Chapter 22: REAPER's Preferences and Other Settings

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Contents

22 REAPER's Preferences and Other Settings[edit]

22.1 Introduction[edit]

At several places in this User Guide we have encountered the use of preferences and settings. In this chapter, you will learn other ways in which you can use REAPER's preferences and other settings to tailor the program more closely to your particular requirements. Don't worry about the sheer number of options available. In many cases, you'll probably be perfectly happy to leave the program settings as they are and just let it run.

Not all of the options and preferences are covered in this chapter. If you need any further information about any of REAPER's other preferences and settings, go to the REAPER WIKI or the REAPER forums.

22.2 General Preferences[edit]

Most of the settings on the General page fall into one of the following categories:

Language: Select from list any available language, or option to prompt when REAPER is loaded. There is also a URL link to Download language packs.

Import and Export. These buttons can be used to consolidate, save and export your various settings and configurations to a ReaperConfigZip file, or to import them from such a previously saved file (more details on next page).

Undo Settings. These are explained in Chapter 2 and re-examined near the end of this chapter.

Startup Settings. Enable or disable various options. Open projects on startup allows you to choose from Last active project, Last project tabs (i.e. all projects open when REAPER was last closed), New project ignoring default template, New project, or Prompt. Choosing Prompt will cause you on startup to be offered a choice which includes last active project, last project tabs, a new project (using or ignoring the default project template), any project template, or any file on the recent projects list.

Other options include Show splash screen on startup and Automatically check for new versions of REAPER. There is also an option to Create new project tab when opening media (directly) from Windows Explorer or OS X Finder.

Check for multiple instances can be disabled if you want to allow more than one REAPER instance to be open at the same time.

Recent Project List. This setting determines the maximum number of files that will be displayed on your File, Recent projects menu. You can also Clear the list.

Warn when memory usage high: Suggested settings are 1800 for 32 bit, 3800 for 64-bit REAPER.

Advanced UI System Tweaks. These allow for a number of options, including the scaling of UI elements such as your icons and panels. We'll deal with these later in this chapter.

22.2.1 Import and Export Configuration[edit]

Export configuration can be used to export to a .ReaperConfig.Zip file any permutation of your settings.

Import configuration can be used to import a previously saved settings file back into REAPER. This can also be done by dragging and dropping a .ReaperConfig.zip file from Explorer or Finder into REAPER's arrange window. You will be prompted to confirm that you really want to do this.

Any permutation of the following elements can be selected for inclusion in a ReaperConfig.zip file:

Configuration

Color themes

Plug-in presets

FX Chains

JS FX

Project and track templates

Miscellaneous data

Cursors and key maps

Menus and toolbars

Actions and key bindings

Menu sets

Channel mappings

ReaScripts

Language Packs

Media Explorer Databases

Web Interface Pages

Automation Items

In the first column, tick the categories to be included. The second column will then show you which files have been selected for inclusion in your ReaperConfig.zip file. The files associated with any category will be highlighted in the right column when that category is selected. In the example above, Configuration is the selected category. After making all your selections in the first column, use the Save button to create the file.

Import and export configuration exists side by side with the individual import/export options that are available within many of REAPER's different elements. For example, to export only your actions and key bindings you would be most likely to use the Import/export... button within the Actions window.

If, on the other hand, you wish to export your actions and key bindings along with various other settings, such as perhaps menu sets, FX chains and ReaScripts (perhaps to be imported into REAPER on another computer), then you would be more likely to use the screen shown above.

Tip: It can be a good idea to create a .ReaperConfig.zip file that includes all the above elements and keep a copy as a backup on a CD, eternal hard drive or flash drive (or all three!) in case of system failure.

22.2.2 Paths and Keyboards[edit]

Within the General preferences category you will find two more pages - Paths and Keyboard.

Paths

You can set (separately) default paths for REAPER to use when saving new projects, rendering, recording, and/or for storage of waveform peaks. The last of these will only be applied if under Preferences, Media the option to Store all peak caches in alternate path is enabled.

If no render path is specified, the project directory will be used.

You can set a relative path for rendering. For example, if you specify simply Mixes as your default render path, then this will be used as a default relative path when you open the File, Render dialog box. If you accept this default when rendering, a sub-directory of that name will be created in the project directory. For example, if you have a project called Hello stored in a folder C:\REAPER Projects\Hello, then your rendered file(s) for that project will be placed in a directory C:\REAPER Projects\Hello\Mixes.

Alternatively, if you specify (for example) C:\Mixes as the default render path, then by default, C:\Mixes will be used as the absolute output directory for rendered files, regardless of where the project is located.

Keyboard/Multitouch

This page consists of two main sections ' Keyboard and Multi-touch.

The keyboard section includes the following:

Commit changes to some edit fields after 1 second of typing. Enabled, this allows, for example, a play rate to be typed in to the relevant Transport Bar field without your needing to press Enter

Use alternate keyboard section when recording. You must enable this if you wish to use your Main (Alt recording) keyboard shortcuts when recording.

Prevent ALT key from focussing main menu. Enabling this will stop the main menu getting focus when the Alt key is pressed.

Allow space key to be used for navigation in various windows.

Clicking on either of the two links in this window will open the action list editor (Assign keyboard shortcuts '.) or your web browser with a list of keyboard shortcuts (View keyboard shortcuts as '. ).

The other section allows you to customize the behavior of a Multi-touch trackpad or similar device. Refer to the Preferences, General, Keyboard window and your device's documentation for a list of options.

22.3 Main Project Preferences[edit]

REAPER's main Project settings page is in some respects less interesting than either of its two sub-pages (see below). Nevertheless, it has some useful items, including:

The option to specify a default .RPP file to use as a template when starting new projects.

Whether to prompt you to save whenever a new project is created. This can be a useful reminder to you if you wish to use a separate sub-directory for the project and its media files.

Whether to open and display the project properties window when a new project is created. This can serve as a handy reminder, for example, if you need to set a project time signature or timebase that is different from your default.

Whether to prompt you with a warning if a project that you are attempting to load cannot be found. This can happen, for example, when an older project has been deleted but remains on the Recent Projects list.

Whether to show the file load status and REAPER's splash screen when a project is loading.

Whether to save project file references with relative pathnames. This can be useful, for example, if a project is likely to be moved from one disk to another.

When using File, Save As to over write an existing file, whether to create multiple versions.

Whether to automatically create a backup file (.RPP-BAK) from the previously saved version of a project file when it is resaved, and if so whether to timestamp it. Enabling these options can be a wise precaution to help you recover data if, for example, a project file becomes corrupted.

Whether to auto-save your projects and, if so, at what intervals. The default (if this is enabled) is 15 minutes. This can help prevent work from being lost due to power outages or computer crashes.

Whether to include your Undo history when the project is being auto-saved. This option will only be applied if saving undo history is enabled in your General preferences.

22.3.1 Project Track/Send Defaults[edit]

As the page name implies, you'll find two groups of default settings here ' one each for Tracks and Sends.

Track volume fader default gain: sets the initial volume fader level for new tracks. Default is 0.0 dB.

Default visible envelopes: allows you to specify any track parameter envelopes (e.g. Volume, Pan) that you would like automatically displayed for new tracks.

Default envelope point shape: sets the shape for new envelopes (e.g. Linear).

Default automation mode: sets automation mode (e.g. Trim/Read) for new tracks.

Default track height in new projects: choose from small, medium and large.

Show in mixer: whether or not new tracks by default are shown in Mixer.

Main (parent) send: whether send to Master (top level tracks) or parent folder (child tracks) is by default enabled for new tracks.

Free item positioning: whether FIPM is by default enabled for new tracks.

Record-arm: whether new tracks are automatically armed for recording.

Record config: click to set default recording settings for new tracks (see right): e.g. whether monitoring is on, whether to record audio input or MIDI, default input source.

Whether scaling for volume envelopes should default to amplitude or fader.

Sends/Track Hardware Outputs Send default gain: default volume fader level for new track sends.

Hardware output default gain: default volume fader level for new hardware sends.

Sends/hardware output default mode: default send type (e.g. Post fader/Post pan).

Sends ' by default: whether sends by default include audio or MIDI or both.

22.3.2 Media Item Defaults[edit]

REAPER's Media Item Defaults include:

  • Whether to use automatic fade-ins/fade-outs on new items, and if so how long they should be.
  • Whether to overlap and split crossfade items, and if so by how much.
  • Default fade and cross fade shapes.
  • Whether right-clicking on one side of crossfade set should change only that side (use Shift to toggle).
  • Whether to allow automatic fades and crossfades for MIDI note velocity.
  • Whether to loop source imported items and/or new MIDI items and/or recorded items and/or glued items.
  • Whether time selection auto-punch audio recording should create a loopable section.
  • Whether to trim content behind media items when editing.

22.4 Audio Configuration and Settings[edit]

We've already mentioned (Chapter 1) the Audio Device screen (in the Preferences window), but it's worth discussing this topic a little more.

Two important issues in the digital audio world concern buffers and latency. Understanding what these terms mean will help you in obtaining the optimum settings for your system.

Getting buffer size right is essential if you are to get the best performance from your audio interface. Make them too small and you'll get audio clicks and pops; make them too large you'll notice delays in your headphones when you're input monitoring, especially with software synthesizers.

The goal is to achieve the lowest possible latency without experiencing dropouts. The optimum setting depends on a number of things, not least of which are the audio interface (PCI sound card, firewire or USB device) that you are using, your PC's characteristics, as well as which software you're running. The use of plug-ins can also increase latency, some more than others.

Consider what happens when you are working at your DAW. As you play back your tracks, a constant stream of data passes from your hard disk and/or RAM to your sound card. Amongst other things, this converts the digital data to an analog form, so that it can be sent to, and heard thru, your speakers or headphones. When you record the reverse happens ' the incoming analog audio stream has to be converted to a digital format so that it can be stored on your hard disk.

When you are overdubbing, both of these activities are going on at the same time. Indeed, with input monitoring, the track or tracks being recorded are actually being fed into the computer in analog form, converted to digital, processed, then converted back to analog again as they are fed back to your headphones. Latency is a measure of this delay. Incidentally, you can make this activity easier if your audio device itself supports input monitoring. In this case, the incoming audio stream that is being recorded is fed straight back into your headphones before it even gets into the computer.

As if this wasn't complicated enough, remember that Windows is performing all sorts of other tasks at the same time as you are recording. If you don't believe this, just bring up Task Manager some time, check the Processes page and have a look. That's what we mean by multitasking.

So how is Windows able to keep up with its other 99 or so tasks at the same time as handling your recording? It does so by dividing its resources between all the tasks at hand. In order to maintain a constant audio stream, small amounts of memory are allocated to storing this audio stream. These areas are called buffers.

Thus, as you play back your audio, Windows hands over to your sound card a block of audio that the sound card releases at a steady rate to your external amplifier. If it empties these buffers before Windows gets round to handing it some more, then you've got a problem. The same principle applies, but in the reverse direction, when you're recording. And again, when you're layering or overdubbing, or using REAPER's input monitoring, both activities are going on at the same time.

If the buffers are too small, you'll get gaps in the audio stream. These can lead to pops, crackles and in some cases even dropouts (that's when playback and/or recording just stops suddenly and unexpectedly). Making buffers larger is usually enough to fix this problem, but it brings with it another. Make them too large, and the data at the end of the buffer has a long wait before it is processed. That's when you experience unacceptably large latency, such as the delay between pressing a keyboard and hearing the note in your headphones.

ASIO drivers generally offer better latency than do others. As a rule, the preferred order is ASIO, WDM, DirectX and MME, in that order. This is where the ASIO Configuration button on the Audio Device screen is so important (assuming, of course that you are using ASIO drivers).

The smaller the buffer size, the greater the load on your computer's CPU.

So after making changes to your buffer size, check the CPU usage on REAPER's Performance Meter.

You can use this fact to your advantage when mixing.

As a rule, low levels of latency are only really needed for recording, not when you are only playing audio back. Therefore, if you find that you are pushing your CPU close to its limits, you will often be able to fix this by accessing your audio card's control software and increasing the buffer size.

Finally. Just a word about Sample Rate. This also affects CPU usage. Going from 44100 to 88200 doubles CPU usage.

This is an area about which there is much debate, but in reality few of us have ears that can really detect whether a track has been recorded at 44100 or at 88200. Test this out for yourself and see what you think.

Another important aspect of your Audio preferences is your MIDI Devices settings page. This has been covered in Chapter 1.

22.5 Audio Preferences[edit]

This page presents you with a range of audio preferences and options. Many, if not most, users will find they can leave at least the first half dozen or so of these at their default settings and forget them.

  • Whether to Close audio device when stopped and application inactive. Enabled, this allows you to have other audio programs (such as Sound Forge) open at the same time as REAPER,and for you to be able to switch easily between them.
  • Close audio device when inactive and tracks are record armed. Leave this unselected if you want REAPER not to share your audio device with other programs when you have record armed tracks.
  • Close audio device when stopped and active. If enabled, REAPER will automatically close audio devices when audio is not being played back.
  • Enabling Warn when unable to open audio/MIDI devices and Warn when enabled MIDI devices are not present could potentially help you to troubleshoot if you encounter hardware interface issues.
  • Enabling tiny fades on playback start/stop can help prevent clicking.
  • Channel naming/mapping. This feature enables you to give your own meaningful names to your audio input and output devices. It is explained in detail in Chapter 1.
  • Output to be used for Metronome Output.

Note that Audio, Device preferences and settings are explained in Chapter 1.12 and Audio, MIDI Device preferences and settings in Chapter 1.15.

22.5.1 Audio Mute/Solo[edit]

  • You can Automatically mute any track or only the Master track when a specified dB limit is reached. This option can help protect your ears, your speakers and your sound card! A third option is No automatic muting. You can also Reset (clear auto mutes) on playback start.
  • Enabling the options Do not process muted tracks and/or Reduce CPU use of silent tracks during playback could lessen the load placed on your CPU.
  • Solos defaults to in-place solo. If enabled, when you solo a track you will hear along with that track the audio output of any other tracks with receives from that track. Disabling this ensures that you will hear only the soloed track. In either event, holding Alt while clicking solo will reverse your default option.
  • Solo in front plays other tracks in background when one or more tracks are soloed. This may help you to place more in context the track that is being auditioned. The feature itself is enabled/disabled from the Options menu: in your preferences you can set your preferred dB level for the background material.
  • You can ensure the Master/parent send is unsoloed when a soloed in place track sends to another soloed track.

22.5.2 Audio Buffering[edit]

While we're looking at optimising audio, the Audio Buffering page of the Preferences window contain a number of customization options.

  • The option Disable media buffering for tracks that are selected can be useful if using a third party plug-in that does not respond well to buffering. Otherwise, if you are not technically minded you would be best advised to leave most of these settings at their default values. If your computer has two or more processors, you might find the following options useful.
  • Anticipative FX processing has benefits for both multiprocessor and single processor systems. On single processors it makes REAPER more tolerant of lower interface latencies (and more resistant to plug-ins that do larger block-based processing, such as ReaVerb and ReaFir). On multiprocessor/multicore systems it also allows for very significant multiprocessor usage. Enabling this feature can allow improved latency. However, allowing FX multiprocessing when a MIDI editor is open will increase preview latency.
  • On some Windows 8 or OS X Mavericks configurations, enabling Use new alternate worker thread scheduling might lead to improved performance.
  • Notice also that clicking on the Advanced Disk I/O Options button brings up the selection of options shown on the right.

If unsure about what you are doing, it's better to leave these settings at their defaults. Any changes you do make should not come into effect until after closing and reopening your project file.

22.5.3 Audio Playback[edit]

Options include whether or not to:

Stop/ repeat playback at project end.

Stop playback at the end of a loop if repeat is disabled.

Scroll the view to the edit cursor position when playback is stopped.

Auto-scroll when viewing other parts of a project.

Run FX after playback is stopped: helps evaluate the "after effect" of delay based plug-ins such as reverb and chorus.

Send MIDI note-offs when un-record-arming a track.

Reset MIDI CC/Pitch on playback start and/or playback stop and/or playback loop/skip. Includes CC reset overrides option.

Enable scrubbing and jogging, and if so what options to apply (such as limiting jog/scrub rates).

Note that there is also a command on the Options menu to enable/disable Continuous scrolling.

22.5.4 Audio Seeking[edit]

Options include whether or not to:

Seek playback (repositioning the play cursor) when clicking on any of the top ruler, empty areas of tracks, and/or empty areas below tracks. Disabling any of these will enable you to click or click and drag in arrange view (for example, on the ruler to define a loop, or in the empty area between tracks to define a time selection) without affecting existing playback.

Seek playback when loop points are changed and/or Only when repeat is enabled.

Seek playback when an item is moved/sized or has its fade adjusted.

Specify playback position should follow the project timebase when changing tempo.

Use smooth seek: this enables you to allow playback to continue to the end of a specified number of measures, or to the next marker or end of region, before seeking.

22.5.5 Audio Recording[edit]

Audio Recording preferences are detailed and explained in Chapter 3.

22.5.6 Audio Loop Recording[edit]

This page of settings determines how REAPER behaves when loop recording.

Discard incomplete first or last takes if at least one full loop was recorded. This prevents annoying and unwanted partial takes being saved, as might be caused if you are a tad slow in stopping recording. There is an option to define at what threshold (default 90% of loop length) the recording should be considered to be complete.

MIDI recording within empty time selection always creates selection-length media item. Enable this to ensure MIDI media item matches time selection length.

Add recorded media to project on stop. Ensures that media will not be added to the project until recording is stopped. Optionally, you can create new files for each recorded pass thru the loop.

Add recorded media to project at each loop. Ensures that recorded media is added on the fly after each pass thru the loop.

22.5.7 Audio Rendering[edit]

These are found on the page after Audio Loop Recording preferences. They are rather technical: if you are unsure of what to do, leave them at their system defaults:

Block size to use when rendering samples. If in doubt, leave blank.

Whether to allow anticipative FX processing: may lead to better multiprocessing performance.

Whether to limit apply FX/Render stems to realtime (default is off).

Whether to process all tracks (including if appropriate muted and/or unsoloed tracks) when rendering. Makes rendering slower, but some plug-ins might need this.

Specify FX tail length when rendering entire project and/or time selection/ regions, and/or selected media items.

When freezing, whether to render entire track length if there are track or per take FX, and if so whether to include tails (e.g. reverb tail).

22.6 Appearance Preferences[edit]

The Appearance screen itself lets you specify various parameters that help determine the appearance of your REAPER interface, especially the Track Control Panel and Mixer.

Miscellaneous Appearance Settings include:

  • Whether to use tooltips for UI elements such as buttons and faders, media items and envelopes, etc.: if so you can specify the length of any delay that should be allowed before the tooltip is displayed.
  • The width (in pixels) of the play cursor. Default is 1 pixel, but you can make this wider.
  • Whether to use faster text rendering (which reduces antialising).
  • Whether to show the last undo event on the menu bar (just after the Help command). If you enable this option, clicking on the action shown will open the Undo History window.
  • Whether to show guidelines when editing. Toggle thru three states: on (checked), off (not checked) and on except for item move horizontal guides (filled).
  • Whether to apply solid edges to time selection highlights. and/or loop highlights.
  • Whether to limit the scaling of toolbar buttons. Enabling both these options will prevent the buttons from becoming smaller or larger if you resize the main or floating toolbar.
  • Whether to enclose floating toolbar windows in frames.
  • Whether to draw vertical text bottom up.
  • Number of pixels to leave between adjacent tracks ' i.e., between the bottom of one media item and the top of the one underneath it. A higher setting may make defining time selections easier.
  • Maximum number of lanes to be used when showing overlapping items. A lower setting here (2 to 4) can help prevent screen clutter.

Envelope Settings include:

  • Whether to use filled automation envelopes: enabled, this colors the area below the envelope and may make its shape easier for the eye to discern. Showing this over media items can be disabled.
  • Whether to show faint media peaks behind envelopes in envelope lanes.
  • Whether to show horizontal grid lines in automation lanes.

Other settings include:

  • Whether to show grid lines over items, through items, or under items.
  • Whether to show dotted grid lines and/or project regions/markers in grid and/or time sig markers in grid.
  • Whether to show marker lines over, through or under items.
  • Optionally, to divide arrange view vertically by a specified number of measures.

22.6.1 Appearance Media[edit]

For the most part these fall into two main groups ' Media item labels and Media item buttons.

Media item labels: Whether to display item take names and/or media item pitch/play rate and/or gain (if set).

If showing any of these you can choose whether to draw labels above the item rather than within the item. If you enable this option you can also specify Except when media item height is less than label height. This will move labels to inside the media item when the item lane height is less than the label height but also more than Hide labels when media item take lane height is less than ' setting.

You can also decide whether to use a solid background for easier reading and whether to show labels when item edges are not visible.

The second of these options will ensure that the labels remain visible as the project scrolls past the beginning of items. You can also determine how rate/pitch data is shown ' e.g. normal, abbreviated, or numbers.

Media item buttons: Mostly these are paired ' Locked/Not locked, Muted/Not muted, Per take FX/No FX, Automation envelopes/No active envelopes, Notes/No notes, Item Properties, Pooled MIDI, Grouped items. Choose which of these buttons you want displayed over or above your media items. You can also specify Hide buttons when take lane height is less than xx pixels.

Item volume control options are Handle (+0.0 dB is top of item), Handle (+0.0 dB is center of item), or Knob.

Adjust media item volume by dragging. You can choose either to use either a small rotary knob for this, or to use the top edge of the media items as a handle.

22.6.2 Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms[edit]

This page contains a number of options to determine the appearance of your peaks and waveforms.

You can specify whether you wish to Display peaks for media items and/or Display peaks while recording.

You can also choose not to show peaks for unselected tracks and/or muted/unsoloed tracks ' Only display peaks for tracks that are selected and Only display peaks for tracks that are soloed or not muted.

Antialising is a technical issue. Google if you wish to learn more, but, in short, enabling antialiasing may give you a more accurate representation: disabling it may cause your peaks to be drawn/redrawn more quickly. The only difference that edges make is cosmetic. Enable these options, for example, if you like your peaks bordered when using custom colors, disable them if you don't. These options might be disabled by the color theme that you are using. see chapter 11 for more information

Automatically scale MIDI notes and/or drum MIDI will fit the item as displayed in arrange view.

There are also options to Draw waveform zero lines above peaks/waveforms and to Fill waveforms to zero line.

You can choose when closely zoomed in to your material to view the waveforms as Dots and lines, Filled samples, Outlined samples, Stepped samples or Smooth. Enabling Draw faint peaks in folder tracks allows the output of a folder's child tracks to be displayed as waveforms in the folder's lane in arrange view. You can also Draw faint peaks in automation envelope lanes.

You can also specify if and how MIDI CC lanes are to be shown in MIDI tracks in arrange view. Options are Do not display CC data, Only the first lane visible in MIDI editor, One lane combining all CC data, or Multiple lanes when space permits.

Sample level waveform view determines how waveforms are displayed when zoomed in so close as to be able to identify individual samples – e.g., dots and lines, filled, outlined, stepped or smooth samples.

Custom Colors. You may have the options to Tint media item waveform peaks or Tint item background to any of Track Color, Item Color or Take Color. If more than one option is enabled, then the lowest level has precedence. That is, take color wins over item color which wins over track color. Note that some themes may disable this group of options.

You can also specify your required tint strength to be used for media item backgrounds, within a range of 0 to 4, where 2 is the system default.

Also in this section is the option Automatically color any recording pass that adds takes to existing media items. This can help to give a clearer picture when you are working with multiple takes.

22.6.3 Appearance Fades/Crossfades[edit]

These options give you more precise control over media item fades and crossfades.

You can specify a minimum item width and/or height required before a fade can be edited.

You can enable or disable mouse editing of fade curves and/or fade starts and ends.

You can decide under which circumstances you do and do not want fade handles and crossfade editing handles to be displayed.

You can indicate whether or not you want crossfade editor theme colors to be used.

22.6.4 Appearance, Track Control Panels[edit]

Track control panel settings include:

Whether to use custom track colors as a background color on track labels (in TCP and mixer) and to tint track panels (in TCP and mixer). These options may be disabled by some color themes.

Whether to adjust the layout of TCP controls when track icons are used.

Whether to use track grouping indicators (ribbons or lines), and if so which ones.

The next four items on this page set Meter update frequency, Meter decay rate, Meter minimum value and Meter max value. Unless you have good reason to change them, leave them at their system defaults.

There are other options which together define how your track meters will appear. Of special interest are:

Show dB scales on track meters and record armed track meters if enabled will cause the dB scale to be marked, in numerals, on your VU meters.

Sticky clip indicators (enabled) ensure that peaks on the VU meter are marked with a bar for a few moments after they have passed.

Whether to show MIDI velocity and/or MIDI output activity on track VU meters.

Reset meter peak indicators on play seek. Disable this to keep the existing peak level displayed (until exceeded) when you re-commence playback.

The final options are fader options which can be used to restrict the adjustable range of your volume and/or pan faders. The top of the volume range can be set to 0dB or higher. There is also a drop-down box of volume fader shape options: for example, if you set this to 1.0 the fader becomes a log curve, so that linear movement produces a constant dB curve.

You can also specify whether pan fader units should be displayed as ranging from 100%L to 100%R or from -90 dB to +90 dB.

22.7 Editing Behavior Preferences[edit]

The Editing Behavior page of the Options, Preferences window (shown above) includes a number of areas in which you can specify default settings in a range of matters that will affect how you work when editing your REAPER projects. Here is a summary of some of the most useful options:

Specify your edit cursor behavior, in particular which of the following actions should cause the edit cursor to be moved: Changing time selection, Pasting or inserting media, Stopping recording.

Allow shift click/control click to override your move edit cursor assignments.

By default link (or unlink) time selection and loop points.

Enable or disable the ability for loop points to be cleared by clicking on the ruler, and/or time selection to be cleared by clicking in arrange view. For example, if you want to click on the ruler as a means of repositioning the edit cursor then you probably won't want loop points automatically cleared.

Zoom preferences: Vertical zoom options are Track at center of view, Top visible track, Last selected track or Track under mouse cursor. Horizontal zoom options are Edit or play cursor, Edit cursor only, Centre of view or Mouse cursor. Choosing both mouse cursor options ensures that as you zoom whatever is under the mouse cursor will stay on screen.

Adjust tab sensitivity, both percentage sensitivity and dB threshold. Other options are shown in the Transient detection settings dialog (right). You can also specify whether to Tab thru MIDI notes and/or Treat media item edges as transients.

How REAPER should behave when locked items are included in a ripple editing selection. Options are Locked items interrupt ripple (ripple edit interrupted at first locked item but can be completed by repeating the action as often as required to choose which items are ripple edited), Locked items interrupt ripple per-track (similar but on a per track rather than per item basis), Locked items unaffected by ripple (these are edited normally but other items are ripple edited), or Locked items are affected by ripple (lock ignored) (all items in selection are ripple edited, including locked items).

Dual trim options (for editing shared media item edges).

Whether crossfades should stay together during fade edits.

Whether to automatically delete empty tracks created when dragging items below last track.

Whether dragging the source start offset of the active take should adjust the offset of all takes..

Whether to split/trim/delete all items at edit cursor if splitting/trimming/deleting with no items selected. Disabling this will prevent, for example, all items being split if you press S with no item selected.

22.7.1 Editing Behavior, Envelope Display[edit]

You can specify various diverse envelope editing options, including:

  • Selecting the decibel range within which volume envelopes can be adjusted. Options range from -inf...+0dB up to -inf...+24dB.
  • Specifying a semitone range for per take pitch envelopes, also whether or not to snap.
  • Specifying a display range (beats per minute) for the master project tempo map envelope.
  • Whether or not to Show new envelopes in separate envelope lanes by default.
  • When drawn over media, overlap envelopes if each is less than x pixels high. Enabling this option may create a more cluttered visual effect, but it will allow more height for editing envelope points.
  • Whether to set the focus to new envelopes as they are added. This automatically selects them for editing, etc.
  • Whether envelope points are also selected with a time selection.
  • Whether the first click on an unselected envelope will insert a point: check also mouse modifier settings.
  • Whether to add a transition point on stopping playback after recording automation.
  • Whether to Prevent mouse edits of single envelope points from moving past other envelope points.
  • Whether or not to Automatically show affected envelopes when moving data across tracks. Showing these can sometimes be visually confusing.
  • Whether Changing the envelope shown in any lane should cause the envelope previously there to be hidden or moved to the media lane.
  • Whether edge points (at start and end of time selection) are automatically added to envelopes when multiple points are edited, or when media items are edited, or when ripple editing, or when inserting time.
  • You can also specify a required transition time for automatically created envelope edge points. A longer setting can create a smoother transition.
  • Whether to use relative mouse edits for fader scaled volume envelopes only, or also for other envelopes. Note that relative mouse edits provide more Y-axis resolution, at the expense of the envelope points not following the mouse cursor.
  • Whether to automatically append envelope name to automation item label.

22.7.2 Editing Behavior, Automation[edit]

  • Set automation recording return speed and action transition time: these are the time taken for the envelope to return to its previous value when using actions to write envelope changes, and to apply when using write current values for envelope writing actions.
  • Whether to Automatically add envelopes when you adjust any parameters with write mode enabled. This makes creating envelopes fast and snappy, but means that with write mode enabled you will not be able to adjust any parameters without creating envelopes for them.
  • For hidden envelopes, whether to display read automation feedback and whether to allow writing automation. For example, you might wish to allow the volume fader on an envelope to move with changes in volume, even though that envelope is hidden, providing read mode is enabled. Note that allow writing automation to hidden envelopes can risk making accidental changes to envelopes.
  • Whether to reduce envelope point data when recording or drawing automation. Not enabling this can lead to more points being created than you might like.
  • When recording automation stops, whether to add an additional point before the edit position, before and after the edit position, or not at all.
  • When pan/volume envelopes are added, whether trim is reset when the envelope is drawn. Options are Always, In read/write mode only, or Never. Setting this to Never may make the manual editing of such envelopes easier (by leaving you plenty of room both above and below the envelope).
  • After recording automation in write mode whether to automatically switch to one of the other modes. The trim/read option is handy if you are inclined to forget to do this manually!
  • Whether where there are one or more latch mode envelopes, these should be reset to their initial states when looping occurs during playback.
  • Whether to Always create new automation items when writing automation envelopes.
  • Whether new automation items should be looped by default, whether editing baseline/amplitude in properties dialog affects pooled copies, and whether to Pool source data when pasting automation items and/or When copying them with media items.
  • Whether to Remove points from underlying envelope when creating automation items.
  • Whether to Trim content behind automation items when editing.

22.7.3 Editing Behavior, Mouse Preferences[edit]

The Mouse page of the Options, Preferences, Editing Behavior window (above) is used to determine specify how you would like your mouse to behave in REAPER. Here is a summary of some useful options:

  • Mousewheel targets: whether your mousewheel acts on the window currently underneath the mouse or on the last window to have focus. This, for example, allows you to use the mousewheel to adjust the parameters of an open FX window without first having to click on the window to give it focus. Focus can remain with your mixer, or arrange view, or wherever you were before. For example, Esc would then clear the current time selection rather than close the FX window.
  • Whether to Ignore the mousewheel on all faders. Disable this or either of the next two options if you wish to use your mousewheel to adjust faders on the TCP and/or the transport bar and/or FX controls.
  • Whether to Ignore the mousewheel on track panel faders.
  • Whether to Ignore the mousewheel over transport edit fields. If disabled, you can edit text fields such as BPM and play rate just by scrolling your mousewheel over the field. There is also an option to use the mousewheel to adjust transport time by beats.
  • Whether to treat scrolling a laptop trackpad as being like using a mousewheel.
  • Option to Use pen/tablet safe mode so as not to reposition mouse cursor when adjusting knobs, etc.
  • Whether Mouse click on track fader or button causes that track to become the currently selected track. Disabling this allows you to adjust track faders, etc. without changing the track selection.
  • Whether to require a single click or a double click when editing track names.
  • Whether Mouse click/edit in track view changes the track selection. Enabling this will ensure that track selection will follow media item selection.
  • Whether to Allow modifying edges of time selection over items in tracks. Lets you click and drag over a track (or between tracks) to adjust start or end of a time selection without affecting item selection.
  • Allow resizing ruler by dragging bottom edge. Disable this if you do not want to allow the height of the ruler area to be manually resized.
  • In addition, for OS X users on a Mac, there is an option Ctrl left click emulates right click. However, it is a better practice to use your System Preferences to enable right-clicking.

Mouse Modifiers: The topic of Mouse Modifier preferences is covered in Chapter 15 and elsewhere.

22.7.4 Editing Preferences, MIDI Editor[edit]

  • Flash MIDI editor keys on track input: if enabled, causes a brief color flash to be displayed on the MIDI editor keyboard when the track receives MIDI note-on input.
  • RBN friendly MIDI editor settings: allows REAPER's MIDI editor to behave in a way compatible with RBN (RockBand) MIDI authoring. For example, lyric events will be attached only to playable notes.
  • Horizontal grid lines in CC lanes: toggles the option to show horizontal grid lines on and off.
  • Events per quarter note when drawing in CC lanes. Specific event density or zoom dependent.
  • One MIDI editor per … Select whether a separate MIDI editor instance is required for each item, or for each track, or one instance for the entire project. Depending on your choice you may have other options.
  • Default Behavior for open items in built-in MIDI editor:
    • If One MIDI editor per project is selected, specify whether to open clicked item only, all selected MIDI items, all MIDI items on the same track or all MIDI items in the project.

You also have Three more toggle options. These are:

  • Whether Active MIDI item follows selection change in arrange view.
  • Whether Media item selection is linked to visibility and/or Selection is linked to editability.
  • Whether to Close MIDI editor when the active item is deleted in arrange view.
  • Whether secondary items should be editable by default.
  • Whether to Avoid automatically setting MIDI items from other tracks to editable.
  • Double-click behavior: Whether double-clicking a note should switch the active media item and, if so, whether this should occur only when the media item is on the same track and/or already editable.
  • Whether double-clicking outside the bounds of a media item should extend that media item.
  • Option to display a panel showing more information about multiple media items in a single MIDI editor.
  • Set Opacity for notes/CC in inactive media items. The higher the number, the darker these notes will appear.
  • Default note color map: allows you to specify your own default note color map.

22.8 Media Preferences[edit]

The Media page of the Options, Preferences window lets you customize your Media settings. Here is a summary of some of the options that you might find most useful.

Media Settings

When inserting multiple media items: You can choose whether the default behavior should be to insert as separate tracks, to insert sequentially in a single track, for REAPER to determine which appears the more appropriate, or whether you wish to be prompted each time.

Copy imported media items to project media directory: This option helps you to keep together all those files that belong together.

Whether to use the media file name to Automatically name unnamed tracks on media import.

Toggle option to Prompt to confirm filename on 'open copy in editor'.

Set tail length when FX applied to items and takes.

Duplicate take FX when splitting: Determines whether any existing FX in an item's FX chain are automatically copied to new items that are created when the original item is split.

Waveform media peak cache settings

Generate peak caches: You can determine if you want peak caches generated on import,and/or on project load, also whether to Show status window. .

Desired cache resolution: Determines the precision to be used.

Options to Put new peak files in peaks/subfolders relative to media and Store peak caches in alternate path if unable yo write to media file directory.

Option to Always generate spectral peak information.

Option to Automatically rebuild peaks.

Option to Automatically rebuild peaks if necessary when enabling spectral peaks.

22.8.1 Media, MIDI Preferences[edit]

MIDI octave name display offset: by default, middle C (MIDI note 60) is labelled C4. An offset of, say, -1 would cause this to become C3, and so on.

Allow trim of MIDI items when splitting will add a note-off message for any note that spans the split point when a MIDI item is split.

Pool MIDI source data is discussed and explained in Chapter 13. You can disable this if you prefer.

Items created or imported as REAPER MIDI items (rather than .MID files) can be better edited in the MIDI Editor. .MID files are more portable between apps. You can, if you wish, create them as MIDI items and later export to file.

Ticks per quarter note sets data resolution for new MIDI items. The default setting of 960 equates to 2 ticks per microsecond at 120 bpm.

You can specify when Importing multichannel MIDI files whether to do so as a series of single channel tracks, as one multichannel track, or always to prompt, and whether to Always prompt to import tempo from MIDI files with simple tempo maps.

Snap behavior can be set so that time signature changes in imported MIDI files are set to whole bars, and that tempo changes in imported MIDI files are set to whole beats.

MIDI text events can be exported in Latin-1, UTF-8 or ASCII (7 bit) format

22.8.2 Media, Video/REX/Misc Preferences[edit]

The Video preferences options are explained in Chapter 20. Your optimum settings will depend largely on which platform you are using (e.g. Windows 7) as well as your choice of video systems and format.

The REX options include how you wish to Import REX file contents. This can be as beat slices that will adjust to tempo changes, or as single loopable media items, or to always prompt.

You can specify whether REX slice tails should be preserved, all chopped, all chopped except the final slice, or only the final slice chopped.

Finally, you have an option for determining how imported media with embedded tempo is to be handled. You can always adjust the media to project tempo, import it at its own tempo, or always prompt.

22.9 Plug-ins Preferences[edit]

Your two Automatically resize FX windows options, if enabled, will ensure as you browse thru a track's FX chain that the FX window is automatically resized to suit the currently selected FX.

You can specify if floated FX windows should automatically be placed on top, if newly created FX windows should be floated, and if windows should be automatically opened for FX added from the TCP and MCP context menus.

You can specify whether or not to auto-dock newly created FX windows and whether you want the Add FX window opened automatically when you open an empty FX chain for a track or media item.

The two Auto-position options if enabled will ensure that REAPER will try to find a good position for floated FX and/or FX chain windows rather than cascade them on top of others.

If you enable the option to Only allow one FX chain window open at a time you may also specify whether you want the open window shown to change when you change track selection (Open FX window on track selection change) and whether this is to happen only if an FX window is open.

You can also opt to have track FX added to the item FX button right click menu. This enables you to open these FX directly from this button.

You can also specify how many FX are to be shown on the context menu Recently added list and whether current track FX should be shown on the FX button context menu.

Finally, you can apply an FX filter string that will be applied to all views when using the FX browser (e.g. NOT sonalksis if you do not want these plug-ins to be shown). This will be in addition to any filter you apply in the FX browser itself.

22.9.1 Plug-ins, Compatibility[edit]

The main options here concerns VST bridging and firewalling. These are features designed to help protect REAPER from crashing as a result of an unstable plug-in being used. The default option is for automatic bridging to be applied when the program deems it necessary, but you can change this to In separate plug-in process, In dedicated process per plug-in, or Disable bridging. To follow discussions on what these options mean in practice in different situations you should consult the REAPER forums.

22.9.2 Plug-ins, VST[edit]

You have already seen (in Chapter 1) how to tell REAPER to locate and enable your VST plugins. The VST Compatibility section offers a number of further options for controlling the behavior of your VST plug-ins.

You can determine how VST parameter automation notifications should be handled. Options are Ignore when window not open, Ignore when not from UI thread, Ignore all notifications, and Process all notifications.

Other preferences in this category are likely to depend on which plug-ins you are using. Individual plug-ins vary so much that it would be virtually impossible to give very much meaningful general advice here. You may need to experiment to get the best results. Hover your mouse over any option to see a Help message at the bottom of the window. For further help, be prepared to ask questions on the REAPER forum.

Especially worth noting (for MIDI users) are the options Don't flush synthesizer plug-ins on stop/reset and Don't send note-offs or pitch reset messages on stop/reset.

22.9.3 Plug-ins, ReWire/DX[edit]

ReWire options include whether to show any already opened ReWire aware apps or devices as available FX in the FX window and whether to automatically open the native control panel for any ReWire application selected. There is an option to Check when starting REAPER for any device already open that is capable of acting as a ReWire master, and if so to open REAPER in slave mode. There is also a dialog box where you can specify your ReWire slave project settings.

Direct-X (DX) plug-ins are by default Enabled. You can Scan for new DX plug-ins manually or specify Scan for DX plug-ins on startup.

22.9.4 Plug-ins, ReaScript[edit]

22.9.5 Plug-ins, ReaMote[edit]

Both these are discussed in Chapter 24.

22.10 Custom UI Tweaks[edit]

The General page of the Options, Preferences window includes an Advanced UI/System tweaks button which enables you to further customize REAPER's on-screen appearance. Clicking on this button displays a number of options including:

Custom Splash Screen ' A .BMP or .PNG file.

Use large window frames for windows.

Scale UI Elements (e.g. buttons on toolbars). Can be useful if using high screen resolution.

Allow track envelope/routing windows to stay open. Select this option if you want track routing and envelope windows not to be closed automatically when they use focus.

Advanced system and multiprocessing tweaks. These options help determine the way REAPER behaves on a system with two or more processors. Use with caution!

HiDPI mode (Windoes 8.1+) Options are Unaware, Aware, Multi-monitor aware or DPI ignorant.

22.11 Project and File Management[edit]

You have already seen that when you save a REAPER project file you have the option to create a subdirectory for that project, and to copy, move and store all of the project's media files into that directory. Making use of this option will make it easier for you to keep track of your work.

However, you will most likely find that as a project evolves, it will accumulate any number of media items, such as rejected tracks and overdubs, or deleted items that are no longer required. You can easily remove these unwanted items, using the command File, Clean Current Project Directory.

The location of the current project folder is displayed just below the Project Directory Cleanup title bar. If you wish, you can click on the Explore button to explore the folder's entire contents. Notice, however, that all the files present in the project directory but not belonging to the current project are listed in the Project Directory Cleanup window.

To select any one file, just click on its name. To build a selection, hold the Ctrl key while you click on each required file name. To select all files in the list, click first on the first file name then, holding the Shift key, click on the last name in the list. You then have the option to either delete these files permanently from your hard drive, or to send them to the Windows Recycle Bin (as shown here).

After making your selection, click on the Remove Selected Files button to remove them.

Don't forget also to backup your work regularly, to a flash drive, external hard disk, CD or DVD, or more than one of these. The easiest way to back projects up is to simply use the Windows file management system.

22.12 Customizing the Performance Meter[edit]

You can customize the information shown on the performance meter, making your selections from its context menu (see right). Amongst the items that can be displayed or hidden are:

  • CPU Graph
  • CPU Use
  • Disk Use
  • RAM Use
  • Free System
  • RAM FX CPU use

The Performance Meter track list can be sorted by clicking on any column heading,

If ReaMote has been installed and enabled (see Chapter 23), the Performance Meter will display an additional ReaMote column.

The Performance Meter can also be docked or undocked.

Note: The RT ("Real Time") CPU meter measures the amount of CPU time used by the audio thread servicing the sound device. Since it is measuring a single thread, it reflects only the CPU time used by one core, and gives you an indication of how much leeway you have in processing. If you have anticipative FX enabled (and few tracks record armed), RT CPU will generally be pretty low, as most things should be done asynchronously, allowing the real time thread to quickly put things together.

22.13 Customizing Undo History Behavior[edit]

As already discussed (Chapter 2), REAPER's General preferences enable you to customize your Undo History behavior. Options include:

Add undo points for item/track/envelope selection and/or cursor movements.

Save Undo History with project files.

Allow load of Undo History.

Store multiple redo paths where possible.

These features can be selected from the Undo Settings section of the Options, Preferences, General screen.

If you enable the option to Store multiple redo paths where possible then during your current work session, any time you use the Undo History window to go back to an earlier point, then any actions you take from that point on will be stored as an alternate set of actions to the set of actions already stored. REAPER will remember both paths independently of each other. Moreover, every time you return to that point, another new undo path will be created.

An example is shown on the right. The highlighted action Add FX to Chain is flagged with (*2). This means that in addition to the original set of actions, two more undo history paths exist where twice we have gone back to that point. By right-clicking where shown, we are able to choose which undo state we wish to load, this enabling us to restore those commands and actions.

If you also enable the options to Save undo history with project files and Allow load of undo history, then this undo history will still be available to you next time you use this project file, even if you have since closed REAPER and shut down your computer.

22.14 Reset REAPER Default Settings[edit]

REAPER's default settings and configuration can be restored from the Windows Start menu.

  1. Click on the Start button then All Programs.
  2. Click on REAPER then on REAPER (reset configuration to factory defaults).

Before doing this, it can be wise to back up or export elements such as custom toolbars and menus, custom actions and shortcuts, mouse modifiers, color theme changes, etc. in case you later want to restore them.

22.15 Some Other REAPER Options[edit]

The following are some of the items that appear on the Options menu. Many of these have been covered elsewhere in this User Guide. In many cases the function of these commands is self-explanatory:

Record modes: See chapter 3

Auto-crossfade media items when editing: on/off toggle.

Trim content behind media items when editing: on/off toggle.

Show all takes in lanes: on/off toggle.

Take lane behavior: Show or hide empty take lanes. Allow/disallow selecting of empty take lanes.

Show overlapping media items in lanes: on/off toggle.

Ripple editing: three way toggle ' off, per track or all tracks.

Item grouping enabled: on/off toggle.

Snap/Grid: enable snapping toggle, show grid toggle, access snap/grid settings.

Locking; on/off toggle, access lock settings.

Metronome/preroll: on/off toggle, access metronome settings.

Envelope points: sub menu of options also available by right-clicking on envelope button.

Loop points linked to time selection: on/off toggle.

Automatically scroll view during playback: on/off toggle.

Continuous scrolling on/off toggle. Enabled, locks play cursor stationary in middle of screen during playback and scrolls media items.

Smooth seeking: on/off toggle.

External Timecode Synchronisation: toggle synchronisation on/off, access to synchronisation settings.

Show REAPER resource path ' : shows location of REAPER resource files in Windows Exploreror OS X Finder type window.

Customize menus/toolbars...: opens customize menu/toolbars window.

Themes: displays sub-menu of installed color themes.

Layouts: displays sub-menu of track and mixer layouts available from the current theme.

Preferences: opens Preferences window.