Hi Everyone:

As a Novice Designer I have been using Audacity to create sounds that I've been asked to do by others. Although, Audacity is a great tool, I feel I should be graduating to a software product that offers more and better functionality. I know that Protools is the defacto industry standard and eventually I must use it. In the meantime, as part of my learning journey, I am considering using Reaper. I've heard good things about Reaper and would like your opinion on whether Reaper is a good stepping stone to Protools from a learning and productivity perspective or should I just delve out the dollars and buy Protools.

Also would a synthesizer allow me to be more flexible in creating sounds? Or should I just record sounds and manipulate them with software?


Carmine M

2 Answers 2


While I'm a huge supporter and love Reaper, it's timecode support does still lack a little bit. It also doesn't have OMF import capabilities. With v4 there are going to be some huge improvements in that area. So I'd have to say for professional scale work (and in regards to this I'm only speaking of conforming and surround mixing), then you're going to need Pro Tools or Nuendo. Reaper's video support is just fine, you just have to use the proper video format for the operating system you are on (if not you get a lot of issues that seem to throw most people off initially).

I should also add that I do a lot of sound design in Reaper and prefer working in it as much as possible (since it's an amazing sound design environment) and then import my material into Pro Tools when I need to conform and mix. In the past 6 months I've also begun doing smaller projects completely in Reaper and find that it works just fine if you don't need surround or if timecode or OMF import is not really necessary or is negligible.

So I'd have to say that if you can't get Pro Tools or Nuendo now, then it's a great place to start practicing, even do smaller/shorter projects on and will become an invaluable tool later on as well. In fact... if not for the few things it's lacking in necessary audio post functions I would have ditched Pro Tools long ago.

Besides, with Reaper they work on the honor system (expect you to do the right thing and pay after the 30 days has passed) and they offer a fully functional un-expiring "demo" of their software and their personal use license is cheap. Which will give you enough time to decide whether you want to use it. I've been using it for close to 3 years (using Pro Tools for 14yrs) and I only grow to love Reaper more and more. Also, you will be able to continue to use Audacity as your audio editor in conjunction with Reaper, so your learning curve won't be as hard at first while you wrap your head around using a DAW for audio post and sound design.

  • Thanks for the feedback. It appears Reaper would be a worthwhile investment anyway I look at it. When I can, I'll add Protools and Nuendo to the mix.
    – Carmine M
    May 20, 2011 at 1:25
  • @Carmine - If you need help figuring out the video format with Reaper or any other questions then get in touch and I'll help guide you in the right direction. I use both Reaper and PT in a professional capacity on a daily basis. May 20, 2011 at 2:03
  • Thanks for the thorough answer, SS. My macbook is +3 yrs old now. And were she to die tomorrow, I'd consider moving back to Windows, (leaving Logic 8 behind). Your solid endorsement has made me take another look at Reaper. Cheers.
    – MtL
    May 20, 2011 at 3:38
  • @Joel - Yeah, that's one of the good things about Reaper is that it's cross platform. I was PC based (at my home studio and working on Macs at work) up until almost 2 years ago. I used to run Reaper on PC and all my sessions transferred except a few PC only plug-ins and vice versa. It really made for a smooth transition. May 20, 2011 at 5:10

What do you want to do? sound for film? recordings? music?

If you want to do film, you need pro tools or an equivlent that can give you timecode and decent video support, at present Nuendo is the only other piece of software I would recommend, but that's more expensive.

Otherwise you can probably use Reaper for the rest.

  • Great Question Ed: I don't think I have an answer yet. I'm still at the discovery phase. My current project as mentioned in my other post you replied too is sound for dinosaur anamatronics. They are providing me with video footage to match the sound to the anamatrons movement so I guess I'll need timecode features or perhaps the anamatron's movements are simple enough that timecoding is not needed. Perhaps for now I'll get Reaper and now that I have an idea what to charge for my projects I'll get Protools and Nueendo when I am financially able too. :o)
    – Carmine M
    May 20, 2011 at 1:24
  • @Carmine - If it's a short video and you don't need to "conform" (which is when you get a different edit of the film later on and you'll have to shift sounds in the timeline to re-sync them) then extensive timecode is not needed. Reaper does have timecode, it's just not as extensive or as easy to figure out as PT or Nuendo. May 20, 2011 at 2:01

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