Chapter 1: Setting Up and Getting Started

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chapter 1: Setting Up and Getting Started[edit]

editors note: even though wording has not been altered on this portion of this user guide, you might find that following the community created installation instructions on this wiki might be better suited for blind users and also will get you running with osara. SO you might skip sections 1.1 through 1.3 and section 1.7.

1.1 Downloading REAPER[edit]

To download REAPER, visit the download page. Read the on-screen 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 After downloading you will need to install the program. There are differences in the installation process for OS X (Mac) and for Windows (PC).

1.2 Installing REAPER on an OS X Mac[edit]

To install REAPER on a Mac (OS X) follow this procedure.

  1. Double-click on the REAPER disk image (.dmg) file to open it.
  2. If you agree to accept the licence conditions, click on Agree to open this file.
  3. Drag and drop the REAPER icon (shown right) into your Applications folder.
  4. If you also want to install ReaMote, drag this icon too into your Applications folder. If you choose not to do this, you can do so later.

To pin REAPER to the dock, simply drag and drop the 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[edit]

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.

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 5.xx version, change the default directory (e.g. to \REAPER5) and enable portable install. This will ensure that your earlier 5.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)[edit]

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 Required files These are the files that REAPER needs to perform effectively. You have no choice but to install these.
Optional Functionality JSFX library. This is an extensive collection of audio (choruses, filters, limiters, etc.) and MIDI (sequencers, arpeggiator, chorderizer, etc.) effects that can be used with your tracks and media items. It is recommended that you install these.
VST/x64 VST bridging/firewalling. These options allow for greater flexibility in the use of VST plug-ins. For example, they allow 32 bit plug- ins to be used on a 64-bit version of REAPER. If in doubt, you should install these.
ReaMote, ReWire, ReaRoute. These enable REAPER's various advanced routing capabilities, such as controlling the passing of audio/MIDI material between REAPER and other programs. If you choose not to install these, you can reinstall REAPER to add them at any time in the future.
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[edit]

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 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

OSX 32 bit systems

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).

1.6 REAPER Software Updates[edit]

REAPER is updated frequently and regularly, with bug fixes, new features and other enhancements. You can check for updates at any time by visiting this Reaper page. 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[edit]

To start REAPER, just press enter 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. press your applications key when you have the icon selected to display this.

1.8 REAPER Startup Tips[edit]

By default, REAPER opens with the last used project. As you will see in Chapter 22 (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[edit]

Working in REAPER involves making selections and giving commands. For example, to copy a single item you would select the item (by pressing CTRL/right arrow, 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 Press your applications key after selecting an item, track or element 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 your own shortcuts to other commands and actions. Chapter 15 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 Mac (OS X) Key Equivalent Shift Shift
Control Command
Alt Command
Window Control

1.10 The REAPER Screen[edit]

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 gryscale 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.

(wiki) editors note. There is a way of Monitoring levels when you can't see the meters. follow this link for a community created article that explains the procedure. That would be equivalent to the vu meters which are briefly explained in the table.

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 15 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.
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 20, video items can also be included.
The Track Control Panel (TCP) This area 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.
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[edit]

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.

If some of these controls are not visible, you may need to increase the track panel width or height. Hover your mouse over the right or lower panel boundary so that your mouse cursor becomes a double headed arrow, then click-drag to the right or downwards.

Depending on your track layout, the volume control may be a rotary control (as shown above) or a horizontal fader. Also, you might see a rotary width control next to the pan control (as shown, right): if so, ignore it for now. We'll get to it in later chapters. In fact, all of these controls will be explained further as you work thru this guide.

1.12 Setting Up For Audio[edit]

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.

1.12.1 Setting Up For Audio (PC Windows)[edit]

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

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 512), specify the first and last 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)[edit]

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 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.

Using an aggregate device can also resolve other routing issues which can arise when using built-in inputs and outputs.

1.13 Input Aliasing[edit]

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[edit]

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.

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.


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.
  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.
  5. Click on OK to close this window and return to the Preferences dialog box.
  6. Click on OK to close the 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[edit]

To use MIDI, you need to enable your MIDI devices. Many PCI sound cards and USB audio devices include MIDI input and output ports (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, right-click 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 15. Where several devices are present (input or output) you can clcik on any column header (Device, Mode or ID) to sort the device list in that order. The device list may include items that are not present. For these you have an option to Forget device. Alternatively, you can enable/configure such a device (input or output) so that it can be used when present. 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 Input or 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 12 and 15.

Reset Options

Towards the bottom of the MIDI Devices preferences window there are options for Reset by (all-notes-off and/or pitch/sustain, and Reset on (play and/or stop/stopped seek). These affect only hardware devices.

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 22. 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[edit]

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 have a collection of VST and/or VSTi Plug-ins (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 Plug-ins section. You can use the Auto-detect button to locate your plug-ins, but if they are spread across several directories REAPER might not find them all. In this case, you can 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).

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 Re-scan 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 22.

VST and VST3: important note: REAPER scans your directories for VST plug-ins according to your list, from left to right. If it finds two or more with identical names, it will select the last one that it finds. If a VST3 plugin is named even slightly differently from its VST equivalent, both versions will be installed and made available within REAPER. However, if both are named identically, only the last one found will be installed. For this reason, it can make sense to place your VST3 directory last in the list (as shown in the example above).

1.17 REAPER's Installed Folders and File Location[edit]

The locations to which REAPER's various resources are installed will depend on whether you are using OS X or Windows, and even then which version. For example, Windows 7 behaves differently from XP. To identify where the various files are located, choose Show REAPER resource path in explorer/ finder from the Options menu.

Shown here is an example of the OSX Finder path. The Windows Explorer display is similar. Several of these files will be referenced elsewhere in this guide. Meanwhile, you might find the information in the following table helpful:

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.
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 Configurations Cursors Data Effects FXChains KeyMaps MenuSets Presets Project Bays ProjectTemplates QueuedRenders Scripts 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 Saving new projects, Recording and Rendering (see also Chapter 3 and Chapter 22). You can use the General, Paths page of your Options, Preferences to specify default paths saving new projects and for your recorded media items. For recorded media, however, 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.

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 22 in the categories Import Configuration 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 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 files off line, for example on an external drive or a USB flash drive.

1.20 Running REAPER on a Flash Drive[edit]

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.


  1. 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
  2. Open the Mac folder containing the REAPER disk image (.dmg) file: this will most likely be Downloads. Double click on this file to open it. Drag and drop the REAPER icon to the new folder on the flash drive.
  3. Be patient. There is a large number of files to be transferred. This can take 10 minutes or more.


  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)[edit]

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 Chapter 24.
REAPER Starts REAPER normally, with last project.
REAPER (create new project) Starts REAPER with a new project file.
REAPER (reset configuration to factory defaults Starts REAPER and resets all settings, options and preferences to factory 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 17.
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.

1.22 REAPER File Types[edit]

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 User License Information[edit]

By default, REAPER's title bar will display license information such as the name of the registered user. There are options to manage this on the Purchase tab of the window that is opened when you choose the Help, License and user agreement command. Alternately, you can set your display to full screen mode – this is toggled on and off in Windows by pressing F11, in OS/X by Cmd F11.

1.24 Pops and Clicks[edit]

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 22 to learn more about this topic.

1.25 Uninstalling REAPER[edit]

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.