mix.
Note: You can right-click over the matrix empty background area for a menu which allows you to toggle on
(above left) or off (above right) the option to Show individual group details.
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5.15.6
Track Grouping Window Basic Controls
In order to do this …
Using the Track Control Panel
Define the tracks in a new group
Select the tracks in the Track Control Panel, press Shift
G then select at least one parameter.
Name a group
Press Shift G, select the required group number and
click on Rename.
Adjust all linked faders for a group
Adjust the fader for any one track in the group.
Adjust the fader for only one track in a
group containing linked faders
Hold Shift while adjusting the single fader.
Define a pan or volume relationship as
reverse for a track within a group
Select the track in the Track Control Panel and press
Shift G. Click on Reverse Volume or Reverse Pan as
required.
Change an existing toggle parameter
relationship (such as Solo, Mute or Record
Arm) into a reverse one
Hold Shift while clicking on the appropriate button
(such as Solo or Mute) for the individual track.
Link more parameters for tracks in an
existing group
Open the Grouping dialog box for the group and select
the required parameters.
Reset a track's volume, pan or width to its
default value and adjust settings for other
group members accordingly
Double-click on the volume, pan or width value
displayed in the track panel.
Add another track to an existing group
Select the track in the Track Control Panel and press
Shift G. Display the drop down group list and select the
required group.
Select the required parameters.
Remove a track from an existing group
Select the track in the Track Control Panel and press
Shift G
Unselect all selected items except Group enabled
Enable/Disable group
Press Shift G, select the group from the drop down list
then click in the Group enabled box.
Tip: When you are playing back a song, in the course of editing you may from time to time wish
to reset your VU Peaks without needing to stop and restart playback. To clear one peak, simply
click on the peak number shown at the right hand end of the VU meter in the TCP or top of the
VU in the MCP. To clear all peaks, hold down the Control key while you do this.
5.16
VU Meters on Multichannel Tracks
Where a track has more than two channels you have the option of showing the output of all
channels on the track's VU meters in the TCP and Mixer.
This feature is toggled on and off for any track or track selection by right-clicking over the track
panel area (for example, on the track number) and enabling or disabling Multichannel track
metering on the context menu.
Shown right is a track with audio on four channels, as displayed in the Mixer using the default
theme and layout.
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5.17
VCA Grouping
The origins of VCAs (Voltage Controlled Amplifiers) predate digital audio. Today, REAPER's contemporary
implementation of VCAs opens up interesting mixing opportunities for you.
By way of analogy, VCAs in REAPER are a form of track grouping which allows tracks to be slaved within a group
to a single track master. VCA slave tracks will have their volume dBs added to that of the VCA master track:
thus, with VCA grouping the process is additive. With conventional grouping, however (such as that explained in
section 5.15) nothing is added, the tracks are simply linked.
VCA groups can be set up and managed using the same grouping matrix that was introduced earlier in this
chapter. With experience and experimentation you will come to learn that VCA grouping can be a very useful
mixing tool. To begin with, however, we will keep to simple examples, designed primarily to help you
understand the concept and how it is applied. The basic
procedure for creating a VCA group is:
1. Add a new track to your project and give it a suitable
name, such as VCA Control. Ordinarily, this track should
contain no media items.
2. Display the grouping matrix and select a currently unused
group. Optionally, you may give this group a name.
3. Set the VCA status in this group for your VCA Control
track to M (for master).
4. Set the VCA status in this group for any tracks that you
want it to control to S (for Slave).
You might find the example that follows easier if you understand
the basic functionality of the grouping matrix, as explained in
section 5.15.
Example
1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as
All Through The Night VCA.RPP.
2. Pan the first of the guitar tracks about 35% left and the
other about 35% right.
3. Add a new track (Track 5) and name it VCA Control.
4. Display the grouping matrix (Ctrl Alt G). Make sure that
the other tracks are in the same order as shown here in the matrix (below right).
5. In the grouping matrix, right-click over the text Group 1 to open the Grouping dialog box (above). Click
the Rename button, then type VCA, then click on OK,
then close the dialog box.
6. Set up this group as shown (right), so that track 5 is your
VCA master track and tracks 2, 3 and 4 are VCA slave
tracks. In order to do this, click once on the appropriate
cell for each of these tracks to add it to the group, then
click once more to make it master (M) and (for tracks 2,
3 and 4) once again to change this to slave (S).
7. Play the song. As you raise the volume fader on the VCA
control track, the three instrument tracks will each
become louder. As you turn down the volume on track 5,
the instruments will become quieter.
8. Notice, however, that the VU meter levels on the slave
instrument tracks do not change during this. This is because the volume of the signal actually produced
by each of these individual tracks is not changed. Instead, it is the volume of these tracks added to that
of the VCA control track that is being sent to the master. Thus, the master's VU meter levels will change
as the VCA control track fader is adjusted.
9. This leaves you free, if you wish, to adjust the volume of any of the individual instrument tracks without
affecting any other tracks in the group. Save the file.
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10. Now let's try something different. Make sure that the pan law for all tracks is set to Stereo
balance/mono pan. This is done by right clicking over the track's
pan control and selecting from the pan law drop down list (right).
11. Click on the Bouzouki/VCA matrix cell to remove it from the group.
12. Now play the song again. As you do so, adust the pan setting on the
VCA control track. You will find that the panning of the three
instrument tracks will each be adjusted accordingly. Save the file.
VCA Grouping Parameters
This table summarizes the VCA grouping matrix options and parameters:
Parameter
Comment
Volume
Adjust the volume fader on the VCA master to adjust the volume of all slave tracks in the VCA
group. Note that the slave track faders themselves will not be moved.
Pan
Provided either Stereo balance/mono pan or Stereo pan has been selected as the pan law,
changing the panning on the VCA master will cause the panning of all slave tracks in the group
to be changed. The pan faders on the slave tracks, however will not be moved.
Pre FX Slave If the grouping matrix option Flag: VCA pre-FX slave is selected for any VCA slave track,
then the signal volume will be adjusted before it is fed into the that track's FX chain.
Automation
Volume, pan and width changes on slave tracks can be automated by adding envelopes to the
VCA control track. The envelopes will be applied to all slave tracks in the group. Slave tracks
may also have their own automation envelopes. Chapter 17 includes more about envelopes.
Mute
A mute envelope can be added to the VCA master. This envelope will be applied to all VCA
slave tracks in the group. Automation envelopes are explained in Chapter 17.
Note: Defining a track as a VCA master causes that track's volume and pan faders to control volume and
panning on all of its slave tracks. Keep in mind that a VCA control track is not a track folder or submix. No audio
passes thru a VCA master/control track. Thus, for example, it would make no sense to add any audio FX directly
to a VCA control track.
Further Examples of VCA Grouping Models
Here are some more examples of situations in which VCA grouping can be helpful. Doubtless you will in time
find further and perhaps more complex applications of your own.
VCA with Automation Envelopes
You will need to understand
something about automation
envelopes if you are to
understand this section.
Automation envelopes are
explained in Chapter 17.
Problems can arise when using
automation envelopes with
conventional groups. For
example, a volume or pan
envelope on a master track in a
conventional group will, on playback, adjust the volume or pan settings on that one track only, not on its slaves.
With VCA grouping, however, an envelope on a VCA control track will be applied to the summed total of its slave
tracks. Moreover, you can have separate automation envelopes on both the VCA master and any of the slave
tracks within the group. Shown here is the same project as in the previous example, with the same groups as
before, and with volume envelopes added to the VCA control track and one of the slave tracks (Bouzouki). The
summed levels of both slave and master envelopes will, on playback, be sent to the master.
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Actions to Manage VCA Envelopes
Two actions are available which add extra functionality to VCA envelopes. These are Envelope: apply all VCAs
from selected tracks to grouped tracks and reset volume/pan/mute and Envelope: apply all VCAs
to selected tracks and remove from VCA groups. Actions are explained in Chapter 14, but, in short, you
can assign your own keyboard shortcuts to these actions, and/or add them to REAPER's menus.
The effect of the these actions is illustrated here.
Tracks 2 and 3 are slaved to track 4 in a VCA group. A
volume envelope has been added to the VCA master track.
This track is selected.
Running the action Envelope: apply all VCAs from
selected tracks to grouped tracks and reset
volume/pan/mute causes an identical envelope to be
added to each of the group's slave tracks and to time
remove it from the master. This is shown on the illustration
to the right. The VCA group settings remain intact.
Running the action Envelope: apply all VCAs from
selected tracks to grouped tracks and remove from
VCA group would also cause identical volume envelopes
to be to each of the slave tracks, but these tracks would be
removed from the VCA group and the envelope on the VCA
master track (in this example, track 4) would remain intact.
Note that if any of the VCA slave tracks already contain a volume envelope, then the values on the VCA master
track envelope will be added to those already on the slave track envelope.
These actions can applied to VCA master pan, width and/or mute envelopes as well as volume envelopes.
VCA with Overlapping Groups
Conventional grouping does not fully allow for
overlapping group membership. For example, on the
right tracks 1 to 3 volume faders are grouped as
masters and slaves in one group, tracks 4 to 6 in a
second group.
We might want to also group, say, volume faders on
tracks 1 and 6 so that they and they alone could be
moved together when required. VCA grouping makes
this possible. We add a VCA control track (track 7) and
set up a third group as shown below:
You would now find that you could adjust the volume of tracks 1 and 6 together by adjusting the volume fader
on track 7, the VCA control track. No other track would be affected.
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VCA for Mix Control
This is a rather more complex and subtle example:
newcomers to working with DAWs or REAPER might
be best advised to stay away from this one until your
knowledge and experience have grown a little!
This example uses VCA grouping in a project that
includes folders as well as tracks. Three VCA groups
have been set up, each with its own control track. The
track layout shown on the right needs to be
interpreted in conjunction with the grouping matrix
shown below.
The groups are:
Group 1: Vocals VCA Control, track 14 (controls Lead
Vocal track and Harmonies folder).
Group 2: DrumsBass VCA Control, track 15 (controls
Drums folder and Bass track).
Group 3: Guitars VCA Control, track 16 (controls
Guitars folder and the Bouzouki).
The use of the three VCA control tracks can assist in
mixing, making it easier for us to achieve the required
balance of sound between the vocals and various
instruments in this mix.
The mix has effectively been divided into three
groups. Individual track volumes and pan settings can still be adjusted in the usual way, but in addition the VCA
controls can be used to adjust the balance between the three groups.
This setup is illustrated in the grouping matrix shown below.
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5.18
Audio Jogging and Scrubbing
Jogging and scrubbing are techniques originated in the days when all recording was done with magnetic tape.
They help you to move within a project, or track, or group of tracks, to audition
or locate a particular section. This is usually done in REAPER when your project
is not playing, but you can over-ride this default setting.
To jog a portion of a song, simply position your mouse over the triangle that is
located on the top of the edit cursor, as shown on the right. This causes the
mouse pointer to change to a white hand. You can then click and drag in either
direction. You’ll probably find when jogging that you will want to zoom in quite
closely on your project.
By default, holding down the Ctrl key while jogging will enable Scrub mode. In this mode, playback will be
much slower. This can help when looking for very short glitches, for example when zoomed in close.
You can set your jog/scrub preferences in the Audio, Playback page of the Options, Preferences window,
as shown below. Notice in particular that:

You can
limit the
maximum
jog/scrub
rates
(speed) to
no more
than normal
playback
speed. This
makes it
easier to
identify the audio material when jogging or scrubbing.

You can also choose to be able to engage jog/scrub mode to over-ride normal playback.

If you enable the Only play selected tracks option, then only those tracks currently selected will be
heard when you apply jogging or scrubbing.
You can modify REAPER's jog/scrub behavior by opening the Preferences window and using the Mouse Modifiers
page to define your own modifier keys for Edit cursor handle left drag behavior. The default assignments are
shown on the right.
Looped segment mode can be used to audition a section of your material as a loop. For example, if in
Playback preferences (above right) you
specify a range of -1000 ms to 1000
ms, then holding Alt while you click
and drag the edit cursor handle briefly
left or right will jog a two second
portion of audio over and over for as
long as you hold down the mouse
button.
You can also assign modifiers for
jogging and/or scrubbing to your
Arrange View middle mouse button
drag behavior. For more information
about assigning mouse modifier
preferences see Chapter 21.
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5.19
Default Toolbar Summary
REAPER's default toolbar is located near the top left corner of the screen. The various tools and their functions
are introduced throughout this guide as and when they are required: in addition, you might find the summary
diagram below helpful.
The actual appearance of the individual icons will depend on which color theme you are using. Themes can be
selected using the command Options, Themes and then making your selection from the list available. Shown
below are the icons used by the default themes for both REAPER 5 and REAPER 4.
Toolbar keyboard shortcuts summary (equivalent to left click):
New Project: Ctrl N
Open Project: Ctrl O
Save Project: Ctrl S
Project Settings: Alt Enter
Undo: Ctrl Z to undo last action
Right click to view undo history
Redo: Ctrl Shift Z to redo last action
Right click to view undo history
Metronome: no default shortcut:
Left click to toggle on/off
Right click for settings
Auto Crossfade: Alt X to toggle on/off
Item Grouping: Alt Shift G to toggle on/off
Right click for menu
Ripple Editing: Alt P to toggle on/off
Right click for menu
Envelopes, move points with media items:
Left click to toggle on/off
Right click for menu
Grid Lines: Alt G to toggle on off
Right click for settings dialog
Snap: Alt S to toggle on/off
Right click for settings dialog
Locking: L to toggle on off
Right click for settings dialog
You can edit this toolbar, for example adding more tools for other commands and actions. You can also create
additional toolbars of your own. This topic is covered in Chapter 14.
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6 - Managing Track FX
6
Managing Track FX
We have already covered the basic techniques involved in using effects (Direct X and VST) with REAPER tracks.
We are now going to look at some of the options available to help manage and use your FX more effectively.
We'll be looking in more detail at how you use some of the more important individual effects later (Chapter 15):
in this section we're mainly concerned with the broader issues of managing and organising plug-ins.
6.1
Grouping FX in Folders
FX can be
grouped for your
convenience in
any way you
wish. For
example, if you
use chorus, delay
and reverb a lot,
you might wish
to create one
folder called
Chorus/ Delay
and another
called Reverb.
Frequently used
plug-ins can be
copied into
special groups.
You can create as
many folders as
you wish, and the same plug-in can be placed in multiple folders. For example, you could place the Bootsy
EpicVerb plug-in both in a folder called Reverb and alongside other Bootsy FX in a folder called Bootsy.
To create a FX group folder:
 Use the command View, FX Browser or the keyboard shortcut Shift F to open the FX browser window.
 Right click over the text My Folders where shown (see above) and choose Create new folder. Type a
name, then press Enter.
To add FX to a folder:
 Select the category All Plug-ins in the left hand panel of the FX window. This will ensure that all FX are
available to you.
 Drag and drop the required FX from the right hand panel to the folder where you want the FX to be listed.
To drag multiple FX, use Ctrl with left mouse click to build up a selection, then drag them all together.
To create a smart folder:
If you enable the Smart folder option when
creating a folder, all plug-ins whose names
include any character strings that you define will
automatically be displayed within that folder.
 Right-click over My Folders and choose
Create new folder.
 Type a folder name, enable the Smart
folder option and type a filter. In the
example shown, we are creating a folder
called Dynamics for all plug-ins with
comp or lim in their names.
 Click on OK. The folder will be created and all plug-ins with comp or lim in their names will automatically
be listed in it. You can still add more FX to this folder manually if you need to.
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To change the order in which FX folders are displayed:
 Right click on the name of the folder to be moved.
 From the context menu choose Move to top, Move up, Move
down, or Move to bottom.
To display and select from a folder
 In the left panel of the FX window, click on the name of any FX group
to display its contents in the larger right hand panel.
 Double click on any FX name within that group (listed in the right
hand panel) to add it to the current
track.
Tip: If you leave the FX Browser open, you can add any FX to any track simply
dragging and dropping to the required track in the Track Control Panel (TCP) or
Mixer Control Panel (MCP).
Tip: You can add FX from an existing folder to any track directly from the TCP or
MCP. Right-click over the FX button and select first the folder and then the FX.
6.2
Plug-ins Settings
REAPER's Plug-ins settings and preferences are
explained and discussed in Chapter 21. You can access
this settings page directly from any track's FX Chain
window by choosing the command Options, FX Plugins settings … from the menu.
6.3
Backing Up FX Chains and FX Presets
FX Chains and plug-in presets can be backed up and restored using the export/import configuration buttons in
REAPER's Preferences (General settings). See Chapter 21 for more information about importing and exporting
configuration settings.
6.4
Filtering Track FX
By entering a text string in the Filter list text box in
the bottom left corner of the Add FX window, you can
display a list of those FX which match your criteria.
Before doing this, you should select either All Plugins
from the list of plugin folders, or any particular folder if
you wish to restrict your search.
In the example shown here, we have applied the text
string chorus as a filter, in order to see what chorus
plug-ins we have available.
The Clear Filter button can be used to remove the
filter and restore all plug-ins to view.
You also have two options (on the Options menu) which if enabled
will ensure that your filters are automatically cleared for you.
These are Auto clear search field on folder change and Auto
clear search field on close. This latter option refers to closing the
FX browser window, not closing REAPER.
REAPER will remember your previous filters. You can access it from
the filter drop down list, by clicking on the down pointing arrow
located on the edge right of the Filter list box.
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6.5
JS FX Display Options
By default, JS plug-ins are listed displaying descriptions rather than
file names. This has the advantage of being more easily
understood, but also requires more screen real estate. You can use
the command Show JSFX filenames instead of descriptions
from the Add FX window's Options menu.
There is also an option to display both file names and descriptions.
6.6
Showing VST Folders
If you use sub-folders to organize effects within a Windows VST
Plug-ins folder then you can display and use this folder structure
within REAPER's FX Browser (Add FX window). This feature is
toggled on and off using the Options, Show VST Folders
command. You can then select any folder listed in the left pane to
display its contents in the right pane of the FX browser.
You can right click over any displayed folder name (see right) to display a menu of options which includes
Show full paths to VSTs and Include plug-ins found in sub-folders. As in Windows Explorer, you can
collapse or display the various levels of subfolders. REAPER will remember your settings so that each time the
browser is opened it will recall the layout that was last used before it was closed.
6.7
Replacing One FX With Another
To replace any FX in a track's FX chain, simply follow this procedure:
1. Display the track's FX chain and select the FX in the chain that you want to replace.
2. From the FX Window top menu choose the FX, Replace FX… command. This opens the Add FX window.
3. Select the required replacement FX and click on OK.
Any pin connector assignments on the replaced FX will automatically be assigned to the new one.
6.8
Copying Track FX
Any track FX (individual FX or complete chains) can be copied from one track to any other track, or tracks.
When a plug-in is copied in this way, the settings and parameter values are also copied with it. You can use
standard Windows techniques like Ctrl C and Ctrl V if you like, but the simplest way is to simply select the
required plug-in(s) in the FX window of your source track and use the mouse to drag and drop to the FX button
of any other track. This can be done from either the TCP (track control panel) or the MCP (mixer control panel).
Example
For this example, open the file All Through The Night Folder.rpp that you saved earlier in this section. If
you did not make this file, use any other file which has more than one track.
1. Click on the FX Button for the track Gtr Neck to open the track's FX Window.
2. Insert the VST ReaEQ(Cockos) plug-in into this window.
3. Hover the mouse over the text VST ReaEQ in the plug-in window. Press and hold down the left mouse
button and, holding it down, drag the mouse to point on the track control area of the Gtr Body track.
4. Release the mouse. The ReaEQ plug-in will now have been copied into this track.
You can of course repeat this as often as required to copy the same plug-in to other tracks. When you copy an
FX in this way, any settings and parameter values that you have set will be copied with it. To copy more than
one plug-in at the same time from one track to another, use this sequence:
1. Click on the first plug-in to be selected. Hold the Ctrl key down while clicking in turn on each additional
plug-in that you want copied. Alternatively, if you want to copy all FX in a chain, click on the first item,
then hold Shift while you click on the last item in the chain.
2. Use the method described above to drag and drop on or near the FX button of the track to which you
wish to copy your plug-ins.
Tip: FX can also be copied from the FX chain of any track to individual media items or takes anywhere in the
project. Working with per item and per take FX will be explored in Chapters 6 and 7.
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6.9
FX Quick Display
Track FX are listed on a track's FX button right click menu (see right). You can open
the window for any of these FX direct from this menu.
6.10
Moving Track FX
To move (rather than copy) a plug-in from one track to another, simply hold down
the Alt key while you drag and drop.
Tip: Hovering your mouse over any track’s FX button causes a tooltip to be displayed, listing the plug-ins
present in that track’s FX bin. It displays this information even if the FX chain is set to bypass.
6.11
Managing FX Parameters
REAPER's FX interface window includes for each FX a Param button which you
can use to help you manage and control the various FX parameters.
Click on any parameter control within the FX window then on the Param
button to display a menu of choices. The five menu options are Show in track
controls, Show track envelope, Parameter modulation, Learn and Alias
Parameter.
Show in track controls. This adds a control knob for this parameter to both
the Track Control Panel (TCP) and the Mixer Control Panel (MCP).
Choose this command from the menu to display a list of parameters for this
particular FX. Select any item(s) from the list to add a control knob to the track control panel. An example
(using two parameters from ReaComp) is shown here
(below right).
To remove any of these controls, right-click over the
button and choose Remove from list from the menu.
This context menu also gives you access to the four other
parameter control tools, Learn, Modulate (Parameter
modulation), Envelope (Show track envelope) and Alias (Alias parameter).
Show track envelope. The whole topic of envelopes and
automation with envelopes is covered in depth in Chapter
17. For the time being note that you can use this command
to add to your tracks automation envelopes for any FX
parameters. An example is shown here.
The envelopes can be displayed in their own lanes (as
shown here) or over the media item(s). To learn how to do
this, see Chapter 17.
Parameter Modulation. This is a rather advanced topic.
Parameter modulation allows you to define a relationship
between two parameters so that one is controlled by the other. For example, you might want a threshold's ratio
to automatically increase as the threshold is lowered. This topic is explained in Chapter 18.
Learn. If you are using an external MIDI control device you can assign FX parameters to controls (such as
knobs or faders) on that external device. This topic is covered in
detail in Chapters 11 and 13.
Alias parameter. This allows you to change (just for this
instance) the name of a parameter to one that makes more sense
to you.
Shown here is an example.
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6.12
Changing the Default FX Name
To change the default name of any Direct X or VST FX (but
not JS) plug-in:
 Display the FX Browser Window (View, FX Browser)
 Right Click over the plug-in to be renamed.
 Choose Rename FX from the menu.
 Type the new name and press Enter.
6.13
Renaming Track FX Instances
You can rename individual FX Plug-in instances so that your custom name is used for that FX in both Track View
and in the Mixer. Typically this can be used to describe the purpose of the FX. For example, you might want to
rename an instance of ReaEQ that has been added to a vocal as “Add warmth” or “More presence” and so on.
To do this, simply select the plug-in and
press F2, or follow this sequence:
 Right click over the FX Item in
either the FX Chain window, or the
FX Bin in the Mixer view.
 From the menu, choose Rename
FX instance.
 Type your custom name.
 Press Enter.
Note that your custom name will only
be applied to that single instance of the FX Plug-in in that one track. Other instances will not be affected.
6.14
Using Default FX Parameter Settings
You can specify that any set of FX parameter settings is to be used as a default
whenever that FX is applied to any track or item. When you have your settings
right, click on the small + button and choose Save preset as default from the
menu. You will need to enter a name for the preset. The use of presets is
explained more fully in Chapter14.
6.15
Hardware Output FX Monitoring
To open the FX: Monitoring window you can:
 Choose Monitoring FX … from the context menu of any project tab, or
 Click on the Monitor FX button at the end of the project tab bar (if you are using project tabs), or
 Use the View, Monitoring FX command from the main menu, or
 Hold Shift while clicking on the FX button of the Master track.
This FX window is the same as any track FX window. You can specify any FX that you want to put on your
hardware outputs. These do not show up in renders, do not affect the metronome and are not stored in the
project file. Examples when you might use this feature might include:
 When running analysis FX.
 Compensating for the acoustic characteristics (perhaps with EQ or reverb)
of a particular room.
Notice that:

You can right-click on the Monitor FX button to access any plug-in assigned
to output monitoring, or to add more FX.

Click over the right hand end of this button to toggle bypass status. The button turns red when
bypassed.

Within the FX:Monitoring window, click on the Param button then Learn to assign control of any
selected FX parameter to an external control device.
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6.16
Optimizing FX Performance
Some plug-ins can be quite greedy in their use of CPU. This especially tends to be the case with delay based FX,
such as Delay, Chorus, and especially Reverb. REAPER provides a number of options which you can use to
minimize the drain placed on your computer resources by your plug-ins. These options can be found in the
REAPER Preferences window (Ctrl P) under the heading Audio, Buffering. This window is shown and
discussed further in Chapter 21.
There is no “one size fits all” optimal group of settings. What is best for you depends on various factors,
including which processor(s) you are using and which plug-ins. However it shouldn’t be too difficult to
experiment. Note in particular the following:

Try using the default settings for Media Buffering at first. You can adjust them later.

Allow live FX multiprocessing. Try turning this on if your PC has multiprocessors.

Anticipative FX processing. This can reduce CPU usage, but too aggressive a setting can cause pops
and crackles on playback. If working with UAD-1,for best results, both Synchronous FX and UAD-1
Synchronous modes should be enabled. Anticipative FX should be disabled. UAD-2, however, is
copatible with Anticipative FX mode and this is recommended for best low latency performance..
Optimize buffering for low latency hardware.
If you find that any particular plug-in
or FX chain gives you problems with
media buffering or anticipative FX
processing, you can disable either or
both for individual tracks using the
Track Performance Options on the
Track Control Panel right-click menu.
6.17
FX Notes and Comments
The REAPER FX Chain window includes an area for any Comments (or notes) that you may wish to make – see
example below. Click on the … button just above the bypass tick box to add comments.
The notes are linked to
the individual instance
of the specific plug-in.
In the example shown,
the comment is only
displayed when the 4
band EQ is selected for
Track 2, the Vox Lead.
You may add notes for
all or any of a track's FX if you wish, but only one comment at a time will be displayed in the track's FX window.
You can open the comments in a separate window of their own by clicking on that … button . You may have as
many as you wish of these comment windows open at any time.
6.18
Wet/Dry Mix and Bypass
The wet/dry mix control was mentioned in Chapter 2. Click and hold your mouse over the small
rotary fader near the top right corner of the plug-in window and you will see the wet/dry
balance for that plug-in displayed as text (above right). At 100% wet (the default) the plug-in
is applied to the track in the way that you would normally expect. Click and drag the mouse on
this to adjust this value to create a mix of the dry signal (the audio stream with no effect applied) and the wet
signal (the audio stream with the effect fully applied. For example, set to 100%, this mix is fully wet. At 0% it is
fully dry (effectively sounding the same as bypass). At 50% the dry and wet signals are mixed together in equal
amount.
Notice also that the small check box to the immediate right of this control has a bypass function. Leave it ticked
as shown and the effect (as determined by its various parameter settings including the wet/dry mix control) will
be applied to the track. Untick this box and the effect is bypassed.
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6.19
Plug-in Delay Compensation
By default, REAPER uses plug-in delay compensation (PDC) to ensure
that audio remains time aligned. It does this by adjusting for any
latency caused by any plug-in, such as can arise with some convolution
reverb plug-ins for example. The latency for any track is displayed in
the bottom left corner of that track's FX chain window. For example, a
display of 256/512 spls would mean that one of the FX requires a
latency of 256 samples: REAPER rounds this up to a number of blocks
based on your buffer size. All other tracks will be delayed to match the
track with the greatest latency.
If you encounter circumstances in which PDC is creating problems (for examples, dropouts or excessive latency)
then it can be disabled for any plug-in from the pin connector button (shown here labelled “2 in 2 out”) context
menu. Note too that PDC is disabled when feedback routing is employed.
6.20
Opening a File in Recovery Mode
Any computer program will crash given the right (or wrong?) circumstances. REAPER is very stable, but
nevertheless there may be occasions when you experience a crash. This can be caused by a problem with some
third party VST, VSTi, DX or DXi plug-in.
If this happens, you should enable the
option to Open with FX offline (recovery
mode) when re-opening the file from the
File, Open project dialog box (see right).
This will open the file with all FX set offline.
By reintroducing them online one at a time,
you should be able to identify which is the
plug-in that is causing the problem. To then fix the problem you should remove this plug-in and replace it with
another of equivalent functionality.
Another method is to hold down Ctrl Shift while you open a file from the File, Recent projects menu.
6.21
Stem Rendering
Stem Rendering is a technique that can be applied to ease your CPU load, to prevent it from becoming
overstressed. The item is rendered to a new track, whilst the original track remains but is automatically muted
and its FX are bypassed. If you later wish to change the FX in a stem rendered track, you can delete the
rendered track, unmute the original, and make your changes. This is how you make a stem track:
1. In the Track Control Panel area, right-click over the track number.
2. From the menu, choose Render/freeze tracks, then one of the Render tracks to … stem tracks
(and mute originals) commands. Your choices are mono, stereo or multichannel.
The first of these commands
will render to a mono item
(as shown here). The second
will always produce a stereo
item. The number of
channels produced when
multichannel is selected will be determined by the number of channels that you have defined for the track. By
default, REAPER tracks comprise just 2 channels: in this case, both the stereo and multichannel options will
produce the same result. As well as track FX, any audio or MIDI received from sends from other tracks is
included in the rendered material.
Stem rendering has a similar effect to freezing tracks (see section after next). One main difference is that
(unlike freezing) stem rendering leaves both the rendered and the unrendered tracks in the project. If you only
wish to render the track FX without keeping both tracks in the project, you might wish to consider using one of
the Render/freeze freeze actions instead. These are covered in the couple of pages that follow this one.
Stem rendering is also available with an extensive range of options (such as output format and quality) using
the File, Render... command. This opens the Render to File dialog box. See Chapter 20 for details.
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6.22
Rendering a Group of Tracks to a Single Track
This example uses the Render to File dialog
box, which is explained in detail in Chapter 20.
You can apply stem rendering to a group of
tracks, so that they will be mixed down to a
single audio file. To do this:
1. Put the required tracks in a folder.
2. In the Track Control Panel, select the
folder. No other track should be
selected.
3. Choose the File, Render command.
4. Make sure your selected options include
Stems (selected tracks) and
Channels Stereo or Mono (as you
wish) as shown on the right. If you
wish, also select the option to Add
rendered items to new tracks in
project.
5. Select your output format (e.g. WAV)
and format specifications (e.g. 24 bit).
6. Click on Render 1 file...
In the example shown below, the output of the
Guitars folder has been rendered to a single
stereo track. This has been added to the file
and the folder has been muted.
When working with multichannel tracks you
can also render your output in multichannel
format. You will need to select the required
number of channels from the Channels drop
down list in the Render to File dialog box.
You'll learn more about file rendering, including multichannel rendering, in Chapter 20.
6.23
Freezing and Unfreezing Tracks
The Freeze tracks actions
(from the Track right click menu
Render/freeze tracks
command) are used to freeze
any track in place, replacing its
contents with a single rendered audio item. The first of the freeze actions shown (above) will produce a mono
audio item for each track frozen, the second stereo and the third multichannel (according to the number of
track channels). If more than one track is selected, each will be rendered separately.
On line FX are applied to the rendered item, as is the content of any signals sent to the rendered channels from
other tracks. Where these include MIDI data or items, they will be rendered as audio. Both on line FX and
receives are then removed from the track. Note that a MIDI item with no synth attached to it will be rendered
as silence. Where a synth is present, it is the output of the synth that will be rendered.
When a track has already been frozen, Unfreeze tracks will appear on the above menu as an action that can
be used to restore the track to its state at the point in time that it was frozen. Both the FX chain and any
receives will be restored. Other points to note are:
 A track can have further FX and receives added to it after it has been frozen. In this case, if you then
freeze the track again, these FX (along with audio and or MIDI material from the new receives) will be
rendered together with the existing frozen material to another new audio item.
 Each unfreeze action will remove the previous freeze on that track and restore it to its state at the time of
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6 - Managing Track FX
that freeze action. Thus, if a track has been frozen, had more effects added and been frozen again, then
you will need to unfreeze it twice if you wish to restore it its state immediately before first being frozen.
Using the Track Manager
Freezing can also be handled using
the Track Manager. Choose
Track Manager from REAPER's
main View menu.
You can select any track(s) from
the list (in the example shown,
tracks 3 and 4 are selected) then
click on the Freeze button for a
menu of freeze choices (mono,
stereo or multichannel).
The number of times any track has
been frozen (up to a maximum of 8)
will be shown in the Freeze column.
In this example (right), tracks 3 and
4 have now both been frozen once.
The Unfreeze command will be
added to the Freeze menu when
that menu is displayed with a frozen
track selected. Moreover, this menu
will also include an option to display
the freeze details for that track (see
above).
You can read more about the Track
Manager in Chapter 12.
Selected FX Freeze
Other options, available from a track's FX chain window, are to freeze a track up to its last on-line or selected
FX, as you wish - see above. In this case, only the first two FX (ReaComp and ReaEQ) have been selected. The
action Freeze track to stereo, up to last selected FX will cause the compression and EQ to be frozen on to
the track. These two FX will be removed from the track's FX chain. The third (JS) effect will not be rendered to
the new audio item. It will remain, and can be further adjusted, or removed altogether as the user wishes.
One useful action (accessible from REAPER's Action List window) is View: Show track freeze details. This
can be used to display freeze history and details for any frozen track. Chapter 14 explains in detail more about
actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own shortcut keys.
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6.24
Vertical/Horizontal FX Tree Display
The display of the FX tree and items can be toggled between vertical and horizontal layout by double-clicking on
the boundary between the two sections, on the double-headed arrow mouse cursor as shown below.
Vertical layout
Horizontal layout
6.25
Track Templates Revisited
Don't forget that as well as saving FX chains by themselves, you can include them with other track settings
(such as name, pan settings, volume levels, etc.) into track templates. Remember too that you can use the
Track, Save tracks as template command to save a whole selection of several tracks into a single track
template. See also Chapter 3.
6.26
ReaEffects User Guide Supplement
You will find many examples in this User Guide of the use of various COCKOS effects, especially in Chapter 15.
In addition, a free PDF Reaper COCKOS Effects Summary guide can be downloaded from the following URL:
http://www.cockos.com/~glazfolk/ReaEffectsGuide.pdf
Note that this link is case sensitive.
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6 - Managing Track FX
6.27
Drag and Drop from FX Browser
Another handy way to add FX to any track or media item is to drag and drop from the FX browser. To do this:
 Display the FX Browser
window (Shift F or
View, FX Browser).
This will be displayed as
a floating window but
can be docked at the
bottom, right, left or top
of your REAPER window.
Basic docking was
introduced and
explained in Chapter 2.
A more in depth
examination of the topic
can be found in Chapter
12.
 Simply drag any required FX from the Add FX (FX browser) window: to add the FX to a track, drop on that
track in the track control panel, or to add the FX to a media item, drop on that media item.
Tips: You can use Ctrl Click to select more than one FX at a time, as shown above. Also, if you have previously
created any FX chains, you can select FX Chains from the FX browser and drag any complete chain to any
track or item.
6.28
Audio Signal Flow Chart: Master Track
This diagram illustrates specifically the audio flow for the Master Track.
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6.29
Audio Signal Flow Chart: Tracks and Folders
The two diagrams that follow (in this section and the next) illustrate how audio signals flow thru REAPER's
tracks to the master and to your output devices. Some of the items shown in these charts (e.g. Item/Take
settings) have not yet been discussed in this User Guide. They will be covered later, mostly in Chapter 7.
Notes:
1. The track mute button is shown more than once (near the beginning and near the end of the chain). This is
because it does not only mute at the beginning (so that for example, all media items are effectively muted), it also
mutes at the end (so that, for example, a synth in the track FX chain that is fed MIDI data via a receive from another
track is also muted).
2. If track mute and track solo buttons are both enabled, then solo overrides the mute.
3. If the Master is soloed, direct outputs to hardware from tracks/folders will not be processed.
'
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7 - Editing Tracks and Items
7
Editing Tracks and Items
Note: Some of the arrange view illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default theme and color
scheme. The information and instructions, however, are still accurate and correct for REAPER 5.
7.1
Using an External Editor
You can specify up to two third party programs (such as Adobe Audition, Audacity, Wavosaur or Sound Forge)
which you wish to integrate with REAPER for editing your audio media items. To do this:
1. Choose the Options,
Preferences command, then
External Editors.
2. Click on the Add button
3. Use the Browse buttons (shown
right) to identify and select your
preferred wave editor or editors.
4. Click on OK, then OK to close
the Preferences window.
Notice that you can specify different editors for different file types, e.g. WAV, or MP3.
To use your external wave editor:
There are two main ways you can access your preferred external editing program from within REAPER:
 Select the media item and press Ctrl Alt E.
 Within a REAPER project, right click over the media item that you wish to edit. From the menu, choose
either Open Items in editor then, from the sub-menu, select either the option to open the item itself or
to open a copy of the item.
Unlike versions of REAPER earlier than 4.0, by default double-clicking on an audio media item will no longer
open it with your
primary editor. This
behavior can be
changed thru the
Preferences, Editing
Behavior, Mouse
Modifiers page if you
wish. This topic is
covered in Chapter 14.
If the external editor
works destructively on
your files then the safer
option is to open a
copy. This copy will
then be inserted into
your track when you
save it, close the editor and return to REAPER.
7.2
Editing Items in REAPER
The topic of editing items in REAPER is a big one. REAPER features a comprehensive range of editing
techniques for managing the items within your projects. If you have worked with other audio software, you
might find REAPER's ways a little strange at first. The first question you might have when you look at the screen
is, “Where are all the editing tools?” The answer is … there aren’t any! At least, there aren’t many the first time
that you use REAPER! But as you are about to see, that doesn’t mean that REAPER isn’t up to the job. You just
get the wave editing features that you need, but without the screen clutter. What's more, you can create and
add as many editing tools of your own as you like. We'll get to this in Chapter 14.
There are some basic concepts that you need to understand about REAPER’s design philosophy and structure
before learning individual editing techniques. For example:
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
Item Editing in REAPER is non-destructive. Edits made to items are unique per item and do not alter the
content of the source file. You can experiment knowing that your original recorded files are safe.
 Item Editing in REAPER basically consists of selecting an item, or a portion of an item (range), then doing
something to it – such as splitting it, deleting it, copying it or moving it.
 Sometimes a number of steps might be required to achieve an editing task. If so, you can assign a single
keyboard shortcut to the entire sequence. Just how to do this is covered in Chapter 14.
 If you really miss having editing tools, then fear not. You can quite easily create your own tools and
toolbars for this (or any other) purpose. This topic is covered in Chapter 14.
 To a very large extent, you can customize REAPER’s editing behavior thru the Editing settings within your
Options, Preferences window. We'll get to this later in this section.
In a moment, we'll be working thru REAPER's many editing facilities and features. Before we do, don't forget
that when you are editing you have available not only the Edit, Undo command but also the Undo History
window (covered in Chapter 2). Remember that if you get into trouble, this Undo History window can be used to
restore a project file to any earlier state. How to enable these various options is explained in Chapter 2.
7.3
REAPER's Smart Editing
REAPER's smart editing features enable you to do many of the most commonly required editing tasks quickly
and easily. In this section, we will look at smart editing techniques for moving, copying and deleting media
items, selections of media items and parts of media items. To use them, make sure that the option Loop
Points Linked to Time Selection is disabled.
The table below shows REAPER's default behavior for various mouse actions. You can change any of these by
selecting the context Media item and Left drag on the Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences.
To do this with the mouse …
You need to do this …
Move item or selection of items ignoring time selection
Drag and drop.
Move item or selection of items ignoring snap and time
selection
Shift drag and drop.
Copy item or selection of items
Ctrl drag and drop.
Copy item or selection of items ignoring snap
Shift and Ctrl with drag and drop.
Move item contents (within item)
Alt drag and drop.
Adjust item pitch fine
Shift and Alt drag and drop.
Render item to new file
Ctrl and Alt drag and drop.
Copy item, pooling MIDI source data
Shift Ctrl and Alt drag and drop.
Shown right is an example of
how you might change any of
these. In this example, we are
in the process of changing the
default click and drag behavior
from Move item ignoring
time selection to Move
item: just move. This will
enable us to move any
selected area of an item just
by dragging and dropping it.
You'll find more of that in
Chapter 14.
Tip: If you accidentally move an item it can be restored to its original position by choosing Item processing
then Move item to source preferred position from the media item right-click context menu.
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7 - Editing Tracks and Items
7.4
Standard Windows Editing
Many of the basic editing tasks that you will be performing in REAPER involve the use of fairly intuitive standard
Windows procedures for selecting and manipulating items. There are also some extra ones. Here is a summary.
Select Items




Select an item by clicking on the item.
Select multiple items by using Ctrl Click.
Select adjacent items by using Shift Click.
Select groups of items by right-clicking and dragging a marquee around the items. It is
not necessary to marquee the whole of an item to select it (see above right). The
marquee feature can, however, be made to behave differently by using any of a
number of modifier key options (see Marquee Modifiers table below).
These techniques can be used in REAPER in several contexts – for example, Ctrl Click and Marquee can also
both be used to make multiple note selections in the MIDI Editor (see Chapter 13).
Split Items
Splitting items is used in several REAPER editing functions. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the following:
 If no item is selected, pressing S will do nothing.
 If item(s) are selected, pressing S will split all selected item(s) at the edit cursor position.
 If there is a time selection current, pressing Shift S will split all selected Item(s) at the beginning and
end of the time selection.
If an item with any FX is split, then both the resulting items will contain the FX. This can be changed in your
Options, Preferences, Media page by disabling the option Duplicate take FX when splitting items.
Heal Split Items
To reconnect media item that have previously been split:
 Select the media items in the track.
 Right click over any media item within the selection and from the menu choose Heal splits in items.
Heal is different from Glue. In short, heal restores items to their original state, whilst glue renders them to a
new file. Glue will be discussed later in this chapter. Note also that if a number of previously split items each
containing an FX chain are healed, then only the FX Chain of the first of the items is retained.
Cut/Copy Items
Apart from smart editing (see previous section) there are other ways to copy or cut items in REAPER. These are
based on standard windows techniques
 Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl C to copy or Ctrl X to cut any selected item(s) in its entirety. Note that if
a time selection is current, Shift Ctrl C/Shift Ctrl X will copy/cut only that current time selection, not
the whole item. You can use the Actions Editor (Chapter 14) to change this behavior if you wish.
 Right-click on an item and select Copy items or Cut items from the menu.
 Select an item, then select Edit, Copy items/tracks/envelope points ignoring time selection or
Cut items/tracks/envelope points ignoring time selection from the menu.
Note: Copying MIDI Items in Arrange View: Special considerations that need to be taken into account
when you are copying MIDI (rather than audio) items in arrange view. These are explained in Chapter 13.
Paste Items


Use Ctrl V to paste an item at the cursor position. If a track is selected, the item will be pasted into the
selected track. If no track is selected, the item will be pasted into the last track that was selected in the
TCP. If you give focus to the main arrange view window before pasting, a new track will be created.
Select a track and use Edit, Paste to paste the item at the current edit cursor position.
Copy or Cut Part of an Item
For those times when you prefer not to use smart editing you can use the Windows clipboard.
 Select the item then make the time selection.
 To copy or cut the selected area, first make sure that focus is on the main arrange view window, then to
copy use Edit, Copy items/tracks/envelope points within time selection or right-click on the item
and select Copy selected area of items from the menu, or press Ctrl C, or
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

To cut the selected area, use Cut items/tracks/envelope points within time selection or right-click
on the selected area and select Cut selected area of items from the menu, or press Ctrl X.
Select a track in the TCP, position the cursor in arrange view and choose Edit, Paste from the menu.
Delete Items
Delete completely removes the item from the track. Note that it does not remove the media file from the project
directory. There are several ways to delete items. Where an item has several takes, any of these actions will
delete all takes, not just the active one. See Chapter 8 for how to deal with individual takes.
 Use the Delete key to delete selected item/s.
 Right-click on a selected item and select Remove items. This will delete any selected items.
 Select Item, Remove items from the main menu.
Show Overlapping Items In Lanes
You might wish to place several overlapping media items on one track. If so, consider whether or not you wish
to crossfade them. Crossfades can be applied manually, or automatically, by enabling the Auto Crossfade tool on
the toolbar. Crossfade behavior can also be managed using the Crossfade Editor which will be examined later in
this chapter. You might also wish to enable Show overlapping media items in lanes on the Options menu.
The maximum number of lanes to be used can be set on the Appearance page of your Preferences.
Move Items: Special
Shortcut keys exist for moving items in ways that might be difficult to control with the mouse. For example:
Default Shortcut Key
Purpose
Num Pad 1
Slide item a little to the left
Num Pad 3
Slide item a little to the right
Num Pad 4
Move item a little to the left
Num Pad 6
Move item a little to the right
Num Pad 8
Move item up one track
Num Pad 2
Move item down one track
Note: This feature is often referred to as “nudge”. With REAPER, nudging is relative to the screen display. For
example, if you are zoomed in very closely on an item, then nudging left or right will move or slide it backward
or forward thru a much smaller unit of time than if the view was zoomed out to the full project.
Tip: Double click on a track’s index number in the Track Control Panel to select all the items in that track.
Marquee Modifiers
Modifier keys exist for changing the marquee behavior when you right-click and drag. By default, these are::
Modifier Key(s)
Purpose
Right-click drag (no
modifier)
Marquee select items.
Shift Right click-drag
Marquee add to item selection.
Ctrl Right click-drag
Marquee toggle item selection
Alt Right click-drag
Marquee select items and time
Shift Alt Right clickdrag
Marquee select items and time
ignoring snap.
You can change any of these modifiers and/or add others of your own choosing, using the Mouse Modifiers
page of your REAPER Preferences. More information about how to do this is given in Chapter 14.
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7.5
Editing Behavior Preferences
Familiarise yourself with REAPER’s main editing behavior preferences and how they work. If you do, you will find
life getting a lot easier! They are displayed on the Editing Behavior page of the Preferences window. These
are explained in Chapter 21, but in short, some of
the most useful of these include:
 Whether to move the edit cursor when
performing various actions – e.g. changing
time selection or inserting media.
 Whether by default to link loop points to
time selection.
 Which focus point to use as the center when
zooming horizontally and vertically. These
two important options put you in control of
REAPER's zoom behavior. Selecting mouse
cursor allows you to simply point and zoom
with the mousewheel.
The option whether to move the edit cursor when
selecting a media item is no longer on this page,
but can now be set using the Media item left click context on the mouse modifiers page. The default
behavior for this is Select item and move edit cursor but this can be changed to just Select item.
7.6
Separating Loop Selection From Time Selection
The setting Link loop points to time selection (on your Preferences, Editing Behavior page) determines
whether by default the loop points are linked to your time selection. When linked, this means that when you
select a time area other than that currently selected, the loop selection changes with it. At any time you can
override the default behavior by using the toggle command Loop points linked to time selection on
REAPER's main Options menu. Even when this option is disabled (i.e. not ticked), you can still use the Alt key
while you click and drag along the timeline to set both the time selection and the loop selection together.
Example
For this example we will be assuming that Loop points linked to time selection has been turned off.
In this first example, we have dragged along
the timeline to create a loop.
Now we have dragged within the track area,
just below the media item.
A new time selection is made within the loop
area, but the original loop selection remains.
Next, we have right-clicked over the area and
chosen Split items at time selection from
the menu. We now have a separate item (for
example, to be muted, or to which we could
add FX), but the original loop area is still
selected.
Here we have added FX to the newly split
item. We could now make a different time
selection, which we could also edit as
required.
Notice that we can carry on working with different times selections, but our original loop area remains intact.
You can play this looped area over and over again while working on different time selections within it.
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7.7
Snapping with Combined Snap/Grid Settings
You have already learnt (Chapter 5) how to define grid settings. These determine whether or not a grid is
displayed in your track area, and if so how that grid appears. The Snap/Grid Settings window (shown below)
can also be used if you wish to ensure that various actions (including time or loop selection) and/or items are
automatically snapped into position according to your settings. This, for example, might be to the nearest beat.
The Snap/Grid Settings dialog box is accessed
by choosing the Options, Snap/Grid
Settings command, or by the keyboard
shortcut Alt L, or by right clicking on the Grid
button on the REAPER toolbar. The keyboard
shortcut Alt S is used to toggle the Snap
feature on and off. You can decide whether
you want snapping applied in all or any of a
number of ways, including:
Media Items: Ensures that media items
when created, moved or edited will be
snapped to your settings - at their start, at
both the start and the end, or as determined
by the mouse position at the time.
Selection: Determines whether your time
and loop selections should be snapped.
Cursor: Determines whether your cursor
should be snapped.
Cursor to edge of media items on any
track: Good for navigating to item start,
end, splits, etc.
Snap to project sample rate: Enables
items to be snapped to items samples,
cursor, markers, loop points and envelope points to snap to samples.
Notice the Snap Distance settings. These enable your snapping to be more flexible. For example, you might
set your grid spacing at, say 50 pixels, specify snap distance of, say, 5 pixels and turn off the option to Snap to
grid at any distance. This will ensure that snapping to grid will occur only when you click the mouse within 5
pixels of one of the grid lines. Otherwise, the cursor will be positioned at the exact place where the mouse is
clicked. Notice that you also have the option to make snapping Relative to Grid.
7.8
Snapping with Separate Snap and Grid Settings
In the above examples, REAPER was set up to
use the same set of snap parameters for grid
display as was used for snapping. In other
words, the snapping would take place to the
nearest grid position.
Let's now see what we can do if we disable the
option Grid snap settings follow grid
visibility.
We have also changed the minimum pixels
setting for grid line spacing, in this case to
20 pixels, whilst still specifying (at the point
where the cursor is shown on the screen shot)
a grid snap spacing of one sixteenth beats.
This produces a less cluttered display on the
screen. Provided you have zoomed into your
project sufficiently, gridlines will be shown for
every quarter beat but snapping will take place between as well as on the gridlines, at every sixteenth beat.
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Notice also the Media items snap to option. This can be set to Snap both start/end, Only snap at
start/snap offset or Mouse position dependent (that is, at whichever position the mouse is nearer at the
time, the start or the end).
Tip: When snapping is enabled, this can be over ridden when selecting a loop along the timeline by holding
down the Ctrl key while you make the selection.
7.9
Trim Behind When Editing
The toggle command Options, Trim content behind
media items when editing can be used to ensure
that existing material is effectively replaced by new
material which as a result of some editing action is
placed over it. This option is also available by rightclicking on the Auto Crossfade icon on the main toolbar.
The easiest way to understand what this feature does is
to look at an example of what happens when you move
one item onto another with “trim behind” disabled and enabled. In this example, we are assuming that autocrossfade has been turned off.
Let's first recall how REAPER behaves with trim behind disabled (the default setting).
1. Shown here are two guitar tracks.
2. We drag and drop the item from the second
track over the top of the first.
3. If we now enable free item positioning on
the track and increase the track height, by
dragging the item on top below the original
media item, we can see that both the original
and the new item are now stored in this track.
Let's now see what happens if we repeat this
exercise, but this time with the option Trim
content behind media items when
editing enabled.
Steps one and two would appear to be the
same as before. But look what now happens at step 3:
This time, when we allow free item
positioning and drag the new item down,
there is nothing behind it! The original
item has been replaced with the new
one.
This example has been included only as an illustration and an example. It does not mean that you have to make
use of free item positioning if you wish to work with “trim behind” enabled.
7.10
Item Take FX
REAPER allows you to apply FX not only to individual tracks but also to individual media item takes within a
track. Suppose, for example, that you wish to add an effect (such as reverb or delay) to just part of a track. You
can split the track media into several items and apply the effect only to those items where it is wanted. If you
have selected the option to display the Per take FX and No FX item icons (Options, Preferences,
Appearance, Media) you can click on any item take's FX button to open its FX window. This topic will be
explained in more detail later in this chapter. Otherwise you can select a media item and use the default
keyboard shortcut Shift E.
To add a plug-in to a media item:
 Select the Media Item.
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
Click on the FX button or press Shift E to open the Item FX Chain. The Add FX to Item window will be
displayed.
 Double-click on the Plug-In.
 Adjust the parameters. then close the FX Window. If you now
hover the mouse over the item's FX button, you will see a tooltip showing the FX chain.
If you find this method too “fussy” then try this. You can simply drag
and drop any FX from the FX Browser window straight on to any media item. You can drop the FX anywhere
on the item. When FX have been added to an item, then the FX names will be displayed in arrange view
together with the item name (see above).
Important note: Where an item has more than one take, be careful to make sure you have selected the
correct required take before opening the item FX chain. This is because FX are assigned to individual takes.
Tip: You can also add recently used FX to an item, or open an existing effect for editing, by right-clicking over
the item's FX button to display a context menu (see above).
Managing Item FX – Summary Table
To do this …
You need to do this …
Add a plug-in to an item's FX chain
Drag and drop from FX browser window on to the item.
Open and view an item’s FX chain
Select the item, press Shift E.
Delete an item’s FX chain altogether
Select the first item in the chain then hold Shift while
selecting the last item. This will cause all items in the FX
chain to be selected. Then press Delete.
Copy an item’s FX chain to another item
Select the items, then drag and drop the FX from one
item to another.
If the FX button is visible, just drag and drop from the
FX button on to the destination item.
Shown here are the settings which determine if and how the various buttons are displayed for individual media
items. We'll return to
this in detail later in
this chapter, but for
now just notice that
available item icons
(buttons) include its
lock and mute
status, its FX chain,
its notes and
properties.
If you enable the
option Draw labels
above the item
rather than within
the item then the
buttons will be
displayed (with the
item name) above
the item. You can,
however, also
specify as an exception that When media item height is less than label height the label should be moved
to inside the media item. If you disable these options, the labels (if displayed) will always be superimposed on
the media item itself.
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7.11
The Nudge/Set Items Window
The Nudge/set items window can be opened from the media items right-click context menu. You can use the
Actions List editor to assign this action
to a keyboard shortcut, or the
Customize Menus/Toolbars editor to
assign it to a toolbar. The use of both
the Actions List editor and the
Customize Menus/Toolbars editor is
covered in Chapter 14.
Once opened, this window stays open
until you close it. You can select any
item (or a number of items) and use
this window to nudge or set a position.
Exactly how this behaves will at times
depend on your other settings (for
example, snap settings, and whether or
not the item is loop enabled). The main
options and parameters in this window are described in the table below, moving from left to right.
Item
Explanation
Action
Choose Nudge or Set. Which of these you choose will determine how REAPER will
interpret the Unit information.
If you choose Nudge, the item will be moved according to the unit specified by the
amount specified. In the example shown above, the item position would be moved 10
ms to the left or right (depending on which Nudge button is clicked.
If you choose Set, the item will be moved to the position specified.
Nudge/Set
Definition
Determines exactly what will be nudged or set. Your choices are:
Position
Whole item: the whole item will be physically moved
Left Trim
The item is trimmed from the left
Left Edge
The left edge is moved
Right Edge The right edge is moved
Contents
The item itself remains static, its contents are moved within it
Duplicate
Creates duplicate item(s)
Edit Cursor Moves edit cursor
Whether the movement is left or right will depend on which button is clicked.
If Duplicate and Nudge are selected, you will be able to specify number of copies.
Unit Value
Determines the number of units by which the item will be nudged. This information
needs to be interpreted together with the Unit Type selection. In the example shown
above, the unit type is milliseconds and the unit value is 10.
Unit Type
Options include milliseconds, seconds, grid units, measures/beats, samples, frames,
pixels, item lengths, item selections and notes. If notes is selected, an additional drop
down list offering various fractions of a note (from 1/256 to whole) is also displayed.
Snap to Unit
Whether to enable or disable snapping.
Nudge Left
Nudge Right
These buttons are displayed only if Nudge is selected. They determine whether to
nudge the item(s) to the left or to the right.
Get Cursor
Apply Move
These buttons are only displayed when Set is selected. Get Cursor returns the
current cursor position and writes it in the “to:” box. Apply Move moves the item
according to the various options and settings, including the position specified in the
“to:” box.
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7.12
Media Item Properties
All media items have a page of property settings which help determine the behavior of that item. Often, editing
in REAPER consists of selecting an existing item (or creating a new one) and then changing its properties.
To display an item's properties, select it then press F2, or right click and choose Item Properties, or click on
its properties button (if visible). For audio (but not MIDI) items, you can also double-click on the item to do this.
The Media Item Properties box will stay open until you close it. If you leave it open, its contents will reflect the
properties of whichever item or items is/are currently selected at any time.
You don’t need to understand every single one of these properties before you get started, just to know where
this information is accessed and changed. The main properties contained within this dialog box are:
 Position: entering a precise figure here will move the start of this media item to that position.
 Length of media item (Position and Length can be shown in time, beats or HMSF).

Fade In and Fade Out: you can define both the length and the shape of these.
 Snap offset: The amount of offset from the default snap position if snapping is enabled.
 Item timebase: Defaults to project timebase but can be changed (time, beats, etc.).
 Item mix: Effectively whether to replace or mix when an item is placed over another. Defaults to
project default.
 Loop source: whether item is a loop.
 Mute status: whether or not the item
is muted.
 Item lock status: whether or not the
item is locked.
 Whether or not to apply autofades at
item start and end.
 Whether or not to play all takes.
Obviously, this only applies where two
or more takes exist.
 Active take file name.
 Active take name. By default REAPER
will use the media item file name, but
you can change this.
 Pitch adjustment.
 Start in source: sets start time.
 Playback rate. For example, type x2
to double the playback rate of all items
currently selected.
 Whether to preserve item pitch when
the playback rate is changed.
 Adjust Volume and Pan, Normalize.
 Channel mode: this is discussed
shortly.
 Whether to invert phase.
 Add or remove Take envelopes.
 Which algorithm is to be used for pitch
shift and time stretch.
 Stretch marker default fade size and
whether to optimize for tonal content.
 The option to use only a section of the
media item.
 Options to reverse the item.
 Examine the media item source file's properties.
 Choose a new file to replace the existing source file.
 Rename the source file.
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

Access the Nudge/Set dialog box for this item.
Open the Take FX Chain window for this take/item.
After making any changes, use the Apply button to apply them and leave the window open, or OK to apply
them and close the window, or Cancel to close the window without applying changes. There is also an option
(right-click on title bar) to Apply changes after 2 seconds of inactivity that you can enable if you wish.
Some of these options – such as Loop Source and Channel Mode – are also available on the Item Settings
menu. In addition, for many of them Keyboard Shortcuts either already exist or can be defined. You will be
shown how to create your own keyboard shortcuts in Chapter 14 when we examine the Actions List Editor.
Tip: To change a property (e.g. playback rate) of several items at once, simply select all of the items then, with
the Media Properties window open, make whatever changes you require.
7.13
Media Item Icons
For several of the settings in the Item Properties dialog box there are icons (buttons) available that can be used
as a quick way of accessing these commonly used features. The display of buttons is turned on and off in the
Appearance, Media page of the Preferences settings.
The icons are listed in two rows. Ticking options in the first row means that the icons will be displayed only
when the item has been enabled (by a keyboard shortcut, the menu, or the Item Properties dialog box). Ticking
options in the second row means that the icons will be displayed whether the feature is enabled or not.
For example, if you tick the Mute option in the first row but not the Not muted option in the second, then the
mute button will be displayed only
when the item is muted. The button
indicates the track's mute status and
can also be used to unmute it.
If you choose to tick this item in both
rows then the mute button will always
be displayed (provided there is
sufficient room) on all media items, and
can be used as a toggle.
Enabling Properties (resampled
only) means that this button will only
be displayed if an item is resampled.
In the example shown (left) we have two media
items, both with lock status, notes, mute and
FX buttons displayed. The first item is muted
and the second item is locked.
Whether your icons are displayed above the
media items or superimposed upon the media
items will depend on your preference setting
(on the same preferences page) for the option Draw labels above item rather than within item. Note that
even if you have this option enabled, it will only be applied if there is sufficient track height. You'll find more
information about other settings on this Appearance, Media page in Chapter 21.
7.14
Item Notes
The Notes button (or the Item settings, Item notes … command from the
right-click menu) can be used to open a text box that can be used to enter any
text notes for that item. When notes have been entered, a small Notes icon will
appear on the item. Hovering the mouse over this icon will cause the notes to be
displayed as a tool tip. Click on the icon to open and edit the Notes window.
Within the Notes window, click on the Load button to load any .PNG or
.JPG image file. The option Use as item background can be selected to
display that image with the icon. Optionally, you may also choose to
Stretch to fit item. An example of a media item displaying an image is
shown here. Icons can also be inserted into media items by dragging and dropping from Explorer/Finder.
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7.15
Coloring Individual Items
You can change the colors of individual
media items (or selections of media
items) by first selecting the items and
then displaying their context menu and
choosing Item and take colors, then
Set items to custom color or Set
items to random colors or Set items to one random color. Various options to tint media item waveform
peaks and/or backgrounds with Item colors can be found on the Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms page of
your preferences (see above). However, some themes (including the default) disable user control of these
options, in which case you will not be able to change them.
Examples
In the example below, our vocal track has been split into several individual items. Let us suppose that these
include two verses and two choruses, and that for whatever reason we wish to easily identify the choruses.
We can select the chorus items, then right-click over any item in the selection and choose Item and take
colors, Set items to custom color from the menu. (These commands are also available on the main Edit
menu). We can then select any color we wish from the Colors dialog box and click on OK. These items are now
shown in the selected color.
Other similar commands include Set items to random color and Set items to one random color. To
remove a custom color, choose Set items to default color.
7.16
Adjusting Item Volume
Besides using envelopes (which we'll get to in Chapter 17) there are three main methods available to adjust the
volume of individual media items. They are:
 Using either the item volume handle or the item volume knob.
 Using the volume fader in the Item Properties box.
 Normalization.
7.16.1
The Item Volume Knob/Item Volume Handle
The Appearance, Media page of your Preferences settings includes the option to use either an Item
volume knob or Top edge of media item (item volume handle) as a quick and easy way to adjust the
volume of individual media items.
The Item volume knob is shown here (right). Click and drag on this, up or down
to increase or decrease item volume. Double-click to reset to 0.0dB. To adjust
several items at once, select the required items then adjust the knob on any one
within the selection.
The Item volume handle is a horizontal bar that sits across the top of each of your media items. Initially it
will not be visible until you hover your mouse over the top of the media item to reveal a double headed vertical
arrow. You can click and drag with your mouse down to lower the volume level (see first illustration). To pick up
the handle from the top of the media and increase the volume from there, hold down the Shift key while
dragging (see second illustration).
Use the Control key while adjusting either the item volume knob or handle for fine adjustments.
Tip: If you want the item volume handle when set to 0.0 dB to appear half way up your media items (rather
than at the top edge), choose the Options, Preferences command, then on the Media page set Media item
adjustment range to -inf...+6 dB.
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7.16.2
The Volume and Pan Faders
The Item Properties dialog box includes two
horizontal faders (Volume and Pan) to the left
of the normalize button. These can be used
to raise or lower an item's volume and adjust panning. After setting the level, click on Apply to apply it to the
item. This method is useful especially if you are making adjustments to both volume and pan settings together,
or if you do not wish the item volume handle to be displayed.
7.16.3
Normalizing Items
The term normalizing refers to adjusting the volume of an item (or selection of items) to a standard level. This
can be
1.
2.
3.
especially useful if some of your tracks have perhaps been recorded at too low a level. To do this:
Select any item (or group of items) to be normalized.
Right click over the selection.
Choose Item processing then either Normalize items or Normalize items (common gain) from
the menu.
Use the common gain option if you want the level on all items to be raised by the same amount, or relative to
each other. This will be the amount by which the loudest of the items can be increased without clipping.
If you want every selected item to be normalised independently do not select the common gain option. This can
be expected to result in a greater increase in volume for some items than if common gain had been selected.
Any individual item can also be normalised by clicking the Normalize button inside the Item Properties dialog
box. This is especially useful if you need to make changes to other item properties while you are normalizing.
7.17
Changing Item Channel Mode
Right clicking over any Media Item and choosing Item settings
from the context menu causes a sub-menu to be displayed.
Notice in particular that for stereo media items, you have a
number of channel mode options (also available in the Item
Properties dialog box). These include:

Normal: maintains or returns the stereo item to its
original channel state.

Reverse Stereo: swaps left and right channels.

Mono (Downmix): combines both left and right channels
into a single mono channel.

Mono (Left): produces a single mono channel using only
the output from the original left channel only.

Mono (Right): produces a single mono channel using
only the output from the original right channel only.
For multichannel items (see Chapter 3) you have also the option of mixing down in mono or stereo to channels
other than 1 and 2.
Examples
Some examples are illustrated below. Note that these changes are non-destructive. You can switch an item
between these different states as often as you wish. For example, to convert a stereo media item to two mono
items quickly and easily, you can simply duplicate it, then set one to Mono (left) and the other to Mono (right)
Mode: Normal
Mode: Reverse
Stereo
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Mode: Mono
(Downmix) (i.e. mixed
to as single mono track)
7.18
Take Source Properties
The Take media source section of the
Media Item Properties dialog box can be
used to view the properties of the currently
selected take, or to change or rename its
source file. Where the media item consists
of only one take, then the terms “take
media source” and “item media source”
become synonymous To change the media
item contents click on Choose New File, or to rename it use the Rename File option.
You can click on the Properties button to display information about the format of the original Audio file or
MIDI recording which is the source of the item. In the case of MIDI items, you can also modify some properties,
such as restricting which channels are played. Examples are shown below:
7.19
REAPER Editing and Auditioning Example
Most new users of any digital audio software struggle with editing at first, especially if they are used to another
program which uses different techniques. The best way to understand what’s going on is to work thru some
examples. These examples assume that you have the option to Link loop points to time selection enabled.
Open the file All Through The Night.RPP. Use the File, Save Project As command to save it as All
Through The Night EDITS.RPP.
The examples that follow are designed to help you to learn and understand the use of REAPER. They are not
intended to cover every possible feature – you can explore these for yourself – nor is it suggested that they
represent a particularly good arrangement of this song.
By way of preparation, set pan the two guitar tracks 33% left and 33% right respectively.
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1.
We are going to make a copy of the Bouzouki track
and then play around with the sound. In the Track
Control Panel, right click over the Track name or
number for this track, then from the menu choose
Duplicate tracks.
2.
Change the name of this new track to Bouzouki
Copy. Press Ctrl S to resave the Project File.
3.
In the Track Control Panel, click on the track number
for the first Bouzouki Track then hold the Ctrl key
and click on the track number for the second track.
Both tracks are now selected.
4.
Click on the Solo button for either track to solo both.
5.
With both tracks still selected, use the mouse to
lower the volume fader on either track to around –
7dB – both tracks will be lowered. As you get near to
the –7dB mark, hold the Ctrl key down for more
precise movement.
6.
Holding down the Shift key, move the Pan fader for
the first Bouzouki Track to around 55% left, and,
again holding the Shift key, move the Pan fader for
the second Bouzouki track to around 55% right.
7.
Right click over the Media item for the second
Bouzouki Track. Choose Item properties from the
menu. Change Start in Source to - 0:00.007. Click
on Apply then OK. This causes this item to be nudged 7 milliseconds to the right. This adds a very small
delay effect to make the instrument sound fuller.
8.
Press Ctrl S. Play the Song.
9.
While it plays, hold down Ctrl and click on the Solo button for either of the
Bouzouki tracks. This clears both the Solos.
10. Right click just beneath the Track Control Panel area and choose Show
master track.
11. Adjust panning and volume for the various tracks to get a reasonable mix.
You might end up with something similar to that shown above. Press Ctrl S.
12. In the example shown, you might be happy with the overall balance
between the different tracks, yet the overall volume of the Master might be
just a tad too loud in parts.
13. Open the FX bin for the Master and insert into it the JS/Utility Limiter.
Set the maximum volume of the limiter to –0.5. Close the FX window, and
make sure the Volume Fader for the Master is set to 0dB. You can now play
the song without clipping.
14. Notice there is an extended period at the end of the song that we might
wish to remove. Position the Play Cursor at around the position shown
(right). Make sure that no track is selected, then press the letter S to split all
tracks at the cursor mark.
15. Note that whereas before each track consisted of one item, each now has
two items. The items (to the right) that you have just created by splitting
should still be selected (as shown here). If they are not, right-click and drag
over them to marquee (select) them.
16. Press Delete to remove these items. Press Ctrl S to save.
17. Now we’re going to mute part of an item. We first need to make a separate item containing just the area
to be muted.
18. Select the media item for the Vox track. Position the Edit Cursor round about the 56 second mark.
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19. Press the ~ key (Shift `) to maximise the current track. Press Ctrl Alt Up or Ctrl Alt Down until the
Vox track is displayed. At this level of magnification you can see that some unwanted sounds have been
recorded during a passage when the singer is not singing. As likely as not, this is probably headphone
bleed. We’re going to get rid of it.
20. If you want to hear it first, you can Solo that track and play it. Don’t forget to Unsolo when finished.
21. View the Big Clock.
With the edit cursor near
the 56 second mark,
repeatedly press the +
key, until the area we
want to deal with
occupies a large part of
the screen.
22. Click once on the media item to select it.
23. Click and drag just below the timeline to select the region that we wish to work with (see below).
24. Right click over the media
item and choose the
command Split items at
time selection. This
creates a new item, and
this new item is still
selected. Press Esc to
clear the time selection.
25. If the item's mute button is visible, click it. Otherwise, right click on this new item and choose Item
settings then Mute.
26. Press the ~ key to return the whole of your song to the display. Adjust track heights as you wish.
27. Play the song. Notice that the Vox track is now muted during the passage that we have been working on.
28.
7.20
Press Ctrl S to save. We’ll be returning to this example shortly.
Editing Multiple Media Items
You can use REAPER's various item editing and manipulation techniques (including smart editing) on selections
of multiple items. Just make your item selection and then carry out the required
action (delete or move, etc).
1. You can do this with more than one adjacent track at a time by using the
marquee method (right-click and drag) when making a selection.
2. You can also do this for media items in non-adjacent tracks. Make the time
selection, then select the first item, then hold Ctrl while you click on each of
the other items. In the first picture (right), tracks 1 and 4 have had an area
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7 - Editing Tracks and Items
selected in this way. In the second screen shot (below), the same selected area has been cut from both
media items.
This is an example of where you may wish to customize REAPER's mouse settings to
change its default behavior. For example, you might wish to ensure that even when
multiple items are selected, only the one item is edited. This can be done on the Mouse
Modifiers page of your Preferences window, a topic covered in Chapter 14.
7.21
Slip Editing
You can slip-edit unwanted passages from the start or end of a media item by
following this sequence:
 Hover your mouse over the lower part of an item’s left or right edge so
that the mouse appears as a double headed horizontal arrow with a
square bracket (as shown right). The direction faced by the bracket will
depend on whether you are at the start of the item or the end.
 Click and drag to the right or left (as appropriate), then release the mouse.
Slip Editing Multiple Items
To slip edit several items in different tracks,
simply select all the media items required (for
example, hold the Ctrl key while clicking in turn
on each item, or use the marquee method), then slip edit any item in
the selection. The change will be applied to all items in the selection
(see left).
This is another example of where you may wish to customize REAPER's
mouse settings to change its default behavior. For example, you might wish to ensure that even when multiple
items are selected, only the one item is slip edited. This can be done on the Mouse Modifiers page of your
Preferences window. This topic is covered in Chapter 14.
Take care when slip-editing adjacent items, especially when they are touching each other. If you click and drag
on one of the items so as to create a space between the two, then slip editing will take place in the usual way.
However, if you slip edit in such a way as to overlap the items, you will create a crossfade. Both items will be
heard when the overlapping portion is played.
This is illustrated here, where the end of the first (further left) of the two
adjacent items has been slip-edited to the right, overlapping the other item.
This behavior can be modified in two ways. Disabling auto-crosssfade (on
the toolbar) will stop the crossfade, but both items will still be heard.
Enabling Trim content behind media items when editing (Options
menu) will ensure that only the slip-edited item (the item on top) will be heard during the overlap.
Another technique is to use slip-editing to move the boundary between two adjacent items
(perhaps when an original item has been split). Select both items and hover your mouse over the
boundary between the items to see the symbol shown here. You can then click and drag left or
right to move the boundary.
7.22
Adjusting Fades
If you select any item in a track and zoom in close enough, you will see that there is a
fadeout curve at the end of that item. You can change both the shape and duration of this
curve, either using the mouse, or thru the Item Properties dialog box.
1. Select the rightmost item on one or more tracks. In the example shown (right) two
tracks have been selected. In this example the items selected are vertically aligned:
this does not need to be the case.
2. Hover your mouse over the vertical white line that marks the start of the fade. The
mouse changes to display a curved shape.
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3. Click and hold down the mouse button. Drag left to increase the length of the fadeout
(see below left) then release the mouse. Notice that the fadeout curve is now more
gradual. If you were to slip edit any or all of these
items, the fadeout would keep its shape and
duration – it would just begin sooner.
4. Make sure that your media items are still selected.
5. Right-click over the vertical line that marks the start
of the fadeout. A menu of different fade curves will
be displayed (see right). You can select any of
these.
If you prefer, instead of using your mouse, you can press F2 (with the items selected) to
display the Items Properties dialog box. You can make your changes there.
Notice that your
REAPER Options,
Preferences dialog
box includes an area
on the Project
Defaults screen
where you can specify
default fade and
crossfade length,
overlap, and shape characteristics. See Chapter 21 for further information.
In addition, the Preferences Mouse
Modifiers page gives you additional
functionality by using modifier keys with
your mouse when working with fades and
crossfades.
For example, holding Shift while dragging
the mouse left or right will move a
crossfade left or right. Other default
settings are shown here, but you can
change them. For information about
customizing your mouse modifiers, see Chapter 14.
7.23
Crossfades and the Crossfade Editor
Typically a crossfade might be used to transition gradually
from one media item on a track to another. In the example
shown (right), two media items overlap each other with a
crossfade. Alt X toggles on and off auto crossfade mode.
When enabled, this ensures that dragging the start of one media item over the end of another will
automatically create a crossfade. Default crossfade parameters (including fade and crossfade shapes)
are set in the Media Item Defaults page of REAPER's preferences.
Various crossfade elements (such as shape, start and finish) can be edited with your mouse in much the
same way as you might edit a simple fade. In many cases this might be all you need to do. However, if
you need it the Crossfade Editor gives you more precise control over the shape and sound of the
crossfade. The Crossfade Editor is opened using the View, Crossfade Editor command, or by doubleclicking on a crossfade.
Below you can see the same crossfade as before, with the crossfade editor open. The crossfade area has
been selected (by click anywhere on the crossfade curve). The crossfade editor displays the fade
parameter information for the selected media items.
It might help to use a copy of your project at first, until you become familiar with how the controls work.
The following should help you to understand the controls and options and how they can be used:
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






The fader units (top right) can be set to your preference, either time (seconds) or beats.
Any of the seven shapes shown can be selected for fade out, fade in, or both. After choosing a
shape, you can use the mouse directly on the crossfaded media items. Drag
left/right on either curve to adjust the fade itself, or at the intersection to
move just the point where the fades cross. The dialog box controls can also
be used to edit the fades and crossfade (see points below).
Mouse modifiers can be used to customize mouse behavior (see next page).
Optionally, you can select Equal gain or Equal power. Equal gain
settings include linear fades (the top shape). Equal power includes
logarithmic fades (second from top). Equal gain might be preferred when
both items contain similar material. Equal power might be chosen when the
crossfade is between two different types of sound or different instruments.
Adjustable parameters are curve, center of crossfade, start and end
locations of fade-out and fade-in, length, position of contents (the
crossfade media items), and volume of fades. Most of these are selfexplanatory. The curve setting will adjust the shape of the left, right or (if linked) both curves.
Depending on other settings, this may cause the fades' intercept point to move left or right. Note
also that when adjusting the length you can specify which position should be preserved – center,
start, or end. The contents rotary can be used to move either of the media items left or right. The
volume control can be used to adjust the volume of the crossfaded items.
Parameter values can also be typed directly into the edit boxes.
Left/right values of the different parameters can be linked or mirrored. Except for start and end,
link and mirror are mutually exclusive options. For example, if shape is linked then changing the
shape of either fade will cause both to be changed in the same way. If mirrored, selecting a shape
for one fade will cause an opposite shape (if one is available) to be applied to the other fade. If
start and end are linked and mirrored, then adjusting either of these controls will change the
crossfade start and end length equally, keeping the center point constant. If length is linked,
adjusting the length of either fade will change the length of both fades equally. If mirrored,
lengthening one fade will cause the other to be shortened by an equal amount. If contents are
linked, that control will move both media items left or right together. If mirrored, it will move them in
opposite directions. If volume is linked, then adjusting either control will raise or lower the volume
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of both items together. If mirrored, then raising the volume on one side will lower it on the other.
You can choose whether your edits should apply to all grouped items.
You can set the position of audition points before and after the crossfade. Enabling audition will
cause the crossfaded area (together with the pre-roll and post-roll) to be looped when play on the
mini toolbar is engaged. Any other existing loop settings in the project will be retained.
 There are also options to solo the track and mute either left or right side of the crossfade.
 Right-click over the Crossfade Editor for a context menu.
 The mini toolbar at the foot of the window can be used to play,
pause and stop playback, and enable/disable loop audition.
 Previous and Next select the previous or next crossfade.
 The + button (top) can be used to save the current crossfade
editor settings as a Preset. Optionally, you can include
crossfade length within the preset. Saved presets can be
recalled from the drop down list to the left of this button.
 If several crossfades are selected, the crossfade editor will by default apply its settings to the entire
selection. For mouse edits, this can be changed in your mouse modifiers.
Fade/Crossfade Mouse Modifiers and Actions
Both media item fade
intersection and
fade/autocrossfade mouse
modifiers (right) can be
defined separately for left
click, left drag and double
click actions. In many cases
the left drag modifiers are
likely to be of most interest.
These modifiers can be
used when working with
fades or crossfades, e.g., to
enable or disable various
options, (such as whether
to ignore snap and/or
selection/grouping, and
whether to stretch items) or
to assign actions (such as
adjusting the fade curve).
There are also options which enable you to adjust the fade curve with the mouse.
Left click and double click modifiers can be used to apply any of a number of additional fade intersection
or auto crossfade actions from REAPER's Actions list. These include actions to change fade/crossfade
shapes, to adjust curves horizontally only or both horizontally and vertically, and to adjust fade curves in
various ways. Search the actions editor to see the full list. For more general information about using both
mouse modifiers and the actions list see Chapter 14.
Note also that the Appearance, Fades/Crossfades page of your Preferences includes various options
which determine how and when fade/crossfade edit handles are displayed (see Chapter 21).


7.24
Crop Project to Selection
When recording, it’s not unusual to end up with a period of silence at the beginning, before your song actually
starts, and varying periods of silence at the end of your various tracks, where you have perhaps allowed the
recording to continue longer than necessary.
Of course, you can fix this by slip-editing your tracks individually, then dragging and dropping them to the start
of your timeline. A quicker way would be to Crop project to selection. To crop a project to selection, do this:
1.
Click and drag along the background area to mark the area that you want to keep – see picture below.
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2.
Right click over the Timeline and choose Crop project to selection from the menu. If you wish, press
Esc when this is done to remove the time selection.
Tip: If immediately after cropping to selection (and before pressing Esc) you again right click over the Timeline
and choose Zoom selection from the context menu (or use the shortcut keys Ctrl Numpad Plus your project
will expand horizontally to fit the width of your Track View window.
7.25
Grouping Items
Provided that Grouping is enabled – Options, Item
Grouping Enabled command, or Alt Shift G – items can be
grouped together to facilitate working with them. For
example, you can move them together, set them all to a
common color, mute and unmute them, and so on).
Select the items and use G to add them to a group. If you
prefer, you can use the Item grouping button on the
REAPER toolbar to toggle grouping on and off.
In the example shown below, three of the six items have been grouped. Notice that for grouped items a
Grouped icon will be displayed if this has been enabled in Preferences, Appearance, Media. Even when this
preference is disabled, you will see a thin colored bar above and below all items that have been grouped (see
right).
Further items can
be added to a
group. Select any
item in the group,
then press Ctrl G to select the entire group. Hold the Ctrl key while
you click on those items that you wish to add to the group, then
release Ctrl and press G. Note that U removes a selected item from a
group. You can also use the Group commands from the right click
item menu to manage groups.
Example
Here is a simple example, using the file All Through The Night EDITS.RPP and save it as All Through The
Night GROUP ITEMS.RPP
1. Select the Vox track, and use the editing techniques that you have already learnt to cut this track into
several media items, so that it resembles that shown above. There are a number of ways you can do this
– one is to position the cursor at the point that you want to split, then select the item, then press S.
Repeat this as often as necessary. To remove unwanted items, select them and press Delete.
2. Check your Options menu to ensure that Item Grouping is enabled. If it isn’t, turn it on. Notice that by
default, the keyboard shortcut Alt Shift G can be used to toggle Item Grouping on and off.
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3. Select the second of the items in the Vox track. Hold down the Ctrl key while you select in turn the fourth
and last items for this track.
4. Press G to bind them into a group. Select any item in the group and press Ctrl G to select them all.
5. If item icons are visible, click on the Mute button for any item in the group. Otherwise, right-click and
choose Item Settings, Mute from the menu. Repeat this to unmute them.
6. With all items in the group still selected, right-click on any of them and choose Item and take colors
then Set items to custom color. Select a color and press Enter.
7. Now select the first of the items drag and drop to the right a little. All items in the group will move
together. Press Ctrl Z to undo this.
8. Now click on any other media item not in the group. This deselects the group. Save the file.
9. Click again on any item in the group and press Ctrl G. Again, all group items are selected.
10. Press U. These items are now ungrouped. Save the file.
7.26
Storing and Recalling Item Groups
Different groups of items can be saved and recalled using the Item Groups tab of REAPER's Project Bay. The
Project Bay will be explored in more detail in Chapter 12. For now, notice that you can open it using the View,
Project Media/FX Bay command, and then select the Item Groups tab. To create and save multiple groups,
simply use this method:

Open the Project Bay and select the Item Groups tab.

Select the items for your first group then right click over one of them and choose Group then Group
items from the menu. A group will automatically be created in the Project Bay. You can right click over
the group name and choose Rename group to give it your own name.

Repeat this step to create subsequent groups. The example here shows a project with two item groups.
To select all items in a group, you can now right click over its group name in the project bay and choose Select
group from the menu. To remove a group, use the Delete group, keep items command on the same menu.
Tip: To adjust the volume of all items in a selected group, hold Ctrl and Alt while adjusting the item volume
button or item volume handle of any one of the items in that group.
7.27
Glue Selected Items
When you have a number of items in a track that you wish to permanently treat as one, you should consider
using the Glue items command. When you glue items, they become one and a new media item is created. For
example, two MIDI items glued together will automatically and always open together in the same MIDI Editor
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window. Two audio items glued together will now share one common set of Item properties. Items that have
been glued together can be later split up any way you wish. This can be useful if you later realise that you need
to adjust one or more properties of a portion of a glued item. To glue together a number of adjacent items in a
track, follow this procedure:
1. Select all of the items that you wish to glue. The easiest way to do this is probably to right click and
drag the mouse across the items.
2. Right click over any item in the selection and choose Glue items from the context menu.
Example
In the example shown below, a track is made up of six separate media items (as in the exercise above). By
positioning the mouse initially over the first item, then right clicking and dragging to the last item before
releasing the mouse, we ensure that all items are selected.
We then right click over any of these items (where the mouse is shown above) and choose Glue selected
items from the menu. As a result, the items are joined into one, as shown below.
One application for gluing items is to join several items together into a new loop source. You'll learn more about
working with loops in Chapter 9. Another use for glue is to render an item, for example, incorporating item gain
and item take FX into the new media item and setting the FX to bypass. When a selection of two or more items
are glued in this way, the FX and so on will be applied to the appropriate sections of the new item.
7.28
Creating and Copying Items in Pencil Mode
REAPER includes an optional pencil mode
that can be used to create new media items
or make copies of existing ones. How the
feature works is determined by your Track
left drag settings on the Mouse Modifiers
page of your Preferences window.
In Chapter 14 you will learn how to change
these settings to suit your own custom
requirements if you need to. For example,
you could assign the Shift modifier to be
used to draw a new item. For now, we will
be looking at the default settings. These
default settings are shown here.
By default, the following modifiers can be used when clicking and dragging in an empty area in Arrange view:
Ctrl – draws a copy of currently selected media item. Snapping will be applied if enabled.
Ctrl Shift - draws a copy of currently selected media item, will not snap.
Ctrl Alt - draws a copy of currently selected media item pooling MIDI source data with snapping (if enabled).
Shift Ctrl Alt - draws a copy of currently selected media item pooling MIDI source data, will not snap.
The illustration above is an example of this. The first of two existing media items on a track has been selected.
By holding Ctrl while clicking and dragging further along that track, a copy of that media item is made.
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7.29
Propagating Items
Two media item context menu commands, Propagate item to similarly named items on track and
Propagate item to similarly named items (all tracks), can be used to copy the settings and features of one
media item to other items on the same track and which share the same item name. Let's look at two examples:
Example 1
1. In this example, we have imported a sample into our project and placed it on a new track:
2.
Next we have copied it as required across the track:
3.
Some time later, we decide to make some edits to the first item. These include an adjustment to the item
volume handle, some FX, and a fade out.
4.
Finally, we right-click over this first item and choose Item processing, Propagate item to similarly
named items on track to copy these edits to the other items. Any instances of this item on other
tracks will not be affected.
Example 2
1. In this next example, the original item has been copied to create several media items across two tracks.
Notice that each track has its individual settings, such as different panning and FX on one track but not
the other. As well as this, the original media item has its own FX, volume envelope and pitch adjustment.
2.
The Item processing, Propagate item to similarly named items command has been used copy the
features of the original item to all other similarly named items in the project.
Tip: You can assign one name to several media items all in one go. Select all of the items, press F2 to open the
Item Properties dialog box, type the name in the take name edit box and click on OK.
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7.30
Insert Space in Selection
The command
Insert, Empty
space in
selection can be
used to create a
gap anywhere in a
song. Make your
time selection
before using this
command. The space is applied to all tracks (as shown here). Existing material is moved to the right.
You could then create additional material on any or all tracks in the space that you have opened out.
7.31
Ripple Editing
The simplest way to describe ripple editing is this: usually, when you delete part of a media item, a gap is left
on the track where the deleted item used to be. With ripple editing, the material on the track is moved over to
fill that gap. This is illustrated in the three screen shots below.
This first picture (left) shows a media item selected
with a time selection highlighted.
With ripple editing off, deleting the selected area of
the selected media item has the effect shown here.
With per track ripple editing enabled, deleting the
selected area of the selected media item has the
effect shown here.
To access Ripple Editing, choose the Options,
Ripple editing command, or use the keyboard
shortcut Alt P, or use the Cycle Ripple Editing Mode button on the main toolbar. The same action (choosing
the command or using the shortcut) toggles the Ripple Editing status between three states:
Off: This is the default mode. Items will not shift when you edit a track.
Per Track: If you select the ripple editing option once, it will change to per track ripple editing. Ripple editing
will then be applied when you are editing the currently selected track(s)
but not to any other tracks.
All Tracks: If you select the ripple editing option once more, it will
enable the all tracks ripple editing. This means anything you do to ANY
of the items on ANY track will affect the ENTIRE project. This can be
used, for example, for deleting entire sections of songs.
In this mode, markers and automation are locked to the items that they relate to, so as you move items the
associated markers and automation move too. Using this mode on multiple tracks is very useful for editing
multitrack recordings of live material - everything that belongs together stays together in sync as you edit.
For instance, if you split the item at a couple of places (so you now have three items) then delete the middle
piece, the remaining pieces join up, but unlike with a normal stereo editor, you can adjust the join by dragging
the ends of the items appropriately. If you want to move material from one place to another, you can split at the
insertion point, drag the material to the right of the insertion out of the way, then make the insertion and drag
the displaced material to join it. All items to the right of the dragged item will stay together and markers and
automation will move correctly too.
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Here is shown an example with ripple editing on
all tracks. Ripple Editing, all tracks is enabled. In
the first picture the silence before the music
starts is selected. The command Cut selected
area of items is then applied. The selected
area is cut from all tracks, and the remaining
material is moved to the project start.
Note: Complications can arise if locked items
are included in the selection that is to be ripple
edited. In particular, REAPER needs to know
whether the ripple editing should be applied to
the locked items. The Editing Behavior
preferences page includes options for dealing
with this – see Chapter 21.
Tip: Shortly in this chapter you will be shown how to use mouse modifiers to determine how REAPER
behaves when an item or selection of items is dragged. This includes options to select and apply any of the
three ripple editing states when the item(s) is/are being dragged,
7.32
Trim to Selected Area
If you want to trim a media item or track from both the start and the finish at the same time you can do so.
Just follow this sequence:
1. Select the media item (or items).
2. Click and drag in the track background area to select the area that you want to keep.
3. Right click over a selected media item and choose Trim items to selected area.
If Ripple Editing is turned on, the area that is trimmed will also be removed from the timeline, otherwise
some empty space will be left. If your Snap/Grid Settings are set to include Media Items, then provided
that snapping is enabled, snapping will be applied when you select the area to be trimmed.
7.33
Free Item Positioning
Choosing the option for free item positioning enables you to move your media items around freely within a
track or tracks. This can be helpful, for example if you want two or more media items to play simultaneously or
to overlap on the same track. To turn this feature on:
1. Select the track (or tracks) for which you wish to allow free item positioning.
2. Right click over the Track Control Panel and choose Enable track free item positioning from the
context menu.
The following series of illustrations demonstrates an example of how this feature might be used.
In the first screen shot we have a Lead Vocal and a
Harmony Vocal on different tracks. We might find it
convenient to place these together on the same track.
In the second screen shot we have enabled Free Item
Positioning for the Vox Main track. Notice that there is a
small handle (shown by the mouse cursor) which can be
used to adjust the height of this media item.
In the third screen shot the media item for the Vox Hmy
track has been dragged and dropped into the Vox Main
track.
When this track is played, both of these media items will
play together. In fact, in this example, Track 3 can now
be deleted.
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Each of the (in this case two) items is independent of the
other. Either or both can be muted and unmuted, have
FX added to them, have changes made to pitch and/or
playback rate, and so on. You can use the Media Item
Properties dialog box (F2) and/or the right-click context
menu for this purpose.
7.34
Mouse Modifiers
You have already encountered many examples of how REAPER uses the mouse with and without modifiers to
perform a whole range of tasks. These have so far included making loop and time selections, copying and
moving media items, slip editing media items, using item pencil mode, and so on. In Chapter 14, you'll learn
more about how you can modify any of these if you wish, and even create your own. Meanwhile, you can find
out more about the various Mouse Modifier default settings by browsing thru the Editing Behavior, Mouse
Modifier section of your REAPER Preferences.
From the Context list, select a topic, such as Media item click, Media item edge drag, Track click, Ruler, click,
Arrange view right-click, etc. A summary list of all default mouse actions relevant to that context will be shown.
You can then double-click on any entry in the Modifier column to assign an action to that modifier.
Shown here (below) is an example of the default actions associated with the various mouse modifiers for when
you are dragging media items. For example, by default, clicking and dragging a media item will move it,
ignoring any time selection. Holding Ctrl as you do so will copy it – and so on.
There are many more for you to choose from. For example, you could define Shift Win as a modifier to restrict
item movement to being vertical only, when moved or when copied. You could use Ctrl Win for adjusting an
item's volume, and so on. To do either of these, you would need to double-click on the modifier in the list, then
make your choice from the list of commands and actions offered.
The Context drop down list includes the following entries that can be relevant when you are working with
media items.
Media item (left click, left drag and
double-click)
Media item bottom half (left click,
left drag and double-click)
Media item edge (left drag and
double-click)
Media item fade/crossfade (left
click, left drag and double-click)
Many contexts have an option
associated with them: where present,
this is displayed below the table, just
above the OK button. In the example
here, you have the option whether or
not to treat the label area above the
item as empty track space.
Notice too the Import/export
button. This can be used for saving
and recalling your mouse modifier
actions, either for the currently
selected context or for all contexts.
There's a lot to explore here, and how
you use these options will very much
depend on your own personal needs. The examples that follow should help to get you started.
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Media Item Left Click Modifiers
Shown here are the default assignments for
mouse behavior when you click on any media
item.
Notice that the default behavior for a simple
click is Select item and move edit cursor.
On the other hand, Alt Click will select the
item ignoring grouping.
If you wish, you can swap these assignments
over, so that a simple click will select the
media item without moving the edit cursor.
To do this, just double-click in the list on the
item that you wish to change, then select
your preference from the list (see right). You
will find more information about customizing
mouse modifiers in Chapter 14.
Media Item Edge Left Drag
Shown here (right) are the default mouse
modifier settings that are used when
clicking and dragging on the edge of any
media item(s).
Chapter 14 includes a step by step example
showing how you can change these.
Other Options
Notice that you can assign different
modifiers to be used when clicking on the bottom part of media items from those used when clicking on the top
part.
In the example shown here, the default
action for a simple click on the bottom half of
a media item is being changed to Toggle
item selection.
Note: When the context Media item
bottom half is selected, an option is
displayed to Disable targeting of bottom
part of media when take lane height is
less than xx pixels. By default this is set to
44. You will need to change this if you want
to be able to use these context actions with
media items less than 44 pixels high.
These are just some of the many possible
examples which illustrate how you can use
mouse modifiers in various different contexts
when editing media items. It's up to you now
to explore the many other options for yourself, depending on which aspects and options are most important to
you!
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7.35
Dynamic Splitting - Remove Silent Passages
REAPER's Dynamic Splitting is a powerful feature which can be used for all sorts of purposes. Many of these are
designed to help you with tempo based composition, but it has other more widespread applications. One such
use is to clean up a track and remove those passages that should be silent. This can be handy, for example,
with a vocal track, to auto4matically clean up the passages between verses which might contain unwanted
background noises such as breathing or shuffling sounds.
Suppose that you have recorded such a vocal
track. With dynamic splitting you can effectively tell
REAPER to go thru the track and take out all of the
passages where the vocalist isn't singing. These
are the passages where you want the track to be
silent and which otherwise might contain various
breathing or other unwanted sounds.
To do this, you first select the media item then
right click over it and choose the Item
processing, Dynamic split items… command.
You then need to select the required parameters
before splitting.
You are given immediate visual feedback before
executing the command. Each split point is
indicated by a colored vertical line and those areas
marked for removal are shown as darker.
Dynamic splitting will be examined in more detail
in Chapter 9, in the context of tempo based music
production, but when applied to this particular task
it can be used as explained in the table below.
Start with settings similar to those shown here and
adjust then as necessary.
Summary of Dynamic Splitting Parameters
When used in this way, dynamic splitting
basically employs a noise gate to tell REAPER
how often and where to split your media items
and which areas are to be removed.
Dynamic Splitting Parameter
Setting to Remove Silent Passages
At transients
Deselect this option when using dynamic splitting for this purpose.
When gate opens
When gate closes
You would be unlikely to select one of these options without the other.
Both of these options need to be turned on, so that REAPER can work
out the beginning and end of each passage that is to be removed.
Reduce split
In most cases, when using dynamic splitting for this purpose this item
should be deselected.
Min slice length
This sets the shortest length for any slice. You will probably need to
experiment to get it right. Usually, this should be set to a low value.
Happily, REAPER's dynamic splitting interface gives you immediate
visual feedback. You can see by looking at the screen when your
settings are right. The illustration below shows the effect of setting this
value too high. Notice that it can result in some recorded passages also
being removed
Constrain slice length
In most cases for this particular application this setting should not
matter. If in doubt, try both and be guided by the visual feedback.
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Dynamic Splitting Parameter
Setting to Remove Silent Passages
Gate threshold
This setting is important, but usually has a reasonable range of
acceptable values. If you make this too low you might allow unwanted
sounds thru the noise gate. If you set it too high you risk deleting
quieter passages of the recorded material. Start around -50dB and
make any necessary adjustments from there.
Min silence length
This is another parameter that will require fine tuning. Set too high it
will fail to catch all the periods of silence,
Hysteresis
This setting can be used to adjust the level at which the gate closes
relative to that at which it opens. In the example shown above, the
gate will close at -62.5 dB and reopen at -50 dB. Raising the hysteresis
figure closer to or even above 0dB will have create more splits.
Action to perform
For this application you would choose Split selected items or Split
selected and grouped items. The other options involve the use of
stretch markers, which will be covered in Chapter9.
Remove silence
This option should be enabled.
Fade Pad
Enabling fade pad can help ensure a smoother transition.
Other settings
Leave them as shown here.
7.36
SWS Extensions
As you get to know REAPER better you will find that there are a number of editing and related actions that you
will want to use frequently. This might include, for example, actions as diverse as lining up a number of media
items with the edit cursor, or setting the volume of an entire selection of media items in one action. You will find
that many of these actions – and more - are available as a plug-in to REAPER by downloading and installing the
SWS Extensions Pack. To do this, you simply follow this sequence:
1. Go to http://www.standingwaterstudios.com
2. Follow the instructions to download the correct version for your operating system.
3. After downloading, run the install program, then start REAPER in the usual way.
The contents of this extension pack are by no means lightweight. They include not only hundreds of useful
actions for editing and more but also whole modules which bring extra functionality to REAPER, including mixing
snapshots and marker management. So comprehensive are they that they come with their own PDF manual.
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8 - Arranging, Comping and Editing Takes
8
Arranging, Comping and Editing Takes
Earlier, in chapter 3, we looked at how you can create multiple takes when you are recording. In particular,
make sure you are familiar with the sections that cover Showing Takes in Lanes, Using Color Coded Takes
and Working With Multiple Takes. The editing and arrangement techniques covered in Chapter 7 can also
be applied to editing a project with multiple takes. This example is intended really to get you thinking about
how you might approach the task. You have two main methods at your disposal. You can either:
 Explode the takes to new tracks. You can then work on and edit each track separately and (if you wish)
join them all back to a single track when you have finished, or
 Work on and edit the various takes all within the single track on which they were recorded. We'll get to
this method later in this section.
Note that unless specifically stated otherwise, the instructions in this section assume that you have the free item
positioning option disabled for the tracks that you are working on. This is the default setting. (For more
information about free item positioning, see chapter 3).
8.1
Using Item FX with Individual Takes
In Chapter 7 you learnt how FX can be added to individual media items. Where multiple takes exist on a track,
each take can be assigned its own FX and FX chain. For example, you can insert separate FX plug-ins into
individual takes, as shown in the example here. Select the required take, then press Shift E to open the take
add FX window.
If you have enabled the options Display media item take name
and Draw labels above the item (both under Appearance,
Media, see above), then any FX chain for the currently selected take
will be included in the information displayed. In the example shown
on the right, Take 2 is currently active: the FX names displayed are
those FX assigned to Take 2.
If you wish, you can insert the same FX into each take and apply different parameter settings for each one.
8.2
Exploding Takes to Multiple Tracks
We'll start by looking at the first of these two methods. Let’s suppose that we have recorded three takes of a
vocal track. We can right click over the item and use the Take, Explode all takes to new tracks command.
This command creates (in this case) three extra as yet unnamed tracks – the original track with its three takes
is still intact. Now suppose that after auditioning we have decided which parts we want to use from each take.
In the next illustration, we have edited the various takes to leave only the portion of each take that we wish to
keep. This has been done using various editing techniques that have been covered in Chapter 7.
Finally, we select the various items from tracks 3 and 4 and use the Num Lock 8 key to move them up to track
2. Track 1 is now muted and could of course be hidden. Tracks 3 and 4 could be deleted.
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You could now select all of the items in track 2 and use the Glue Items command to bind them together as
one media item. Note that the original muted track with the three takes on it is still available. This makes it easy
at some later time for us to change our mind about what to include in the vocal track if we wish.
8.3
Crossfades with Takes
If you intend to arrange your media items so that
they overlap, then you should first decide whether or
not you want REAPER to add a crossfade. This
feature is turned on and off using the Auto
Crossfade button on the main toolbar (or the
keyboard shortcut, Alt X).
The curves of crossfades can be edited. You can extend the crossfade in either direction
by dragging the vertical fade bars. If you hold Shift while doing this, you can move the
crossfade itself left or right to a new position. Right-clicking over the crossfade reveals a
menu of different crossfade shape options (see left).
Using these techniques can ensure that an otherwise abrupt edit is smoothly disguised
by a gradual transition at the best edit point.
Various options are available to you for customizing mouse behavior when crossfade editing. These can be
selected from the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences – see also Chapter 14. An
example of this shown here. For more advanced crossfade editing, you might wish to use the Crossfade Editor
(see Chapter 7)
8.4
Exploding Takes in Place
Another option is to use the Take, Explode all takes (in place) command. This has the effect of merging all
takes on the track into a single lane. Here's an example of when you might wish to do this. The track shown
here includes three lead vocal takes. You have made your selection of the best parts of each take. These have
had their individual item properties (such as volume) adjusted to give you the sound that you want.
By exploding all takes in place, the selected items are placed over the others takes in a single lane, and are
played together.
8.5
Play All Takes
Here's a really interesting trick you can do with takes. Shown here is a vocal track with an overdubbed vocal
harmony for just a short part. Both takes at that point have had individual pan and volume envelopes added,
and some delay and perhaps pitch shift FX to the second take's FX chain.
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After selecting both these media items, right-click over either one of them and choose Item settings then
Play all takes. We can thus have our complete vocal and harmony mix on one single track! This setting is also
available from within the Item Properties window.
8.6
Editing and Comping Multiple Takes
You don't need to explode takes to multiple tracks in order to manage them. In this section we'll see some of
the ways in which you can manage your takes all within a single track. In overview, this essentially consists of
selecting the best parts of each take and comping them together into a single take of your preferred selections.
Slice and Dice
When you choose the Option to Show all takes in lanes (when room) there is a neat technique known as
slice and dice that helps you combine the best of each take together, to play as one track. To do this, you simply
Split the track in as many places (and at the exact points) that you think appropriate, then select from each
slice your preferred section. The different methods that you can use for splitting are explained in Chapter 7.
A clever trick is to make all of the items that together make up a complete set of preferred takes a different
color from the others. To do this, first choose your takes and select all of the media items (use marquee to do
this), then choose from the right-click menu Item and take colors, then Set active take to custom color
or Set active take to one random color. These commands are also available from the media item right-click
context menu. An example of how this can be used is shown below.
Notice in this
example that the
second of these
takes consists of
an overdub of
just a small portion of the song. The option to Display empty take lanes (Options, Take lane behavior
menu) is enabled to ensure that your takes are displayed more clearly. An empty part of a take (such as exist in
Take 2 here) cannot be selected unless you enable Allow selecting empty take lanes (Options, Take lane
behavior
menu).
Note: If you
prefer not to see
the empty take
lanes, you can
hide them by disabling Display empty take lanes (Options, Take lane behavior menu).
Comp Sets
You can save
multiple comp sets
for individual tracks
(example shown
above) and even
for groups of tracks
(as shown right). This latter example is a project with two vocal tracks, each of which has been sliced and
diced and colored at random.
With all media items in this set selected (use marquee for this), you can right-click over the selection and
choose Comps then Save as new comp from the context menu. You will be prompted for a name: this name
will then be added to the Comps menu and can be used to recall this comp from the menu at at any time. One
advantage of this is that it makes it easier for you to compare different combination of slices from different
takes, and hence arrive at the best outcome. There is no limit to the number of comp sets that you can save
and use.
Saved comp sets can be applied by selecting the media items (all takes) of the relevant tracks in arrange view,
then right c licking over the selection and choosing Comps then the comp name from the context menu.
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Here is a summary of the commands on the Comps sub-menu.
Command
Explanation
Save as new comp
Saves your current selection of takes on all currently selected tracks as a new
comp set. You will be prompted for a name.
Rename active comp
Lets you change the name of current active comp set.
Remove active comp
Deletes the currently selected comp set and removes it from the Comps
menu. This does not remove any takes or media items from the project itself.
Crop list to active comp
Removes other comp sets from comps menu list.
Move active comp to top
lane
Moves all items in take selection to the top lane of its track.
Comp names
Your comps will be listed at the end of the
Comps menu (see example right).
Choosing any of these will cause that set of
takes to be selected.
In this example, we
have created a
second comp set
and colored it
green. We can now
switch between
comp sets at will.
In this example,
with our preferred
comp set selected
we have used the
command Move
active comp to
top lane.
Don't forget also that by pressing Ctrl L you can toggle lane display on and off, as shown below.
Tip: When you
use lanes and slice
and dice in this
way, you can use
the Num Pad keys
1 and 3 to slide
items left or right if
their timing is slightly out of sync with other takes. The exact amount by which these keys will slide your
selected media item(s) will depend on how closely you are zoomed in or out.
As a rule, you are likely to find that in the earlier stages of post production, you are more likely to want to
create and save comp sets for individual tracks, rather than for groups of tracks. This will offer you a great deal
of flexibility in how you “mix and match” your various tracks together. However, as your mix progresses towards
its completion, you may find that it can be more advantageous to save comped sets for whole selections of
tracks, so that they can be recalled and used together.
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The table below summarizes other Take menu management commands that are available to you:
Command (Shortcut)
Explanation
Next take (T)
Makes next take the active take for all selected media items.
Previous take (Shift T)
Makes previous take the active take for all selected media items.
Delete active take (X)
Deletes currently selected take on all currently selected media items.
Crop to active take (Alt Shift T)
Removes all non-active takes from currently selected media items.
Duplicate active take
Adds a copy of the active take to the item as a new take.
Lock to active take
This is a toggle command. It locks the current active take selection.
When take locking is applied to a media item, its active take cannot
be changed unless this toggle is unlocked.
Show FX chain for active take
Opens the FX browser to allow you to add FX to the active take for
the selected media item.
Remove FX for active take
Removes FX previously added to a take's FC chain.
Take envelopes...
Opens a window from which
you can choose to add a
volume, pan, mute and/or
pitch, and/or any take FX
parameter automation
envelope.
Automation envelopes are explained in Chapter 17.
Explode all takes to new tracks
Copies each take to a new track.
Explode all takes in place
Places selected takes on the same track on top of each other, so that
all will play at once.
Explode all takes (in order)
Places selected takes on the same track in sequence, one after the
other.
This command turns this ….
into this:
Implode items across tracks into
takes:
Copies all selected items to a single track as a series of takes.
This command turns this ...
… into this:
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Command (Shortcut)
Explanation
Implode items on same track
into takes:
Moves all selected items to the same start time as a series of takes
on the same track.
This command turns this ….
into this:
Paste to takes in items
Pastes previously selected and cut or copied takes into selected
tracks as a new item.
8.7
More Take Commands and Actions
The third section of the Items context menu
contains a series of commands that involve
creating a new take from an existing item.
These commands open up for you a number of
interesting and creative options.
The first three of these involve applying track
effects to an existing media item and are
essentially similar – one creates a mono item,
one a stereo item and the third of these is
used with MIDI items. The table below
summarizes the use of these commands.
Command (Shortcut)
Explanation
Apply track FX to items as new
take
Apply track FX to items as new
take (mono output)
Apply track FX to items as new
take (MIDI output)
One use for this command is to free up CPU if your system is
becoming stressed. Consider an example of a track with some FX in
its FX chain, say EQ and a compressor:
After applying track FX (mono output), we have a new take with the
FX applied to it. The original FX chain can now be set to bypass:
This will not only reduce your CPU overload, it also opens up further
creative options for you. Try selecting Play all takes then using pan
and volume envelopes on both takes to vary their placement and
relative volume levels for different parts of the song.
Render items as new take
This command is another CPU miser. It will render the existing media
item as a new take.
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Command (Shortcut)
Explanation
Reverse items as new take
You can have some fun with this one. It does what it says – it adds a
new take to the media item with the material reversed. Here's an
example. Starting with this …
… we end up with this:
As well as these commands, REAPER's Action List (see Chapter 14) includes a number of actions you can use to
deal with empty take lanes. These actions (which can be assigned to shortcut keys or toolbars) are:
Item: Remove all empty take lanes
Item: Remove the empty take lane after the active take, and
Item: Remove the empty take lane before the active take
Don't forget how many options you now have … slice and dice, play all takes, volume, pan and mute envelopes,
pitch and/or playback rate shifting, take FX … and so on!
Footnote: Confused about colors?
REAPER's Preferences,
Appearance, Peaks/
Waveforms settings includes
many color options. These
options may be disabled by
some color themes, including
the default theme. Where they are enabled, their order of precedence is not obvious.
In the example shown here, we have asked for media item peaks and backgrounds to show both track colors
and take colors. Clearly to show both of these will not be possible.
In cases like this, the option furthest to the right will take precedence. In other words, for a particular media
item, if takes have not been colored then the track colors will be used. If, however, take colors have been
specified, then these will take precedence over track colors.
8.8
Managing Comps with the Project Bay
Takes and comps can also be managed from within REAPER's Project Bay.
The Project Bay is a one-stop center which allows for the convenient management of a project's media items,
FX, item groups, takes and comps. It is explored and explained in detail in Chapter 12 of this User Guide.
To open and display the Project Bay, use the View, Project Media/FX Bay command. Click on the tab labeled
Take Comps to display the takes and comps management section.
Clicking on the Options button (bottom right)
displays a menu. This menu is explained in detail in
Chapter 12. For now, notice the option to Mirror
selection in bay and project. When enabled, this
allows you to select any media item or segment by
clicking on it either in the project itself or in the list shown in the project bay.
Within the project bay window (see below) you can right click over any listed comp to display its context menu.
Choices include commands to Activate comp, Rename comp and Delete comp (keep takes).
You can also create a new comp from your current take selection by clicking on the Actions button (bottom
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right) and choosing Create new comp from the Actions menu.
An example of a project with the Project Bay open and the Take Comps
window selected is shown above.
The illustration on the right shows how within comp sets you can also
select and manage individual takes and items. For example, you can
activate or deactivate individual takes, or remove them from the comp
altogether.
8.9
Propagating Takes
In Chapter 7 you were shown how to copy a media item's properties and characteristics to all similar media
items on the same track or on all tracks. The same principle can be applied to takes, using either of the Item
processing commands Propagate take to similarly named active takes on track or Propagate take to
similarly named active takes (all tracks). Here is an example.
In this example, we have three takes of a media item, which has also been split into three sections. All three
takes share the same name (Vox.mp3). Notice that some FX have been added to the active take for the first
section, together with an envelope and a fade out.
By choosing Item processing, Propagate take to similarly named active takes on track from the
context menu, we ensure that these features are copied to the other active takes on this track:
Notice that although the envelope is copied, the envelope points are not.
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9 - Loops, Markers and Regions
9
Loops, Markers and Regions
Note: Many of the arrange view illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default theme and color
scheme. The information and instructions, however, are still accurate and correct for REAPER 5.
9.1
Creating Loops
Any audio, MIDI or click source Item can be
looped. Indeed, by default REAPER media
items are loop enabled. You can disable this
for individual items in the Media Item
Properties dialog box, or globally (for MIDI
and imported items) on the Project, Media
Item Defaults page of your Preferences.
The loop point is defined by the duration of the source media. If you insert an item that is four bars long, it will
loop every 4 bars, if it is 8 bars, it will loop every 8 bars, etc. Note that in the following examples, if you are
using beats for your timebase, the item must be an exact number of beats in length, or it will not loop in sync.
If necessary, adjust the playback rate (Media Properties) while preserving pitch, then glue the item to do this.
To Loop an entire Item:
1. Hover the mouse over the edge of an
Item until the Cursor changes to a
double-headed arrow (see right).
2. Drag the Cursor to extend the Item.
Each loop point will be indicated by a
notch in the item edges.
3. The length, start time and end time of the looped item will be displayed as you drag the edge of the loop.
Cropping and Looping:
If you wish to loop only part of an item, then one method is to
first crop and glue the item.
1. Make sure snapping is enabled. Hover the mouse over the
edge of the Item until the Cursor changes to a doubleheaded arrow. Click and drag the mouse in on the item to
make it shorter, so that you are left with only that part of
the item that you want to use as the basis of the loop.
Release the mouse button.
2. Right click over the item and choose Glue items.
3. Now drag the Cursor to extend the Item. Each loop point
will again be indicated by a notch in the edges of the
item. Extend the loop as required.
Changing Playback Rate:
There may be times when you will wish to
change an item's playback rate, for
example to keep it in sync. Taking the same
example as above, you would first display
the Item Properties box, and most
probably make sure that Preserve pitch
when changing rate was selected. You
could then change the Playback rate (for
example, to 2.0). This would have the
effect shown here. The original item
(looped) as shown above has had its
playback rate modified (right).
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Creating a Loop from a Time Selection
Another way of creating a loop from only part of an item is to select the
required item, highlight the required part of it as a time selection, right
click, choose Copy loop of selected area of items, remove the original,
then paste in the loop in its place. This is shown here:
1.
Select first the source item, then select the area to be looped (see
above). Either press Ctrl Alt L or right click and
choose Copy loop of selected area of item.
2.
Select the track and position to which you want the
item copied.
3.
Press Ctrl V to paste in the area to be looped.
4.
Drag the cursor from the edge of the item as before
to create the loop.
9.2
Creating and Navigating with Markers
Markers are like bookmarks. They can help you when you are navigating, arranging and editing your projects.
Markers can be inserted at the current Edit Cursor position, whether or not the project is being played.
Action
Shortcut
Effect
Insert, Marker command
M
Inserts numbered Marker at present position.
Insert, Marker ( prompt for
name) command
Shift M
Inserts numbered Marker at present position and opens
dialog which prompts for a marker name.
Other options include Set color... to color the marker.
Right click mouse over marker
Displays menu to Edit Marker or Remove Marker.
Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts
Default Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts for creating and navigating with markers are:
To do this ...
Mouse/Keystroke
Go to marker 1 thru 10.
1 thru 0 on main keyboard, not Num Pad.
Move marker 1 thru 10 to cursor position, or create
new marker if no marker of that number exists.
Ctrl 1 thru Ctrl 9 and Ctrl 0
Go to next marker/ project end or previous marker/
project start.
] or [
To jump to any marker.
Ctrl J opens Jump To dialog. Type m and marker
number – e.g. m2 to jump to marker 2.
Jump to marker using the Transport Bar.
Right click on Transport Bar then Jump to
marker
Open Edit marker dialog (e.g. to add or change
marker name or change marker color).
Shift double-click on marker number. Type a
new name, or click on Set color.
Make loop selection in REAPER's main arrange view or
in the MIDI Editor piano roll view.
Double-click on ruler between two markers
Select area between the two markers.
Double click on timeline between markers
Move a marker.
Click and drag marker along timeline
Remove a marker.
Alt Click on marker
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Example
This example illustrates the use of markers. Before you begin, on the Options menu, enable the option Loop
points linked to time selection.
1. Open the sample file All Through The Night.RPP and
immediately save it as All Through The Night
MARKERS.RPP
2. Play the song. Just before the place where the vocal starts.
Press Shift M. When prompted, type as the name Verse 1
Start and press Enter
3. At the end of the first verse, press Shift M again, name
this marker Verse 1 End and press Enter.
4. Create similar markers for the start and finish of Verse 2 and Verse 3. These will be at or around 1:00,
1:38, 1:46 and 2:35. Save the file.
5. Press 1 on your keyboard (not the numeric keypad). Notice the edit cursor jumps to the start of Verse 1.
6. Press 2. Notice it jumps to the end of Verse 2.
7. Double click on the timeline ruler (not the markers row) between markers 2 and 3. Notice that this area is
now looped and will play repeatedly.
8. Right click over the timeline and choose Zoom selection. You could now do any close editing work
required for this selection.
9. Press Esc to clear the selection, then Ctrl PgDn to restore the whole project to view. Save the file.
9.3
Time Selection Start/End Markers
REAPER treats the start and end of any current time selection as floating
markers. The shortcut keys for Go to next marker and Go to
previous marker are ] and [. These will also find the start or end of
the current time selection and move the play cursor there.
You can also right-click over the Go to start button and enable the
option Use transport home/end for markers. The Go to start and Go to end buttons will now find the
previous/next marker or start/end of a time selection when one is current.
9.4
Snapping to Markers
Optionally, you may wish to ensure that
when you are making a time selection, the
boundaries of the selection will
automatically snap to nearby markers at
the start and/or end of the time selection
(if any such markers are present).
Consider the portion of the Snap/Grid
Settings shown on the right. Notice that
snapping has been enabled, with a snap distance of 10 pixels defined.
With snapping disabled, it can be quite difficult
to make a selection which starts or ends exactly
at a marker. When you attempt to make such a
selection, you might end up with the selection
shown in the first of the screen shots below.
Notice that the end of the selection doesn't
quite match the marker.
However, in the second example shown, with
snapping enabled and the settings shown
above, if you drag the selection to within 10 pixels of the marker position, the selection will automatically snap
to the marker when you release the mouse. Notice the effect of making exactly the same selection with the
above snap settings disabled (left) and enabled (right).
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Example
In the first screen shot (below), a project contains two markers, one at the start and one at the end of the
project.
Suppose that you wish to reposition Marker 2 at the start of the second verse. You can simply position the edit
cursor there and then press Ctrl 2.
Now let us suppose that you want to create Marker 4 at the end of the song, reserving Marker 3 for a position
as yet unspecified. You can position the edit cursor at the end of the song and press Ctrl 4.
9.5
Removing Markers
There are two main methods of removing unwanted markers.
To remove a single marker
Position the mouse over the marker “flag” and hold down the Alt key
while you click the left mouse button. Alternatively, you can right-click
over the marker flag and choose Remove Marker from the context menu.
To remove a series of markers
Define a time selection that
includes all of the markers that
you wish to remove.
Right click over the space just
above the marker “flags” within
the time selection, and choose
Remove all markers from
time selection from the
context menu.
9.6
Marker Actions
Many actions are available (in the Actions List Editor) to help you manage markers. These include Markers:
Delete marker near cursor and Markers: Renumber all markers in timeline order.
Chapter 14 explains in detail more about actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own
shortcut keys.
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9.7
Creating and Using Regions
Regions essentially take the idea of markers one step further. You can create regions for your projects, making it
easy to identify, select and work with different passages of a song.
To do this ...
Mouse/Keystrokes/Command
Create a new region from the current selection.
Shift R or right click, Create Region from Selection
To change name or other properties of the region.
Shift Double click on region icon.
To specify a color for a region.
Shift Double click on region icon then Set color.
Make the area of the region the current selection.
Double click on region icon, or right click on region
icon, Select Region
Remove a region.
Alt Click on region icon
To create a Region from two existing Markers …
1. Make sure the Option for Loop points linked to time selection is enabled.
2. Double click on the timeline (not the markers row) between the markers to make the selection.
3. Right click and choose Create region from selection.
To create a Region from scratch …
1. Click and drag across the background area of the Track View to make the selection.
2. Right click and choose Create region from selection.
Example of working with Regions
1. Make sure that the Option for Loop points linked to time selection is enabled.
2. In the file All Through The
Night MARKERS.RPP,
double click on the timeline
between the first two markers.
This causes this area to be
selected.
3. Right click over the timeline,
between the markers, and
choose Create Region from
Selection.
4. Hold Shift while you doubleclick on the new region’s icon to display the Edit Region dialog. Type
Verse 1 and press Enter.
5. Double click on the timeline between markers three and four to select
this area. Press Shift R to define a region. Right click over the icon for
this region, choose Edit Region, type Verse 2 and press Enter.
6. Repeat this process using the area between markers five and six to
create a Verse 3 region. Keep this region selected.
7. Press Ctrl with the + on the Numeric Pad to zoom in on that region.
8. Press Ctrl PgDn to restore the whole project to the screen.
9. Press Esc to remove the current selection.
10. Save this file.
A number of handy actions are available (in the Actions List editor) to help you create and manage regions.
These include Markers: Insert region from time selection and Markers: Insert region from selected
items as well as Regions: Go to next region after next region finishes playing.
Chapter 14 explains in detail more about actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own
shortcut keys.
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9.8
The Region Manager
The View, Region/Marker
Manager command toggles this
display, used to manage regions
and markers.
This table shows how the region
manager manipulates markers and
regions using its buttons, its
controls, and its context menu
(displayed by right-clicking on its
title bar or in its background area.)
To do this …
… you do this
Renumber markers and regions in
timeline order
Choose Renumber in timeline order from context menu.
Go to marker or region and scroll
into view.
Enable Seek playback when selecting a marker or region
on context menu.
Auto play any region on selection in
region manager.
Enable Play region thru then repeat or stop when
selecting a region from context menu.
Edit marker/region name
Double-click on marker/region name in table then edit.
Edit other marker/region data
Double-click on number, start time, end time or length to edit.
Sort rows in any order
Click on any column header, e.g. Name or Start time. In the
above example, Start has been chosen as the sort column.
Delete a marker or region
Select the marker or region in table and press Delete.
Removes the region definition but not media content.
Show/not show regions or markers
in Region Manager
Tick/untick Regions and Markers options (top right).
Change column order
Click and drag column header left or right.
Hide/Show columns
Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Open Edit region/marker dialog box
Double-click on region or marker name.
Change region or marker color
Click on small color icon to left of marker/region number.
Zoom to region or marker
Double-click on region or marker number.
Render regions as a separate file
each (all tracks)
From context menu choose Mark all regions to be rendered
or click in Render column to select required regions and choose
Mark selected regions to be rendered from the context
menu, then use the Render Matrix... button to open the
Render Matrix window. See Chapter 20.
Render only selected tracks within
regions, as separate files
After selecting region to be rendered, left click in Render Matrix
column to select tracks. For details see Chapter 20.
Export marker/region list as .txt
or .csv file
Tick Regions and/or Markers option box(es), choose Export
regions/markers... from context menu, then type a file
name, choose file type and click on Save.
Import regions/markers from .csv
file (replace existing)
Use Import regions/markers (replace existing) command
from context menu, select file then click on Open.
Import regions/markers from .csv
file (merge with existing)
Use Import regions/markers (merge with existing)
command from context menu, select file then click on Open.
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9.9
Project Building with Regions
Regions can be used as a very powerful project building tool, especially when you are constructing a project
from samples and/or loops. Two especially powerful features of regions are:

Drag and drop a region along the timeline to move a region's entire contents.

Hold Ctrl while dragging and dropping to copy the entire contents of a region.
To illustrate this, take a look at the image above. We have started building a project, with an introduction, then
a verse (which has been made into a region), a chorus (also a region) and a second verse.
By holding the Ctrl key while clicking and dragging the icon for the Chorus region to the right, to the end of
verse 2, we are able to copy the entire chorus to that point (see below).
Notice that any markers and time signature markers that are inside the region will also be copied or moved
when the region is copied or moved.
Note: You can also select a series of media items and create separate regions for each item in the selection. To
do this, make your selection, then run the action Markers: Insert separate regions for each selected
item. This action can be run from inside the Actions window, and/or be assigned to a keyboard shortcut, and/or
added to a toolbar, and/or added to one of REAPER's menu – see Chapter 14 for more information.
9.10
Changing the Project Timebase
You can select Time, Beats (position, length, rate) or Beats (position only) as the timebase for your envelopes,
events and markers. To do this:
1. Press Alt Enter to display the Project Settings window. Click on the Project Settings tab.
2. Make a choice from the Timebase for items/envelopes/markers drop down list, then click on OK.
You can also change the beat by clicking in the BPM box (on the Transport Bar) and entering a number.
9.11
Markers and Media Cues
If you need to share your media files with other applications that use media cues (for example, Sound Forge)
you can convert your markers to media cues when rendering. File rendering is covered in detail in Chapter 20.
REAPER also has an option on the View menu (enabled by default) to show media cues where they exist on
imported media items. Moreover, you can use the Item Processing command to create markers within
REAPER for these media cues.
Example
1. In the screen shot shown below, our project includes a number of markers:
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2.
We can now select the appropriate
tracks and render the file (using the
File, Render) command, selecting
the option Stems (selected tracks)
from the Render drop down list,
Mono channels, and specifying which
combinaton (if any) of markers and
regions we want written into the
output files as cues. In this example,
Markers only has been selected.
3.
If these rendered files were later
imported back into REAPER, we can
see that the media items contains cues which correspond exactly with the original markers. This is
illustrated below. Notice the series of vertical broken lines which indicate the positions of the media cues.
4. If we now select any of these media items then right click and choose Item processing then Import
media cues from items as project markers then a set of REAPER markers and regions is
automatically created for the project.
9.12
9.12.1
Tempo Based Music Production
Time Based Music Basics
REAPER incorporates a number of features which make it a good choice for tempo based music production.
Some of these elements (such as creating loops and various item properties) have already been mentioned in
the context of other uses. Others have not yet been mentioned. In this section we will draw these elements
together to give you a flavour of how REAPER can be used for the production of tempo based music. Creating
tempo based music is a process that largely consists of creating and sequencing loops from audio samples.
These become the building blocks from which a work is created. Individually they can vary in length from a
single note to a complete rhythmical pattern, and anything in between.
One advantage that sampling has always had over MIDI is sound quality. There are any number of human
performance techniques and subtle variations that it are very difficult if not impossible to simulate with MIDI.
However, until recently MIDI held one big advantage over sampling. A MIDI track can easily be transposed
without altering its tempo, and its tempo can be changed without affecting its pitch. This has not always been
the case with audio.
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Take the example of drum loops. One of the biggest problems with using samplers to trigger drum loops has
been that when the tempo changes, so does the pitch. Samplers change pitch by slowing things down or
speeding things up. This means that as you play keys up and down your keyboard, you must at the same time
handle the issue of beat changes. It becomes almost impossible to get the exact tempo you want without
having to open the sampler and make adjustments to the loops.
Today, however, there are available many
tools that can do all this for you. The time and
pitch altering tools that come with REAPER
use high quality algorithms which give you all
the options you need to change or maintain
such factors as length and intonation. It thus
becomes possible to modify samples
accurately and without distorting their
essential characteristics.
ReCycle is one program that has become
popular because its REX grooves automatically
arrange themselves to the project tempo on
import. Bring in a groove and it always fits
the song. Take a set of items representing
slices in a rhythmic groove, set their timebase
to beats, and change the tempo -- magic!
They move all over the place but remain
exactly in rhythmic time according to the
tempo. Using REX files you are able to play
back loops at different tempos without
altering the pitch. You're on your way to being
able to create drum loops and other sounds
exactly the way you want them, and with
relatively little effort.
Later in this chapter we'll have more to say
about ReCycle, and indeed about REAPER's
own dynamic splitting capabilities which puts
this magic at your disposal. After dynamic
splitting, just double click in the BPM area of
the transport bar, enter a number and, hey
presto! The whole track plays faster, or slower, in perfect pitch. What's more, the whole track will speed up or
slow down naturally, without glitches, pauses or stuttering.
9.13
Project Settings
Before creating any music, you should make sure that your project settings are specified correctly. To display
the project settings dialog box, press Alt Enter or choose the command File, Project Settings… from the
main menu. In particular, check the following:
 Under Project Settings, Project beats per minute.
 Under Project Settings, Time signature.
 Under Project Settings, Timebase for events. You can select Time, Beats (position, length, rate) or
Beats (position only). The former locks items to the timeline so that changes in tempo will cause items
to be resized and their play rate adjusted. With Beats (position only), the start of the item is locked to
the beat, but the item contents are not affected or modified by tempo changes.
 Under Project Settings, Default pitch shift mode and parameter.
Remember that you can change the timebase for individual tracks (right-click, Set track timebase) and for
individual media items (F2, Item timebase). You can also change properties such as Beats per Minute and Time
Signature as often as needed during the song. For example, you can increase the tempo for one passage then
restore it to its original setting at the end of that passage. Shortly we will see an example of how this is done.
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9.13.1
Audio Media Item Properties
You can record your own media items or import them from existing files. You can also change various properties
such as playback rate and pitch for individual media items.
You can specify parameter settings for individual
media items and/or for selection of items. For
example, if you wish to change the pitch or
playback rate for several items you can select
those items and press F2 (or right click anywhere
in the selection and choose the Item
properties… command).
In the example shown, we are increasing the
playback rate for the selected items by 5% and
preserving the original pitch. Notice that you can
override the project default pitch shift mode if you
wish. You may find that different algorithms work
better with different kinds of audio item (such as
vocal, snare, kick or bass guitar). More information
about time stretching can be found in the section
Time and Pitch Manipulation.
9.13.2
Creating a Loop from a Time Selection
Remember that you are able to select any part of an existing media item and use it to create a loop. This
subject is covered earlier in this chapter.
Chapter 14 will introduce you to REAPER's actions and the action list editor. This can be used to assign keyboard
shortcuts to many actions that can be useful when you are working with loops and time selections. There are
actions, for example, to extend the time selection in either direction, to reduce it from either direction or nudge
it in either direction. Browsing and searching the action list will help you to identify those which are most useful
to you. Chapter 14 will show you how to bind these actions to your own shortcut keys.
9.13.3
Creating a Loop from Transients
Another method of selecting the area required for your loop is to use the transients in an existing media item.
The following actions are just some of the many that can be found within the Action List Editor (Chapter 14).
Where no existing keyboard shortcut exists, you can assign your own if you wish.
Item navigation: Move cursor to nearest transient in item
Ctrl Tab
Item navigation: Move cursor to next transient in item
Tab
Item navigation: Move cursor to previous transient in item
Shift Tab
Time selection: Extend time selection to next transient in items
Assuming that you are using the default key bindings shown above, and that Ctrl Alt Tab has been assigned to
Extend time selection to next transient in items, you can select the item, navigate exactly from transient
to transient and select the exact area required.
You can select the item, copy and paste it
elsewhere, then right click over it, choosing
Copy loop of selected areas of items from
the context menu.
These are just a few of the actions and
commands that can be used to suit your own
method of working when creating your tempobased projects. Explore the others and get to
know them. They include:
Copy selected area of items
Trim items to selected area
Split items at prior zero crossings
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9.13.4
Transient Detection Settings
The command View, Transient Detection Settings
causes the window shown here to be displayed.
This can be used to make your transient detection sound
more natural and human, by introducing subtle variations in
sensitivity and/or volume threshold. Enabling the zero
crossings option will help to prevent unwanted clicks.
9.13.5
Beat Correction
REAPER includes many actions to assist you with beat
detection and beat correction. There are actions to detect
tempo, create measures from time selections, extend or swap time selections to the next transient, and more.
Some of them are on the context menus and all of them are in the Action List. Any action can be assigned
shortcut keys, run from the action list window itself, and/or added to REAPER's Actions menu. More
information about the Action List can be found in Chapter 14.
How you string these actions together is up to you. Here is an example. You might have a live performance that
was not done to a click. It is a simple process to go thru the track and manually tempo-map the whole
performance. We're going to assume that you are using the following keyboard assignments:
Tab
Item navigation: Move cursor to next transient in items.
Ctrl Alt Tab
Time selection: Swap left edge of time selection to next transient in items
Ctrl Shift Alt Tab
Time selection: Extend time selection to next transient in items.
Example
In the example shown here, we have
used our shortcuts to create and extend
extend the selection out, as required.
We then instruct REAPER to Create
measure from time selection
(detect tempo).
We could do this either from the
timeline's context menu or using a
keyboard shortcut.
We then use our keyboard shortcuts to
capture the next time selection
required, again using that time
selection to create a measure with
REAPER auto detecting the tempo.
This process is repeated until we come
to the first place where a change of
time signature is required.
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By right clicking over the timeline we
display the context menu and select the
command Create measure from
time selection (new time
signature).
This causes the Edit Time Signature
dialog box to be opened, which you can
edit at will then click on OK.
This process can then be repeated up
to the end of the performance.
9.13.6
Quantizing Items
REAPER allows you to quantize your audio items. This essentially means lining them up according to the project
tempo or time signature.
You might have a situation in which you have copied and pasted a sample several times within a track (or
across several tracks) and you need to ensure that they are correctly aligned. To ensure that all items are
aligned to the beat, you simply do this:
1. Double-click on the track in the Track
Control Panel to select all the media items
in the track. Alternatively, you could right
click drag with your mouse to marquee or
"lasso" them.
2. Right click over any of the items, then
choose Item Processing then Quantize
item positions to grid. This causes the
Quantize Item Positions dialog box to
be displayed.
3. Specify your required parameters,
including the note length setting (1/8,
1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, etc.) and whether you want the items stretched to fit. An example is shown on the right.
4. Click on Process for the quantizing to be done.
In the example above, the option to also quantize item ends and stretch to fit was enabled.
9.14
Dynamic Splitting
Dynamic splitting is a very powerful feature which has a number of applications. You have already seen (in
Chapter 7) how it can be used to remove silence. For example you might have recorded a pretty good bass line
that you'd like to use for a song. Maybe it was recorded at 96 beats per minute. The timing might be a bit out at
times but on the whole you're pretty pleased with it. The trouble is that you want to use 120 beats per minute
for your new song.
Here's another example. Maybe you've recorded a killer slide guitar track. You like it but think it would be pretty
clever to give the tune one or two tempo changes. Dynamic splitting is the answer to both these challenges. It
works on the principle that you can instruct REAPER to split any media item (or selection of media items)
according to criteria that you specify. Basically it works like this:
 You first select the media item (or items) to be split.
 You right click over the item and choose Item processing, Dynamic split items… from the menu.
 This causes the Dynamic split items dialog box to be opened.
 You give it the information that it needs to work out where to split your items. This will essentially either
be to split the track at its transients or to use a noise gate to split whenever the audio volume falls below
a specified amount. As you will shortly see, each has its separate uses.
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
REAPER then "shadow splits" your selected item(s). That is to say, it indicates with a row of colored bars
exactly all of the points at which the item will be split if the parameter settings are left as they are.
 You make such adjustments as you wish
to the parameter settings until satisfied
that they are right.
 You tell REAPER to split the items.
Once split, each slice of the original item will be
set to the current timebase. You can set any of
the splits to any other timebase you choose.
You can use the items together or individually,
according to your needs. Suddenly you've got a
whole library of samples!
Dynamic splitting is non-destructive. This means
that your original audio files (WAV, MP3, AIF or
whatever) remain intact. Nevertheless, if you
are going to use this method to build a sample
library, it's often a good idea to work on a copy
of the original track. This just makes it easier to
go back to the original if you wish to use it to
make a fresh set of samples. Let's now take a
look at an example or two.
9.14.1
Splitting a Media Item into
Samples
In the examples below, a recording of a
resonator guitar is selected. We have then
chosen Item processing then Dynamic split
items from the context menu. Studying these
examples will help you to understand how the
settings work. In every case, the At transients
option should be enabled. These examples
should be sufficient to get you started. After
that, it's up to you to experiment according to your particular needs.
Examples
Only a minimal number of options are used here.
If you specify a very low minimum slice length REAPER will seek out transients with a high degree of sensitivity.
This will result in our media item being
split into a very large number of items.
This might be suitable, for example, if we
are intending to introduce tempo changes
to the song. The larger the number of
samples and the shorter their length, the
more sensitive and immediate will be the
track's response to any such changes.
Consider the two examples shown.
Notice (right) that Best to worst has
been selected as the method for
constraining slice length. This option is
likely to be preferred when splitting at
transients. Notice also that we have
specified that we want to keep the beat locations unchanged even if the tempo changes.
Now let's see what happens when we bring some of the other options into play.
In the case shown above right we have set a largish minimum slice length with the result that our media items
are quite longer. This might be appropriate if we are creating samples to be used with a software synthesizer.
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However, we might want to do some more fine tuning.
In this next example (lower right), we have
increased the minimum slice length and
used the Reduced splits option to further
reduce the number of splits. In this
particular case, these settings might be
about right for creating our sample library
from this bass guitar track.
Before splitting it might in some instances
be worth considering whether you wish to
enable the noise gate settings to allow you
to also remove silence. Whether you would
do this would depend largely on the
instrument in question and the nature of
the tune and arrangement. If the
instrument is played continuously and produces an audio signal similar to that shown above, then there may be
little point in using the noise gate.
Below we can see how part of our original media item now looks after splitting.
This next
example (right)
shows splitting
at transients
with a noise
gate employed
to remove
unwanted
background
sounds such as
drawing breath
from a vocal
track.
In this example
if we were to
set the gate
threshold too
low, too many unwanted sounds would still get thru. If we set it too high, we risk removing some of the quieter
vocal material. You are likely to find that a fair amount of experimenting is needed to get the settings just right.
9.14.2
Changing the Project Tempo
Once an item has been dynamically split, you can create time signature markers for changes in tempo to which
your music will respond when played back. To create these, follow this sequence:
1. Right click over the timeline and choose Insert tempo/time signature marker… from the context
menu.
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2. Specify your required changes in Beats per Minute or time signature. If you wish, you can select the
option for a gradual tempo transition between
markers.
3. Click on OK.
You can double-click on any time signature marker to edit its
settings and you can drag it along the timeline to change its
position.
These settings, along with more information about time
signature markers and their behavior (including editing and
moving markers) can be found near the end of Chapter 10.
9.14.3
Creating a Chromatic MIDI Item
When dynamic splitting you can select the option to Create
chromatic MIDI item from slices.
This causes a MIDI item to be created that creates one
MIDI event for each slice, moving up the chromatic scale.
One common application of this is for sample triggering.
Suppose that you have a groove that you have assembled from various items from different sources. You can
now create chromatic midi from the items and then load those items into a sample player, each mapped to the
next note in sequence. The midi will then play the groove. Moving the midi notes around changes the groove. It
is also quite easy to swap out exactly what it is that is being triggered.
Another example is hit replacement. You can dynamic split a drum part, creating chromatic midi from it. You
then have one velocity-sensitive midi note for each hit. It's then a straightforward job to delete a bad hit and
use the midi note to trigger a drum sample. Alternately, you can use the whole midi track to trigger a drum
sample to double a recorded part (thereby fattening it).
The chromatic MIDI item can, of course, be edited like any other MIDI item with the MIDI Editor, and used to
play any synthesizer or sample player. A comprehensive section on using the MIDI Editor can be found later in
this User Guide, at Chapter 13.
Leading Pad, Trailing Pad and Fade Pad settings
The examples used in this section have not made use of any of these three settings.
Leading pad is the amount in milliseconds (ms) by which the split point is pushed left of the transient or gate
open point when you click on Split. This works both with transient splits and gate open splits. Dynamic split
works out where to split and then pads it left by your ms value.
Trailing pad pushes the actual split point to the right by the number of ms specified., and by that same value to
the right of the gate close point in gated splits. The actual splits in this case will be to the left and right of the
dark area boundaries if you use both When gate opens and When gate closes.
The Fade pad option, if enabled, will fade in and out over the length of those pads.
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9.14.4
Saving and Using Samples
After splitting, you can save any of the individual slices as samples. To save an individual sample, simply right
click over it and choose Glue items from the context menu. The sample wave file can then be imported for use
with any VSTi sampling plug-in, such as ReaSamplOmatic5000.
Remember also that if you save the original file with the split items, you can return to it as often as you need to
whenever you wish to use it to create more samples.
9.15
REX File Support
REX files consist of sets of groove slices. They are created in and exported from a program called Recycle for
the purpose of being used in the creation of tempo based music. You can import these files into REAPER either
using the Insert, Media command or by dragging and dropping from the Media Explorer. When you do this,
they will automatically position themselves according to the current tempo.
Once you have imported your REX files into REAPER, you can manipulate and use them in exactly the same
ways as you can use other media items that have had dynamic splitting applied within REAPER.
For example, imported REX slices can be made to keep their beat location even if the project tempo is changed.
In your Preferences settings, under Media, Video/REX/Misc there are a number of options available for
determining how your REX files behave.
You can choose to import REX files as Beat slices that dynamically adjust to tempo change or as A
single loopable item at the current project tempo, or ask REAPER to Always prompt.
You can also specify REX tail behavior as any of Preserve all slice tails, Chop all but the final slice tail.
Chop only the final slice tail, or Chop all slice tails
The Action list also includes a useful action Item: explode REX item into beat slices. This can be assigned
its own shortcut key if you wish.
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10 - Pitch and Time Manipulation
10 Pitch and Time Manipulation
10.1
Changing Pitch for Individual Media Items
The pitch of any item can be changed from the
Media Item Properties dialog box. The pitch
is measured in semitones. You can enter a
number to raise or lower the pitch of any item
by that number of semitones, or you can type
in a multiplier, such as x1.5.
Notice that there is a drop down list that you
can use to select your preferred Pitch shifting /
Time stretching algorithm. Choices are:
 Project default (from Project Settings).
 SoundTouch.
 Dirac LE (better quality, more CPU
intensive).
 Simple windowed.
 Élastique 2.28 or 3 Pro (best).
 Élastique 2.28 or 3 Efficient (less
resource intensive than elastique Pro).
 Élastique 2.28 or 3 SOLOIST (suitable
for monophonic items).
If you choose one of these élastique
algorithms, you should also select a Parameter
from the different options available for each of
the three algorithms. To learn more about these and other features of elastique, go to the zplane web site
http://www.zplane.de/index.php.
To open the Media Item Properties dialog box for any item, first select the item, then press F2. The default
algorithm is determined by your Project Settings. Keyboard shortcuts allow you to easily and quickly change the
pitch of any selected item or group of items without needing to open the Media Item Properties box:
Keyboard Shortcut
Description
Shift 9
Move pitch down one semitone.
Shift 7
Move pitch down one cent.
Shift 0
Move pitch up one semitone.
Shift 8
Move pitch up one cent.
You can also use a take pitch envelope for pitch changes. Right click on the take (or media item if only one
take) and choose Take, Take pitch envelope from the menu.
For more adventurous pitch shifting
escapades you can try using one of
the pitch manipulation plug-ins that
are supplied with REAPER. Simply
open the FX window for a track, click
on Add, then in the filter list type
pitch to discover what is available.
Shown here is the JS Pitch:
Octavedown plug-in. Other JS pitch
shift plug-ins include fft-ps, mdctshift, octaveup, pitch2, pitchdown and superpitch. These are each suited to particular tasks, but the most
powerful of the available pitch shift plug-ins is ReaPitch.
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10.2
Using ReaPitch
Simply insert the VST ReaPitch
plug-in into a track’s FX chain and
you have a powerful pitch
manipulation tool at your disposal.
For example, you can use
ReaPitch to create vocal
harmonies.
The first illustration (right) shows
ReaPitch inserted into the FX
chain for a vocal track. The
Elastique Soloist algorithm has
been selected, together with the
Monophonic parameter. Notice
that the pitch has been shifted
down by 25 cents and the effect
panned 50% right.
In the second illustration, you can
see that we have added a second
shifter, this time taking the pitch
up by 25 cents and panning the
effect 50% left, thus creating an
extra harmony.
Notice also that in the second
illustration we have also adjusted
the panning and the mix of the
wet and dry signals to produce a
more pleasing overall effect.
Pitch Shifting and Channel
Splitting
If you intend to do a lot of work in
this area, you should definitely
take the time to get on top of
REAPER’s channel splitting
capabilities. These are explained
in some detail in the section
More REAPER Routing
Examples (and elsewhere). Look
especially at the example headed
Channel Splitting and Pitch
Shifting.
With channel splitting, you can,
for example, not only create
several vocal harmonies, but also
apply different FX plug-ins or
plug-in chains (such as Reverb or
Delay) to each of your different
harmonies.
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10.3
Using ReaPitch with Multiple Tracks
We’ve already looked at how REAPER can send audio streams from one track to another. Let’s now have a look
at how this feature might be used with ReaPitch.
In the example shown on the
left, sends are used to send a
signal from a Lead Vocal Track
to two other tracks.
Each of these other tracks has
its own FX chain which includes
ReaPitch, and of course the pan
and volume faders for these
tracks can be controlled
independently of each other
and of the lead vocal.
Chapter 16 will help you to
understand how to go about
setting up a signal flow such as
this.
10.4
Instrument Tuning with ReaTune
ReaTune is a plug-in that can be used to
help you correct the pitch on your recorded
media items. This is commonly used with
vocal tracks.
However, it can also be used to help you to
tune an instrument – see illustration on
right.
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10.5
Pitch Correction with ReaTune
The plug-in ReaTune can be used for pitch correction. It can be used in either manual or automatic mode. In
either mode, élastique SOLOIST is a suitable algorithm.
Automatic mode is
illustrated top right. To
apply it, first insert the
ReaTune plug-in into a
track’s FX window. You
should then:
 Select the page headed
Correction.
 Enable the Automatic
pitch correction
option.
 Select the required
algorithm and
parameter.
 Specify the correct key
and play.
ReaTune will then do the
rest for you!
Manual mode is illustrated
below right. To use it, first
insert the ReaTune plugin into a track’s FX
window. You should then:
 Select the page
headed Manual
Correction.
 Enable the Manual
pitch correction
option, and other
options as preferred.
 Enable or disable the
other options as
required. These are
Update, Prevent
octave shifts, and
Prevent
overlapping
segments.
 Use your mouse (click
and drag) to draw
your corrections. You
can also Clear the display at any time.
10.6
Changing the Project Play Rate
You can adjust the play rate for the whole project, using the Transport Bar. The project’s default pitch shift
mode will be applied. You can use any of these methods:
 Click in the Rate edit box and type a new value (e.g., to speed up by 10% type 1.1)
 Click the mouse in this edit box and scroll the mousewheel, up to increase play rate or down to
decrease it.
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10 - Pitch and Time Manipulation
 Drag the horizontal fader adjacent to the play rate edit box.
In addition to these methods, you can right click over the same edit box or the play rate fader and select one of
the options from the menu.
Notice that from the menu you can:
 Reset the playrate to 1.0.
 Increase or decrease the playback rate by any of the values listed.
 Enable or disable the option to Preserve pitch in audio items when changing master playrate.
 Apply play rate to the current BPM.
 Set the playrate fader range according to any of the available options.
Note: If the playrate fader is not visible in your transport bar, you can display it by right-clicking over any part
of the Transport Bar background and selecting the option to Show play rate control.
10.7
Time Stretching
The Take properties and Take pitch
shift/time stretch mode sections of the
Media Item Properties dialog box (F2) can
be used to stretch or shrink the time for an
item.
To do this, adjust the Playback Rate. In the
example shown (right), playback rate is being
increased by 2% and the option to Preserve
Pitch has been selected. Élastique 3 Pro has
been selected for the algorithm to be used.
To open the Item Properties dialog box for any
item, first select the item, then press F2. To
make the same change for a number of items,
do this:
1. Select all of the required items.
2. Press F2.
3. When the Media Item Properties dialog box appears, identify those properties where changes can be
made to several items at once. These include pitch adjust and playback rate (see above).
4. Make your changes and click on OK.
When the Media Item Properties dialog is opened for more then one item at once, some of the options will been
dimmed and are not available when setting properties for multiple items. (such as Take envelopes and Rename
file). Most options, however, are available.
Another method that you can use to adjust the playback rate of any media item (or selected group of media
items) is this:
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1.
Select all the required items.
2.
Hover mouse over the end of one of the items until it turns to a double-headed arrow, as you would for
slip-editing. Hold down Alt, click and drag mouse, left to increase playback rate, right to slow it down.
3.
Release the mouse when finished.
Notice that if you have enabled the
option Display media item
pitch/playrate if set
(Preferences, Appearance, Media)
any changes to Pitch or Playback
Rate will be displayed on or above the Media Item(s) in Arrange View.
10.8
Stretch Markers
Stretch markers can be used to speed up or slow down part of an item or selection or group of items. They can
be inserted at the current play cursor position or at the start and end of a time selection. Unlike standard
project markers (which apply to the project as a whole), stretch markers are only applied to the item(s) selected
at the time they are inserted. By dragging these markers left or right, the tempo of these items can be changed.
To create stretch markers, follow this sequence:

Position the play cursor at the point where you want to insert a single marker, or make a time selection
starting and ending where you wish to insert two stretch markers.

Select the item or items to which you want the marker(s) to be added

Either right click over a selected item, or choose Item from the main menu.

Choose Stretch markers then either Add stretch marker at current position to insert a single
marker or Add stretch markers at time selection to insert a pair of markers at the start and end of a
time selection.
Stretch markers can then be dragged left or right with the mouse to adjust timing. Holding Shift Alt while
dragging the first of a pair of stretch markers will move both markers together, preserving the distance and
timing between them. Other modifier keys are listed on the table on the next page. Meanwhile, here are some
examples showing how stretch markers can be manipulated.
A stretch marker is inserted in this item at the position
shown.
As it is dragged left, timing is made faster before (left of)
the marker and slower after (right of) the marker.
In this second example, stretch markers are added at a
time selection.
Left marker dragged right to speed up area between
markers, slowing down area before. Notice new stretch
markers are automatically added to the left and at the
start of the item.
The same marker is dragged back left as Shift Alt are held.
Timing before the marker changes but the timing between
the original two markers does not change, as both
markers and the area between them are dragged together.
Stretch markers can be snapped to grid using Snap stretch markers to grid or Snap stretch markers
within time selection to grid from the Stretch markers menu.
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A stretch marker can be removed by holding Alt while clicking on it. Markers can also be removed using either
of the Stretch markers commands (from the context menu) Remove all stretch markers or Remove all
stretch markers within time selection. Removing stretch markers will cause an item's timing to revert to
what it was before the markers were added. To make any changes to the item permanent, instead of removing
the stretch markers manually you can Glue the item (from the item context menu, or the main Item menu).
Where a number of items have been selected, markers will be added to the items in that selection. As long as
they remain selected, moving one marker in the selection will also move the others. This can be over-ridden by
holding Ctrl while dragging the marker.
Where items have been grouped, markers added to one item in the group will also be added to other items in
that group. By default they will be moved together when one is moved. This can be over-ridden by holding Ctrl
when dragging the marker. Grouping items is explained in Chapter 7. The following example shows how stretch
markers can be used with grouped items.
These two items have been grouped. Selecting and
adding stretch markers to either item causes the
markers to also be added to the other.
Adjusting the marker position for one item by default
makes the same adjustment on other items in the
group.
Various modifier keys can be used in conjunction with your mouse to modify the behavior when a stretch
markers are dragged. These defaults can be changed by selecting Media item stretch markers on the Mouse
Modifiers page of REAPER's preferences (see Chapter 14).
Default Mouse Modifiers when dragging stretch markers
(none)
Move stretch marker.
Shift
Move stretch marker ignoring snap.
Ctrl
Move stretch marker ignoring selection/grouping.
Shift+Ctrl
Move stretch marker ignoring snap and selection/grouping.
Alt
Move contents under the stretch marker.
Shift+Alt
Move stretch marker pair.
Ctrl+Alt
Move contents under the stretch marker ignoring selection/grouping.
Shift+Ctrl+Alt
Move stretch marker pair ignoring snap.
In addition to the commands and mouse actions explained above, please note that:
•
•
•
The Item Properties dialog box includes an option to optimize stretch markers for tonal content.
The Dynamic Split Items dialog (see Chapter 9) has an option to Replace stretch markers. If
selected, existing stretch markers will be removed from the item(s) and replaced with dynamic splits
according to the dialog box settings.
Several Actions are available for managing and working with stretch markers, for example to go to the
nearest, next or previous stretch marker. For more information about REAPER's Actions and Actions Editor,
see Chapter 14.
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10.9
Using Time Signature/Tempo Change Markers
The default project Beats per Minute and Time Signature for any project are determined by the values assigned
in the Project Settings window. You can change this for the entire song by any
of these methods:
 Display the Project Settings window (Alt Enter) and change it there, or
 Press W to return the edit cursor to the start of the song, then either ...
 Type your value in the BPM edit box (shown here) or Time Signature edit box on the transport bar, or ...
 Hover your mouse over the BPM edit box on the transport bar and scroll the mousewheel up or down.
If you wish to make time signature or tempo changes within a song, your Project Settings should use the
default setting Beats (position, length, rate).
The project tempo map envelope can be used for changes (see Chapter 17). This works for the most part just
like any other automation envelope. Note, however, that editing multiple points at once on this envelope causes
each point to be adjusted pro rata, not by a constant BPM value.
You can make changes within a song, by inserting a Time Signature/Tempo Change Marker. This changes the
beat after the marker position. To change these at any current cursor point, use the BPM or time signature edit
box in the transport bar, or:
1. Position the edit cursor at the required place in the song.
2. From the menu, choose the Insert command, then Time
signature/tempo change marker (or press Shift C).
3. Specify your requirements in the dialog box (right). Available
choices include BPM, whether to Gradually transition
tempo to next marker, Set new time signature , Allow
a partial measure before this marker and (where the
metronome is enabled and uses a beat pattern) to define a
New metronome pattern starting at this point.
4. Click OK.
Time Signature markers can later be modified, for example by
editing (double-click on marker) or moving them (drag and drop).
Note, however, the following:
 Tempo/time signature markers are always pinned to beat
position rather than time.
 Manually editing time signature markers requires them to be placed at the start of a measure.
 With snap enabled (Chapter 7), time signature changes snap to bars, tempo changes snap to beats.
 With snap disabled (Chapter 7), moving time signature markers will modify the preceding tempo if
necessary to ensure that the project contains only complete measures.
 Time signature changes that truncate the previous measure are marked with a *.
 Time signature correction may be problematic when a project contains linear tempo transitions.
 One tempo/time signature marker cannot be moved past another.
Notice that your Ruler context menu includes
a number of other commands relating to
project tempo and measure – these are
shown on the right.
Note also that the Preferences, Audio
Seeking page includes the toggle option
Playback position follows project
timebase when changing tempo – see Chapter 21.
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11 - The Mixer and Master
11 The Mixer and Master
11.1
Introduction
Until now, most of the emphasis has been on working in Arrange View. This is hardly surprising, as that is the
area where you will find yourself spending most of your time (at least with audio) and doing most of your work.
As your mix progresses, however, you will find that the
REAPER Mixer becomes more important. The contents
of this section should help you to familiarise yourself
thoroughly with the REAPER Mixer and its various
features and capabilities. You will also learn more
about how to get the best out of the REAPER Master.
Mixer display is toggled on and off using the View,
Mixer command (Ctrl M).
Note: Some of the screen shots shown in this chapter
use themes other than REAPER 5 default. The
commands and actions, however are the same
regardless of which theme you are using.
11.2
Mixer Commands
The Mixer menu (above right) is opened by rightclicking over the title bar or any any vacant area of the
mixer window, or by clicking over the word “Master”
on the Master track, or (when docked) right-clicking on
the Mixer tab in the docker.
This menu offers you much flexibility as to how the
mixer is displayed. For example, you can choose
whether or not you wish to display (and be able to
manage) your FX and sends in the mixer. The main mixer menu options are summarized overleaf.
You can also access the TCP context menu in Mixer view by right-clicking over any track name or number.
11.3
Mixer Layouts and Screensets
Commands on the Mixer menu let you select what is displayed in
the mixer: mixer layouts let you decide how it is displayed. Chapter
12 - Project Management Features, covers the topic of layouts (TCP
and MCP) in more detail, but for now note the following:
 Layouts are created and saved with, and attached to,
individual color themes, not within REAPER itself. An example
of an alternative mixer layout (Session mixer) is shown here
(left). The theme that you are using might not include this
exact same layout. Themes can be downloaded from
stash.reaper.fm. To select an installed theme, use the
Options, Themes command.
 Layouts can be accessed by choosing Set Track Layout then
Mixer Panel from the TCP context menu, or Options,
Layouts from the main menu, or by the View, Screensets/
Layouts command, then selecting the Layouts tab.
 Mixer layouts are assigned on a per track basis. If using the
context menu, you should first select the tracks for which you
want the layout assigned. If using the Screensets/Layouts
window you can choose to apply the layouts globally or to
selected tracks only.
Before getting too involved with layouts, however, it will pay you to familiarise yourself with the Mixer menu
commands and what they do.
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11.4
Mixer Menu Commands and Options
Command
Description
Master Track
Leads to a sub-menu of toggle options for Master Track:
Show in mixer
Show on right side of mixer
Show in separate window
Show in docker
The View, Floating Mixer Master command (from REAPER's
main menu) can also be used to toggle the floating of the
Mixer Master in its own window.
Show folders
Determines whether track folders are shown.
Show normal top level tracks
Determines whether tracks not in folders are shown.
Show tracks that are in folders
Determines whether tracks in folders are shown.
Show tracks that have receives
Determines whether tracks with receives are shown.
Scroll view when track activated
If there is not sufficient room in Mixer view to display all
tracks, the mixer will scroll to follow the TCP track selection.
Auto-arrange tracks in Mixer
Mixer track order will follow any changes to track order made
in the TCP. Disable this if you want to arrange tracks in a
different order in the MCP and TCP.
Group folders to left
Places track folders to the left. This can be useful at times in
bringing all your submix folders, but confusing at other times
for separating folders from their child tracks.
Group tracks that have receives to left
Places all tracks with receives to the left. Especially useful if
the only tracks with receives are all buses.
Clickable icon for folder tracks to
show/hide children
Enables folders to be opened/closed to show/hide child tracks.
Show multiple rows of tracks where
size permits
Shows tracks displayed in up to three rows when tracks will
not fit in one row and the mixer window has sufficient height.
Show maximum rows even where
tracks would fit in less rows
Causes tracks to be displayed in as many rows as will fit in the
track height, regardless of how few tracks there are.
Show sends when size permits
Displays a Sends bin above the track controls.
Show FX inserts when size permits
Displays an FX chain area above the track controls.
Show FX parameters when size
permits
Shows FX parameter controls: right-click on any of these to
assign control to an FX parameter.
Show track icons in Mixer
Track icons (if used) will be shown in tracks in the mixer.
Show icon for last track in folder
Displays the last track in folder icon for last track in folder.
Dock Mixer in Docker
Docks the mixer in the REAPER docker.
Close
Closes the Mixer view.
Tip: Double-click on any track panel in the Mixer to toggle on and off zoom to track in the TCP. This behavior
can be changed on the Mouse Modifiers page of your preferences (see Chapter 14). You can also use the
Mouse Modifiers page to add further actions of your own. For example, you could assign Ctrl Double-click
to the action Track: Set to custom color … How to assign your own actions is also explained in Chapter 14.
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11.5
Showing and Hiding Types of Mixer Tracks
Take as an example the above project. It has two folders (or parents) - Vocals and Instruments, containing two
and three child tracks respectively - and one top level track, called Reverb. There are sends from the two folders
to the Reverb track
(which acts as a bus),
and the tracks have
some FX in them.
The four “Show”
commands on the
Mixer menu are used
to determine which
types of track are
displayed.
In the example shown
here we might have
reached a stage in
our mixing where we
are happy with the
balance within our
submix folders and
want to focus on
getting the balance
between the
submixes and the
level of our vocal and instrument folders and our reverb bus just right.
In this case, we could elect to show not the tracks that are in the folders, but only the folders, tracks that have
receives and our master track (on the right). This example also uses a sidebar mixer layout.
The example shown here is a simple one: imagine how useful this feature might be if your project contained
perhaps 90 individual tracks inside perhaps a dozen submix folders and with maybe another half dozen buses!
In that case, you might also find one or more of the Show and Group commands to be very handy.
The Mixer menu does not have the facility to specifically hide or unhide named individual tracks. However, this
can be done using the Track Manager. The Track Manager will be explored in Chapter 12.
11.6
Working with FX in the Mixer
If you wish, you can do just about all of your FX management working in Mixer view. You can add FX to tracks,
move or copy them from one track to another, open the FX window for any plug-in, or open the track's FX chain
for more complete FX control. For this to be possible, though, you need to enable on the Mixer menu the option
Show FX inserts when size permits. The table below summarizes these and other activities.
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In order to do this ...
… you do this
Change the order of plug-ins in the FX Chain.
Drag and drop up or down the order.
Copy FX from one track to another (similar
to Track View).
Drag and drop FX to FX area on another track.
Display FX context menu
Right click on any displayed plug-in name.
Display the Add FX window.
Click in any vacant area of the FX area.
Display the FX chain and the control window
for that plug-in.
Ctrl click on any displayed plug-in name.
Move FX from one track to another.
Alt drag and drop to another track.
Open and float a plug-in’s control window.
Click on the plug-in name.
Remove a plug-in from FX Chain.
Alt click on plug-in name.
Remove all plug-ins from a track’s FX Chain.
Alt click on track’s FX button.
Toggle offline status of a plug-in.
Ctrl shift click on plug-in name.
Toggle bypass state for a plug-in.
Shift click on plug-in name.
In addition, right clicking over the FX area of any track in the Mixer
produces a context menu as shown on the right. If you click over an
empty part of the FX area then some commands (such as Float FX
configuration) will not be available. If you right click over an actual
plug-in name then you will be presented with the full menu. You can use
this for any of the following:
Add FX... Opens FX browser for you to add any installed FX plug-in(s),
Quick Add FX Displays a sub-menu of recently used FX: you can select
any item from this menu to add to the track's FX chain.
Add FX Chain Displays a menu of FX chains, any of which you can
select and insert in this track.
Replace FX... Opens FX browser for you to replace selected FX with any
other: any existing routing configuration will be preserved.
Quick replace FX... Opens sub-menu of recently used FX, from which you can choose any item to replace the
selected FX.
Float FX configuration Opens the FX window for the selected plug-in.
Show FX chain Opens FX chain for the track: same as clicking on the track's FX button.
Bypass chain Sets FX chain for this track to bypass. Same as clicking on the track's FX enable/disable button.
Bypass FX Sets the individual plug-in to bypass mode.
Offline FX Sets the individual plug-in offline.
Delete FX Removes this plug-in from this track's FX chain.
Rename FX instance Allows you to give an individual name to this particular FX instance.
Track FX Parameter Controls
You can turn your mixer into your own truly customized mixing console by adding controls directly to the mixer
track panels for those FX parameters that you find you are most likely to need to tweak most often.
You'll find more useful information about this in Chapter 12, Project Management Features.
Meanwhile, it's easy to get started. Let's see how you would go about creating a console like
that shown below.
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Notice the
rotary faders
for Band 2
and Band 4
EQ gain on
every track.
Example
You can use one of your existing project files for this example.
1. Open one of your earlier project files, for example, All Through the Night MARKERS and save it as All
Through the Night MIXER.
2. Display the Mixer. Undock it, and adjust the width and height of
this window as you prefer.
3. From the Mixer menu enable Show FX inserts when size
permits and Show FX parameters when size permits.
4. Insert into the first track an instance of ReaEQ.
5. Select the band 3 settings page.
6. Click once on the Gain fader control for this band, then click on
the Param button to display the Param menu.
7. Click on Show in track controls.
8. Select the band 2 settings page and click once on the gain fader
for this band.
9. Click on the Param button to display
the Param menu. Click on Show in
track controls (see above). Close
the EQ window.
10. In the mixer, you should now see
these two controls displayed for track
1. Drag and drop the ReaEQ from
track 1 in turn to each of the other
tracks. Save the file.
Note 1: These controls can also be assigned
within the Mixer. Right-click over the control
button, then choose the FX and parameter
from the context menu (see above). Choose
All parameters if you wish to add a control
for each of the FX parameters.
Note 2: These controls will be added to the track control panel as well as the mixer panel. You could of course
have created as many controls as you like, not just these two. This exercise was just an example.
Note 3: When we revisit this topic in Chapter 12, you will see that we have a couple of options up our sleeves
for making it easy to have controls like this automatically added to new tracks as they are created.
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11.7
Working with Sends in the Mixer
Enabling the Show sends when size permits option from the Mixer menu will cause your existing sends to
be displayed, each with a small rotary fader to enable you to adjust the send volume level directly from the
mixer panel. Right clicking over an existing send causes a menu to be displayed with the options shown here.
Right clicking over an empty part of a track's sends area will produce a menu with only one command – Show
track routing window. This can also be displayed by left clicking anywhere on the track's empty sends area.
Show send parameters Opens a small window with parameters
(volume, pan, etc.) for that send.
Mute send Toggles the send's mute status.
Remove send Deletes the send altogether.
Show track routing window Opens the track's routing window.
Go to send destination track Selects the send's destination track.
As well as this menu, a number of other techniques are available for
creating, editing and managing your sends. You can drag and drop from
the ROUTING button of one track to another (as in the TCP) to create sends, but using the sends area of a
track's channel strip for this purpose offers you more options. This can be seen in the following table:
In order to do this ...
… you do this
Add a send from one track to another.
Drag and drop from one track's send area or
ROUTING button to the other. In the latter case, a
send control window will be opened.
Add a send from one track to another and
open control window for that send.
Ctrl drag and drop from one track's send area or
ROUTING button to the other.
Add a send from one track to another and
disable send from first track to the master.
Alt drag and drop from one track's send area or
ROUTING button to the other. Use this method to
create sends from several source tracks to the same
destination track to create a traditional submix.
Add several sends to one track in one
action
Select all sending tracks. Hold Shift while dragging
and dropping from send area or ROUTING button of
any selected track to receiving track.
Add several receives to a track in one
action
Select all tracks from which you want the sends to
come. Hold Shift while dragging and dropping from
the ROUTING button of the receiving track
(unselected) to any of the selected tracks.
Copy a send from one track to another
Drag and drop the send to another track.
Delete a send.
Alt click on the send.
Display a context menu.
Right click on any send
Open entire routing window for a track.
Ctrl click on a send or Click in empty part of sends
area or Click on the ROUTING button.
Open the control window for a send.
Click on the send – allows you to change volume
and/or pan, specify send/receive channels, mute etc.
Raise or lower the send volume level.
Click and drag on a send’s control knob.
Toggle a send’s mute status on or off.
Shift click on the send.
Note that in the above table, those actions which use the routing button can be carried out in both the Track
Panel and the Mixer Panel.
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11.8
Showing Track Icons in the Mixer
The option to Show track icons in Mixer (from the Mixer menu) can be enabled to
ensure that any track icons that you have allocated will be displayed at the head of
the track's mixer panel.
Track icons are inserted using the Custom track icons, then Set track icon...
commands from the TCP menu. This menu can also be accessed from within the Mixer
by right-clicking over a track's name.
11.9
Managing the Mixer
Note: The sample layouts used in the illustrations in this
section are illustrative only and have been selected for
learning purposes. They will not necessarily look exactly the
same as the layouts that you are using.
You might find yourself faced with conflicting objectives when
you want to display track FX inserts, sends and so on all at
once and for all tracks, especially if you have a large number
of tracks.
One option for displaying more tracks is to enable Show
multiple rows of tracks where space exists. Shown here
is an example of what might happen when you enable this
option.
The problem has arisen that all the tracks have been
squeezed into the window – but now there doesn't seem to be
enough room to show all the features that we need to see.
In this example, there appears to be not enough room to
display all of the track FX and the sends. When this happens
you have two main options. These are either to make manual
on-screen adjustments to the relative size of the different
parts of the track panels, or to use a thinner mixer layout.
Making manual on-screen adjustments.
If, in the example here, you hover your mouse on the
boundary between the FX area and the hidden sends area for
any track, the mouse cursor will change to a double-headed
arrow, as shown on the right. Finding the right spot can be a
little tricky at first, so be patient.
You can then either click and drag up or down to drag the
boundary up or down for that one track or hold Ctrl while you
drag up or down to move the boundary for all tracks.
By holding Ctrl and dragging (in this case) up, we are able to
make more room to display the sends as well as the FX inserts if
we wish to, as shown in the second of these illustrations.
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In order to do this ….
… you do this
Adjust relative height of elements for the current track only.
Click/Drag up or down
Adjust relative height of elements for all selected tracks.
Alt Click/Drag up or down
Adjust relative height of elements for all track.
Ctrl Click/Drag up or down
Here we have adjusted the boundaries between the
different elements (track controls and FX inserts) so as to
make all of the FX visible. For example, Track 5 has no
sends, but more space has been allocated to displaying the
full list of track FX
We have then made some further manual adjustments for example, the VU meter on the master has been made
taller again by dragging up its top boundary.
Themes and mixer layouts.
REAPER's default theme includes many layouts, a sample of
which are shown in this chapter. Listed below right are
some of the layouts included with the REAPER 5 default
theme. In addition, other themes are available, which have
their own layouts. Themes can be downloaded from
stash.reaper.fm and installed by dragging the .ReaperThemeZip file into REAPER's arrange view. Installed
themes can be selected from the main menu, using the Options,
Themes command.
Then, to choose a mixer layout for your tracks you can just do this:
1. Select the tracks whose layout you wish to change. For all
tracks, just select one then press Ctrl A.
2. Right click over any selected track name then choose Set track
layout then Mixer Panel then select from the menu. The
layouts that you will see listed are attached to whichever theme
you are using and may not be the same as those listed here.
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This is an example of another of the mixer layouts (Strip Full Controls) included with the REAPER 5 default
theme. To browse thru, and download, the available REAPER themes go to http://stash.reaper.fm/. Sample
screen shots of some of the other track and mixer layouts supplied with the REAPER 5 default theme are shown
in Chapter 12.
11.10 Track Control Menus
The same functions that are available in the track control panels of your track view are generally also available
in the mixer control panels. These functions are covered in detail in Section 2 of this User Guide. For example:







Right clicking over the background area or Track Name for any track panel in the mixer displays the
track context menu.
Tracks can be armed in the Mixer for recording.
Clicking on a track’s ROUTING button displays the track’s Routing Window. Right clicking on this button
displays its routing menu.
Clicking on a track’s FX button displays the FX chain for that track. Right clicking on this button displays
a context menu.
Right clicking over a track’s volume or pan fader causes the Volume Control or Pan Law window to be
displayed.
Similarly, the Record Arm, Record Monitoring and Select Record Mode buttons serve the same purposes
as they do in Track View.
Tracks can also be muted or soloed in the Mixer view. Both buttons use the same mouse modifiers and
have the same context menus as they do in the TCP.
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11.11 Introducing Windows Screen Sets
Windows screen sets can be used to save and recall
complete on-screen layouts of your REAPER windows,
including Arrange view, Mixer view, the Navigator, the
Routing/Grouping matrix, and more. We'll examine
their capabilities in more detail in Chapter 12, along
with some examples in action.
Using Windows screen sets to save different
combinations of Mixer settings can be a useful step
towards fully understanding what screen sets are and
how they work. They can be a great time saver,
because the more you use REAPER, the more you will
find yourself settling on perhaps three or four
different layouts that you prefer for use in different
circumstances. This will depend mainly on factors
such as:

Number of Tracks: your preferred mixer
layout is likely to be different for a project with
only three or four tracks from what it would be
for a project with perhaps 20 or 30 tracks. For
larger projects you are more likely to show
multiple rows.

Project Stage: the information that you would like to see in your Mixer may vary according, for
example, to whether you are at the recording, early mixing or final tweaking stage of your project.
Windows screen sets are globally available in all projects. They are stored in a screensets.ini file in your
\Application Data\REAPER folder. This means that you can use any project to create a screen set, and then use
that same screen set with any other project. You should find the following summary information useful.
In order to do this ….
… you do this
Create a Windows Screen Set
Arrange your Windows, including the Mixer and its various options
and settings, on screen, exactly as you want it.
Choose the View Screensets/Layouts command (Ctrl E).
Select the Windows tab.
Click on any item number to select it, then on Save to open the
Save Windows Screeenset window (see above).
Select as many options as you require, e.g. Main window position,
Tool window positions (ie. all other windows), Docker selected tab,
Mixer flags (i.e. whether inserts, sends, FX, etc are visible), Layouts,
Last focus (currently focussed window).
Click on Save.
You can accept any default shortcut Load key that is shown (e.g. F7
for windows screen set #1) or click on Edit shortcuts to open the
Actions List Editor and assign your own. The Actions List is explained
in Chapter 14.
Load/Recall a Windows Screen
Set
Either use the keyboard shortcut (where one exists), or
Choose the View Screensets/Layouts command (Ctrl E).
Select the Windows tab and double-click on the required screen set
name.
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11.12 Mixer Appearance Preferences
REAPER's Preferences window does not have a section specifically labelled Mixer, but there are several places
where your choices will affect the Mixer and its appearance.
One of these is the Theme development/tweaker window, accessible
from the action list editor. Choose the Actions, Show action list command,
enter theme in the filter window then select and Run the action Theme
development: Show theme tweak/configuration window. The action
list editor is explained in depth in Chapter 14.
Click on any element name in the displayed list, choose a new color from the
color picker window and click on OK. Use the Save Theme... button if you
want to save your changes.
Mixer
Mixer
Mixer
Mixer
Mixer
Mixer
Mixer
Mixer
Mixer
FX text normal color
FX text bypassed color
FX text offline color
sends text normal color
sends text muted color
sends text MIDI hardware color
sends level color
FX knob text normal color
FX knob text bypassed color
Mixer FX knob text offline color
Whether you want the VU meters to be interlaced.
VU meter clip indicator color
VU meter top color
VU meter middle color
VU meter bottom color
VU meter interlace/edge color
VU meter show MIDI activity
Under Options, Preferences, Appearance you will find a couple of options that you might be able to use to
customize your mixer appearance by the use of color coding. However, these options are disabled by the some
color themes (including the default). These are to Set track label background to custom track colors and
to Tint track panel backgrounds. Any colors selected using the context menu Custom track colors
command (see Chapter 5) will be applied to the track panels in your Mixer if either or both of these options is
enabled. Shown below is an example with custom colors applied and using the settings of the default theme.
One final preference setting to note is the Show in mixer option under Project, Track/Send Defaults. By
default, this option is enabled, which means that new tracks as they are added are automatically shown in the
Mixer. You should disable this preference if you wish to change this default behavior. This setting can be overridden for individual tracks using the Track Manager. This is explained in Chapter 12.
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11.13 Stereo and Dual Panning
The stereo panner and the dual panner are designed to give you more control over how you pan stereo tracks.
The default pan law (stereo balance/mono pan) gives you a single pan control which moves the sound between
the left and right speakers.
However, a stereo track is made up of two channels – left and
right. You can see these on any stereo wave file that you record or
import into any project. The output of one channel (the top
waveform) is normally routed 100% left, the other (bottom
waveform) 100% right. Using the dual panner or the width
panner you are able to change this in one of two different ways.
The dual panner (shown below right)) is easier to understand. Each of the two pan controls contains one of the
channels. Pan the first of these 100% left and the second 100% right and you will hear the first channel thru
the left speaker only and the second thru the right speaker only. Reverse these and you will now hear the first
channel only thru the right speaker and the second only thru the
left channel. Pan both fully left and you will hear both thru the left
speaker only. You can adjust both pan controls independently to
place each channel exactly where you want it. For example, if you
set both controls dead center you will hear exactly the same mix of
the two channels thru both speakers.
The stereo panner is in some respects more subtle. You can use the
width control to adjust the mix of the two individual channels of a
stereo media item, folder or submix, and the balance panner to
position that overall mix further to the left or the right.
To help you understand this, let's work thru a relatively simple
demonstration.
Displaying the Dual Panner or Stereo Panner
Any track's dual or stereo panner can be shown by right-clicking
over the pan fader and selecting the required pan mode. You are most likely to want to do this for a track which
contains stereo media items, or which is a folder, or acts as a bus or submix.
Example
In this example we will first create a stereo file in order to help us experiment with the use of the width panner.
We will then get a little more ambitious and use it on a submix. This will include rendering the mono media
items on two current tracks a single stereo file. The topic of rendering will be covered in detail in Chapter 20.
1.
Open the file All Through the Night.RPP and save it as All Through the Night WIDTH.RPP.
2.
Mute all tracks except the Guitar Body and the Bouzouki.
3.
Pan the Guitar Body 100% left and the Bouzouki 100% right.
4.
Choose the Render command from the File menu. Make sure that you set Channels to Stereo, and
select Master mix and Entire project. Select output format MP3 and Add rendered items to new
tracks in project (see next page).
5.
Click on Render 1 File.
6.
After a few seconds, the rendered file will be added as a new track. Give the track a suitable name. It
should resemble that shown here.
7.
In this rendered track, the guitar makes up the audio on one channel, the bouzouki on the other channel.
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8.
9.
Solo and play this track.
Adjust the pan control slowly, first
fully left, then fully right, then
back to the center. As you do so,
one channel will gradually fade
away. Panned full left you will
hear only the guitar, full right only
the bouzouki. Move the pan back
to the center.
10. Selected this track in the TCP,
right click over the pan control
and choose Dual Pan option
from the pan mode drop down
list (explained overleaf).
11. Play the song. Slowly move the
top pan control to 100% right.
You will hear both instruments in
the right speaker only.
12. Move the lower pan control to
100%% left. Now you will hear
the guitar in the right channel
only, the bouzouki in the left
channel only – the opposite of
what you started with.
13. Experiment moving these faders.
When finished, move the top pan
control to 100% left and the
lower pan control to 100% right.
Save the file.
14. Now change the pan mode for
this track to Stereo Pan.
15. Play the song. At first you will
hear only the guitar in the left
speaker, only the bouzouki in the
right speaker. Slowly move the lower (width) panner from 100% right towards the centre (0W). As you do
so, the two instruments will tend to blend more together.
16. With width set at 0W, move the top (pan) control fully left. The mix will now be heard thru one speaker
only. Move it back to the center. Save the file.
Now try this:
1.
Unsolo and mute the stereo track.
2. Create a folder called Instruments just after the Vocal track. Select Stereo pan mode for this folder.
3. Make the two guitar tracks and the bouzouki tracks child tracks of this folder. Adjust the volumes and pan
settings of the individual tracks and the folder to get a nice mix. Pan the different tracks well apart.
4. Use the width control on the folder. Experiment with using this to bring the instruments closer together or
further apart. Use the pan control to position the overall mix further left or right. You can still adjust pan
settings for individual child tracks within the folder as well if you wish.
Tip: This technique can do wonders when you are mixing vocals, including vocal duets and vocal harmonies!
Pan Modes
By default, the stereo width is applied before the pan/balance control. To select a different pan mode, right-click
over either the pan or width control fader and choose from the drop down list. The three modes are:
Stereo Balance/Mono Pan: The track is treated as mono, even if it contains stereo media. Set to center, you
hear the same signal equally thru both speakers. Set hard right, you hear it in the right speaker only.
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Stereo Pan Lets you control side (pan) and width separately. Side means that
the stereo image is set more to the left or right, and width means how far
apart the left and right channel are in the stereo image. With side set to center
and width set to 100%, you hear the left channel in the left speaker and the
right channel in the right speaker. With side set to center and width set to 0%,
you hear both channels equally in the left and right speakers. With side set
hard right, you hear both channels equally in the right speaker, regardless of
the width setting.
Dual Pan: Lets you control both channels separately. The left knob sets the
left channel more left or right, the right knob sets the right channel more left or
right. With left set hard left and right set hard right, you hear the left channel
in the left speaker and the right channel in the right speaker. With left and right
both set to center, you hear both channels equally in the left and right speakers. With
left and right both set hard right, you hear both channels equally in the right speaker.
11.14 Master Track Options and Settings
The mixer Master Track controls has the same functions as when the Master Track when
shown in Track View. Note the Output button (above - by default labelled Mono):
 Left click on the Output button to toggle between Stereo and
Mono modes.
 Right click on the Output button to set any one of four
available Mono modes (above right).
 Left click on the FX button to display the master FX Chain.
 Right click on the FX button for the Add FX context menu.
 If the FX chain for the Master is displayed, then you can use
all and any of the FX management keyboard shortcuts that
you can use on your tracks.
 Right click over the VU area to display the settings that you
can use to control what is displayed in the VU and how it is
displayed (above right).
 This includes the option to display output in multichannel
mode (e.g. when working with surround sound). Disabling this option will ensure a two channel display.
11.15 Master Hardware Outputs
Output from the master can be directed to one or more of your
available hardware outputs. This can be done using the routing
matrix. The master routing button (in the Mixer) can also be used
to set up and manage your hardware output or outputs.
 Right click on the ROUTING button to display a menu of
hardware output options. These can be toggled on and off
in any permutation that you require.
 Left Click on the ROUTING button to display the master
track outputs window. This can be used to control the levels
and panning of the signals to the hardware outputs.
Notice (below) that for each output you can independently control
any or all of the following:
Toggle Mute on/off.
Toggle phase invert.
Set Volume level.
Set panning position.
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11.16 Master Track Channels
The topic of routing and channel splitting is one that recurs throughout this user guide. The concept itself starts
as a relatively simple one, but from those simple beginnings it can grow into something as complex and as
complicated as you like. You'll find no shortage of examples in Chapter 16.
You can use channels to send two copies of the same signal to two different places. You can then do separate
things to each signal before joining them up again. Below is a relatively simple example. The example itself may
or may not be something that you’ll ever want to do, but that’s not the point. The point is that it will help you to
understand what channel splitting is about and how to do it.
Let’s take an example of using multiple channels (two stereo pairs in fact) for our master. We can use this to
feed some effect (such as reverb) into our signal chain, then send the effect (and only the effect) out to our
headphones (to enable us to assess it), while sending the overall final mix to our speakers. In order to work
thru this example, you will need a sound card with at least four audio outputs.
Example
This exercise will almost certainly be too complex for the novice user, and as such is recommended for the more
experienced only. Otherwise, you might wish to return to it after you have completed Chapter 16 .
This diagram
shows what we
are going to
achieve. It
assumes that
our audio
signal flows
from left to
right.
First we will
create the
necessary extra Channels for the Master Track.
The audio coming into our Master from the mix will be split between Channels 1/2 and Channels 3/4. The signal
that is passed to Channels 3/4 will be fed thru a Reverb plug-in then directly out to our headphones. It will also
be passed back into a Compressor plug-in, where it will be mixed back into the original incoming signal. The
final mix will then be fed to the speakers.
1.
Open the file All Through The Night.rpp and save it as All Through The Night MASTER.RPP.
2.
Pan the two guitar tracks roughly 40% left and 40%
right respectively. Pan the Bouzouki about 15% left,
the Vox around 10% right. Quickly adjust the volume
levels for each track to suit, especially to avoid clipping
in the Master. Save the file.
3.
View the Mixer and enable the options to Show FX
inserts when size permits and Show sends when
size permits.
4.
Make sure your Speakers and Headphones are each
connected to different paired sound card outputs.
5.
Right click over the ROUTING button in the Master
and make sure that output is directed both to your
speakers and to your headphone amp.
6.
To create the required channels, left click on the
ROUTING button for the Master Track and set the
number of channels to 4 (as shown, right).
7.
Assign the output of channels 1/2 to your studio
speakers and 3/4 to your headphones. Your settings
should appear similar, but of course not identical, to those shown here.
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8.
Play the song. For now, it should be heard over the
speakers, but your headphones should still be silent.
9. In the Master FX chain, add the plug-in ReaEQ and, for
the purpose of this exercise, add a 2 dB gain on Band 2,
a 1 dB drop on Band 3, and a 1dB gain on Band 4.
10. In the Master FX chain, click just below the ReaEQ and
add ReaVerbate. Leave the parameters at their default
settings, but adjust the outputs from this plug-in so that
they are directed left and right respectively to channels 3
and 4 only. The settings for these outputs are shown
(right).
11. Now play the song. The playback thru the speakers will
include the effects of your ReaEQ settings but not
ReaVerbate. In contrast, if you listen thru the headphones, you will hear only the reverb.
12. Now click again in the master FX chain and add ReaComp after the reverb plug-in. Adjust the Input
Settings for this plug-in so that Channels 1 and 3 are the Main Input for the left, and channels 2 and 4
are the Main Input for the right, as illustrated below right.
13. Play the song. You can adjust the amount of reverb in the mix
by adjusting the vertical Wet and Dry faders in the
ReaVerbate window. You can also adjust the Threshold
(vertical fader on the left) and Ratio settings for ReaComp if
you wish.
14. Your speakers will now play the output signal from your
Master Track’s FX chain, including the reverb mixed in. Your
headphones will still play only the direct output of the
ReaVerbate plug-in.
15. Save this file.
11.17 Avoiding Channel Leakage
You need to be aware when you are using multiple channels for the Master Track that any signal routed along
any channels between tracks will also be sent to the Master. For example, you might be using channels 3/4 in
one or more of your tracks for some other purpose. In that case, if you also used channels 3/4 for the purpose
outlined in the above example, then the signal on channels 3/4 of your tracks would also be leaked into the
signal being fed to your reverb plug-in.
This channel leakage can be avoided simply by reserving for the Master a pair or pairs of
channels not used elsewhere in the project – in this example, you might choose to use
Channels 5/6 or Channels 11/12. Since you have up to 64 channels available to you, this
should not normally present you with any problem.
11.18 Reset VU Meter Peaks
Notice that during playback, your VU meters in both track view and mixer view will display
the peak level recorded for each individual track (see right). To reset the peak reading for
any individual track, click your mouse over the area where the peak value is displayed.
To reset the peak reading for all tracks, hold the Ctrl key while you click your mouse over
the area where the peak value is displayed in any one track.
You can also if you wish disable the option under Options, Preferences, Appearance, VU
Meters/Faders to Reset meter peak indicators on play/seek. If you do this, the
current peak levels will be remembered even when you stop playback. When you resume
playback, they will be retained as the peak levels until, of course, a louder passage is
encountered.
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12 - Project Management Features
12 Project Management Features
12.1
Introduction
In this chapter we'll be looking primarily at some of those features of REAPER which you are more likely to want
to use when you are managing your project as a whole rather than just focussing on individual tracks or items.
These include using the Project Media/FX bay, Locking, modifying a color scheme, using the Track Manager,
Screen Sets and more. We'll start by looking at how you can change a project's start time.
Note: Some of the illustrations in this chapter use REAPER 4 theme and colors. The information and
instructions, however, are valid for REAPER 5.
12.2
Setting the Project Start Time
With many projects you will find that you have a few
seconds of recorded silence before the program
material (instruments and vocals) actually start. This
can create two annoying problems:

Times shown on the timeline and on the big
clock do not accurately represent the time
within the song.

When you go to the start of the project, there
are always a few seconds of silence to be played
before you reach the start of the song.
In the example shown above the actual start of the song is at 0:04.701. We want to reset this point to Zero.
This is how it is done:

Place the cursor at the point that you wish to mark as the start of the song - in the example shown this
will be 04.607 into the project.

Press Alt Enter to display the
Project Settings window.

Select the tab labelled Project
Settings.

Click the button labelled Use
Cursor (see right). REAPER will
automatically enter the correct
position into the Project start
time box for you.

Click on OK to close the Project
Settings interface.

If you wish to mark this point, press the letter M on your keyboard. This creates a marker on your
timeline labelled 1.

If you need to refresh your understanding of
markers, look back thru Chapter 9.

The position of the marker is now set to 0:00.000
and you can jump straight to this point at any time
by pressing 1 on your keyboard (see right).

If you wish, you can double-click on the marker to
open up the Edit marker dialog box, where you
can give it a name.
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12.3
Locking Media Items
Individual items can be locked into position to prevent their settings from being accidentally changed, such as
by being moved or
deleted, while at the
same time leaving
you free to
manipulate other
items as you wish.
To make use of this
feature, first ensure
that both of the
item icons Locked
and Not locked are
selected (along with
any other item icons
that you wish to
use) under your
Options,
Preferences,
Appearance,
Media settings (see
above). Whether
the icons are
displayed on top of the media items or in a lane above it (as in the example below) will depend on whether you
have enabled the option Draw item labels above rather than within the item.
Locking for individual media items is then toggled on and off by clicking on the small padlock item that will be
visible at the top left corner of the media item.
The example above shows a track with two media items. The first item has been locked (notice the dark
padlock icon). It can now not be deleted or moved, unless its status is set to unlock. Similarly, you cannot grab
the handle across the top of the media item and drag it down to adjust its volume, nor can you add a fade in or
fade out, nor can it be slip-edited.
You can, however, make changes to most of its settings within the Item Properties dialog box (pitch, play rate,
FX Chain, and so on) or using the media item context menu. The second item, however, remains unlocked
(notice the open padlock icon). It can (for example) be moved, or deleted, or have a fade out added. You can
also open the item for editing, in the MIDI editor (MIDI items) or your installed external editor (audio items).
Locking and unlocking can also be performed with multiple items. To lock a number of items, simply hold the
Ctrl key while you click on each item in turn to build the selection, then click on the padlock for any item
included in the selection.
12.4
Locking Track Controls
The toggle command Lock Track Controls (from the
track control panel right-click context menu) can be used
to lock/unlock the controls for any track or selection of
tracks. This prevents you from making accidental changes
to any of the track's controls (e.g. Volume or Pan). In the
example shown, track controls have been locked.
You can hover your mouse over the control of a locked track to see its current setting displayed as a tool tip.
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12.5
Project Lock Settings
The Locking feature of REAPER can be used to effectively freeze certain
aspects of a project file to prevent something accidentally being changed
or deleted. There are two aspects to locking:

Deciding which project elements you would like to be locked.

Enabling or disabling the locking feature. The keyboard shortcut L
can be used to toggle this on and off.
To display the Lock Settings window (shown right), press Shift L or right
click over the lock button (the last item) on the toolbar. The table below
summarises some of the ways in which you are able to make use of this
feature. Select which ones you wish to lock, then Enable locking to
actually lock them.
Locking Option
Comment
Time selection
This locks the current time selection so that, for example, if you
accidentally click and drag at some other point along the timeline your time
selection will remain unchanged. You can remove a locked time selection by
pressing Esc then selecting Yes when prompted.
Loop points
Locks currently selected loop points.
Items full
This option prevents you from making any changes at all to any of your
existing media items. For example, you cannot mute them, add FX to them,
delete them, move them, slip edit them, or even access the Item Properties
window or right click menu for any of your items.
Items (prevent left/right
movement)
This option allows you to make any other changes you like to your media
items except move them left or right.
Items (prevent up/down
movement)
This option allows you to make any other changes you like to your media
items except move them up or down.
Item edges
This option disables actions such as slip editing.
Item fade/volume handles
This option can be used to prevent any adjustments being made to any
item's volume handle or rotary fade controls.
Item stretch markers
This option can be used to prevent any changes or movement from
occurring to any item's stretch markers.
Item envelopes
Track envelopes
This option ensures that when locking is enabled you will not be able to
make any changes to existing item and/or track envelopes. For example,
you will not be able to move or add points, or change shapes. You will still
be able to add new envelopes for faders and plug-in parameters, but you
will not be able to edit these in any way. For more about envelopes see
Chapter 17.
Regions
Locking regions prevents you from changing (for example by moving,
deleting or renaming) existing regions. However, you will be able to create
new regions with Lock Regions enabled.
Markers
Locking markers prevents you from changing (for example by moving,
deleting or renaming) existing markers. However, you will be able to create
new markers with Lock Markers enabled.
Time Signature Markers
Locks time signature markers and prevents them from being modified.
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Example
Let’s suppose that we are happy with the way our media items line up, and we don’t want any of them being
accidentally nudged or moved to the left or right. You might then wish to lock their horizontal position.
1. Press Shift L to open the Locking Settings window.
2. Tick only Items (prevent left/right movement).
3. If Enable Locking is not enabled, click on it to turn it on.
4. Now try to drag and drop any of your items to the left or right. They won’t move.
5. Press the L key – this toggles locking off again.
12.6
Customizing Colors and Fonts
Chapter 14 of this User Guide covers REAPER's action list editor. One action that you might find useful is the the
action Theme development:
Show theme
tweak/configuration window
This is selected after choosing the
Actions, Show action list...
command. Enter theme in the filter
window then select and Run the
action Theme development:
Show theme tweak/
configuration window.
Themes consist primarily of three
types of materials: image files,
color/font definitions and Windows
settings. The image files provide,
for example, the track control
items and media item icons (pan
and volume faders, mute and solo
controls, etc.).
The definitions apply to items such
as the font used for track names
and the colors used for media
items, track and mixer panels, edit
and play cursors, markers, VU
meters, envelopes, and so on. If
you are not sure what any of the
listed items are, you can use the
Theme element finder to identify
them (see below). To display this,
Eter theme in the action list filter
window then select and Run the action Theme
development: Show theme element finder.
In addition to those installed with REAPER, many
themes are available for download from
stash.reaper.fm. To install a downloaded
.ReaThemeZip file, drag and drop it from Windows
Explorer into REAPER's Arrange View (main view).
The Load Theme … button (in the theme
development/tweaker dialog) can be used to select any available theme. Scroll thru the Theme color/font
settings list to see all of the items which you can change. Click on any item to open (as appropriate) the color
picker or font dialog box, where you can change its definition.
Finally, having chosen your fonts and colors, you can save them all together into a new theme by clicking the
Save theme... button and giving your theme a name.
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12.7
The Project Media/FX Bay
Overview
The Project Media/FX Bay is a one stop center which you can use for managing and arranging a project's FX
and media items. It is opened from the main menu by the View, Project Media/FX Bay command. The
window contains five tabs (pages). The Item Groups (Chapter 7) and Take Comps (Chapter 8) tabs have already
been introduced. The other three are:
 Source Media. This lists the media items that are available for use in, or are already used in, the


project. Each item will occur only once in this list. Where it is used more than once in the project,
this will be indicated by the number in the Usage column.
Media Items. This lists only the items that are actually used in the project (i.e., active). An item
will appear in this list as many times as it is used in the project.
FX. This lists the FX plug-ins that are used in the project.
You can drag media files (e.g., from REAPER's Media Explorer or from Windows Explorer) or FX (e.g., from the
FX browser) into the Project Bay. Media items inserted in this way are added to the Source Media page. If the
item is then used in the project, it will be added to the Media Items page. FX items are added to the FX bay.
You can rename items within the Project Bay, select all instances of a media file or FX within the project, and
replace media/FX in the project with any other media/FX from the Project Bay. You can also mute/solo media
items and bypass/unbypass FX.
Both Media pages and the FX page include a Retain column. When you drag media items or FX into the project
bay, they are marked with a + in the retain column. This setting means that the entry will remain in the project
bay even if there are no instances of that media item or FX in the project.
When you add media (by recording or inserting) to the project, they will appear as entries in the media items
and source media bays, with the retain status unset. These entries will be automatically removed from the
project bay if they are removed from the project itself. If you want the entries to remain in the project bay even
after being removed from the project, you should enable
retain for those entries in the source media bay.
FX entries in the project bay include a Preset column. If
you change the value in this column (from the right-click
menu), all instances of that FX in the project with the
previous preset selected will be changed to the new
preset. In addition, you can retain an FX entry with a
specific preset, or multiple entries for the same FX with
different presets, in the project bay.
The Project Bay includes the buttons Actions and
Options. Clicking on either of these displays a menu. As
an example, the Options menu is shown on the right.
Most of these commands require little explanation.
Mirror selection in bay and project. When enabled,
this causes an item selected in the project to also be
selected in the bay, and vice versa. You can also ensure
that REAPER will zoom to a selected item when this
option is enabled.
Use last selected item as source for “draw a copy” mouse action. This enables you to use pencil mode
to create copies of the last selected item.
Space bar previews media allows use of the spacebar to play the currently selected media or source media
item. Loop media preview will allow any loop marked in the project to be applied. Preview (source or media
items) through selected track allows you to play back the item with, for example, any FX in a particular
track's FX chain, or any track envelopes, being applied. The Filter can be set to use name, path or comment.
Make sure the option Clear bay when changing projects is enabled if you wish to make each Project Bay
project specific. Disable it if you want to carry over items in the current bay to the next project that you open or
create. You also have the option to Automatically retain media items when they are removed from
project. This ensures that retain status is automatically assigned when an item is removed from the project.
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The Dock project bay and Close window commands are self-explanatory.
The commands on the Actions are shown right. They can be used with and applied to the items (media or FX)
on whichever bay page is currently selected.
New project bay window opens a new project bay window. You can then use this (for example) to load a
different saved project bay, whilst keeping the original bay open in the original window.
Create new folder. Individual project bay entries can be dragged and
dropped in or out of the folder (see example below, where two folders
have been created, Bells and Strings). Folders can be used for source
media items (as shown below), Media Items (in project) or FX. Double
click left of the folder name to collapse or expand the folder.
Force refresh forces a refresh of the project bay display.
Select all items causes all items in the current tab to be selected.
Retain all items causes all items in the current tab to be marked to be
retained in the bay even when they are deleted from the project.
Remove all items from project will remove all items from the
project, and Remove all items that are not used in project will
remove from the media bay all items that are not used in the project.
The Media Explorer button (lower left) can be used to open the Media Explorer, from where media items
can be dragged and dropped into the project bay (as source media) or into the project itself.
The rotary Volume control can be used to control the volume of any item being previewed when the
option to preview thru selected track has been disabled.
The Bay button (bottom left) serves three basic functions. You can use it to create a new project bay, to
replace the contents of the current bay with a previously saved one, or to merge the contents of a
previously saved project bay into the current one.
The Source Media Bay and the Media Items Bay
The techniques for working with media items in both of these bays are very similar. The main differences are:
 Items dragged into the Bay are placed in the Source Media Bay only, until such time as they are actually
added to the project. They are then automatically also listed in the Media Items bay.
 Only items which are active (and therefore included in the project) are shown in the Media Items Bay.
 Active items can be managed from either of these bays. Available items can only be managed from the
Source Media bay.
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In order to do this …
… you do this
Change the column order
Click and drag column header left or right. You can do this with any of
the five Project Bay tabs selected.
Hide/Show columns
Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Add an item to Source
Media Bay
Drag and drop from Windows Explorer or REAPER's Media Explorer.
You can drag an entire item or (if using Media Explorer) a time selection.
To preview an item
Select the item then press Space.
To add an item from Source
Media or Media Items Bay
to a project
Either... Drag and drop from Bay into the project arrange view window,
Or … Select track and position cursor in Arrange view. Right-click on item
name in Bay and choose Insert into project from context menu.
If not already active, its status will now be made Active.
To remove an item from
within the project.
Select the item and use the Delete key, either from the arrange view
window or within the Media Bay.
To remove an inactive item
from Source Media Bay
Select item and press the Delete key, or right-click in item row in Retain
column (to left of item name), then choose Remove from bay.
To remove all unused items
from the Media bay
Right click on title bar, choose Remove all items that are not used in
project from the context menu.
To remove the retain status
of an active item
Select item in bay, right click in Retain column, choose Remove from
bay if removed from project.
To remove all instances of
an item from project
Right-click item in Retain column for the item, choose Remove from
project.
To reassign retain status to
an active item
Select item in Bay, right click in Retain column, choose Retain from
menu.
To locate a Media Items Bay
item or Source Media Bay
item in the project
Click on the item in the list then on the
Usage button. Click on any item in that
list in order to go to and select that item.
To mute an item in project
Right-click on item, choose Mute from the context menu (to toggle).
To rename any media item
Select item in the Bay: click Rename button or use the context menu.
To add comment to an item
Double click in the comments column of the item row.
To filter the media item list
Type a text string in the Filter box (e.g. vox to see only media items
with vox in their name) then click on the Refresh button.
To clear a filter
Click on Clear Filter button.
To replace a Source Media
or Media Items item with
another item
Select item name in Source Media or Media Items list. Right-click and
choose Replace in project. Then select from flyout menu, e.g. All
instances or any single instance: choose the replacement item.
The media format (e.g. MP3, WAV) need not be the same for both items.
To save an item set list from
the Bay (for possible use in
other projects)
Select the items, then click on the Save button and choose one of the
available options. You can Save selected items to a new project
bay, or Save all items as a new project bay. For either of these, you
will be prompted for a new .ReaBay file name. You also have the option
to Save and merge selected items to an existing project bay file, in
which case you will need to select the required file from the list.
To load a previously saved
item set list.
Click on the Bay button, choose a .ReaBay file from the list. You may
Load and merge it with the current one, or replace the current one.
To sort media items list.
Click on any column header to sort. Click again to reverse sort order.
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The FX Bay and FX Parameter Bay
Many FX Bay
management
commands
are the same
as in the
Media Bay –
e.g., setting
retain status
on/off,
applying and
clearing
filters,
creating and
using folders,
and removing
items from
the media and
FX bays are
handled in
exactly the
same way. The example here shows three folders being used to organize the FX. This table emphasises those
aspects more specific to the FX Bay itself.
In order to do this …
… you do this
Add FX from FX Bay to track
or media item in project.
Either... Select track or media item in Arrange view, right-click on plug-in
name in FX Bay, choose Insert into project Or... Drag and drop plugin from FX Bay to track panel or media item.
Open FX browser window
Click on the FX Browser button.
Add FX to the FX Bay
Drag and drop from FX Browser.
Locate and open FX window
for any FX instance
Right click over the track name or number in
the Track column then click on the required
instance. The Usage button can also be used
for this.
Toggle bypass for any FX
Select the FX then use the Bypass button, or right-click over FX name
and choose Bypass from menu. Repeat this to re-enable the plug-in.
Assign a preset to an FX
(see note below table)
Right-click in the Preset column for the FX and select from the menu.
Manage any FX parameter
Right-click on FX name, choose FX parameters then FX parameters
list, then select feature (e.g. Show in track controls or track envelope),
then select parameter from list. More about this in Chapter 18.
Change FX instance preset
Right-click in the Preset column for the FX and select from the menu.
Replace one FX with another
project bay FX
Right-click on FX name, choose Replace in project then select from
the flyout menu of FX. You can replace all instances or a single instance.
Note: Some FX names may occur more than once in the list. In the example above, ReaComp appears twice.
This is because one of these instances have been assigned a preset. This enables you to manage these
separately. The preset stock – Modern vocal has been applied on one ReaComp on the Vox track.
Next to the FX tab in the Project Bay window there is a FX Parameters tab. This is used for managing various
FX parameter features such as envelopes, learn mode and parameter modulation. This will be explained in
Chapter 18, which deals with parameter modulation.
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12.8
The Track Manager
The Track Manager (View, Track Manager) gives you overview
control of your tracks. It displays a grid similar to a spreadsheet or
table. If the grid is empty, click on the Show All button (above right)
to display a list of the project's tracks.
Click on the Options button or right-click on the title bar to display a
menu which includes Mirror track selection. This allows any track
selection made in either the Track Manager or the TCP to be
automatically applied in the other. You can also ensure that when this
is enabled, selecting a track in the Track Manager will Scroll to
selected track in TCP and mixer.
If your project includes folders with child tracks, then that hierarchy is
retained within the track manager's track list. The option to Indent
tracks in folders can be disabled from the Options menu. The other
Options button menu items are explained in their context in the table
below. The table also summarises what you are able to do within the
track manager window.
To do this …
… you do this
Change column order
Click and drag column header left or right.
Hide/Show columns
Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Adjust column width
Click and drag left or right on boundaries between column headers,
Filter the track list by
name
Type text in filter box: e.g.” vo” to list in Track Manager only those tracks
whose name includes vo. Supports use of NOT and OR filters: e.g. “bass OR
guit” will find all tracks with either bass or guit as part of their track name.
Use the appropriate Options menu commands to also Hide filtered-out
tracks in TCP and/or Hide filtered-out tracks in mixer. The Clear
button removes the filter.
There is also an option on this menu to Display child tracks if folder
parent is displayed.
If you enable the option Close track manager on enter key in filter box
from the Options menu, then pressing Enter in the filter box will
automatically close the Track Manager.
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To do this …
… you do this
Change TCP track order
in track manager
Drag and drop tracks up or down. This can be disabled by disabling Allow
reordering tracks via track manager from the context menu.
Delete track
Select track row and press Delete. You will be prompted to confirm this.
Show/hide Master
Toggle Show master track in track manager in Options button menu.
Show/hide tracks in
TCP/MCP
Click in track row in TCP/MCP columns. You can use the toggle option (on the
Options button) to Link TCP/Mixer visibility to synchronize track display.
Supports “Swipe” (see last row of table).
Scroll track into view
Double-click on track number in # column.
Set/change track color
Click on the small square colored icon in the column left of the track number.
Open/show track FX
chain
The FX column shows the number of FX in each track's FX chain. Double-click
on that cell to open the FX chain for that track.
Add FX to track or open
an FX window
Right click over the track's FX cell and use context menu.
Open/show track Input
FX chain
The IN-FX column shows the number of FX in each track's Input FX chain.
Double-click on that cell to open the input FX chain for that track.
Monitor plug-in delay
compensation
Any plug-in delay compensation used by a track's FX will be indicated (in ms)
in the track's PDC cell. Clicking on this cell toggles track FX bypass.
Arm/unarm tracks for
recording
Click in the R column for any track(s) to arm for recording. The letter R will
be shown for armed tracks. Click again to unarm. Supports “Swipe” (below).
Right click on any cell in this column to display record menu for that track.
Mute/unmute tracks
Click in the M column to toggle mute status. All the modifier keys used in the
TCP can be used here – e.g. Ctrl Mute to unmute all. Right-click for TCP mute
context menu – see Chapter 5. Also supports “Swipe” (see below).
Solo/unsolo tracks
Click in the S column to toggle solo status. All the modifier keys used in the
TCP can be used here – e.g. Ctrl Alt Solo to solo exclusive. Right-click for TCP
solo context menu – see Chapter 5. Also supports “Swipe” (see below).
Lock/unlock track
controls
Click in the Lock column to toggle lock status. Locked tracks display a + sign.
Supports “Swipe” (see last row of table).
Manage MIDI items
Double-click a track's MIDI cell to open track MIDI items in new MIDI Editor.
If item is already open, double-click to close.
Right-click in cell for menu of options: Open in new MIDI editor, Open in
existing MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor (clear editor first)
or Remove from MIDI editor. The third of these options removes from the
MIDI editor any tracks/items already open before opening this one.
Free Item Positioning
on/off toggle
Click in the FIPM column to toggle on/off Free Item Positioning. FIPM on
shows a + sign. Supports “Swipe” (see last row of table).
Freeze/unfreeze tracks
Select track(s) in Track Manager window, then choose whichever action you
wish from the Freeze button menu. See also Chapter 6.
Sort Track Manager list
Click on any column header. Click again to reverse sort order.
Manage track groups
The track manager will respect grouped track parameters (Chapter 5). As with
the grouping matrix, you can use Shift to temporarily over-ride these.
Swipe to toggle several
adjacent tracks
For example, to arm several adjacent tracks for recording, or to mute several
adjacent tracks, or to enable free item positioning on a series of adjacent
tracks. Click and drag/sweep down the appropriate column.
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In the example shown above this table, the Vocal and Acoustic Guitar tracks and folders are the only ones
shown in the TCP. All tracks are shown in the Mixer. The Vocals folder settings have been locked. Both the Vox
Lead and Vox Harmy tracks are soloed. They are also FIPM enabled. The Reverb track uses plug-in delay
compensation of 512 ms. Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, and 11 have all been frozen, track 11 twice.
Tip: You can use the Screensets window to save different sets of Track Manager settings as Track Views, any
of which can be recalled in an instant. Screen sets are explained later in this chapter.
12.9
Track View Screen Sets
Screen Sets enable you to save several different views of your project, so that you can easily select and recall
them when editing or arranging. There are two types of Screen Set – Track Views and Windows.
Track Views are created and saved on a per project basis – the screen set data is stored in the project's .RPP
file and can be recalled only when you are working with that project file. Using track view screen sets can be
especially useful when you are editing or in some other way working closely with media items.
Windows screen sets are global and are stored in the Application Data screensets.ini file. They can be recalled
from, and applied to, any project file.
The procedure for creating track views is:

Use the View, Screensets/Layouts
command to show the Screen Sets
window (the default keyboard shortcut
is Ctrl E). The Screen Sets window may
be docked (or undocked), and (if
undocked) pinned to stay on top.

Adjust your track layouts to suit.

Select a number from the Track views
page of the Screen Sets window.

Click on Save and name the set.
You can create up to 10 track view screen
sets per project file. To recall a view, double
click on its name.
You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to
individual screen sets. By default, Shift F4 to
Shift F6 are used to save your first three
track views, and F4 to F6 are assigned to
load each of these first three track views.
If you want to modify these, or assign
shortcuts to other track views, then you
should click on the Edit shortcuts button in the Screensets window. This opens the Action List Editor. For
instructions on how to use the Action List Editor, see Chapter 14.
Notice that there is also an option available
to Autosave when switching
screensets. If enabled, this ensures when
switching from one screen set to another
that any changes made to the layout of the
first of these screen sets will be saved. The
Edit fields... button can be used to “tweak”
this, so that only certain aspects of your
changes are automatically saved.
Example
1.
Open the file All Through The
Night.RPP and save it as All
Through The Night TRACK
VIEWS.RPP.
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2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Adjust the track height of your Vox track as shown here (right).
In the Track View page of the Screen Sets window, click on 1, then Save to open the Save Track View
window.
Type: Vox View but do not yet press Enter.
Take a look at the five options that are available. We'll examine these shortly. For this exercise, make sure
that only Track control panel status is selected.
Click on Save.
Now adjust the track heights so that all tracks are
minimized except the two guitar tracks. Make these two
tracks high enough to show all track controls.
In the Track views window, click on 2.
9. Click on Save to open the Save Track View window.
10. Again make sure that only Track control panel status is
enabled and type Guitars View. Press Enter.
11. To switch between these track layouts, double-click on
their names in the Screen Sets window.
This simple example has introduced you to screen sets and how
to use them. Because we selected only the option Track control panel status the project track layout was the
only information saved with this screen set.
Notice the five options that you may choose to include in or exclude from a track view:
 Track Cursor Position
 Track Scroll Position
 Horizontal Zoom
 Track Control Panel Status
 Track Mixer Status
Let's then now work thru a further example which use options other than track height.
Example
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Horizontally zoom your project so that only the first 45 secs is displayed. Position the cursor at the 46 sec
mark.
In the track view page of the screensets window, click on 3 then on Save.
Make sure that ONLY Track cursor position and Horizontal zoom are selected.
Type a name for the screenset: Verse 1.
Click on Save.
You can now at any time use track view screen set 3 to zoom to Verse 1 and position the play cursor there, and
either of the other two screens sets to then zoom vertically to either the vocal or the guitar tracks. To remove
any screen set that you do not wish to keep, simply select it and click on the Clear button.
Track Mixer Status
Notice that one of the options that you have when saving track view screensets is Track Mixer status. This
option can be used to save any Track Manager settings regarding which tracks are and are not displayed in
the Mixer at any time. Switching between different track views would then automatically select different
selections of tracks to be shown in the Mixer.
Do not confuse this with the option Mixer flags in Windows screen sets, which allows you to select not which
tracks but which mixer elements and options (FX inserts, sends, multiple rows, etc.) are applied.
Note: As you adjust the height and/or width of your track
panel, the display area for track controls will become smaller or
larger. Some control will disappear and reappear. An example is
shown here.
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12.10 Windows Screensets
Unlike track view Screen Sets, Windows Screen
Sets are not project specific, but can be applied
to any project. They are stored in the
Application Data folder in a file called
screensets.ini.
After opening the Screensets/Layouts view
(Ctrl E), the procedures for creating Windows
screen sets are as follows:
 Decide which windows and views you want
displayed, and arrange them on screen as
you wish.
 In the Screen Sets window, select the
Windows page, select a number, then click
on Save. Type a name, then select as
many of the six options as you require (see
below). Click on Save.
 To recall and open any screen set, simply
double-click on its name.
 To change a screen set, open it, make the
changes, then save it.
You can also use keyboard shortcuts with
Windows screensets. By default, Shift F7 to
Shift F9 are assigned to saving Windows screen sets 1 to 3, and F7 to F9 are assigned to loading them.
These assignments can be changed in the Actions List Editor (see Chapter 14).
The options that you may choose to include in or exclude
from any screen set are:

Main Window Position

Tool Window Positions

Docker Selected Tab

Mixer Flags

Layouts

Last Focus
Some of these are self-explanatory. In addition, note that:
The tool window position option will cause the position of
those windows which are defined by Windows as tool items
(such as VST FX and the MIDI Editor) to be saved and
recalled with the screen set. For any particular project,
however, this will only be applied if that particular window exists in that project. This option is useful, for
example, if you use a set of standard plug-ins in the Master and you want to easily be able to open and close all
these FX windows when working with any project.
Enabling docker selected tab will ensure that whichever window in the docker is visible when the screen shot
is saved will be visible when it is recalled.
The mixer flags option, if enabled, will save your various Mixer menu options (FX inserts, sends, folders, top
level tracks, position of master, etc.) with the screen set. These options are discussed in detail in Chapter 11.
We encountered layouts in Chapter 11, in the context of the Mixer. You'll find more information about Layouts
later in this chapter. Enabling this option will ensure that your layouts are saved with the screen set.
The last focus option can be selected to ensure that a particular view automatically is given focus whenever
the Screen Set is loaded.
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12.11 Auto Saving Screen Sets
You have the option to automatically save changes to your Track Views or Windows screen set layouts. To do
this, simply ensure that the Auto-save when switching screensets option is selected (see right).
This can be used to ensure for example, that if you change the selected tab to be displayed in the docker before
switching to a different Windows screen set,
when you return to the first screen set,
REAPER will have remembered which docker
tab was last selected.
If using auto-save, consider using the Edit
fields... button to decide which elements for
which you want changes automatically saved
(see right).
The available options are all items that were
included in your options when you created
your screen sets.
12.12 Item Selection Sets
By using item selection sets, you are able to create many different selections of items within a project file and
select all of the items in any set simply by selecting that set name. The procedure is as follows:
 Use the command View, Screensets/Layouts to display the Screensets window.
 Select the Selection sets tab.
 Within your project, select all of the items to be included in the group. These can be on a single track or
across any number of tracks.
 Select a set number, then click on Save.
 Give the group a name and press Enter.
At any time you can
now recall that
group by doubleclicking on its name,
or by selecting the
name and clicking
on Load.
In the example
shown here, two
selection sets have
been created, one
for Vox Verses and
one for Vox
Choruses. Simply by
double-clicking on
the required set
name, we can select
all of the items in
either set.
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12.13 Track, Mixer, Transport and Envelope Layouts
Layouts in general, and mixer layouts in
particular, were discussed in Chapter 11.
Layouts are created, stored and retrieved
with individual themes. From the Layouts
tab of the Screensets/Layouts window you
can select any theme from the drop down
theme list.
Layouts are designed and created for use
with individual themes. Therefore, the
choice of layouts available to you will be
largely dependant on which theme you are
using. Themes can be downloaded from
stash.reaper.fm.
Layouts associated with your chosen theme
will be available to you from the various
drop-down lists in this window, such as
track panel layouts and mixer panel
layouts. For earlier themes that do not
include any layouts, a number of standard
layouts are available.
Shown right is an example, in this case
double-clicking to display the Mixer Panel
drop down list and to select a mixer layout.
This is an example only – the exact range
of choices available to you may not be exactly the same as shown here. When one of these drop down lists is
displayed you can hover your mouse over any item to see how it looks, in this example in the mixer.
Here is a summary list of the main layout elements available:
Global Layout
Transport
Envelope Panel
Master Mixer Panel
Mixer Panel
Master Track Panel
Track Panel
Selected track panel
Selected track mixer panel
Selects theme defaults for all layout elements.
Selects a layout for the Transport bar.
Selects a layout for track envelope panels. See Chapter 17.
Selects a layout for the Master in the Mixer panel.
Selects a layout for all tracks and folders in the Mixer panel.
Selects a layout for the Master in the Track control panel.
Selects a layout for all tracks and folders in the Track Control panel.
Selects a layout for selected tracks in the Track Control panel.
Selects a layout for selected tracks in the Mixer panel.
Shown here is an example of one rather different
track panel layout that you might choose – Standard
Media. Amongst other things, it uses horizontal faders
(rather than rotaries) for volume control.
You do not need to open the Layouts window to select
layouts for a project. You can also use the Options,
Layouts command from the main menu or the Set
track layout command from the TCP or MCP context
menu.
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Assigning Actions to Layouts
Within the Layouts screen you can assign
up to 20 actions to quickly recall any
layout. These can be assigned to shortcut
keys and/or to custom toolbars.
In the example shown here, Action #1
has been assigned to select a Track Panel
layout called Tracking and Action #2 is
being assigned to select a different Track
Panel called Vertical (vertical meters). You could then click on the Edit shortcuts
button and assign shortcuts to the two actions Layout: apply custom layout #01
and Layout: apply custom layout #02. You could also use the Customize
toolbar editor to create icons for these actions on one of your toolbars. See Chapter
14 for information on both how to assign keyboard shortcuts and how to create
custom toolbars.
Default Theme Layouts
The drop down lists in the various Layouts categories include many options that you
can explore. These include Track Panel specialist layouts for recording and tracking,
and layouts with vertical meters. Mixer Panel layouts include narrow channel strips
and wider strips with a sidebar to display FX chains, sends, etc. (see example right).
12.14 Further FX Parameter Management
In Chapters 2 and 5 we looked at some uses for the Param button in REAPER's FX
plug-in windows. In chapters 16 and 17 you'll see how this can also be
used to create automation envelopes and for parameter modulation.
Meanwhile. here are some other ways in which you can use them.
If you touch any FX control (such as a fader) with your mouse and then
click on the Param button you will see a menu similar to that shown
here. In summary, these options are:
Show in track controls. Adds a rotary fader to TCP and (optionally)
MCP for adjusting that parameter's value. See Chapter 11 and below.
Show track envelope. Adds an envelope for automating that
parameter – see Chapter 17.
Parameter modulation. Enables parameter modulation for this item –
see Chapter 18.
Learn. Allows you to assign this
parameter to an external control device,
such as a fader or button on a control
surface – see The Learn Option below.
Alias parameter. Allows you to assign
your own name to this one instance of this
parameter. This name will be used, for
example, on any track control or envelope
that you create for this parameter.
FX parameter list. This causes a flyout
menu of a list of all parameter controls for
this FX to be shown. Using this menu is
another method of assigning (or
unassigning) any of these options to any
parameter, rather than touching it with your mouse – see above right.
Most of these options are available only with FX in a track's FX chain (including the Master). However, Learn is
also available with record input FX and monitoring FX. Learn and Show track envelope are both available
with per take FX.
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The Learn Option
Let's take a closer look at the Learn option.
When you touch the control in the FX window with your
mouse and then click on Learn the Learn window is
displayed (see below).
Twiddling the control (such as fader or rotary) on your
control surface device will cause information to be
displayed in the Command window about the channel
and CC assignment for this control. This information is
picked up from the control surface.
Choice of CC mode (absolute or relative) will depend on
the parameter being assigned and your own control
device. In many cases, absolute mode with soft takeover
will be appropriate, but you may need to experiment.
The option to Enable only when effect configuration
is focused is especially powerful – it means that this
control surface assignment will only be used when that
particular plug-in has focus. This enables you to assign
the same control surface fader to any number of different
functions with different plug-ins. For example, the same
fader used to control EQ gain in one plug-in could also be
used to control the threshold setting on a compressor.
When one or more parameters in a plug-in has been
assigned to a control surface, you will see an extra
command on the Param menu – Default controller
mappings.
This leads to a flyout menu (right). You can use this
menu to save these settings as the default for this plugin, so that these controls will be automatically made available whenever that plug-in is loaded into other tracks.
Other options on this menu (where a default has previously been saved) are to Clear default or Use default.
Show in track controls
When track controls are shown in the TCP and MCP,
they are not only controls for individual parameters.
They also serve as a gateway to managing your
console. To display these in the Mixer, you must
enable the option Show FX parameters when
size permits from the Mixer menu.
Right click over any of the controls in the TCP or
MCP for menu (see right). This menu includes:
Remove from list. This removes the control from
the TCP and MCP.
Learn, Modulate, Envelope and Alias. These
four options are the same as on the Param button
menu in the FX window. For example, from here you
can add control surface support to any of your
custom track controls by choosing Learn.
Plug-in Menu (shown in the example below are
ReaEQ and ReaDelay). This lists the plug-ins in the
track's FX chain, together with a flyout menu of all their parameters. You can use this menu to add controls for
any of these parameters: the menu includes the option All parameters.In the MCP, when the option Show FX
parameters when size permits is enabled, you can right-click in this area for any track to add controls to
that track. An example is shown right. The actual menu that is displayed will, of course, depend on which FX
are included in the track's FX chain.
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Track Templates
Back in Chapter 3 when you were introduced to
recording, we mentioned track templates and how
useful they can be. Now that you have discovered a
lot more about REAPER, it's worth revisiting this topic.
Arguably, track templates more than any other single
feature of REAPER can be your best friend when you
are setting up your projects.
A track template can be made up of any track or any
selection of tracks. For example, you might have a
folder called Drums. This might contain a series of
child tracks – Kick, Snare, Toms, Hi hat, etc. – all of
which have their own track FX with their own
settings, and with volume and pan faders set at their
own levels. You could save the entire folder (parent)
with its child tracks and all their settings into a single
track template called Drum Kit.
Items that get included in track templates include
track name, track control settings, track properties
(color, icon, etc.), track FX (together with their
parameter settings), track controls, FX alias names and FX parameter alias names, parameter modulation, FX
parameters, sends and receives, and more.
To save a track (or selection of tracks) as a track template, choose Track, Save tracks as track template
from the main menu. To insert tracks from a track template into a project, choose Insert track from
template from the same menu.
12.15 Track Control Panel and Menu Bar Help
A selection of useful information can be displayed below the control panel and at the end of the main menu bar.
Right click just below the track control panel and select from these options:
Selected track/item/envelope details
CPU/RAM usage, Time since last save
Track/item count
REAPER tips
No information display
Show mouse editing help
The first five of these options are
mutually exclusive: that is you can
select only one of them. In the case
of the menu bar (right hand end), you can select as many or as few of the
following options:
Show free disk space
Show recording path
Show recording volume name
Show recording format
Show audio device information
This menu also gives you access to the Audio Device page of your preferences, the Media Settings page of
your project settings, and the Monitoring FX window.
12.16 Using Multiple Dockers
In Chapter 2 you were introduced to working with REAPER's docker as an aid to navigating your way thru
REAPER's various views and windows. In fact you are not restricted to just one docker: you can create up to 16
dockers if you wish. In the example shown here, we have two dockers attached to the bottom of the main
window and a floating docker. The first docker (bottom left) contains tabs for displaying the Routing matrix, the
Mixer, and the Media Explorer. The second is used to display at any time the Screensets window, the Track
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Manager or the Undo History. The floating window is a third docker, and this contains tabs for displaying the FX
chains for four of the tracks in the current project. This is, of course, only an example.
These instructions assume that you are already familiar with the basic techniques for docking and undocking
windows, and so on, as explained in Chapter 2. You can attach any docker to the main window in any of the
four positions. You can also choose the same position for more than one docker (for example, you might wish to
attach two dockers to the right).
To do this …
You need to do this ...
Dock a window
Right-click on the window's title bar and choose the command Dock … in
Docker.
Create a new docker
Drag and drop any tab from an existing docker into the arrange view area.
Move a window from one
docker to another
Drag and drop the tab from its present docker to its new one.
Reorder tabs in any docker
Drag and drop tabs left or right.
Close a docked tab
Alt Click on tab, or click on tab x button.
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To do this …
You need to do this ...
Attach a docker to the
main window
Click on the ! to display the menu,
then choose Attach docker to main
window, then select a position
(bottom, left, top or right).
More than one docker can be attached
to any of these positions. Click and
drag on the boundary between two
dockers docked in the same position
to adjust the position of the boundary
between them (and therefore the
relative size of the two dockers.
Use this menu also to change the position of a docker, e.g. from top to left.
12.17 Saving New Project Versions
REAPER's action list includes an action File: Save new version of project (automatically increment
project name) which by default is assigned to the keyboard shortcut Ctrl Alt Shift S. This causes a new .RPP
file to be created when you save a project. Thus, if, for example, you have a file open called WinterBlues.RPP
then running this action would cause this project in its current state to be saved as WinterBlues_1.RPP. Running
the action again would save it as WinterBlues_2.RPP, and so on.
12.18 Multiple Project Backup Versions
The Project page of REAPER's Preferences includes an option when saving to create multiple rpp-bak backup
files. To do this, enable the option Keep multiple versions, with or without (as you wish) their own undo
histories. If enabled, using File, Save project as... to save a project (over writing the previous file) will cause
a new time and date stamped backup version to be created.
Opening the .RPP file will always open the most recently saved version. However, opening the RPP-BAK file will
cause a Choose version from backup file dialog to be displayed. Here you can select which version you
would like to load. With multiple project tabs you are able to have multiple versions open at the same time.
12.19 Associating Rendered WAV Files with Source Project Files
When using the File, Render command to render a project (or part of a project) to .WAV file(s), there is an
option to Include project file name in BWF data. Rendering is discussed in detail in Chapter 20. If this
option is enabled, the RPP project name will be embedded in the rendered file(s). This ensures that this RPP file
will remain associated with the rendered WAV file(s).
If any file rendered with this option enabled is subsequently inserted into another project, then the command
Open associated project in tab: xxx.RPP (where “xxx” represents the associated project file name) will
appear under Open items in editor on the media item context menu.
This can be used to create a new project tab into which it will open the associated RPP file.
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13 - Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items
13 Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items
13.1
Introduction
REAPER has a number of techniques for manipulating and editing your MIDI items. In brief these are:
 Many of the commands on the right-click media item context menu can be used with MIDI items as
much as they can with audio items – for example you can create and manipulate multiple takes, add
MIDI FX to a take’s FX chain, cut, copy and move items, and so on.
 In addition, there are commands on the right-click item context menu that are specific to MIDI items
and only MIDI items. We’ll get to these soon enough.
 You can open any MIDI items or selection of MIDI items in REAPER’s MIDI Editor for detailed editing.
You can choose either to open a single item, several items together in the same single MIDI Editor
window, or to use a separate window for each item.
 For quick MIDI editing, you can edit the track in-line. This makes the item’s content available for editing
without needing to open a separate MIDI editing window. This is covered near the end of this chapter.
Before looking at editing, however, we'll resolve a couple of other issues of importance to MIDI users.
13.2
Monitoring an External Synthesizer
An external synthesizer can be monitored using MIDI or audio input. Just do this:
Activity
Procedures
Monitor using MIDI
Input
Insert a track and name it. Arm it for recording and turn record monitoring on
Set record mode to Disable (input monitoring only)
Select Input: MIDI, then the device, then the channel(s)
Open the track's routing (I/O) window, select your MIDI Hardware Output.
Monitor using Audio
Input
Insert a track and name it. Arm it for recording turn record monitoring on
Set record mode to Disable (input monitoring only)
Select the necessary mono or stereo audio input from the synth's audio interface.
13.3
Using Track Controls with MIDI
As mentioned in Chapter 5, REAPER's track volume and pan controls by default control a track's audio signals. If
you wish to use these for MIDI instead, you can do so. Right click on the track number in the TCP or MCP and
choose MIDI Track Controls then select one of the Link track volume/pan to MIDI options from the
menu. You can choose
all channels or any
individual channel.
You can also use the
plug-in ReaControl
MIDI with any track.
This is explained in detail in Chapter 15.
13.4
Controlling MIDI Data Sends
REAPER's sends and receives can be used with audio items,
MIDI items, or both. You have already been introduced to
this topic (Chapter 5), and it is covered in more depth in
Chapter 16. Meanwhile, note that the button indicated on
the right can be used to ensure that a send's fader controls
are used to control the MIDI data.
With this button enabled, CC messages CC07 for Volume (127, max) and CC10 Pan (64, center) are sent on the
selected channels (by default, all channels). If there are any MIDI items (even empty ones) on the sending
track, they are sent when transport starts or stops, or play position changes. However be aware that not all
synths and plug-ins recognize this feature.
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13.5
Configuring and Accessing the MIDI Editor
Note: Many of the illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default color theme. The instructions and
actions are nevertheless accurate for REAPER 5.
The MIDI Editor needs to be opened from an existing item. If you wish to open it with a “clean sheet” then you
must first create a new empty MIDI item. To do this, select the required track and (optionally) make your time
selection to define the length of the item. Then choose Insert, New MIDI Item from the main menu.
By default, MIDI items created in this way are loop enabled. You can change this for an individual items within
its Media Item Properties dialog box, or globally on the Project, Media Item Defaults page of your
Preferences settings.
The MIDI Editor can be opened by any of these methods, using a single MIDI item (either recorded or empty):
 Unless you have changed your default mouse modifier preferences (see Chapter 14) double-click on the
MIDI item, or
 Select the MIDI item and press Ctrl Alt E
 Right-click on the item and choose Open in built-in MIDI editor from the menu.
However, exactly how the MIDI Editor will behave when opened will depend on your Preferences settings.
Before delving into the MIDI Editor, therefore, we really need to explore these preferences. Use the Options,
Preferences command, the choose MIDI Editor from the list to access the MIDI Editor preferences.
The wider range of MIDI Editor
preferences is explored in Chapter
21. For now, we just need to focus
on those shown on the right.
First, you can specify what by
default will be opened with the MIDI
editor. This can be clicked MIDI
item only, all selected MIDI
items, all MIDI on the same track, or all MIDI in the project. The default is All selected MIDI items.
You can override the default settings at any time by opening the MIDI Editor by right-clicking on an item (or a
selection of items) and choosing Open items in editor, then, from the sub-menu, choosing either Open
items in built in MIDI editor, Open MIDI item in editor or Open item copies in built-in MIDI editor.
You can also determine what is to happen when more than one MIDI item is open: you can choose to have a
separate MIDI editor instance per media item, per track or just one editor for the whole project.
13.6
The MIDI Editor Window
The next part of this User Guide focuses on how to work in the MIDI Editor with a single item. Later in this
chapter we will look at working in the MIDI Editor with multiple items, and with items on multiple tracks.
When you open an item in the MIDI Editor you will see a display similar to that shown below. It includes:
The Main Menu.
We’ll take a detailed look at the main menu, its various commands and actions shortly, but first you need
to understand some more about the interface and how to navigate it.
The Toolbar(below Main Menu)
Hover your mouse over any button for a tooltip. You can customize this toolbar to meet your own
requirements (see Chapter 14). The default toolbar icons are described below (left to right).
Track List and Media Item Lane
These buttons open (on) and close (off) the Track List and Media Item Lane panels. In the illustration
below, both these are set to off. These are explained in this chapter, in the section Working with
Multiple Tracks and/or Items. For the time being, please make sure both of these are set to off.
Filter Button
This is the third button on the toolbar. It opens the Filter Events window to allow you to decide what you
want displayed in the MIDI Editor. The Show only events that pass filter box toggles your filter
settings on and off. Invert causes all notes to be displayed except those defined by the filter settings.
Enabling Solo will cause only events that pass through the filter to be played.
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You can choose to display all Channels, or any combination or permutation of channels.
The Event Type drop down list lets you select any type of event for your filter. The default is All, but you can
change this to Note, Poly Aftertouch, Control Change (CC), Program Change (PC), Channel Aftertouch, Pitch, or
Sysex/Meta.
The content of the Parameter drop down lists depend on the
event type selected. For example, for Note (as shown below), it
will display a list of notes, with options to filter on note (optionally
using the keys in piano roll) or note range, velocity, position in
measure and/or length. However, choosing Program Change (PC)
as event type will allow filtering only on program number and/or
position in measure. Pitch can be filtered on low/high values or
position in measure.
Position in measure behavior will vary with the event type. For
example, if the event type is Note, position in measure allows you
to restrict display to a range you define anywhere between 0 and
127. For PC, CC or Pitch, low and high position in measure values
are set to any range within 1/32 and 1.
Set selection causes current filter settings to be applied, and
Add to selection lets you add to the existing filter selection. For
example, you can create a filter on Note then add to it one based
on Pitch. You can also specify settings to Remove from (current)
Selection. Set filter from selection will automatically create a
new filter based on the current MIDI Editor note selection.
To the right of the filter button are four toggle icons, Quantize
(on/off), CC selection follows note selection, Show grid and
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Snap to grid. Right-click over the Snap to Grid button to set behavior for when snap is enabled – Always
snap notes to the left, Snap notes to end of grid (the default), or Snap relative to grid. The final icon
Dock editor can be used to dock and undock the MIDI Editor window.
The Filter Button includes a right-click context menu which can be used to toggle on/.off the options Show
only events that pass filter, Invert filter and/or Solo.
Note: If both Media, MIDI preferences to Create new items as .MID files and Import existing MIDI files
as .MID file reference are enabled, the MIDI Editor toolbar will on the left display two further buttons - File,
Save MIDI file and File, Revert to saved MIDI file.
The Ruler
The MIDI Editor follows your Arrange view settings. For example, if the option Loop points linked to time
selection is enabled, click and drag along the MIDI Editor ruler will define both loop and time selection.
The Transport Bar
This is found at the bottom of the MIDI Editor window. It contains the transport buttons and a number of drop
down lists. The first six buttons (left to right) can be used to rewind, start, pause playback, stop playback, jump
to end, and to toggle repeat loop mode on/off. The loop area can be set on the timeline in either the MIDI
Editor or the Arrange window. There are also some drop down lists. From L to R, these are:
Grid
This is the grid division box. It is used to specify your required grid division unit. Note that the units is Notes,
and that you can select from any of the values listed – 1/128, 1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2 or 4.
Grid spacing type
Options here are straight, triplet, dotted or swing. If you choose swing, several other parameters will also be
displayed on this bar. These are discussed later in the context of quantizing.
Notes
This is used to select the default note length (expressed as a fraction of a note) that is used when new notes
are added. In the example above, this has been set to be the same as the grid setting. It can be overwritten
using the main menu Options, Drawing or Selecting a Note Sets Note Length.
Scale and Chord
Enabling the snap to scale option allows you to select a scale and a chord from the two drop down lists. You can
also use the chords button (here labelled “Major”) to load a REAPER .reascale file.
Color
Use this to use color to display differences in Velocity, Channel, Pitch, Source, Track or Media Item.
Track List
Where more than one track contains MIDI item, this selects which track is to be made active in the MIDI editor.
Channel
Use this to select a channel from 1 to 16 for current editing (or choose All).
Tip: The View, Piano Roll Timebase menu includes the options source beats, project beats and project time.
MIDI data is always defined in beat-based terms, but in the time view mode the grid is adjusted to reflect any
tempo changes in the project. If there are no tempo changes, the beat and time views will be identical. You also
have the option to select Project synced. This synchronizes the timeline of the project and MIDI item together.
It also ensures that both windows are synchronized during such actions as zooming and scrolling.
The Main Window
The main window by default consists of two panels. The larger (top) panel displays your MIDI notes. Here you
do your editing. The default view is Piano Roll View. Click on any piano key to play that note. The smaller
(bottom) panel is the CC lane, used to display various information, such as note velocity or pitch.
Move your mouse over the main window area (where the notes are displayed) and you can see your mouse
cursor displayed as a pencil. This indicates the current edit position, for example for inserting notes. Both the
position on the timeline and that on the piano roll are shown in the top left corner, just beneath the toolbar.
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The Scroll Bars
The MIDI Editor window includes vertical and horizontal scroll bars which can be used to navigate and zoom in
and out of the contents of the MIDI item(s).
The CC Lane(s)
By default, Velocity information is shown in the CC lanes. To change this, either:
 Click on the drop down arrow (right) to see a menu of items (including standard
MIDI control messages) that you can choose to display in the CC Lane instead of
velocity. A small selection of the available choices are shown
on the right, or
 Click on the small + button next to the drop down list arrow
to add extra CC lanes. Select any item from the list to display
in the selected lane.
Right-clicking over the shaded area at the edge of the top border
of a CC lane will produce a menu that can be used to hide a CC lane, clear it, change its
contents (Set lane), or add an extra lane.
To remove a lane from view, click on the small minus sign that appears to the
immediate right of its drop down arrow.
Provided the lane height is tall enough, the existence of CC messages can also be
seen on the MIDI item in the main window (see right).
13.7
Control Change Messages
Control change messages are used to change the status of a MIDI parameter. If using an actual MIDI device,
these messages can be used to physically control the foot pedals, volume sliders, modulation wheels, and other
controls on electronic instruments. Within REAPER, control change messages can simulate this effect when
playing back your MIDI data thru a software synthesizer.
Controller data is used for various purposes. The different controller data streams are numbered from 0 to 127.
Some of these controller numbers are industry standard. For example, controller 7 is generally used to control
volume and controller 10 for panning. A control change message has two parts. The first is the control change
number, which determines which parameter is to be set. The second is the desired value for that parameter. For
example, first, you might send a CC #7 message to specify that you want to adjust volume. Next, you send a
value that sets the actual volume level required.
A control change message can act as either an override (setting the parameter to the exact value specified), or
an offset (adjusting the parameter up or down by the amount specified).
MSB and LSB
MSB and LSB stand for Most Significant Byte and Least Significant Byte respectively. MSB control change
messages typically act as coarse controls, while LSB messages generally allow fine adjustments. Some control
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change messages have both MSB and LSB versions. Most MIDI devices that contain sounds/patches respond to
both Bank Select MSB and LSB control change messages.
Some of the more commonly used cc parameters are listed below. Don’t worry if you don’t understand them all.
You should consult your MIDI device’s documentation for more details.
Parameter
Description
Bank Select MSB
Bank Select LSB
Many MIDI devices offer a total of more than 128 instruments, in which case
these instruments are grouped into banks. Thus, depending on the device, a full
program change message might consist of five parts – cc #0 (Bank Select),
followed by the Sound Bank MSB value, then cc #32 (Bank Select LSB) followed
by the Sound Bank LSB value, then finally the Program Change number.
Program change numbers are discussed in more detail in the sub sections that
follow after this one.
Velocity
The measure of the speed with which a key on a keyboard is pressed.
A lane is also available for Note Off Velocity.
Mod Wheel
This can add vibrato or other changes to a sound.
Breath
Varies from 0 (no force) up to 127 (high force).
Portamento
Determines the smoothness of the glide from note to note
Balance
Typically used to adjust the volume of stereo parts without affecting the panning.
Expression
Used to create relative volume changes.
Sound Timbre
The property of a sound that gives it its unique “color”.
Sound Release
Determines how long it takes for a sound to fade out.
Sound Attack
Controls how long it takes for a sound to fade in.
Sound Brightness
This adjusts a sound’s filter cutoff, allowing you to create filter “sweeps”.
13.8
Control Channel Basics
MIDI Data Control Channel (CC) messages can be recorded during live
performance, and edited or manually entered using the CC lane in the
MIDI Editor. The CC Lane appears at the bottom of the MIDI Editor.
Data is displayed horizontally according to its position on the Timeline,
and vertically according to the value of the data.
Most CC data has a value of 0 at the bottom of the CC Lane, and 127
at the top of the CC Lane. The example (right) shows Velocity.
Exceptions to this rule include Pitch, Pan and Pan Position, which are
displayed as positive or negative variations from a centre line.
The information displayed in the CC Lane is selected from the dropdown list at the left of the window. CC Data is entered or edited by
dragging the mouse to the required value. To delete an event, select
it, then press Delete.
The Mouse Modifiers page of REAPER's Preferences includes the ability
to customize left drag and double-click behavior when working with
MIDI CC events.
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13.9 Working with MIDI Editor
Lanes
There are a few especially interesting items
that you can display in your lane or lanes that
are not included in the above table. These are
worth a special mention, because they might
otherwise slip under your radar. They are
System Exclusive messages, Text Events, and
Bank/Program Select.
13.9.1
Sysex Events
System exclusive (Sysex) messages are MIDI
data that can only be understood by the
particular make and model of the device that
created them. For example, all synthesizers
should respond to CC messages like Volume or
Pan control, but system exclusive messages
created by a Roland synthesizer would not be
understood by, say, a Yamaha synthesizer.
You can add a lane which can be used to manage system exclusive (Sysex) messages, as shown above. In this
example, a Sysex lane is displayed in addition to a Velocity lane.
Some MIDI hardware, especially older devices, accept sysex messages as a way to initialize or change settings
on the device. Sysex messages are raw MIDI data, represented as a list of hexadecimal bytes.
Sysex events may be added, edited, moved, or deleted in the same way as text events (see below). Double click
in the lane to open the Add Sysex Event dialog box, enter the message and click on OK. Click, hold and drag
on any sysex event to move it. Double click on any existing sysex event to edit it, or right click to delete it.
13.9.2
Text Events
The Text Events option lets
you display a CC Lane which
can be used to display text in a
lane below your MIDI notes.
These could be, for example,
lyrics, or marker information or
any of the other available text
types.
Just double click at any point in
the lane to open the Edit Text
Event dialog box, type your
text, specify its type, and click
on OK. As with system exclusive events, double click on any existing
text event to edit it, drag it to move it, right click to delete it.
13.9.3
Bank/Program Select
When you choose the Bank/Program Select option for a CC lane,
you can double click at any point to open the Bank Program
Select dialog box.
Here you can select any bank/program combination, and assign it to
any channel. The bank/program combinations available to you will
depend on what instruments you are using (see example, right).
If using a synthesizer which has its own instrument definition files,
you can load a file into the MIDI Editor by clicking on the Load File
button, then navigating to its directory, then selecting it.
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An example of the use of program changes is shown here. To edit any program change message, just double
click on its CC Lane bar. This will open the Bank/Program Select window for you to make your changes. Also,
click and drag to move a program change
message, double-click to edit it. To delete it,
simply right click over its CC Lane bar.
13.10 MIDI CC Lanes: Tips & Tricks
REAPER's MIDI CC lanes include a number of
additional features. Here are some that you might
find useful.
13.10.1
General CC Lane Editing Techniques
Many of the CC message types – such as Mod Wheel, Breath, Portamento, Pan, Volume etc. – can be expressed
as a continuous range of values, rather than as discrete items (in the way that text events, for example, are).
For messages of this type there are a number of standard techniques you can use to enter, edit or delete them.
 To enter a single message, click and move (gently push) the mouse in the appropriate CC lane at the
required point. The nearer the top of the lane, the higher the value of the message.
 To change the value of an existing message, click and drag it up or down.
 To delete a message, right click over it. Alt right click sweep will delete a series of messages.
You can click-hold-drag-sweep to insert a
continuous sequence of messages. The
example shown (right) causes the notes
to be panned in increments first to the
left, then to the center, then to the right,
then back to the center again. The faster
you sweep, the greater the interval
between individual events.
13.10.2
Right Click Marquee Selection
You can right-click and drag within any CC lane to
make a selection of multiple events. Having made
your selection, you can work with them in the CC
lane, as well as (if appropriate) in the piano view
window. For example, if the CC lane displays
Velocity, then there will be one event shown in the
CC lane for each note in the piano view. Selecting
the events in the CC lane will also select the
corresponding notes in the piano roll view.
You could then work with those selected events in
the MIDI Editor or work with them in the CC lane
itself. For example you can:
•
Delete them.
•
Adjust their values (up or down).
•
Right click over the CC lane for a context
menu (see right). This can be used to nudge or move the selected events.
•
Click and drag to move the selection left or right, control click and drag to copy.
The exact behavior here will be determined by whether the individual CC events are
directly linked to individual note events. In the example shown here, this would be the
case with the velocity events but not the pitch change events. Thus, in the former case
(velocity) you would need to move the events in the piano view window itself and the
velocity events would move with them. In the latter case (pitch changes), you would
move the events in the CC lane itself.
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13.10.3
Intelligent CC Lane Dropdown List
The CC Lane dropdown menu uses markers to show which other lanes already exist and contain data, whether
they are currently displayed or not. In the example shown here, this applies to Velocity, Pitch, Program,
Bank/Program Select, Text Events and Breath.
13.10.4
14-bit CC Lanes and Actions
The CC Lane drop down menu includes a complete range of options for 14-bit CC messages. These can be
found at the end of the drop down list. There are also actions that can be used to select any message type for
any lane. Use of the Actions List Editor is explained in detail in Chapter 14, but in brief:
1. From the MIDI Editor Actions menu choose Show action list …
2. In the Action List, select one of the actions CC: Set CC lane to ... (e.g. Set CC lane to 007 Volume 14-bit
or Set CC lane to 007 Volume MSB). You can now assign a shortcut key to that action (see Chapter 14).
Close the Action List Editor.
3. Now you can at any time select a MIDI Editor CC lane and use the shortcut key to use that CC lane for the
chosen message type: existing data will be displayed and new data can be inserted and/or edited.
13.10.5
Resizing CC Lane Height
You have three options for changing the height of CC lanes. All involve clicking on the dotted “handle” (shown
here) on the “ceiling” boundary above the CC lane in question. The mouse cursor becomes a vertical doubleheaded black arrow. You can then drag the mouse up or down. When you have only one CC lane displayed all
three actions do exactly the same thing. However, when there are two or more CC lanes shown, these three
actions will behave differently.
Click and Drag: Simply click and drag up/down to increase/decrease the portion
of the MIDI Editor window used to show the selected CC lane. Increasing this
portion will decrease the height of the piano roll window and vice versa. Other CC
lane heights remains unaffected.
Shift Click and Drag: Shift click and drag up/down will increase/decrease the
height of all CC lanes and adjust the height of the piano roll window accordingly.
Control Click and Drag: Control click and drag will adjust the height of just the
one CC lane, leaving other CC lane heights unchanged.
In addition, you can double-click on the dotted handle (also known as “grippy
area”) of any open CC lane to toggle between viewing and minimising it.
13.11 Navigating the MIDI Editor Main Window
The MIDI Editor’s menus and action list contain any number of techniques that you can use for precision
navigation: we’ll get to these shortly. First, you should familiarise yourself with the tools that you have available
for “broad brush” navigation. The horizontal and vertical scroll bars in the MIDI Editor window are used for
scrolling, and their respective plus and minus buttons can be used for vertical and horizontal zooming. You can
also use your mousewheel. This can be customized in the Actions List Editor (see Chapter 14), but by default
the settings are:
Mousewheel: Horizontal Zoom
Ctrl Mousewheel: Vertical Zoom
Alt Mousewheel: Horizontal Scroll Ctrl Alt Mousewheel: Vertical Scroll
The keyboard shortcuts PageUp and PageDown can be used to zoom in/out vertically, and + and – to zoom
in and out horizontally. These too can be changed in the Actions List Editor if you wish.
13.12 Basic Note Selection and Manipulation
The MIDI Editor’s menus and action list contain any number of techniques that you can use for precision editing
and manipulation of your notes: we’ll get to these shortly. First, you should familiarise yourself with the most
basic tools that you have available for quick and basic editing.
To do this …
You need to do this …
Add a note
Click and drag in the MIDI editing area.
Delete a note
Double-click on the note.
Select a note for editing
Click once on the note.
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To do this …
You need to do this …
Select a range of notes
Right click and drag around the selection.
Select all notes in a range
Right click and drag keys in piano roll.
Add to an existing selection
Hold Alt and Ctrl while right clicking and dragging around notes.
Change a note’s length
Hover mouse over the start or end of the note - the mouse cursor is now
a double headed black arrow. Click and drag left or right , as required.
Move a note
Click and drag note to new position then release.
13.13 Loop/Time Selections and Smart Editing
To move the position of the cursor, click on the
timeline (ruler) in the MIDI Editor window.
Loop and time selection within the MIDI Editor will
behave in accordance with whether or not you have
enabled the option Loop points linked to time
selection on REAPER's main menu. These notes
assume that you have this disabled.
You can select an area to be looped, as in the main
REAPER window, by clicking and dragging along the
MIDI Editor timeline (see right). You can also use the
timeline in the REAPER main window to define and
modify loop areas if you wish. Use the Toggle
Repeat button on the MIDI Editor Transport Bar to
enable or disable looping.
To make a time selection, click and drag along the
boundary between the piano roll display area and the
CC lane. The mouse cursor becomes a horizontal
double-headed arrow. Notice that the time selection is
mirrored in REAPER's Arrange view (see right).
This facilitates smart editing (see Chapter 7). For
example, within the docked MIDI Editor window you
could work on the part of a MIDI item that you wish to
copy or move to another track and then, still in the
MIDI editor, mark that as a time selection.
In Arrange view, you could then Ctrl Click Drag that
area to another track (or elsewhere on the same track)
and create your copy.
If using this feature, you should first decide whether
or not you wish to enable Auto-select CC when
moving/copying within time selection from the
Options menu.
13.14 The MIDI Editor Menus
This section is an overview of the MIDI Editor's main menu commands. When docked, the main menu is not
displayed, but you can access these commands by right-clicking over the window’s tab in the docker.
The File Menu
Rename MIDI take ...
Renames the MIDI Item.
Export to new MIDI file ...
Exports active MIDI track to a file. MIDI events are normally stored in the Project file itself.
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Customize note names
Displays a sub-menu. Rename current note. Use this to name the currently selected note., with the
option of Renaming … to all channels. Alternately, double right-click on note in piano roll to enter the
name for the selected note directly in the piano roll. Use Tab to move to next note, Shift Tab to
previous. When finished you can save to a file.
Load note names for active channel..., Load note names for all channels.... Select either of these
options, then choose From file... to browse for your required file. Recently used files will also be
displayed on the menu. When loading from the recent file list, hold Shift with this command to merge
imported names with existing note names rather than replace them.
Notice there is an option to Clear existing note names before loading.
Another option is to Save note names for current channel to file...
Finally, You can also Clear note names for active channel or Clear note names for all channels.
Customize note colors
Displays a sub-menu. Load color map from file .../Clear color map (use defaults). Used to import
your own .PNG color map file or restore the REAPER defaults. For more information about how to create a
color map file, go to forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=78839
Close Editor
Closes the REAPER MIDI editor, and returns you to the main REAPER window.
The Edit Menu
Undo, Redo, Copy, Cut, Select all events, Delete event
These features work as expected on all selected MIDI notes. Note that you can cut, copy and paste
between MIDI Editor windows, and into some external applications.
Paste, Paste preserving position in measure
Paste will paste to the current cursor position. Where a selection of notes (rather than a single note) has
been cut or copied, the entire selection will be pasted starting at the current cursor position.
Paste preserving position in measure pastes to the next measure after the cursor position, retaining the
relative position of the item pasted.
Insert note
Similar to Insert Note at Mouse Cursor (using the I key), but positions new notes at the Edit Cursor.
Insert note at mouse cursor
A very quick way to insert notes. Inserts new notes (according to the current Snap values) wherever your
mouse is hovering. Note that since this command takes the mouse cursor as its reference position, you
should use the Insert key to execute it rather than actually display the menu.
Split notes
Splits selected notes (using the S key). If no notes are currently selected, all notes currently under the Edit
Cursor are split.
Split note under mouse cursor
Splits any note currently located under the mouse cursor (based on snap settings). Disabling Snap allows
you to make very accurate splits. Note that since this command takes the current mouse cursor as its
reference position, you should use the keyboard shortcut Shift S to execute it.
Join notes
Joins selected notes together.
Mute events
Mutes current note selection.
Quantize ...
Opens Quantize Events dialog box. See the Quantize section and the MIDI Toolbox section for more
information about this feature.
Quantize submenu
Quantize using last settings, Quantize position to grid
Unquantize, Freeze quantization
See the Quantize section and the MIDI Toolbox section for more information about these command.
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Humanize …
Opens the dialog box shown here. Humanizing can make the exact timing of MIDI generated music sound
less “clinical” and more realistic.
It does so by allowing you to introduce random
small and subtle imprecisions in timing and velocity.
As well as being found on the Edit menu, this
command is also available as an assignable action.
Transpose ...
Opens the dialog box shown here, which can be
used to transpose all or a selection of MIDI notes.
You can transpose by a specified number of
semitones, with a snap to scale option, or from one
specified key/scale to another.
Remove selected duplicate notes
Removes duplicate notes (i.e. duplicate notes of the same pitch
and same starting position) from selection.
Set note ends to start of next note
Adjusts the end point of all notes in selected range
Reverse
Reverses the order of the MIDI events within the current item.
The Navigate Menu
This menu presents a number of options for moving notes in any
direction, either by grid or by note:
Move cursor left by grid
Move cursor up one note
Move cursor right by grid
Move cursor down one note
There are also a number of commands that can be used to jump
to and select a note, either instead of or in addition to any current selection:
Select note nearest cursor
Add note nearest cursor to selection
Select previous note
Select next note
Select previous note with same note value
Select next note with same note value
Select all notes with same note value
Add previous note to selection
Add next note to selection
Move edit cursor to start of selection
The Options Menu
Dock window
Positions MIDI Editor inside the Docker. When you do this, the
MIDI Editor’s main menu will not be displayed. This menu can
now be accessed by right-clicking over the window’s tab in the
docker ( right).
Sync editor transport to project transport
Synchronizes MIDI Editor transport to REAPER's main Timeline.
Time format for ruler, transport, event properties
Gives you the choice of Measures.Beats.100ths or
Measures.Beats.MIDI_ticks.
Snap Settings
Displays a sub-menu of snap toggle options: Snap notes/CC to grid, Always snap notes to the left,
Snap note ends to grid and Snap notes relative to grid.
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Note preview
Displays a sub-menu enabling you to select any or all of four situations when you would like notes to be
previewed (.i.e. audibly heard) – Preview notes when inserting or editing, On velocity change, On
keyboard action, and/or All selected notes that overlap with selected note.
CC events in multiple media items
Two options are available, either of which can be enabled if you wish. These are Draw and edit on all
tracks or Edit on all tracks.
Drawing or selecting a note sets the new note length
Over-rides the default note length set by the drop down Notes box on transport bar.
Allow MIDI note edit to extend the media item
If enabled, this toggle will ensure that the media item length will be extended when a note is moved or
copied within a time selection.
Auto-select CC when moving/copying within time selection
If enabled, will include CC events when a time selection is copied or moved.
Display 14-bit MSB/LSB CC data as a single entry ...
If enabled, ensures that 14-bit MSB/LSB CC data will be shown as a single entry (rather than separate
entries) in event list view and properties,
Automatically correct overlapping notes
Toggles on and off the automatic correction of overlapping notes.
Use F1-F12 as step sequencer
When enabled, the function keys (F1 - F12) can be used to enter notes. These keys are mapped to the 12
Semitones of an Octave, with F1 having the lowest pitch and F12 having the highest pitch. The starting
pitch for F1 is set by the location of the highlight bar. In the example shown (right), the starting pitch for
F1 is C6. In this case, pressing (for example) F5 will create an E note. By moving the highlight bar and
edit cursor, and using Function keys to enter notes, complete arrangements can be quickly created.
Normally this mode will also advance the cursor according to the snap settings. You can bypass this by
holding Shift while pressing the function key.
Use all MIDI inputs for step recording
Toggles the use of MIDI inputs when step recording.
MIDI editor mouse modifiers
Opens the mouse modifiers page of your preferences window. Here you can select actions to be assigned
to mouse behavior in various contexts. This is discussed later in this chapter and in Chapter 14.
Customize menus/toolbars ...
Opens the Customize Menus/Toolbars window. See Chapter 14.
The View Menu
Filter events..., Quantize..., Humanize..., Transpose …
Opens one of these dialog boxes, which have been discussed earlier in this chapter.
Event properties ...
Opens the Note properties dialog box. This topic is covered later in this chapter, along with The Rightclick Notes Menu.
Raw MIDI data
Opens a window displaying raw MIDI data for currently selected item.
Mode: piano roll
Displays a standard, white/black piano key view.
Mode: named notes
Replaces the Piano Roll view with note names. Note: Only works when using a VSTi that reports note
names, such as Fxpansion's BFD. Check the REAPER forum to see if a note namer plug-in has been posted
for the VSTi you want to use. For example there are EZDrummer note namers available.
Mode: event list
Displays the event list. These three modes are discussed in more detail later.
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Piano roll notes
Displays a sub menu of Rectangles, Triangles and Diamonds to determine
how notes are displayed. You also have three toggle options to Show velocity
handles on notes, Show velocity numbers on notes and/or Show note
names on notes. In the example shown here, velocity handles and note names
are displayed.
Color notes by
This command selects the criteria used for coloring notes. The options are Velocity, Channel, Pitch,
Source (using color map), Track and Media item. You can toggle on/off Show color selector in
editor. You also have options to Load color map from file and Clear color map (use defaults).
Show/hide note rows
Displays a sub-menu with three mutually exclusive commands to determine which rows are shown. Show
all note rows, Hide unused note rows. or Hide unused and unnamed note rows. The hide options
are not compatible with piano roll view.
Piano roll ruler
Provides options to display or hide project markers, project regions and/or tempo/time signature
markers on the piano roll ruler. These are displayed above the ruler, and tempo/time signature markers
can be edited by double-clicking on them. You can also right-click for a context mrnu.
Piano roll timebase
Sets the timebase for the piano roll. Options are Source beats (from media source item), Project beats,
Project time, or Project synced. For more information, choose Timebase help from this menu. See
also the example at the end of this chapter.
The Contents Menu
Track List/Media Item Lane
Toggles the display of these panels.
Media item selection mirrors arrange view
A toggle which when enabled ensures that selecting a MIDI item in the MIDI Editor causes that item also
to be selected in Arrange view, and vice versa.
Clear editor when changing active MIDI media item via this menu (shift toggles)
This causes the MIDI Editor display to be cleared when the active item is changed via the contents menu.
One item per ...
Opens sub menu where you can specify one MIDI editor window for each item, each track, or the project.
Options when using one MIDI editor per project
Opens sub menu where you can specify various options which determine how REAPER behaves when you
are using one MIDI editor per project. See section “Managing Multiple MIDI Tracks and Items.”
Active MIDI item follows selection changes in Arrange view
Allows you to make any MIDI item active in MIDI editor by selecting it in Arrange view.
List of project tracks/MIDI items
This menu lists all tracks which contain MIDI items and all items themselves. A tick indicates that the item
is currently open and the active item. Select an item from this menu to open it in the MIDI Editor window,
closing all other items: hold Shift while doing so if you do not wish to close all other items.
The Actions Menu
This has two default commands - Show action list and Show recent actions. Show action list opens the
Actions … window with the MIDI Editor section automatically selected. Custom actions and keyboard
shortcuts play an important role in working within the MIDI Editor.
When Show recent actions is enabled, the Actions menu will list your most recent
activities, as well as any custom actions or keyboard assignments that you have placed
there. These commands can then be executed from this menu (see example, right).
There are some simple examples showing you how you can use the Actions List later in
this chapter. The Actions List Editor and how to use it will be covered in detail in
Chapter 14.
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Finally (on the subject of menus) remember that REAPER makes extensive use of right-click context menus.
Knowing which commands are on the main menu is useful, but as you will shortly see, more often than not
you’ll use the right click menus and custom actions more than the main menu.
13.15 Note Creating and Editing
Overview
A MIDI Item can contain data from up to 16 channels. The MIDI Editor can display and edit all 16 MIDI
channels, or you can use the Filter Events window or Channels drop down list to limit the channel display.
If you select Channel from the Color drop down list, each channel will be assigned an individual color, visible in
both the Piano Roll and the CC lane. The MIDI Editor uses as its default a Piano Roll interface to display and edit
MIDI information. Notes are displayed vertically according to their corresponding value on a Piano Keyboard,
and horizontally according to the duration of each note and their location within the MIDI Item or the Timeline.
Preview Keyboard
The Preview Keyboard at the left of the screen provides a visual representation of the value of the notes on the
Piano Roll, and allows you to audition a note without having to enter or edit it first. Clicking a key on the
Preview Keyboard will send a MIDI note of the corresponding value to the MIDI Instrument that is connected to
the Track. The Preview Keyboard can mimic a velocity sensitive keyboard. Clicking on the far left of a key will
generate a soft note, while clicking on the far right of a key will generate a loud note.
Entering / Editing Notes
MIDI notes can be recorded as part of a performance, imported from an existing MIDI file, or they can be
manually entered using the MIDI Editor.
Using the Mouse:
Notes can be entered by dragging your mouse from left to right across the Piano Roll. The duration of the note
will increase as you drag the Note. If Snap is enabled, the duration will Snap to the nearest Grid Line
(depending on the strength of your Snap settings). Notes can also be entered by double-clicking on the Piano
Roll (in a space not already occupied by another note). In this case, the duration of the note is determined by
the value of the Grid Setting. Notes can be deleted by double-clicking on the Note.
The duration of an existing note can be altered by dragging the edge of the note. While holding it, you can drag
the note out, move it up and down, etc. When you let go, the notes will be positioned according to your snap
setting. A note’s velocity can be adjusted by clicking and dragging up or down from the top of the note, in
similar fashion to that used for adjusting the item volume button or handle in REAPER’s main window.
Notes can be moved by dragging in any direction. Dragging left or right will change the location of the note in
the Timeline, while dragging up or down will change the note value.
The Right-Click Notes Menu
Insert note at mouse cursor
A very quick way to insert notes. It will insert notes
according to the current snap values wherever your
mouse floats over. Remember to use INSERT key
otherwise you will have to move your mouse cursor!
Insert note at edit cursor
Similar to previous, but wherever the edit cursor is.
Copy/Cut/Paste
These are standard Windows editing commands which
perform standard Windows functions.
Paste preserving position in measure
This pastes notes to the next measure after the cursor,
retaining the relative position of the item(s) pasted.
Select all notes
Selects all notes in this MIDI Editor window
Delete notes
Deletes all notes in current selection.
Split notes
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Notes can be split at the Edit Cursor by selecting Split notes (S) from the right-click menu. All notes that
are under the Edit Cursor will be split.
Split notes under mouse cursor
Notes can be split at the location of the Mouse Cursor by selecting Split notes under mouse cursor
(Shift S) from the right-click menu.
Join notes
Joins all notes in current selection to make one note per row.
Mute notes
Mutes according to context the current note selection or the note under the mouse cursor.
Select previous note
Select next note
Selects previous or next note in place of current selection.
Select previous note with same value
Select next note with same value
Select all notes with same value
Selects previous, next or all notes with the same value as
the currently selected note.
Note properties
Midi note attributes can be edited by entering values into
text boxes. You can change any of these:
note pitch, velocity, position, channel, note off velocity, length.
You can use + or – to make relative changes. For example, for note value, entering +1o2 will raise the
pitch by one octave and two semitones.
Note channel (1-16)
A quick way to change the channel for the current note selection. For example, choosing channel 8 will
ensure that a note will use channel 8 -- and will send that note to the vsti or midi instruments channel 8.
Note velocity (1-127)
Used to change the velocity for a note or note selection to a specified value, within the range 1 to 127.
13.16 Using the Keyboard
Looking at the right click Notes menu you can see that default keyboard shortcuts have been assigned to many
of these commands. There are others that are not shown on the menus. Some of the most useful of these are
listed here.
Notes can be entered at the position of the edit cursor by using the Keyboard Shortcut I or at the mouse cursor
by pressing Insert. The duration of the note will be determined by the value of the grid setting (from the Grid
Division box). The effect of this is shown in the two illustrations (right), before and after.
The Edit Cursor position on the Timeline is adjusted by using any of the following Keyboard Shortcuts.
To do this …
… use this shortcut
Move edit cursor right by one grid division.
Right or Ctrl Num 6
Move edit cursor left by one grid division.
Left or Ctrl Num 4
Move edit cursor right by one pixel.
Shift Right or Ctrl Alt Num 6
Move edit cursor left by one pixel.
Shift Left or Ctrl Alt Num 4
Notes can be moved using any of the following Keyboard Shortcuts.
To do this …
… use this shortcut
Move selected note(s) down one octave.
Alt Num 2
Move selected note(s) down one semitone.
Num 2
Move selected note(s) up one octave.
Alt Num 8
Move selected note(s) up one semitone.
Num 8
Move edit cursor left by one pixel.
Alt Num 4
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To do this …
… use this shortcut
Move edit cursor left by one grid unit.
Num 4
Move edit cursor right by one pixel.
Alt Num 6
Move edit cursor right by one grid unit.
Num 6
Note display can be filtered for channels 1 to 10 using any of the shortcuts Shift 1 thru Shift 0. Shift `
removes the note filter and restores all notes to view.
Use F1-F12 as step sequencer:
When Use F1-F12 as step sequencer is selected, the Function keys F1 thru F12 can be used to enter notes.
The Function keys are mapped to the 12 Semitones of an Octave, with F1 having the lowest pitch and F12
having the highest pitch. The method for using this is the same as already described under the MIDI Editor’s
main Options menu.
Note Properties:
The keyboard shortcut Ctrl F2 can be used to open the Note Properties box, as an alternative to choosing the
command from the right-click menu.
Selecting / Editing multiple Notes:
Multiple notes can be selected by holding down the Ctrl or Shift keys while selecting notes with the mouse, by
drawing a Marquee (Right-click and drag) around a group of notes, or by using Select All (Ctrl A).
 The value of all selected notes can be adjusted by dragging one of the selected notes.
 The duration of all selected notes can be adjusted by dragging the edge of one on the selected notes.
 The note velocity of all selected notes can be adjusted by dragging the Velocity handle (when active) of
one of the selected notes.
The default Velocity value for notes created in the MIDI Editor is taken from the last selected event - e.g. if the
Velocity of the last selected event was 70, then the Velocity value for the next created note will be 70.
13.17 Transposing Notes
As an alternative to using the Edit, Transpose command to transpose MIDI notes you can use a number of
keyboard shortcuts. First select the required notes, then use one of the following shortcuts:
Move notes up one octave
Alt NumPad 8
Move notes up one semitone
Ctrl Up or NumPad 8
Move notes down one octave
Alt NumPad 2
Move notes down one semitone
Ctrl Down or NumPad 2
13.18 General MIDI Program Patches
We have already seen that you can use a Bank/Program Select lane
to make program changes within an item. It’s worth noting that
REAPER includes a file GM.reabank (in the \Application
Data\REAPER\Data folder) which can be used to select standard
General MIDI banks and patches. An example is shown here.
If the General MIDI banks are not automatically available in the Bank
drop down list, click on the Load File button, navigate to the
REAPER data directory and select the file GM.reabank.
13.19 MIDI Preview Scrub
Within Piano Roll View and Named Note View you can preview your MIDI material by clicking and dragging the
edit cursor along the timeline. This is similar to audio scrub: exact scrub behavior will be determined by the
settings under Options, Preferences, Audio, Playback.
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13.20 MIDI Editor Modes and Views
13.20.1
Note Modes
The MIDI Editor has three modes, accessible from the Views menu.:
1. Piano Roll View – keyboard shortcut Alt 1.
2. Named Notes – keyboard shortcut Alt 2.
3. Event List – keyboard shortcut Alt 3.
Up until now, the only view used in this User Guide has been Piano Roll. Before moving on to examining the
other two views, there are a couple of points that you might find interesting.
Named Notes Mode:
In this mode you can double right click in the left
pane to enter text, as shown. If you select the
option on the View menu to Show note names
on events, then the names will be shown on the
actual notes themselves, as shown here.
If you leave this option enabled, the names will also
be displayed in Piano Roll View.
In named note mode, you also have the options
(View menu) to Show all note rows, Hide unused note rows and Hide unused and unnamed note
rows. The first of these options is the default.
Hiding unused note rows can make it easier for you to navigate thru the MIDI Editor to work with existing
notes. However, problems may occur if you then want to add or move notes to rows that are currently
empty. The option to Hide unused and unnamed note rows can help you to get round this. By taking
the time before you choose this command to name any empty rows that you are likely to need, you will
ensure that these rows will still be available to you.
Event List Mode:
Event List mode displays
the MIDI information as a
list of events, in tabular
form.
In this mode you can use
the right click menu
(shown left) to i(for
example) nsert, copy, cut
paste, delete or mute any
events.
The full menu is shown
here.
You can also double click on any event to modify that event’s properties (see example below right).
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Of course, the information
displayed in the Event
Properties dialog box will in
large measure depend on
the event type of event.
The Toolbar displayed in
Event List view is simpler
than that used in the other
two views. The Filter
button (top left) is used
exactly as in the other two
views to filter only those
events that you want
displayed. The Add Event
button will insert a new
event immediately before
the currently selected
event, and the Delete
button will delete the
currently selected event.
The fourth button toggles
the docking of the MIDI
Editor on and off.
Note: From the Options menu, the toggle command to Display 14-bit MSB/LSB CC data as a single
entry in event list view and event properties dialog is by default enabled. This causes 14-bit MSB/LSB CC
data to be shown as a single entry rather than separately.
13.20.2
Note Styles
The default display note
style used by the MIDI
Editor is rectangular. This is
the style that has been
displayed in all of the Piano
Roll View and Named Note
View examples up to now.
However, two further
options are available,
specifically for use with
drum sounds.
These are triangle and
diamond modes. To choose
a note style, use the View,
Piano Roll Notes
command and select
Rectangle, Triangle or
Diamond.
An example which uses
triangles instead of the
default rectangles is shown
on the left.
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13.21 Quantizing MIDI Data
The term Quantize refers to a process of aligning a set of
musical notes to a precise setting. This results in notes
being set on notes and on exact fractions of notes. When
you quantize a group of MIDI notes, the program moves
each note to the closest point on the timing grid.
The point of quantizing is to provide a more uniform timing
of sounds. It is often applied to MIDI notes created by a
musical keyboard or drum machine. Quantize is available by
choosing the Edit, Quantize events command from the
MIDI Editor menu. This causes the dialog box shown on
the right to be displayed.
The first choice you have is between the Use Grid and
Manual Settings option. We'll come to Use Grid shortly.
Shown right is the dialog box interface that appears when
the Manual option is selected. The various quantize
parameters are explained below.
Notice the Bypass option (top right). Disabled it lets you
see the result of different quantize parameter settings as
you tweak them. Enable this until you are finished if you
don't want this to happen. Toggle it if you want to compare how your music sounds with and without quantizing
applied.
All Notes, Selected Notes, All Events or Selected Events. The first Quantize drop down list allows you to
quantize selected notes or events (not just notes) or the whole sequence (all notes or all events). This can
come in handy if you just need to quantize a certain off section, or perhaps just a certain instrument, such as
the hi-hats of a drum section. The second Quantize drop down list works in conjunction with whatever selection
you make from the first. You can choose to have the quantizing of notes and/or events applied to the Position
only, Position and Note End, Position and Note Length, Note End Only or Note Length Only.
The Strength setting adjusts how strictly notes are quantized. The lower you set the strength, the less
'magnetism' the grid has to the midi notes. This introduces subtle imprecisions to the quantizing which can
make the outcome seem less clinical.
The Grid and Length values determine which units (measured as fractions of a note) are used for quantizing.
These can be selected from the drop down lists or entered manually in their respective boxes. They act in
conjunction with the Allow notes to options (see below). Grid type can be straight, triplet, dotted or swing. If
swing is selected, you will also need to specify swing strength.
Move left and Move right. If Quantize Position is enabled, these will ensure that notes are individually
quantized to the start or end of the specified note fraction, whichever is nearest. Move left only will only
quantize notes to the start, move right only will only quantize notes to the end.
Shrink and Grow. These are applied if Quantize Length is enabled. REAPER will extend or shorten notes by
moving the end position of each note. You can enable either or both of these options.
The Only quantize range faders allow you to specify a percentage range for quantizing. 50% represents the
mid-point between the grid lines. Values more than 50% are only really meaningful if “allow move right” or
“allow move left” is disabled. The distance is measured
from the grid line being quantized to: normally it will
select the closest line so that you will never be more than
50% away.
Fix Overlaps can be enabled to stop notes from
overlapping as a result of being quantized.
When the Use Grid Setting is selected, the Quantize
Events dialog box will be as shown on the right.
From the Grid drop-down list (at the bottom of the MIDI
Editor window, next to the transport bar), select a note length value (such as 1/32, 1/16 or 1/8) and then select
an item from the grid spacing type list. This can be straight, triplet, dotted or swing. If you choose Swing a
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strength fader is displayed (see below). This can be used to adjust the swing setting within a range of -100% to
100%, or you can enter a value directly into the Swing % edit box to its immediate right. You should also set a
Notes value: left at Grid, this will take its value from whatever is chosen for the grid. Otherwise you may select
any other required value from the drop down list.
Used well, swing can result in a
more musically pleasing output.
In essence, you define a percentage delay to be applied on the upbeat. For example, if
you apply swing to 1/4 notes then those which coincide with the 1/2 note divisions will
be unaffected by the swing, those that fall between these divisions will be delayed by
the amount specified. Small amounts of swing (even 5% or less) can help to prevent a
part from sounding too rigid.
Quantize is non-destructive – that is to say, the process can be reversed at any time.
The various other commands on the Edit menu that are used with quantizing are:
Quantize notes using last settings
This bypasses the Quantize Events dialog box, making it easier for you to apply
the same quantization settings to various disparate selections.
Quantize notes position to grid
This quantizes notes according to your grid settings.
Unquantize events
Removes quantization and returns the notes to their previous state.
Freeze quantization for events
Freezes the quantization for all currently selected events.
Shown above is an example. The top picture shows two unquantized notes selected. In the second picture they
are quantized by moving them left. In the third picture, they are quantized by moving them to the right.
13.22 Input Quantization
The term Input Quantize refers to a
process by which MIDI notes are
automatically quantized as they are
entered. This could be, for example, by
playing your MIDI keyboard, or even the
REAPER Virtual Keyboard.
Input quantize is applied on a per track
basis. Simply right click over the track’s
VU Meter (TCP or MCP) and choose
Track Recording Settings from the
context menu. This causes the dialog box
shown on the right to be displayed.
You should then select the option to
Quantize track MIDI recording.
Options then available include:

The note length to be used for
quantization (e.g. 1/8).

Your quantize positioning
preference. Options are Nearest
value, Previous value and Next
value.

Whether to quantize note-offs.

Quantization strength. A lower setting will allow more subtle variation, creating a more “human” effect
by allowing minor variations in how strictly the quantization is applied.
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
Swing setting. This can be between 0% and 100%. You can use this setting to add a touch of delay to
those notes that do not fall on the upbeat. The best way to understand how these settings affect how
your notes sound is to try a few examples.

Quantize within % range. These are similar to the Nearly Quantized and Far From Quantized faders in
the Quantize Events dialog box (see previous section).
13.23 Humanize Notes
Humanize Notes (from the Edit menu) can be used to
introduce subtle variations – some might say
imperfections! – to a MIDI item that is just too exact,
too perfect. For example, no human pianist will ever
complete an entire live performance on an acoustic
piano with every key being struck with exact precision
and perfect timing. Therefore, you might not want your
MIDI items to be too perfect.
The Humanize Notes dialog box (right) can be used
to introduced random variations in timing and velocity
to an existing MIDI item to make it sound … well, more human!
13.24 F3 - The Panic Button
The F3 key can be your best friend when you are working in the MIDI Editor (and also when you are playing
back MIDI items in REAPER's main Arrange View). Pressing F3 will set all notes to all MIDI outputs off, until you
stop and recommence playback.
13.25 Using the MIDI Editor: a Basic Exercise
In this example, you will be introduced to some simple examples which involve working with the REAPER MIDI
Editor. The objective of this is not to produce a stunningly brilliant piece of music, but to help you to become
familiar with the MIDI Editor. The step by step instructions assume that you are using a PC with Windows. OS/X
users will need to adapt some of the steps to suit their own environment.
Example
1. Create a new project file. Add one track to it. Arm this track for recording and set its input to your MIDI
keyboard if you have one, or to the virtual keyboard if you do not.
2. Record about 20 or 30 seconds of a very simple tune on Channel 1. This might be part of a nursery rhyme
or some other song with which you are familiar. Your Track and Item will look something like this:
3. If you are using Windows, display the track’s routing window and add a MIDI Hardware Output to
Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth.
4. Play the tune. It should play with a piano sound.
5. Double click on the item to open it with the MIDI Editor.
6. Check the first two MIDI toolbar buttons to make sure that neither the Track List nor Media Item Lane are
displayed – you do not need them for this exercise,
7. Display the drop down note-length list (labeled Notes:) and set it to 1/2.
8. Scroll your mousewheel up or down until you are satisfied with the horizontal zoom setting. Use Ctrl with
the mousewheel to find an acceptable vertical zoom setting. You should see something like this.
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13 - Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
Just for fun, draw in a few more notes by clicking and dragging in the edit window. Experiment with
using your mouse to move them about and change their length (by clicking
and holding over a note’s right edge and dragging left or right). Delete any
that you do not want to keep.
Now Zoom out horizontally to see the entire length of the item.
Display the CC Lane List and choose Bank/Program Select (see right).
At the very start of the song, double click in the CC Lane. Select the bank
General MIDI and the program Church Organ. Click on OK.
Return to the start of the timeline and play the tune. It should sound like a
church organ.
Draw in a
number of long
“dronish” notes
as shown
below. Marquee
them (right click
drag) to select
them all (but
only your new notes).
Right click over any of the selected items, choose Note Channel
from the menu, then channel 2.
Double click in the CC Lane,at the start of the song. Select General
MIDI, Choir Aaahs and Channel 2 (see right). Click on OK.
Play the song from the start. You should hear an organ with a choir.
The choir may seem too loud.
Change the CC lane to display 07 Volume MSB.
Click on the Channel Filter List (on the toolbar) and choose Channel
2. Now only your Aaahs are displayed.
Click, hold and drag your mouse as you sweep along the CC Lane
with a fairly low volume setting, as shown below.
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20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
Remove the channel filter and restore all channels to view.
Display the Color drop down list and choose Channel.
Close the MIDI Editor and save the file.
Play it. The choir should now sound a lot quieter.
Continue if you wish to further explore the MIDI Editor on your own.
13.26 Working with Multiple MIDI Tracks and/or Items (Overview)
From Arrange view you can make MIDI items available for editing by choosing the command Open in built-in
MIDI editor from the right click context menu. By default, double-clicking on the item has the same effect.
REAPER's exact behavior here will be determined by your Editing Behavior, MIDI Editor preferences – see
also Chapter 21. In brief, this is where you select one of three options – to use a separate MIDI editor for each
media item, or one instance per track, or one instance for the whole project. For example, if you set your
preference to one MIDI editor per media item, then each MIDI item you double-click on will open in a separate
MIDI editor instance by itself. If you set it to one MIDI editor per project, this will result in all MIDI items being
opened in the MIDI editor when any single MIDI item is double-clicked: The double-clicked item will be the
selected and active item.
If One MIDI editor per project is
specified, then you should also specify
whether to open the clicked MIDI item
only, all selected MIDI items, all MIDI
items on the same track, or all MIDI items
in the project (see right).
Within the MIDI Editor itself, your default
preference settings can be changed and overridden from the Contents menu. This will be discussed shortly
Tracks and items can be managed in the MIDI Editor by displaying the Media Item Lane (second button on
toolbar toggles) and the Track List (first button on toolbar toggles). Both these options are also available on
the Contents menu.
The illustration below shows an example of the MIDI Editor window opened with three MIDI tracks, the first of
which comprises three items. Both the Track List (right of window) and the Media Item Pane (foot of window)
are displayed. In a moment, we'll examine these more closely.
In the MIDI Editor each item is assigned three qualities – visibility status, active status and editability status.
These can be set as required to allow you to work with different items at different times. Visible means the
item and its notes are displayed in the MIDI editor window. Active means that the item can be used for
inserting, copying, pasting notes, etc. Editable means that mouse edits (move, lengthen, etc.) and commands
such as quantize, transpose and humanize can be performed on an item's notes. One and only one item at a
time may be active, but as many items as you wish may at any time be visible and/or editable. Note that:
 An item can be visible without having to be editable or active. One or more items may be visible.
 An editable item will also be visible but need not be active. One or
more items may be editable.
 An active item will also be editable and visible. One and only one item
is active at any time.
An item can be made active using the track list (above right). A track can be
made active from the Contents menu or using the drop down list near the end of the transport bar (also see
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13 - Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items
below right). If the track contains only one MIDI item, that item will be made active. If it contains more than
one item, all items will be visible and editable but only one item will be active.
The Filter Events window allows you to select multiple channels for display and editing. If you select two or
more channels in this window, the drop down channel list at the foot of the MIDI editor window will read “Multi”
or “All”. Alternately, you can simply use the drop down channel list to select “All.”
The MIDI column in the Track Manager (Chapter 12) can also be used to open items in/remove items from
the MIDI Editor, and to show items in/hide items from the MIDI Editor track list. Tracks can also be selected to
be shown in or hidden from the track list using the track list's context menu (see below).
13.27 Managing Multiple MIDI Tracks and Items
The Track List
Track List display is toggled on and off by the first icon on the MIDI Editor
toolbar, or from the Contents menu. Right-click on the track list area to
open the Track List context menu.
You can choose between Automatic mode and Manual selection
mode. In automatic mode, clicking on an item name automatically selects
it and makes it the active and sole editable item. In manual mode,
selecting an item name does not automatically make it the active item, nor
does it affect the status of other items. In either mode, you can always
click on any item's “make active” icon (green down pointing arrow) to make it active, or the green padlock icon
to make it editable.
You can choose (mutually exclusive) Selection linked to visibility or Selection linked to editability.
Tracks made visible or editable will automatically be added to the track selection.
Two mutually exclusive options from the MIDI Editor Options menu are repeated here: these are Draw and
edit CC events on all tracks and Edit CC events on all tracks.
You can use the command Choose which tracks appear in track list to hide tracks from or restore them to
the track list. Selecting this command causes the X symbol to be displayed beside each track name. This toggles
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track display. In its default gray state, the track will be displayed, when red it will be hidden. After making your
selection, again select Choose which tracks appear in track list from the context menu to implement your
selection. You can also choose whether Media item selection is to be mirrored so that selecting an item in
either the MIDI Editor or Arrange view automatically causes it to be also selected in the other.
Finally, you can choose whether to Show tooltips in MIDI track list.
In the example on the left three tracks are displayed, containing in total
five MIDI items. The Acoustic Guitar track holds three items. Guitar break
1 is the active item: it is therefore also editable and visible. guitar break 2
is editable and visible, guitar break 3 is visible but not editable. The
acoustic bass item is both editable and visible. The electric guitar is not
visible and therefore not editable.
The diamond shaped symbol to the left of each track name opens and
closes a list of MIDI items on that track.
Click on any item name to select it, or on any track name to select all
items on a track. You can use control+click to build a selection. In automatic mode, the first item in a built
selection will be made active, but you can change this by clicking on the “make active” icon of any other item.
You can then use the various other icons to set qualities such as icon color or editability for the entire selection.
The small colored square to the right of an item name opens the color picker: this can be used to select a
different color to be used for this item in the Media Item Lane.
The column to the right of the color picker is the “make active” column. Click here to make any item the current
item for inserting events (shown by the green arrow). It will automatically also be made editable and visible.
Click in the next column to the right of this to make any item visible and editable, indicated by the green
unlocked padlock icon. If contents do not appear visible, check 1) the scroll settings for the MIDI editor window,
and 2) the channel filter, to ensure that the required channel is included in the filter. This same green icon can
then be used to toggle editability.
The eye symbol to the right of this toggles the visibility of any item (or item selection) in the MIDI Editor.
The gray/red circle to the right of this (for tracks) toggles record arm status for that track. This is used in
conjunction with the Record button on the Arrange view Transport Bar.
Use the M button to the right of this to toggle mute status for individual tracks or items.
Use the S button to the right of this to toggle solo status for any track.
You can also use the Contents menu (from the MIDI Editor main menu) to override and change your current
MIDI Editor preference settings. For example, you can:
 Use the One MIDI editor per command and select Media item, Track, or Project.
 Use the Options when using one media item per project command and change the setting for
Behavior for “open items in built-in MIDI editor” to any of clicked MIDI item only, all selected
MIDI items, all MIDI items on same track as clicked item or all MIDI items in project.
The Contents menu also makes available a number of toggle options to be applied when all MIDI items in
project is selected. These are Only MIDI items on same track as active item are editable, Clear editor
when changing active MIDI item (shift toggles) and Close editor when active item is deleted in
Arrange view. For more about MIDI preferences and options, see Chapter 21.
There is also a toggle option Active MIDI item follows selection changes in Arrange view. This enables
you to make any MIDI item active by selecting it in Arrange view.
The Media Item Lane
This displays the MIDI items and their position in the arrangement. In automatic mode, clicking on any item
highlights, selects it and makes it active. As with the track list, you can use control+click to build a selection.
The individual media item right-click context
menu offers you various options for setting
items to custom colors or random colors.
13.28 Editing Multiple MIDI Items
In order to be able to edit different MIDI items at the same time you will first need to select those items that
you wish to make available for editing, as explained in the previous section. You can then perform normal
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mouse editing activities on any part of the selection, such as copying or moving, adjusting velocity, stretching,
shrinking, etc. The table below gives some examples of how you can apply this to various MIDI editing tasks.
MIDI Editing with Multiple Items: Some Tips and Examples
These notes assume that you are by now familiar with the basic MIDI editor navigation and editing techniques
explained earlier in this chapter and, for example, shown in the exercise in section 12.24. Indeed, you are
advised not to experiment with editing multiple MIDI items until you are confident that you have mastered the
techniques for editing the contents of a single MIDI item.
Tip: Before attempting any of these editing tasks in the MIDI editor, check your channel filter settings to make
sure that the notes to be edited are actually visible!
If you want to do this …
… do this!
Change track/item name.
Double-click on name in track list and edit.
Copy/move a note (or note
selection) to another item
within MIDI editor.
Make sure source item(s) editable. Select note(s), press Ctrl C (copy) or
Ctrl X (cut). Make the destination item active. If required, position play
cursor. Press Ctrl V (paste).
Copy/move a note (or note
selection) to another item in
Arrange view.
Make source item(s) editable in MIDI Editor. Select note(s), press Ctrl C
(copy) or Ctrl X (cut). Select destination item in Arrange view, make it
active in MIDI Editor, position play cursor. Press Ctrl V (paste).
Mouse edit a selection of notes
in more than one MIDI item.
Make items editable. Select notes and use mouse (e.g. drag to move,
click drag from edge of any note to lengthen or shorten notes).
Delete selection of notes across Make items editable. Select notes and press Delete key.
more than one item.
Mute/Unmute note selection
across more than one item.
Make items editable. Select notes and press Alt M, or use Mute events
command from Edit menu.
Change note properties for a
selection of notes
Make items editable. Select notes and press Ctrl F2. Make changes then
OK.
Quantize, Humanize, Transpose Make all required items editable. Make note selection and choose Edit
across multiple items.
menu command, e.g. Quantize, Humanize, Transpose.
Adjust velocity of notes
selected in two or more items.
Display velocity lane and make items editable. Select required notes.
Click/drag mouse up/down from top edge to increase/decrease velocity.
Edit CC data across multiple
MIDI items.
Display CC lane and make items editable. Select required events and
perform edit as required with mouse or via Event Properties dialog.
Show/Hide all MIDI items on
tracks in Track List.
Click (for one track) or Shift click (for all tracks) on diamond symbol to
the left of any track name in Track List (toggle).
Show/Hide all tracks/MIDI
items in Track Folder.
Click on circle symbol to left of folder name in Track List (toggle).
13.29 MIDI Editor Mouse Modifiers
The Mouse Modifier dialog can be opened by the Options, MIDI editor mouse modifiers command. A dialog
box is opened where you can customize exactly how you would like the mouse to behave when you are working
in the MIDI editor.
There are several areas in which you can modify mouse behavior within the MIDI Editor. These include MIDI
note, MIDI note edge, MIDI CC lane, MIDI CC event, MIDI Source loop and marker, MIDI ruler,
MIDI marker/ region lanes, MIDI piano roll and MIDI editor. In many cases separate contexts are also
available for left click, left drag and double-click behavior. You can define how your mouse behaves when it is
being used in any of these contexts. For example, if you wanted to, you could ensure that, say. Shift Alt Left
click is used to toggle a note's mute status.
For much more about mouse modifiers, including MIDI Editor mouse modifiers, see Chapter 14.
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13.30 MIDI Editor Actions
REAPER’s Action list Editor lets you assign keyboard shortcuts to any command or action, or sequence of
actions, including many not shown on the MIDI Editor menus. Chapter 14 will show you how to do this,
including adding actions to the
MIDI Editor menus.
The Action list is displayed by
choosing Show actions list
from the Actions menu. One
of the first things to notice
about it is that it contains a
whole load of assignable
actions beyond those that are
shown on REAPER’s menus.
This means that you are able
to create your own keyboard
shortcuts for any of these
actions, and even for
sequences of actions.
Notice also (right) that when
using the MIDI Editor Action
List, you are able to assign MIDI commands and actions to keystrokes so that those keys will behave differently
in the MIDI Editor from the way they behave in the main REAPER environment. You can see that there’s quite a
few, and that some already have keys assigned to them. You can assign your own keys to other actions.
Let’s take a simple example. Being able to select notes quickly and easily is important when you are working
with the MIDI editor. If in the Action List filter box you type add note then only those actions which included
these characters will be displayed (see above). One of these is Add next note to selection. You can assign a
shortcut to this action – perhaps the letter N.
Example
1. With any MIDI item open in the MIDI Editor, choose the Actions, Show actions list command.
2. Click on the action Add next note to selection.
3. Click on the Add… button. This causes the Keyboard or MIDI Input window to be displayed.
4. Press the letter N. Click on OK. You can see that this keystroke has now been assigned to this action.
5. Close the Actions List.
6. Click on any note to select it. Now press N several times. Each time you do so, the selection will be
extended by one note. You could now move these notes together, or assign them to a different channel,
or delete them, or perform any other editing action.
You’ll see in Chapter 14 that the Actions List Editor lets you do much more than this. For example, you can:

Chain together any sequence of actions so that the sequence can be executed with a single keystroke.

Add actions and custom actions to your MIDI Editor toolbar and/or the MIDI editor Actions menu, and/or
any of REAPER's MIDI Editor menu commands (File, Edit, Navigate. Oprtions, etc.)

REAPER's MIDI Editor commands (such as Edit -> Delete events, Edit → Insert note, Edit → Quantize,
Navigate → Select next note, Options → Correct overlapping notes when editing, etc.) can all be found in
the Action list. In addition there are many hundreds of actions, some very precise, which are not shown
on the menus. The table that follows should help guide you thru many of these.
Category/Group
Examples of MIDI Editor assignable actions(not fully comprehensive)
Note/event selection
Select all notes with same note value, Select note nearest to edit cursor, Select all
muted notes.
Add next/previous note to selection, Add note nearest edit cursor to selection.
Select/unselect all CC events, Select/unselect all CC events in last clicked lane.
Select all notes in time selection, Select all notes starting in time selection, Select
all CC events in time selection (several variations).
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Category/Group
Examples of MIDI Editor assignable actions(not fully comprehensive)
Note inserting/ editing/ Color notes by velocity/channel/media item custom color/using colormap/by track
manipulating/ moving/ custom color.
transposing
Delete all notes/trailing notes less than [1/128 to 1/8] note in length.
Lengthen/shorten one grid unit/one pixel.
Make notes legato, preserving note start times/relative note spacing.
Move notes down/up one octave/semitone (transpose)
Move notes left/right one grid unit/one pixel.
Invert selected/all notes.
Invert chord voicings.
Reverse selected/all notes.
Edit note velocity +/- 01/10.
Set note length to grid size/double/half.
Trim left/right edge of notes to edit cursor.
Insert note [1/128 to 1] note length.
Set note ends to start of next note.
Set note position to edit cursor.
Split notes on grid.
Copy/cut/duplicate notes within time selection, Fit notes to time selection.
Paste events into active media item regardless of source media item (allows items
to be copied from a selection of media items into a single media item.) .
Loop/time selection
Loop point: set start/end point. Remove loop point. Double/halve loop length.
Set time selection to selected notes, Remove time selection, Remove time and
loop point selection.
Move cursor to start/end of loop/time selection.
Activate item/track
(when working with
multiple items/tracks)
Activate next/next visible/previous/previous visible MIDI item. Activate next/next
visible/previous/previous visible MIDI track.
CC lane management
Next/previous CC lane. Set CC lane to xxx.
Channel display
Show only channel xx, Show only next/previous channel, Toggle channel xx, Color
notes/CC by channel.
Cursor movement
Cursor advance [1/128 to 1]. Cursor advance [1/32T to 1/4T].
Lyric events
Align lyric events with notes. Import lyrics for selected noted from file.
Insert/edit text/lyric event at first selected note.
Select next/previous lyric event. Shift lyric events backward/forward one note.
Mouse modifiers
Actions are available to set mouse modifier behavior within the MIDI Editor for
each of the categories CC event left drag, CC lane left drag, MIDI editor right
drag, note edge left drag, note left click, note left drag, piano roll left click, piano
roll left drag, ruler left click and ruler left drag. The list of actions is exhaustive.
13.31 In-Line MIDI Editing
To use the in-line editor on any MIDI item, first select the item then either use the default shortcut key E or
right click and from the menu choose Open items in Editor then Open items in In-line Editor. The in-line
editor will only be displayed if there is sufficient track height.
REAPER’s main MIDI Editor is recommended for serious and in-depth editing of your MIDI items. However,
many common tasks can be carried out using the in-line editor if you prefer. This allows you to edit the
MIDI item without leaving the main window.
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The in-line editor displays piano roll view only, and the contents of CC lanes will be determined by whichever
lanes were selected last time the item was opened in the MIDI Editor. If it has never been opened in the MIDI
Editor, the Velocity lane will be selected by default. You can adjust the boundary between the editing area and
the CC lane with the mouse to adjust its height, just as in the MIDI Editor.
Right-clicking over the editing area will display a menu that will show you which editing tasks can be carried out
with the in-line editor. These are listed in detail in Chapter 21, but in summary, the following types of commands
and actions are supported within the in-line MIDI editor:
 Note editing mouse actions, including change length, change velocity, marquee, move, delete and insert.
 Most commands on the MIDI Editor’s Edit and View menus, including quantize and humanize.
When working with the in-line editor, any keyboard shortcuts and custom actions that you have defined in the
main MIDI Editor will apply, along with any defaults. For example, PageUp and PageDown will zoom vertically
in and out within the in-line editor. You can run your MIDI Editor custom actions within the in-line editor. The inline editor also displays a small toolbar in its top right corner. From left to right, the function of these tools is:
 The Move CC with events toggle tool: serves the same purpose as its equivalent tool
in the MIDI Editor window.
 The Show/Hide tool (magnifying glass): toggles between the functions Show all note
rows, Hide unused note rows and Hide unused and unnamed note rows.
 The Item Style tool: toggles between rectangle, triangle and diamond note display
style.
 The Vertical Scroll/Zoom tool. Click and hold on this and drag vertically up or down
to scroll vertically up and down, left and right to zoom vertically in and out (see
example, right). You can double-click on this button to zoom to contents.
 The X tool. This closes the in-line editor and restores normal display.
The MIDI Editor and In-line Editor are designed for editing your MIDI events. Remember also that many of the
item editing tasks, functions and activities that you discovered in Chapter 7 can also be applied to MIDI items as
a whole. For example, in arrange view items can be dragged and dropped, split, copied, muted, grouped in
selection sets, locked and so on. Plug-ins can be added directly to an item's FX chain. Selecting a MIDI item in
Arrange view and pressing F2 will display its Item Properties window where you can shift pitch, change play
rate, loop enable/disable, and do much more.
13.32 Copying MIDI Items in Arrange View
When you make a copy of a MIDI item in arrange view, then depending on your preferences and on how you
make the copy one of two outcomes will occur:
The first of these is that the new item will be created as a new instance of the original item, and will use the
same source data as the original. In this case, any changes made to either item will be applied to the source
data, and therefore also to the other item. This might be what you want, for example, if you have a melody, a
bass line, or a drum pattern that you wish to repeat throughout a project. You’re still working on the line, and
you may need at some future time to make changes to these items, and you wish to do this in such a way that
when you make these changes to any one item they will automatically be applied to all of the others.
In the alternative scenario, the new MIDI item becomes a discrete item in its own right, so that you can
independently edit either item without affecting the other.
By default, when you copy and paste items using the menus or keyboard shortcuts (such as Ctrl Shift C and
Ctrl V), the former method (with common source data) is applied. The items are also added to the Project
Media Bay (see Chapter 12) where they are listed as MIDI pool items.
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To change this default behavior, disable the preference (under Options, Preferences, Media, MIDI) to Pool
MIDI source data when pasting or duplicating media items (see also Chapter 21). Items will then by
default be
copied as
discrete
items. Note
that a new
MIDI pool
item is never
created when
an existing
MIDI item is
split. Note
also that by
default MIDI
items added
to a project
from the
Project Media
Bay are not
pooled.
The default behavior when you copy an item by dragging with the mouse depends on your mouse modifier
settings for the context Media item drag. By default, the following apply when dragging MIDI items:
Drag and drop
Move item ignoring time selection
Ctrl with drag and drop
Copy item as discrete item
Shift Ctrl Alt with drag and drop
Copy item, pooling MIDI source data.
For a complete list of mouse modifiers, see the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers page
of your Preferences. Select Media item left drag from the context list. You can
change any assignments if you wish. The method is explained in Chapter 14.
You can remove any individual MIDI item's pooled status and convert it into a discrete item. To do this, either
display the item's source properties window (Ctrl F2 or use the context menu) and click on Un-pool this
item, or click on the item's pooled status icon (see above).
13.33 Joining MIDI Items
There may be times when you wish to join a number of MIDI items together. This might, for example, be to
create a single loop enabled item, or simply so that you can edit them as one item, or perhaps to be able to
export the MIDI data as a single MIDI file. For example, you might have several MIDI items that you wish to
export together as a single file. The track shown below might be an example of this.
You can select all of the items (right-click and drag is often the easiest way to do this) and glue them together:
right-click anywhere on the selection and choose Glue items from the context menu.
You can then double-click on the glued item to open the MIDI Editor, from where you can export it as a single
MIDI file (File, Export to new MIDI file …).
13.34 MIDI Preferences Settings
To specify your MIDI preferences, choose the Options, Preferences command (Ctrl P) and then select the
Media, MIDI page. You'll find these shown in Chapter 21, but for now the following are worth noting.
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


You can specify whether by default new MIDI items are created as REAPER media items (the default)
or .MID files.
You can specify how your edits to
imported .MID files are to be
interpreted – that is, whether to
apply your edits only to the item
in the REAPER project file or also to the original file on your disk.
You can set the default behavior for imported multichannel MIDI files – as multichannel on a single track,
as single-channel items on multiple tracks, or always prompt to ask.
13.35 MIDI Output Direct to an External Synth
The MIDI output of any track or selection of track can be sent directly to an external
hardware synthesizer instead of (or as well as) to the master. Right-click on the
track's ROUTE button, choose MIDI output from the menu, then the device name,
then the channels. Optionally, you may also disable output to the master send.
13.36 Exporting Project MIDI
From Arrange
view, the File,
Export Project
MIDI …
command can be
used to export
either an entire
MIDI project or
selected items or
tracks within that project to a single MIDI file.
An example of such a project file is shown here.
It includes six tracks with MIDI events ( a
different channel for each track), enclosed in a
folder whose FX chain includes a virtual
instrument. For the most part, the options
shown here require little explanation.
You can choose to export the Entire project
time or the current Time selection only.
You can include All media items within the
project, or Selected tracks only or Selected
items only. In the example shown, All MIDI
items has been chosen.
You can merge the various MIDI tracks to a
single MIDI track in the output file or export it
as a Multitrack MIDI file, with the integrity of
the different tracks maintained in the output file.
You also have options to Embed tempo map
and/or Write project markers as MIDI cues.
13.37 Feedback Routing with MIDI Tracks
We have already mentioned (Chapter 2) that REAPER's project settings allow you to use feedback routing. You
will need to enable this feature if you wish to route MIDI output from one track to another, then audio output
from the second track back to the first.
13.38 MIDI Routing, MIDI Buses and ReWire
REAPER's MIDI routing capabilities can be enhanced by the use of MIDI buses. By default, your MIDI tracks can
contain up to 16 MIDI buses, each comprising 16 MIDI channels. When sending MIDI data from one track to
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another, you are able to specify bus/channel combinations for both the source and destination tracks rather than
just a channel.
These options are available in the drop down lists in the MIDI send/receive windows (below right).
MIDI data sent from one track to another in
this way can be directly routed to any VST or
AU synth in that track's FX chain. To do this,
right-click over the plug-in's “2 Out” button and
choose the required MIDI Bus from the MIDI
Input menu (below right).
The same context menu can also be used to
assign MIDI Output to any bus, and/or to
assign the synth's audio output to any track channel or channels.
When a track has volume and pan MIDI controls, moving the
volume/pan fader within the routing window will generate CC7/CC10
events. When a send's MIDI routing button is enabled, these CC
events are sent to the destination track.
ReWire users may be interested to know that MIDI data routed in
this way can be also be mapped to ReWire, using any permutation
of buses/channels that you require. For more information about
using ReWire with REAPER, see Chapter 16.
13.39 ReaControlMIDI
The Cockos ReaControlMIDI plug-in can be used with
any MIDI track to set various MIDI parameters on that
track. It can be inserted from the track’s FX chain, or by
right-clicking over the track name or number and
choosing Show ReaControlMIDI for Selected
Tracks from the menu. An example of this plug-in in
use is shown here.
You can use several different instances of this plug-in
on the one track to send different MIDI messages to
different channels.
Many DAWs have MIDI tracks with MIDI-specific
controls, like bank/program select, MIDI volume and
pan, etc. REAPER instead uses ReaControlMIDI, which
provides a MIDI track TCP for any track.
This gives you additional flexibility, because you can
insert multiple instances, or insert it at any point in an
FX chain, either for the track as a whole or for individual
items. Notable features of ReaControlMIDI include:
Load File: You can load a REAPER .reabank file or
Cakewalk .ins file of instrument definitions and then
select a preferred bank/program combination.
Control Change: Up to five CC items can be selected
from the drop down lists. Any and all of the items
available for CC lanes in the MIDI Editor are available.
ReaControlMIDI also gives you a vehicle for creating
MIDI CC track envelopes, by allowing automation of any
of the plug-in's enabled CC sliders. Automation will be
explained in Chapters 16 and 17.
You can also assign track controls to the TCP and/or
MCP to manage its various parameters. This is
explained in Chapter 12.
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13.40 Some MIDI Plug-ins
REAPER includes a good
selection of plug-ins that can be
placed into the FX chain of any
of your MIDI tracks, or directly
into any MIDI item. Many of
these (the IX series) have been
written and developed by Philip
Consadine. Now is a good time
to take a look at them.
The basic steps involved in
inserting and using Track FX are
covered in the section Track FX
Basics. If you are unfamiliar
with these steps, you should
review that section before
proceeding.
If you display the Add FX window and type midi into the filter list box (as shown here), you will see a list of
those MIDI FX that are currently available. Below are listed some of the JS MIDI FX supplied with REAPER.
FX Name
Comments
MIDI_CCRider
A LFO Controlled CC generator.
MIDI_DuplicateFilter
Blocks duplicate notes.
MIDI_KeyMap
A MIDI key mapping utility.
MIDI_KeySnap
This is a good cheat for bad pianists.
MIDI_Router
Routes events from one channel to another.
MIDI_Tool and MIDI Tool II
These do interesting and fun things to MIDI note events.
midi_transpose
Transposes a note or a range of note.
MIDI_Variant
A pattern based, musically aware, randomification monster.
MIDI_Velocifier II
This is a pattern based velocity modifier.
midi_velocitycontrol
Used to vary and control velocity on a MIDI track.
MIDI_Wobulator
A LFO Controlled automatic pitch wobulator.
sequencer_megababy
An awesome pattern sequencer (see later in this chapter).
Synthesis/midi_drumseq
Use this drum sequencer with your favourite patch set.
These plug-ins can be made even more powerful by the use of automation envelopes, which can be applied to
any of their parameters. How to create, manage and apply automation envelopes will be covered in Chapter 17.
For more information about how to use these and other MIDI plug-ins, visit the Cockos web site, and in
particular http://www.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/Jesusonic_Effects_Documentation#MIDI
13.41 MIDI Controlled Pitch Shift with ReaVoice
The ReaVoice plug-in can be used in conjunction with a recorded vocal track to create pitch shift harmonies.
As with many other plug-ins, ReaVoice can be used in a number of ways. In this section we will take you thru
just one example. After completing this example you should be able to experiment with this plug-in’s capabilities
for yourself. The procedure for using ReaVoice is as follows:
 Record the Vocal Track.
 Insert a new track immediately below the Vocal Track.
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








Create a send from the Vocal Track to the new track. Initially at least, this should be Pre FX.
Insert ReaVoice into the FX Window of the new track.
Arm this track for recording. Make your MIDI keyboard the Input Device and turn Input Monitoring on.
Mute all tracks except these two.
Play the song. As you do so, play the keyboard, experimenting until you find an appropriate range of
notes.
Work out what you want to
play, press W to return to the
beginning, then Ctrl R to
record. Stop recording when
finished.
If you do not have a MIDI
keyboard, you can either use
REAPER’s Virtual keyboard, or
you can enter the notes by
hand using the MIDI Editor.
If you wish, you can record
more than one take, selecting
Play All Takes for the MIDI
track items.
After finishing recording, you
can use the MIDI Editor to
polish your work.
Example
In this example, you’ll have some
fun and explore how ReaVoice works at the same time.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Open the file All Through The Night.rpp and save it as All Through The Night REAVOICE.rpp.
Mute all tracks except the Vox track.
Move the Vox track to the top, select it and press Ctrl T to insert a new track. Your Vox track is now track
1 and the new track is track 2.
Name the new track Vox MIDI.
Display the Routing window for the Vox MIDI track and add a new Pre FX Receive on Audio 1/2
from the Vox track.
Insert the ReaVoice plug-in into the FX Window for this track. For now make its settings as shown
above. Note in
particular the
number of voices
and the long sustain
setting.
In the Vox MIDI
track, insert an
empty MIDI item
from about the 13
second mark to
about the 50 second
mark. This should
coincide with the
first vocal passage
on the Vox track.
Double click on this
to open it in the MIDI Editor.
Create a pattern of notes similar to that shown above. You don’t need to follow this precise pattern, be
prepared to experiment.
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10. As you play the song, make sure that the two vocal tracks are
soloed. You can of course edit any individual note or notes, for
example, by moving them up or down, by lengthening them or
shortening them, or by changing their pitch. Here are some more
possibilities, just for fun and to give you some ideas.
11. Within the MIDI Editor window, press Ctrl A to select all events.
12. Press Ctrl F2 to display the Note Properties dialog box.
13. In the Note box, type +2 (as shown) then click on OK. This raises
the entire selection by two semitones.
14. Experiment with other settings as you wish. Save the file when
finished.
15. Now experiment with adjusting some of the ReaVoice settings.
13.42 JS: IX/MIDI_Router
This plug-in can be inserted from a
track's FX chain. It is used to redirect
MIDI data from one channel to
another.
You can choose whether to send
notes, non-notes, or both.
13.43 Working with Piano Roll Synced to Project Arrange View
Here is one example of how you
can work with the MIDI Editor
piano roll synced to the project.
This is what we have done:
1. Recorded a percussion
instrument as a wave file
and, using stretch markers,
dynamic splitting, or any
other technique, edited this
item so that the notes are
exactly as we want them.
2. Created a new empty MIDI
item and opened it in the
MIDI editor.
3. Used the MIDI editor
command View, Piano roll
timebase, Project sync.
4. Right-clicked on title bar and
chosen Dock Window.
5. Clicked on the ! in lower left
corner of docker and deselected (i.e. unticked) the option Attach docker to main window.
6. Clicked on the ! in lower left corner of docker and chosen Set opacity, 75%.
We can now move the MIDI editor window and place it over the previously recorded track: this helps us visually
in using the MIDI editor to add the notes for our next percussion instrument.
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13.44 The Scale Finder
REAPER's main Arrange View includes a feature that MIDI users may find
useful – the Scale Finder. It can be used to identify those scales which
contain any given set of notes.
The Scale Finder is opened using the command View then Scale finder.
Notes can be typed from the computer keyboard or entered using a MIDI
device (including the Virtual MIDI Keyboard).
The file sample reascale (provided and installed with REAPER) can be
used with the scale finder, or you can click on the button at the bottom of
this window and use the Load command to import a file of your own
choosing.
You also have the option to use the notes that are currently selected in
the MIDI Editor.
13.45 Sequencer Megababy
Sequencer Baby is a pattern sequencer which can be used to play a MIDI synthesizer under program control.
This section is intended to introduce relatively new users to the concept of pattern sequencing, together with a
simple example of how one can be
used. Beyond this, don't hesitate to
explore and experiment for yourself!
We'll start by working thru a step by
step example, then go on to
examine Sequencer Megababy in
more detail.
Example
1.
Create a new file, and insert a
single track.
2.
Open the track's FX chain and
add an instance of JS:
MIDIsequencer_megabab
y.
3. You need a synthesizer to use
with Sequencer Megababy.
You could use a synthesizer
of your choice, but for this
example insert an instance of
ReaSynth. For now, leave its
settings at their defaults,
except (as a precaution)
Volume. Set this to about -15
dB. If this later turns out to
be too low, you can raise it.
4. Also as a precaution, insert
the JS: Utility/limiter and
set max vol to -3.0 dB.
5. Select the Sequencer Baby
plugin. Some of its main
controls are shown below.
6. Click and drag in a few places (example shown right) to enter a note pattern.
7. Click Play on REAPER's transport bar. This pattern will play over and over again.
8. Stop playback. Change the Steps per beat value to 8 and play again. Notice the music plays faster.
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9. Set this to 2: notice playback becomes slower. Set this back to 4.
10. Change Sequence length to 24. The sequence becomes longer. Draw some more notes.
11. Click on the number 1 above the pattern grid (but below the parameter controls). A new screen is shown:
here you can create another pattern. Do this!
12. Now hold the Alt button while clicking on the number 1 button. Notice the color of the column headers
changes.
13. Play the music. The two patterns (0 and 1) are now chained. You can chain up to 16 patterns.
14. If you wish, save the file.
15. You can also record the synth's output as an audio media item. To do this, arm the track for recording,
choose Record output from the record arm context menu, then press Ctrl R.
Note: The four lanes below the pattern grid area can be used to set
modulation, volume, pan and/or expression values for individual notes or any
sequence of notes. Click/sweep to create an envelope: right-click on any
node to delete it, right-click/sweep to delete entire envelope. Shown here is
a pan example.
Summary Examples of Sequencer Baby Keyboard/Mouse Control Combinations
Left click-drag
Right click-drag
Shift Ctrl Alt Left click-drag
Ctrl Left click-drag
Shift Left click-drag
Ctrl Left-click / Ctrl Right-click
Left click pattern number
Ctrl right-click pattern number
Alt Left-click pattern number
Draw new notes/ erase existing notes.
Audition notes without drawing.
“Sweep” draw notes freehand / erase existing notes.
Adjust note velocity.
Adjust note start offset..
Halve steps per beat, slow down / Double steps per beat, speed up.
Select pattern number.
Clear pattern.
Set pattern chain end.
A more complete list can be displayed by clicking on the plugin's Edit button.
13.46 Using MIDI CC Messages to Control FX Presets
This is an advanced topic and as such not recommended for novice users.
Bank/Program Select CC messages can be used to switch programmatically between presets for any FX on any
track during playback in real time. This can be done using a dedicated MIDI item that is placed on the same
track as the media item containing the FX whose presets you wish to automate. The procedure can be a little bit
“fussy” so be prepared to take your time over this, especially at first, until you get used to it.
1.
After recording the item, insert the required FX into the track's FX chain and (if it is not already
displayed) import the required preset library. To do this, click on the + symbol to the right of the presets
drop down and choose Import preset library (.rpl).
2.
The available presets can now be displayed from the presets drop down list.
The example here shows the default presets library for ReaDelay, but you
can do this for any plug-in. You could delete any presets that you do not
wish to keep and/or create and save more presets of your own if you wish.
The self-evident commands for doing this can be found on the same presets
+ menu that you used in step 1. above. If you do this, it is recommended
that you then export the presets library with a new name.
3.
For the purposes of this example, we will be content to use just the
supplied set of ReaDelay presets shown on the right.
4.
You now need to create a .reabank patch/bank file. This is in fact an
ordinary text file, but it must be laid out in a certain way, and it must be
saved with a .reabank extension. You can use any text editor for this.
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5.
Joel Sampson has available (free of charge) on his web site an excellent and comprehensive five page
PDF manual explaining just about every aspect of reabank files and how to create them. Summary
instructions follow below, but I would strongly recommend that you download and study The Art of
Reabanks from www.djemberecords.com/reaper.html
6.
An example of a reabank file for the default ReaDelay preset library is shown below. In this case,
Notepad has been used to create the file. Note the comments at steps 7 and 8.
7.
The bank line is the first line of the file. It sets the most significant byte (MSB) and least significant byte
(LSB) of the Bank Select number, then the bank name. You can set both numbers at zero.
8.
Each subsequent line consists for each preset of its patch
number (starting at zero) and its name, which is shown here
the same as the name displayed in the FX presets drop down.
However, you may use different names if you wish, as the
selection process is based on the patch number.
9.
Save the file and close the text editor when finished. A fairly
sensible place to save it is in a subfolder of your \Application
Data\REAPER\Data folder or equivalent (depending on
whether you are using Windows or OS/X, and which version)
– but that's up to you.
10. Start REAPER and open the appropriate track's FX chain.
Select the FX and from the preset + menu select Link to
MIDI program change and select a channel (e.g. Channel
16). This will make the controlling MIDI messages distinct from any others.
11. From the track's context menu, set Enable track free item positioning on. This command will now
appear on this menu with a tick beside it. By enabling free item positioning you are ensuring that you can
place two or more items underneath each other on the same track.
12. Select the track that contains the media item with the FX plug-in whose presets you wish to control. Use
your mouse to make a time selection that includes this item. Now from the Insert menu choose New
MIDI item to create an empty MIDI item alongside (parallel to) the existing media item. The result of
this is shown below:
13. Open the empty MIDI item in the MIDI Editor, and make sure that the Bank/Program Select lane is
displayed.
14. At the point where you want to make your first automated
preset change, double-click in the Bank/Program Select CC
lane. This will display the Bank/Program Select dialog box.
15. Click on Load File. Navigate to and select the file that you
saved at step 9. and click on Open.
16. The preset bank will now be loaded. Display the Program
drop down list and select the required preset (see right). Be
sure to select the same channel as you specified at step 10.
Click on OK.
17. Repeat step 16. as many times as you wish to create as
many automated preset changes as you require.
18. You should now be able to see your program changes
displayed in the MIDI Editor CC lane (see below).
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19. Play the song. Your ReaDelay presets will now automatically change according to your instructions!
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14 Customization: Actions, Mouse Modifiers, Menus and Toolbars
14.1
Introduction
Customization is the key to unlocking REAPER's real power and making the program work for you. The more
you use the program, the more you will benefit from customizing its many features. Even occasional users will
find that they can benefit from taking the time at the very least to tweak some of REAPER's mouse modifiers
and keyboard shortcuts. That's what this chapter is about.
By now you should already have come across some of REAPER's options and preferences settings and it's quite
likely that you might have already changed some of these to suit your own workflow. This chapter really lifts the
lid on customization and will guide you thru the following:

Actions. REAPER makes extensive use of keyboard shortcuts. In addition, it has a library of hundreds of
actions that you won't find on any of its menus, actions which can help you with any number of tasks.
Moreover, you can string whole sequences of these actions together to make your own custom
commands which can then be triggered off by a single keystroke.

Mouse Modifiers. REAPER uses the mouse for plenty of activities, some of which you have already
encountered (like moving and copying media items and making time and loop selections), some of which
you have not yet encountered (like editing automation envelopes). Some of these you will use a lot, some
you will use a little, and some you will only use rarely, if ever. Any of them can be changed.

Menus. Most REAPER menus can be edited to suit your own requirements. You can move to the top the
commands most important to you. You can hide the ones you never use. You can even add your own
custom actions and commands to these menus!

Toolbars. REAPER's toolbar might not be much to look at, with its lonely collection of just fourteen tools.
Did you know, though, that you can add your own tools to it, as well as create your own extra toolbars?
These are the topics that will be covered in this chapter. Spend as much time as you need to get to understand
it. It will pay you dividends.
14.2
REAPER Actions Essentials
Before we look inside REAPER's Action List Editor to explore the world of shortcut keys, custom actions, control
surface assignments and more, it's worth taking stock of a couple of useful resources that are available to you.
Key bindings and mouse modifiers opens your default web
browser with a list of all current keyboard shortcut and mouse
modifiers. This list is searchable and may be printed.
Choose the Action list as HTML command from REAPER's Help
menu to open your default web browser with a list of all of REAPER's
many available actions, any of which can be assigned to a keyboard
shortcut and/or combined with other actions into your own custom
actions. This list is also searchable and may be printed.
Before you rush off to print anything, keep in mind also that this
information is also contained
within the Action List Editor itself,
and that this editor is searchable.
The editor is opened by choosing the Actions command from REAPER's
main menu, then Show action list..., or simply by pressing the ? Key.
Let's take a look inside …
ReaScript documentation. Just what ReaScript is will be explained later in this chapter and in Chapter 23. In
brief, ReaScript items can be used to add additional functionality to REAPER. A number of sample scripts can be
found at, and downloaded from, stash.reaper.fm/tag/Scripts. They need to be placed inside the Scripts
sub-folder within your REAPER applications data directory. They can then be selected and executed within
REAPER's Actions list editor by clicking on the Reascript Load button.
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14.3
The Action List Editor Environment
You'll get more out of REAPER's Action List Editor (shown below) if before trying to use it you take a little time
getting to know its interface, its structure and how you can navigate it.
Item
Comments
Filter
You can filter the list of displayed actions using any text string or strings that you
like. For example, in this screen shot the list has been filtered to show only those
actions that relate to track height:
Notice that where an existing keyboard shortcut exists it is shown to the left of the
action. For example, the ! Key is used to toggle the action View: Expand selected
track height, minimize others.
Similarly, you can see that Ctrl Shift Mousewheel can be used to adjust the height
of any track selection.
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Item
Comments
Filter (cont.)
In this second example, a filter is used to list all actions relating to new tracks. The
only one of these that currently has an assignment is Track: Insert new track,
This is assigned by default to Ctrl T.
Clear
The Clear button clears any current filter and restores all actions to the list.
Find shortcut...
The Find shortcut... button is used to see if a particular keyboard shortcut has
already been assigned to any action.
When you click on this button, you are prompted to type the key or move a MIDI
controller. We'll come to MIDI controllers later in this chapter. If the key that you type
is already in use, then its assignment will be displayed (see below).
In this example above, we have searched to see if an assignment exists for the letter
s. For this kind of search, you should only type in upper case if you really are
searching for the combination of Shift with the letter. For example, in this case, a
search for Shift S would have produced Item: Split item at time selection.
In this second example, we have searched for Ctrl A:
If no shortcut exists for the key or key combination for which you are searching, then
a message Shortcut not found will be displayed.
Column headers/
Sort keys
The State column indicates for toggle actions whether their current status is on or
off.
By default, actions are listed in alphabetical order of their action name. You can click
on the Shortcut column header to sort instead on current keyboard assignments.
This causes them to be sorted instead by keyboard assignments, with special
characters and numbers at the top of the list (see below).
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Item
Comments
Column headers/
Sort keys (cont.)
This can be especially helpful if you wish to familiarise yourself with REAPER's current
keyboard shortcut assignments. Click on the column header again to reverse the sort
order. Click on Description to sort them back into alphabetical order.
Sections
The Action List is divided into a number of sections,
shown here. The Main section is the one that is
used most of the time (for example, when you are
working in Arrange view). There are different
sections, for example, for actions and shortcuts for
use with the Media Explorer and the MIDI Editor. If
you open the Action List from within one of these
environments, the correct Action List section will
automatically be selected for you.
Otherwise, you can select any section from the drop down list and that section's
actions will also be selected and displayed in the action list.
Run
Any action that is on the action list can be executed from within the action list
whether it has a shortcut key
assigned or not. Simply select
the action, then click on the Run
button.
If the option Show recent
actions is enabled on REAPER's
main menu (above) then any actions that you execute in this way during your current
work session will be added to REAPER's Action menu and can be executed from there
for the rest of that work session. When you close REAPER, these actions will be
cleared from the menu.
Run/Close
This button is similar to the Run button, the main difference being that after running
the selected action it closes the Actions window.
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Item
Comments
Close
This closes the Actions window.
Remember last
action filter
If this option is enabled (from the Action window
right-click context menu) then REAPER will
remember your most recent filter and apply it
next time the Actions window is opened, even in
a future work session.
Show action IDs
This toggle option (from the right-click context menu) shows/hides a column
displaying REAPER's action IDs.
General
The Action window exhibits the basic characteristics of other REAPER windows. For
example, you can use the pin symbol (top right) to keep it on top, or you can dock it
in the docker (from the right-click context menu).
You'll have noticed several other features inside this window, including a number of additional buttons, some of
which are currently dimmed. We'll get to these in due course.
14.4
Creating a New Keyboard Shortcut
In this next example, we
will create a new shortcut.
Let’s take the example of
the docker. Filter the
action list on “attach” and
you will see that View:
Attach/unattach
Docker to/from main
window does not yet have any shortcut key assigned to it. Likewise, if you use the Find shortcut … button to
search for lower case Q, you should find that this letter does not have any action currently assigned to it.
Incidentally, REAPER will not let you accidentally override an
existing keyboard assignment. If you try to use a key that is
already assigned elsewhere, you will see a message similar to that
shown here (right). Trying to assign lower case U to an action
would produce the message shown here. You would then have the
option as to whether to change the assignment for this key or leave
it as it is.
Example
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
From the Actions menu, open the Actions window
(Show action list …)
Let’s see if we can use Q for docking. Click in the Find
shortcut … window. Type lower case Q and observe the
response. You should see a message Shortcut not
found. We therefore know that this keystroke
combination is available. Click on OK to close this
message box.
In the Filter box type attach then select from the list of
actions View: Attach/unattach Docker to/from
main window.
Click on the Add button to open the Keyboard or MIDI
Input box (shown above). When it appears, untick the option Automatically close window on
key/MIDI input. This makes it less likely that you will assign a wrong key by mistake.
Press lower case q – you will see Q displayed in the Keyboard or MIDI Input box (see above).
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6. Click on OK. You can see that this keyboard shortcut has now been assigned.
7. Close the Actions window.
8. You can now use the shortcut key lower case D to attach/detach the docker to/from the main window.
14.5
Removing an Existing Shortcut
Removing an existing shortcut is easy. For example, you might like to remove the shortcut that you just
assigned to the action View: Attach/unattach Docker to/from main window. Follow this sequence:
1.
In the Action List, find
and select the action
from which you wish
to remove the
shortcut. The current
shortcut(s) will be
displayed just below
the list. (see right).
2.
Click on the shortcut
shown in the window
(in this example, the letter Q).
3.
Click on the Delete button. The shortcut will be deleted.
14.6
Changing an Existing Key Assignment
The procedure for changing an existing key assignment combines the two techniques of creating a new shortcut
and removing an existing one. Let's take as an example assigning the Up and Down arrow keys to the actions
Track: Go to previous track and Track: Go to next track, instead of Ctrl Alt Up and Ctrl Alt Down (the
default assignments).
1. Find and select the
action Track: Go
to previous
track.
2. In the displayed list
of shortcuts, select
Ctrl Alt Up (see
right).
3. Click on Delete to
delete this
shortcut.
4. Click on Add... to display the Keyboard or MIDI
Input window.
5. Press the Up arrow (see right), then click on OK.
6. When asked if you wish to override the current
assignment to View: Zoom in horizontal, choose OK.
You will still be able to use the Plus key to zoom in
horizontal.
7.
Use the same techniques as at steps as at steps 1. to 6.
to change the shortcut key for Track: Go to next
track from Ctrl Alt Down to just Down.
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14.7
Examples of Possible Simple Keystroke Assignments
Many power users believe that keyboard shortcuts are the fastest, most efficient and most productive way of
working with REAPER. This is especially the case for frequently repeated activities that might otherwise involve
a lot of time fiddling around with the mouse. Keyboard Shortcuts are an extremely important feature of
REAPER. As you work your way thru this User Guide, and as you get to know REAPER better, you will find that
there are all sorts of actions that you can assign to keyboard shortcuts, including hundreds that do not appear
on any menus.
Here are some examples of some tasks for which you might consider it worth assigning shortcut keys in the
Main section, together with suggested keys that you may wish to use.
Task
Possible Shortcut Key
Track: Toggle bypass FX for currently selected track(s)
B
Track: Toggle bypass FX for all tracks
Ctrl B
Track: View FX chain for current track
Ctrl F
Track: View routing for current track
I
Track: View envelopes for current track
K
14.8
Keyboard Shortcuts for Recording
REAPER makes extensive use of keyboard shortcuts in many, many areas. In this section you will be introduced
to how you can create your own keyboard shortcuts to make your recording sessions flow more smoothly. Here
is a simple example in which you will create two keyboard shortcuts specifically for use when you are recording.
As you become more experienced, you may well find further examples that you will wish to explore.
You will have noticed that when you stop recording, REAPER by default prompts you to confirm whether you
want to save or delete the new media items. The Main (alt recording) section of the Action List gives you the
opportunity to bypass this prompt by assigning keyboard shortcuts for those options that you use most often –
Save All and Delete All. As with the earlier examples, it is only an example. You'll probably find the exercise
worth completing even if you don't want to keep these keyboard shortcuts assignments.
1.
In the Actions List Editor, select the section Main (alt recording) – see right.
2.
In the filter box type stop save. You should see the action Transport Stop
(save all recorded media)
3.
Select this action.
4.
Click on Add … and type lower case S then click on OK.
5.
Clear the filter box, then type in it: stop del
6.
Select the action Transport: Stop (DELETE all recorded media).
7.
Click on the Add button then type lower case D to assign this shortcut to the
letter D. Click on OK.
8.
Clear the filter box again.
9.
Close the Actions window.
10. Make sure that the option
to Use alternate
keyboard section when
recording is enabled. You’ll
find this under Options,
Preferences, General,
Keyboard.
11. Click on OK to close the Preferences window.
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From now on whenever you are recording, you will have the option of using the shortcut keys S or D to stop
recording, automatically saving or deleting the newly recorded media items. You can still use Enter if you wish
to be prompted. Remember too that when you are not recording, the keys S and D will revert to their normal
functions. For example, S can still be used to split media items when working in arrange view.
Tip: If you wish, you can assign macros such as these to an external device such as a keyboard pedal. We'll
look at this when we look at Using a Control Device with REAPER.
14.9
Keyboard Shortcuts for the MIDI Editor
Editing is one area where assigning actions to shortcuts can be especially useful,
and nowhere more so than when you are using the MIDI Editor. Take the trouble to
familiarise yourself with the contents of the MIDI Editor section of the Action List
and you should be well rewarded. Notice also that there are separate sections for
the MIDI Event List Editor and the MIDI Inline Editor.
The method used for assigning shortcuts to actions, changing or removing existing
assignments, etc. is exactly the same as that used in the Main section. For that
reason, this section of the User Guide does not contain any step by step examples.
However, below are listed some examples of some actions that you might find useful when working in the MIDI
Editor. Special thanks go to Susan G for compiling these lists.
To do this ….
Use an action such as ...
Managing Notes
Insert notes of a specific length
Insert note …. [range from 1/128 to 1/2 to whole note]
Make notes legato
Set note ends to start of next note
Transpose notes
Edit: Move notes up/down one octave/semitone
Adjust note lengths slightly
Edit: Lengthen/Shorten notes one grid unit/pixel
Adjust velocities
Edit: Note velocity +/-01, 10
Display only notes matching specified criteria
Filter: Toggle filter on/off
Channels Management
Specify a channel for new notes and events
Action: Set channel for new events to 01 ...1 6
Show all or specified channels
Channel: Show all/only/toggle channels 01 … 16
Change the channel for selected notes
Edit: Set notes to channel 01 ... 16
Cursor/Grid Management
Advance the cursor by a note value
Cursor: advance … [range from 1/128 ... to whole note]
Move the cursor by specific amount
Edit: Move edit cursor right/left by grid/measure/pixel
Change the grid divisions
Grid: Multiply grid size by... or Grid: Set division to...
14.10 Keyboard Shortcuts for the Media Explorer
If you work extensively with imported samples and so on, you should definitely take
the time to get to know the range of actions available within the media explorer. By
now you should be developing enough confidence to explore this for yourself, but to
help you here is a summary of some of the most useful groups of actions you will
find there:
Browser actions: these are used to navigate your folders. For example, by default
Backspace will take you to the parent folder (relative to the current folder).
Preview actions: actions exist for a host of tasks, including play, pause, stop,
toggle repeat on/off, rewind a little, fast forward a little, stop preview when inserting media, and many more.
Tempo match actions. These include tempo match off, tempo match on, toggle on/off, and tempo match/2.
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14.11 Assigning Actions to the Mousewheel
One special type of action assignment that you can make is to the mousewheel, optionally also using modifier
keys. This way you are able change the REAPER default mousewheel assignments. This can be useful, for
example, if you wish the default behavior of the mousewheel to be to scroll rather than to zoom. Here's a
reminder of the default mousewheel assignments:
Mousewheel alone
with Ctrl
with Alt
with Ctrl+Alt
with Ctrl+Shift
View:
View:
View:
View:
View:
Zoom horizontally
Zoom vertically
Scroll horizontally
Scroll vertically
Adjust selected track heights
Again, the method for changing these is essentially the same as that which you have already used.
Suppose, for example, that you wish to use the mousewheel by itself to scroll horizontally.
1. In the action list (Main section), find the action
2.
3.
4.
5.
View: Scroll horizontally.
In the shortcuts list, select Alt + Mousewheel and
click on delete.
Click on the Add button, then scroll the
mousewheel. The text Mousewheel will be displayed,
as shown on the right.
Click on OK.
If you wished, you could now use the same method
to assign Alt + Mousewheel to the action View:
Zoom Horizontally.
14.12 Exporting and Importing Keyboard Shortcuts
The Import/export button near the bottom left corner of the
Actions window can be used backup or restore any or all of
your keyboard assignments. Exported keymap sets are by
default saved as .ReaperKeyMap files in the \KeyMaps directory
of your \Application Data\REAPER folder.
This feature can also be used to copy keyboard assignments
from one computer to another. The options on the menu are for
the most part quite self-explanatory:
Import … Imports keyboard assignments from an existing .ReaperKeyMap file.
Export all … Exports all your current keyboard shortcut assignments to a .ReaperKeyMap file.
Export selected items … Exports only those items currently selected to a .ReaperKeyMap file.
Restore all shortcut binding to factory defaults Removes your custom keyboard assignments and restores
all REAPER defaults.
.ReaperKeyMap files can also be included when exporting/importing configuration settings (see Chapter 21).
14.13 Creating Custom Action Macros
You can assign an entire sequence of actions to a single keyboard shortcut if you wish. In fact, there is no
preset limit to the number of actions that you can assign to a single keystroke or keystroke combination. The
process of assigning more than one action to a keystroke is known as creating a custom action, or macro.
As you browse the actions list, you might at first be somewhat puzzled at some of the items that are there. You
might wonder, for example, why would anybody need an action for Item: Select item under mouse cursor
when it is surely easier just to click on the item.
Often with actions like this, the answer is that the real power of these actions comes not from using them on
their own, but in combination with other actions.
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Managing Custom Actions (Macros) – Summary Table
In order to do this ...
You do this ...
Create a new macro
Click on New... button. Type a name for your macro.
Add actions to a macro
Drag and drop from action list, or double-click.
Change order of actions
Drag and drop up or down the list.
Remove action from macro
Select action in macro action list, click on Remove.
Add macro to main Actions menu
Enable the option Show in actions menu.
Consolidate macro into a single
undo point
Enable the option Consolidate undo points.
Save macro
Click on OK.
Assign shortcut key to a macro
Select the macro in the Action List. Click on Add.
Edit an existing macro
Select the macro in the Action List. Click on Edit.
Copy an existing macro
Select the macro in the Action List. Click on Copy.
Run an existing macro
Use shortcut key (if assigned), or select the macro from REAPER's
Actions menu (if this option is enabled), or select macro in Action
List and click on Run option.
Delete an existing macro
Select the macro in the Action List. Click on Delete.
Let's take a simple example. Normally, to split an item you would need to select the item, position the edit
cursor at the required position, and then press S to split it. By creating a custom action, we can combine this
sequence of activities into a single keystroke.
Example
1. In the Actions List
Editor, click on the
New button. This
will cause the
Create Custom
Action window to
open (see right).
Type a name, such
as Split under
mouse.
2. In the list of actions
shown in the left
panel. Find the
action View: Move
edit cursor to
mouse cursor.
Double-click on this
action.
3. In the list of actions
shown in the left
panel. Find the
action Item:Select item under mouse cursor. Double-click on this action.
4. In the list of actions shown in the left panel. Find the action Item:Split items at edit or play cursor.
Double-click on this action.
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5. Click on the option Consolidate undo points to enable this option.
6. Click on OK. You will be returned to the main Action List with your new custom action selected.
7.
Click on Add and type lower case C to assign this keystroke to your macro. Click OK.
8. Close the Actions List Editor.
9. Hover your mouse over any media item and press lower case C. The item will be split at that point. One of
the split items will still be selected. If you don't like this, you can edit the macro.
10. Open the Actions List Editor, find your macro Split under mouse and select it. Click on Edit. Add to the
end of this macro the action Item: Unselect all items. Click on OK.
11. Now test the macro again. This time it will split items without leaving anything selected.
This is of course just one example of a custom action macro in action. Think about those sequences of actions
and commands that you use together a lot … think actions, think macros! You'll also find plenty of ideas and
inspiration on The Useful Macro Thread on REAPER's Q&A, Tips, Tricks and How To forum – at
forum.cockos.com.
14.14 MIDI Editor Custom Macros
If you use the MIDI Editor a lot, then you should find that this is a good area in which to be looking for macros
which will speed up your editing and make it simpler. The examples below were supplied by Bevosss. They show
that a macro doesn't have to be lengthy and complicated to be useful
This custom action ....
... does this
Navigate: select next note right with same note
value
Navigate: move edit cursor to start of selection
This will find the next note with the same value as the
current one, select it, and move the edit cursor there.
Navigate: select previous note right with same note
value
Navigate: move edit cursor to start of selection
This will find the previous note with the same value as
the current one, select it, and move the edit cursor
there.
Edit: Select all
Remove selected duplicate events
Edit: Unselect all
This macro removes all duplicate events from the
current item.
Grid: Set grid division to 1
Edit: Insert note at edit cursor
Edit: Unselect all
Creates and inserts a semibreve (or whole note).
The note duration sets the grid. Thus, you could have
equivalent actions for any other fraction of a note or
multiple of a note available in the actions list.
14.15 Importing Scripts
For more advanced custom programs which go beyond
chaining together actions, you can import into REAPER
custom scripts that you may have written or obtained
and which add extra functionality to the program.
Python, EEL and Lua scripts can all be imported. For
Windows users, if you are to access actions written in
Python, then it will need to have been installed on your computer and ReaScript enabled on the Plug-ins,
ReaScript page of your Preferences. Otherwise, these Action List controls may be dimmed.
The topic of writing scripts is outside the scope of this User Guide, although there is a brief introduction to
ReaScript in Chapter 23. If you are interested in learning more you should visit the REAPER web site, and in
particular: www.cockos.com/reaper/sdk/reascript/reascript.php
ReaScript Documentation can also be opened from REAPER's Help, HTML Lists command.
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14.16 Using a Control Device with REAPER
A control surface such as a Behringer BCR2000 or a Novation Nocturn can be used to control some of REAPER's
actions. You might also be able to use your pedals and other controls on a MIDI keyboard in a similar way.
Examples might include track panning and volume, mute and solo status, arming and starting/stopping
recording, and possibly to physically map REAPER’s transport bar for functions such as Play, Stop, Pause,
Rewind, etc. Of course, you will need to know the specific characteristics of your particular device, including
how to install it, set it up and so on. That is obviously outside the scope of this User Guide.
You should also be aware that different control devices have different capabilities and different applications. Not
all control surfaces can be used to control all actions, even those that are listed as midi CC capable. Obviously it
is also beyond the scope of this user guide to present a detailed analysis and comparison of all these. In
overview, however, they fall into two broad categories:
 Devices which can be recognised by REAPER as a specific and individually named control surface.
 Generic devices not specifically recognised but which can nonetheless be used as a control surface.
If you have a control device of a type listed in the illustration here, first make yourself familiar with its
documentation. Next, install the device and its drivers on to your computer in accordance with the
manufacturer's instructions. You should then be able to select it on the Control Surfaces page of REAPER's
Options Preferences settings. Of course, you should consult the manufacturer's documentation and/or web site
for further information. You may also be able to find further information on one of REAPER's on-line forums.
Choose the Options.
Preferences command,
then select Control
Surfaces and click on
Add to see a list of
available devices (see
right).
Notice that the list
includes an entry for
devices which conform to
the OSC (Open Sound
Control) protocol. If you
are intending to work
with such a device, be
sure to familiarise
yourself with its
documentation and
characteristics before
proceeding.
If you choose this option
from the list, the screen
that then follows will give
you the opportunity to
specify a device name
and pattern
configuration. This
includes choices such as LogicTouch or LogicPad, or to tell REAPER to write a sample (default) configuration file.
This file will contain the default mappings and various appropriate comments. You should also supply a port
number (for the transfer of messages) and IP addresses for both the host and the device itself. Go to
http://www.cockos.com/reaper/sdk/osc/osc.php to learn more about how REAPER handles OSC and
about REAPER's Default.ReaperOSC file.
For other (non OSC) control devices, even if they are not shown on this list, you might still be able to install
and use them if they are capable of emulating one of the devices that is listed (e.g. HUI or Mackie emulation).
You should check the manufacturer's documentation and web sites.
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In every case, make sure that you choose the options that are correct for your device from the various Control
Surface Settings options. Shown below is one example of such settings, with a Novation Nocturn. This sample
screen is not intended as a model for you to use with any particular product.
You might wish to install several devices in
this way. For example, you might wish to use
both a Frontier AlphaTrack and a Frontier
Tranzport. This is perfectly possible, so long
as each device is installed correctly.
You will need to consult the product
documentation to ascertain how then your
control surface(s) can be used with REAPER.
If your device is not on the list of recognised
control surfaces and cannot emulate any of
the items on that list, you can still use it with
REAPER. An example of such a product is the
Behringer BCR2000. Once it has been
physically set up and installed on your
computer, it will appear on the list of
REAPER's MIDI Devices. Depending on the actual product and which drivers you are using, it might appear on
this list with its own name or merely as a USB Audio Device.
Install it as a MIDI Device,
most likely Input Only and
in most cases for control
messages only. An example
of this is shown here. You
can double-click on the
device name to open the
Configure MIDI Input
dialog box. What you do
next will depend on the
device. You might also use
this method to use your
MIDI keyboard also as a MIDI controller (depending on whether the keyboard supports this feature).
Once such a device is installed, you can then assign any action listed as supporting midi CC control to one of the
knobs, faders, buttons or rotaries on your control device.
The procedure is similar to
assigning an action to a key
on your PC keyboard. Open
the Actions List from the
REAPER menu. Select the
action, click on Add then
instead of pressing a key
on the keyboard, tweak the
control surface control and
click on OK.
An example is shown on
the right - in this case we
are assigning a rotary
control to be used to adjust
the volume of track 1.
For further information,
including about the various
settings, you should consult
the documentation supplied with your device, the manufacturer's web site, or one of the REAPER forums.
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14.17 Meta Actions
Meta actions are special actions that take your custom
action macros a step further, for example to be able to
repeat the same macro as many times as is required
without you having to keep pressing the same shortcut
keys. This technique can be useful in an example such
as if you need to drop a marker at the start of each
verse of a song. When you create the macro you don't
know how many times you will need to repeat the
actions - some songs might have two or three verses,
others five or six. This is a perfect example of when you
might wish to use a meta action.
REAPER includes two meta action commands:
Action: prompt to continue, and
Action: prompt to go to action loop start
Example
Take a look at the example on the right. If you create
this custom action macro and assign it a keyboard
shortcut (such as Ctrl Shift K), then you can use it in
this way.
Select any track which is made up of multiple items and
position the play cursor at the start of the timeline.
You can then activate this macro. The cursor will move
to the start of the first item in the selected track and
drop a marker at that point. You will then be asked if
you wish to continue (see illustration below).
If you press Enter or click on Yes, the play cursor will move to the start of the next item, insert a marker there,
and ask the question again. If you click on No, then the execution of the custom action macro will stop.
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14.18 Mouse Modifiers
We've come across the mouse modifiers page of REAPER's
preferences settings several times already. You can use this page
to change any of REAPER's default mouse modifier controls and
also to add more of your own. Some pointers to keep in mind:
 Modifier keys. Windows users can use any of the
following modifier keys, in any combination, for any
mousewheel action: Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Win
Mac users may use any of these modifier keys, in any
combination: Shift, Command, Option, Control
 Contexts. The Contexts drop down list on the Mouse
Modifiers page of your preferences window lists the
contexts in which you could use your mouse and for which
you could need modifiers (see right). When you select an
item from this list, current mouse assignments for that
context are displayed.
For most contexts you will find a number of variations,
depending upon the exact kind of mouse action being
undertaken. For example, separate mouse modifiers can be
applied to media items depending on whether the mouse action
being applied is a simple left click (which by default selects the
item), left drag (which by default moves the item) or a double-click (which by default opens MIDI items in the
MIDI editor, or displays media item properties for audio items). Some contexts (e.g. Arrange view) also make
middle button mouse actions available.
You aren't going to learn all of these at once, and some of them you may never need. For example, if you never
do any work with MIDI then the various MIDI contexts are unlikely to be important to you. Take the time to
identify those which you are likely to use the most and think about how you can improve them. The procedure
for customizing REAPER's mouse modifiers is as follows:
1. Display the Mouse Modifiers page of REAPER's Preferences Window.
2. Display the Context drop down list and
select an entry from that list. A list of
current modifiers for that context is
then shown. An example of this is
shown here, for Media item edge left
drag.
3. In the Modifier column, double click on
the item that you wish to change. A list
will be displayed which shows
suggested actions that you might wish
to assign to that modifier. You now have
a number of choices:
✔ Select any item from that list, or
✔ Select No Action to disable that modifier, or
✔ Select the item marked with a bullet to restore REAPER's default action for that modifier, or
✔ For some items only (including double-click items), use Action List … to open the Action List editor
so that you can assign one of REAPER's actions, or one of your own custom actions, to that context.
4. Click on Apply to apply your changes.
5. Repeat steps 1. to 4. as often as needed. When finished, click on OK to close the Preferences window.
If you get into trouble, use the the Import/Export button then Restore modifiers to factory defaults in
this context. This will restore REAPER's original modifiers to this context.
The examples that follow have been selected to help you to understand how REAPER's mouse modifiers work
and how you can benefit from using them. Don't be concerned if not all of the actual examples themselves
mean a lot to you right now: try to stay focused on the technique. Let's suppose that there are certain editing
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and other activities that you use a lot in REAPER. Let's also suppose that these include the following:
 Creating empty MIDI items on tracks.
 Toggling mute status of media items.
 Slip editing media items.
 Setting and removing loop points.
 Adding FX to media items.
That's (intentionally) a fairly mixed bag of activities. All of these are examples of activities that can be made
easier and/or faster and/or smarter by modifying REAPER's mouse modifiers.
Examples
This exercise will step you thru the above examples in the same order as they are listed.
1. Choose the Options, Preferences command, then select the page Mouse Modifiers.
2. Select Track left drag from the context menu.
REAPER's default mouse assignments for pencil
drawing copies of items will be shown. Notice
that Alt and Shift Alt are currently unassigned.
3. Double click on the word Alt in the Modifier
column. A list of possible suggested actions will
be shown.
4. In this list, click on Draw an empty MIDI
item. This action is now assigned. The small dot
shown next to this Action on the list indicates
that this is a custom change that you have made
yourself.
5. Click on Apply to apply the action.
6. Now select Media item edge drag from the
context list. Let's suppose that we want to make
Move item edge ignoring snap the new
default behavior when clicking and dragging from
the media item edge.
7. Double click on Default action and select
Move item edge ignoring snap from the
menu. Now double click on the modifier Shift
and select Move item edge from the menu.
8. Click on Apply. These two items have now been swapped over.
9. Now select Media item double-click from the context drop down list. Modifiers for this context will now
be displayed. Suppose that we want to create an action which can be used to open the item's FX chain
window, and that we wish to assign Shift Ctrl for this.
10. Double-click on the text Shift+Ctrl to display a menu. Click on Action List … to open the Action List
Editor. If you have worked thru the earlier examples in this chapter, this will be familiar! Find the action
Show FX chain for item take and select it. Click on Select/Close to return to the Mouse Modifiers
window. Click on Apply. This action is now your media Shift Ctrl double-click action (see below).
11. Repeat this procedure to apply the
action Item properties: Toggle
items mute to the modifier
Shift+Win. Click on Apply.
12. Finally, we can add an action to the
Ruler double-click context so that
the Shift modifier will remove any
current loop points.
13. Select Ruler double-click from the
context drop down list. Double click on
Shift in the modifier column and select Action List... from the menu. Find the action Loop Points:
Remove loop points, select it then click on Select/Close and then Apply.
14. Close the Preferences window.
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If you do not wish to keep these assignments, use the Import/Export button to restore factory defaults.
Remember! When you are assigning actions to mouse modifier keys you are not limited to using REAPER's
native actions. Provided that you have installed the SWS extensions you can use any of the SWS actions. You
can also use any custom actions that you have created yourself.
Note: When you select a mouse modifier context, in some cases an option relevant to that specific context will
be displayed just below the list of behaviors. Look out for these. For example, for both the Track and Media
items contexts you can specify whether the item label area (above the media item) should be regarded as part
of the media item or as empty space.
Tip for OS X Users:
Next to the Import/Export button you will find a Swap cmd/opt button. This
can be used to swap over all Cmd button and all Opt button assignments for
the currently selected mouse modifier context,
14.19 Saving and Restoring Mouse Modifier Settings
Mouse modifier settings can be saved to and restored (loaded)
from REAPER mouse map files using the Import/Export button.
Settings can be saved/restored for the current context only, or for
all contexts (see right).
14.20 MIDI Editor Mouse Modifiers
Using mouse modifiers in the MIDI Editor is a topic that merits a
section of its own. Nowhere is this more true than when you are
editing MIDI notes and CC events.
A large number of actions are available for use in the MIDI editor. One example is the MIDI note left click
context (below). If you use the MIDI Editor a lot then you should definitely take some time to investigate and to
identify which of these actions are most useful to you. For example, you could reassign Alt to be used when
clicking on any note to erase it. Notice that in addition to the other shown on the menus, you can choose to
open the Action list and select an action there.
Remember that all actions in REAPER's Action
List MIDI Editor and MIDI Event List Editor
categories (including any custom actions of your
own) are available to be assigned as a mouse
modifier in most contexts within the MIDI Editor.
MIDI Editor mouse modifier contexts include:
MIDI note left drag
MIDI note double click
MIDI note edge left drag
MIDI note double click
MIDI CC event left drag
MIDI CC lane left drag
MIDI CC event double-click
MIDI CC lane double-click
MIDI source loop end marker left drag
MIDI ruler left click
MIDI ruler left drag
MIDI ruler double-click
MIDI marker/region lanes left drag
MIDI piano roll left drag, MIDI piano roll
double-click, and
MIDI editor right drag.
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Let's take a brief look at some of these areas in which you can modify mouse behavior within the MIDI Editor.
Shown here are the defaults for MIDI note left drag, MIDI piano roll left drag and MIDI ruler left drag.
In many cases separate contexts are available for left click, left
drag and double-click behavior. You can define how your mouse
behaves when it is being used in any of these contexts.
Within most contexts you will find several different types of
mouse action. For example, when working with MIDI notes, a
different action will be required when (say) dragging a note
from when double-clicking on it. Thus, within the Mouse
Modifier page of your preferences, you can select not only a
context but also a type of mouse action.
Let's look at just two examples: the default actions for the
contexts MIDI note left drag (above right) and MIDI piano roll left drag (right). By default many actions are
already defined. For example, simply dragging a
MIDI note (or selection of notes) will by default
move the note(s), whereas holding Ctrl while you do
this will copy them. As you go down the list some of
these defaults become quite interesting. For
example, holding Shift and Alt while dragging a
marqueed selection of notes will stretch the
selection out horizontally so as to arpeggiate the
notes.
Simple click and drag in the empty MIDI piano roll
area will first draw a note, then extend it as the
mouse is dragged. Various keys can be used with this for other actions. For example, holding Ctrl and Alt while
dragging will paint a straight line of notes between mouse up and mouse down.
Many key combinations are not assigned. Click on any of these for a list of actions that you can use. You can
also use this method to change any existing
assignments. Shown right are the default
actions which are assigned to the MIDI
ruler left drag context.
If you use the MIDI Editor a lot, you should
take the time to explore just what is
available for the different contexts.
Take the time also to look at the MIDI
editor right drag assignments. As well as
several variations to set marquee behavior
(select notes, add notes, toggle selection,
etc.) there is also an action using Ctrl Alt to
select all notes touched while freehand dragging.
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14 - Customization: Actions, Mouse Modifiers, Menus and Toolbars
14.21 Customizing the REAPER Menus
You can customize REAPER's main menu and many context menus in a number of ways, including:

Removing from view commands that you never use.

Changing the order in which commands are listed.

Adding your own custom actions to an existing menu.
To open and display
the Custom Menu
interface, choose from
the main menu the
command Options,
Customize
menus/toolbars.
This causes the
Customize
menus/toolbar
window to be
displayed. By default,
it will open with the
Main File menu
displayed.
The table below
summarizes the main
tasks that can be
carried out within this
window.
The & sign displayed
before any letter
indicates that when the menu is displayed, that letter can be typed to select that command. On the menu itself,
the letter will appear underscored. Thus, in the example shown above, when you display REAPER's main file
menu, the letter N in New project... will appear underscored, and you can therefore type N to select this
command.
In order to do this ...
… you need to do this.
Select a menu for customization
Display the drop down list (top left of window) and select the
required menu.
Change the name of a currently
selected main menu command
Select the command. Click on the Retitle... button. Type the
new name and press Enter
Remove a command from the
currently selected custom menu
Select the command in the left hand column (click once).
Right-click and choose Remove from the menu, or click on
the Remove button located below the customized menu
pane.
Change the position of a command on
the custom menu
Either … in the left column, drag and drop the command up
or down to its required position.
Or … in the left column select the command that you wish to
move. Press Ctrl X. Click at the position where you wish the
command to be placed. Press Ctrl V.
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In order to do this ...
… you need to do this.
Copy a command from one main level
menu to another
Select the first main menu from the menus drop down list.
Select the required command and press Ctrl C.
Select the second main menu from the menus drop down list.
Click at the required position in the customized window (left)
pane and press Ctrl V.
Add a REAPER action or a custom
action to the current custom menu as
a new command
In the left column, click to
select the existing command
above which you wish to insert
your custom action. Click on the
Add button, then choose
Action from the menu. Select
your item from the list then
click on the Select button.
Rename a command on the custom
menu
In the left column, select the command, click on Rename,
then type the new name and press Enter.
Add a separator to the current custom
menu
In the left column, click to select the existing command above
which you wish to insert the separator. Click on the Add
button, then choose Separator from the menu.
Add a label to the current custom
menu
In the left column, click to select the existing command above
which you wish to insert the label. Click on the Add button,
then choose Label from the menu.
Add a submenu to the current custom
menu
In the left column, click at the position you want the submenu
inserted. Click the Add button, then on Submenu. Type a
name then press Enter.
Save changes made to the current
custom menu
Click on the Save button.
Restore the one or all custom menus
to the default settings
Click the Reset button, then choose either Reset Current
Menu or Reset All Menus.
Export the current custom menu or all
menus as a ReaperMenuSet
Click on Export... , choose Export All or Export Current,
then type a name and click on Save.
Replace the current custom menu or
all menus with a previously saved
Reaper Menu Set
Click on Import... then select the required menu set file,
then click on Open. You can also drag and drop .ReaperMenu
and .ReaperMenuSet files into REAPER from Windows
Explorer.
Include REAPER's default menus with
your custom menus
Tick the Include default menu as submenu option (top
right of window). This is recommended especially if you are
removing any default commands from the menu.
Example
In this example you will learn how to add an action to a REAPER menu as a new command, and how to remove
an unwanted command. You'll also change the order of some commands. As with many other exercises in this
User Guide your main focus should not be on the example itself but more on the technique.
Suppose that you do a lot of work with markers, and that you would like to renumber markers in timeline order
quickly and easily without having to remember a keyboard shortcut. You could add the action to the Ruler
context menu. While you're about it, you can also remove the command Insert empty space in selection
(assuming for the sake of the example that you think you do not need this command). Follow these instructions.
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Example
1.
From REAPER's Options menu, open the Customize menus/toolbars window.
2.
Display the drop down menu list and choose Ruler/arrange context.
3.
Click on any one of the commands in this menu – for example Set selection to items.
4.
Click on the Add... button, then choose Action... This causes the Actions List Editor window to be
opened.
5.
In the filter box type: mark renum – this should find the
action Markers: Renumber all markers in timeline
order.
6.
Select this action then click on Select/close. The
Actions window will close and you will be returned to the
Customize menus/toolbars window. This action has now
been added to the menu and is selected (see right).
7.
With the item still selected, click on Rename...
8.
You will be prompted for a new name. Type: Renumber
markers and press Enter.
9.
To move this up the menu, drag and drop it above Zoom selection.
10. Now select the item (lower down the list) Insert empty space in selection. Click on Remove to
remove this from the menu.
11. Make sure you have enabled the option Include default
menu as submenu.
12. Click on Save then Close.
13. Create some markers in this project, out of timeline order.
14. Now right-click over the ruler/timeline (see right). Choose
Renumber markers from the menu: your markers will be
renumbered.
15. Notice at the bottom of this context menu the item Default
menu: Ruler/arrange context. This can be used to access the original context menu.
16. If you wish to restore this menu to its original state, open the Customize menus/toolbars window
again and with the Ruler/arrange context still selected, click on Reset then Reset current
menu/toolbar to default. Click on Save then Close.
14.22 Customizing the REAPER Toolbars
Customizing REAPER's main toolbars (including the MIDI Editor toolbars) can make it easier to make REAPER
work for you to work the way that you would like it to. For example, you can:

Remove any of the default icons/commands that you do not wish to be shown.

Assign a different REAPER command or action to any existing icon.

Assign a different REAPER command or action to a new icon.

Assign a custom action or macro of your own to a new or existing icon.
The procedure is similar to that used for menu
customization. Make your changes to the existing default
toolbar layout thru the Customize menus/toolbars dialog
box. This can be displayed by right-clicking over the empty
area of the toolbar background, or by choosing Customize
menus/toolbars from the Options menu. When the
Customize menus/toolbars window is displayed, choose
Main Toolbar or one of the MIDI View toolbars from the
drop down list in the top left corner. We'll get to Floating
toolbars a little later in this chapter.
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The table below
summarizes the main
tasks that can be
carried out within
this window.
After the table there
is an example in
which you can add
to the toolbar an
item of your own.
Purely as an
example, we'll use
the action View:
Toggle master
track visible for
this.
In order to do this ...
… you need to do this.
Change the name of a REAPER toolbar
Select toolbar from drop down list. Click on Retitle..., type
new name then click on OK.
Remove an item from the toolbar
Click on either the item name in the left panel, or on the icon
itself in the display just above the window's command
buttons. In the example shown, Enable Metronome has been
selected. Click on the Remove button.
Add a new action or command to the
toolbar
In the customize toolbar area (left panel) select the item
before which you wish to add your item.
Click on the Add button. This causes the Actions window to
be displayed. From the list of actions, select the REAPER
command, action or custom script or action. Click on
Select/Close. REAPER will add this to your toolbar and
assign an icon.
To add a separator space between two
toolbar items
In the customize toolbar area, right-click over the second of
these items and choose Add separator from the menu.
To change the icon used for any
toolbar item (including an item that
you have added)
Right click over the icon in the icon display near the bottom of
the Customize Menus/Toolbars window, just above the
command buttons. This causes the Select toolbar icon
window to be displayed. Select your required icon then close
the Select toolbar icon window.
Change the action assigned to a
toolbar button
In the customize toolbar area (left panel) select the item that
you wish to change. Right click, choose Change action, then
select from the action list and click on Select/Close.
Replace a toolbar icon with text
Right click over the item in the customized toolbar list in the
left panel. Choose Text Icon from the menu, type the text
then click OK.
Change the position of an item on the
toolbar
Use the mouse to drag and drop up or down the list shown in
the customized toolbar list. Ctrl X / Ctrl V may also be used, as
can Cut and Paste from the right click context menu.
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In order to do this ...
… you need to do this.
Close the Customize Menus/Toolbar
Window without saving your changes
Click on the Close button. Choose No when asked if you
wish to save your changes.
Save the toolbar with your changes
Click on the Save button.
Restore the toolbar to its default
status
Click the Reset button.
Choose Reset Current
Menu/ Toolbars to
Defaults from the menu.
Select Yes to confirm'
Export the current custom toolbar or
all toolbars/menus as a
ReaperMenuSet
Click on Export... , choose Export All or Export Current,
then type a name and click on Save (see also note below).
Replace the current custom toolbar or
all toolbars/menus with a previously
saved Reaper Menu Set
Click on Import... then select the required menu set file, then
click on Open.(see also note below)
Note: ReaperMenuSets can also be included when exporting/importing REAPER configuration preferences and
settings – see Chapter 21.
Example
The real benefit of this exercise will come from it teaching you a technique, not from the actual example.
1. Right-click over the toolbar area (but not any
specific tool) and choose customize
toolbars... from the context menu.
2. Click on the last item on the toolbar (Enable
locking) then click on Add... to open the
Actions List.
3. Find the action View: Toggle master track visible. Select this, then click on Select/close. This item
will now be
added to the list
of toolbar items.
In the icon
display, it will be
labelled
something like
“Tog Mast”.
4. Drag this item up
or down the list to whatever position you want it to take.
5. If you do not like the text Tog Mast you can right-click over
the item in the list and choose either Change icon (to select
an icon) or Text icon (to type a different text label). If you
choose text icon, you may also select a Double width
toolbar button option for better text display.
6. Click Save and then Close. If you don't want to keep this icon,
access the customize menus/toolbars window again and
simply remove it.
Tip: The command Position toolbar can be used to change the position of or float the main toolbar: see
section immediately below this one.
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14.23 Creating Additional Custom Toolbars
REAPER can display up to 16 general and eight MIDI only
additional toolbars that you can set up to suit your particular
requirements. By selecting which items are added to these
toolbars you are able create one click access to your most
important commands and actions. To toggle the display of any
toolbar, right-click over the empty area of your main toolbar and
choose the Open toolbar command, then select a toolbar. You
may display as many of these toolbars as you wish. By default,
each toolbar contains one icon, labelled “Edit Me”. To change
this, you will need to customize the toolbar (see below).
Each toolbar window can be dragged, resized and positioned
anywhere on your screen. It can also be kept on top (using the
pin symbol). Right click over the empty area of any custom
toolbar to again display the menu shown (right). Options are:
Switch toolbar: selects another toolbar to display in its place.
Open toolbar: use this to open another toolbar.
Position toolbar: used to dock the toolbar at the main toolbar, at
the top of the main window, in the toolbar docker (explained
shortly), or to float.
Customize toolbars: use this to open the Customize
menus/toolbars window to enable you to customize the
contents of any of the toolbars. By default, the currently displayed toolbar will be selected for editing.
You can add commands to each or any of these toolbars as you wish. To select a different toolbar for editing
after opening the Customize menus/toolbars window, display the drop down list from the top left corner of
the Customize menus/toolbars window. The following table summarizes the main editing options.
In order to do this ...
… you need to do this.
Change the name of any
tabbed toolbar
Select toolbar in the Customize Menus/Toolbars window, click on
Retitle... then type the new name then click on OK.
Add an action or command to
a custom toolbar
Click on Add... to display the Actions List. Select the command or action
and click on Select.
To edit a custom toolbar
button label
Right click over the item in the customized toolbar panel (left) and
choose Text Icon... Type the text then click OK.
To assign an icon instead of
text to a custom toolbar
button
Right click over the item in the customized toolbar panel (left) and
choose Change Icon... Select the required icon from those displayed,
then close the Select Toolbar Icon window.
To remove an item from a
custom toolbar
Select the item in the Customized Toolbar (left) panel and click on
Remove.
To change the order of icons
on a custom toolbar
Drag and drop items up or down the list displayed in the customized
toolbar (left) panel.
To save a custom toolbar set
Click on the Save button in the Customize Menus/Toolbars window.
To export a custom toolbar
set
Use the Export... button and choose Export current menu/toolbar
to … Type a name and click on Save.
To import a toolbar set
Use the Import... button, select the file name, click on Open.
To dock/undock the floating
toolbar
Right click on floating toolbar, choose Dock floating toolbar then
select one of the three options.
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Shown here is an example of custom toolbars, used to give easy access to various track and windows screen
sets. Let's see how this was done.
Example
1. With the Customize menus/toolbars window open select Floating toolbar 1.
2. Click on Retitle... and
type Screen Sets. Press
Enter.
3. Use the Add... button to
open the Actions List window. Select Screenset: Load window set #04, then click on Select.
4. With the Actions List window still open, select the action Screenset: Load window set #03 and again
click on Select.
5. Repeat step 4 several times to select the other actions required for this toolbar..
6. Select the action Screenset: Load track view #01 then click on Select/close.
7. If necessary, drag and drop any of these items up or down the list to put them in your preferred order.
8. If necessary, remove any unwanted items on this toolbar.
9. Right-click over each item in turn and choose the Text icon command. Enter a label, such as Track Set
1 and enable the option Double width toolbar button.
10. Save and Close the Customize menus/toolbars window when finished.
This exercise has shown you how to create a custom toolbar. Only you can decide, however, when you should
create them. Use them for those activities that you use the most. For example, if you find yourself getting
frustrated when navigating and zooming, then make a zoom/navigate toolbar. If you spend a lot of time editing
media items, make an item edit toolbar. In Chapter 17 you'll find a custom toolbar for working with envelopes.
14.24 Creating Smart Tools
If you have used other DAW software (such as Cubase, Pro Tools or Sonar) before coming to REAPER, then you
may be used to using a toolbar to help with various editing tasks, such as splitting, deleting or muting items.
You have already seen that this method of working is not native to REAPER. However, if you wish, you can
create your own smart tools which can be used in a way similar to that with which you are familiar.
The Actions List includes a number of actions suitable for this sort of treatment. These include actions like
Item: Split Item Under Mouse Cursor. In addition, you may also have created some custom actions of your
own, for example to select and mute or delete items. Without arming, any tool which makes reference to the
mouse cursor, for example, would otherwise be useless – because the mouse cursor will be over the toolbar, not
any media item, when the tool is clicked! By using
smart tools we solve this problem.
To create a Smart Tool for any action or custom
action, you first need to assign the action or custom
to the toolbar, as explained in the section before this
one. In this example, we have created a button to
Split Item Under Mouse Cursor. Then, to use it as a smart tool, simply do this:
1. Right click over the tool. If you hover the mouse there long
enough, a tool tip will be displayed. Move the mouse over any
media item and it will change to a letter A.
2. Left click on (in this example) the item to which you want the
action applied, at the exact position that you want the action to
occur. In this case, the item beneath the mouse cursor will be split.
Once a tool is armed it will remain armed until you “unarm” it. To do this,
either right click on the armed tool. or press Esc immediately after using it.
Tip: A floating toolbar can be sized (made larger or smaller) by dragging its lower right hand corner in or out –
look for the small dotted triangular area. If you want to restrict just how large the icons may become when you
do this, enable the option Don't scale toolbar buttons above 1:1 on the Appearance page of your preferences
window. There is also an option Don't scale toolbar buttons below 1:1.
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14.25 The Toolbar Docker
If you have several custom toolbars, the toolbar docker can be a useful means of accessing your various
toolbars easily without creating a lot of screen clutter. It uses a tabbed layout that makes it easy to switch
between your various toolbars whilst only displaying the contents of one toolbar at a time. In addition to this,
the toolbar docker can itself be docked in any of REAPER's main dockers.
Shown below is an example where a user has created eight custom toolbars and made them all accessible from
the toolbar docker:
Display of the toolbar docker is toggled using the View, Toolbar docker command. A tip worth remembering
is that toolbar layouts (tool positions) are by default saved with windows screensets. This makes it easier to
switch between using and not using the toolbar docker, or using different toolbar selections in the toolbar
docker at different times.
The following table summarizes the main features of the toolbar docker.
In order to do this ...
… you need to do this.
Add an open toolbar to the
toolbar docker
Right click over the toolbar background area, choose Position toolbar,
In toolbar docker.
Remove a toolbar from the
toolbar docker
In the toolbar docker, right click over the toolbar's name tab, choose
Position toolbar then Close toolbar or one of the display options
such as floating or at top of main window.
Replace one toolbar on the
docker with another
In the toolbar docker, right click over the toolbar's name tab, choose
Switch toolbar then select the required toolbar.
Display toolbar contents
In the toolbar docker, click on toolbar name tab.
Dock the toolbar docker
Click on the ! (exclamation mark) on the left end of the toolbar docker,
then choose any one of the four attach docker position options bottom,
top, left or right. In the example shown above, this has been docked at
the top.
Undock the toolbar docker
Click on the ! (exclamation mark) on the left end of the docked toolbar
docker, then deselect the option Attach Toolbar Docker to main
window.
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15 - REAPER Plug-ins in Action
15 REAPER Plug-ins in Action
15.1
What Are Plug-ins?
There’s a wonderful assortment of plug-ins supplied with REAPER - over 200 of them! These include the
Jesusonic and the VST Rea plug-ins from Cockos. In this section we will be introducing you to a selection of
these. We will only be covering the very basics, just to give you a feel for what plug-ins are and how they work.
Beyond this, you can explore for yourself.
Plug-ins are pieces of software that are used to control and shape the sound generated when you play back the
media items in your tracks. Some simple examples of when and why you might want to use a plug-in are:
 To make a vocal recording sound nicer, more lifelike. Perhaps your dry recording sounds a bit thin, even
verging on feeble in places. Plug-ins can add body, warmth and sparkle to such a track, not by working
magic, but by finding where those qualities are buried in the recording and bringing them out.
 To smooth off peaks and dips in the volume of a track, making the overall track sound more even.
 To add a “live” feel to a track or even a whole mix, making it sound more as if it were recorded in a
church or a concert hall, rather than in a boring old studio.
15.2
The Three Laws of Plug-ins
Before you start using plug-ins, study and memorise this mantra. There are no exceptions to these laws!
1. It is better not to use a plug-in at all than to use it badly. A badly used plug-in is likely to make your
mix sound worse, not better. If in doubt, underdo the use of plug-ins, don’t overdo them.
2. Never judge the quality of a plug-in by how much you like its presets. Presets reflect someone else’s
idea of how something ought to sound, not the quality of the plug-in, nor its potential. You will almost
certainly never learn how to get the best out of any plug-ins, be they EQ, compression, reverb or
anything else unless you take the trouble to understand their various parameters. And that takes time.
3. You can’t judge the quality of a plug-in by its cost. No, really you can’t. Some plug-ins are free. Some
cost literally thousands of dollars. Some free ones are pretty awful, some are great. Some plug-ins
costing hundreds of dollars are, to be polite, very, very ordinary. Others are excellent.
15.3
The Five Types of Plug-in
Especially when you are new to digital audio, when you start to explore the world of plug-ins you might find
yourself feeling overwhelmed, if not utterly confused. Why? Because there is so much choice. Heaven help me,
have I really got to understand all that lot to be able to use this recording caper?
No, you don’t. Learn in steps as you go. In essence there are essentially five types of plug-in (well, there’s a
major exception to that, which I’ll get to shortly). These five types are:
 Sound Shaping: these plug-ins affect the frequency (pitch) of your track(s). An example is EQ.
 Time-Based Effects: these plug-ins manipulate how your track(s) interact with time. Examples
include Delay, Chorus and Reverb.
 Volume Changing: these are plug-ins that determine the overall volume or perceived volume of your
track(s). Examples are Compressors and Limiters.
 Routing Plug-ins: these do not shape the sound of your tracks as such, but are used for tasks such
as routing. Routing is generally beyond the scope of this chapter: we'll get to it in Chapter 16.
 Analytical Plug-ins: these display information, but don't in any way alter the sound of the track.
And that exception? Well, some plug-ins can cut across more than one of these categories at the same time,
performing more than one job. One example of this is a Multiband Compressor, which displays the
characteristics of both an EQ and a Compressor.
It would be way beyond the scope of this User Guide to teach you the science between these various plug-ins –
that would require an entire volume in itself! Our objective is to give you an introduction to what REAPER offers
in this area, and to show you how REAPER's own interface is used to control them.
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15.4
Adjusting Plug-in Parameter Controls
Plug-in faders can be adjusted using any of four main methods. These are:
 Hover your mouse over the fader and scroll the mousewheel. Use Ctrl for finer adjustments.
 Click on a fader and drag the mouse. Hold the Ctrl key for finer adjustments. Hold Alt for “elastic”
auditioning: the control will return to its original position when the mouse is released.
 Click on the fader then use the Up and Down arrow keys.
 Click in the parameter value window (in the first example show below, you can see one of these to the
immediate right of each of the three horizontal faders) and type a value.
If you prefer not to use the first of these methods (for fear of making accidental adjustments), you can enable
on the Editing Behavior, Mouse page of your Preferences the option Ignore mousewheel on all faders.
15.5
Sound Shaping Effects: ReaEQ
Many sound shaping plug-ins fall (in one way or another) into the EQ category. EQ means “equalisation.” This is
rather strange, since they are used to emphasise (or de-emphasise) selected frequencies. Perhaps they should
be called “UnEQ”!
ReaEQ is the main EQ plug-in
supplied with Reaper. There are
also several JS EQ plug-ins but
ReaEQ is the most powerful and
flexible. Let's take an example.
1. Open the supplied project
file All Through The
Night.RPP and save it as
All Through The Night
EQ.RPP
2. This example uses only the
vocal track, which is an
excellent tool for
demonstrating EQ. Solo the
Vox track.
3. Display the FX window,
click on Add and add
Cockos VST: ReaEQ.
Notice that by default this
has 4 band tabs (numbered
1 to 4).
4. Play the song. As you do so, select Band 4 and fade the Gain left to about – 35 dB. Notice how deep the
voice becomes. Double click on the fader to return it to the centre.
5. Select Band 2. Fade the Gain down to about – 14 dB. Notice how tinny and even disembodied the voice
sounds. Double-click to return to normal. Now lift the Gain to about +3 dB. The voice should sound quite
pleasantly fuller and warmer. Select Band 3 and set the Frequency to about 4200. Observe what happens
as the gain is adjusted between +3.5 and -3.5. When finished, return it to 0.0. Save the file.
What has been happening is that you have been adjusting frequencies This is a huge subject. It is way beyond
the scope of this guide to teach everything there is to know about EQ, but here is a brief introduction. Exactly
how you divide up the frequency spectrum is to some extent arbitrary. Here’s one way that makes sense:
Frequencies
Comments
16 to 60 Hz
Very Low Bass. These frequencies are felt rather than heard.
60 to 250 Hz
Bass. Herein dwell the fundamental notes of the rhythm section. A modest boost
here can help make a sound fuller, but too much gain will make it boomy.
250 to 2000 Hz
The Mid Range. Too much gain here makes it sound like you’ve recorded from the
other end of a telephone. If a take sounds muddy, try cutting it here.
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Frequencies
Comments
2000 to 4000 Hz
Upper Mid Range. Often a tricky area. Too much can cause listening fatigue. Lower
this range a tad on the mix while boosting a tad on vocals can help a vocal stand out.
4000 to 6000 Hz
Presence Range. This is the key range for clarity and presence of instruments and
vocals. Some gain here will bring the instrument or voice forward in the mix. A drop
here can pull a vocal or an instrument back.
6000 to 16000 Hz
High Range. This is where you find clarity and sparkle. Too much gain here produces
a searing, glassy effect. Not enough will sound dull ands “heavy”.
So ... we know that the frequency is measured is measured in Hz (and kHz), and that
we can increase or decrease the volume at any level, to shape the sound. The sound
level itself is measured in decibels.
We need to understand two more terms – first, band width. ReaEQ measures
bandwidth in octaves. A narrow bandwidth setting means that you will raise or lower
the sound over a very small part of the spectrum relative to your selected frequency. A
wide setting means that you will be working on a much wider part of the spectrum. An
example of the difference in how a narrow bandwidth (top) and a wide bandwidth
(bottom) can shape a sound is shown here.
You will also see, if you display the drop down list labelled Type that there are several
type of band. Some of the most commonly used are:
Band: the volume is raised or lowered either side of the frequency, the range being
determined by the bandwidth setting. Sometimes called a “peaking filter.”
Low/High Pass: Filters out frequencies above/below the frequency setting.
Low/High Shelf: Causes the gain to be lowered or raised below/above the
frequency setting.
Pass and Shelf will in most cases only be used (if at all) at very low frequencies or very high frequencies.
You can add or remove bands using the Add band and Remove band buttons.
Tip: Don’t forget that you can create track parameter controls and/or automation envelopes for this or any
other plug-in by clicking on the Param button in the plug-in window – as explained in Chapter 11.
15.6
Time Based Effects: Delay
These include reverb, delay and
chorus. Sound takes time to travel
thru any distance, and surfaces
like walls and ceilings create
reflections which make the sound
patterns even more complex,
intricate – and alive. Time based
FX use a number of tricks and
techniques to artificially simulate
this, thereby creating a more
“live” sound. But be careful. Too
much here can ruin an otherwise
good sound.
Parameter
Description
Delay (ms)
Determines the amount of time that passes between the original sound and
when the delayed sound is heard.
Feedback
Determines the amount of the delayed signal that will be fed back into the
delay itself. This helps to prevent the delay from just being an echo.
Mix in (dB)
Determines the overall output level.
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Parameter
Description
Output wet (dB
Determines the Output level of the Post FX signal. Lowering this relative to the
dry output will make the effect more subtle.
Output dry (dB)
Determines the Output level of the Pre FX signal
In this example, we will use the JS: Delay/Delay to add a touch of delay to the Bouzouki.
Example
1. Unsolo your Vox track and solo the track Bouzouki. Open its FX Window and add the JS:Delay/delay.
2. Play the song. Experiment with adjusting the FX parameters until you have found an effect to your liking.
For very small delay settings, such as 0.2 ms, it is easier to type them in the box than to use the faders.
3. Unsolo the track, then continue to make any further adjustments until you are satisfied with the results.
4. Save the file.
Note: The plug-in ReaDelay is a more powerful alternative to JS Delay. In particular, it allows you to create
multiple delay taps, each with its own delay settings, and to pan each of these individually.
15.7
Volume Changing Plug-ins: the Limiter
In this next example, we will look at an example of one volume changing effect, the JS:LOSER:masterLimiter.
This can be added to the FX Window for your MASTER to perform two functions. These may at first appear to
be contradictory, but they are not:
 To raise the overall volume of the mix, but at the same time …
 To prevent the mix from “clipping”, i.e. getting too loud at any point.
We will be using the JS:Loser/masterLimiter which includes the following controls and parameters:
Parameter
Description
Threshold
Determines the level at which the other limiter settings will be applied. It may seem
paradoxical, but the lower the threshold, the higher will be the perceived overall volume.
As you lower the threshold, more of the song is lifted to the limit specified.
Look Ahead
Determines how far ahead the limiter looks – this helps smooth out sudden peaks.
Attack
Determines how quickly the limiter kicks in as the signal increases.
Release
Determines how quickly the limiter recovers after a peak is encountered.
Limit
This determines the maximum volume that cannot be exceeded.
Example
1.
Display the FX Window for
your MASTER and insert the
JS: LOSER
/masterLimiter.
2. Play the song, adjusting the
controls.
3. As you lower the Threshold,
the volume will get louder,
but the maximum (limit)
volume is never exceeded.
4. As you lower the Limit, the
song gets quieter.
5. The more you lower both Threshold and Limit, the more you squeeze the dynamics out of the song –
volume remains almost constant, and there is little or no movement in the VU.
The trick to using a limiter well is to smooth out peaks and dips somewhat, but without adversely affecting the
dynamics of the song. And, especially at first, be gentle!
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15.8
Analytical Plug-ins: the GFXAnalyzer
Shown on the right is a JS: Analysis
gfxanalyzer plug-in.
Insert this into any track's FX chain (or
the master's FX chain and as the project
is played you are given visual feedback
as to the level of output at different
frequencies.
This can sometimes help, for example,
in identifying which frequencies might
need attention.
Three of the Cockos plug-ins – ReaEQ,
ReaFir and ReaXComp - all include an
analytical display similar to that shown
here as part of their standard interface.
Now that you've had a look some
examples of different types of plug-in.
We can go on and examine some more.
First, though, another word or two
about presets ...
15.9
Using FX Presets
When you are satisfied with your settings for any plug-in, you might
wish to save them as a preset, so that you can apply them next time
you want to use it on another track:
1. Click on the + button just above the JS Delay/delay plug-in
when this plug-in is selected.
2. Choose Save preset from the menu.
3. Type a name and click on OK.
To save these as default parameter settings for the plug-in when it is
used in the future, use the Save preset as default... command
from the same menu.
To import an existing
preset library (such as you might be able to download from the
REAPER web site) you would choose Import preset library….
To export your presets to a file (for backup purposes, or to use
on another computer) you would choose Export preset library
...
To choose an existing preset (from those previously saved or imported, or which were supplied with the
plug-in), insert the plug-in into that track’s FX window, display the drop down list of presets (see above), then
select the one that you want.
Within the FX Browser, you can select
a preset when adding an FX to the FX
chain. Right-click over the plug-in
name then from the context-sensitive
menu choose Presets, then select
the required preset from the
displayed list.
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15.10 Time Based Effects: ReaVerb
ReaVerb is a VST plug-in that is supplied with REAPER. Reverb itself is a time-based effect, and ReaVerb uses a
type of reverb known as convolution reverb to create the illusion of space. This section will introduce you to
the basics of using ReaVerb. After that, it has more features that you can explore for yourself.
Most reverbs attempt to simulate the
effect that the acoustic environment of,
say, a hall or a room would have on
sound. However, the mathematics
required is complex, so that few come
close to sounding like real acoustic
rooms. Reverb plug-ins vary not only in
their essential quality but also in the
scope of their applications.
Convolution reverb can give you
realistic reverb on a budget. It uses
impulse responses of real acoustic
spaces. This is done by first generating
a signal in the required environment
and then recording the result.
ReaVerb even takes this concept a step
further, allowing you to not only use
recorded impulses from real
environments to create your reverb,
but also to use something closer to
more traditional reverb methods to
then modify that sound further, should
you wish to do so.
To be able to use convolution reverb,
you will need a collection of impulse
wave files. Search the net and you’ll
find all you want, many free. This example uses files downloaded from http://www.voxengo.com/impulses/ . In
the example that follows, these files have been downloaded and stored in a folder that we have created and
named C:\Program Files\REAPER\Reverb Impulses\Voxengo\
Example
1.
2.
3.
Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night REVERB.RPP
Add a new track after the last track, and name it Reverb Bus
Create Receives into this track from all of the instrument tracks and the Vox track. This will later enable
you to feed different levels of signal, panned as required, from different tracks into your Reverb Bus.
4. Display the FX Window for the Reverb Bus.
5. Add ReaVerb into this FX Window.
6. Fade the Wet level down to around –60 and the Dry level down to about –0.5, as shown above. We will
start by adding just a little reverb, then increase it as required.
7. Click on the Add button and then on File. This lets you add a file at the start
of your Reverb chain. Navigate the file browser window to where your impulse
files are stored and select one. In this example, we will be using St Nicolaes
Church.wav
8. Click on Open to insert that file into ReaVerb.
9. Play the file. In the Track Window, lower the Volume fader for the Reverb Bus
to about –10dB. Lower the fader on the Master to about – 6dB. You can bring
this up again later if you wish.
10. In the ReaVerb window, now raise the wet signal until you hear a pleasing
amount of reverb. This will probably be at about –10 dB. If you like, Solo the Reverb track for a while, so
that you can discern the effect more clearly.
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11. We can now use the ReaVerb
controls to adjust the Reverb
effect. The Pre-reverb fader
offsets the reverb tail by delaying
the signal that is sent to the
reverb tail generator. Try it for
yourself.
12. To add more controls to the
Reverb chain, click on Add and
choose Time/Gain/Stretch.
Your window suddenly has all
these extra controls. These are
used to stretch the impulse
(make it longer), add in some
graininess, or trim the impulse
(make it shorter). The best way
to find out is to experiment!
13. Now click on Add again and add
a Filter (LP/HP). This causes a
High Pass Filter and a Low Pass
Filter to be added. This can be
used to stop the reverb impulse
from being added to very low
and/or very high frequencies.
14. When you have your sound right,
you can save that set of
parameters as a named preset
that can by recalled for other
projects. Click on the + button,
choose Save preset, name the
preset and click OK.
Notice that when you are
experimenting with ReaVerb you can:
 Drag and drop to change the order in which modules are positioned in the reverb chain.
 Untick the box to the left of any module’s name to bypass that module.
Tip: When making changes to ReaVerb settings it may be necessary to first stop and then restart playback for
those changes to be employed.
ReaVerb Features Summary
Echo generator - generates an echo - useful for "filling in the gaps" of an impulse or creating echo-decay.
High and low pass filter - force the impulse not to work above or below a certain point.
Normalize - raise the gain of the impulse to 0dBFS.
Reverse – reverses the Reverb – a nifty effect for vocals, guitar solos and song intros/outros.
Trim/Gain/Stretch – trim or stretch the impulse (make it shorter or longer), add in some graininess.
File - use this to insert an impulse file. You can insert as many files as you want!
Max FFT – FFT filters are a complex mathematical topic. Google to learn more details! Meanwhile, for the rest
of us, changing the FFT size changes CPU usage. A lower FFT setting means a higher CPU usage, but spread
more evenly. Higher FFT sizes will consume less CPU but result in more latency. FFT size will therefore affect
performance and possible dropouts, but it should not affect the sound itself. If unsure, use the default setting.
ZL – option to enable zero latency: useful when tracking while monitoring reverb levels.
LL – option to use an extra thread to improve low latency performance.
You may find when rendering that better results are obtained with both ZL and LL disabled.
Set all -apply these performance settings to all instances of ReaVerb in the current project.
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15.11 Volume Control with Compression: ReaComp
Earlier in this chapter, we encountered a Limiter. You can think of a limiter as being like imposing a ceiling – it
stops the volume of a signal from going above whatever level you set.
Because limiting can be harsh, it is often better to use a compressor on individual tracks. Think of it this way – a
simple limiter cuts in suddenly and severely, whereas a compressor can be eased in much more gently. It might
help to get a visual picture of what limiting can do to a recording compared to a well applied compressor. The
three illustrations show the same waveform first as recorded, then how it might look with limiting (center), and
with compression instead of limiting (right).
Notice that on the original waveform the volume
varies quite considerably from time to time.
Applying a limiter (near right) can lift the quieter
passages, but may make the overall effect too
loud. The dynamics have been largely squeezed
out of the song. The illustration far right shows the
same waveform after carefully using a compressor instead of a limiter. The track no longer clips, and more of
the dynamics of the recording have been preserved.
Software compressors vary from the
simple to the complex. We’re going
to concentrate here on
understanding just five main terms.
These are essential to
understanding how to use
compression. There are other
factors, but let’s just focus on these
five for now.
 Threshold - This is the
volume at which the
compressor will kick in. For
example, if you set your
threshold at, say, -10dB, then
nothing below that threshold
will be compressed at all.
 Ratio – This determines how
gently or severely the
compression is required. For
example, a relatively gentle
ratio like 2 to 1 would ensure
that for every 2 decibels the volume of the recording goes above the threshold, the sound will be
increased by only 1 decibel. A much more severe ratio of 12 to 1 would mean that for every 12 decibels
the recording goes over the threshold, the sound will increase by only one decibel.
 Gain – This is how the volume of the track is adjusted after compression. Often you will want to raise the
overall sound at least a little, to prevent the overall volume of the track from now being too quiet. The
gain control in ReaComp (above) is labelled Wet.
 Limit Output – Selecting this option will prevent the compressor output from exceeding 0 dB.
 Bypass – this is the small tick box in the top right corner, next to the UI button. You can use this to
toggle bypass on and off, enabling you to assess what this plug-in is doing. When this is ticked (as here)
the plug-in is active. When unticked it is set to bypass. You’ll find one of these in all plug-in windows.
Example
1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night COMP.RPP
2. Solo the Bouzouki track. Look at its media peaks. You can see that it starts at a steady volume, but over
the last 30 seconds or so of the song it gets rather loud.
3. Play the track from the 55 second mark for about 15 secs then stop it. Try applying some compression to
kick in at about –12 or –13 dB.
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4.
5.
6.
7.
Display the FX Window for this track.
Insert the VST: ReaComp (Cockos).
Create a loop to play over the last 20 secs or so of this instrument.
As you do so, experiment with setting the Threshold (vertical fader on the left) and the Ratio. Select the
option to Limit Output. You’ll probably end up with a setting of something like -16 on the Threshold and
a ratio around 4:1 or 5:1 (see picture).
8. Now save this file.
15.12 LOSER’s Transients Plug-ins
Used well, a compressor can enrich
a track or a mix, but used badly it
can do more harm than good. If
you’re not too confident about
using a compressor, then you could
do worse than look at LOSER’s
Transients Killer. It’s a simple
compressor (more like a clipper
really) with just two parameters for you to control – Threshold and Ratio. All other settings are fixed. The
threshold determines the volume at which compression begins – the ratio determines how much compression is
applied.
Feeling a little more adventurous? Try adding LOSER's Transient Controller immediately after this, to add
more sustain and/or attack to the track, folder or mix.
15.13 Liteon's De-Esser
Liteon's de-esser is a specially
crafted compressor whose purpose
is to remove sibilance from vocal
tracks.
It works by combining either a
highpass or bandpass filter centred
on a specific frequency with a
compressor to tame the sibilance.
By turning Monitor on you are
able to sweep the Frequency
control to identify where the
sibilance is worst, then turn Monitor
off again. As a rough guide, male
sibilance is likely to be found at
around 4500 Hz and female at
about 6500 Hz – but these can vary
with individual singers.
The Bandwidth determines how wide or narrow will be the frequency range to which the compression is
applied.
Threshold, Ratio and Gain work in the same way as in a normal compressor.
15.14 Volume Control with a Noise Gate
Noise Gates controls sound at the quiet end of the scale. Often when you record a track such as a vocal there
will be sections of silence, perhaps between verses. At least, you want them to be silence! However, you might
notice on playback irritating sounds have been recorded at a low level during these periods. A noise gate can
be set to detect these and filter them out. Like the compressor, the Noise Gate can be quite simple or more
sophisticated. For now, we’re going to focus on just the basic Noise Gate controls:
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



Threshold – Used to
specify a minimum sound
level below which the Noise
Gate will kick in.
Attack – Specifies how
quickly the gate should kick
in. Too short an attack
period can cause it cutting
out the natural decay of a
sound you want.
Hold – This specifies how
long the gate remains open
after the signal falls below
the Threshold
Release – This determines
how soon the gate closes
after the signal has fallen
below the Threshold.
Let’s take an example, using the
project All Through The Night
COMP.RPP
Example
1. Solo the Vox track.
2. Play the song from just before the end of the first verse. If you listen carefully (especially thru
headphones) you can hear some unwanted sounds during the otherwise silent passage. Certainly you can
see this on the track’s VU meter.
3. Open the FX Window for this track and add Cockos VST ReaGate.
4. Play the song again. Adjust the Threshold fader (the first on the left) to a level just above that at which
the Threshold’s VU meter is peaking during the quiet passages (see below). This will shut out the sound –
visual confirmation is given by the VU meter on the right, which should now display no activity.
5. You will probably find that the default settings for Attack, Hold and Release work quite well, but
experiment with adjusting them if you wish.
6. Now save this file again.
You have just seen here a simple example of using a noise gate. Noise gates can be used to great effect and for
a large number of applications (including with a drum kit to cut out the bleed between mics). Applications like
that are more complicated and require a greater understanding of the noise gate's many parameters.
15.15 Sstillwell Chorus and Delay Effects
If you have ever owned an
acoustic guitar then you probably
know what a chorus effect is. You
might have used a chorus pedal at
some time to make your guitar
sound fuller and richer, almost like
two or more guitars.
REAPER includes a number of
chorus effects. Shown here is
Sstillwell's Chorus_Stereo.
This uses similar principles to the
delay plug-in that we encountered
earlier. It has a number of
additional controls, the most
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important of which is Number of Voices. Try it and see! This is another plug-in where you’ll find the wet/dry
mix control and bypass toggle tick box (top right) can be very useful.
Other chorus/delay effects from Sstillwell include a mono Chorus effect, Delay_Pong (creating a delay effect
which can be ping-ponged between left and right speakers), and Delay_Tempo (a simple delay effect). For a
really unusual delay effect, try experimenting with remaincalm's floaty delay.
15.16 Noise Reduction with ReaFir
ReaFir is a multipurpose dynamics plug-in that almost defies categorisation or description. It can act as an EQ,
a Compressor, a Noise Gate, and more. In this example, you will see how it can be used for noise reduction. The
need for a noise reduction plug-in can arise when an otherwise good track has some unwanted background
noise on it. This might, for example, be hiss or rumble, or the sound of an air conditioner.
ReaFir can be used to remove such sounds from your tracks in real time. In order to do this, you must first
identify a passage on the track (perhaps a second or two) where you have recorded the unwanted noise by
itself. This is likely to be at the very beginning of the track.
Example and Procedure
In overview, the
procedure is this:
1. Insert ReaFir
in the FX
window of the
track
containing the
recorded
items with the
unwanted
noise.
2. Position the
play cursor at
the start of a
passage
containing
just the
unwanted
noise.
3. Set ReaFir to
Subtract
mode.
4. Set Edit Mode
to Precise.
5. Select the
Option to Automatically build noise profile.
6. Play the track only for the duration of the passage containing the noise, then stop the playback.
7. You should see that ReaFir has built a profile of the unwanted noise. This will be marked with a red line
(see above right).
8. Now uncheck the box labelled Automatically build noise profile.
9. Return the play cursor to the start of the song and play it.
10. You should now find that as the song plays, the noise that you profiled by following steps 1. to 5. has
now been removed from your output..
Note: You might be a little puzzled as to when to use a noise gate and when to use noise reduction software
such as ReaFir. The answer is usually quite simple. Noise reduction is suitable for removing a background noise
that is fairly constant, such as an electrical hum, whereas a noise gate is better at dealing with occasional noise,
such as a vocalist's breathing sounds.
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15.17 Multiband Compression with ReaXComp
Applied to the Master, Multiband Compression can be a useful tool for adding body, warmth and volume to your
final mix. It is outside the scope of this guide to suggest just how heavily or lightly you should apply your
Multiband Compressor. Many audio engineers believe quite strongly that the contemporary trend being currently
pursued by the major record companies takes multiband compression too far.
Be that as it may, a
multiband compressor
works by applying
different rates of
compression to
different frequency
bands. This lets you
shape the sound much
more precisely than is
possible with a simple
compressor.
The ReaXComp default
settings include 4
bands. These are 0 to
200 Hz, 200 Hz to
1,000 Hz, 1,000 Hz to
5,000 Hz and above
5,000 Hz. However
you can add extra
bands or delete
superfluous ones. You
can also change the
band frequencies as
you wish. For example,
if you increase the top
frequency of Band 1
to, say, 250 Hz, then
that automatically becomes also the starting frequency for Band 2.
f you have not used a Multiband Compressor before, then you are advised to start cautiously and become more
adventurous as you gain in knowledge and confidence. You can experiment on any of the sample All Through
The Night project files that you have used elsewhere in this User Guide.
Example
1. Open one of your sample project files.
2. Insert ReaXComp in the FX window for the Master.
3. Play your project from the beginning.
4. It is quite likely that at this stage ReaXComp will have no effect on the sound. This will be the case if, as
shown right, the peak levels (green vertical bars) fall short of the threshold settings (red horizontal lines)
for each band (see example above) But you can still learn something!
5. Enable the Solo current band feature.
6. As the song plays, select in turn each of the four tabs, 1, 2, 3 and 4. This will enable you to hear
separately each of the frequency ranges that you are working on.
7. Now disable the Solo Current Band feature. Disable Auto makeup gain. This will need to be done
individually for each of the four band. If Auto makeup gain were to be left enabled, the volume of our
mix would be pumped up after we make our other changes.
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8.
As the song plays, adjust the threshold for each of the bands until they come just below the peaks for
each band. An example of this is shown here.
9.
The default Ratio
setting of 2:1 is
quite a “safe”
level. Try
increasing the ratio
for each of your
thresholds up to
around 4:1. If you
find this makes the
sound too
compressed, ease
the levels back
towards 2:1.
Remember, this is
an example, not a
model!
10. Even now, with
these fairly
conservative
settings, you
should notice the
difference with
ReaXComp
enabled and set to
bypass. When
enabled, the
different tracks
should bind together better into a mix.
11. If you wish, you can experiment with the various other controls, especially the Knee. This setting
determines how suddenly or gradually the compression is applied.
12. You can also experiment with the Gain controls if you wish, both for individual bands and for your overall
mix, but don't overdo it.
Using ReaXComp: Some Tips



Don’t use too many bands. Too many independently compressed bands can make your mix sound
disjointed. Many of the best mastering engineers use only as few as three bands.
Listen closely to the changes in sound as you adjust the various settings. One affects the other, so it is
important to take your time here.
The Attack settings determine how much time passes after the signal rises above the threshold before
the compressor kicks in.

The Releases settings determine how much time passes after the signal falls back below the threshold
before the compressor is released.

Try to adjust the Attack and Release settings so as to make the compressor come in and out unnoticed.

Especially when first using a Multiband Compressor in the Master, it is advisable to use the Gain settings
only to compensate for loss of volume due to compression, not to pump the signal up. A notable
exception here might be where one bandwidth needs to be adjusted slightly relative to the others.

It is often advisable to place a limiter (such as LOSER’s Master Limiter) after the Multiband Compressor in
your FX Chain.

Another, and completely, separate use for a Multiband Compressor is to compress a very specific
frequency within a track, for example as a de-esser or de-popper on a vocal track.
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15.18 LOSER’s TimeDifference Pan
Of the many JS plug-ins that are supplied with (or available for use with) REAPER, LOSER’s TimeDifference Pan
definitely merits a mention. It is simple to use, but very effective.
Sometimes you may feel that a
track you have recorded sounds
rather “thin” or “wimpish”. You’ll
want to fill it out a bit, or fatten it
up to make it sound richer,
warmer, fuller. One old trick is to
duplicate the track and run the
duplicate track a few ms behind
the original, but panned
differently. Fed back into the main mix, this can almost make the one instrument sound like two instruments at
times.
LOSER’s TimeDifference Pan plug-in effectively does all this for you – with much less time and trouble on your
part, and with very, very little CPU overhead. If you want to experiment with this plug-in to try out the effect for
itself, the Bouzouki track on All Through The Night.RPP lends itself to this quite well.
15.19 LOSER’s Exciter
LOSER’s Exciter plug-in is a
simple way of putting some high
end sparkle back into an
otherwise possibly dull mix
Problems with individual
instruments should be fixed on
their own tracks. However, you
might still wish to add some
vitality to the overall mix Place the
Exciter at or near the beginning of the Master FX chain and see for yourself. Note these parameters:
Frequency – the frequency above which you want to add the sparkle. Try experimenting in a range of about
2000 Hz to 4500 Hz. Sometimes, you may need to go even higher for the best results.
Clip Boost – the amount by which you wish to boost the volume above this frequency. Be gentle at first.
Harmonics – the amount of Harmonics you want to add to the mix (go easy on this one).
Another plug-in in a similar vein is the JS:SStillwell/exciter.
15.20 SSTillwell's HugeBooty
This is a simple plug-in that can
be used to enhance the bass
frequencies on any track.
Try setting the required frequency
first, then gradually increasing
drive and mix until you like what
you hear.
15.21 Some Unusual JS Plug-ins
15.21.1
Utility/bufsave
Placed as the first FX chain item (or, for MIDI tracks, immediately after the synth) and at the end of the chain,
this adds feedback to the chain (see example below). Up to 100 buffer slots are available. Use the same slot for
both instances of bufsave on the same track, and do not use that same slot number on any other track.
The FX In between the two instances of bufsave could be a solitary simple effect (such as a simple delay, or
remaincalm's floaty delay) or, as shown here, a whole sequence of effects.
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The other four
faders manage
the audio flow.
They
determine
separately for
each bufsave
instance the
levels of
source to
buffer mix,
buffer to
buffer mix,
buffer to
destination mix and source to destination mix. In particular, source to buffer mix acts as a feedback control.
When working with feedback, be cautious. As a precaution, initially set both source to buffer mix faders some
way to the left. You can then slowly fade these up more as required.
Interesting sounds can be obtained using more than one pair of bufsave plug-ins in an FX chain, with each pair
being allocated its own unique slot.
15.21.2
Sstillwell/thunderkick
This one can be positively scary! It
adds a bottom end thunder-like
sound to a track. You could try
using it on a bass drum, or a synth
or even an electric bass … or
anywhere where you want to
create that atmosphere.
Its four faders are quite easy to
work with. You'll likely get the best
results without too much
experimenting.
15.21.3
Remaincalm_org/tonegate
Tonegate is a tone generator
triggered off a gate, to add sine,
square or noise tones. It is made
more interesting by the addition of
pitch and fade in/fadeout controls.
This plug-in really gives you plenty
of opportunity to be creative.
Originally intended for use with kick
or snare, it is remarkably versatile.
Try it out on your electric guitar, for
example.!
Experiment at first with the
Frequency fader and the
Waveform options, then let your
ears be your guide as you adjust
the other controls.
You can learn more about this and
other great remaincalm JS plugins by visiting remaincalm.org.
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15.22 Some Guitar FX Plug-ins
There’s a whole series of Jesusonic plug-ins especially designed to help you shape your guitar sounds. By and
large, they work in much the same way as your guitar pedals do. Here is a selection:
Plug In
Description
JS Guitar/amp-model
JS Guitar/amp-model-dual
Lets you select an amplifier to be simulated, such as a Fender or a
Marshall. Lots of parameters for you to tweak! The dual version of this
plug-in lets you choose different left-right speakers!
JS Guitar/chorus
The waveform is fed thru a series of delays whose delay times are slowly
modulated. The shape of the chorus sound is moulded primarily by the
Length, Number of Voices, and Rate settings.
JS Guitar/distortion
This plug-in works by distorting the shape and frequency content of the
waveform. The degree of distortion applied is determined principally by
the Gain and Hardness settings.
JS Guitar/flanger
Flanging is produced when a signal is mixed with a delayed copy of
itself, while the delay time continually changes. The flange effect is set
by adjusting the Delay Length, Rate and Feedback parameters.
JS Guitar/phaser
This four allpass filter stereo phaser effect settings include Rate
(Hz),Range (Min and Max), and Feedback.
JS Guitar/wah
The wah effect is a filter effect, produced by the Position, Top
Resonance, Bottom Resonance and Filter Distortion settings.
JS Guitar/tremolo
Tremelo is produced by low-frequency variation in a sound's amplitude
envelope, achieved by setting Frequency (Hz) and Amount (dB).
It is not suggested that you will want to use all these effects
at once, but if you do use more than one of these, then the
effect is cumulative. The order in which you apply them will
determine how the output sounds. As a starting point, one
possible order is shown on the right.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t hold back from
experimenting with other FX ordering, to see what creative
sounds you can produce!
Filter (e..g.Wah or Phaser)
Compressor
Distortion
EQ
Pitch Change (e.g. Vibrato)
Modulator (e.g. Flange or Chorus)
Level Controller (e.g. Tremelo or Limiter)
Echo (such as Reverb)
15.23 Some Other REAPER JS Plug-ins
This next part of this chapter will give you an overview of some of the other wonderful Jesusonic plug-ins
supplied with REAPER. It is only a small selection, and the fact that any plug-in isn’t included in this table in no
way implies that it is inferior to any of those that are included.
Plug In
Description
JS IX/StereoPhaseInverter
Four choices, Normal Phase, Invert Left, Invert Right or Invert Both.
JS IX/PhaseAdjustingRouter
A stereo phase inverter with the addition of selectable input and output
channels. This can be used, for example, to create a fuller, more vibrant
sound from a single mono track.
JS LOSER/DDC
A custom designed compressor suitable for use with Digital Drums.
JS LOSER/SPLimiter
A simple peak limiter with a single control, Threshold. This can be used to
prevent an individual track from clipping.
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Plug In
Description
JS LOSER/gfxGoniometer
Place it at or near the end of the FX
chain of a stereo track, folder, or the
Master
You will see a visual representation
of the movement of the sound within
the stereo field.
JS LOSER/StereoEnhancer
Used to create an enhanced stereo effect in a stereo track, folder, bus or
Master. Works by adjusting the width panning of high and low frequencies
independently, and to define the crossover point between the two.
Other stereo manipulation plug-ins include Liteon/pseudostereo and
Sstillwell/stereowidth.
JS LOSER/Waveshaping
Distortion
A delightfully easy to use plug-in that adds distortion to a track.
JS Meters/tuner
Insert this into a new track and arm for recording, then tune your guitar.
JS Meters/vumeter
Insert this into any track when you want monitor its VU levels closely.
JS Misc/tonifier
An interesting plug-in that creates sound effects by shifting pitch or
frequency for audio blocks of a determined size.
JS SStillwell/ozzifier
Especially good for fattening or doubling a vocal track.
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Plug In
Description
JS SStillwell/expander
The opposite of a compressor! Can restore dynamics to a mix that sounds
overcompressed. This works by further attenuating the volume of the
signal when it falls below a given threshold.
JS SStillwell/hpflpf
Adds a high pass filter and low pass filter to a track or Master. Useful, for
example, for removing bottom end rumble.
JS SStillwell/badbussmojo
A nonlinear waveshaper with a difference.
Use in particular the nonlinearity, knee and mod settings to make a piece
sound a little less perfect and a little more “rootsy” and authentic.
JS SStillwell/louderizer
A simple plug-in with two controls, used to make a track or mix louder.
JS Pitch/superpitch
One of a number of plug-ins that can be used to change pitch.
JS Filters/autopeakfilter
A neat plug-in that lets you create autowah type effects, essentially by
adjusting center frequencies and filter width. The closer together are the
values of the min and max center frequency and the lower the octave
width setting, the more dramatic will be the effect.
JS Filters/dc_remove
A DC offset removal plug-in.
JS Utility/limiter
A simple plug-in. The Max Vol control can be set to prevent clipping in the
Master track when you are experimenting with sounds and mixing.
JS Utility/volume
A simple plug-in that increases or attenuates volume. Place it at the start
of an FX chain to adjust track or item volume before FX are applied.
JS Utility/phase_adjust
Another very simple plug-in, used to adjust the phase of a track or item.
Over 200 Jesusonic plug-ins are supplied with REAPER. Hopefully, this chapter has given you more than a few
good pointers, but it is not possible to document them all in this User Guide. For more information check out
REAPER's Wiki – go to wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Jesusonic,
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15.24 Installing Extra JS Plug-ins
You can find more JS plug-ins that are available free of charge at stash.reaper.fm/tag/JS-Effects
To install any of these, follow this sequence:
1. Download the effect and (if necessary) unzip the file.
2. If the JS effect file has a .txt extension, edit the file name to remove this.
3. Copy the effect to your REAPER Application Data Effects folder. You can find this by giving (within
REAPER) the command Options, Show REAPER resource path … If you wish, you can place it in a
sub-folder within the Effects folder.
4. Close and restart REAPER.
Some JS FX come with other files (such as data files or image files). As a rule, data files are placed in a subfolder in the Application Data Data folder, and other files are placed relative to the JS FX file. In most cases
where this is necessary, the JS effect developer will supply specific instructions with the effect.
15.25 Specifying VST Plug-in Run Mode
Within the FX Browser you can right click over any VST plug-in to specify your preferred mode for running that
individual plug-in. Your options are
natively, as a separate process, as
a dedicated process, as embed
bridged, or as whichever of these
has been specified as the default
in your preferences.
This option can be used to help
quarantine REAPER from the
effects of any plug-in that you
suspect may be causing
performance and/or stability
problems.
15.26 Third Party Plug-in Presets
You can use your favourite third party VST and DirectX plug-ins with REAPER, such as Sonitus, Wave Arts, Sony,
and so on. Many of these plug-ins are supplied with a number of Presets. The method of accessing these will
vary depending on such factors as the plug-in’s native interface and which type of plug-in it is. In this section,
we will look at three examples. Armed with this information, you should be able to figure out where to find the
presets for any of your plug-ins.
Example 1
This example is of a popular DirectX
Sonitus plug-in, Phase. In this case, the
plug-in interface includes its own native
Presets section. Clicking on that (shown
left) displays a menu of supplied presets.
You can also store your own presets here if
you wish, as the Sonitus range of plug-ins
includes its own preset manager.
Notice that you can also use REAPER’s own
Preset Library to store your presets with
REAPER rather than with the plug-in. This
is accessed by clicking on the small +
button shown just to the left of the Param
button. This is especially useful when you are working with plug-ins that might not have their own native Preset
Manager.
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Example 2 (right)
This example shows a TWest VST plug-in, STEADY Pro.
This plug-in does not have its own native preset manager. However,
as with other plug-ins you can use the REAPER VST program
interface to create and manage your own presets.
Example 3 (left)
A Direct X plug-in this time, Sony’s Vibrato.
In this case, native presets do not appear when
clicking on the REAPER Preset drop down list
arrow. This will only display any presets that
you have created yourself.
In this example, right-click over any vacant
area of the plug-in’s GUI interface to display a
list of factory presets.
15.27 Adding FX Comments
Near the top right corner of every track FX window there is a small button displaying
three dots. Clicking this opens a window where you can type any comments you wish to
make about the currently selected FX and its settings.
15.28 Losing the Graphic User Interface (GUI)
There might be times when you might want to lose a VST plug-in's graphical user interface (GUI) and instead
display its parameters as a simple series of faders. This is when the UI button in REAPER's plug-in interface
comes in. Clicking this button causes the plug-in and its various controls to be displayed in a simpler format.
Here's an example, using the Terry West VST
Voc-EQ PRO ST plug-in. You might like this plugin, but perhaps not its rotary controls. Some
people find rotary controls quite difficult to
control with a mouse.
In that case, you might want to click the plug-ins
UI button (see position of mouse cursor), and
turn that graphical interface into this:
In REAPER's generic interface, every parameter is
controlled by a horizontal fader.
There is also an option on the Plug-ins, VST
page of your preferences settings to Default
VST to generic UI (instead of plug-in UI).
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16 More REAPER Routing Examples
This section is mainly intended for reasonably experienced users of DAW software, to show you some of the
more clever aspects of REAPER’s routing that are probably different from anything you’ve experienced before.
But hey, even if you’re a complete newb, you might like to have a look anyway. You might find it interesting …
or you might prefer to skip past it for now and come back to this chapter later.
Note: Some of the screen shots used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default theme. The actions and steps
required for the examples, however, are exactly the same in REAPER 5. In addition, the default REAPER 5
theme sports an additional feature on the TCP's track routing button. This displays for
each track one, two or three small “lights” each of which will be on or off. The first of
these indicates whether the master/parent send option is enabled; the second
whether that the track has one or more receives; the third (as shown here) whether
that the track has one or more sends. Hover the mouse over the button for a tooltip.
16.1
Controlled Bleed
Bleed is a term used when material intended to be recorded on to one track manages to overflow onto others.
This commonly happens:
 When more than one voice or instrument is recorded at the
same time, each with its own microphone. For example, you
might record a person singing and playing an acoustic guitar
at the same time, perhaps one vocal mike, one guitar mike.
However, you will find that some of the vocal will bleed on to
the guitar mike, and vice versa.
 With layered recording, when the headphones are so loud, or
ill-fitting, that the microphone being used for recording
actually picks up some of the output of the headphones.
Headphone bleed is bad, period. If, for example, you have an artist
who likes to hold one headphone to her ear while overdubbing a
vocal, then make sure the mix is sent to that ear only. Happily,
REAPER’s flexible routing makes this simple.
In the example shown (right), output from the Master is directed to both Speakers, but only one headphone.
The other kind of bleed, which we will call live recording bleed, can actually have some benefits. If all
microphones are positioned carefully and correctly, it can produce a warmer, fuller more natural sound than is
often obtainable from layered recording. (Layered recording is where each track is recorded one at a time). The
trouble is, the “all at once” method of recording it also has negatives – serious ones. For example:
 It isn’t possible to drop in and overdub a short passage to correct perhaps a vocal phrase or a couple of
bars on the guitar. Basically, the whole track has to be recorded again each time. Everything.
 Your mixing options are restricted. For example, if you need to add some presence or compression to
the vocal track, then you will also be adding it to the guitar bleed in the same track.
This is where REAPER’s routing capabilities can be so useful. They allow you have the best of both worlds – the
richer, fuller sound that you can get from adding a small amount of controlled bleed, but without the
disadvantages. Here’s how it works:
 Use layered recording, to ensure that each track is recorded cleanly.
 Use REAPER’s routing to add a little bleed where you want it, before or after any FX in the FX chain.
Example
This example demonstrates a simple use of routing to create a controlled bleed effect.
1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP
and save it as All Through The Night
BLEED.RPP
2. Mute the Bouzouki track. To keep this
example simple, we won’t be using it here.
3. Select the Vox track, right click over the
Volume control and set the number of track
channels to four.
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4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Display the FX Window for the Vox track. Add a Reverb FX of your choice. In this example, we are
using ReaVerbate which is included with REAPER.
After inserting the ReaVerbate plug-in (or whatever you are using), adjust its settings to suit. Click on
its 2 in 2 out button and use its pin connector to direct output to Channels 3 and 4 only (see right).
Display the routing window for the Vox track. Add Sends from the Vox
(stereo source Channels 3/4) to both Guitar tracks (channels 1/2), as
shown below. Pan these at about 70% left and 70% right respectively,
about –15dB, and Post FX. This ensures that the vocal track will be
heard crisply and cleanly from the center, whilst its reverb is directed
more to the left and right.
Play the song, with the Vox track Master/Parent send disabled. Adjust
the Send levels of Vox to both Guitar Tracks so that the Vox can only
just be discerned in the very background.
Enable the Master/Parent send on the Vox and play again. You may
need to tweak some reverb parameters and/or send levels. The Vox
should sound fuller and richer than before.
Save the file.
Now try this!
Remove the Reverb FX from the vocal track.
Remove the sends from the Vocal Track to the Guitar
Tracks.
Create a new track called Vox Reverb and insert a Reverb
FX of your choice.
Create a send from your Vox track to this Vox Reverb
track.
Create sends from the Vox Reverb track to both Guitar
tracks, Post FX.
Play the song, adjusting Send, Pan and Volume levels to suit.
Disable the master/parent send of the Reverb track – you
should notice a significant difference.
16.2
Splitting Channels
This example will introduce you to a feature in REAPER that
possibly delivers you more mixing power than any other
single aspect: the ability to create and use multiple channels.
Doesn’t sound very interesting or exciting does it? It’s not an
easy concept to understand at first, so, just for fun, we’ll
take as simple an example as we can to introduce the concept.
You have an acoustic guitar track recorded. You should by now have a general idea at least about how to shape
its sound with EQ, or fatten it with a little delay. But in this example, we’re going to take it to another level: we
can split the recorded track by different frequency bands
into, say, three different paired channels, and perhaps pan
different frequencies differently, or add some trailing delay
just to one channel (i.e., one selected frequency range).
Why would you want to do this? With this particular example,
maybe you would, maybe you wouldn’t. But being able to
create and use channels in this way opens up many creative
mixing and editing possibilities. We’ll start with this example
because it’s a fairly simple one to put into practise. After that,
we’ll look at a more complex case.
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Example
1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as
All Through The Night Channels.RPP
2. We are (for the purpose of this example) going to work
only with the track Gtr Body. Mute all other tracks
except this. To do this, hold the Alt key and click on the
Mute button for this track.
3. We now are going to create three tracks – let’s call them
Ghost Tracks – to mirror each of the three bands that we
are going to split our Gtr Body track into. Create these
three tracks and label them Low, Medium, and High.
See illustration on right.
4. Display the routing window for the Gtr Body track. Set
the number of Channels (near the top) to 6, and create
sends to each of the three tracks that you have just
created.
5. Send Audio from Channels 1/2 to 1/2 on the Low track,
Channels 3/4 to 1/2 on the Medium track, and
Channels 5/6 to 1/2 on the High track (see illustration
right).
6. Getting complicated? Then make sure that your Routing
Matrix is in view.
7. Now open the FX window for the Gtr Body track and
insert the JS LOSER/3BandSplitter.
8. Set the first frequency fader to about 200 Hz and the
second to about 2000 Hz.
9. Solo the Low track and play.
Notice you hear only the Low
frequencies.
10. Hold Ctrl Alt and click on the
Solo button on the Medium
track. Notice you hear only
the Medium frequencies.
11. Hold Ctrl Alt and click on the
Solo button on the High track. Notice you hear only the High frequencies.
12. Experiment adjusting the faders in the 3 Band Splitter and playing back. Notice how the sound changes.
Set them back to their
defaults afterwards.
13. Now select the Medium
track, open its FX window
and add JS:Guitar/chorus.
Adjust the settings to suit.
14. Now unsolo any solo tracks,
unmute any muted tracks to
restore all tracks to your mix.
You’ll probably want to fade
down the original Gtr Body
track to about – 6 dB and the
Bouzouki to about – 10 dB
(or mute altogether).
15. Make any further adjustments you want to your Delay Chorus settings. An example (but only an
example) is shown above.
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16. Experiment with panning the
three bands differently, to
create a fuller sound.
17. Save this file.
The plug-ins supplied with REAPER
include several which can be used
for channel manipulation, including
a four band splitter (shown here)
and a five band splitter.
16.3
Full and Fat Vocals with ReaDelay
This next example shows how you can combine REAPER’s
channel splitting capabilities with the ReaDelay plug-in to
create a simple effect for fattening up thin vocals – all on a
single track! The flow chart on the right illustrates how this
will be done. The signal flow shown has this effect:
 It creates a sidechain which is fed into the ReaDelay
plug-in to fatten the original sound and to fill it out.
 It uses ReaComp to apply some compression to the
main vocal.
 The delayed signals are then mixed back in with the
original signal. Further compression is then applied.
if you wish, you could apply more FX to any of:
 The original dry recording.
 The sidechained and delayed signal.
 The final mix of the dry and sidechained (delayed)
signals together.
Note that the order of the plug-ins in the FX chain is significant: if you change the order, you change the
outcome! This issue will be examined again more closely in later examples.
Example
1.
Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All
Through The Night READELAY.rpp.
2. Solo the Vox track. For the purpose of this example, we will be
working with the vocal track alone.
3. Display the routing window for this track and set the number of track
channels to 4.
4. Open the FX Window for this track. If there are any plug-ins already
in the chain, remove them.
5. Now insert ReaDelay into the FX chain.
6. Click on the 2 In 2 Out button to display the connector matrix. Leave
the Inputs at their default (Channels 1 and 2), but adjust the
Outputs so that they are Channel 3 (Left) and Channel 4 (Right),
and only these two channels (as shown above).
7. Click on the Add Tap button to add a second page.
8. Set Page 1 to a Delay Length (time) of about 3.5 ms and musical length 0.
9. Set Page 1 Pan to about 50% Left. This shows on the fader as –0.5. See the illustration below.
10. Set Page 2 to a Delay Length (time) of about 6ms or 7 ms and musical length 0.
11. Set Page 2 Pan to about 50% Right. This shows on the fader as 0.5.
12. Make sure that both pages are Enabled and that neither is soloed.
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13. Set the Wet level to about - 9 dB and the Dry to about -2 dB. Because we have not yet added a channel
mixer you will not yet hear
the delay effect.
14. Insert ReaComp into the
FX Chain. Leave the Main
Inputs and Outputs both at
their default settings, which
are Channel 1 (Left) and
Channel 2 (Right).
15. Set the Ratio to about
6:1. Adjust the Threshold
so that for louder passages
Output is reduced by
about 6 or 7 dB.
16. We can now join our
channels back together
again, to mix the delayed
signal with the compressed
signal. Insert the
JS:IX/Mixer_8xS_1xS
into the FX chain (after
ReaComp).
17. Fade all but the first two
faders all the way down;
adjust the other two faders
as you wish (see right).
18. Add another instance of
ReaComp after the mixer.
Adjust settings to suit.
19. Play the file, adjusting the
track volume faders to suit
your ears. Compare the
vocal sound with FX
alternately enabled and
bypassed. With these FX
enabled, the vocal should sit
above the mix rather more
easily.
Note: In this example, the order in which the FX are applied is significant. With the order that we have used,
the sidechained (delayed) signals do not go thru the compressor, with the result that these signals retain more
of their original dynamics.
16.4
REAPER Send Types
Every send is defined as being one of three types - Post-Fader (Post-Pan), PreFader (Post-FX), or Pre-FX. The default type is Post-Fader (Post-Pan), but
this can be changed in your preferences if you wish (Track/Sends defaults page).
Different send types send the audio at different stages in the audio signal flow . For example, the volume of a
send that is Post-Fader (Post-Pan) will be affected by changes made to the source track's volume fader. A send
that is Pre-Fader (Post FX) will not. An audio send that is Pre-FX will not be affected by any FX in the source
track's FX chain. For more complete information, consult the flow charts at the end of Chapter 6.
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16.5
Channel Splitting and Pitch Shifting
You’ve already seen how ReaPitch can
be used, for example, to create vocal
harmonies from a lead vocal track. Now
you will see how by splitting a vocal
track into several channels you can
create a whole vocal ensemble, with
different FX and plug-ins being applied
to different harmony parts.
This is especially useful, for example, if
you want to compress your vocal
harmonies before lowering them, to
make them sit smoothly and subtly
behind the lead vocal.
The illustration (right) demonstrates this
concept.
In summary, this is what happens:







The Vocal Track is assigned six
channels.
Two instances of ReaPitch are
inserted, and the signal from
channels 1 and 2 is fed to both of
these.
The output from the two ReaPitch
instances are directed via
channels 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 respectively to two separate instances of ReaComp.
In each case, you will need to specify Channels 3 and 4 (ReaComp 1) and Channels 5 and 6 (ReaComp 2)
as the input source for your compressors. Auxiliary Inputs should be set to nothing, and the Output
channels should be the same as the Input Channels.
The output of the two compressors is sent to a single instance of ReaEQ,
as is the original signal on Channels 1 and 2. In order to do this, you
should make Input 1 for ReaEQ Channels 1, 3 and 5 (see illustration
right), and Input 2 should be Channels 2, 4 and 6.
By sending the three different audio streams directly into ReaEQ we cut
out the need for a channel mixer. However, in doing this it makes it more
difficult to adjust the relative volume levels of the three audio streams.
In this example, you could use separate instances of the JS utility
Volume plug-in in each chain to do this.
The three streams are joined back together at ReaEQ, from which they
are fed to the volume fader and then to the Master.
This method can be employed, for example, when you wish to use more than
the 16 channels that can be handled by any of the mixer plug-ins. You can in
fact use up to 64 channels.
Again, the order in which FX are placed in the chain is important. One possible
strategy is to insert them in reverse order of their channels, i.e. highest
channel numbers first. The critical factor is to place those FX which both take their input from and direct their
output to Channels 1/2 after any FX whose output is directed to sidechain channels (such as 3/4 or 5/6).
Tip: If you forget to create your required track channels before loading your plug-ins into a track's FX chain,
then you can still add them "on the fly". To do this, just click on the small + button in the bottom left corner of
the Plug-in Pin Connector window - see above.
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16.6
Audio Ducking
The next example will show you how to use a
technique known as sidechaining to create
an effect known as ducking. Put simply, this
describes what happens when a compressor
is set up to ensure that the volume on one
track is automatically lowered whenever the
volume on another track is raised.
You might want to do this, for example, when
working with a kick and a bass. In this
example, we’ll use the Bouzouki, Guitar and
Vocal tracks in our sample project, just to
show you how it’s done. We will use audio
ducking to ensure that the overall volume of
the instruments are automatically lowered
slightly whenever there is a signal on the
Vocal track. This helps lift the vocal track
slightly above the mix. In order to do this, we
use multi channel routing in conjunction with
the ReaComp compressor.
This diagram (above right) illustrates the
concept of how we use sidechaining to
achieve our ducking effect. Let’s take it step by step.
Example
1. Open the project All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night DUCK.RPP.
2. If there are any tracks other than Gtr Body, Gtr
Neck, Vox and Bouzouki, delete them, so that
you are left with just these four tracks. Adjust the
volume and pan faders of these tracks to get a
reasonable mix.
3. If necessary, change track order so that Vox is
Track 1, Gtr Body Track 2, Gtr Neck Track 3 and
Bouzouki Track 4.
4. In the Track Control Panel, select the Vox track
and press Ctrl T to insert a new track after this. Name this new track Instrument Submix.
5. Click on the Folder icon to make this track a folder. Make the Bouzouki track the last track in the folder.
6. We need to add two more channels to the Instrument Submix so that it can receive a sidechain signal
from the Vox. Right click over the Volume fader for this track, then set the number of channels to four (as
shown above right).
7. We now need to create a sidechain to enable the various instrument and Instrument Submix track to
detect the signal level of the Vox
track.
8. Drag and drop from the ROUTE
button on the Vox track to the
ROUTE button on the Instrument
submix. This will create a send and
open the controls window for that
send. Accept the default send type
Post Fader, Post Pan) and set the
destination channels to 3/4 (as
shown right).
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9. Next, display the FX window for the Instrument Submix Track. Add the Cockos plug-in VST: ReaComp
(Cockos).
10. Notice that this plug-in includes an item called Detector input. This is where we tell REAPER that we
want the Vox level, not the Bouzouki level to control when the compressor kicks in. This Detector input
offers two basic choices – Main Input and Auxiliary
Input.
11. We need to ensure that Main Input is defined as the media
on the Submix track (Channels 1 and 2), and Auxiliary Input
is defined as the stream coming from the Vox track on
Channels 3 and 4.
12. Click on the 4 In 2 Out button and if they are not already
set, set the assignments as Main Input L - Receive from
Channel 1, Main Input R - Receive from Channel 2, Auxiliary
Input L – Receive from Channel 3, and Auxiliary Input 4 –
Receive from Channel 4. These are as shown on the right:
most probably these will be the default settings.
13. Now display the Detector Input drop down list and select
Auxiliary Input L + R (right). This ensures that the compression will be applied to the instrument mix in
response to changes in the volume (strength) of the incoming signal on channels 3/4 from the vox track.
When the volume of the vox exceeds the threshold setting, the instrument mix will be compressed.
14. Now play the song. Adjust the Threshold (first vertical fader) downward, so that during Vocal passages
the VU meter peaks above the fader level.
15. Slide the Ratio fader right until you are satisfied with the
overall amount of reduction on the Instruments. This will
probably be somewhere between 4:1 and 6:1. Observe the
flashing red bar to the left of the Output V U. This indicates
the amount of reduction that is occurring on the submix
track. In the example shown below, this is –2.5 db.
16. Notice what is happening here: the volume signal from one
track (the vocal) is triggering the compressor on the instruments folder.
17. Save the file.
Shown are possible compressor
settings that might be appropriate
in this case. The trick is not to make
the compression too obvious, but to
have it just squeezing the peaks of
instrument mix down a little to
make room for the vocal.
Tip: A quick way to create a
sidechain from one track to another
is to drag and drop from that track's
ROUTING button directly to the
window of the plug-in on the
receiving track.
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16.7
Double Ducking
This example should only be attempted after you have completed the example in the previous section Audio
Ducking. It builds on the work you did there, to apply a further instance of sidechaining, this time to the
Master. We will set up another instance of ReaComp, this time in the Master Track, to ensure that another layer
of gentle compression is applied to the entire mix during the vocal passages. The same audio stream is used to
apply ducking in two different ways – hence the term double ducking. As with many of the other examples
included in this section, the main purpose of this example is to help you to understand how to use REAPER’s
routing capabilities. The example itself is of secondary importance.
In the previous example, we used a send from the Vox track to Channels 3 and 4 on the Instrument Mix track
and then used these as Auxiliary Inputs to gently compress the Instrument Mix. Because the Instrument Mix is
itself being routed to the Master, that Vox track send will automatically also be sent to the Master on Channels 3
and 4. We can use this just to smooth out the mix a
little.
Example
1. Open the file All Through The Night DUCK.rpp
and save it as All Through The Night DOUBLE
DUCK.RPP.
2. In either the TCP or the MCP, select the Master
Track. Right-click on the Volume fader for the Master and ensure that the number of Channels is set to
four (above right). Close this box.
3. Display the FX Window for the Master Track and insert ReaComp.
4. Open the pin connector window. As before, select Vox as the Sidechain receive from channel.
5. Set the Ratio to around 2.0
to 1.
6. Display the Detector
Input drop down list and
select Auxiliary Input L +
R.
7.
Play the song.
8. During the vocal passages,
adjust the left hand vertical
Threshold fader so that the
compression kicks in gently.
Raise the vertical Wet
fader by about a decibel or
two.
9. Make sure that Limit
Output is selected. An
example of how your
settings might look is
shown here.
10. That’s it! You can now save
your file.
These last couple of examples have introduced you to how you can use sidechaining for ducking. You can use
sidechaining in conjunction with a number of other REAPER plug-ins, including ReaGate, ReaXComp, ReaComp
and ReaFir.
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16.8
Using VCA for Track Volume Control
In Chapter 5 we examined REAPER's VCA grouping capabilities in some details. In addition, there are available
JS VCA plug-ins that enable you to use one track to control the volume of any other track or selection of tracks.
The JS Utility VCA plug-ins allow you to do this, if you wish, without the need for creating groups or folders.
They enable you to control the volume of any selection of tracks. They are easy to use and give you great
flexibility. Two plug-ins are required – one for a controlling master track, one for each of the slave tracks it
controls. You can use REAPER's native JS: Utility VCA plug-ins, or you might prefer Witti's more fully featured
variations of these. You can download these at stash.reaper.fm/v/17673/plugins.zip
In this example we will use REAPER's native JS plug-ins. The procedure is as follows:
Example
1. Open the file All Through The Night and save it as All Through The Night JSVCA. Add an empty track
to your project. Name this track something like VCA Master.
2. Add the plug-in JS:Utility/
vca_master to the FX
chain for this track. As you
can see (right), this has only
one parameter, Volume.
3. Add the plug-in JS:Utility/
vca_slave to the first of
the tracks whose volume
you wish to control, I.e The
Gtr Neck track.. This too has a simple interface. This plug-in should be the last in the track's FX chain.
4. You now need to create a send from the Vol Control track to this slave track. The easiest way to do this is
simply drag and drop from the ROUTE button on the Vol Control track to the slave track's track panel.
This causes a send control window (shown right) to
appear. Make sure that you select the receiving slave
track's sidechain channels (shown here, 3/4) as the
destination of the send.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the Gtr Body track. This
track will now be under the control of the vca_master
plug-in on the VCA Master track.
6. That's it! You can now use the Volume (dB) fader
on the vca_master plug-in to control the volume of
all slave tracks. A handy tip is to add a parameter
control to the track panel. To do this, within the
plug-in window click first on the Param button,
then on Show in track controls. This will allow
you to adjust the parameter's level without the FX
window needing to be open (see right). Another
option is to add an automation envelope for this control.
7. To also display the track parameter control in the mixer panel, simply enable Show FX parameters
when size permits from the Mixer's context menu. For more information about this, see Chapter 11.
8. Note also that the VCA master's Volume (dB) control can be assigned an automation envelope if you
wish. For more information about automation envelopes see Chapter 17.
Note: The Witti VCA plugins
The Witti VCA controls plugins are similar to REAPER's native JS versions, the main difference being the addition
of drop down lists to enable you to easily select which paired channels are to be used for the sends and
receives. By using different permutations of send and receive channels, you are able to set up multiple instances
of the VCA master control plug-in. These can be used independently of each other to control the volume on
different track selections.
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16.9
ReaSamplomatic and ReaDrums
This example uses the ReaSamplomatic plug-in provided with REAPER in conjunction with the ReaDrums
track template created by jamester. You can download this template from the REAPER Stash on the REAPER
web site. To check the current address for this, visit the REAPER Forum and check jamester's signature, or do a
search. After downloading, it should be copied into your Track Templates folder. For XP users, this is
C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Application Data\REAPER\TrackTemplates
The template does get modified from time to time, so that the version that you download might not be exactly
the same as the one used in the description that follows. This should not matter. Also, in the example, we will
using the MIDI Editor for demonstration purposes, but if you have a keyboard, you can use that instead.
Example
1. Create a new empty project file and save it as ReaDrums Example.RPP
2. Right click over the Track Panel Area and from the menu choose Insert track from template then your
ReaDrums template. Notice that a track will be inserted, with eight individual named instances of
ReaSamplOmatic5000 inserted in its FX chain.
3. Notice that each instance of ReaSamplOmatic5000 is set up differently. From top to bottom, these are
Kick, Snare, Perc 1, Perc 2, Perc 3, Perc 4, HH Cl, HH Op. Near the bottom left corner you can select a MIDI
channel for each sample. The default is 0, which means all channels. Shown here is the Snare, which has
been set to use channel 1. In this illustration, an audio sample has also been inserted. That's the next step!
4. Display the Media Explorer – Ctrl Alt X – and select a folder where your samples are stored.
5. In the ReaDrums FX window select the item Kick. From REAPER's Media Explorer window you can drag
with your mouse the required sample file and drop it into the ReaSamp window, in the black area above the
Browse button.
Alternatively, you
can either use
the plug-in's
Browse button
to make your
selection, or
select any
existing item in
Arrange view
and click on
Import item
from arrange.
Another option is
to click on the
[list] button to
open a window
where you can
build up a list of
samples. This list
can be sorted by
file name, or by
peak or RMS
values.
6. Now repeat this
process in the
other seven
ReaSamp
instances, one
at a time, for
each of the
other seven
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instruments, each time inserting a different appropriate sample. If you wish, rename any of the ReaSamplOmatic5000 instances to reflect the sample name.
7. Notice that each instance of ReaSamplOmatic5000 uses different Note start and Note end settings. This
makes allows the notes (and any other events) for the different instruments to share a single MIDI item.
8. Make sure the ReaDrums track is not record armed. Save the file.
9. Along the timeline select the first 10 seconds or so. With your ReaDrums track selected, choose the
Insert, New MIDI Item command to insert a MIDI item.
10. Double click on this item to open the MIDI Editor. From the menu choose View, Piano Roll Notes,
Triangle and View, Mode, Named notes. If necessary, scroll up or down to display your samples. F or
each sample, its row number will correspond to its ReaSamplOmatic5000 note start/end setting. For
example, in this case the snare (shown above) will be row 37.
11. Compose a few notes, similar to the concept shown below. Don't copy this pattern, make a simple
composition of your own.
11. Close the MIDI
Editor and save
your file.
12. If you wish, you
can also use
REAPER’s
channel routing
to send
different parts
to different
tracks, where
you can add
FX, adjust
panning,
volume, etc.
Let’s suppose
we wish to
apply some FX
to the kick and
the snare individually. Right click over the Volume fader for the ReaDrums track and set the number of
channels to four. We’ll start with just one or two.
13. Press Ctrl T twice to add two more tracks. Name the first of these tracks Kick, the second Snare.
14. In the ReaDrums track set the number of Channels to 4, and create a send to the new Kick Track
(using channel 3) and the Snare Track (using channel 4).
15. Open the FX Window for the ReaDrums track.
16. Select the first ReaSamplomatic5000 instance, the Kick. Set both of its VST Outs to Channel 3.
17. Select the Snare ReaSamplomatic5000 instance and set both of its VST Outputs to Channel 4.
18. Now play the music. Notice that the Kick and the Snare have been rerouted to their respective tracks.
You could now place any FX that you wish in the FX windows for those tracks. Save the file.
19. If you add more channels to the original ReaDrums track, you can now repeat this effect for any other of
your Drum parts.
Tip: If you download the track template ReaDrums Rack from the REAPER forum, you will find that in this
template all the individual tracks, along with their routing, have already been set up for you.
ReaSamplOmatic5000 is a very powerful and flexible piece of software. Its many capabilities and applications
extend well beyond the simple example outlined above, and beyond the scope of this User Guide. They could
well command an entire manual in their own right! For example:
 Each instance of ReaSamplOmatic5000 has its own independent set of controls (volume, pan, pitch bend,
attack, sustain, release, decay, etc).
 Changes made to the attack, delay, sustain and or release settings will be represented on the graph
(envelope) that is superimposed on the sample waveform in the ReaSamplOmatic5000 window.
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The Max Voices rotary can be used to select any number between 1 and 16. However, if you need more
than 16 you can type in any number up to 128. This, for example, allows ReaSamplOmatic5000 to be
used with long cymbal rides. Notice too that the number of active voices is shown during playback next to
the max voices value.
 For most of the controls you can create arrange view automation envelopes and/or control them using
parameter modulation. These topics are explained in Chapters 16 and 17.
Reasamplomatic5000 can be challenging for inexperienced users and requires a sound general understanding of
MIDI and sampling concepts. Another example follows below. For more information about the various
Reasamplomatic5000 parameters and controls, see the free REAPER Effects Guide, available at

http://www.cockos.com/~glazfolk/ReaEffectsGuide.pdf
16.10 Round-Robin Multisampling
The round-robin option can be used in conjunction with the probability setting to determine whether any given
instance will produce a sound from any given note. For example, at 100% it will play every note. At 50% it will
ignore every other
note. This can be used
to introduce variation
into your sampled
sounds. Consider an
example where you
use a separate track for
each percussion
instrument – kick,
snare, etc.
Shown here is a simple
arrangement for the
snare track, with two
instances of
ReaSampllOmatic5000,
each containing a
separate and subtly
different snare sample.
For both instances
round-robin and
Remove played
notes from FX chain
MIDI stream have
been enabled. For
Snare 1 probability is
set to 50%, for Snare2
100%. This ensures
that during playback
each of the two
instances (and
therefore two samples) will be used alternately, in rotation. If in this example you had three samples rather than
two, probabilities would be set at 33% (1 in 3), 50% (1 in 2) and 100% (1 in 1) respectively. Four four samples,
these settings would be 25% (1 in 4), 33% (1 in 3), 50% (1 in 2) and 100% (1 in 1), and so on.
More complex variations are possible. For example, a JS: MIDI/midi_choke plug-in is available which can be
used in conjunction with ReaSamplOmatic5000 to help control whether any sound will be produced from a given
note. An example showing how this can be used can be seen here:
http://forum.cockos.com/showpost.php?p=1278385&postcount=28
16.11 Multi Output VSTi Plug-ins
You may well use these functions to set up multi output VSTis only once or twice but it’s well worth taking the
time and trouble. This will give you a much better understanding of the inner workings of REAPER compared
with downloading a track template.
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Example 1: Paired Audio Tracks
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
3.
Right click over the empty area of the Track Control Panel and from the menu choose Insert virtual
instrument on new track…
When the FX browser window is shown,
double-click on the required instrument. This
example uses the 8-output version of
Grizzly (4 stereo channels). You could use
any multi output instrument that you wish.
You will be asked to confirm whether you
want the appropriate number of tracks built
for the particular instrument that you have
chosen (see right).
Click on Yes.
REAPER will now
insert the
instrument into
the FX chain for
the original
track, name it
and arm it for
recording. It will
also create all
the additional
tracks for you.
You now have a
single MIDI input
track for the VSTi
together with
four output audio tracks. Notice that in this example:
 Channels 1/2 from Track 1 are directed to Track 2, Channels 3/4 to Track 3, Channels 5/6 to Track 4
and Channels 7/8 to Track 5.
 No output is sent directly from Track 1 to
the Master.
You're now ready to load your instruments (in
this example, select a drum kit) and to start
playing.
Example 2: Separate MIDI Tracks
If you want a separate MIDI track for each VSTi
output channel, you should use this method. Again,
for the sake of the exercise, we'll use Grizzly, but you
would use the same method for any other multioutput synth.
1. Create a new track and name it. Open the
track’s FX window and add the required VSTi to
the track’s FX chain.
2. From the FX window Options menu choose Build 16 channels of MIDI routing to this track.
3. You now have a separate MIDI track for each channel. The MIDI output of each of these 16 tracks is sent
to the track on which you originally inserted the VSTi.
You have a number of options for assisting you with managing this set of tracks. For example, you can put the
MIDI Tracks in one folder, name the folder, color the tracks and hide them in the Mixer. To enable keyboard
input for the individual MIDI tracks:
 Make sure that the VSTi track is not armed for recording.
 Select all 16 MIDI tracks.
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

Right-click the Record Arm button and turn Input Monitoring button on for all 16 tracks.
For each track, set the MIDI input channel, from 1 to 16.
16.12 Using Parent Channels
Parent channels specify the set of channels on a child track to
which channels are routed on its parent track. For example, in
an eight channel folder track containing two child tracks of four
channels each, you could route the output of one of the child
tracks to channels 1-4 of the folder and the other to channels
5-8 of the folder if you wished. This would give you audio on all
eight channels of the parent.
16.13 Parallel FX Processing with the Channel Mixers
Parallel FX processing consists of splitting a
signal into separate chains and applying
different effects separately to these chains,
rather than one after another in a single chain.
Earlier in this chapter this technique was used
with the full fat vocals exercise. This section
takes this idea further, both by allowing more
channels and by allowing the pan setting as well
as volume level for each channel to be
controlled individually.
You'll be using the IX / Mixer 8xM-1xS which
open up more possibilities for you to split and
route your audio thru different channels, then
mix them back at the end to produce some truly
creative sounds and effects. The main difference
between this mixer and the one that you used
earlier is that this one works with individual
mono channels. The example that follows is designed to show you how this mixer can be set up and used. After
working thru it, you should be capable of using it for your own projects.
Example
In this example, we will send output from one instrumental track separately to a Distortion FX and a Reverb FX,
then mix the wet and dry signals back together, panning as required – all within one single track and without
using any busses. To do this,
we’ll use the IX Mixer 8xM
together with a couple of
other plug-ins supplied with
REAPER. The diagram above
illustrates conceptually what
we are going to achieve:
We will be running the signal
in parallel to the two FX. By
doing this, we ensure that
each effect is processed
separately before being
mixed. This is different from
the normal FX chain, which
processes effects sequentially.
1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night IX MIX.rpp
2. We are going to work on only the Bouzouki track. Solo this track.
3. Open the routing window for the Bouzouki track. Set the track channels to 6 then close this window.
4. Open the FX window for this track. If any FX are already there, remove them.
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5.
Insert the FX JS: Guitar Distortion. To start with, make the various control settings similar to that
shown here (but see note below!).
Note: In this case, at step 5 (above) you should adjust the parameter controls for the plug-in before you
open and use the pin connector. This is because you will not be able to hear or monitor any output sent
to channels 3 and 4 until later, when you add the channel mixer to the FX chain.
6.
Make sure that input is from Channels 1 and 2 only and output is to Channels 3 and 4 only, (see above).
7.
Now add ReaVerbate to
the FX Chain for the
Bouzouki.
8.
Select a preset of your
choice, adjust wet/dry
levels as you wish, then
set the Output to
Channels 5/6 as shown
right.
9.
Now insert the JS:
IX/Mixer_8xM-1xS at
the end of the Bouzouki
track's FX chain.
10. Play the song and
experiment with the
volume levels and pan
settings for your different channels. Experiment with changes also to the FX settings. One suggested
possible outcome is shown below.
11. Unsolo the Bouzouki track. Lower the track fader to blend it back into the mix. Save the file when
finished.
This is only a
simple example.
You could in effect
have up to four
separate FX chains
running in parallel
within this track.
And it’s very easy
then to move an
FX from one chain
to another, just by
changing its
output channels.
The IX series of
Jesusonic plug-ins
have been
developed by
Philip S.
Considine. A big
thank you to Philip
for his help in
developing this
example.
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16.14 More Parallel FX Processing
The example you have just considered demonstrates Parallel FX processing at its simplest. By experimenting
with this feature you can contour your sounds exactly as you wish. You could for example, add more plug-ins to
your chains, and/or use more than 6 channels. All three streams then get mixed back together using the
Channel Mixer Plug-in. Example:
Channels 1 and 2: Dry – the original signal, unprocessed.
Channels 3 and 4: Distortion then Compression.
Channels 5 and 6: EQ then Reverb.
16.15 Channel Splitting and Parallel Processing with Item Take FX
The examples used in this chapter have all involved working with plug-ins within track FX chains. Don't forget,
however, that any individual media item or take can also contain its own FX chain, specifically assigned to that
item or take. Item take FX are explained fully in Chapter 6: in brief, however, you can select any media item and
press Shift E to create an FX chain for that item. Provided the track that contains the media item has been
assigned the necessary number of channels, channel splitting and parallel processing of FX can be applied to
individual media items in exactly the same way as explained throughout this chapter.
16.16 Other Channel Routing Plug-ins (Overview)
The list of Jesusonic and Cockos plug-ins for REAPER is an impressive one, and one that is still steadily growing.
The following table provides an overview of some of the other channel routing plug-ins that are currently
available. You should always check the web sites and the forums for the latest information. This section
introduces you to some other plug-ins (not used in these examples) that are specifically designed for use in a
multi-channel routing environment.
The information below comes from text files supplied with these plug-ins by their author, Philip S. Considine.
Obviously, these plug-ins should only be used on tracks which have more than one defined pair of channels.
Plug-in
Description
IX Switcher
This is a channel switching utility. The Output Source parameter is used
to select which one of up to four paired inputs channel is to be
monitored. Useful for A/B comparisons.
IX Switcher 2
This is a variation of the Switcher switching utility. The Output Source
parameter is used to select which one of up to four paired inputs channel
is to be monitored, and the Level faders allow you to adjust the gain
independently for each pair. Useful for A/B comparisons.
IX SwitchMitch
This crossfade utility allows you to feed up to four input pairs to two
busses then mix those busses to output channels 1+2. The destination
for each of the four paired inputs can be set to Off, A, B, or A+B.
Takes the signal from an input channel pair and modifies the phase
according to the selected mode. The modified signal is then output on
the selected output channels. Only the selected output channels will be
modified so, for example, a signal received from inputs 1+2 and output
on 3+4 will still be present in its original form at outputs 1+2.
The Input parameter selects which paired channels are used for input.
The Phase Mode can be set to No Change, Invert Left Channel Only,
Invert Right Channel Only or Invert Both Channels.
The output parameter selects the output channels.
IX PhaseAdjustingRouter
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16.17 REAPER’s Routing Interface
If you are using multiple track channels, sends and receives
(as do many of the examples in this section), then you
should consider keeping the Routing Matrix in view. You can
use your routing matrix to make adjustments to any of your
sends and receives, or to specify the number of channels
required for any track. Some examples are summarised
below.
Right click over any track name (as shown above right) to
display the Track’s Routing Window and change the number
of Track Channels, or to adjust the parameters of any Send
or Receive associated with that track.
Right click over the Send/Receive signal at any intersection
on the Routing Matrix to adjust any of the parameters for
that Send or Receive (as shown below right).
Click over any vacant intersection on the Routing Matrix to
create a Send/Receive at that point.
Remember, of course, that you can also create,
remove and manage sends and receives in the
TCP and the MCP. In either case, you can click
on any track’s ROUTING button to display that
track’s Routing Window, or right-click over the
ROUTING button and use the fly out menu to
easily add a Send or Receive.
Tip: Sends can be copied in the Routing Matrix
from one track to another. For example, if you
have created a send from (say) track 1 to (say)
an effects bus on (say) track 6, then you can
create similar sends from other tracks simply by
dragging and dropping that send up and down the matrix column.
Notice also that the three different types of send are represented in the Routing Matrix by three
different symbols, as shown left. As shown, from top to bottom these are Pre Fader (Post FX), Post
Fader (Post Pan), and Pre FX. In each case, the height of the large thick bar indicates the send
volume level. The flow charts in Chapter 6 will help you to understand the differences between these.
16.18 Multichannel Track VU Meters
When a track consists of more than 2 channels, you can choose whether to have
all channels or only channels 1 and 2 displayed in the track's VU meter (track
panel and mixer panel). Select (in TCP or MCP) the track or tracks required, then
then from REAPER's main menu choose the Track then Multichannel Track
Metering. This is a toggle command: to remove multichannel metering from a
track, simply select the track and give this command again.
In the example shown here, this option has been disabled for the first of the tracks
shown and enabled for the second.
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16.19 Surround Panning with ReaSurround
Surround sound production is a complex topic. It would be beyond the scope of this User Guide to attempt to
cover the principles, theory and practical issues that it involves. Whole books have been written on the subject:
you can also consult various web resources, such as “The Recording Academy's Producers and Engineers Wing
Recommendations for Surround Sound Production” (available as free PDF download).
REAPER's surround sound production capabilities can be found in three main areas:
1. The ability to record in multichannel format. The method for doing this is explained in Chapter 3.
2. REAPER's channel routing capabilities.
3. The ReaSurround surround panner.
Thus, the REAPER-specific issues that you need to be aware of for surround sound
production are:
Recording
Record each track using the settings most suitable for that track. For example, for a lead
vocal you might use a two channel track with a single mono input (one mic). For a piano,
you might record in stereo with two mics. For ambient sounds you might prefer a four
channel track with four mic inputs.
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Routing
REAPER offers you various routing options. For example,
you can insert ReaSurround into each track individually, with
each track directly routed to the Master. Another option is to
create sends from all tracks to a single Surround Mixing Bus
and use a single instance of ReaSurround there, disabling
direct sends from individual tracks to the Master. The former
method gives you greater flexibility and more control.
You will also need to set up the necessary routing for your
Master outputs to ensure the correct signal flow from your
Master to your surround speakers. A possible example of
this for 5.1 surround sound is shown here (right).
ReaSurround
ReaSurround, like any other plug-in, can be inserted into a
track's FX chain from the FX Browser. Here we are assuming
that you are opting for the method of inserting
ReaSurround into every track. Note that:
 You should place ReaSurround in the track's FX chain.
Often you will want this to be at the end of the chain.
However, this might not be the case if, for example,
you are using a multi-channel delay effect, which most
likely you will want to be after ReaSurround.
 After inserting ReaSurround, select one of the options
from the setup drop down list (above left). Select the
same option for all tracks. Input levels and positions
can be set and locked.
 When you select a setup, the correct number of output
channels are automatically added to the track. In the
example here, 5.1 surround is selected, so the track is
allocated six channels.
 In the example shown below (next page), a track with two channels and a mono media item (Vox Mix)
displays two channel inputs, each with its own fader(which can be set to Gain or LFE) as well as solo and
mute controls. Double-click on any input to rename it.
 Because 5.1 surround has been selected, there are six channel outputs. Notice that these can be soloed
and/or muted in any combination. Each also has its
own fader: these can be set to Gain or Influence.
 Use the pin connectors on other track FX to direct the
outputs of those FX to the various channels, as
required. Refer back thru this chapter for numerous
examples of selecting FX pin connectors.
 You should also insert ReaSurround at the end of the
Master FX chain.
Channel inputs can be positioned by clicking and dragging them across the display.
In addition, there are two further sets of controls in the ReaSurround window.
The three Edit drop down lists and their accompanying rotaries can be used as
controls with any three of the available items shown (right). These include
Left/Right, Back/Front, Low/High, Back Left/Front Right, Front Left/ Back Right,
Expand/Contract, Rotate, LFE Send, Diffusion Level and Diffusion Bias. There is
also an option to Lock input channel positions and levels.
The three horizontal Space size faders can be used to adjust the three dimensions
of the surround environment, width, depth and height, with the fourth fader acting
as a zoom control.
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The various Inputs and Outputs controls can be used to mute, solo and or adjust the levels for Gain or Low
Frequency Effects
(inputs) or Gain or
Influence (Outputs).
In the example
shown here, the
Surround Panner has
been inserted into a
“normal” two channel
track with a mono
recorded media item.
The Surround Panner
therefore finds – and
displays – only two
inputs this time.
Because 5.1 surround
has been selected as
the surround mode,
the input from the
two channels can be
directed to the six
channels shown.
See also Chapter 20,
Rendering in
Surround Format.
16.20 Routing to/from Other Applications with ReWire
All of the examples that we have looked at up to now have involved routing audio or MIDI data within REAPER.
We're now going to take a look at how your music can also be routed to and from other applications.
Users of ReWire will be pleased to know that REAPER supports ReWire (2.6). ReWire is a technology jointly
developed by Propellerhead Software and Steinberg to allow applications to share audio, MIDI and
synchronization data. Audio and MIDI data are transferred between the two applications in real-time, allowing
you to use the features in each application as if they were one.
ReWire functionality is automatically installed along with REAPER on the OS X. Windows users need to make
sure when installing REAPER that they have ReWire selected and enabled on the Choose components page of
REAPER's Install wizard under Additional functionality.
In a ReWire session, the first application acts as the host, and the second application acts as the slave. The
slave receives and sends signals via the host application. REAPER can be used as either host or slave.
For more comprehensive general information and documentation about ReWire, visit
http://www.propellerheads.se/technologies/rewire/
The ReWire system uses mixers, panels, and devices. Mixers are the host applications which typically do the
sequencing at one end and the final mixdown at the other end. A device is a dynamic link library that only
generates sound but has no user interface of its own. A panel is a graphical interface for setting the parameters
of one device. For example, you might use REAPER as your mixer and Propellerhead Reason as your synthesizer.
In this case Reason would provide device and panel to REAPER, which could then send midi commands, sync
timing and mix Reason's output into its own effects chains.
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ReWire can be used with any track(s)
within a REAPER project. Display the
track's FX chain and select ReWire from
the list of plug-in categories (left column).
This will display (in the right column) a list
of all ReWire enabled applications that
have been installed on your computer.
Select the application (“slave”) that you
wish to use – for example, this might be
ReWire Ableton Live, Rewire Reason or (as
in the example shown here) ReWire
FLStudio.
In a ReWire session, the first application
acts as the host and the second
application as the slave. The slave receives
and sends signals via the host application.
Selecting your ReWire enabled application
will cause the application to be opened.
You can use ReWire to send MIDI data to
the slave application (as shown in the
example above), to route audio from the
slave application into REAPER, or to route
MIDI data from the slave application into REAPER.
By default, the tempo for both applications is set by the ReWire host. However, there is an option in REAPER's
ReWire window to allow the slave application to set the tempo.
Note: REAPER can be opened in slave mode from the Windows Start, All Programs menu, or by first opening
the host application and by selecting REAPER as the slave application there. You can also (in both OSX and
Windows) ReWire REAPER to itself by choosing Rewire REAPER from the Add FX window.
Further information about using ReWire with REAPER can be found in the REAPER Wiki at '
wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/ReWire
16.21 Introducing ReaRoute
ReaRoute is a feature unique to REAPER that offers you other ways of sharing data (audio and MIDI) in real
time with other applications. ReaRoute is covered in detail in its own chapter, Chapter 23.
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17 Automation with Envelopes
17.1
Understanding Automation
Automation is used to ensure that when your tracks are played, recorded changes in such things as volume
level or panning can be recalled with the music in real time. At its simplest, for example, automation can lift the
volume of a lead instrument during a particular break or passage, or add a little presence or warmth to the odd
phrase here or there on a vocal track, to make it stand out in the mix a touch more.
An example of a simple envelope (for Volume) is shown here. The envelope is in this case displayed below the
media item. In the TCP you can
see an envelope panel with its
own envelope controls, just below
the track controls. When the track
is played, the volume of the track
will rise and fall, following the
shape of the envelope.
In this second example (below) the same envelope is displayed this time not in its own lane but on top of the
media item. Both methods have
their advantages and
disadvantages. The first makes it
easier to work with the envelope,
but uses more screen real estate.
The second takes up less space, but makes tasks such as editing that little bit trickier. Whether your envelopes
are initially created in separate lanes or over the media item will depend on your Editing Behavior Envelopes
Preference Settings. Keep in mind that you can change the display mode of an existing envelope at any time.
REAPER features two main types of automation – one method uses envelopes alone, whilst the other uses a
rather more complex (and powerful) technique known as parameter modulation. This chapter will deal with
creating and using envelopes. Parameter modulation will be covered in Chapter 18.
17.2
Automation Envelope Methods
REAPER's various automation modes essentially make available to you two main ways of using envelopes for
automating your projects. These are writing automation and manually creating envelopes.

Writing Automation: When writing automation, you instruct REAPER to remember your actions – such
as fading a volume control up and down – as
your project is played. These actions are used to
create an envelope which is then reproduced
when you play back or mix down the track.
There are three different methods that you can
use to write such envelopes – write, touch and
latch. We’ll get round to explaining the
differences shortly.

Manually Creating Envelopes: As an alternative to using your faders to create envelopes, you can
shape them manually. This gives you a very fine degree of control over your project. You can draw your
envelope curves freehand, add points to them at will, and use your mouse to manually move these points
up or down. Envelopes created in this way will behave in exactly the same way as if actual fader
movements had been recorded. Trim/Read mode is used when you are creating or editing envelopes in
this way. If you wish, you can write envelopes in, say, latch mode then edit them in Trim/Read mode.
Whichever mode is currently selected is displayed on a track's envelope button. We'll explore the different
automation modes in detail in the sections that follow. Both have their advantages and you can use any
combination of modes on different tracks in your project. With both recorded and manual envelope automation,
it is perfectly possible (and quite easy) to edit the automation instructions afterwards, or to remove them
altogether if that’s what you want to do.
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17.3
The Track Envelopes Window
Any track’s envelopes can be managed from the
Envelopes Window for that track. This is opened by
clicking on the track’s Envelope button in either the
TCP or MCP. You can use this window, for example to:
 Set the Automation mode for the track.
 Create an envelope (e.g. for Volume, Pan or
Mute for a track or send).
 To show or hide an envelope from view.
 To Arm an envelope or Disarm it.
In addition, this envelopes window includes buttons
that can be used for such global options as showing or
hiding all envelopes on that track. These issues will be
explained and explored in the pages that follow.
The Highlight box can be used to help you find what
you are looking for more easily. For example, type
volume in the highlight box and all items whose name
includes volume will be highlighted.
Notice also that any plug-ins that have been placed in the track’s FX chain will also be listed in this window. In
this example, we have ReaComp. By clicking on the small + symbols next to the plug-in’s name you can open
up a list of plug-in parameters for which you can also create envelopes. We’ll see some examples of this soon.
Checking the option to Show last touched FX parameters only can help prevent screen clutter.
Tip: By default, the shortcut keys V and P can be used to toggle the display of Volume and Pan envelopes
17.4
Available Track and Send Envelopes
The following are the automation envelopes that by default are available for all tracks and sends. Envelopes for
plug-ins and FX will be discussed later in this chapter.
Envelope
Description
Volume
Adjusts the volume of the Track’s Output, after, for example, any item or track FX
have been applied. This sets the level of the signal that is sent to the Master Track.
Pan
Moves the balance pan control more towards the left, right, or dead center: the
signal that is sent post FX from the track to the Master Track.
Width
Moves the width control more towards the left, right, or dead center: the signal that
is sent post FX from the track to the Master Track.
Volume (Pre FX)
Adjusts the volume of the track signal that is fed to the track’s FX chain. This is
generally equivalent to the Gain control that you can find on some desks and mixers.
Pan (Pre FX)
Similar to Pan control but before track FX or track faders are applied.
Width (Pre FX)
Similar to Width control but before track FX or track faders are applied.
Mute
This envelope has effectively only two states – On and Off. It is used to mute
passages of a track.
Send Volume
Adjusts the volume of the track signal that is sent to the destination track. Exactly
how this is applied will in part be determined by whether the Send itself is defined as
Post Fader (Post Pan), Post FX or Pre FX.
Send Pan
Adjusts the panning of the track signal that is sent to the destination track. Exactly
how this is applied will in part be determined by whether the Send itself is defined as
Post Fader (Post Pan), Post FX or Pre FX.
Send Mute
This envelope has effectively only two states – On and Off. It is used to mute
passages on a send.
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17.5
Writing Automation
To create automation envelopes using the Write feature,
use this method:
 In the MCP or TCP, click on the Envelopes
(Automation) button (right) to open the track's
envelopes window. The envelope button displays the
currently selected automation mode for that track. In
the example shown, this is Trim.
 Select the item you wish to automate, and make sure
to also select the options Visible and Arm.
 Set Automation mode to Write.
 Close the Envelopes window.
 Position the Edit Cursor where you wish to start.
 Play the song. As you do so, adjust the on screen
control which controls the parameter that you are
automating. Stop play when finished.
 Right click over the Envelope button for that track and
select Trim/Read or Read.
 Play the song. Listen and look! If you selected Read
mode, the faders will move up and down as the
automation is applied.
Note that if you prefer, instead of opening the envelopes
window, you can right-click on the track's envelope button
and make your choices from the context menu (see right).
Tip: If you enable Automatically add envelopes when
tweaking para in automation write modes (Options,
Preferences, Automation), then when write mode is
selected you can create any envelope automatically simply
by adjusting the required track or FX parameter control during playback.
Automation Write Example
1. Open your file All Through The Night.RPP. Save it as All Through The Night AUTO.RPP. We are
going to add an automation envelope to the Bouzouki track to fade this track up a little in the passage
between the first and second verses of this song.
2. Use your mouse to increase the height of the Bouzouki track. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but makes
it easier to see what you are doing.
3. Insert the JS: Utility/Limiter plug-in to the master track and set its threshold to –2.0. This is a
precaution against clipping. Position the play cursor just before the end of the first vocal passage at about
the 40 second mark.
4. Now click on the Envelopes/Automation button for the Bouzouki track. Select Volume and make it
both Visible and Armed. Select the automation mode Write for this track (see above).
5. Close the Envelopes window. Notice that the Volume fader for this track is now colored red and a Volume
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envelope has been created. The Envelope button now reads Write.
6. Play the song from about the 48 sec mark for about 15 seconds. As the instrumental break starts, use
your mouse to raise the track fader for the Bouzouki volume (not the envelope volume fader) by about a
three decibels. Hold it there, then at the end of the instrumental break lower the fader to its original
position. Stop play.
7. Right click over the Envelope button for the Bouzouki track and choose Automation Mode: Read from
the context menu. Zoom closely into the part of the song that goes from about 45 secs to about 65 secs.
8. The fader area for the
Volume control on this track
will now be green, and your
automation envelope
should be clearly visible
(see right).
9. Play the song. The volume
faders for this track (in both arrange and mixer views) will automatically move to show changes in
volume in accordance with the movements that you recorded. Save this file.
Note: You do not need to select Automation Read mode in order for the automation to take effect. Trim/Read
mode, for example, will also do this, but without moving the faders. In the above case, this would allows you to
tweak the track's volume during playback by manually adjusting its volume fader. You’ll find a more detailed
explanation of the various automation modes later in this chapter.
Amplitude vs Fader Scaling
Right-click over a volume envelope for a context menu which includes Volume envelope scaling (under the
Envelope defaults option). Available options are amplitude scaling (the default) and fader scaling, each of
which will produce different results. With amplitude scaling, half as high, for example, is half as loud, whereas
with fader scaling the envelope height corresponds to the track fader. Fader scaling can make editing the
envelope at low levels of volume easier. Changing your preference on an envelope after points have been added
will affect the sound level produced by that envelope.
You can change the default setting from amplitude scaling to volume fader scaling on the Options,
Preferences, Project, Track/Send Defaults page. You should also familiarise yourself with the various
options under Preferences, Editing Behavior, Envelope Display (see Chapter 21).
Modifying the Envelope
It’s very likely that you won’t get the exact settings for your automated faders 100% correct first time. To fix
this, either use Automation Touch mode to write changes to your envelope, or edit the envelope by hand.
17.6
Envelope Points Options
Right click on the envelope button on the main toolbar for a number of options that will help determine
envelope behavior. These are also available on the Options menu (Envelope points command).
The option to Move envelope points with media items should be enabled if you wish an envelope to follow
its media item when that item is moved.
Be careful how you use Envelope point selection
follows time selection. This enables you to move all
points within a time selection by clicking and dragging
on any one of them. If you want to move only one point
(or a selection of points) within a time selection, make
sure that this option is disabled.
Edge points can be used to make it visually easier for
you when you are moving a group of points within a time selection: enable Add edge points when moving
envelope points, make the time selection, choose Select all points in time selection, then click and drag
(left or right) any envelope point within the selection.
The option to Reduce envelope point data when recording or drawing automation should be enabled if
you find that REAPER is creating more points than you want when, for example, you write automation data,
using either your mouse or a control surface.
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To reduce the number of points on an existing envelope that has already been recorded:
1.
Select (click on) the envelope.
2.
Define the required time selection. All envelope points in
that selection will be selected. You might want to zoom in.
3.
Right-click over the envelope.
4.
From the menu, choose Reduce Number of Points.
5.
Select (probably) Points in time selection only or
(possibly) All Points.
6.
Adjust the fader until the number of points shown looks
about right. An example is shown on the right.
7.
Click on OK.
17.7
Writing Mute Automation
One rather special way of using automation is in
conjunction with a track’s Mute button to
automatically mute unwanted passages of a
track. The procedure for doing this is outlined
below:

Click on the track’s Envelopes/Automation button to display the envelopes window.

Select the Mute envelope and set the mode to Write. Then close the Envelopes window.

The Envelopes/Automation button will read Write and the armed mute button will be highlighted in red.
Notice (above) how this is displayed when set to this mode.

Now play the track7. As you do so, click on the track’s Mute button at the start and end of any passages
that you require to be muted.

When finished, stop the playback. Automation mode for this track should automatically change to
Trim/Read (unless this default setting has been changed in your Editing Behavior, Automation
preferences).
In the example shown below, a vocal track is muted when it is not intended to be heard. Read mode has been
selected. When
the track is played
back, the color of
the Mute button
changes to red for
the duration of
the muted
passages.
17.8
Automation Modes
Automation mode can be set as already shown from inside the Envelopes/Automation window or by rightclicking on the track envelopes/automation button. In fact, there are a number of ways that this can be done:

Select the required mode from the Envelopes window.

Right-click on the Envelopes/Automation button and select the required mode from the context menu.

In the TCP, right click over any automation lane and select the required mode from the context menu.

From the main menu, choose Track, Set track automation mode (or right-click over the track
number and select this from the context menu).
The following table summarizes the five available automation modes.
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Automation Mode
Description
Trim/Read
Existing envelopes are applied, but on-screen controls do not move. Trim/Read mode
might seem strange at first, but it does bring you a useful benefit. You can use a track’s
controls for overall changes.
In Trim/Read mode fader movements are not recorded. For example, adjusting a track’s
Volume fader in this mode will raise or lower the volume for the whole track relative to the
envelope.
Read
Applies envelopes and moves controls for armed items, but does not write or remember
any changes that you make to them.
Latch
Writes and remembers any changes that you make to settings, and creates new points on
existing track envelopes. Changes commence when you first adjust a setting, and continue
to be remembered until playback stops.
Touch
This is similar to Latch, but stops making changes to envelope points when you stop
adjusting them. If using a MIDI controller, however, you may find that Touch mode
functions in the same way as Latch mode.
Write
Writes and remembers current settings as edit points, along with any changes that you
make to settings for armed items during playback. In this mode, previously written
envelopes for armed items will be over written. REAPER's Automation preferences include
an option to automatically switch to another mode immediately after recording automation
in Write mode. By default, it will switch to Trim/Read.
Note that when you are in Latch, Touch or Write mode, an envelope can also be armed by clicking on the Arm
Record button in its automation lane (where one exists). Remember also after using Write, Latch or Touch
mode to change to Read or Trim/Read mode, to prevent further automation from being accidentally recorded.
17.9
Global Automation Override
The Global Automation Override (Global Auto) button
on the transport bar can be used to apply global
options to your envelopes. Right click on this button to
display the menu which can be used to:
 Toggle bypass on/off for all envelopes.
 Select a single automation mode (such as
Trim/Read or Read) for all tracks.
 Toggle display of all active envelopes.
A global option can be removed by the No global
override command. Each track will then be returned
individually to its former state, with its previous individual automation mode and bypass settings restored.
17.10 The Envelope Panel Controls
The envelope panel's fader is used to write
automation (write, latch or touch modes), show
automation changes (read mode) or adjust the
parameter value for the entire track or selected
envelope segment (trim/read mode). In the default
theme this is a rotary control. When a track has
other envelopes that are not displayed in lanes, you
can click on the envelope name (in the example
shown this is Volume) and choose from the list a
different envelope to display in its place.
Other controls are the Bypass toggle and next to that the Hide/Clear button (used to hide an envelope, move
it to the media lane, or clear it altogether). FX parameter envelopes may also have some additional controls, for
example to enable parameter modulation or learn mode (see later in this chapter and Chapter 18).
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17.11 Manually Adjusting Envelopes
As an alternative to writing automation to define and shape your envelopes, you can use your mouse directly
within the envelope lane. This is especially useful, for example, when you can see from observing the waveform
that there is a peak that needs adjusting. Amongst the actions that you will commonly use for this are:
 Shift Click for adding points to an envelope.
 Ctrl Click Drag for freehand drawing of envelope points and curves.
 Click Drag for moving envelope segments freely up or down or envelope points in any direction.
The first of these actions is executed by holding Shift while clicking on the envelope, the third by simply
clicking. These can be swapped in your Mouse Modifier (Envelope segment) preferences if you wish. In this
example, we will assume that Click Drag is used to adjust segments, and Shift Click to add points.
In the example that follows, you will use the mouse to raise the volume of your Bouzouki volume envelope a
little for the duration of the short instrumental break that occurs between the second and third verses. You will
then draw an automation curve over part of the vocal track. This example assumes that the default mouse
editing behavior settings are as shown above.
Example
1. Hover your mouse over the envelope, just before the start of
the second instrumental break. This will be at or near 1 min
36 seconds. The mouse will change to a vertical doubleheaded black arrow.
2. Hold Shift while you click the mouse on the envelope to
create a point.
3. Repeat this three times as shown (right), so that you have two
points just before the instrumental break and two points just
after it.
4. Now hover the mouse anywhere between the second and third
point. Click and hold down the mouse, then drag upwards to
raise the volume of this envelope a little, as shown in the
second illustration.
5. Save this file.
6. Display the track's Envelope Window and make sure that
automation mode for this track is set to Read and that the
Volume envelope is selected and set to Visible and Arm.
7. Play back the song.
8. Notice that the Bouzouki volume will now be faded up for both instrumental passages in this song and
down after them.
9. Now select the Vox track and press V
to display the Volume envelope for
this track. Zoom to the passage from
about 1 min 0 sec to 1 min 19 secs.
We are going to make this passage a
little louder.
10. Hover the mouse just above the
envelope at 1:00. Hold down the Ctrl
key. The mouse cursor will change to a pencil. Still holding Ctrl drag the mouse along to about the 1:19
mark (see above right) then release the mouse. The volume envelope will have been drawn by this
action.
11. Remember that any excessive points that have been inserted by this action can be removed (as in the
earlier exercise) using the Reduce number of points command.
12. Save the file.
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17.12 Using the Mouse with Envelopes
The above exercise has introduced you to some examples, but there are many other techniques and mouse
tricks that can be used for manipulating and managing envelopes and their nodes. This table is a summary of
the most important. For a fully comprehensive list, consult the Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences.
In order to do this ...
….you need to do this
Select all points on envelope inside time
selection.
Click and drag in envelope lane (not on envelope
itself) to create time selection.
Draw and shape envelope in freehand mode.
Ctrl Drag anywhere on, above or below the envelope
Add a point.
Shift Click on envelope
Delete envelope point.
Alt Click on any envelope point
Select multiple envelope points.
Hold Ctrl while clicking on envelope points one at a
time
Select all points in an envelope.
Click on any point in an envelope, then press Ctrl A
Select all points within the lasso area.
Click on a point, then use the Right-Click-Drag mouse
method to lasso (marquee) a portion of an envelope.
Release mouse
Apply an envelope command to a selection of
points.
When you have several points selected, right click
over any selected point
Move a point or selection of points freely.
Click and drag any point in the selection.
Finely adjust a point's vertical position.
Ctrl Alt Drag on any envelope point
Allow an envelope point to be moved
vertically or horizontally only.
Click and hold mouse on any envelope point, hold
both the Ctrl and Shift keys while then dragging
any envelope point either vertically or horizontally.
Reset point to center (default value).
Double-click on envelope point
Most of these defaults can be changed in your Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers preferences settings.
17.13 Envelope Edit Mouse Modifiers
This probably won't be the very first thing you'll want to
do, but after you have been working with envelopes for a
while you might wish to consider changing some of the
default mouse modifier settings so as better to suit your
personal workflow requirements. There are several
contexts relevant here – Envelope lane (left click) ,
Envelope segment (left drag), Envelope point (left drag),
Envelope segment (double-click) and Envelope point
(double-click).
For example, if you manually add points to envelopes a
lot, you might wish to consider changing the default
behavior for Envelope double-click from Reset point to default value to the action Envelope: Insert new point at
current position. If horizontal adjustment of envelope points is important to you, consider assigning Move
envelope point horizontally as one of your envelope point modifier instead of just Move envelope point.
Also, by default, double-clicking on an envelope's control panel will cause all points on the envelope to be
selected. This too can be changed. There's more about mouse modifiers in Chapter 14.
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17.14 Managing Automation Envelope Display
REAPER offers you a flexible range of options to determine how you display your automation envelopes. For any
track or track you can choose to:
 Display all automation envelopes in separate lanes, or
 Display all automation envelopes over the media items, or
 Display some envelopes in lanes and others over the media items, or
 Display some envelopes and hide others, or
 Hide all automation envelopes.
In the example shown here, a track is displaying
three envelopes. – one each for Pan, Track
Volume and the volume of a send to an FX bus.
One of these – Pan – is displayed on top of the
actual media items. The other two each have their
own lanes. The Peaks/Waveforms preferences
option to Draw faint peaks in automation
envelope lanes has been enabled. The summary
table explains how you use these options.
You should also check the preference (Editing Behavior, Automation) When adding volume/pan
envelopes, apply trim to envelope and reset trim. Your safest option is to set this to Never to
ensure that the envelope will be placed in the vertical center of the automation lane, thus leaving
adequate room both above and below the envelope for manual editing.
In order to do this …
… you need to do this
Hide an individual envelope
Right click over the envelope and choose Hide Envelope from
the menu, or …
In the envelope panel, click on the Hide/Clear button and
choose Hide Envelope.
Display a currently hidden envelope
Click on the Envelopes/Automation button in the TCP and
check the Visible box for that envelope.
Change the envelope displayed in a
particular lane
In the TCP, right click over the envelope name and choose
another parameter from the list.
Move an envelope from its own lane
to over the media item(s)
Right click over the envelope and disable the Show envelope
in lane option, or …
Click on the Hide/Clear button in the envelope panel and
choose Move to media lane.
Move an envelope from over the
media item to its own lane
Right click over the envelope and enable the Show envelope
in lane option
Show all visible envelopes in
individual lanes
In the TCP, right click over the envelope button and choose
Show all visible track envelopes to envelope lanes from
the menu.
Show all visible envelopes over their
media item(s)
In the TCP, right click on the envelope button and choose
Show all visible track envelopes to media lane from the
menu.
Show all active envelopes
In the TCP, right click over the envelope button and choose
Show all active track envelopes, or …
Open the Envelopes/Automation window and click on
Show all active.
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In order to do this …
… you need to do this
Hide all envelopes
In the TCP, right click over the envelope button and choose
Hide all track envelopes, or …
Open the Envelopes/Automation window and click on Hide
all.
When you open the Envelopes window, all
potential envelopes for that track are listed. The
active envelopes are those displayed with a check
mark against their name. You can think of a
potential envelope as being one that is lurking
invisibly in the background but has not been
activated, whereas an active envelope is one that
you have chosen to use.
In the example shown here, this track could have
up to ten envelopes, one for each of the items
listed. However, it actually contains only three
active envelopes, one each for Volume, Pan, and
Track 6 Send Volume. Of these, we have chosen
to make only the first three visible.
If we were to add some plug-ins (such as Delay,
EQ or compression) to this track we would
immediately create more potential envelopes.
17.15 The Envelope Panel Controls
An envelope displayed in a lane can have its behavior
and characteristics modified from within the TCP, using
its fader, its buttons and its context menu. For example:

In Trim/Read mode, use the horizontal fader to
raise or lower envelope for its entire length or for a
particular time selection. For example, with no time
selection active, sliding a pan envelope's fader
control left would cause panning for the entire
track to be moved further to the left (maintaining
the relative movement between existing points). If
a time selection is active, then the envelope would
be adjusted only within that time selection.

Use the BP button to toggle bypass on and off.
Right clicking over the envelope name in the TCP
produces a menu which includes the following:

A list of all available envelopes for this track
(standard track and send parameters plus any FX
parameters). Choose one of these to change the
envelope displayed in this lane.

Various show/hide envelope options.

A list of automation modes: this is one way to change a track's automation mode.
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17 - Automation with Envelopes
17.16 Managing and Manipulating Envelopes
The Envelope Point and Envelope Segment right-click context menus both contain commands and options that
are there to help you manage and manipulate your envelopes. Which of these two menus will appear depends
on whether your mouse is hovering over an actual point or over a segment when the right button is clicked.
In the table below, those commands which are on the Envelope Point menu only are indicated by (P).
Command
Explanation
Set point value … (P)
Displays the Set
Envelope Point
Value dialog box.
Can be used to
changes the value,
position, and/or
shape of the
current point.
Optionally, you can assign Double Click (under Preferences, Mouse
Modifiers, Envelope Point) to Open envelope point editor.
Set point shape (P)
Changes the shape of the current point. The six available shapes
are Linear, Square, Smooth, Fast Start, Fast End and Bezier. These
are explained in more detail shortly.
Set shape for selected points
Allows you to choose a shape for multiple envelope points.
The six available shapes are Linear, Square, Smooth, Fast Start, Fast
End and Bezier. These are explained in more detail shortly.
Set envelope default point shape
Sets shape for future points.
The six available shapes are Linear, Smooth, Fast Start, Fast End,
Square and Bezier. These are explained in more detail shortly.
Select all points
Selects all points in current envelope.
Unselect all points
Unselects all points in current envelope.
Select all points in time selection
If a time selection is currently active, all points on this envelope
that fall within the time selection will be selected.
Copy points
Copies all points in current selection into clipboard.
Note: To apply a command to an existing selection of envelope
points, you should hold Shift while you right click over the
envelope. This ensures that the selected points remain selected
when the context menu is displayed.
Cut points
Cuts all points in current selection into clipboard.
Delete point (P)
Deletes the envelope point.
Delete selected points
Deletes all envelope points in current selection.
Delete points in time selection
If a time selection is currently active, all points that fall within the
time selection will be deleted. Shown here is a selection of points
before and after using this command.
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Command
Explanation
Invert selected points
Causes all selected points to be inverted relative to their neutral
position. For example, a point on a Pan envelope set at 50% left
would be changed to 50% right. With items such as Volume which
use a logarithmic scale, the calculation is less obvious.
Reset select points to zero/center
Sets all selected points back to a neutral position. Shown here is a
selection of points before and after using this command.
Reduce number of points …
Allows you to reduce the number of envelope points within a time
selection or for the whole envelope. This has already been
explained in detail.
Arm envelope for recording
Toggles armed status of envelope on and off.
Show envelope in lane
A toggle command which moves the envelope into or out from its
own envelope lane.
Hide envelope
Hides the envelope but keeps it active.
Bypass envelope
Toggles an envelope’s bypass status.
Clear or remove envelope ...
Clears all points on an envelope, restores it to a straight horizontal
line. You will be asked if you wish also to remove the envelope.
17.17 Envelope Shapes
Envelopes can be any of six shapes – Linear, Square, Slow Start/End, Fast Start, Fast End or Bezier. To
change the shape of an existing curve, right click over the envelope point, then choose Set Point Shape, then
the required shape from the menu. The examples below illustrate the different shapes:
Linear
Square
Slow Start/End
Fast Start
Fast End
Bezier
Shapes other than Square are usually best used for graduated parameters, such as volume and pan. Square
envelopes are best used for items with on/off parameters (such as bypass or mute), to ensure an exact
transition at the required point.
You can specify your preferred default envelope point shape type from the Options, Preferences, Project,
Track/Send Defaults window, as shown on the right.
17.18 Envelopes in Track Templates
Whenever you save a track (or selection of tracks) as a track template (Track, Save tracks as track
template command) there is an option in the dialog box to Include envelopes in tenplate.
17.19 Envelope Preferences
REAPER's envelopes preferences fall into several different categories within your Options, Preferences
window. These are explained in more detail in Chapter 21. Meanwhile, it's worth taking note of the following.
The Appearance pages of your Options, Preferences window includes a number of useful options for
determining how your envelopes are presented on screen. Turning these options on can improve clarity. In
particular, pay attention to the options to:
 Show solid edge on time selection highlight (Appearance page). Makes the boundaries of the time
selection more obvious.
 Show guide lines when editing (Appearance page). Facilitates editing.
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17 - Automation with Envelopes

Draw faint peaks in automation lanes (Peaks/Waveforms page). Helps to
relate an envelope's position in its own lane to the track's volume level.
 Fill automation envelopes (Appearance page): this faintly colors the area
below the envelope.
The Editing Behavior, Automation page (see Chapter 21) is another
important place to go to. It gives you the option, for example, to
Automatically add envelopes when tweaking parameters in
automation write mode. This enables you to create envelopes on the fly
without having to select the required parameters from any menu. Be careful when enabling this: you can end
up with any number of envelopes that you didn't want!
Finally, a number of the options on the Project, Track/Send Defaults have something to say about
envelopes. These include:
 Whether to have any envelopes (such as Pan and Volume) automatically displayed for all new tracks.
 Your choice of default envelope shape for new points.
 Your choice of default automation mode for new tracks.
 Whether new envelopes are to be automatically armed.
17.20 Using an Envelopes Toolbar
Chapter 14 explains in detail how to create custom toolbars. If you work a lot with envelopes then this is one
area where you can achieve real productivity benefits. Shown here is an example of a simple Envelopes toolbar
that you could create. Listed below are the actions attached to each of the icons in the example shown.
Automation: Set track automation mode to trim/read
Automation: Set track automation mode to write
Automation: Set track automation mode to touch
Automation: Set track automation mode to touch/read
Envelope: Insert 4 envelope points at time selection
Envelope: Delete all points in time selection
Envelope: Clear envelope
Envelope: Unselect all points
Envelope: Toggle display of all visible envelopes in lanes for tracks
Envelope: Show all envelopes for all tracks
Envelope: Hide all envelopes for all tracks
Envelope: Show all envelopes for tracks
Envelope: Hide all envelops for tracks
Global automation over-ride: No over-ride (set automation modes per track)
Global automation over-ride: All automation in trim/read mode
Global automation over-ride: All automation in read mode
Keep in mind that this is only an example. The same commands and actions that are most useful to one person
might not also be most useful to another. In the end, you must decide for yourself.
17.21 Locking Envelopes
When you are satisfied that your envelopes have been finalised, you can
lock them all in order to prevent any accidental changes or deletions from
taking place.
Pressing Shift L (or right-clicking on the Lock toolbar button) will cause
the Lock Settings window to be displayed (see right).
You should then select the Item envelopes and/or Track envelopes
options, along with any other aspects that you also require to be locked.
You can reverse these settings at any time.
Note that even with your envelopes options selected, locking will only be
applied if you also select the Enable locking option. The keyboard
shortcut L can be used to toggle lock enabled status on and off.
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17.22 Automation With Grouped Track Parameters
If you have created track groupings in which you have defined
relationships between various parameters, you can ensure that
those relationships are maintained (or not, as you wish) when
automation envelopes are being written. This is done using the
group Automation Mode column on the Track Grouping Matrix.
As when the track parameters themselves are grouped, the
automation mode status for each track in the group can be set to
master, slave, or both master and slave. Here are examples. In each
case, the grouping is similar to that used in the exercise file All
Through The Night GROUPS.RPP. If you completed those
examples it might help you to open that file now.
Example
In this example, both of the guitar
tracks are set to act as both master and
slave in automation mode and both
volume envelopes are armed (indicated
by the colored circular button to the left
of the envelope name, Volume).
You can set either track to write, touch
or (as in this example) latch mode and
the other will change with it. Any automation movements will then be written to both tracks. The effect of this is
shown here.
Had the automation envelope been armed on only one of the tracks then the automation would have been
written to that track only and not to the other.
17.23 Moving and Copying Envelopes with Items
You can choose whether or not to move and copy
automation envelopes with media items by setting the
option to Move envelope points with media
items on or off. This is accessed by right clicking on
the Envelope tool on the main REAPER toolbar, or by
choosing Envelope points from REAPER's Options
menu. You can use the Actions editor to assign a
shortcut key to toggle this action on and off.
 If this option is turned off, then envelopes will not be moved
or copied with the media items.
 If this option is turned on, then the envelopes will be moved
or copied with the media items.
An example of this is illustrated on the right. A selected portion of
the media item on the top track is being copied to the track below it
using the Ctrl drag and drop method.
You can also specify whether or not you want to Add edge points
(new envelope points at the start and end of the time selection)
when the item is being moved or copied.
Notice that not only is the envelope copied with it, but also that
because the option to show guidelines is also on, there are guide
lines displayed which can help you when positioning the item that
you are copying.
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17.24 Automation with Track Sends
Automation can be applied to other controls beside Volume and Pan, such as Sends and FX parameters. In this
example, we will create a Send, then use an envelope to control it.
Example
1.
First, we are going to create an FX Bus Track, then
we will use an envelope to vary the level sent to that
FX Bus Track from each of the guitar tracks.
2.
Create a new track and name it FX Bus. Display the
FX Chain for this track, and add the FX JS
Guitar/chorus. Close the FX window.
3.
Select the track Gtr Body and drag and drop from the track's ROUTE button to the FX Bus to create a
send and set send volume and pan levels as shown (above).
4.
Select the track Gtr Neck and display the
routing window for this track. Create a send
to the FX Bus as a send and set send
volume to –10dB and pan to 65% Right.
5.
Now display the Envelopes window for the
Gtr Body track. Set the mode to
Trim/Read. Notice that envelopes are
available for your sends. Make sure that FX
Bus Send Volume is selected, visible and
armed.
6.
Close this window. An envelope lane for this
send should now be visible on the Gtr
Body track.
7.
Hover the mouse over any part of the
envelope, click and drag down until the
envelope is set to about –12dB.
8.
We are now going to increase the chorus effect, starting just before the second verse.
9.
Add a point at about the 60 second mark (Shift Click). Add another point at about 2:30.
10. Hover the mouse over the envelope just after this second point. Click and drag up until the envelope is
set to about –7dB. Release the mouse. This is shown below.
11. Set automation mode for this track to Read. Play the song. If you think the Chorus effect is too much,
hover the mouse over the envelope, round about 1 minute 30 secs, then click and hold the left mouse
button while you drag the envelope back down a little.
12. Now repeat steps 5. to 10. for the track Gtr Neck.
13. Don’t forget to save the file.
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17.25 Automation with FX Parameters
You can create automation envelopes for any parameters for almost any JS, VST, VSTi, DX or DXi plug-in that
has been added to any track or item take FX chain. This section focuses mostly on track FX, though the same
techniques can also be applied to take/item FX. For example, you can use automation envelopes to vary the
level of compression applied to a drum track, or to add more warmth to a vocal take at those times when it is
needed. There are three main ways of creating envelopes for your FX parameters:
 Select those parameters for which you wish to add envelopes from the Envelopes window. You may need
to click on the small + button next to a plug-ins name to display a list of its automatable parameters.
 Right click over
background area of any
existing envelope lane
in the TCP and select
the required item from
the FX parameters
menu. All automatable
parameters for all plugins in the track’s FX
chain will be listed on
the menu (see right).
 The third method is to
create the parameter
envelope from within
the plug-ins own
window This is probably the most useful method because in many cases, this will be the environment in
which you are likely to find yourself working when you decide that you would like to create the envelope.
The standard procedure for doing this is quite simple:
1. Touch the required parameter with your mouse.
2. Click on the Param button then choose Show track envelope from the menu.
Most FX can be automated in this way, but be warned that especially with
some older plug-ins this might not be possible.
Example
1. Open the FX Chain window for the track Vox.
2. Add the JS LOSER/4BandEQ to this chain. Set the first Frequency
level to 180 (as shown).
3. Solo the Vox track and play the song.
4. As you do so, hold down the Alt key and gently increase the Low
volume level (the top fader). Notice how the sound changes and becomes warmer. Release the mouse,
and the level will snap back to 0.0.
5. We are going to add an automation envelope to increase this level for the phrase All Through The Night at
the end of the song, from about the 2:14 mark. This will warm up that phrase, but also make it louder.
Therefore, we will also need to add use another envelope to lower the volume to compensate.
6. Adjust the horizontal and vertical zooms of the Vox track, so that
you can clearly see the area that you are working with.
7. Click on the Low dB fader in the EQ then click on the Param
button. Choose Show track envelope from the menu (see right).
The envelope will be shown. Unless you have changed the default
preferences, this will be shown in its lane.
8. Mark as the time selection the last part of the song. Use the rotary
fader for this parameter (in the TCP) to raise this envelope in the time selection by about 6 dB.
9. With the time selection still active, use this same technique to lower the fader for the volume envelope by
about 2 dB (see below).
10. Play the file. Save it.
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Tip 1: To automatically
create an envelope for
any FX parameter
adjusted on the fly
during playback,
enable the
Preferences, Editing
behavior,
Automation option
Automatically add envelopes when tweaking parameters in automation write modes, then set track
automation mode to touch, latch or write.
Tip 2: To add a parameter adjust/control button
for any FX parameter to the track's control panel
simply select the UI box in the track's envelopes
window. This allows you to create or modify envelopes on the fly without needing to open the FX window.
17.26 FX Parameter Automation in Learn Mode
If you are using REAPER with a control surface, such as a
Behringer BCR2000, you can use it in Write, Latch or
Touch mode to create automation envelopes for FX
parameters. You can use the device’s rotaries, faders or
buttons (as appropriate) for this purpose. Each device is
different, but here is an example:
1. Within the plug-in window, click on the parameter,
then on Param then on Learn.
2. Tweak the button, knob, or fader on the control
device. A confirmation message will appear in the
Command field.
3. Select a CC mode: usually this will be absolute or
one of the relative options. Consult the device's
documentation: if in doubt, try Absolute to begin
with. For smoother operation, choose Soft
takeover. Toggle mode is also available: this
allows FX parameters to be toggled on/off with a single mapping.
4. Optionally, select Enable only when effect configuration is focussed. This allows you to assign the
same control to another parameter in a different plug-in.
5. When the MIDI/OSC Learn dialog box is shown, tweak the control on the external device, select the
option Arm envelope for selected parameter and click on OK. Depending on the parameter
You can now use the control device to write your parameter changes to the envelope during project playback.
In Trim/Read mode you can still use the control device to manually adjust the parameter - see Chapter 12.
17.27 Automating a VST with MIDI CC Messages
Depending on what gear you have, there are two other further methods you can possibly use to send MIDI CC
messages to automate a VST's parameters:
1. Send MIDI CC from a MIDI source (such as a MIDI keyboard controller, a MIDI track, ReaControlMIDI, or
an FX which outputs MIDI CC messages) directly to the VST. In some VSTs MIDI CC messages are hardwired to specific controls (e.g. LinPlug's Alpha), in others (e.g. AmpliTube, SampleTank 2 and Kontakt)
the mapping is assignable.
2. Send MIDI CC from a MIDI source to MIDItoReaControlPath (S&M). This injects the MIDI CC
messages into the Reaper automation path and onwards to a track VST Parameter Envelope for which
MIDI Learn has been used to map the CC message to that envelope. To learn more about (and
download) this plug-in, go to forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=43741.
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17.28 Automating FX Parameters on the Fly
If you turn on the Editing Behavior, Automation preferences option to Automatically add and arm
envelopes when tweaking parameters in automation write modes, then for any track set to write, latch
or touch an automation envelope will be created for you as you tweak the parameter settings during playback.
This feature can be used in conjunction with your control surface. Note that any changes to these parameters
that are made on the screen with your mouse will still be applied, as will any changes made using your control
surface. Be careful, though, or you could end up creating a whole heap of unwanted envelopes!
Note: When you finish recording automation envelopes in this way, change Automation mode to Read or
Trim/Read, otherwise every parameter you tweak will create another envelope, whether you want it to or not.
17.29 Automation with Item Take and Take FX Parameters
Individual media items and takes can be given their own Volume, Pan, Pitch and
Mute envelopes. One way to do this is to right click over the item, choose the Take
command, and then select your required envelope from the menu. Alternately, click on
the item's envelope button (if visible) and make your selection from there. Item buttons
can be selected to be displayed from the Appearance, Media page of your Preferences
window.
Envelopes with Media Items
In the example shown on the right, a pan envelope has been added to our
media item, using the Take, Take pan envelope command. The item is
panned first away from the center then back towards it.
The envelope can be edited with points added, moved, and so on, just like
any other. You can right-click over any point or segment of a take envelope
to access the context menus. You can also create different envelopes for different takes of the same item.
Envelopes with Multiple Takes
In the example shown here, separate Pan envelopes have been added
to the both takes for the last verse of a song, with different FX. The
combination of the different panning and the touch of ReaVerbate added
to one of the takes can make for an interesting vocal effect when the
Play all takes option (media item properties) is enabled for this item.
Envelopes with Per Take FX Parameters
Parameters on FX that have been added to individual takes can also be automated. These can be edited
manually, with points being added by hand in trim/read mode, or recorded in write, latch or touch mode. The
procedures for manually editing or write/recording item/take FX parameter envelopes is essentially the same as
those used with track FX parameters. Parameters can be selected for automation in either of two ways:
 From the media item's Envelopes for takes window. This is displayed by clicking on the automation
envelopes button (if visible), or by choosing Take, Take envelopes... from the take's right-click menu,
or
 Display the track's FX chain (Shift E), select the
required FX, then select the required parameter
envelope from the Param button menu. Note that
Learn mode is also supported.
Tips: Any FX chain can be copied from one media item to
another by dragging and dropping the FX from the first
item's FX chain to the second item. An entire chain can be
copied by dragging and dropping the item's FX button.
Envelopes can then be copied from one media item to
another by dragging and dropping the envelopes button.
Reminder! You can choose which item buttons you do or
do not want to be displayed from the Appearance, Media page of your Options, Preferences settings.
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17.30 Automation with Hardware Output Sends
If you are using hardware output sends with any of
your tracks, you will find that you can automate the
Volume, Pan and Mute parameters for these sends.
These items will appear in the track’s envelopes
window as shown on the right.
In the example shown, we have a send from Track 1
to an Audio Hardware Output. We can now create an
envelope to control the volume of this send.
We can go one better than this. We might wish to
use fader movements to shape this envelope, but
without using Write mode for any other envelopes
that we may also have created. This can be done
from within the track’s routing window.
Take a look at the screen shot below. The
Automation mode has been set to Touch from within
the routing window, just for that one envelope.
You could now play your track, adjusting the audio hardware output send fader in the window shown above to
adjust the send volume level and create your envelope.
You can also do this with Track Send envelopes.
17.31 Automating Automation
Don’t forget that REAPER’s Action List capabilities really do
put a lot of power and control at your fingertips. For example,
if there’s an automation task or sequence of tasks that you use
frequently, you can allocate a keyboard shortcut to that
sequence.
For example, suppose that you often need for the current track
to display and select, ready for automation, a volume envelope,
and then select Write automation mode for that track.
You could use the Actions, Show action list… command to
open the Actions window and create a custom action similar to
that shown. You could then assign a keyboard shortcut to that
custom action, or add it to one of your toolbars. Refer back to
Chapter 14 for more information about custom actions,
keyboard shortcuts, and custom toolbars.
17.32 Actions for Managing Envelopes
In Chapter 14 you were introduced to some of REAPER's actions, and how you can use the Actions Editor and
Actions List to assign these actions to keyboard shortcuts and/or custom toolbars.
This list includes very many actions for managing envelopes, including locking/unlocking envelopes, toggling the
active status of various envelopes, and selecting specific envelopes. Explore the Actions List for more!
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17.33 Automating the Metronome
You can automate the Metronome behavior – for
example, to get it to play only at the exact times that
you require. To do this, simply create a new track and
use the command Insert, Click Source to insert a
media item into your file. You can then treat this click
track like any other track – for example, add a mute
envelope to mute certain passages, and so on.
To modify any of the click track properties, right click
over the track and choose Source Properties from
the menu.
For example, you can change the BPM setting, or use
your own sample files to create the beats.
17.34 Tempo/Time Signature and Play
Speed Envelopes
In Chapter 10, you learnt how to change time
signature and/or tempo within a project. Another (and
perhaps more intuitive) way of doing this is to use the Tempo/Time Signature Envelope. To display this envelope
in the main REAPER arrange window:
1. Choose the command View, Tempo envelope from REAPER's
main menu.
2. Set the Automation mode for the Master Track to Read. .
The Tempo Map envelope range (bpm) can be set in your Preferences,
on the Editing Behavior, Envelope Display page (Chapter 21). There you
can also specify whether you wish to allow partial measures.
When the Tempo Map is visible, an envelope appears on the Master Track in arrange view. This envelope can be
modified much like any other – you can add points, move them, delete them, adjust them, etc. However, the
master tempo envelope cannot be modified by freehand drawing. Moreover, editing multiple points at once on
this envelope causes each point to be adjusted pro rata, not by a constant BPM value.
With each envelope point, a
tempo/time signature marker is
also inserted on the timeline editing their values has the same
effect as editing the envelope
points, and if you move them,
then envelope points move with
them (and vice versa). REAPER's
Actions List also includes an action
Adjust entire envelope
tempo... This opens a dialog box
which offers you the options of
adjusting the entire envelope by a
percentage or by a set number of
beats per minute.
You can also add to the Master a
Playrate envelope which can be
used to automatically speed up or
slow down the playback of your project. This envelope is applied to all tracks, audio and MIDI. To do this:
1. Click on the Envelopes button in the Track Master. This displays the Envelopes window for the Master.
Now tick the item Playrate. Make sure this item is marked as both Visible and Armed.
2. Close this window.
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18 - Automation with Parameter Modulation
18 Automation with Parameter Modulation
18.1
The Concept
Parameter modulation is best undertaken by more experienced mixers. This chapter serves as an introduction,
but inevitably (because of the complexity of the topic) it is not really pitched at the relatively novice user.
Parameter modulation takes REAPER’s routing, channel splitting, automation and sidechaining capabilities to
new levels. You should probably not attempt this chapter unless you already have a sound grasp of these and
other concepts. If necessary, turn back to the chapter More REAPER Routing Examples and work thru it
again. Parameter modulation at its simplest means using the level of a track's volume or one or more FX
parameter to control the behavior of one or more other FX parameters on the same track or on a different track
or on a number of tracks. Don’t worry if at this stage you find this difficult to comprehend. The concepts of
what this is and how it works will become clearer after you have worked thru some examples.
One relatively simple example might relate to the application of a chorus plug-in to a guitar or bouzouki track.
Suppose that we wish to vary the wet level of the chorus throughout the track. We could, of course, accomplish
this with the use of automation envelopes. However, this might involve quite a lot of work and the envelopes
might need frequent readjustments. Let's take this idea a step further. Suppose that we wish to define a
relationship between the instrument’s volume and the wet chorus level, so that as the volume increases the mix
becomes drier, and vice versa. The chorus will seem to tail away more into the distance during at times when
the instrument is played more forcefully and become gently more present during the quieter passages. Rather
than have to create a series of envelopes for our chorus plug-in, we can use parameter modulation to ensure
that the chorus mix will respond automatically and in real time to changes in volume.
Incidentally, this particular example can create an interesting effect of space and distance on the instrument,
but as with most of the other examples throughout this User Guide, that is not the main point of the exercise.
Changes in an effect like chorus are relatively obvious to the human ear. The main point of this exercise is to
show you how parameter modulation is set up and used. It’s then up to you to use and apply it in ways that
you'll find will bring new life and vigor to your own mixes.
18.2
The Interface
We'll shortly work thru some examples which will
show both how parameter modulation works and
how you can go about using it. First, we need to
introduce a few basic terms and concepts.
When you select a parameter to be modulated, you
will initially see the window shown here (right). In
this example, parameter modulation is about to be
applied to control a compressor's threshold on a
vocal track. This initial window features five basic
controls. These are:
 Enable parameter modulation, baseline value. This needs to be ticked for the parameter
modulation (PM) to be applied. Unticking this box sets the PM to bypass.
 The horizontal baseline value fader. This determines the starting value of the parameter being
controlled. We'll come to an example shortly. Initially, leave this at its default setting (fully left).
 Audio control signal. Ticking this option will open a window which is used to define both which track
(or tracks) contains the audio signal that is to be used to control the parameter being modulated, and
how you want the modulation to be applied. Don't worry, we'll get to an example soon!
 LFO. This option allows you to use a low frequency oscillator signal (such as sine, square, triangle,
etc.) to generate a tone to control the parameter being modulated. This is more likely (but not
exclusively) to be used when it is a synthesizer parameter that is being modulated.
 Link from parameter. This option allows you to link one FX parameter to another. An example might
be to ensure that as a track is compressed more heavily, some presence is added to the EQ (to
compensate for loss of dynamics). Another might be that as the wet/dry balance on a delay effect is
adjusted to add more delay, the pan position of the delayed signal is automatically moved further out.
The possibilities really are endless.
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18.3
Defining a Parameter for Modulation
Illustrated below is an example of the Parameter Modulation window with just the Enable parameter
modulation and Audio control signal options enabled. The table below that explains the main settings, what
they do and how they are used. We will then go on to work thru some examples to show you how parameter
modulation can be used.
Item
Description
Enable parameter
modulation, baseline value
The checkbox enables/disables parameter modulation on this
parameter. The fader sets a default value for the specified parameter
that is to be modified. However, if an automation envelope exists for
the same parameter then that envelope will determine the baseline
and this setting will be ignored.
with Fader
Audio control signal
Enables/disables control of the parameter by the audio signal in the
specified Track audio channel.
Track audio channel
This specifies which audio channel(s) – for example, 1/2 or 3/4 –
contain the audio signal that is used to control the specified parameter.
The selection of channels available will depend on how many channels
have been previously defined for the track.
In more straightforward applications, you will want to choose channels
1 + 2. This will ensure that the parameter is controlled by the audio
signal on its own track. However, as you will see soon, you can choose
a source other than channels 1 + 2 if you want an FX parameter on
one track controlled by the audio signal from a different track. The
latter case would be an example of sidechain parameter modulation.
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Item
Description
Attack and
These two factors determines the speed with which changes in the
level of the incoming signal will be applied to the parameter. They
work in a similar way to Attack and Release on a compressor.
Release
A higher attack setting will cause the parameter to respond more
slowly to changes in volume in the source audio channel.
A low release speed will cause the modulation to be adjusted rapidly
as the volume then falls. A higher speed will hold the modulation for a
longer period before doing so.
Generally speaking, the higher the attack and the release settings the
more gradual will be the parameter modulation response. The lower
these settings, the more sensitive and immediate will be the response.
Min Volume and
Max Volume
Strength and
Direction
These determine the range within which the signal on the track audio
channel will be used to modify the FX parameter.
For example, in the illustration shown, the parameter in question
(chorus wet mix) on the track in question (track 4, Bouzouki) will only
be controlled by the audio signal on channels 1 and 2 when its volume
falls within the range - 24 dB to - 0.53 dB. If or when the signal is
quieter than -24 dB or louder than - 0.53 dB the parameter modulation
is in effect set to bypass.
These determine the nature and the intensity of the relationship
between the incoming audio signal and the parameter being
controlled. For example, set to 100% positive as the incoming audio
signal increases or decreases, then the parameter being controlled will
also increase or decrease to the same degree. At 50%, the relationship
will still be positive, but more moderate. You can think of this as being
conceptually similar to a ratio control on a compressor.
Likewise, a setting of 100% negative means that as the incoming
audio signal increases, the parameter being controlled will decrease in
the same proportion, and vice versa. At 50%, the relationship will still
be negative, but more moderate.
At 0%, the effect will be completely neutral.
Audio Control Shaping Signal
Graph
This graphical control helps shape the behavior of the parameter that
is being modified.
For example, if the direction is set to positive, then pulling the small
red handle (in the centre of the diagonal line) on the graph fully to the
bottom right corner will result in more modest increases in the value of
the parameter being modified.
On the other hand, pulling the small red handle (in the centre of the
diagonal line) on the graph fully to the top left corner will result in
greater increases in the value of the parameter being modified.
Don't worry, we'll work thru an example soon.
The best way for you to understand how parameter modulation works is to try it out in practise. This first
example will use several of the PM window controls. We will first select a parameter to be modulated, then set
its baseline fader level, and then select the required audio control signal. Finally, we will define the relationship
between the audio control signal and the parameter being modulated.
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18.4
Defining a Parameter for Modification
To select an FX parameter to be modified, follow
either of these sequences:
1.
Displaying the track’s
Envelopes/Automation window and
click on the + for any plug-in to display
the list of its controls.
2.
Click on the Mod button for any
parameter that you wish to have
modified by an audio signal. You will then
see a small check box next to the Mod
text for that item in the Envelopes
window (as shown right).
3.
Close the Envelopes/Automation window.
1.
Open the plug-in’s FX window.
2.
With the mouse, click on the control for
the parameter that you wish to modulate.
3.
Click on the Param button in the plug-in
window, then choose Parameter
modulation from the menu that is then
displayed (as shown below).
Or:
Notice (right) that the name of the
last touched parameter – the one
to which parameter modulation will
be applied – is shown dimmed at
the top of the Param button
menu.
18.5
Parameter Modulation with Audio Control
In this first example, we will insert a plug-in such as chorus into a track’s FX chain, then use that track’s audio
signal to control the way that plug-in behaves.
Example
1.
Open the file All Through The Night and save it as All Through The Night MOD1.
2.
Adjust track faders to get a reasonable mix. This could be Volume at -0.5 db, center, Guitar Body at 0 db,
55% left, Guitar Neck at 0 dB, 63% right, and Bouzouki at -4 dB, 15% left.
3.
Solo the Bouzouki track. While working thru this example, this is the only track that will be needed.
4.
Insert the JS: Delay/delay_chorus plug-in into this track’s FX chain, and set the various parameters as
shown here.
5.
Click on the Output Wet (Chorus) (dB) rotary in this plug-in. Notice that currently this is set at 0.0.
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18 - Automation with Parameter Modulation
6.
Click on the Param button, then choose Parameter Modulation from the menu. This will open a
parameter modulation window for the output wet parameter. Enable the option Audio control signal
and select as the Track
audio channels 1 + 2. Play
the track.
7.
The wet rotary on the plugin was initially at 100%, as
shown here. However, as
you adjust the baseline
fader (in the PM window)
while the track is playing,
the wet value in the Chorus
window (shown to the
immediate right of the 2 in 2
out button) is also adjusted.
Leave it with a wet mix level
of about 50%.
8.
Set the various items in the Parameter Modulation window as shown below and play the track. You
should notice the wet mix element of the chorus being faded down for louder notes and passages and
up for quieter notes and passages.
9.
Now experiment! You should find that:

Moving the Attack and Release faders left will result in the wet mix chorus fader movements
becoming more jerky. Moving them right should make them smoother.

Moving the Strength fader (negative) to the right will cause the wet mix chorus fader to be faded
down for louder notes and down up quieter ones. Selecting positive reverses this.

Moving the Min Volume fader left will lower the threshold at which the parameter modulation is
applied. Moving it right will raise the threshold.
10. When you have finished experimenting, adjust the settings to those shown here.
11. This instrument becomes louder as the song progresses. Play it, with the Bouzouki unsoloed. By the
end, there is less chorus being applied to the bouzouki.
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12. Now play the song again. Drag hold of the handle on the graph, and use your mouse to drag it to the
lower right position. Notice that the movements of the wet mix fader now become more modest.
13. Now drag hold of the handle on the graph, and use your mouse to drag it towards the top left corner of
the graph (as shown below). Notice that the movements of the wet mix rotary now become sharper
and the wet mix level reaches lower values.
14. Restore the graph to its earlier position (shown at step 10) when you have finished. Save the file.
18.6
Using an LFO Shape with Parameter Modulation
Now let's have some fun and use a low frequency
oscillator to further modify the way parameter
modulation is applied. Try disabling the audio control
and turning on the LFO option. Start with some fairly
conservative settings as shown below. Selecting the
Tempo Sync option should help make for a fairly safe
outcome!
The Speed setting controls the rate at which the signal
is repeated.
Strength determines how much of the LFO signal is
applied.
You can also adjust the default Phase setting.
As in the previous examples, direction can be
negative, centered or positive.
Compare how the track now sounds with PM enabled
and disabled. If you are familiar with working with low
frequency oscillators, you might wish to be a little more
adventurous. Otherwise, just save the file as All
Through The Night MOD1 LFO.
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18.7
Using Parameter Modulation for Dynamic Compression
In this next example, you will use parameter modulation to dynamically adjust the settings to compress a vocal
track in such a way that the threshold will automatically be adjusted during the louder passages. This gives you
a more precise control over the compressor’s operation than would otherwise be possible.
Example
1. Open the file All Through The Night MOD1 and save it as All Through The Night MOD1A.
2. Pan the Vocal track to the center and set its volume at about- 0.5 dB
3. Insert an instance of ReaComp into the FX Chain for the Vox track.
4. Set the Threshold to about –24 and the Ratio somewhere around 4:1. Set Knee size to around 15dB.
Set the Wet gain to about +1.6dB.
5. As you play the song,
adjust the settings to suit.
One possible set of
suitable parameter values
is shown on the right.
6. As you play the track you
might feel that the
compression at times
sounds about right but at
other times is being
applied too heavily. This is
where we can use the
track’s own volume level to
control its parameters. In
this example, we will do
this with the threshold
only, but it could also be
done with the ratio if you
wished to.
7. Click once on the
Threshold fader.
8. Click the Param button for this plug-in.
9. From the menu, then choose Parameter Modulation.
10. Study the suggested settings shown below and adjust your settings accordingly as you play the song.
Refer to the comments below.
11. Notice in particular how the attack and release setting levels, the shape of the curve and the volume
settings all help prevent the threshold from being adjusted too radically.
12. Save and close the file when finished.
Notes
By setting the Min Volume in the PM window to the same level as the Threshold in the ReaC omp window we
ensure that the PM is only applied when the vocal is at its loudest. The Strength setting of 33% effectively
means that for every 3 decibels by which the volume exceeds the min volume, the threshold will be lifted by
about 1 dB.
Note: When you are using Parameter Modulation you should be prepared to tweak the various parameters
carefully. Sometimes even the slightest change to a parameter value can significantly change the result. If at
first you do not seem to get any result, experiment especially with adjusting the baseline value setting.
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18.8
Bypass Mode
Whenever you create a parameter modulation for
a parameter, a small box is added next to its name
in the Envelopes/Automation window. This can be
used to enable any of your parameter
modulations, or set them to bypass mode (in
which case they are of course ignored). Otherwise
you can do this from inside the Parameter
Modulation window itself.
In the example shown here, PM settings exist for
the Threshold (currently enabled).
Also, note that clicking on the word Mod for an
item where parameter modulation already exists
will cause that window to be opened (even if it is
currently disabled) so that you can view and/or
edit the settings.
18.9
Parameter Modulation Under Parameter Control
By linking parameters you can use dynamic changes in one FX parameter to directly control another. In this next
example you will do just this, linking a track's EQ gain with its compressor threshold, so that whenever the
compression threshold is raised a little more warmth is automatically added to the track.
1. Open the file All Through the Night MOD1A and save it as All Through the Night MOD1B.
2. In the vocal FX chain, add an instance of ReaEQ (after ReaComp). Select Band 2. Set the Frequency to
about 180 Hz, the bandwidth to about 2.00 octave and the Gain to 0.0 dB.
3. With the ReaEQ window open, click on the Band 2 Gain control, then the Param button, then
Parameter Modulation to open the Parameter Modulation window. Select the option Link from
parameter.
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18 - Automation with Parameter Modulation
4. Click on the large button immediately below the
Link from parameter option and choose
ReaComp then Threshold (as shown here).
5. Before playing the song, adjust the baseline value
fader so that the Gain on Band 2 in ReaEQ is
restored to 0 dB.
6. Set the Offset fader to 10% and the Scale to
+100% (see notes below).
7. Play the song and save the file.
In our first two examples (17. 5 and 17. 6) parameter
modulation was used to create quite a dramatic effect.
In the last two examples (17. 7 and 17. 9), the effect is
far more subtle.
The two controls Offset and Scale can be used to
control the extent to which the controlling parameter (in
this example the compressor's threshold) modifies the
controlled parameter (in this case the EQ band gain).
The Offset fader increase (to the right) or decreases (to the left) by a specified percentage the value of the
parameter being modified
The Scale fader covers a range from -100% to +100%. At -100% the relationship between the controlling
parameter (threshold) and the controlled parameter (EQ band 2 gain) will be 100% negative: the EQ gain will
be lowered exactly as the threshold is raised. At +100% the relationship will be 100% positive and the opposite
will occur.
Parameter modulation is a very powerful feature indeed. You will get the best out of it if you are prepared to
experiment and be creative. For example, in the above example you could add a parameter control for another
EQ Gain (perhaps Band 3), driven this time directly by the track's audio signal. Another example would be to
use, say, the threshold on one compressor to drive directly the threshold on another compressor, independently
of audio control.
18.10 Using Parameter Modulation with an Envelope
When you have an automation envelope enabled for a parameter being modulated, then the baseline value will
be determined by that envelope rather than by the baseline value fader in the parameter modulation window.
When this happens, the baseline value that is actually applied will itself vary (according to the envelope)
throughout the song. This can produce some interesting results.
Here we have added an envelope to control the Band 2 EQ Gain setting of ReaEQ. By clicking the Modulate
button in the envelope lane we are able to open the Parameter Modulation window and take the necessary
steps to ensure that the EQ gain will respond automatically to changes in the strength of the audio signal on
this track. In this example, when the envelope is lowered just after the current position of the play cursor, the
baseline value of the parameter being modulated will also be lowered.
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18.11 Parameter Modulation under Sidechain Audio Control
This next example introduces another application for Parameter Modulation. In this case, we will use the audio
signal from one track (a vocal track) to shape the sound of an instrument submix (that is, a folder track
containing several instruments). This will be done in such a way as to cause the instruments to appear to pull
back slightly during the vocal passages.
Example
1.
Open the file All Through The Night MOD1
and save it as All Through The Night MOD2.
2.
Remove or set to bypass the delay plug-in in the
Bouzouki track's FX chain.
3.
Insert a new track after the vocal track. Name
this track Instruments and make it into a
folder. Insert the three instrument tracks into
this folder, as shown on the right.
4.
Add an instance of ReaComp to the Bouzouki
track. This is needed only because the volume of
this instrument increases quite significantly as
the song progresses. We wish to pull this back a
little.
5.
Set a threshold of around –15dB and a ratio of
around 4:1.
6.
Select the Instruments folder and display its
routing window. Set the number of track channels to 4 and add a receive from channels 1/2 of the Vox
track to channels 3/4 of the Instruments folder.
7.
Open the FX Window for the Instruments folder and add an instance of JS: SStillwell/exciter. This will
be used to brighten up
the instrument a little.
8. Settings similar to those
shown here will
definitely brighten the
instruments, perhaps
more than you would
like. For the sake of this
exercise, however, these
levels should be fine.
9. We are now going to use parameter modulation to ensure that audio signal from the vocal track drives
down the mix level of the exciter. This will have the effect of helping the vocal to just float over the
instruments a little.
10. Click on the Mix % control, then on the Param button and choose Parameter modulation from the
menu.
11. When the PM window is opened, enable parameter modulation and choose Audio control signal
(sidechain). Move the baseline value fader about a third of the way to the right.
12. Select Track audio channels 3/4 and make the direction Negative.
13. Adjust the other parameters so that as the vocal floats above the instruments the Mix % of the Exciter is
smoothly and gently faded down.
14. One possible solution to this exercise is shown below. But don't just dive straight in and copy these
settings. Try to get there by yourself!
15. Save the file when you are finished.
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18.12 Further Applications
This chapter has introduced you to just a few basic examples to help you understand what REAPER’s parameter
modulation is and how it can be used. In doing so we have barely scratched the surface.
Here are some other points to keep in mind:
 With parameter modulation, the signal from any track can be used to
control parameters on any other. For example, the signal from an audio
track can be used to control parameters on a synthesizer, and a
synthesizer’s output can be used to control signals on an audio track.
 If you are familiar with working with synthesizers and low frequency
oscillators, you may have developed an understanding of different types
of waveforms such as sine, square and triangle. You can use these LFO
shapes in your parameter modulation. The opportunities here can take
you well beyond the introductory example used earlier in this section.
 Other applications for parameter modulation are limited only by your needs, your creativity and your
imagination. For example, with this technique you are able to use the audio sinal from one track (or
group of tracks) to control specific parameters on a noise gate on another track (or tracks).
Tip: Your parameter modulation windows and their settings will automatically be saved with any FX chains
and/or track templates that you create.
18.13 Managing FX Parameters in the Project Bay
In Chapter 12 you were introduced to the Project Bay, including the FX Bay which can be used to help you
manage and organize your various track, item and master FX.
The Project Bay also includes a FX Parameters Bay whose purpose is to assist you in managing the various
FX parameter features discussed in this chapter (and elsewhere). From this single interface you can manage
track controls, envelopes, parameter modulation and control surface assignment for all parameters for all active
track, item take and master track FX.
The FX Parameters tab is located next to the FX tab of the Project Bay, displayed by the View, Project
Media/FX command, and shown below.
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This bay
supports the
standard
project bay
features
explained in
Chapter 12,
including
(where
appropriate)
the various
commands on
the Action and
Options
button, and
from right-click
context menus.
Here we will
focus solely on
those aspects
that are specific to FX Parameter management.
Whenever any of these features is added to any FX parameter (e.g. from the individual FX window, or from the
FX bay), it will automatically be added to the FX Parameters Bay display. In the above example, Band 2 gain on
ReaEQ on track 1 uses parameter modulation: this is shown in the Mod column, which also indicates that they
are under the control of audio control signals (ACS). The Details column tells us that another parameter on this
plug-in, Band 4 gain, is linked to Band 2 gain. The Envelope column shows that two parameters from ReaDelay
on track 5 have armed and active automation envelopes. Two parameters from ReaComp on track 2 have had
their controls added to the track control panel (or TCP, as indicated by the dots in this column), and one
parameter from a Guitar/chorus plug-in (Track 3) has both a track control and an armed envelope. No
parameter is shown in the Learn column as being under control surface control.
The table below summarises how you the Parameter FX Bay can be used.
In order to do this …
You do this ...
Manage or modify an existing
parameter's settings
Right-click on the plug-in name and
make your choice from the menu.
For track FX, these are Show in
track controls, add a track
envelope, parameter modulation
and learn (to assign to a control
surface.
For item/take FX, the options are
track envelope and learn.
Manage or modify a different
parameter on the same FX
Right-click on the plug-in name and from the menu (shown above)
choose Other FX parameters... Choose an option (show in track
controls, track envelope, parameter modulation or learn) from the submenu, then select the required parameter from the list.
Manage or modify a parameter
on an FX used in the project
but not yet modified
Select the FX Bay (not the FX Parameter Bay!) then right-click on the
FX. Choose FX parameters from the menu, then from the FX
Parameters list choose an option (show in track controls, track
envelope, parameter modulation or learn) from the sub-menu, then
select the required parameter from the list.
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19 Using REAPER with Video
With the introduction of version 5.0, REAPER's video capabilities have been considerably enhanced and
expanded. In overview, you can:
 Carry out simple editing tasks like deleting, moving or copying parts of a video.
 Edit an existing video soundtrack.
 Add new sound to a video.
 Add various visual effects to a video track, such as fading and lighting.
 Edit or blend the contents of several video files into one, optionally using effects such as crossfade.
 Use automation envelopes to manage your video effects.
 Render the output of your project into a new video file.
Throughout this chapter a basic understanding and knowledge of REAPER's audio, editing and project
management features is assumed: only those aspects specific to video will be explained in detail. We'll start by
looking at and working thru some practical examples, then towards the end of the chapter deal with the more
technical aspects such as settings and preferences.
Later in this chapter we'll look at issues like video workflow, but first we'll look at how REAPER handles video.
19.1
Simple Video Editing
REAPER can be used to edit the soundtrack of your video files, such as .MOV, .WEBM, .AVI, .MPG, .VLC, .MP4
and .WMV files. These files are imported using the Insert, Media
File command, or by simply dragging and dropping into REAPER's
Arrange window.
In addition, you can use the Track, Insert Track from Template
command to import data from a .EDL file. Use the View, Video
Window command, Ctrl Shift V, to show the Video Window. This
window is dockable. For Windows users, video playback is handled by
Direct Show (but see 18.7): OS X uses Quick Time.
You can edit the original soundtrack, and/or add extra audio tracks
and items to the existing soundtrack (as shown above).
The Options menu in the video window (shown right) offers a
number of useful features:
Dock: This option enables you to dock the video window. The same command will also undock an existing
docked window. Docking is discussed throughout this user guide. In particular, simple docking is explained more
fully in Chapter 2, and the use of multiple dockers is explored in Chapter 12.
Full screen: A toggle command used to expand the video window to cover the whole screen. In full screen
mode, right click anywhere to display this menu.
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Preserve video aspect ratio: When enabled, this ensures that the height:width picture ratio is maintained no
matter how the window is resized.
Resize video window to original video size: Needs no explanation!
Video item properties. This opens a window revealing the properties (length, video, audio, decoding format,
etc.) of the video item.
Example 1
Download the sample projects from http://www.cockos.com/~glazfolk/VideoExamples.zip
To open them, you will need to have a utility program such as AlZip or 7 Zip. The archive file contains two
folders, Wildlife and Zebras. The video items are in MOV format. If they do not display in REAPER, you may
need to install the VLC decoder. An easy way to do this is simply to install the free VLC media player (see also
18.7). In the sample clips, video quality has been compromised to keep the file and download size to a
minimum.
In the first example we will start by performing some basic and simple editing tasks before getting a little more
ambitious and adding some effects. You should not attempt these exercises unless you have at least a basic
understanding and experience of working within REAPER's arrange view environment .
1. Open the project Zebras.RPP. You will find a video of about 45 seconds of zebras drinking at a water
hole. Let's decide we want to shorten it a little. First, save it as ZebrasDemo.RPP.
2. Display the Options menu and make sure that Ripple editing is enabled for all tracks.
3. Click on the media item Zebras.mov to select it.
4. Within the arrange view window, select the time from approx 8 secs to 20 secs. Right click on the media
item and choose Cut selected area of item. Press Esc to clear the time selection.
5. Now let's add a musical soundtrack. Turn the volume fader on the Zebras track all the way down.
6. Display either Windows Explorer or REAPER's media explorer and drag and from the Zebras folder drag
and drop the file morning.mp3 into your project as a new track. Shorten the audio track to make it the
same length as the video. Save the file and play it.
7. If you wish, add a track to this project. On this track record a little spoken commentary, then use volume
envelopes so that the voice will sit nicely on top of the music. Your project will look something like this:
8. Save the file. Do not yet close it.
Now let's get a little more ambitious and add a video effect or two.
REAPER's video effects can be inserted into track or item take FX chains. They are flexible and powerful, but
they do take some time and effort to get to grips with and to master. Some of them do include parameter
control rotaries, but sometimes to get the best results you will need to be a little more adventurous. We'll dig
deeper into explanations later in this chapter, but for now let's just explore some of the simpler options.
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19.2
Video Effects
Example 1 (Continued)
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
Click on the FX button for the video track Zebras. When the Add FX window is displayed, make sure that
All Plugins is selected in the left pane. In the right pane click on Video processor then OK. Instead of a
window with a standard familiar plug-in interface you will see something quite different. Currently no effect
has yet been loaded.
Let's add a title.
From the presets
drop down list
choose Title
overlay. This
might look a bit
strange (see
right).
The first black
column displays
the parameter
controls. These
determine the
size, appearance
and position of
the text.
The second
column contains the actual EEL code used to create the effect. Notice that your video window currently
displays the text This is a title. You should be able to see where this is also written in the FX window
pane. Click in this pane and edit this line to read Text=”Zebras”; (edit only the text between the quote
marks, nothing else), then press Ctrl S to save. The text in your video window
changes.
Lets create some effects. Click first on this FX's text height parameter control
button, then on the Param button (top right), then Show track envelope.
Add points and adjust this envelope as shown here.
With your mouse adjust the y position knob to 0.07. Play the video. The text
will now be positioned higher up, starting very small and growing larger.
Let's suppose we only want to display the title for 10 seconds or so. This can
be achieved by adding a bypass envelope.
Click on the automation button for the Zebras video track (labelled “trim”).
Under the heading text overlay select Bypass. Close the window: a bypass
envelope will be displayed just beneath the track.
At or around the 10 second mark, add a point to this envelope and drag that point up, as shown below:
18. Save the file and play the video.
19. Now let's add a visual effect. In the FX chain for the Zebras video track, add another instance of the
video processor.
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20. Into this effect load the preset Horizontal wipe. This preset includes one parameter control, labelled
wipe pos.
21. Save the file and play it. Notice you can now only see half of the picture in the video window: the other
half is blackened out!
22. We can fix this with an automation envelope. Add and envelope for this track for the parameter wipe
pos on the effect horizontal wipe.
23. Adjust this envelope as shown below: you do not need to be exact in positioning the points.
24. Save the file and play the video. The picture will now scroll out from the right at the end of the video.
In the next example we will be a little more ambitious with our use of effects.
Note 1: When you modify and the code of a video effect, you are only changing it for that single instance, you
are not changing the default. If you make a mistake or get confused, simply remove the plug-in from the FX
chain, reinsert it and start again.
Note 2: Pressing F1 from within a preset code window will open a help window which includes a list of
parameters used by that preset,.
19.3
Working with Multiple Video Tracks
There is one important fact that you will need to get your head around before you start working on projects
with more than one video track. Unlike pure audio projects, when you are working with multiple video tracks
the track order is significant.
REAPER processes video tracks and items differently from the way in which it processes audio tracks and items.
By default, REAPER will audibly process all audio tracks and items. With video, however, the situation is
different, not least because you may have several video tracks all competing for the one video window. The
default position is that where multiple video tracks are present, during playback only the item(s) on one of them
will be displayed in the video window. Which one this is will depend on which is assigned the highest priority.
The following summary indicates how priority is allocated. However, it is important to be assured (as you will
see in the examples later in this section) that by using transition effects and automation envelopes you can
override the default behavior and determine which and/or how many of your items are displayed at any one
time during playback.
 Video is processed from bottom to top, so that a lower numbered track will override a higher numbered
track. For example, if track 1 and track 2 both contain video items, then without the use of envelopes
and/or effects only the video contents of track 1 will be displayed in the video window during playback.
The master track is processed last.
 A similar hierarchy exists on tracks with more than one video item and where free item positioning is used.
That is, by default the contents of only the bottommost item will be displayed in the video window.
 Where video FX are used, video FX on the track process the output of the video FX on individual items.
There is an option on the Video page of your Project Settings which allows you to reverse the video processing
hierarchy if you wish, so that video will be processed instead from top to bottom.
Working with video files can be a resource hungry activity, especially on older computers. If you are
encountering performance difficulties during playback and/or editing, you may need to make tweaks to your
video preferences options which can improve performance. These are explained at the end of this chapter.
Video effects can be inserted in any of three places – in the video item itself, in the video track, or in a separate
video effects track. Depending on where you place them, the outcome can vary. If necessary, be patient, and be
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19 - Using REAPER with Video
prepared to learn by exploring!
This next example uses a project file with three video tracks. If you have downloaded and unzipped the sample
files included in VideoExamples.7z you will find the folder Wildlife which includes two projects, Wildlife1
and Wildlife2. Wildlife1 will be used for the practical exercises. Wildlife2 shows you how the project will look
when it has been completed. The Wildlife2 folder also includes a further project with more examples (Wildlife3),
but we'll come to that shortly.
Example 2
First, we will look at a project with some simple edits and video effects added. After that, we can discover how
this was done. Open the file Wildlife2 and play the video from the beginning. Notice in particular that:
 If you check the video page of your project settings (Alt Enter) you should see that Items in lower
numbered tracks replace higher.
 There is an animated title.
 There are three video tracks, which have been edited so that at the beginning and end of the movie
these are shown one at a time, in sequence, but in the middle they are faded in and out.
 An additional track, Track 1, contains no media items, only various video processing plug-ins.
 Further visual effects are used from time to time..
 Let's see how this was done, starting with track 1, Video FX.
The Track Edits
Simple slip editing has been performed on the video tracks. Because these are processed with lower track
numbers having priority, when this is played you will initially see only the elephants (track 4), then only the
zebras (track 3) then only the antelopes (track 2).
The Title
Position the play cursor at the very start of the
video. A video processing effect instance has been
added to this track's FX chain (track 1), and the
preset title overlay selected.
The code has been edited with the text changed to
Morning in Africa
Some parameter values have been changed from
their defaults, notably text height (0.9), y
position (1) and text bright (0.37). This last
setting hides the text by making it the same color as
its background.
Envelopes have been added (see above) to first fade
up the text to make it visible (text bright), then scroll it across the screen to the center (x pos), then fade
it out. A bypass envelope ensures that the title is removed altogether at or around the 13 second mark.
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Tips: To help you
understand the purpose of
the various parameters, at
any time you can click in the
window containing the
preset code and press F1 to
obtain further information
(see right).
If you wish, you can edit
these parameter values
directly in the code. We will
do this with the next
example.
The Crossfade Effect
A second video processor instance has been added (above the text overlay) to Track 1,using the Crossfade
through inputs… preset.
A bypass envelope is used to ensure that the crossfade is applied only during the period of approximately
20 seconds in the middle of the movie.
The speed of the crossfade is determined by the
multiplier used to set value of the parameter
project_time. The higher this value, the faster the
rate of crossfade. In this example, this has been
edited from its default value of 0.5 to 0.2 (see right)
The Zoom Effect
An instance of the video processor plug-in has been added to the Elephant track and the preset track
opacity/zoom/pan added. A zoom envelope is used to zoom this track out completely at the very end.
Note: If you develop a serious knowledge and understanding of scripting languages such as Lua or EEL then
you have at your disposal an amazing scope for creating and using video effects in REAPER. However, as this
example has demonstrated, even a very limited knowledge and understanding such as is required for this
example places considerable power in your hands!
Try it yourself! Open the file Wildlife1, save it as Wildlife1a and have a go at reproducing these effects
yourself. Any time you make edits to any code, remember to press Ctrl S to save. Don't yet be too ambitious: in
the next example we'll explore a slightly more complicated example.
Example 3
This next example, Wildlife3 uses the same source media files but includes some different effects. Shown here
is part of the arrange view for this file. Play this video from the beginning, then we can have a look at what has
been added.
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


The main title is now centered on the video window, is larger, and fades up at the beginning before
disappearing. It reappears at the end and is faded down.
There are more effects on the antelopes. They return at about the 10 second mark badly pixelated, then
gradually ease into a clean image before the lighting effect is applied.
The zebras have their own track title displayed, Time for a drink. This is displayed for a few seconds near
the end of the video. Let's see how this was ALL done.
The Main Title
This should not need any further explanation.
The Antelope Stage Lighting Effect
A stage lighting effect has been added to the Antelope video track. Conservative values have been applied to
the parameters to ensure that the effect is fairly subtle.
The Zebra Pixel Effect
An instance of the video processor has been added to the Zebra track FX chain, and the preset pixelate a
portion of the image has been added. This preset comes with five
parameter controls (knobs), any or all of which can be tweaked
and/or automated.
Together, the first four determine the positioning (horizontal and
vertical) and size (width and height) of the area covered by, the
pixelated part of the screen. Experiment with these if you like. The
fifth control determines the size of each pixel: this is what we are
going to look at now.
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A pixelsize and a bypass envelope have both been added for this plug-in. The bypass envelope ensures that
the pixel effect is only displayed for the few seconds that it requires. The pixelsize starts at zero, rises sharply
to about 50%, then gradually decreases again to zero.
19.4
Video Processor Parameter Controls
The video processor plug-in includes the standard features found in
REAPER's audio plug-ins and explained in Chapter 6 of this User Guide. For
example, the + button can be used to save and load your own presets.
From a track's FX chain, you can click first on any of the plug-in's rotary
parameter controls then on the plug-in's Param button (right) to add a
parameter control to the TCP, add a track envelope, use parameter
modulation or use the learn function to assign the control to a controller.
From an item's FX chain, you can add an automation envelope or access the
learn function.
19.5
Video Effects Presets (Examples)
The number and variety of presets available for use with REAPER's video processor plug-in is being constantly
improved and updated. Here are some further examples of some of the effects available at the time of writing
this. Over time, it can be expected that more effects will also be downloadable from the REAPER stash. It would
not be practical to attempt to document all of these in detail here. The best way to learn is by doing! Play
around with some of these effects on your sample project files and before you know it you'll be flying high!
Video Preset Examples
Faded Top
2x2 Input Matrix
Matrix Crossfade
Matrix of Recent Frames
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Video Preset Examples
Pixelate
Show Motion
19.6
Understanding Video Formats
Newcomers to video often find the whole topic bewildering. This section aims to guide you thru some basic
concepts, so that you can at least confidently get started. It is not comprehensive and by no means covers
everything that you should eventually need to know.
Video files hold video and other data that exhibits a number of attributes such as frame rate, pixel dimensions
and audio channels. Different formats can be used for capturing, saving, editing and distribution of this data.
Different formats are characterised by the whichever video container and codec they use.
Video signal attributes
As with most things audio and video, the higher the numbers the better the quality and the larger the resulting
file size! In particular, video characteristics include:
 Frame size: the video frame's dimensions, measured in pixels, typically within the range 160 (width) by
120 (height) to 1920 by 1080 (Full HD).
 Frame rate: the speed with which each frame is first captured then played back. Each frame holds a still
image. The human eye starts to see motion (albeit “jerky”) at 8 frames per second (fps). The motion will
start to appear smooth at rates of 24 fps and above. The U.S. standard frame rate for 720 HD (1280 by
720 pixels) is 59.94 fps, often rounded up to 60 fps
 Aspect ratio:the ratio of width to height. This can be expressed either as whole numbers, e.g. 16 by 9, or
as a decimal ratio, e.g. 1.78:1. 16 by 9 is the ratio used by widescreen TV.
 Bit rate: the rate at which data is transferred, for
example, from the file to the screen. Bit rate is
usually measured in megabits per second (mps).
By way of example, HD Blu-ray video typically uses
a bit rate of 20 mbps, standard DVD quality is
around 6 mbps. HD mobile phone, on the other
hand uses rates of 2500 (HD) or 5000 (Full HD)
kilobits per second (kbps).
 Audio sample rate: the number of samples per
second used to digitize recorded sound. This is
discussed in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3.
Container files
Container files are files that contain video (and other related) data. You are probably at least vaguely familiar
with commonly used container extensions such as .MOV, and.AVI. Different containers provide different degrees
of support for (for examples) different video and audio compression formats, subtitles, and so on. For example,
several container formats support multiple audio streams, others support only one. In fact, you can learn very
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little about a video file from its container type alone. To do that, right-click over the video item within REAPER
and choose Source properties... from the context menu. An example is shown above.
When rendering video in REAPER (see Chapter 20) available formats are AVI, QT/MOV/MP4, MKV and WEBM.
Codecs
If the container format provides a container for holding a file's data, then the codec (coder/decoder) is the
method by which that data is actually encoded. The very large number of codecs available makes this whole
topic something of a minefield. Important characteristics of codecs include their video quality, performance
factors (such as compression/decompression speed, supported profiles, options, supported resolution, and so
on). Some codecs are available free of charge, others you have to pay for. Because raw video files are so large,
file size compression is one of the most important aspect of video codecs. Indeed, most consumer standard
recording equipment captures video in the first place in compressed rather than raw video format.
When rendering in REAPER, your choice of codec will largely depend on which container format is selected.
19.7
REAPER Video Processing Tips
1. For Windows users, if a video file won't play in REAPER, the chances are that you do not have a codec
(coder/decoder) required for that video format. Codecs are freely available on the internet. Download and install
the VLC decoder from http://download.videolan.org/pub/videolan/vlc/2.2.1/ Choose win32 or win 64
(depending on your system), then download and install the required .exe file. This will also install the codecs
required for AVI, MKV, MP4, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DIVX and many other video formats. Moreover, video
playback will now be handled by VLC rather than Direct Show.
2. The Media, Video/Rex/Misc page of your Preferences includes an option for you to specify your own video
decoder priorities. If you get into trouble here, there is an option to Reset to defaults.
19.8
REAPER Video Settings and Preferences
Pressing Alt Enter displays the project settings dialog. Select the Video tab.
You can select a frame rate from the drop down list, or type in your own value.
Optionally, you may enter a preferred video size if you wish. If this is left blank, the video will try to size to
the active media being played. If your project has videos all recorded at the same dimensions, setting this is
unnecessary. If you have various videos at different resolutions, it can be advantageous to specify a size here. If
you provide only a width or a height, it will
adjust the other value to put things at a
default 16:9 ratio.
Video item visibilty determines the
order in which video items are processed.
Items in lower numbered tracks
replace higher is consistent with the
approach taken by most video editing
programs, but you can select Items in
higher numbered tracks replace
lower if you wish.
Your options for video colorspace are
auto, 1420/YV12, YUY2 or RGB. Both YUY2
and 1420/YV12 store data more efficiently
than RGB and offer an almost lossless
form of file compression (but see
comments below).
Video colorspace options are Auto,
1420/YV12, YUY2 or RGB. Auto will
ensure that whatever colorspace the
media natively decodes will be used.
Usually this is YV12.
YV12 is the output mode used by most modern codecs (such as h264, or MPEG-4, or MPEG-2, or WEBM), and
is usually the fastest because it can avoid colorspace conversions.
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YUY2 is similar to YV12 but is less-often used, and offers a little bit better color resolution (due to using less
subsampling for luminance and chroma). Converting from YV12 to YUY2 is relatively inexpensive.
RGBA is a completely different mode that matches the pixels on your screen. It is expensive to convert from
YV12 or YUY2 to RGBA, and processing video frames in RGBA is also slower. Using RGBA also causes the
chromakeyed blit functions (such as the chroma-key preset) to use a different algorithm, so it will look different.
In fact, things will generally look slightly different in RGBA mode.
Other settings are toggles for the options Always resize video sources to preferred video size, Always
resize output to preferred video size, Use high quality filtering when resizing, and Preserve aspect
ratio (letterbox) when resizing.
The option to Always resize video to preferred video size, if selected, will always resize the video if
necessary prior to any processing. This can simplify use of certain FX, but also can be less efficient (since other
FX can handle the resize natively as part of their own processing).
The option to Always resize output to preferred video size, if selected, forces a resize if necessary at the
output stage (meaning processing may happen at some other resolution, but at the end it is resized to the
specified size for display). When rendering to a file, this option is is effectively selected, with the preferred
width/height set to the rendering width/height output.
Shown left is the video section of the
Media, Video/Rex/Misc preferences
screen.
Enabling 1420/YV12 and YUY2
colorspace output allows for better
video performance but can be disabled
if you are encountering problems with
playback. Using EVT can improve
video display quality on Vista and
Windows 7 systems.
You can if you wish edit the Video
decoder priority list to change the
order in which priority is allocated. By
default, VLC format is assigned the highest priority.
The options to specify Video output delay can be used if necessary to improve playback synchronization. This
can be a small positive or negative amount. Enabling the option Video window follows edits ensures that
the video window will synch to the seek point when audio items are moved or resized.
You can further choose your preferred behvaior when audio items are moved, so that the video window displays
content at the mouse cursor position, the start of the audio item, or a snap offset of the audio item.
In addition, the File, Render command can be used to export video from REAPER - see Chapter 20.
At wiki.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/Video_Support you can find more tips and information about
working with video files in REAPER.
19.9
Video Workflow Tips
If you are new to video editing, you might find the following tips helpful. They make reference to many of
REAPER's tools and features (such as media explorer, screensets, track manager, markers and regions) that are
explained elsewhere in this user guide.
Of course, these tips are general. Whilst they are intended to help you, you will most likely also have
considerations specific to your own needs and workflow that might not be mentioned here, or that might make
aspects of this model less suitable for you.
1. Video files require large amounts of disk space. However, even if you are intending to distribute your
work over the internet, perhaps via YouTube, you should record and edit your material (video and audio)
in high quality, then use lossless codecs to convert your files for distribution. A number of freeware
programs are available for this, such as MediaCoder, Quick Media Converter and Super Video Converter.
2. Before you start editing, organize all your material. This might be scattered across various SD cards, hard
disks, USB sticks, or whatever.
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Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide v 5.00
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Copy all your source materials into one place on the hard disk of the computer on which you use
REAPER. Create a folder for the project, and various sub-folders for your media, such as videos, audio
music, audio spoken, and so on.
If necessary rename your various source files to make them more easily identifiable and so as to present
them in a logical order.
Make sure that after every editing session you back this folder up to at least two different destinations.
Create your project file in REAPER. Check your project settings, especially the video settings. Specify your
required timeline format: remember that available formats include Hours:minutes:Seconds:Frames
and Absolute Frames. Set up a windows screenset suitable for video editing, remembering, for
example, that the video window is dockable, that media explorer is available to you for managing and
accessing your source materials, and that track manager is available for managing your tracks.
Import your video files into your project. Any video takes that run in parallel to each other (i.e. at the
same time) will need to be placed on separate tracks. Items that are sequential may be placed on a
single track.
Use markers and regions to help manage the media items in your project. Make such edits as you need
to your video items.
Add transition effects and text titles.
Edit existing audio and/or add any new audio material that may be required.
When you are ready, render your project to a single file.
A simple example of such a project is shown above. This is included as Wildlife2a with your sample files.
19.10 Making a Home Music Video on a Budget
Here is an overview of one way that this process could be applied to making your own music video on a budget.
1. Work out your exact musical arrangement.
2. Video record the band playing the song to this arrangement. Make sure you include the sound in the
recording. Using more than one camera will potentially make for a more interesting final product,
because of the opportunities it offers to cut, crossfade, etc.
3. Create a new project file and import your video items, each to a separate track. Import also any
additional video items (e.g. not of the band playing) that you wish to use. If you have more than one
item, turn the volume on all but one track all the way down.
4. Using the video sound track as a guide track, overdub record every part (vocals and instruments) in the
studio, as you would for a non-video project. Add any other audio material that you need.
5. Edit and mix the audio material in your usual way.
6. Edit your video tracks as required.
7. That's it! Save and render.
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20 - Exporting Files, Mixing Down and Rendering
20 Exporting Files, Mixing Down and Rendering
20.1
Introduction
There are three main tools available to you for taking your finished projects or tracks out of REAPER, for
example for final distribution or for further processing elsewhere. These are:
 Consolidate Tracks: this outputs tracks pre-processing (ignoring for example track FX and panning). Use
this, for example, if you are supplying files to be mixed/mastered by someone else.
 Render to File: this outputs your material post-processing (including for example all FX and panning).
Use this to produce a final mix of your songs ready for distribution.
 Batch File/Item Converter: this takes a collection of files at any stage in your project and converts
them en mass to another format – for example, to convert audio to MP3 for web distribution, or SFX for
games to 22 kHz mono.
Note: Some of the arrange view illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default theme and color
scheme. The information and instruc