Chapter 17: More REAPER Routing Examples

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17 More REAPER Routing Examples[edit]

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.

17.1 Controlled Bleed[edit]

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.


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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

17.2 Splitting Channels[edit]

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.


  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.
  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.

17.3 Full and Fat Vocals with ReaDelay[edit]

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.


  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.
  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 (below 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.

Tip: When you copy an FX or FX chain (including by drag and drop) from one track to another, the channel count and FX pin settings are included, and copied with the FX. Similarly, when FX are dragged and dropped to a media item, the channel count will be increased as necessary.

17.4 drag and drop routing[edit]

17.5 Channel Splitting and Pitch Shifting[edit]

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.

17.6 REAPER Send Types[edit]

Every send is defined as being one of three types - Post-Fader (Post-Pan), Pre-Fader (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.

17.7 Audio Ducking[edit]

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 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.


  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 need to create a sidechain to enable the various instrument and Instrument Submix track to detect the signal level of the Vox track. 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).
  8. Next, display the FX window for the Instrument Submix Track. Add the Cockos plug-in VST: ReaComp (Cockos).
  9. This plug-in includes a setting 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Now display the Detector Input drop down list and select Auxiliary Input L + R (below 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.
  13. Now play the song. Adjust the Threshold (first vertical fader) downward, so that during Vocal passages the VU meter peaks above the fader level.
  14. 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 this example, this is '2.5 db.
  15. Notice what is happening here: the volume signal from one track (the vocal) is triggering the compressor on the instruments folder.
  16. 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.

17.8 Using VCA for Track Volume Control[edit]

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

In this example we will use REAPER's native JS plug-ins. The procedure is as follows:


  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 18.

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.

17.9 Multi Output VSTi Plug-ins[edit]

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.

Example 1: Paired Audio Tracks

  1. Right click over the empty area of the Track Control Panel and from the menu choose Insert virtual instrument on new track'
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Click on Yes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

3. 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 multi-output 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.

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.

17.10 Using Parent Channels[edit]

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.

17.11 Parallel FX Processing with the Channel Mixers[edit]

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.


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.
  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.

  1. Make sure that input is from Channels 1 and 2 only and output is to Channels 3 and 4 only, (see above).
  2. Now add ReaVerbate to the FX Chain for the Bouzouki.
  3. Select a preset, adjust wet/dry levels as you wish, then set the Output to Channels 5/6 (see right).
  4. Now insert the JS: IX/Mixer_8xM-1xS at the end of the Bouzouki track's FX chain.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

17.12 More Parallel FX Processing[edit]

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.

17.13 Channel Splitting and Parallel Processing with Item Take FX[edit]

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 7: 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.

17.14 Sending FX Output to Another Track[edit]

REAPER's routing capabilities allow you to direct FX output directly from one track to another (or others). The number of possibilities here is almost countless: here is just one simple possible example.

In this example, track 1 has several FX added to it. The first of these is ReaDelay whose output is directed to a pair of channels other than 1/2 (in this case 3/4).

Using drag and drop routing, this output can then be sent directly to channels 1/2 (or any other channels) on any other track or tracks.

Note that as long as their output is directed to channels 1/2, the other FX will be applied to track 1 only.

17.15 Other Channel Routing Plug-ins (Overview)[edit]

The following list provides an overview of some of REAPER's channel routing plug-ins. You can 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.

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 IX Switcher. Output Source selects which of up to four paired inputs channel is to be monitored, and the Level faders 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.

IX PhaseAdjustingRouter

Takes an input channel pair signal 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 are 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 and Output parameters select which paired channels are used for input and output. Phase Mode can be set to No Change, Invert Left Channel Only, Invert Right Channel Only or Invert Both Channels.

17.16 REAPER's Routing Interface[edit]

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.\

17.17 ReaSamplomatic and ReaDrums[edit]

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.


  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 to build up a list of samples. This 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 instruments, each time inserting a different appropriate sample. If you wish, rename any of the ReaSampl- Omatic5000 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.
  12. Close the MIDI Editor and save your file.
  13. 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.
  14. Press Ctrl T twice to add two more tracks. Name the first of these tracks Kick, the second Snare.
  15. 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).
  16. Open the FX Window for the ReaDrums track.
  17. Select the first ReaSamplomatic5000 instance, the Kick. Set both of its VST Outs to Channel 3.
  18. Select the Snare ReaSamplomatic5000 instance and set both of its VST Outputs to Channel 4.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.

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 (accessible version), available at

17.18 Round-Robin Multisampling[edit]

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:

The chart on the right (courtesy of Tod) shows the various probabilities when different numbers of samples are used.

The option Remove played notes from FX chain should in each case be enabled on all but the last RR.

17.19 MIDI Routing: MIDI Channels, Track Sends, and MIDI Buses[edit]

Recording Thru MIDI Channels

If you don’t hear any sound coming from REAPER when you play your keyboard then (assuming the keyboard is switched on and physically connected to your computer or sound card) most likely one (or more) of these circumstances may apply:

  • The MIDI Keyboard has not been installed for REAPER. See the section Setting Up For MIDI.
  • The channel being used by your keyboard for MIDI output does not match the channel selected on the REAPER track for MIDI input. This is sometimes referred to as channel mismatch. More about this follows.
  • The REAPER track has not been record armed.
  • Input monitoring has not been enabled

Almost all but some of the very cheapest MIDI keyboards let you select which channel is used for MIDI output. Many use channel 1 by default. You will need to check your keyboard’s documentation to find out how to select a MIDI channel of your choice (from 1 to 16) for MIDI output. To select a MIDI channel for REAPER input, first right- click on the track control panel over the area shown (right). You should then choose (from the menu) Input MIDI, then the device (in the example shown this is Pro40 MIDI), then select the channel of your choice, or all channels. Input monitoring can be enabled from the same menu. Record arm is enabled by clicking on the red button to the left of the track name. Within some instrument plug-ins (e.g. Kontakt, SampleTank) you can select which of the 16 MIDI channels will drive each loaded instrument: you will need to check out the plug-in’s user manual. The same applies for some effects plug-ins (e.g. those from MeldaProduction, where MIDI can be used to automate the plug-in parameters). See also the section Recording MIDI from Keyboard Check List.

Routing with MIDI Channels

The section REAPER Routing Essentials introduces track sends in REAPER. You might wish to review this now. The same principles apply whether you are routing audio or MIDI data from one track to another. You can send data from any channel (or all channels) on one track to any channel (or all channels) on another track. In the example shown (below right), drag and drop routing (from the send track’s routing button to the receiving track on the track control panel) has been used to send MIDI data from track 4 channel 3 to track 5 channel 1. Note that the audio send is set to None. MIDI Busses VSTi plug-ins can receive MIDI on any of the 16 MIDI channels. However, you cannot set a plug-in to receive (“listen to”) MIDI on a specific channel. One way of getting around this is to use MIDI buses. You can input the MIDI from a keyboard to a specific channel on a track, and then send it from there to a MIDI bus on a track with a VSTi and input the data into that VSTi by selecting the MIDI bus for input. You can map the MIDI to a particular channel too, or leave the channel unchanged and then set the plug-in to receive MIDI on that selected Bus. Thus, the use of MIDI Buses opens up extra routing options. MIDI data can be sent and received by way of any channel on any of 16 MIDI buses, numbered MIDI Bus 1 to MIDI Bus 16: MIDI data from this bus can be directly input into an instrument plug-in on another track. Some points to note are:

  • MIDI Bus 1 is used by REAPER’s MIDI Control Path for MIDI channel sends and by default for VSTi input.
  • MIDI control plugins like ReaControlMIDI and MIDItoReaControlPath can input MIDI data from, and output data to, a MIDI bus. VSTi instrument plug-ins can receive MIDI data from a MIDI bus but output audio.
  • Any number of track/channel combinations can output data to a MIDI bus.
  • Data from a MIDI bus can be sent to different VSTis on the same track, or indirectly to VSTis on other tracks.

Above right is shown a relatively simple example. Here we have four tracks which contain MIDI data and a Synth track which contains two VSTi plugins. We can create sends from any data track to, say, Bus 2 on track 5 by selecting from the sends dialog the output destination Bus 2 and any channel. In this example, we are sending from track 1 channel 4 to Bus 2 channel 4 (2/4). Now suppose that we have also created sends from track 2 to bus 2 and from both tracks 3 and 4 to Bus 3. In the latter case, both sends have gone to the same channel, channel 1 (i.e. 3/1). We can now open the FX chain for track 5 and select the first synth. Clicking on the “2 out” button, then I/O, then MIDI Input enables us to select MIDI Bus 2, as shown. We can now send the MIDI from Bus 3 to the other synth on this track. Just repeat this process with this synth, selecting MIDI Bus 3 as the MIDI input instead of MIDI Bus 2. We can complicate this example by adding another track with another synth. Let’s suppose that we want to add the data from both MIDI buses to that synth. By selecting B2 and B3 respectively as the sending source we ensure that all channels in those buses are included. These are sent to Bus 4 on the destination track (track 6). It now becomes a simple matter to set MIDI Bus 4 as the MIDI input source for the synth on track 6.

17.20 Further VSTi Signal Routing[edit]

The same technique that was used earlier (Sending FX Output to Another Track) can be used to send the output of a VSTi instrument before FX to another track, whilst also leaving the FX on the VSTi track. Many possibilities are available, here is one.

Click on the pin connector button (labelled 'X out', where X is the number of track channels) and create an additional pair of outs to two more channels (in this example, channels 5/6). You can then create a send from channels 5/6 on the VSTi track to another track.

VSTi output will now be directed without track FX to the other track, as well as (in this example) with track FX to the VSTi host track.

17.21 Surround Panning with ReaSurround[edit]

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.

The REAPER-specific issues that you need to be aware of for surround sound production are:

Configurations REAPER supports several surround sound configurations, including 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1, Specify your number of input channels and select your required configuration from the drop down list (shown here).


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.


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, 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 (left). These vary according to the selected format. For example, for 5.1 they are: Left/Right Front left/Back right Diffusion bias To front center Back/Front Expand/Contract Diffusion rotate To back left Low/High Rotate To front left To back right Back left/Front right Diffusion level To front right

Tips for managing inputs Speaker influence can be set to Relative or Absolute. For example, if set to absolute, you should be able to position a sound between (say) left front and centre speakers without any sound leaking to the right.

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.

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).

When adjusting controls, holding Shift will make the control respond more swiftly: holding Control will slow it down. Double-clicking a control returns it to its default setting.

You can select two or more inputs (control click or marquee to make selection) and move them together. Clicking the R button for any input(s) will cause it to mirror (reverse) the movement of the other input(s) in the selection. Holding Control while dragging will temporarily disable the mirroring.

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. You also have an additional option to Normalize multichannel gain.

See also Chapter 21, Rendering in Surround Format.

17.22 Multichannel Track VU Meters[edit]

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.

17.23 Routing to/from Other Applications with ReWire[edit]

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. For more comprehensive general information and documentation about ReWire, visit

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.

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.

ReWire can be used with any track(s) in 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 shown here) ReWire FLStudio.

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 here), 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. For more information about using ReWire with REAPER see:

17.24 Introducing ReaRoute[edit]

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.

17.25 Controlling REAPER with a Web Browser Interface[edit]

You can use your mobile phone or tablet as a control surface for REAPER, for example to record tracks, play them back, solo or mute tracks, and so on, using REAPER's web browser interface!

Make sure that your REAPER computer is on-line. Open any project, or start a new one. Open the Control/OSC/web page of your Preferences. Click on Add and from the Control surface mode dropdown select Web browser interface, to open the dialog shown here.

This example shows basic.html selected from the Default interface dropdown: this is a simple interface provided with REAPER. If you prefer a graphical interface, try index.html. Other options might be available on the drop-down, or in Built-in pages. The interface that you select will determine, amongst other things, the look and layout of the interface and exactly which REAPER tasks you will (and will not) be able to perform in your web browser. You can store any interfaces that you create or download yourself in the User pages folder.

Click on Apply Settings. Make a note of the exact Access URL shown on your screen.

Open any browser (e.g. Chrome or Safari) on your phone or tablet and enter the exact access URL code in its search bar. You will be taken to a screen similar to that shown below (but see footnote below).

The four main buttons are play, stop, record and abort record. Below these, your tracks are listed, starting with the master track. Individual tracks can be armed, monitored or muted.

Touch any track to see it displayed as shown here on the right. There is a vertical volume fader on the left and various other track controls as shown (mute, solo, etc.) Click on the X to return to the main view.

The HTML interface file includes HTML, CCS and Javascript. It defines what you see on your phone and how it behaves.

In the finest REAPER tradition, users can develop their own scripts for a customised web mobile interface, or to make one available to other users. Check out on the REAPER Stash from time to time! You never know what you might find there!

Footnotes: With some Windows installations, in order to get this to work you might need to manually adjust some settings. In this example, 8080 is the port number. On most Windows systems, this is pre-defined as open, but you might wish to use a higher number, e.g. over 9000. If so, you will need access your Windows Firewall settings to open the port that is being used, and to give REAPER inbound and outbound access.

If you prefer, you can tick the Use box. This will record your local IP for you and provide a permanent URL link which will always redirect to your local IP even if the local IP changes. Just follow the on-screen instructions.