Official reaper user guide (single big page)

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Contents

Foreword[edit]

This HTML version of the Reaper manual was made possible by the generosity of Geoff Francis. Geoff authors the Reaper manual and has given express permission for conversion into HTML for use by screen reader users. All images have been removed from this version of the manual. Wording, however, has not been altered. There are therefore numerous references to non-existent images. While the manual is highly visually oriented, there is still a great deal of useful information for blind users of Reaper. Readers should be aware that some references to keyboard commands may be incorrect depending on factors such as reaper and osara versions or previously configured key maps. It is therefore important to confirm the current keyboard command list by pressing shift-F1 from within Reaper, or using osara's built in keyboard training/help mode, which can be turned on or off by pressing f12 by default. In this wiki, every chapter of this guide has been placed on the official reaper user guide category (when viewing the sectioned guide). This means that at the very end of every chapter there will always be a link that will take you back to the table of contents, so to speak. Initial conversion to html has been made possible thanks to the efforts and work of Andrew Downie. Subsequent Conversions to html, wiki syntax and keeping the userguide up to date have been made possible by the work and efforts of Juan Pablo Bello.


adapting the user guide[edit]

As it is with anything wiki related, the idea of having put the entire users guide into a wiki is for you to feel free to clarify or update some information. This is because even though the guide is highly visually oriented, a great deal of tasks can be carried out using keyboard commands and different procedures. As time goes on, accessibility solutions to software improves and adds new functions. It would be ideal that this guide will reflect that as well, documenting and outlining what's new. There are some cases in which some procedures are far too detailed or different from what is being described in the unaltered original wording of the user's guide. In such situations, hyperlinks are available to supplementary articles which have been created by users, for users that can describe and explain the procedures when using assistive technology. Feel free to use them and create your own!

From here on begins original content

Up and Running:[edit]

A REAPER User Guide v 5.961

Version 5.961

October 2018


This guide will be updated regularly as the software itself is further improved and developed. Check for updates and other information at http://www.cockos.com/reaper/ This document has been produced, compiled and rendered to PDF format using the wonderful LibreOffice Writer software. For more information about LibreOffice go to http://www.libreoffice.org

how to use this guide[edit]

REAPER is a sophisticated program and there is no single obvious or easy way or order to present all of the information contained in this guide. If you need more information about any topic than appears on any particular page, try searching! The PDF edition is bookmarked, and your PDF reader includes a Find feature on its toolbar. Also, both the PDF and printed editions feature a comprehensive index. Use it!

  • ReaRead: REAPER books and training manuals printed and bound are now available from

http://stores.lulu.com/spotlight/glazfolk

  • REAPER 4 Unleashed: Unlock Your Inner REAPER!

“REAPER Unleashed” picks up where "Up and Running".leaves off. This book lifts the lid off REAPER's most powerful features, including custom actions, menus and toolbars, FX chains, screensets, snapshots, templates, mouse modifiers and more. Many resources are supplied, including files with sample mouse modifiers, track templates, custom toolbars and much more. Its sample work files and dozens of step by step tutorials will help you to understand how you can use these features in combination with each other to make REAPER behave for you the way you want it to. Will it teach you everything that you could possibly ever want to know about REAPER? Most definitely not. But will it help you unlock the creativity inside you to help you get the very best out of this program for yourself? Most certainly, yes!

  • Up and Running: A REAPER User Guide

The essential and definitive guide to recording, editing and mixing with REAPER. Fully updated for each dot version. Includes sample project files and step by step examples to help you learn how to use the many features of REAPER. Includes special sections on key REAPER features such as routing and audio channel splitting, as well as numerous examples of how to use and apply many of the supplied FX plug-ins. "Up and Running is not only a comprehensive guide to using REAPER, it's also full of an amazing amount of information on audio recording and engineering. I simply cannot recommend it enough!" - Justin Frankel (COCKOS Inc and REAPER Developer).

  • ReaMix: Breaking the Barriers with REAPER

This book does much more than just teach you how to use basic tools (such as volume, panning, EQ, gates, compressors, delay, reverb etc.) to get an OK mix. It also guides you thru the relationships – some simple, some complex – that exist between the dimensions of sound and the dimensions of space. It guides you to use this knowledge to transform your OK mixes into great mixes. Although not light on theory, it has a definite practical emphasis, with links to archives containing some 40 or so project files, with step by step examples to help you put your knowledge into practice. "Wow! So much good stuff - from mindbending advanced techniques to solid sensible advice. This guide should have a positive effect on just about anybody interested in mixing (and especially those using REAPER)!" - Justin Frankel, Cockos Inc, developer of REAPER.

(official) Foreword and Acknowledgements[edit]

REAPER isn’t just about software, and it isn’t just about making music. It’s about a whole lot more. REAPER is a whole entity. It represents the way music should be, the way the internet should be, the way computers should be, the way program development and licensing should be …. in fact, the way the world should be. It’s about collaboration and co- operation, and it is truly awesome. This User Guide could not have been produced without the help of many in the REAPER community, and especially: Malcolm Jacobson for his efforts in getting together the first REAPER manual. Art Evans for his technical advice and constructive input. Mario Bianchi (aka Mabian) for his help with document formatting and layout and for his constructive suggestions and ideas. Also, a special “thank you” for comprehensively checking the document. Simon Mullings for his suggestions and the patient hours spent on the tedious job of proof-reading. Darkstar and musicbynumbers for too many helpful suggestions to mention!! Bevan Fowke (aka Bevosss) for his advice and assistance with custom actions and macros. Susan G and Nathan (aka planetnine) for their assistance and advice, especially (but not exclusively) on MIDI and especially notation editor matters. Jason Brian Merrill for, amongst other things, review and comments. Pipeline Audio for the original video tutorials. Xenakios, Jeffos and SWS for their extension sets. And, of course … Justin, Christophe, Schwa and Jeffos, for bringing us REAPER So welcome to REAPER! This User Guide is intended to get you up and running in REAPER, and to help you understand better how the program works, so that ultimately you will better be able to help yourself. If you are new to the world of digital audio, you’ll find that there is more than enough information in here to get you “up and running”. You’ll probably find that some sections contain information that you’ll find difficult to understand and which you might not need at first. You can just skip over those sections and come back to them when you’re ready. If, like me, you have come to REAPER with experience of other DAW software, you’ll find that it pays to go over even the most basic sections, to help you understand how REAPER is designed, and how it slots together. You’ll find yourself asking, “Why can’t they all be like this?” You should also find plenty more to interest you. It is not intended to be (and nor will it ever be) a 100% reference manual covering every single aspect and detail of REAPER. I’ve tried to approach the topics in what seems a fairly sensible order, introducing items pretty much on a “need to know” basis. In doing so, I’ve been as careful as I can be to ensure its contents are clear and accurate, but cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or problems you may encounter in applying it to your work.

REAPER Web Resources[edit]

The REAPER project is a live, dynamic and ongoing one. Be sure to check these web sites often:

Sample Project Files[edit]

These are available for download from http://www.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_User_Guide Note that the links are case sensitive. The media files are in .MP3 format. Some of the examples outlined in this book require recording further tracks in MP3 format. In order to be able to do this, you will need to have an MP3 encoder installed in your REAPER program directory. The Lame encoder is included in the REAPER install package: however, if you are using a much earlier version of REAPER, you might need to download this. You can do so at any of a number of locations, including http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Lame_Encoder.htm Be sure to select the correct file for your system. For example, for 32 bit Windows this will be lame_enc.dll. After downloading the file, simply copy it into your REAPER program folder. Start REAPER, then open the sample project file and play it. If you hear no sound, you should check the routing settings for your Master Track and make sure that output is correctly directed to your sound device.

What's New In This Edition ….[edit]

The table below summarizes the main feature changes introduced in REAPER 5.961. It may also include some existing features that were previously not documented. The previous update before this was 5.96.

In addition to these, there are various bug fixes and performance enhancements. For a comprehensive list of all changes, choose Help, Changelog from REAPER's main menu bar, or choose Options, Show REAPER resource path... and double-click on the file whatsnew.txt to open it.

Changes in 5.961 Where ... ReaEQ: Context menu on graph display now includes option to use large band handles. adding a few final paragraphs on section 16.5 on page 315
ReaEQ: Various new techniques for fine tuning adjustments to bandwidth. adding a few final paragraphs on section 16.5 on page 315
ReaEQ: New options for 0 db, 3 db, or 5db per octave for analyzer slope. adding a few final paragraphs on section 16.5 on page 315
ReaXcomp: Context menu on graph display now includes option to use large band handles. First new list item Page 324

Author's Note: I recommend the use of Adobe software (such as Acrobat or Reader) for use with the PDF version of this document. Document hyperlinks are available provided you have not enabled the option for using the hand to select text. Click on the hyperlink to jump straight to that part of the document, then use Alt Left- Arrow to return to where you were. Adobe also offers you quite flexible search features which are referenced towards the end of this document, but no guarantee is given that these will be available with different PDF reading software. Note: With REAPER's rapid rate of development, this edition may not be 100% up to date. For a full list of new and recent features, choose the Help, Changelog command from the REAPER menu. To check for the latest versions of both REAPER and this User Guide, go to http://www.cockos.com/reaper/download.php


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 http://www.cockos.com/reaper/purchase.php 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 http://aegiscorp.free.fr/lame/. Once there, make sure that you select the right download for your system and your version of REAPER:

Windows 64-bit systems lame_enc64.dll

Windows 32 bit systems libmp3lame.dll

OSX 64-bit systems libmp3lame_osx64.zip

OSX 32 bit systems libmp3lame_osx32.zip

Note that if you are using a 32 bit version of REAPER even on a 64-bit computer, you should download the 32 bit encoder, not the 64-bit one.

After downloading, Mac users should unzip the file and then drag the dynamic library file (named something like libmp3lame.dylib) into their REAPER application launch folder.

Windows users should copy the file into their REAPER Program directory, which by default will be C:\Program Files\REAPER. It can also be copied to other applications that may need it (e.g. Audacity).

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 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_Stream_Input/Output

On the Audio Device Preferences screen, you should set the following options:

Item Comment Audio System The other items on this screen will vary with the audio system selected . Choose ASIO and ASIO drivers if they are available for your sound card or Firewire or USB device.
Enable Inputs This option needs to be turned on (ticked) if you wish to use REAPER for recording.
Input Range If your device has multiple inputs (up to 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.

Example

To create output aliases:

  1. Choose the Options, Preferences command.
  2. Display the Audio page and in the section labelled Channel Naming/Mapping make sure you have ticked the option Output Channel Name Aliasing.
  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 ReaperConfig.zip file. How often you should do this really depends on how often you make changes to any of your settings, and how important those changes are to you. Remember to keep a copy of your ReaperConfig.zip files off line, for example on an external drive or a USB flash drive.

1.20 Running REAPER on a Flash Drive[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.

OS X

  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.

Windows

  1. Insert your external device into an available USB port on your PC. Note its drive letter (e.g. E:, F:. G:, H:. I:. etc.). This will depend how many internal hard drives, disk partitions, external hard drives, DVD burners, etc. you have already installed.
  2. Double click on the REAPER install file to start the install process.
  3. Click on I Agree to accept the license agreement. The Choose Install Location window will be displayed.
  4. Enable the option for Portable install.
  5. Click on Browse. Select your flash drive and click on Make New Folder. Name the folder (e.g. REAPER) and press Enter.
  6. On returning to the screen shown here, work your way thru the installation process in the normal way.
  7. Wait while the various files are installed. There are a lot of files and this might take quite a few minutes.

1.21 REAPER Start Menu Options (Windows only)[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.

chapter 2: REAPER Project Basics[edit]

2.1 Section Overview[edit]

In this chapter you will be taught the essential basics about working with a project file in REAPER. Topics include opening and closing files, navigating the REAPER environment, working with tracks and audio effects, and more. Most of the topics introduced here will be covered in greater depth and detail later in this guide.

2.2 Opening an Existing Project[edit]

To open an existing REAPER Project File, use the File, Open Project command, or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl�O. As with other Windows Apps, you will need to navigate to the appropriate folder to find your project. Recently used projects can more easily be opened using the File, Recent Projects command. This causes a list of up to the last 100 recently used project files to be displayed. You can then select any file from that list.

The General page of your Options, Preferences window offers a number of options. In particular, you can:

Manage your Undo preferences.

Specify whether or not you want the most recently used file automatically loaded when REAPER is started. Choose the Last active project option for this. Other startup options are explained in Chapter 22.

Specify whether you want to Automatically Check for New Versions of REAPER on Startup.

Determine the number of files displayed on the Recent project list.

Other General Preferences settings are discussed and explained in Chapter 22.

Notice too the toggle command Continuous scrolling on the Options menu. If disabled (the default), the play cursor will scroll from left to right during playback. If enabled, this cursor will find and then remain stationary in the center of the arrange window during playback, while the media items scroll across the screen.

The examples used throughout this guide use the project file All Through The Night.RPP. This can be downloaded from www.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/REAPER_User_Guide. It might help you to keep that project open while using this documentation. Take a copy of this file and work with that. You will then be able to experiment freely without fear of damaging any of your own important projects.

2.3 Project Settings[edit]

REAPER project settings can be defined to meet the requirements of individual projects. The Project Settings dialog box is accessed by choosing the File, Project Settings command, or by using the keyboard shortcut Alt Enter. The dialog box has five pages of settings - Project Settings, Media, Video, Advanced and Notes. If in doubt, leave most settings at their default values, at least until you understand better what they are and how they work.

Project Settings: Project Settings

These include:

Project Sample Rate: for example, 44100 Hz (CD standard) or 48000 Hz (DVD standard).

Option to force the time signature to beats or whole samples.

Project beats per minute and time signature.

Method for setting the timebase for items/envelopes markers and for tempo/time sig - essentially you have a choice of Time, Beats (position, length rate) or Beats (position only). See notes below.

Project start time and measure. Leave these at their defaults for now. In Chapter 12 you'll see whten, why and how to change them.

There is an option to Base ruler markings off any specified start measure. The default is the first.

Playback and render resample mode � from Lowest (point sampling) thru Medium (64 Sinc) to Extreme HQ (768 HQ Sinc).

Default mode and parameter to be used for pitch shifting. See Chapter 10.

Project Settings: Media

These include:

Paths (primary and secondary) to store media files. For example, if you specify "Audio" then your media will be stored in a folder called Audio, as a sub-folder of the project folder. If left blank, REAPER will use the same folder as the project file.

Option to use or over-ride the global preference for copy media on import. You can opt to copy the media items to the project file folder.

Recording format - typically WAV or MP3, but there are others , e.g. AIFF, DDP, FLAC, OGG Vorbis Video (GIF) and WavPack. Each of these comes with its own set of options and settings.

Settings and specifications for chosen recording format � e.g. for WAV files this includes Bit Depth.

Whether to include markers and/or regions.
Whether to embed the project tempo.

Preferred media formats when FX are applied, or items are glued or frozen, and when media items are rendered. Also, default media format for project and regions. You have the same range of formats, options and settings as you have for recording format.

Project Settings: Advanced

Item Mix Behavior. Determines how REAPER should behave when one media item is placed directly on top of another. The options are for Enclosed Items to Replace enclosing items, Items always to be mixed, or for the newer item to always replace the older item.

Track mixing depth. If unsure, leave at the default setting.

The option to allow feedback in routing. Feedback routing can be useful for some advanced mixing activities, but can be dangerous for audio equipment. If you are in any doubt, do not select this option.

The option to synchronize the project with the timecode of an external device.

The option to limit project length and recording time.

There is an option to set the default state for Preserve pitch when changing rate.

Specifying a default pan law for your tracks. The pan law determines how the relative volume of a track behaves when that track is panned more or less to one side or the other. Gain compensation boost can be enabled or disabled. Pan laws are discussed in more depth later in Chapter 2. Meanwhile, if you are unfamiliar with how pan laws work, leave these at their default settings.

Default track pan mode. You have choice of pan modes, some mono, some stereo. See Chapter 11.

Rewire slave settings. These are shown on the right.

Project Settings: Video: These are explained in Chapter 20.

The Project Timebase Settings

The project timebase controls how media items, envelopes and project markers behave when the project tempo changes. When possible, get your project timebase settings right before you record or import any items. The default settings are Beats (position, length, rate) for items/envelopes/markers and Beats for tempo/time sig envelopes. For more information about the timebase, open the Actions list (from REAPER's main menu) and run the action Project settings: timebase help. For more about the Actions List, see Chapter 15.

It's worth also noting that you can still over-ride the project timebase setting for individual tracks within your project. To do this, select the track(s) and choose Track timebase from the track control panel context menu. To do this for an individual item, select the item then press F2 to display the Item Properties dialog box.

Project Settings: Notes

This very handy section lets you enter any notes and comments that you would like to be included with your project file. You can specify that the notes should automatically be displayed each time the project is opened.

Tip: You can save all these settings as the defaults to be used for future new projects. Of course, for any individual projects you can over-write your defaults.

2.4 The Transport Bar[edit]

If the Transport Bar is not visible in your REAPER window, use the View, Transport command to display it, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl Alt T to do this. The Transport Bar might appear as shown here, as a floating window (undocked) inside REAPER, or it might be docked just below arrange view. At this stage, the exact position of the Transport Bar is not important. The main Transport Controls are shown below, though your exact layout might not be identical: whether docked or not, the controls will appear in a single row if the window is wide enough.

The first five transport buttons are fairly standard � Go to Start, Go to End, Stop, Play, and Pause. The Stop button stops playback and returns the play cursor to the position it was in when playback started. The Pause button pauses playback without moving the play cursor.

The Record button starts and stops recording, without stopping playback. Clicking on the Stop button when recording is taking place will both stop playback and recording. The Toggle Repeat button turns on and off the option for any looped time selection to be played over and over again during playback.

The Global Automation Override feature will be explained in Chapter 18. To the right of this the current time selection is shown (start position, end position and length). Working with and managing time selections is a theme that will recur throughout this User Guide.

The current play cursor position is also shown: in the above example this is 29.2.54/0:56.722. Next to this is the playback status (Playing, Paused or Stopped). Next are edit boxes that show the project Tempo (BPM) and Time Signature values. To change the value of either box click in the box and type the new value. Depending on your mouse preferences (Chapter 22), you can also use your mousewheel to adjust this. Finally (in the above layout) is the playback rate. This can be made faster or slower by adjusting the horizontal fader. If adjusted, the fader background is colored green. Double-clicking resets the rate to 1.0. You can also hover your mouse over the box and use your mousewheel to increase (up) or decrease (down) the value.

Three other useful transport control keys are Ctrl Left (go back a little), Ctrl Right (go forward a little) and Alt Space (play, skipping loop selection.

Right clicking over the Transport Bar displays a context menu. This may seem slightly intimidating at first. We'll get to the more advanced stuff in Chapter 10, but for now just notice that there are menu options available to:

  • Select your preferred time display format.
  • Dock or Undock the transport in the Main Window. You can choose the main docker or any of four other positions � Below arrange view, Above ruler, Bottom of main window or Top of main window.
  • Flash transport status as yellow if a possible audio underrun is detected.

Scrubbing

The top of the edit cursor is marked by an upside down triangle. You can grab this with your mouse and drag to move the edit cursor without affecting playback. Depending on your preferences settings, you may need to hold down the Shift key while you do this. If you do this when the project is not playing, it will have the effect of �scrubbing� your audio.

This topic is covered in more detail in Chapter 5 of this User Guide.

2.5 Track Controls[edit]

Basics

If you play All Through The Night.RPP you will notice that the same sound is coming out of both speakers and that the different instruments and vocals are all competing with each other for the same acoustic space. That�s because no adjustments have been made to any track's Volume or Pan controls. The exact position of these faders varies with factors like width and height of the your control panel and which of the available track layouts is in use.

The rotary fader shown here is used to adjust a track�s volume. With some layouts, this will be shown as a horizontal fader. The rotary not far to its right adjusts the panning, sending the signal more to the left or the right as preferred. If you see a second pan control, ignore it for now. This is used with some pan modes to control stereo width: this is a more advanced concept, primarily used for folders and tracks with stereo media files. This will be covered in Chapter 11. For now, we will be working with just the one pan control. In any event, to adjust any horizontal, vertical or rotary faders in REAPER, you can:

Click and hold down the left mouse button over the fader, then drag in the direction required, releasing the mouse when finished. For rotary faders, drag up to rotate clockwise, down for anti-clockwise. Hold Ctrl while doing this for more subtle adjustments.

Hover your mouse over the fader, use the Scroll Wheel to adjust the level down/up. To enable this feature, go to Options, Preferences, Editing Behavior, Mouse and deselect Ignore mousewheel on track panel faders and on all faders. See also mouse behavior preferences in Chapter 22.

Metering

By default, a track's VU meter will show the level of the signal after being adjusted by the volume fader. If you wish, you can instead show the pre-fader level by choosing from the Options menu the command Pre-fader track metering.

Routing

Right-clicking on the volume control opens the routing dialog box (shown right). You can enter values as dB for volume (e.g. -6) and as percentages for pan (e.g., 25R for 25% right) and width directly into this box.

By default, the volume and pan controls apply to a track's audio output. If you want to use these to control its MIDI signal, right-click on the track number in the TCP, then choose MIDI track controls, then Link track volume pan to all MIDI channels from the context menu.

Tip: To audition possible changes, hold down the Alt key while dragging the fader with the mouse. When you release the mouse, it will then return to its original position.

Tip: To work with more than one track, hold down Ctrl while clicking in the Track control panel on each track number required. Then release Ctrl. Any fader or other movement will be applied to all selected tracks.

Mute/Solo

The two buttons to the right of the width control fader on each track�s control panel have these functions:

Mute Toggles Mute on/off for selected track(s)
Solo Toggles Solo on/off selected track(s)

Note: Both the Mute and Solo controls can also be used with modifier keys such as Alt and Ctrl for various functions. See Chapter 5 for details.

By default, track Solo causes the track itself and the output of any sends originating from that track to be played. If you wish to hear only the track without these sends, hold the Alt key while soloing the track. Notice that your track controls also include a phase control button. This can be used to reverse track polarity.

2.6 Pan Law and Pan Mode[edit]

You can also change the pan law for individual tracks. Right-clicking over a track�s pan fader opens a window where you can select from the list (in a range 0.0 dB to -6.0 db) or type in your own value. A negative setting causes the signal at the center to be attenuated as panning increases. The Gain compensation (boost pans) option can be enabled to cause the signal's audio strength to instead be boosted as it is panned.

Another option is to select your preferred pan mode (see right). This will be explained and dealt with more fully in Chapter 11 when we look at stereo panning. In brief, however, you have a number of options � Stereo balance/mono pan is the default (see Project Settings). This is equivalent to the panning mode used in versions of REAPER before REAPER 4. If you select REAPER 3.x balance, stereo pan or dual pan, the width panner will also automatically be displayed. Several of the screen shots used in this guide illustrate dual pan controls. The various pan modes are explained, along with stereo and dual panning, in Chapter 11.

2.7 Navigation and Zooming[edit]

Navigating within the Track Control Panel

The following keyboard shortcuts can be used to navigate within the Track Control Panel:

Function Keystroke Go to next track. Ctrl Alt Down
Go to previous track. Ctrl Alt Up

Adjusting Panel Width with Mouse

To adjust the width of the track panel area, place your mouse over the vertical border that separates the track control panel area from the main workspace area, until the mouse indicator changes to a horizontal black double headed arrow. Click and hold down the left mouse button while dragging the mouse left or right. Release the mouse button when the desired track control panel width is reached. Note that double-clicking on this vertical border will toggle track panel visibility on and off.

Adjusting Track Height with Mouse

Function Action Adjust height of single track Click/drag up/down on lower track boundary
Adjust height of selected tracks Alt + click/drag up/down on lower track boundary
Adjust height of all tracks. Ctrl + click/drag up/down on any lower track boundary
Adjust height of all tracks. Click/drag up/down between + and � on vertical scrollbar

Toggling Track Height with Keyboard or Mouse

Function Keystroke Minimize height of all tracks, or, if already minimized, restore tracks to most recent previous height. ` (this is the key immediately to the left of 1, usually directly above the Tab key).
Maximize height of all tracks, or, if already maximized, restore tracks to most recent previous height. ~ (on most keyboards, this is the Shift key in combination with the ` key).
Expand height of selected tracks, minimize all others. Press again to restore tracks to previous height. ! (on most keyboards, this is the Shift key in combination with the 1 key).
Minimize all tracks. @ (on most keyboards, Shift with the 2 key).
Toggles height of all tracks between minimized, normal and maximized. Double click mouse on vertical scroll bar
Lock/unlock current track height. Use Lock track height command on track right-click context menu.

Zooming In and Out with the Keyboard

The following keyboard shortcuts can be used for zooming within a project:

Function Keystroke Zoom Out vertically, decreasing track height Page Down
Zoom In vertically, increasing track height Page Up
Zoom to current time selection Ctrl Num Pad +
Zoom Out to entire project length Ctrl Page Down
Zoom Out horizontal - (the minus sign)
Zoom In horizontal + (the plus sign)
Zoom Out media peaks Shift Down
Zoom In media peaks Shift Up

Scrolling with the Keyboard

The following keyboard shortcuts can be used for scrolling within a project:

Function Keystrokes Scroll View down Alt Down
Scroll View up Alt Up
Scroll View left Alt Left
Scroll View right Alt Right

Zooming and Scrolling with the Mousewheel

The mousewheel can also be used for zooming in and out when you are navigating a project file. The table below summarises how the mouse wheel behaves.

Behavior Modifier Key for Mousewheel Horizontal Zoom (no modifier)
Vertical Zoom Ctrl
Horizontal Scroll Alt
Vertical Scroll Ctrl Alt

Note: REAPER's zoom center settings will determine exact zoom behavior. These can be found in the Editing Behavior section of your Preferences. See Chapter 22 for more information.

You can change any default keyboard and mousewheel assignments. For example, you could use just the Down and Up arrows (without Ctrl Alt) to go to the next or previous track, or the mousewheel without a modifier to scroll rather than zoom. You can also use other customized mouse modifiers for zooming, especially within the Arrange view and Ruler contexts. Mouse modifiers are covered in Chapter 15.

Tip: Making and using a zoom/navigate toolbar. Zooming and navigating are activities that are performed a lot. You might wish to consider making your own Zoom/Navigate custom toolbar. It isn't as complicated as it might sound. How to create your own custom toolbars is explained in Chapter 15.

2.8 Keyboard Shortcut and Mouse Defaults[edit]

You can use the command Help, Keybindings and Mouse Modifiers (or just press Shift+F1) to open your web browser with a list of REAPER's mouse modifiers and keyboard shortcuts. As you will see in Chapter 15, you can also define your own mouse modifiers, keyboard shortcuts and action keys, so that your mouse and keyboard behavior is determined by the context in which you are using it.

2.9 Directing Audio Output[edit]

Audio output will by default go from your master to the first available pair of outputs on your soundcard (usually outputs 1 and 2), and only to this pair. If your sound card has multiple pairs of outputs and you wish to change this, you can do so via the Routing Matrix (View, Routing Matrix or Alt R).

Your available hardware outputs are displayed along the top of the grid. Here you can select and/or deselect any of the available outputs.

2.10 Using the Navigator[edit]

The REAPER Navigator shows you an overview of your project. It can be useful to display this when you are zooming closely on an area of your project.

To display the Navigator, choose the View, Navigator command. The keys Ctrl Alt V can be used to toggle the Navigator display on and off.

You can also use the Navigator window to scroll thru your project. Simply position the mouse over the box within the navigator window that represents the on-screen area of your project. Then hold down the left mouse button, and click and drag to scroll the display. Release the mouse button when finished. Other ways of using the Navigator are:

Activity Method Define new area to be displayed in REAPER workspace. Hold down right mouse button, drag and release
Reposition rectangle an1d workspace display area. Left click mouse
Reposition and relocate play cursor. Ctrl Left Click
Use as in workspace to scroll and/or zoom. Mousewheel

2.11 Track FX Basics[edit]

Track FX (JS, VST, VST3 and Direct X as well as VSTi , VST3i and DXi, and, for Mac users, AU) can be added to any track by directly inserting the FX into the FX Chain for the required track. A good selection of audio FX plug-ins is supplied with REAPER, including Jesusonic and Cockos effects. We'll be taking a closer look at many of these individually later in this User Guide, especially in Chapters 6 and 16. REAPER also includes a bundle of programmable video effects, which we will look at in Chapter 20. For now, let's just focus on some general aspects of how audio FX fit in to the REAPER scheme of things. To use any of these FX, simply follow this procedure:

  1. Click on the FX Button in the Track Control Panel of the track to which you want to add the FX. This opens the FX window for that track. If the Add FX window (see below) is not automatically displayed, click on the Add button to open it.
  2. Select a category, e.g. All Plug-ins, DX, VST, JS, Cockos. All FX in that category will be listed.
  3. Double click on the required FX name.
  4. To add more F1X, click on the Add button in the Track FX window, then repeat steps 2 and 3 above.

Note: When you add any plug-in to any track's FX chain, that plug-in will then be displayed in the FX Browser's Recently Used FX folder.

2.12 Using the Supplied FX Presets[edit]

The excellent FX that are shipped with REAPER can be used to improve the sound of your tracks. The use of these FX is a huge topic. You will find many examples in Chapters 14, 15 and 16 of this User Guide. For more detailed information and more advanced examples, you should consider obtaining a copy of ReaMix: Breaking the Barriers with REAPER which is available from the Reaper Bookstore at href="http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=1374784 (link is broken).

However, as a means of getting started you might wish to explore some of the presets that come with these plug-ins. For example, Cockos ReaDelay includes presets which as a starting point you can try with your various tracks. Simply display the drop down list and select the item that you want (example shown right).

Most of the Cockos Rea series of plug-ins include a number of presets. You can explore these for yourself to discover what is available. Of course, you can also make any adjustments and changes to these that you like, in order to customize them more precisely to your own needs.

To set any FX preset as the default for that FX

  1. Select the required preset from the drop down list.
  2. Click on the + button to the right of the list and choose Save preset as default from the menu.
  3. Type your own name for the preset and click on OK.

As well as the presets supplied with REAPER, you can download further sets by visiting http://stash.reaper.fm/ and following the link to FX Preset Libraries.

To import downloaded presets into REAPER, follow this sequence:

  1. Insert an instance of the plug-in into any track.
  2. Click on the + button (just left of the Param button in the FX Chain window).
  3. Choose Import Preset Library.
  4. Navigate to and select the required file then click on Open.

To select a preset when loading an FX

  1. Open the track FX window and click on the Add button.
  2. select the required category (e.g. Cockos).
  3. Right click on the FX window and click on the Add button.
  4. required FX (e.g. required FX (e.g. ReaEQ).
  5. From the context menu, choose presets then select the required preset (e.g. Intimate female vocal).

2.13 Controlling Track FX[edit]

REAPER provides you with a number of tools to help you manage your Track FX. For example, you can:

Change the order in which they are applied.

Copy or move any FX from one track to another.

Save (and retrieve) any sequence of FX as a chain that can be easily inserted into other tracks.

Bypass individual FX or an entire FX chain.

Specify a default set of FX to be automatically inserted into new tracks for your project.

Task Method Dock the FX Chain Choose the FX, Dock FX Window in Docker command.
Adjust the values for Track FX parameters Drag with the mouse, or scroll the mouse wheel over, the fader that controls the value of the parameter that you wish to change. For fine adjustments, hold down the Ctrl key while you do this. If you prefer, select the control with the mouse, then use the up/down keys on your keyboard.
Adjust the wet/dry mix of any FX Select the plug-in in the FX chain, then use the mouse to adjust the small rotary control next to the UI button on REAPER's FX window interface, as shown here. 100% equals completely wet: 0% is completely dry.
Change Track FX Order for a track Drag and drop FX name up or down within the Track FX window.
Float an FX window Double-click on the FX name in the FX Chain window (toggles). The title bar of the floated window will display the track name, the FX name, and its place in the track FX chain. For example: VST: ReaEQ, Track 1 �Vocal� [2/3],i.e. the 2nd FX in a chain of 3.
Keep FX or Add FX window on top Click on the pin symbol at right of title bar.
Close a floating FX window Double-click on FX window title bar.
Copy an FX (or FX selection) from one track to another. Hold down Ctrl, drag the FX from the source track FX window and drop on the track panel for any other track. To copy automation envelopes with the FX, use Shift Ctrl drag.
Move an FX (or FX selection) from one track to another. Hold down Alt, drag the FX from the source track FX window and drop on the track panel for any other track.
Rename an FX Instance Select the FX name in the FX Chain and press F2
Bypass an FX Untick either the check box left of the FX name in the Track FX window or the check box in the top right corner of the FX window.
Replace one FX with another Select the FX in the FX chain, then press R. In the Replace FX window (now displayed) double-click on the required replacement FX. Any existing routing configuration will be preserved.
Make the current Track FX the default for new tracks Within the Track FX window, choose FX, Save Chain as default for new tracks.
Remove an FX from a track Select the FX name within the Track FX window then click on the Remove button.
Remove all FX from a track Hold Alt while clicking on the track�s FX button in the TCP.
Search for an FX Enter text in the Filter List at the bottom of the FX window.
Save the current sequence of Track FX as a chain In the Track FX window, choose the FX, Save FX Chain command. FX parameter settings are saved with the chain.
Save selected Track FX as a chain Select the names of the FX to be included in the chain (use Ctrl Click), then choose FX, Save Selected FX as Chain
Retrieve an existing previously saved FX Chain Within the Track FX window, choose FX, Add FX Chain command, or within the TCP right-click over the FX button and select Add FX Chain from the menu.
Load your default FX Chain Within the Track FX window, choose FX, Load Default Track Chain from the menu.
Access the FX Preferences settings Within the Track FX window, choose the Options, FX Plug-in Settings command. These are discussed in Chapter 22.
Bypass all FX for a track In the Track Control Panel, click on the FX Enable/Disable toggle button. Click again to reverse this.

2.14 FX Window and Keyboard Shortcuts[edit]

For your convenience the FX window makes various keyboard shortcuts available to you when you are working in it. These include navigation shortcuts (such as Down and Up to select next/previous FX in chain) and command shortcuts (such as Ctrl S to Save FX chain...). The command FX keys are displayed on the menus.

You might prefer to instead use these keys in arrange view even when you are working in the FX window, so that (for example) Ctrl S can still be used to save the project file and the Down and Up arrows to zoom out/in horizontally. In this case, you should enable the menu option Ignore FX chain keyboard shortcuts (send to main window).

2.15 Creating a Default FX Chain[edit]

If you have used other DAW software such as Sonar, you might be used to having an EQ Plug-In automatically inserted for you in every track. REAPER allows you to do this by creating a default FX chain which is then automatically applied to every new track that you create. Of course, this default chain can contain any FX that you wish. To do this, you simply follow this procedure:

Open the FX Window for any track.

Add as many FX you require.

From the FX window menu, choose FX then Save chain as default for new tracks.

Tip: If you switch the FX to bypass mode before saving your FX chain, then the FX chain will be saved in bypass mode. This means that the FX in your new tracks will not require any CPU usage until such time as you open the FX window and enable them.

Example

In this example, we will create a default FX chain consisting of ReaEQ and ReaComp, both set to bypass mode.

  1. Open any project file and add a new track at the end. We will use this track to create our FX chain.
  2. Click on the FX button for this track to open the FX Window.
  3. In the first (left) column of the Add FX window, click on Cockos.
  4. Select in turn, first ReaEQ (Cockos) and then ReaComp (Cockos). In each case, either use the OK button to add the plug-in to the track FX chain, or drag and drop them into the chain.
  5. Make sure that both these FX are unticked � this sets them to bypass.
  6. Right click over one of the FX and from the context menu, choose Save chain as default for new tracks.
  7. Close the FX window.
  8. You can now exit REAPER if you wish. There is no need to save the changes to the project file.
  9. Re-open REAPER and open any project file.
  10. Insert a new track anywhere you wish in this project file.
  11. Open the FX window for your new tracks. You should see that the two plug-ins, ReaEQ and ReaComp have already been inserted into this FX bin, in bypass mode.

Tip: If you wish to make changes to the contents of your default FX chain, simply repeat the process described above, this time with the changed set of plug-ins, or (to remove it) with no plug-ins at all.

Tip: If you hold down the Ctrl Shift keys when opening a project file, the file will be opened with its FX off line. This can be useful if you need to conserve CPU, or if there is a plug-in which might be causing problems.

2.16 Using an FX Bus[edit]

If you have used other DAW software, or an analog (tape) recording and mixing desk, you are probably already familiar with the concept of a Bus. The exact meaning of the term can have several variations, but most commonly (and in this example), a Bus is used to enable a number of tracks to share the same resource (such as perhaps Reverb or Chorus FX).

This saves on valuable computer resources such as CPU. For example, instead of requiring multiple instances of the same FX in perhaps three or four tracks or more, by using a Bus you can ensure that only one instance of the FX is required. Note that when you use a Bus in this way:

The output of each track is still directed to the Master.

In addition, a copy of the signal from each track is directed to the FX Bus.

At some stage, the output of the FX Bus is then mixed back in with the original signal. Typically (and in the example shown here) this is achieved by directing the output of the FX Bus to the Master, although other more complex routing arrangements are also possible.

The Bus can be inserted anywhere in the project that you like. In this example, we will place it just after the last track. This example uses the sample project file All Through The Night.RPP. Open this file, then save a copy to a new name such as All Through The Night with Bus.RPP before embarking on this example.

In this example, we are going to create an FX Bus and insert into that bus a Chorus effect. We will then ensure that both of our guitar tracks use the chorus. You will see that REAPER is different from other audio software in that it makes no inherent distinction between a Bus and a Track. The difference is determined solely by how you use it. Notice that the illustration below shows that for a more pleasing sound, the guitar tracks have been panned somewhat to the left and right respectively.

To Create the Bus and add the FX to it:

Select track 4 (in the Track Control Panel).

To insert a new track either choose the Track, Insert New Track command, or press Ctrl ,T or double click in the vacant track control panel area beneath the last track.

To name this new track, click in the area where the name is to go, type FX Bus then press Enter.

To insert the Chorus FX into this bus, click on the bus�s FX button. From the list of plug-in types, select Jesusonic, then in the list of plug-ins double click on JS: Guitar/Chorus. Close the Bus FX window.

To Create Sends from the two guitar tracks to the Bus:

Select the two guitar tracks in the TCP. Right-click over the ROUTE button for either of these tracks.

From the context menu, choose Sends then Track 5: FX Bus.

Note that for every send there is an equivalent receive, and vice versa. For example, if you now open the Routing window for Track 5 (click on the track's ROUT button) you will see that it has two receives, one from each guitar track. You'll learn more about REAPER's routing later in this chapter (Routing Essentials) as well as in Chapters 5 and 17.

Making Adjustments

When you now play the song, you�ll probably find that there�s more chorus on the guitar tracks than you would like. There are four main ways to adjust this. Experiment until you find what gives you the results you want:

  1. Adjust the chorus FX parameters. In this case, you could lower the amount of Wet signal in the mix.
  2. Adjust the levels of one or both of the receives in the FX bus routing window.
  3. Display the routing window for either guitar track and adjust the send levels for that track.
  4. Adjust output volume fader for the track called FX Bus.

Speed Tips

In Order To Do This ... Do This Toggle on/off send from track to Master Hold Alt while clicking on ROUTING button. Works with single track or multiple track selection.
Create a quick send on the fly from one track to another. Drag and drop from ROUTING button of send track to the track panel of receive track. This can also be done in the mixer view. See Chapter 11 for a description of the full range of options.
Send a track's output direct to any hardware output. Right-click on ROUTING button and select Audio Hardware Output or MIDI output (as required) then choose from the sub-menu. This can be used with a track selection and is independent of the track's master send status.

2.17 Analyzing FX Performance[edit]

FX plug-ins can impose a heavy load on your computer's CPU. To help you overcome this, you can use the Performance Meter to closely monitor your FX in the following ways:

  • You can check how much CPU is being used by the FX in your various tracks and in the master.
  • You can disable and enable FX chains for individual tracks, quickly, easily and conveniently, all together in one place.
  • You can toggle on and off the mute status for your tracks, again all in one convenient place.

To display the Performance Meter, press Ctrl Alt P, or use the View, Performance Meter command.

Example

In the example shown (right), the Master track with 1 plug-in is using 0.14% and the Vox, also with one plug-in, is using 0.05%.

If any track shows an unexpectedly high reading, you can examine the FX for this track, to help you to identify the reason for this. To open a track FX chain, double click on the track name or number in the Performance Meter window.

This feature is useful if you have a large number of tracks in your project. You can use the Performance Meter window to browse thru your project file, checking it track by track, without having to scroll or navigate thru Track View. You can of course also toggle FX Bypass for any track, selection of tracks, or all tracks in the Track View or Mixer View. The table below summarises these options.

In order to do this In Mixer or Track View, do this Toggle FX Bypass On/Off for that track. Click the FX Bypass button for any track.
Toggle FX Bypass On/Off for all tracks in the selection. Select a number of tracks (Ctrl Click) then click the FX Bypass button for any track in the selection.
Toggle FX Bypass On/Off for all tracks. Hold Ctrl key while clicking FX Bypass button for any track.

In addition, the Performance Meter has two right click menus, each with a number of options (see above). The first is accessed by right clicking in the track list area. |{ ! In order to do this … ! In the Performance Meter window do this …

|- Open FX Window for that track. | Right click on track name, choose Show FX Dialog. |- |-Toggle FX Bypass On/Off. | Right click on track name, choose Toggle FX Bypass. |- | Toggle track mute for that track. | Right click over any track, choose Toggle Track Mute. |} Tip: You can select several tracks -- using Ctrl Click -- then right click over any of the selected track numbers in the Performance Meter window to Toggle FX bypass and/or Track Mute status for all tracks in the selection.

In order to do this In the Performance Meter window do this Open FX Window for that track. Right click on track name, choose Show FX Dialog.
Toggle FX Bypass On/Off. Right click on track name, choose Toggle FX Bypass.
Toggle track mute for that track. Right click over any track, choose Toggle Track Mute.
Show in/hide from Performance Meter track list tracks with no FX. Right click on any track, enable/disable Show track FX when empty.
Show in/hide from Performance Meter master track/monitoring when these have no FX. Right click on any track, enable/disable Show master FX when empty and/or Show monitoring FX when empty.


The other menu is used mostly to select what information you want shown in the window. Right click anywhere in the main Performance Meter area to display this. You can also use this menu to move the window to the docker. Note: You’ll find more information about the REAPER Performance Meter in chapter 22}} of this guide.

2.18 The Big Clock[edit]

Use the View, Big Clock command (or press Alt C) to toggle on and off the display of the Big Clock, which clearly displays the current position of the Edit Cursor. This window can be sized and moved at will, or docked in the docker. Right clicking over the Big Clock gives you a context menu of options, including changing the display format.

2.19 Selections and Loops[edit]

Often you will want to work with just a part of your project for a while. In order to do this, first check the Options menu to see if Loop Points Linked to Time Selection is enabled. If it is enabled (ticked) then making a time selection and defining a loop are the same thing. If it is disabled (not ticked) then making a time selection and defining a loop become two different things. Whichever is the case, you can define your loop area by clicking and dragging along the timeline.

Stop the playback at or near the point where you want your loop to begin (or click your mouse in the background area) to move the Edit Cursor there.

Place your mouse over the Timeline (just above the first track), then click and drag along the timeline, releasing the mouse to define the exact area that you want to loop. The effect of this is illustrated above. Notice that the start and end of the loop are marked by two small triangles. If when you attempt this, the selection snaps outwards to define a larger area than you want, then REAPER has snapping enabled. Snapping will be discussed in detail in Chapter 7, but for now you can use the shortcut keys Alt S to toggle this feature on and off.

Tip: To set the loop selection to match a media item, hold Ctrl while you double click on that item. To set the time selection to match a media item, hold Shift while you double-click on the item.

Now when you play the project, provided that the loop (toggle repeat) button on the transport bar has been engaged, it will replay over again the area selected for your Loop. This is known as the repeat function. If loop points are linked to time selection, the start time, finish time and duration of the selection are also shown on the Transport Bar. In any event, pressing the R key toggles this repeat function on and off. There is also the option (under Options, Preferences on the Playback page) to stop playback at the end of a loop when the repeat function is disabled.

To change the region defined as your loop, simply repeat the original procedure. To clear the loop altogether, without defining a new one, just press the Escape key.

If loop points are not linked to the time selection, you can define a time selection by clicking and dragging in the space underneath or between the media items, in the arrange view background area. An example of this is shown below.

Right clicking on the Timeline then gives you a menu of commands which you can apply to a time selection, including Zoom Selection. You can also use this menu to change the units used on the timeline � for example, Minutes:Seconds, Measures:Beats, Measures:Beats and Minutes:Seconds, Measures.Beats (minimal), Measures.Beats (minimal) and Minutes/Seconds (as in the example above right), Seconds, Samples, Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames or Absolute Frames.

The other commands on this menu will be discussed elsewhere in this User Guide, as the need arises. These are features that you are likely to find useful when editing your files.

Incidentally, to zoom out of a time selection and restore a whole project length to view, press Ctrl PgDown.

There's more about loops and time selections elsewhere in this guide, e.g. Chapter 9.

2.20 Managing Time and Loop Selections[edit]

In the previous section you learnt how to click and drag within an empty area of the track view to define a time selection. This may or may not also change the loop selection, depending on your Options, Loop points linked to time selection setting. As you progress thru this User Guide, you will see that time selection plays an important role in REAPER, for example when it comes to editing your media items. You�ll probably find at first that it�s too easy to perhaps select too large an area, or to miss part of the area that you intended to select.

To modify a loop selection using the mouse, hover the mouse over the edge at the start or finish of the loop selection on the timeline, then click and drag left or right. Dragging left from the start of the selected area extends the selection left, dragging right shortens it. Dragging right from the finish of the selected area extends it to the right, dragging left shortens it. Holding Ctrl while you do this cause any snap settings to be ignored.

To move a loop selection, hold the mouse over the selected area on the time line, then hold down Shift while clicking and dragging the mouse left or right.

You can also modify a time selection by first clicking then scrolling the mousewheel over the Selection area of the Transport Bar. Scroll over the start area to adjust start time, end area to adjust end time, or over the length of selection area to move the entire selection. If you wish, you can enter actual times in the start and end time boxes. There are also several keyboard shortcuts you can use for managing Time Selections, summarised below. If loop points are linked to the time selection, then the loop area will also be modified.

Function Keystroke Nudge Entire Time Selection left a little. , (comma)
Nudge Entire Time Selection right a little. . (period or full stop)
Extend Time Selection to left by nudging left edge left a little. Ctrl ,
Shrink Time Selection from right by nudging right edge left a little. Ctrl Alt ,
Extend Time Selection from left by nudging right edge right a little. Ctrl Alt .
Move Time Selection left by time selection length. Shift ,
Move Time Selection right by time selection length. Shift .
Copy portions of selected media items in Time Selection. Ctrl Shift C
Remove Time Selection. Esc

If you wish, you can use the keyboard rather than the mouse to define your time selections. First you need to position the cursor at either the start or the end of the loop, then use one of these:

Function Keystroke Drag cursor to the left and create time selection. Shift Left Arrow
Drag cursor to the right and create time selection. Shift Right Arrow

The following keystrokes can be used to zoom when you are working with a time selection:

Function Keystroke Zoom to Time Selection. Ctrl PageUp
Zoom back to Project. Ctrl PageDown

Tip: If you are unable to position your cursor exactly where you wish when creating a loop selection, it may be that you have snapping enabled. Alt S will toggle snapping status on and off.

2.21 Navigating by Jumping[edit]

You can jump to any point on the timeline using the View, Go To, Jump To command, or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl J. In specifying the place to jump to, you should use the same format as is used on the timeline. In the example used here, the timeline displays Measures and below it Minutes and Seconds. You could therefore use either format, e.g. 33.1 or 1:04.

If your project uses markers and/or regions, you can use this box to jump straight to any maker or region. For example, typing M1 will cause it to jump to marker 1, R2 to jump to the start of region 2, and so on. Markers and regions are explored in Chapter 9.

Tip: Another easy way to open the Jump to dialog box is to double-click on the time on the transport bar.

2.22 Time and Loop Selections and the Transport Bar[edit]

There are two special ways in which the transport bar can be used with a loop selection or a time selection.

In order to do this ... � you should do this Repeatedly play the selection over and over Make the required loop selection, make sure Repeat is enabled (the button next to Record on the Transport Bar), position the play cursor within the loop and press Space.
Play back project skipping over time selection Make the required time selection and position the play cursor anywhere before the start of that selection. Press Alt Space.

2.23 Keeping a Window on Top[edit]

The small pin shown on the right of the title bar of most windows (just before the X) can be used to pin a window to keep it on top. Click on this to toggle its on top status. When the pin is shown in the down position, the window is locked on top.

2.24 Item Names, Buttons and Icons[edit]

Depending on Appearance, Media preference settings, you may (or may not) see item names displayed above the media item rather than on it (see right). You might also see some media item icons (or buttons). You'll learn more about this when we examine media items in Chapter 7.

2.25 REAPER Routing Essentials[edit]

This section will teach you more about an important core function of REAPER � Routing. Routing lets you ensure that your media (audio and/or MIDI) are directed to where you want them to go, so that your project can be heard exactly as you want it to be heard. You were introduced to some basic examples earlier in this chapter, when we looked at creating and using an FX bus. Routing can be very simple or extremely complex � and anything in between. This section introduces you to basic routing concepts. More complex routing options will be covered later in this Chapter, also in Chapters 4 and 15, and elsewhere.

Each track includes a Routing Button in its panel toolbar (shown right). Hovering the mouse over this button will display a tool tip. This will also show any sends and/or receives already associated with that track. Clicking the button causes the routing window for that track to be displayed. To close the track routing window, either press the Escape key, or click on the little X in the top right corner of the window, or click anywhere outside the window.

The actual contents of your Track Routing window will vary according to your project structure and your DAW hardware setup (e.g. sound card and audio devices, MIDI devices etc.).

Depending on the nature of your project, your display should be similar to that shown above, but not necessarily identical. Notice in particular:

Master/Parent Send � Enabling this ensures that the track�s output will be directed to the Master. In the sample files provided, you will want to direct the output of all tracks directly to the Master, as shown for Track 1 (above). If in doubt, leave this item enabled.

Sends � In the FX Bus example earlier in this chapter you created sends. A track's output can be routed via a send from any track to any other track or tracks. This topic will be covered in more detail later.

Audio Hardware Outputs � in addition to (or instead of) directing output to your Master Bus, you can also direct output of any track directly to Hardware Outputs on your audio device. If your audio device has multiple outputs, this can be useful, for example, for creating a separate headphone mix, or as series of separate headphone mixes.

MIDI Hardware Output � Use this option to direct MIDI output to an external device or to the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth.

Receives � For every send (source) track there will be a receive (destination) track. In the earlier example, the FX bus included two receives, one from each of the two guitar tracks in that project file.

Notice (picture below) that when you create a send, you are presented with volume and pan faders which can be used to control this. You can also specify whether to send audio output, MIDI output, or both.

Whenever you select any listed track, audio hardware output or MIDI device to be used for a track�s routing, controls such as Level and Pan are automatically added to this interface.

When you create a new project, by default the output of each new track is routed to the Master track and from there to the output of your sound card. If that is all you need, you do not need to study the routing options right now. However, understanding REAPER�s routing capabilities will almost certainly enable you at some stage to get more benefits from the program.

The illustration below shows an example of the Track Routing Window for a track for which both a send and a receive have been created. You will be shown how to do this later in this User Guide, starting at Chapter 5.

Approach track routing gently at first: it is very powerful. The early chapters of this User Guide will take you thru the basics of track routing. After you have mastered these, you will find more complex examples elsewhere in this User Guide, especially in Chapter 17.

Note: Sends and Receives can be any of three types. These are Post Fader (Post Pan), Pre-Fader (Post FX) and Pre FX. The differences will be discussed in Chapter 17. Meanwhile, if in doubt accept the default option Post-Fader (Post Pan). See also the flow charts at the end of Chapter 6.

Tip: Drag and drop routing. A quick way to create s send from one track to another is to drag and drop from the route button on the source track to the destination track. This is explained in detail in Chapter 17.

2.26 The Routing Matrix[edit]

REAPER's Routing Matrix is a �one stop� window where you can manage and arrange a project's entire routing structures. For example, you can add and delete sends and receives and manage their various parameter controls, such as volume and pan.

Press Alt R to display the routing matrix. For the project file All Through The Night with Bus it should resemble that shown right: of course your hardware outputs will not be the same.

Observe the cell in the matrix where the Gtr Body row intersects with the FX Bus column. It contains two small blobs.

By right clicking over this cell, you can cause the controls to be displayed which determine how the signal from the Gtr Body track is sent to the FX Bus (see illustration below).

Simplifying the Routing Matrix Display

If your sound card has multiple outputs, then by default, REAPER�s Routing Matrix will display multiple permutations of paired outputs, including several that you may feel that you do not need. By default REAPER will allow you to use any two consecutively numbered audio outputs as a stereo pair. It is quite likely that you may want to use, for example, outputs 1 and 2 as one pair (perhaps for your speakers) and outputs 3 and 4 as another pair (perhaps for your headphone amp). However, it would be unusual to want to use outputs 2 and 3 together as a pair.

If you wish, you can prevent these unwanted combinations from being displayed by choosing the Options, Preferences command, then selecting the Audio settings page. This includes a Channel naming section, where you can turn off the option to Show non-standard stereo channel pairs (see right). If for some reason you did wish to direct your output to any non-standard pair, you could still do so by selecting each of them individually on the matrix.

2.27 Docking and Floating[edit]

Too many views on the screen at once creates clutter. That�s when the Docker becomes useful. Right clicking over the title bar or background area of most windows causes a context menu to be displayed which will offer a list of choices relevant to that window. Usually their purpose will be obvious. This will include an option Dock in Docker.

When a number of windows are docked, at the foot of the Docker you will see a series of Tabs. These are used to select which item is displayed by the Docker at any time. In the illustration here, the Docker includes several items. Notice also that:

If you close a Window, next time it opens its docking status will be the same as when it was closed. If a Window is docked when it is closed, next time it is opened it will still be docked.

To undock a window, right click over the background or tab area of the window and deselect the Dock in Docker option.

The Docker can itself be attached to the main window or detached and floated. Click over the small exclamation mark in the bottom left corner of the Docker and use the option to Attach Docker to Main Window to toggle.

By default the docker will be attached to the bottom of the main window, but you can use the same menu to change this position to left, top or right.

Clicking over the exclamation mark after detaching the Docker from the Main Menu will also give you access to the Set Opacity feature. This can be used to ensure that when floated and not in focus, the Docker is transparent. Opacity can be set between 25% and 100%.

Tip: The keyboard shortcut Alt D can be used as a toggle to show or hide the Docker or Dockers.

More experienced users might be interested to know that if you wish you can work with multiple dockers. This topic is covered in Chapter 12, Project Management Features.

As an alternative to docking windows, you might consider the toggle command View, Show/hide all floating windows as a method of handling screen clutter. Another useful command can be View, Cascade all floating windows.

2.28 The Undo History Window[edit]

REAPER�s Undo feature is user friendly and very powerful. The View, Undo History command (or use Ctrl Alt Z) toggles open and closed the Undo History Window. You can double click on any event displayed in that window to go back to that point.

The General settings page under Options, Preferences includes a section which you can use to determine the behavior of the Undo History. In particular, you can:

Specify the maximum amount of memory to be allocated to Undo. Setting this to zero will effectively disable this feature.

Specify whether item, track, envelope point and/or time selection and/or changes in cursor positions are to be included in the Undo History.

Ensure that if the allocated Undo storage area becomes full, the most recent actions will be retained in the Undo History.

Save your Undo History with the Project File and ensure that this file is loaded with the project. This means that even after retrieving the project file at some later date, you will still be able to revert the project to an earlier state if you wish.

Store multiple undo/redo paths. Within the Undo History window you can even store alternate sequences of commands and actions, then switch between them!

Tip: On the Appearance page of your Preferences settings, you can enable or disable the option Show last undo point in menu bar. If you enable this, your last undoable action is shown after the last command on the menu bar. You can click on this at any time to open and display the Undo History window. Click a second time to close this window.

Note also that the Undo History window is dockable. To do this (as with most other windows), right-click on the title bar and choose Dock in Docker from the context menu.

2.29 REAPER's Right-Click Menus[edit]

You will soon discover that often there are several ways to give a command in REAPER- for example, from the main menu, by a keyboard shortcut, or from a toolbar icon. Which method you use is largely a matter of preference. One tip is that if you are not sure where to lick, click your right mouse button over the item or area that you are working on, to display a context menu of commands and actions relevant to that item or area. For example, you can right-click on a media item, the track control panel, the transport bar, the timeline, and so on

2.30 Multiple Project Tabs[edit]

By using multiple project tabs you are able to keep more than one project open at the same time, thus making it easy for you to jump between different projects if you are working on more than one song, or to move or copy media items (audio and/or MIDI) from one project to another. To create a new project tab when you already have one file open, simply use the File, New Project Tab command (Ctrl Alt N). A new tab will be opened (labelled Unsaved), but the previous project will also remain open on a different tab. You can jump between projects simply clicking on the tab.

To open a file in a particular project tab, select that tab, then use the File, Open Project command in the usual way. To open it in a new project tab, simply select this option from the dialog box when opening the project. Right click over any project tab for the project tab menu:

New project tab, This inserts a new tab.

Close project. Closes the current project and the tab with it (or click on the X at the left hand end of the tab).

Close all projects but current. Closes all project tabs except current one.

Close all projects. Closes all open projects.

Always show project tabs. Shows project tabs, even if only one project is currently open (toggle).

Show project tabs on left side of window: Displays tabs on left of window instead of top (toggle).

Hide background project FX/MIDI windows. Ensures that when one of a number of open project tabs is selected, any open FX windows etc. belonging to other open projects are not displayed on top of it.

Run background projects. This allows you to play the project in one tab while working on another.

Run stopped background projects. Commences playback of projects in tabs not currently selected.

Play stopped background projects with active project: Causes background projects (open on other tabs) to be played with the current project. When this is enabled, you can also select Synchronize play start times w/play background projects. This will ensure that all open projects are played/stopped in synch.

These commands and Offline background project media are mutually exclusive.

Force project tabs visible when monitoring FX in use. Displays tabs whenever FX monitoring is active.

Monitoring FX � This opens the monitoring FX window.

Note there are other options relating to parent projects and subprojects - see Chapter 12.

Tips: Multiple project tabs can be reordered using drag and drop. Also, you can use the File, Close All Projects command to close all open projects at once. Note that the small X button used to close a project tab can be positioned to the left or the right: just drag and drop according to your preference.

2.31 Opening Multiple Project Tabs Together[edit]

You can open several projects together at the same time, each in its own project tab, provided all the .RPP files are in the same folder. Simply use the File, Open project command, then navigate to the required folder. Use Ctrl Click to build your selection, ensure Open in new project tab is ticked, then click on Open.

2.32 Managing the Play Cursor[edit]

By default, when a project is playing, pressing Stop (or Spacebar) will stop playback and return the play cursor to its previous starting position. Pressing Pause (or Enter) will pause playback at the current play cursor position. You can also specify that the play cursor should be moved when you click on the Time Ruler, an empty area of any track and/or in the empty area below tracks. These three options can be enabled/disabled in your Seek playback when clicked. (Options, Preferences, Audio, Seeking settings).

chapter 3: Recording Audio and MIDI[edit]

This chapter will take you thru everything you need to know to get started with recording in REAPER. At the end of the chapter, you will find a helpful checklist.

3.1 Creating a New Project[edit]

To create a new project file, you can either use the File, New Project command, or press Ctrl N.

The Project page within the Options, Preferences dialog box can be used to determine how REAPER behaves each time you create a new project:

Amongst the most useful options on this screen are the following:

Use project file as a template. This enables you to use an existing project file as a template for new projects. All tracks, HX, tracks, buses, routing etc. will be copied into the new file from the template file.

Prompt to save on new project. If you enable this option, you will be prompted to save your new projects immediately they are created.

Open properties on new project. If this option is selected, the Project Options dialog box will automatically be displayed every time you create a new project. This can help ensure that you select the correct recording format and other settings that you require.

Automatically create a backup each time your file is saved and overwritten. This helps protect you against accidental loss of work.

Whether to create and save multiple project versions. This feature is explained in Chapter 12.

Automatically save to a timestamped file at intervals you specify. This can help to protect you from the consequences of an unforeseen circumstance such as a power outage or a computer crash. You can save these files to the project directory and/or an additional directory. You can also specify the frequency (in minutes) of automatic saving, and whether to apply this when not recording, when stopped, or at any time.

3.2 Setting Media Project Options[edit]

After creating a project file, you can display the Project Settings window � Alt Enter � to ensure that you are using your preferred Media Settings. In particular, check your preferred audio format. If you are not sure, for CD quality select .WAV, with settings similar to those shown here. If you wish later to use some other format (such as .MP3) you can render your files in that format.

The settings shown would be suitable when the output is to be rendered to CD audio. As a rule, 24 bit is preferred for recording. If the recording is to be finalised in DVD format rather than CD, you should consider a sample rate of 48000 instead of 44100. This is specified on the main Project Settings page.

Some people prefer 88200 for CD and 96000 for DVD. Be aware that increasing sample rate also increases media item file size and slows down processing.

Other formats.

If you prefer, you can record using any of a number of available compressed formats, including MP3, OGG and WavPack. Choosing any of these will present you with further options appropriate to that format. For example, if you choose MP3 you will need also to specify your required bitrate.

There is also a drop down list where you choose to write as cues to your recorded media files markers and regions, either one of these, or none of these, or only markers/regions whose name begins with #. See Chapter 9 for more about markers and regions.

3.3 Saving the Project File[edit]

After creating a file, use the File, Save Project command, or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl S, to save it. You will need to specify a project file name. When saving a new file you are offered a number of options. You can choose to Create subdirectory for project. If you also select Copy all media into project directory you may also specify a format for these items to be converted.

If you select Move all media into project directory , then by default all media files used by the project will be moved into the project subdirectory. Optionally you can ask to Copy rather than move source media if not in old project media path. You would be likely to choose this, for example, if your project uses files from a samples library, to ensure that the samples are not removed from the library.

You should also make sure that you get into the habit of frequently resaving your project after making changes. The easiest way to do this is simply to press Ctrl S.

3.4 Creating and Naming Tracks[edit]

After creating a new project file, the next thing you will want to do is to create a track or a number of tracks for recording. A project can contain as many or as few tracks as you want. You can add tracks using the Track, Insert New Track command or by pressing Ctrl T. Alternatively, you can simply double-click anywhere in the vacant area of the Track Control Panel.

It is advisable to name the tracks before you start recording. To do this, double-click in the track name area and type the name. The media file that is created when you record will then be given a sensible name that matches the track. Under Options, Preferences you can display the Recording settings page and decide which items are automatically included in your track�s file names. These can be any combination of track index (number), track name, and the time of the recording. We'll look at more of these recording preferences later in this chapter.

REAPER supports multitrack recording. The number of different sources that you can record at the same time is limited by the number of enabled inputs (under Preferences, Audio, Device) on your audio soundcard. Before commencing recording, for each track you will need to:

Arm the track for recording.

Assign the Input that is being used.

Check that the sound level is right for recording.

Optionally, you may also:

Select a recording format other than the default.

Turn input monitoring on.

Note: You do not need to specify when creating a track whether it is to be a stereo or mono track. When assigning the track input for recording, you can use either a single mono input or a stereo pair. Note that both stereo and mono tracks can be panned between the left and right speakers as you wish. Panning is a topic that occurs throughout this guide, for example in Chapter 5.

3.5 To Prepare and Record One Track[edit]

  1. Check the Options menu to make sure that Record mode: Normal is selected. We'll examine the other modes as this chapter progresses.
  2. Click on the Record Arm button for that track (on the left) The button should now appear red.
  3. Click the mouse over the Input settings for that track (below the pan fader - see right) to display a menu. The exact options on that menu will depend on which sound card and audio device(s) you have installed.
  4. Select the required input from the menu. This will be the one to which the microphone or line that you are using for recording is connected. In most cases, this is likely to be one of the Input: Mono options. If you are not sure which option to pick, choose Mono when recording from a single microphone or lead.
  5. Enable Input Monitoring. This is the first item (Monitor Input) on the Record arm button right-click context menu, or you can use the toggle Record monitoring button shown here (right). The location of this button may vary according to your choice of layout and the TCP column width. If your sound card supports direct monitoring you will most likely wish to use that, in which case you should not enable REAPER's input monitoring. Consult the sound card's documentation for more information about this. If your sound card does not support direct monitoring, then you should enable REAPER's input monitoring. There's more about input monitoring in sections 3.14 and 3.15.
  6. Audition the sound while you adjust the volume on your audio desk or sound input device, so as to get a good strong signal without clipping. If in doubt, aim to peak at about �10dB. Note that the recording level cannot be controlled by adjusting the Track�s volume fader: that controls only the playback level.
  7. Press the Record button on the Transport, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl R.
  8. To finish recording, either press Stop on the Transport, or press Space, or press the Record button again, or press Ctrl R. Now click on the Record Arm button for this track to �disarm� it.

Tip: The Input menu (shown above) includes an item Input: None. This can be used to prevent material from ever being accidentally recorded onto a track where it is not wanted, such as perhaps an FX bus or a folder.

Note 1:

If you use the Record button or Ctrl R to stop recording, recorded items are automatically saved.

If you press Space or Stop, the dialog box shown will let you save or delete any or all of your newly recorded media items.

Note 2:

REAPER supports �on the fly recording�. This means you can also arm additional tracks after the recording has started. Those tracks will then also be recorded from the point at which you arm them. Similarly, if recording more than one track, you can stop recording one while continuing to record the others by clicking on the Record Arm/Disarm button to disarm just that track.

Tip: Track/Send Default Preferences. The Track/Send Defaults page of REAPER's preferences can be used specify record configuration defaults for future tracks and projects, including turning input monitoring on and selecting default inputs � see Chapter 22.

Tip: When recording, make sure that the incoming signal is not too loud, or you can damage your recording equipment. Here�s what to do:

  1. Turn the input or gain control on your input device (e.g. firewire device or desk) all the way down.
  2. If recording an instrument in-line, insert one end of the line into the instrument and the other end into your input device. Turn the output on the instrument fully up
  3. Audition the instrument, slowly raising the input or gain control on your input device until it sounds right.

3.6 To Prepare and Record Multiple Tracks[edit]

To prepare multiple tracks for recording you could repeat all of the necessary steps as many times as you require tracks, but that might be tedious � and besides, it�s too easy to make a mistake when selecting your audio inputs. You could end up with one input being recorded more than once, and perhaps another input being accidentally missed out. This is something that, at one time or another, is likely to happen with most DAW software. To avoid this problem, you can follow this sequence:

  1. Use the Insert, Multiple tracks command to insert as many tracks as you require. The Insert tracks dialog will be displayed. Select the number of tracks required and choose whether they are to be inserted After the last touched track or At end of project. Click on OK. Name your new tracks.
  2. Select all tracks to be recorded. After making your selection, click on the Record Arm button of any one of them to arm the entire selection.
  3. One method is to use the Routing Matrix. Press Alt R to display this. In this example, four tracks are to be recorded at the same time. By default, all four tracks are at first assigned to the first input (above). If you were to record now, the same signal from the first input would be recorded four times! (Notice also that by default, input 1 is also assigned to track 5 - the FX bus - but as this is not armed nothing will be recorded there.)
  4. Click in the appropriate cells in the Routing Matrix to assign each track an input. The example shown uses audio inputs - Input 1 is to go to Track 1, Input 2 to Track 2 and so on. MIDI inputs may also be selected � these are listed below the audio inputs. You can also right click over any red cell to access the Record Input menu should you wish to do so.
  5. Monitor the strength of the signals and record as before.

Tips: Using the Track Control Panel to prepare multiple tracks

Another option is to use the TCP to set up and record your tracks.

  1. To define the same record settings for multiple tracks, select the required tracks, right-click on the arm record button, then make your choices from the menu. Holding Shift will over-ride this and apply your menu choices to the one track only. Inputs can be assigned to a selection of tracks in a similar way by clicking on the Input button.
  2. To assign a series of mono inputs in sequence to a set of tracks, select the tracks then click the Input button of any track in the selection. Next, select Assign inputs sequentially then your required inputs � e.g. in the above example, this would be Mono, Input 1 to Input 4.
  3. To insert a new track at the end of your project, you can simply double click in the Track Control Panel area, just below the last existing track.

3.7 Auto Arming Tracks[edit]

If you wish, you can ensure that tracks are automatically armed for recording when selected and unarmed when deselected. Select the track(s) then right click over the record arm button for any track in the selection and choose Automatic record arm when track selected. This command can be toggled on and off.

To set all tracks to auto arm, choose the Track command from the main menu, then Set all tracks to automatic record arm when selected.

3.8 Using the Metronome[edit]

You can set up and use a metronome when using REAPER for recording. Use the Options, Metronome enabled command to turn it on and off (or left-click the metronome button on the toolbar; control/command shift m is the default shortcut for this), and the Options, Metronome/ pre-roll settings command (alt plus shift plus m) to set up your metronome (or right-click on the metronome button on the toolbar).

The Metronome Settings

Enable metronome: This turns the built-in metronome on or off.

The I/O Button: Immediately to the right of the Enable Metronome option, this allows metronome output to be directed to the device of your choice (e.g., Headphones). If any output monitoring FX are in use, the option to Play metronome thru Monitor FX will be available.

Run during playback: This will turn the metronome on during playback.

Count-in before playback : This will enable a count-in before playback.

Run during recording: This will turn the metronome on during recording.

Count-in before recording: This will enable a count-in before recording. Useful if you are recording yourself. It ensures that when you press Ctrl R the recording will not actually start until after the specified count-in. This gives you time to get back to the microphone and pick up your instrument.

Count-in length (Measures): This defines the number of measures a count in should be. If it is the very beginning of a project, it will wait those number of measures before starting to record. If you select a place to record within a project, it will start the count in this many measures before the time that you want to record at.

Primary beat volume: This determines how loud is the metronome volume.

Secondary beat gain:- The amount by which the volume of secondary beats will be adjusted.

Beat pattern: You can accept the default AABB or define your own. You can also use Samples for your own metronome sounds.

First beat sample: This is the sample for the first beat � e.g., in 4/4 time, this sample will play on the 1.

Subsequent beat: This is the sample for other beats. For example, in 4/4 time, this sample will play on the 2, 3, and 4. To use your samples for the metronome in all your project you need to set them up, save a project with no tracks (but with any other project setting you think may be useful) then, in Preferences/ Project specify that project as the default template to use for all new projects.

By default, REAPER uses a synthesised metronome. You can specify in Hz the Frequency of first beat and of Subsequent beats.

Beat click length xx ms: This is how long each beat click lasts.

Start shape: This can be hard (louder) or soft (quieter).

The Pre roll settings can be used so that when you start recording, or playback, the metronome will play for the specified number of measures before recording or playback actually begins.

Recording during audio pre-roll: to record audio during audio pre-roll, the recording preference to record audio during pre-roll will need to be enabled. Then, Enable metronome and the metronome settings options Run metronome during recording and Pre-roll before recording. After the recording is finished, drag the left edge of the recorded item to the left (or use action: grow left edge of items default is numpad 4) to reveal what has been recorded.

Tip: The Metronome Time Base is controlled by the Project Settings. Press Alt Enter and display the Project Settings page if you need to change this.

3.9 Recording Stereo Tracks[edit]

You may wish to record from two inputs direct to a stereo track, for example, if you are uploading some previously recorded material from audio tape into REAPER, or are recording stereo paired microphones. Follow a similar procedure to that explained in section 3.5, selecting a stereo input instead of mono. The signal from paired stereo inputs can be recorded on to a single stereo item on a single track.

As has already explained in Chapter 2, it is advisable to open the Audio page of your Preferences settings and turn off the option to Show Non-Standard Stereo Channel Pairs. This will reduce your available stereo paired inputs to a more logical selection such as that shown above.

3.10 Multi-Channel Recording[edit]

This is an advanced topic.

If you define a track as multichannel (for example, perhaps 4, 6 or 8 channels) then your recording input context menu for that track will include an option for multichannel recording. You can, for example, record from four, six or eight microphones simultaneously, each to a separate channel on the one track. This method is suited, for example, for use with four channel ambisonic microphone arrays as used in surround sound production.

For multichannel tracks, there is also a toggle command on the record arm context menu Track VU meter, Show peaks from all track channels (not just 1+2).

3.11 Track Templates[edit]

After you have set up a track (or a number of tracks) for recording, you might think that you may wish to use this same track exactly as it is again in some future projects. This can be done using Track Templates.

To create a track template from an existing track (or selection of tracks):

  1. Select the track or tracks.
  2. Choose the Track, Save tracks as track template command.
  3. When prompted, type a template name. If you wish, you can select the option to Include track items in the template. If so, any audio and MIDI items on the track will be included. You may also choose to Include envelopes in template. (Envelopes will be explained in Chapter 18).
  4. Click on Save.

To import an existing track template into a project:

  1. From the REAPER menu, choose the Track, Insert track from template command.
  2. Depending on how your templates are stored, either select the required template from the menu, or choose Open template, then choose the required template and click on Open.

The Insert track from template sub-menu includes Offset template items by edit cursor. If enabled, any media items and/or envelopes saved with the original template will be inserted at the edit cursor position.

Note: Track properties and settings are saved into the template, including track name, inputs and outputs, any FX plug-ins (with any parameter settings, parameter modulation, and track controls), sends and receives. However, if a track included in a track template includes any sends to or receives from any track or tracks not included in the template, then these sends and receives will not be saved into the track template.

Tip: Organizing track templates. You can find where your track templates are stored by using the Options, Show REAPER resource path � command (see Chapter 1). Here you can create subdirectories within the TrackTemplates folder where you to store and arrange your track templates as you please. Your subdirectories and their contents will automatically be shown on the Insert track from template sub menu.

3.12 Importing an Existing Project[edit]

The Track, Insert Track from Template, Open Template command can be used to import an entire REAPER project into your current project. All tracks in the original project file are imported � media items, track settings, FX, routing, etc. However, items that are not track specific (such as markers) are not imported.

To do this, simply select Project Files as the File Type when the Open Track Template dialog box is displayed, navigate to select the file you wish to import, then click on Open. The tracks from the imported project file are inserted immediately below the currently selected tracks.

3.13 Project Templates[edit]

A Project Template goes further than a Track Template in that it can be used to create an entire Project File, based upon the structure and settings of the template file. For example, Project Settings (including Media Settings) are saved with a project template, along with the screen layout, which views are open, how they are sized, whether they are docked, and so on. However, unlike when creating a Track Template, you should remove the media clips and items from a file before saving it as a project template, otherwise every time the template is used to create a new file, those media items will be inserted. (Unless, of course, there are media clips that you actually want saved into the template).

To create a Project Template:

With the source project file open, choose the File, Project Templates, Save As Project Template command. When prompted, give the template a name, then click on Save.

To create a new file based on a Project Template

Choose the File, Project Templates command, then click on the name of the required project template.

To use an existing file as a template for all new projects:

Choose the Options, Preferences command, then Project.

Click on the Browse button labeled �When creating new projects, use the following file as a template�.

The contents of the project templates folder will be displayed.

Select the required file, then click on Open.

Click on OK to close the Preferences window.

Tip: If you are specifying a default project template it is a good idea to also save an empty project as a project template called Empty Project. Then, if you want to create a new file that doesn�t use your default project template, you can do so by simply choosing from the menu File, Project Templates, Empty Project.

3.14 Layered Recording[edit]

The term layering refers to a recording technique in which two or more instruments and/or voices are recorded for the same song, but not all at once. The tracks can be recorded one at a time. An initial track is laid down � this is often a guide track which will be discarded at the end of the recording process. Then each other track is recorded while the musician or singer listens thru headphones to a mix of what has already been recorded and what she is recording now. In order to use this layered recording method:

  1. With Record Mode set to Normal, record the initial track, as explained earlier.
  2. After recording, make sure the output of this track is directed to the Master. Make sure also that you �disarm� this track.
  3. Make sure that the Master is directed to whichever hardware outputs are connected to your headphones or headphone amp.
  4. Add another track. Name it. Arm this track for recording. Select the Input used by the microphone or line that is to be used to record this new track.
  5. Make sure that Record: input(audio or MIDI) is selected and that Input Monitoring is turned on for this track (see above). This will enable the person being recorded and the recording engineer to hear in their headphones a mix of previously recorded material with that being recorded now.
  6. Adjust the Volume levels of the previously recorded track (using the track fader) and the volume level of the incoming signal (using your external mixer desk or audio device, or audio device control software) until you are happy with your headphone mix.
  7. Press Ctrl R to start recording, and Ctrl R again to stop when finished. Again, disarm this track when you have finished recording on it.
  8. Repeat this procedure for all other tracks to be layered. At step 6. you can feed into your Master a mix of all tracks previously recorded up to that point.

Note: If you notice an echo type delay in your headphones it will be because latency is too high. Lowering the block size (see 1.12) to 256 or 128 can improve this. On consumer quality built in sound cards, however, this might cause pops and clicks. For Windows users, the use of ASIO4ALL drivers might resolve this.

Tip: Many sound cards and USB or Firewire audio devices come with software that can be used for zero latency input monitoring and headphone mixing, especially those devices with multiple inputs and outputs. If you use that software for input monitoring, then you should turn off the input monitoring option within REAPER.

Try it now! Open the supplied project file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night LAYERS.RPP. Have a go at recording another instrumental track of your choice to go into this project - any instrument you choose!

Note 1: Monitor Input (Tape Auto Style). This option differs from normal input monitoring in that it monitors input only when the transport has stopped or when you are recording. During playback you will hear only the timeline audio, not the input.

Note 2: If you are monitoring an armed track when an existing track uses a plug-in (such as ReaFir) that has latency, you may wish to consider enabling the option Preserve PDC delayed monitoring in recorded items. This more advanced topic will be explained in more detail later in this chapter.

3.15 Overdubbing and Punch Recording[edit]

You can go over an existing track to re-record a section with which you are not satisfied, to correct perhaps just a few notes of an instrument, or a line or two of a vocal. Use punch recording for this. You can play back in your headphones previously recorded material along with any other tracks while you record. At the point where you want recording to begin, the track on which you are recording will cut out, and the recording will begin. At another point specified by you, the recording will stop, and the existing recording will come back in.

The technique can be applied with both audio and MIDI items. MIDI is discussed later in this chapter when looped time selection recording is also explained.

3.16 Non-Destructive Punch Recording[edit]

By default, punch recording is not destructive: it creates a new take, but does not destroy the original. To use punch recording, follow this sequence:

  1. Choose the Options command, then Record mode: time selection auto punch. The display of the Transport Bar record button will change. Disable the Toggle Repeat function on this toolbar.
  2. Select the track and arm it for recording. View the Options menu and for now ensure that Show all takes in lanes (when room) is not selected. We'll look at lanes shortly. Also, for this example, make sure that Loop points linked to time selection is not enabled.
  3. Make sure that the track output is sent to the Master and that Input Monitoring is enabled.
  4. Make sure that the Master output is directed to the audio hardware outputs to which your headphones or headphone amp is connected.
  5. Click once on the existing media item to select it. Click and drag along the arrange background area to select the region that you want to be re-recorded (see above).
  6. Rewind the track to a point a short way before the position where you wish to start recording. This can be done by simply clicking at the required place on the timeline.
  7. Press Ctrl R. You will hear the recorded material up to the start of the defined region, where you can re-record that passage. Press Space to stop when you have finished recording. Accept the option to save your recorded media. Restore normal recording mode when you have finished punch recording.

Your track now contains two media items. What's happened to the originally recorded passage? Well, it's still there and you can still use it if you like. Pressing Ctrl L toggles the display of all takes or active take only (see above). We'll learn more about this soon.

Note: You can enable the option Monitor track media when recording. If you do this when punching in, say, a guitar or vocals, regular Monitor Input will cause you to hear both the existing and the new material right up to the punch, then only the new material during the punch. Monitor Input (tape auto style) will monitor only the existing materials up to the punch, then only the new material.

Tip: If you make a mistake or change your mind when overdubbing, you can use Ctrl Z to undo the recording or you can select the unwanted media item and use the Delete key to remove it.

Getting to grips with REAPER's various record modes and in particular how they work in combination with other options (such as monitoring) can be somewhat bewildering for new users. Chapter 25 includes a summary table Troubleshooting Record Modes and Monitoring.

3.17 Destructive Punch Recording[edit]

You have the option when punch recording of actually removing from the existing track the previously recorded material if you wish. If this is what you want, use the Options, New recording that overlaps existing media items command to turn on the toggle option Trims existing items behind new recording. Be careful how you use this. You can restore this option to its default setting by choosing Splits existing items and creates new takes from the same menu.

3.18 Fades and Crossfades[edit]

REAPER allows you to apply automatic crossfades and fades in and out of your recorded items. This feature can be turned on and off or customized thru the Options, Preferences, Project, Media Item Defaults. You can select a preferred shape and duration (length) for your fade curves. Clicking on the image of the curve (shown above) causes you to be offered a number of choices (see right). As you will see in Chapter 7, you can easily change the default fade type and/or length for individual media items. If you prefer not to use automatic fades, just disable that option.

3.19 Recording Multiple Takes[edit]

REAPER�s multiple takes feature can help you when you want to record several versions of a track to see which you prefer. It works like this:

  1. Set record mode to normal (Options, Record Mode: Normal).
  2. Make sure that Enable track free item positioning (FIPM) is not enabled (i.e., not ticked) for the tracks being recorded. Use the TCP right click context menu to do this. We'll get to FIPM later in this chapter.
  3. Record your first take of the track.
  4. Rewind to the start then record your next take.
  5. Repeat step 4. as many times as you wish.

In the example shown, an initial vocal track has been recorded, then above it three takes have been made of a vocal harmony track. Notice the text displayed with the name of the media item displayed for the Harmony Vox track. It begins with the text Take 3/3.

Note: Under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms there is a setting to Automatically color any recording pass that adds new takes to existing items. When you are recording multiple takes to two or more tracks at the same time, enabling this option can help you to visually identify which takes belong in the same set.

3.20 Showing Takes in Lanes[edit]

Optionally, when you have multiple takes, you may choose to have them displayed in lanes. This of course takes up more room on the screen, but has the advantage that it makes it easier to see for your various tracks which take is currently selected. This option is toggled on and off by pressing Ctrl L or by choosing Options, Show all takes in lanes (when room) from the Main Menu.

In the first example (shown right), three takes have been made of a vocal duet. The first and second are complete takes, the third is a punched-in overdub of only the middle section.

In this case, the option to Display empty take lanes (Options, Take lane behavior menu) has been enabled. This ensures that the short overdubbed section is given its own complete lane. This makes it easier for you to keep track visually of which parts of each take belong together.

For both tracks, the second take is currently selected (except for the overdubbed section) and will be played.

In this second example (right), different takes (and permutations of takes) have been selected for the different tracks.

In this third illustration, the track height has been reduced, so that at any point only the selected take is visible. However, as long as the option to Show All Takes in Lanes remains active, the lanes will automatically be restored to view when the height of these tracks is expanded.

Note: When you create multiple alternative takes in this way you will later be able to easily pick the best passages from each of your takes and join them together as a single item. The method for doing this will be explained in Chapter 8 of this User Guide.

3.21 Using Color Coded Takes[edit]

REAPER's Item, Item and take colors command offers a variety of interesting ways that you can use color when working with takes and items (see right). We'll look at this whole topic in detail in Chapter7, but for now notice the command Set active takes to one random color.

If after making your preferred working selection from the available takes for any track you double-click on that track in the Track Control Panel then all media items in that track will be selected.

Choosing Set active take to one random color will now produce an effect similar to that shown below. This will only be visible if an option to show take color is enabled in the Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms page of your Preferences.

3.22 Working With Multiple Takes[edit]

Where an item includes more than one take, you can right click over any take and use the Take command to control and manage your multiple takes. The Take submenu is quite extensive - we'll explore most of its features in Chapter 8. For the time being, however, you should be aware of the following, especially if your takes are not displayed in lanes.

Command

Shortcut

Effect

Next Take

T

Displays next take for selected track(s).

Previous Take

Shift T

Displays previous take for selected track(s).

Explode All Takes to New Tracks

Creates a separate track for each take (see below).

Explode All Takes to New Tracks differs from Show All Takes in Lanes in that it lets you treat each take separately as a separate track. The picture on the right illustrates this. Track 1 consists of two takes which are shown in lanes. After exploding these takes to new tracks we have (in addition to the original track) two new additional tracks, one for each take.

Caution: One look at the Take submenu (on the media item's right-click context menu) will show you that there are commands available for deleting takes and cropping to active take. You are advised to avoid these until you have worked thru Chapter 8 of this guide. In particular, avoid using the Delete key when selecting takes: you are likely to delete more than just the take that you don't want!

Try it now! Open the project file All Through The Night LAYERS.RPP (which you saved earlier) and add a vocal harmony track to this project. Use this track to record three takes � then save the file.

3.23 Overlapping Items[edit]

You have already been shown two of the three overdubbing options on the Options menu command New recording that overlaps with existing media, i.e. Splits existing items and create new takes (default) and Trims existing items behind new recordings (tape mode). The third option is to Create new media items in separate lanes (layers).

This example shows this. In the first illustration (top) a part of a track has been recorded. In the second illustration (above), we have returned to this track and with the option Create new media items in separate lanes (layers) enabled we have re-recorded the last part again, together with some new material.

In this case, the second take is to all intents and purposes a separate media item. You can choose which of these media items are and are not played.

There is also an Options menu command to Show overlapping media items in lanes. The maximum number of lanes can be set on the Options, Preferences, Appearance page.

This general topic will be addressed again later in this guide, especially throughout Chapters 4, 5 and 7.

3.24 Recording Multiple Additional Items[edit]

We have already seen how you can use REAPER to record multiple takes on the same tracks. Later, in Chapter 8, you will be shown how to edit these, so as to take the best parts from each of several takes and then patch them together into a single take.

As an alternative to using multiple takes, however, you may wish to record additional items onto an existing track, perhaps overlapping. This is an example of where free item positioning can offer you greater flexibility. By default, free item positioning is not enabled. To record extra items (rather than additional takes) on to an existing track, follow this sequence:

  1. Set record mode to normal (Options, Record Mode: Normal).
  2. Make sure Free Item Positioning (FIPM) is enabled (ticked) for the tracks being recorded. Right click on the Track Control Panel for the selected tracks and select Enable free item positioning if this is not already ticked.
  3. Record your first item for the track.-
  4. Position the cursor at the point where you wish to record the second item. Record this item.
  5. Repeat step 4. as often as required.

Example

In the first screen shot shown here, Track 1 contains a Vocal Track and Track 2 a Vocal Harmony for part of the song.

In the second screen shot, the option for Free item positioning (FIPM) has been enabled for Track 2. The mouse cursor shows a small handle that can be used to adjust the height of this media item.

In the third screen shot, a second Vocal Harmony has been recorded on to Track 2, overlapping the original harmony.

Notice that this is not an alternative take of the first harmony, but an additional media item.

Note: In the Options, Preferences, Project, Track/Sends Defaults window there is an option to make free item positioning enabled for your tracks by default.

3.25 Recording with Empty Events[edit]

Empty Events are a clever device which can be helpful when you are overdubbing or layering. If you know exactly the regions where you want recording to start and stop, you can define these regions by inserting empty events. Then, when recording is commenced, only those regions defined by the empty events will actually be recorded.

Let�s take an example where a vocal track has already been recorded, and we want to lay down a harmony vocal, where this harmony is only used for the chorus line of the song. This is how you would do this:

  1. Insert a new track to be used for the vocal harmony. Ideally, you should name this track straight away.
  2. Arm the track for recording. Assign an audio input in the usual way. Turn on Monitor Input for this track, and make sure the output from the Master is directed to your headphones.
  3. Use the Options menu to ensure that Record mode: auto punch selected items is chosen. Notice the appearance of the Record button in the transport bar changes.
  4. To create an empty item, first make sure that your new track is selected. Click and drag to define a time selection, then use the Insert, Empty item command to create the empty item. Repeat this as often as required. If necessary, click and drag to adjust their exact positions. An example is shown here.
  5. If you need to resize any of them, hover the mouse over the border between the end of the event and the background, about half way up. Click hold and drag to the left to make it shorter, or to the right to make it longer, then release the mouse.
  6. Select all of the required events. To do this, use the Ctrl key while clicking on each in turn. If you need to reposition the play cursor before recording, do so by clicking on the Timeline. Arm the track for recording.
  7. Press Ctrl R to start recording. When finished, press Ctrl R again to stop. If prompted, accept the option to save all files. Your previously empty media items will have been replaced with your newly recorded material. Disarm the track.

3.26 Recording with Input FX Plug-ins[edit]

Audio effects (FX) are usually added to a track later in the production process, well after the material has been recorded. This subject was introduced in Chapter 2, and you'll find more about it elsewhere (for example, in Chapter 16). However, REAPER does allow you to add effects to material as it is being recorded if you wish. Use this facility with caution, as once an effect has been added to a recorded item in this way it cannot be easily removed (if at all). The procedure for recording with FX is as follows:

  1. Arm the track for recording and select the required audio or MIDI input device in the usual way.
  2. Right-click on the Record Arm button and choose Track input FX chain from the context menu. This causes the Add FX to Track window to be displayed.
  3. Select any effect required, then click on OK. Set the parameters for this effect.
  4. Use the Add button to add any additional effects.
  5. Close the FX window.
  6. Audition the performance and the effects as necessary (see comment below), then record the track in the usual way.

Effects placed in a track's input FX chain only use resources when the track is armed, and are applied destructively to the media item during recording. Most probably, before doing this you will want to audition the instrument or voice being recorded together with these FX so that you can get the parameter settings right. To do this, you simply need to keep the track armed and turn on input monitoring while you listen to the live material and adjust the FX parameters to suit. Input monitoring is explained elsewhere in this guide, for example in the sections dealing with layered and overdub recording.

3.27 Preserve PDC Delayed Monitoring in Recorded Items[edit]

If you are monitoring audio on an armed track against previously recorded tracks any of which uses a plug-in that has latency (such as, ReaFir) this will cause the output to be delayed. In this case you may wish to have the recorded output sound exactly as you are hearing it while recording. For example, you might be playing the notes early in order to make it sound right.

With this option on, it will play back the same way you heard it as you played it, with the option off it will be earlier (as the PDC of the plug-in will take effect).

3.28 Recording a Track's Output[edit]

There could be any number of reasons why you might wish to record a track's output. One example might be to record the output from an external synthesizer directly onto an audio track, as a wave file or similar. Here is an example of how you might do this:

  1. Make sure that your MIDI keyboard is connected to your PC.
  2. Create a new track. Name it and arm it for recording. Enable input monitoring.
  3. Select Record: output then your required option. Most likely this will be mono, latency compensated.
  4. Select Input: MIDI, then select your input device from the available options.
  5. Make such adjustments as you need (e.g. to the synth parameters) while you audition the music.
  6. When ready, record.
  7. Stop recording when finished.

3.29 Recording FX Bus Output[edit]

You can record the output of an FX bus track. Doing this opens up creative mixing options. For example, you could record the output of a reverb bus to a stereo audio track, then use stereo or dual panning to adjust the positioning of that effect in your mix. Here's how:

  1. Set up a FX Bus track, select it, and arm it for recording.
  2. You might wish to also turn up the track�s Receives to get a good strong signal � you can always turn down the volume when playing it back later.
  3. Set the track to Monitor Input and chose a Recording Mode. This is likely to be Output, Stereo.
  4. Play the song and monitor the signal level.
  5. Rewind to start and press Record.
  6. Stop recording when finished.

Tip: After doing this you will most likely want to mute the sends to the bus and set the bus FX to bypass. It can still be a good idea to leave the FX inserted in the bus, as a record of how the output was produced.

3.30 Recording MIDI[edit]

You have a number of options for recording MIDI, depending on what equipment you have and how it is set up. In every case, however, the principle is the same:

You will need to use either REAPER's virtual keyboard or a MIDI input device, such as a keyboard attached via a MIDI In port on your sound card or other audio device.

You will need to create a track (or assign an existing one) for your MIDI recording.

You will need to assign an output device for your track.

You will need to assign a Channel for the MIDI item.

You will need to turn Input Monitoring on to be able to hear what you are playing.

REAPER's Virtual MIDI Keyboard, can be played using your mouse or PC keyboard. This keyboard is displayed using the command View, Virtual MIDI Keyboard. The shortcut keys Alt B can be used to toggle display on and off.

Procedure for Recording to a new MIDI Track

  1. Insert a new track into a project file. Arm this track for recording.
  2. Make sure that your MIDI keyboard is connected to the computer, MIDI Input of your sound card or Audio Device and that it is switched on. In this example, we will be using the REAPER Virtual MIDI Keyboard. If this is not visible, press Alt B. Right click over any key that you wish to be your centre note.
  3. On the track you are using, right click over the arm record button (as shown). Make sure that Monitor Input and Record Input are both selected, and that you have selected the Virtual MIDI Keyboard as the Input: MIDI device. For this example, select All Channels). These settings can be made in the Routing Matrix if you prefer.
  4. Make sure the Track�s output goes to the Master, and that the Master output goes to the hardware audio outputs to which your speakers or headphones are attached.
  5. In this example we will use a Software Synthesizer. Open the FX Window for this track. You will need to insert a Software Synthesizer here. You can use any such VSTi or DXi synth that you already have installed. In this example, we will be using VSTi ReaSynth (Cockos), which is included with REAPER. For the time being, leave the ReaSynth parameters at their default settings.
  6. Press Ctrl R to start recording. Play a simple tune on the Virtual Keyboard. Use your mouse or PC Keyboard � e.g., zxcvbvcxz will play half a scale up and down. When finished. Press Ctrl R again to stop recording. If prompted, save your media item.

See also Recording MIDI from keyboard checklist later in this chapter.

In Chapter 13 we will see how your MIDI data can be edited using REAPER's built in midi editor.

Procedure for Playing Back a MIDI Item

Play the track. As it plays, you can alter the nature and shape of the sound by adjusting the soft synth parameters. When you have found a sound you like, you can click on the + button in the FX Window (indicated by the mouse cursor, shown left) and then choose Save Preset to name and save that set of parameters. Your named preset can be recalled from the Preset drop down list any time. You can make and use presets in this way for all FX Plug-ins and Synths. With VSTi synths, you are also able to import and export patch/bank files (see above).

Note: The example above demonstrates an important difference between MIDI and Audio. With Audio the actual sounds made by the instrument or voice are recorded. It is possible to use FX like EQ and Compression to alter how the audio item sounds when played back, but the audio item itself stays the same.

With MIDI, you are essentially recording a series of instructions that by themselves have no sound. The music is created when those instructions are fed to a synthesizer. By changing the parameters of the synthesizer's settings � or even by changing the synthesizer � we are able to produce a completely different sound.

Despite these differences, both audio and MIDI items can be included on the same track.

Note: Before recording, you can assign sequential input channels to a number of MIDI tracks in one action. Select the tracks, then click on the Input button for any one of them. From the menu, choose first Assign inputs sequentially, then MIDI (sequential inputs or channels), then select the MIDI device, then the channel selection (e.g. for four tracks, perhaps channels 1 to 4).

3.31 Other MIDI Recording Modes[edit]

When recording MIDI, you should select one of six modes. In the above example, we used Record Input. With this mode, any existing events will be retained: the new material will be recorded as a new take. Four of the other five are Record: MIDI overdub replace modes:

Record MIDI overdub: this will add new notes on any channel within existing items while preserving what is already there.

Record MIDI replace: from the time you start recording until you stop, existing MIDI notes will be removed and any new material played on any channel will be recorded in their place.

Record MIDI touch-replace: existing MIDI notes will be replaced by any new notes played over them on the same channel as the original material. All other existing material will remain as it is.

Record MIDI latch-replace: existing MIDI material remains unchanged until you strike the first note. All of the old material will then be replaced with notes played on the same channel as the original material until recording is stopped.

Record Output -> Record: output (MIDI): Similar to the input mode, but records the MIDI signal coming out of the FX chain.

Note that these options can often be used effectively with time selection recording (see sections 3.16 to 3.18) and looped time selection recording (see below).

Try it now! If you have a MIDI keyboard, open the project file All Through The Night LAYERS.RPP (which you saved earlier) and add a MIDI keyboard track to this project.

3.32 Recording With a Virtual Instrument[edit]

To use a virtual instrument (such as a VSTi or DXi plug-in) for recording a MIDI track, you should choose the "Insert virtual instrument on new track" command. This can be done by pressing alt-I and pressing down arrow until you hear "Insert virtual instrument on new track." You will then be presented with a selection of all the virtual instruments that you have installed on your system. Press down arrow until you hear the instrument you want and press enter. Alternatively, you may type in a few letters from the instrument name to get to it more quickly.

The track will be created, armed and named and the instrument displayed.

The example shown here is for ReaSynDr, which requires four outputs. If the item selected (like this one) requires multiple outputs then REAPER will create the initial track and prompt to ask you if you would like the other required tracks to be automatically built. If you select Yes the entire output chain will be built for you. What exactly this produces will, of course, depend upon which Virtual Instrument you have selected.

Monitoring an External Synthesizer

If you are working with an external hardware synthesizer then it is likely that at times you may wish to monitor its output in REAPER. This topic is covered in Chapter 13, Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items.

3.33 Using Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth[edit]

You can use the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth if it is included with your version of Windows. This can be especially useful for playing any MIDI files that you may wish to import into REAPER. You will be shown how to import files in Chapter 4.

To enable the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth:

  1. Go to Options, Preferences and display the Audio, MIDI Devices screen.
  2. Under MIDI Outputs, right click on Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth and select Enable output.
  3. Click on Apply, then on OK.

This Synth will now be available as a MIDI Hardware Output.

You can if you wish now use the Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth as your output device instead of using a software synth (see above right).

3.34 Looped Overdubbing and Looped Time Selection Recording[edit]

Loop overdubbing allows you to make repeated overdubs of a section of recorded material without having to be repeatedly stopping and starting. The technique can be used with both audio and MIDI. In both cases, you will need to check your Options, Preferences, Audio, Loop Recording settings. Set When recording and looped add recorded media to project to On stop. Usually you will also want to enable In loop recording, discard incomplete first or last takes if at least one full loop was recorded. You should also (from REAPER's main Options menu) disable Loop points linked to time selection and enable Record mode: Time selection auto-punch.

Now arm your track for recording, select your record options and make your time selection just as you would for normal punch recording. Click and drag along the timeline to create the loop � this should enclose the time selection, as shown below. Make sure Toggle repeat (next to Record button) is enabled on the Transport Bar.

When Record input (audio or MIDI) is selected, then both audio and MIDI essentially behave in a similar way. When you record, new material will be recorded within the time selection (and added to the MIDI item) for each pass over the loop until you press Stop. The loop is used to audition material immediately before and after the section being recorded.

For example, you might choose Monitor input and Record Input (audio or MIDI) and Input MIDI then your MIDI device. If so, the outcome will be similar to that shown here.

Audio material recorded with Input MONO rather than Input MIDI would produce a similar result, except of course the media items would be audio instead of MIDI. You will, however, get significantly different outcomes if you use any of the Record: MIDI overdub/replace options with looped time selection recording. In each case, new takes will not be created. Instead, the existing take will be edited. For example:

Record: MIDI Overdub: with each loop, the new material will be added to the existing material within the time selection.

Record: MIDI Replace: with each loop, all previous material within the time selection will be replaced with new material. For example, the first loop will replace existing events within the time selection. Second time around it will replace the material recorded in the first loop with new events, and so on. Only the most recent material will be saved.

Record: MIDI Touch-replace: Each time you play a note within the time selection any existing material concurrent with that note will be replaced with new material is on the same channel. For example, if you play correctly except for one wrong note first time, you can correct just that one note second time round.

Record: MIDI Latch-replace: Each time round the loop all existing material in the time selection will be replaced with new material if on the same channel only from the moment you press your first note. This technique can be useful, for example, if you are replacing existing material little by little.

3.35 Recording with External Hardware FX[edit]

REAPER can record a track with an external hardware FX device in much the same way as you might use an external device as an insert when recording on an analog desk. You use a plug-in called ReaInsert. If you want to try it out step by step, create a new REAPER project file, insert a track, then get your FX device ready.

Example

  1. Connect an otherwise unused audio output to the input for your FX device. Connect the output of your FX device to an otherwise unused audio input.
  2. Create a new REAPER project file and add a single audio track. Give this track a suitable name. Let�s record a vocal with the FX on it.
  3. Connect your microphone to an otherwise unused audio input. Switch on the FX Device.
  4. Arm the track for recording.
  5. Select the input device (to which the line or microphone is attached), select Monitor Input and specify that you want to Record Output and choose your required option (such as Mono, Latency Compensated), just as we did in the section Recording a Track's Output.
  6. Now display the FX Window for this track, and add the FX VST:ReaInsert to this window (see right).
  7. Specify the actual Hardware Sends and Returns that you set up at steps 1. and 3.
  8. Make sure the FX Device mix is set to 100% Dry, and within ReaInsert enable the option Automatic device latency adjustment. This allows REAPER to calculate delay compensation as required.
  9. With the track�s output directed to your headphones, monitor the required Volume and FX Levels, including the FX Wet/Dry mix.
  10. When you are ready, Record.
  11. When finished, don�t forget to disarm the track and set the ReaInsert plug-in status to Bypass.

3.36 Preference Settings for Recording[edit]

The Recording page of the Preferences window can be used to specify a number of options about REAPER�s recording behavior. Available options include:

  • To scroll track view while recording.
  • To display a preview of media item peaks as they are being recorded. This is useful to confirm that you really are recording and haven't, for example, forgotten to arm one or more tracks. You can also specify a screen update frequency.
  • When to build the peaks for recorded media files.
  • To automatically display the whole Track Control Panel (including VU meters) when a track is armed.
  • Whether to prompt to save/delete/rename files when recording is stopped. If you disable this option, files are automatically saved.
  • Whether to prompt to save/delete/rename files on punch out. If you disable this option, files recorded by this method are automatically saved.
  • Whether to start recording to a new file after a specified number of megabytes. This can help to make data secure when recording a long live performance.
  • Prevent recording from starting if no track is armed. You may wish to turn this off if you are using layered recording for a track (or tracks) where recording is not required to start until some way into the song.
  • Which items to include in the file names for recorded media -- these include the track name, the track number, the project name, track name, year, month, day, hour, minute and second (or none of these). These and other options are shown here (right).
  • To check for free disk space before recording, and to display the amount of free disk space and/or recording path on the menu bar.
  • Whether to record audio during pre-roll.
  • Whether to use audio driver reported latency: this automatically adjusts media positioning to compensate for the audio driver's reported latency. There are also options for this to be manually adjusted. Beginners especially should leave these at their default settings.

3.37 Track Preferences for Recording[edit]

The REAPER Track Defaults settings includes a number of items that you can use to help make the recording process a little easier. These settings can be found on the Project, Track/Send Defaults page of the Options, Preferences window. Settings on this page include:

The default gain level for the track�s volume fader.

Whether output should be routed to the Main send.

The default new track height.

Whether new tracks are automatically armed for recording.

A Record Config option to set defaults for the Record Arm context menu. Options include, to turn on by default Input Monitoring and specify default record input settings.

Which Record Mode should be the default for new tracks.

Notice also that under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Track Control Panels there are settings which together determine how your track VU meters are presented.

For example, you can choose whether or not to Show track input when record armed and to Make obvious that track input is clickable. Disabling this latter option may improve the clarity of the display on your VU meters. Enabling Show db scales on record armed track meters and Sticky Clip Indicators helps you to monitor peak levels. MIDI users may wish to Show MIDI velocity on track VU and/or Show MIDI output activity on track VU.

You can also specify whether to Reset peak indicators on play/seek. If enabled, the numeric peak indicators on track and master VU meters will cleared when playback is restarted or the play cursor moved.

3.38 Projects with Mixed Formats[edit]

REAPER allows you to use different audio formats for different tracks in the same file. The default format for each new track that you create will be determined by your Project Settings. To change these for any track, simply right click over the track�s VU meter, then from the menu choose Track Recording Settings.

You can choose any of the formats WAV, AIFF, DDP, FLAC, MP3, OGG Vorbis, Video (GIF) or WavPack lossless compressor.

Depending on the format you choose, you will be presented with a range of options appropriate to that format.

3.39 REAPER Audio Recording Checklist[edit]

The following checklist is for guidance only. In some cases you may vary the suggested order (e.g., you can switch on your PC and start REAPER before getting together your microphone and leads). In other cases the order is critical (e.g. you should always connect your microphone to your preamp before turning on the phantom power supply). If you are not sure, keep to the exact same sequence outlined here.

Item

Comment

Preparation

Set up all external recording equipment needed (microphones, stands etc.).

All faders and gain controls on mixer and/or sound device turned right down.

Phantom power (if available) turned off.

Everything connected that needs to be connected (e.g. microphone leads to mixer or sound device).

Turn equipment on, but check volume on speakers isn't too loud.

Connect headphones to headphone amp or sound device.

If phantom power required (for condenser microphone), turn it on.

PC Preliminaries

Turn on PC and wait for Windows to open.

Open REAPER with required project file. Save file.

Project Settings

Check recording format and settings � e.g. 24 bit WAV at 44100 Hz.

Is a different format required for this track?

Make sure Record Mode is set to Normal.

Track Settings

Named and armed for recording?

Track Input Monitoring on or off?

Use the Sound Card�s direct input monitoring if available in preference to REAPER�s.

Record Input selected?

Correct input channel selected?

Test Recording Levels

Start low and work up.

Record a small sample to test levels: the examples here show too low, too high and about right.

It is better to be too low than too high.

Recording

Press Ctrl R to record and again to stop recording when finished. Save media items. Press Ctrl S to save project file.

Evaluating

Unarm track before playing back recorded tracks to evaluate them.

Especially if listening thru headphones, disable Input Monitoring (or turn faders and gain controls on the input device right down), to prevent live ambient sounds from being mixed in with your recorded material.

3.40 Recording MIDI From Keyboard Check-List[edit]

Newcomers sometimes run in to trouble when recording MIDI from an external MIDI keyboard. If you find things aren't happening as you would like them to, here are some things to check:

Is the keyboard sending MIDI on the required MIDI channel?

Is the keyboard device enabled in Preferences for Input/Control?

Is the keyboard selected as the input device for the track?

If needed, is the correct MIDI channel from the keyboard selected?

If needed, is the input mapped to the correct MIDI channel?

Is record arm enabled?

Is input monitoring enabled?

If needed, is the plug-in �listening� to the required MIDI channel.

3.41 Recording an Internet Audio Stream[edit]

You can use REAPER to record an audio stream from the internet. Before doing so you should make sure that you are not in breach of any copyright restrictions. The exact method will depend on your hardware setup, including your sound card. Your sound card should include some sort of software for changing its settings. This may or may not have its own icon within the Windows Control Panel. If you are not sure how to access it, you can click on the Windows Start button, choose Run, then type sndvol32 �r and press Enter. In overview, these are the steps that you will need to perform.

  1. Access your sound cards control software and modify its settings to select (depending on the options available) the required option. You should probably temporarily disable input from all other sources (Microphone, Line, etc).
  2. Open your web browser and find the page containing the item that you wish to record.
  3. Open REAPER, create a new file and add a track.
  4. The next step may require a little experimentation. Depending on the equipment you are using, it might be necessary to change your Options, Preferences, Audio, Devices settings to Direct Sound. An example is shown here. These settings may not be the best for your particular system.
  5. Arm your track for recording: be sure to select the correct input.
  6. Press Ctrl R to start recording. In your web browser, play the item that you wish to record. When finished, stop recording and save your work.

Note: Don�t forget when you have finished, to restore both your Sound Card Recording Control options and REAPER�s Audio Device Preferences to their previous settings.

3.42 Converting Audio Media Item Format[edit]

In this internet age it is becoming increasingly common for musicians to want to collaborate on projects all the way across the world. Consider this scenario. You have a part recorded project of perhaps 50 or more 24 bit wave files. In some far off land you have a friend who has offered to lay down a track such as a flute. You'd like to get your source files to her, so that she can do this for you, layering it down against whatever headphone mix best suits her.

However, your recorded material so far comes to over 3 GB and she doesn't have a particularly fast internet connection.

One solution could be to convert the files to a compressed format and send her those. There's a quick way to do this, using the File, Save project as � command. Choose this command and follow these steps.

  1. If you wish, navigate to a required parent folder.
  2. Enable the three options to Create subdirectory for project, Copy all media into project directory, and Convert media.
  3. Click on the Format... button to display the settings box shown above.
  4. Enable the option (top left) Set format to save as.
  5. Select your required format (e.g. FLAC, MP3 or, as shown here, OGG Vorbis).
  6. Specify your preferred format settings.
  7. Click OK then Save.

All audio media items in the project will be converted to the specified format as they are copied across. The format of the original items will remain unchanged.

You can also convert and export selected individual media items from one format to another without having to convert the whole project. This topic is covered in Chapter 21.

3.43 Recording Live Windows Output[edit]

Windows users (Vista/7/8/10) can use WASAPI drivers to record live Windows output (for example, subject to copyright constraints, a YouTube video). This requires the use of feedback looping, so you should proceed with caution beyond this point. This is not recommended for beginners.

First, create a new project file. Display the project settings (Alt Enter) and on the Advanced page enable Allow feedback routing.

Next, display your Preferences, Audio, Device window and select WASAPI as your audio system. Select Shared loopback mode (see right). Your block size and sample rate will need to match those of your sound device, as set in the Windows Control Panel.

Finally, you simply add a new track and arm it for recording. You will probably want to set input to stereo.

Mute audio output from REAPER and press Ctrl R to record whatever you are currently playing in Windows. For example, this might be a YouTube video that you are currently listening to over your speakers.

chapter 4: Importing Media: The Media Explorer[edit]

4.1 Introduction and Overview[edit]

Media Explorer display is toggled using the View, Media Explorer command, or the shortcut Ctrl Alt X. Its interface is shown in the diagram below.

The REAPER main menu command Insert, Media File � can be used to incorporate existing media items (such as MP3, MIDI and WAV files) into a REAPER project, but it is often easier and more flexible to use REAPER�s Media Explorer for this purpose. The media explorer includes several additional features that help you to find the items that you want. Before exploring its features and its functionality, identify the following:

Explorer/Shortcuts Panel. This can be used to navigate your directories and files, rather like Windows Explorer. In addition, you can add here shortcuts to your favorite folders. Right-click in panel for menu toggle option to disable sort order.

Browsing History Buttons. A quick way of browsing back and forth thru your browsing history.

Browsing History Dropdown. This stores (and can display) a list of recently visited folders. You can select from this list to open any of these folders.

Filter Box. Use this to type a text string to filter the displayed file list.

List/Details Dropdown. Selects whether file details (size, date, etc.) or only file names are shown.

Transport Bar. Works with selected media item. Controls are Play, Pause, Stop and Repeat.

I/O Button. Directs output to any audio output, or to play thru any track selected in Arrange View.

Pitch Wheel. Adjusts pitch of selected item on playback. Use the options menu to set pitch shift knob range (by up to plus or minus 12 semitones) and behavior (continuous, quarter tones, or semitones).

Tempo Options. Allows you to set tempo match off, or on, or to half, or to double.

Volume Fader. Adjusts volume of playback of selected item.

Although more commonly used for finding and inserting media files, the media explorer can also be used to find, and open, existing .RPP project files.

Note that the media explorer is dockable. To do this, choose the Options, Dock media explorer in docker command (or use the right-click context menu).

4.2 Searching the Media Explorer[edit]

Although in some respects similar to Windows Explorer, REAPER's media explorer incorporates a number of extra features which can make searching easier and more flexible. Here is a general summary.

In order to do this � Do this �. Browse thru your folders Use the Explorer/Navigate panel in conjunction with the main panel. For example, click on My Computer (Windows) or Home (Mac) in the Explorer panel, then use the main panel to browse thru your folders, and to open any folder.
Navigate thru browsing history Select from browsing history dropdown: all folders and directories visited during your current session will be displayed and available. Additionally, the buttons located to the left of this dropdown can be used to move back and forwards thru your browsing history.
Search/filter file list Type text string (e.g. bass) in the unlabelled filter box (left of the list/details dropdown) to filter file display. Boolean search (AND, OR, NOT) is supported (e.g. kick OR snare).
Manage folder/file display (Windows) Click on any column header to sort by that column � e.g. File name or Date. Click again to reverse the sort order. Right-click on any column header for option to show/hide any columns. Drag/drop header left or right to change column order.
Restrict search

The Options menu includes several features which can be toggled on or off to restrict file search according to any of the following:

  • Show all files
  • Show leading paths
  • Search in search fields (e.g. Title, Artist, Album, Year, Genre, Comment. BWF Description)
  • Search in leading paths
  • Search in metadata
  • Search in subfolders
  • Include matching subfolders (shows sub-folder names in search results)
  • Whether to Update searches only when the ENTER key is pressed
Add folder to Shortcuts list Right click on the folder name in the main panel, then choose Add to shortcut list from the menu. This folder will now be displayed in the explorer/shortcuts panel. You can select this shortcut at any time to display its contents.
Remove a shortcut Right-click on the shortcut name (in the explorer/shortcuts panel) and choose Remove selected shortcut from the menu.

4.3 Media Item Preview[edit]

The media explorer allows you to preview media items before you decide which to insert into your project. By default, an item is automatically played when you select it. You also have a number of options available which determine exactly how the preview feature will behave.

The Auto play and Start on bar options are enabled/disabled by tick boxes close to the transport bar.

On the Options menu there is an option to Auto advance to next file after preview. This will only work if the repeat function on the transport bar is set to off. Other preview toggle options include Auto-stop preview after adding media, and Display preview position in tenths of seconds.

The Transport Bar buttons (L to R) are Play, Pause, Stop and Repeat. The horizontal fader adjusts the volume of playback.

Click anywhere on the displayed waveform to play back from there. Use the mousewheel to zoom in and out of the media peaks horizontally. To adjust the height of the waveform preview, click and hold the mouse on the top edge of the preview area, then drag up or down.

You can also scroll by holding Shift while you drag the mouse left or right. You can mark any time selection by clicking and dragging over the preview display, and move a selection left or right by holding Alt while you drag the mouse.

Display of waveforms can be turned on and off in the Options menu, Always show waveform peaks for selected media.

Other playback/waveform Options include Display preview position in tenths of second and Auto stop preview after adding media.

Enabling Options, Auto advance to next file after preview will cause all files displayed in the media explorer main window to be played in sequence, provided that the repeat button on the transport bar is set off.

By clicking on the I/O button (next to Transport Bar), you can direct the Preview to any audio output. The I/O button menu also includes an option to play the previewed item through a selected track.

The Pitch rotary control adjusts the pitch of the item being previewed. Double-click to reset. The Options menu Pitch shift knob range command allows you to set its range to +/- 2, 6 or 12 semitones and to set its behavior to Continuous, Quarter tones or Semitones.

The Options menu includes two toggle options to Preserve pitch when tempo matching and Reset pitch shift when changing media.

To avoid possible clashes of tempo, you can select an option (including Tempo Match Off and Tempo Match On) from the drop down list in the preview area. There is also a toggle option to Start on Bar.

4.4 Inserting an Audio File as a New Take or Item[edit]

Selected media items can be inserted into the current project from the media explorer's main window by right-clicking over the file name and choosing from the options offered (see below). The choices are:

Insert into project (on currently selected track, at current cursor position)

Insert at time selection (stretch/loop to fit) (if a time selection is currently active)

Insert into project on a new track (at current cursor position)

Insert as take in selected item (requires an item to have been selected)

Use as media source for selected item in place of that item's existing media source

Use as media source for selected item (stretch/loop to fit) in place of item's existing media source

Preview (plays item but does not insert it).

Show in explorer (Windows)/finder (Mac)

A quick way is to double-click on the file name, or to select it and press Enter, or to drag and drop � but it isn't quite that simple! Using any of these methods will cause a default action to be automatically applied.

You can determine that default action by using the media explorer's Options, Default action (double-click or Enter key) command. This menu is shown here (below right). It might seem strange at first, because it includes options for both media files and (.RPP) project files, both of which will most likely have different needs.

Choose one of Insert media (if media item) or open project (if .RPP project), Start preview, or Do nothing.

Specify for media items whether to Insert media on selected track or insert media on new track.

Set your preference for the toggle option Enable looping when inserting selected portion of media.

Specify for project (,RPP) files whether to Open projects in current tab or Open projects in new tab.

As well as (or instead of) importing entire individual media items, the media explorer makes a number of other choices available. These are explored in the table below:

In order to do this � Do this �. Insert part of a media item into a project Select the required portion of the waveform in the preview window.Right click over the selected portion and choose one of the items from the context menu.
Insert multiple items at once. See also note below. Use Ctrl click to build your required selection in media explorer. Right-click over the selection and make your choice from the menu. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the selection into the project. Unless you have changed the default setting, you will then be prompted to select whether you want the items inserted on one track or on separate tracks.

Note: The Media screen in the Preferences window includes a setting for default behavior when inserting multiple items. These are:

  • Insert in one track (advancing time) � each is placed one after the other in the same track.
  • Insert across tracks � each item is placed in a separate track, all starting together.
  • Decide automatically � if files are of the same length (file size) they will be placed in separate tracks, otherwise they will be inserted sequentially in the same track.
  • Prompt user � you will be prompted each time to specify your preference.
  • If in doubt, set this to Prompt User. Other useful options include whether or not imported media items should be copied to the project media directory. See Chapter 22 for more details.

4.5 Creating and Using a Media Explorer Database[edit]

Within the media explorer shortcuts panel you can create your own database (or databases) to further customize how your samples and media files are organized and displayed. One benefit of this is that it lets you display together files that might be stored in different folders.

For example, you might use different folders for various types of drum samples (snare, kick, hi hat, etc.).

There might, however, be times when you would want to see the contents of these various folders listed together. To do this, you could create a database called �Drums Various� and add all of these folders to that database.

Databases are set up and managed using right-click context menus in the Shortcuts column.

In order to do this � Do this �. Create a new empty database Right-click over empty area in Shortcuts column. Choose Create new database... from menu. Type name, press Enter.
Add folder contents to database EITHER � Select database in Shortcuts column. Right-click over its name and choose Add path to database � from menu. Navigate to required folder, select it and click on OK. Repeat this to add more folders.
Add file(s) to database Select file(s) in windows explorer or media explorer's main window, then drag and drop to the database name in the shortcuts panel.
Change shortcut name of folder in database Right-click on folder name in shortcut panel, choose Rename shortcut... Does not change folder name on hard disk.
Create a new database from a folder In main media explorer window, right-click on folder, choose Make database from folder.
Remove a folder contents from database Select database in Shortcuts column. Right-click over its name and choose Remove path from database... from menu. Navigate to required folder, select it and click on OK.
Remove item(s) from database Select item(s) in media explorer window. Right-click over selection, choose Remove items from database.
Change database name Select database in Shortcuts column. Use Rename database... command on context menu. Does not erase items from disk.
Update database contents to reflect changes in folder contents Select database in Shortcuts column. From context menu use Scan database for new files to find and add new files, Remove missing files from database to remove deleted files.
Remove a database Right-click on database in Shortcuts column, choose Remove database.

Media explorer databases can be included in your export configuration settings (Options, Preferences, General): see also Chapter 22.

4.6 Replacing an Item's Source Media[edit]

You can select an item in the media explorer and use it to replace the source media in an existing item (or number of items) in the current project. This can be done from the media explorer menus or by drag and drop.

To replace source media using the menus:

  1. Select the media item (or items) in the project.
  2. In media explorer, select the required replacement item.
  3. Right-click on this item and from the menu choose either Use as media source for selected items or Use as media source for selected items (stretch/loop to fit).

To replace source media using drag and drop:

  1. Select the item in media explorer.
  2. Hold Ctrl Alt while you drag and drop to the media item whose source is to be replaced.
  3. The dialog box shown here will pop up. You can choose Insert new media item that overlaps target media item, Add source media as new take in target media item, Replace target media with source media or (if there is more than one instance of the item) Replace all x occurrences of the target media with source media.
  4. Specify your preference as to whether to Adjust target media item length to fit source media, Stretch source media to fit target media item, or Loop source media to fit target media.

Note: This method can be used to replace an existing source media item with part of another item. After selecting the replacement item in media explorer, click and drag in the waveform preview area to select the required part of that item, then follow steps 2. to 4. above.

4.7 Automation Items[edit]

Automation Items can be previewed in, and inserted into projects from, the Media Explorer. See also Chapter 18 for more information.

4.8 Importing MIDI Files[edit]

To preview a MIDI file in media explorer, first create an empty track in your project and insert a virtual instrument or synthesizer into that track's FX chain. You can then select any MIDI file in the media explorer and preview it. You can also select any part of a MIDI file to import: use the same techniques as those described earlier in this chapter. Right-click over the file name to choose one of the insert options, or just drag and drop.

You can also import MIDI files by dragging and dropping from Windows Explorer, or by using the Insert, Media file... command.

MIDI File Types

There are two main types of MIDI file, Type 0 and Type 1. REAPER recognises both. In Type 0 files, all the MIDI events and data are stored in one track, but individual channel data is retained. A single track Type 0 MIDI file can contain up to 16 channels of data on the one track. Type 1 files can contain any number of tracks, with each track containing data on one or more channels. Type 1 is more suited to larger arrangements than is Type 0. For example, you may wish to use several drum parts on a single channel, but with each on a separate track.

Importing Type 1 MIDI Files

To understand how REAPER handles imported MIDI items, let's work thru some fairly simple examples. We'll take the example of a simple Type 1 MIDI file that was created with two tracks. Track 1 contains data on Channel 1 only, and track 2 contains data for two different instruments on channels 2 and 3. There are a number of possibilities as to how we might wish to import this into our REAPER project:

We might want each track/channel combination imported on to a separate track (three tracks in all).

We might wish to keep the original structure and import the file as two tracks.

We might want all three channels of data imported on to a single track.

Let's see how we might approach this. This example assumes that you have your Media/MIDI preference for Import multichannel MIDI files set to Always prompt ...

  1. As you are importing a type 1 multitrack MIDI file into REAPER, you are asked if you wish to Expand the MIDI tracks to new REAPER tracks.
  2. If you enable this option and click on OK, you will then be presented with two further options.
  3. If you select Single-channel items on multiple tracks, a separate REAPER track will be created for each MIDI file/track combination that contains MIDI data � in this example, three (because our example MIDI file contains data on channels 1, 2 and 3). The imported file will appear similar to this (example 1):

If, however, you instead select Multichannel item on a single track, then you will get this (example 2):

This reproduces the track/channel structure of the imported MIDI file.

Let's now go back to step 1. (above). If we deselect the option to Expand the MIDI tracks to new REAPER tracks, and then select Multichannel items on a single track. In this case, we get this (example 3):

All the MIDI items are placed in their correct channels on to a single track. This gives us the opportunity if we wish to do something quite clever. You can right-click over the item and choose Item processing, Explode multichannel audio or MIDI items to new one channel items. This causes this to happen (example 4):

The originally imported MIDI item is retained but muted, and its track becomes a folder which contains the newly exploded MIDI items (one for each channel of MIDI data). Folders are explained in detail in Chapter 5: for now, just note that you could insert a virtual instrument and/or other plug-ins such as ReaControlMIDI (see Chapter13) in that folder's FX chain and use them to control and play back all of the MIDI items.

Importing Type 0 Files

This next example examines your options when importing a single track type 0 MIDI file into REAPER. Let's assume that this file contains MIDI data on, say, 3 channels.

When you import the type 0 MIDI file into your project, you are not prompted with the question about expanding MIDI tracks: the file by definition contains only one track, and so the question would be irrelevant. Instead, you are straight away asked whether you wish to place a Multichannel item on a single track or Single channel items on multiple tracks.

By way of illustration, regardless of how many channels contain MIDI data, choosing the single track option would produce an outcome similar to that shown below (example 5). As in example 4, this item can be exploded into a folder containing a separate track for each channel if you wish.

If (at the MIDI import prompt) you choose the multiple tracks option, you will get a separate track for each channel that contains MIDI data. Thus, an item containing data on three channels would produce this:

4.9 Importing Multichannel Audio Files[edit]

Multichannel audio files are imported into REAER in exactly the same way as any other item. An example of such a file (in this case six channels) is shown here.

You can split such a file into its individual channels, to produce one track per channel.

This allows for each channel to be edited independently of the others. To do this, right-click on the item and choose Item processing, xplode multichannel audio or MIDI items to new one channel items. This would produce a result such as that shown above.

4.10 Import Formats[edit]

Media files can be imported into REAPER in any of the following formats.

CD Audio (.CDA)

DDP (.DAT)

FLAC (.FLAC)

MIDI (.MID)

MIDI System Exclusive Message (.SYX)

MIDI Karaoke (.KAR)

MPEG Audio (,MP2, .MP3)

OGG Vorbis (.OGG, .MOGG)

Recycle ([email protected], .REX, .RCY)

AVI Video (.AVI)

MPEG Video (.MG, .MPEG)

WMV/WMA Video (.WMA, .WMV)

MK Video (.MKV)

LCF Capture Video (.LCF)

Quicktime (.MOV, .QT, .M4V, .MP4)

WebM (.WebM)

WAV (.WAV, .W64, .BWF)

AIFF (.AIF, .AIFF)

WAVPACK (.WV)

4.11 Importing Media from Audio CD[edit]

To import material from an audio CD (such as you might play on a CD player):

  1. Insert an audio CD into your PC CD drive and wait for it to be read.
  2. Display media explorer, select My Computer in the left panel, then double-click in the main panel on the letter which represents your CD drive. The contents of the CD will be listed.
  3. To play (preview) any track from the CD, right click over that track then choose Preview from the context menu (see above). Depending on what other software is on your computer, you may also see some non-REAPER related commands below this.
  4. To insert the contents of a track into your project as a media item, right click over that track and choose one of the other commands from the menu. Each of these commands works as explained earlier.

Alternatively, you can double-click on the item to insert it into the currently selected track, or drag and drop to insert either on to an existing track or to a new one.

chapter 5: Project Arrangement Basics[edit]

5.1 Managing Tracks[edit]

In Section 2, we introduced some very basic REAPER track management features, such as Volume, Panning, Mute and Solo. In this section, we will be exploring these features in more depth, as well as introducing several others, including moving and removing tracks, the use of track folders and track parameter grouping.

Many of the commands and actions involved in track management are available from the menu that is displayed when you right click over any track number. The illustration (right) shows these.

Remember that at any time you can use Ctrl Z to undo your last action. REAPER�s Undo capabilities are described in more detail in Chapter 2.

Tip: Before continuing, you might wish to open the supplied project file All Through The Night.RPP and save it to a new name such as All Through The Night EDITS.RPP. You can then use this file to try out and experiment with some of the ideas presented in this section.

Basic Track Management

A number of techniques can be used for carrying out these various track management tasks.

Task Method Move a track up or down the track order Click on the track number, then click and drag the track up or down the track list, then release the mouse. Media items are moved with the track.
Move two or more adjacent tracks up or down Click on the track number for the first track, then hold Shift while clicking on the track number(s) of the last of the tracks that you wish to select. Then click and drag up or down. Again. all media items are moved with the tracks.
Delete a track Click on or around the track number, the press Delete, or right click and choose Remove tracks. All media items are removed with the track.
Delete two or more tracks Use Ctrl with the left mouse click to make your selection, then press Delete, or right click and choose Remove tracks. All media items are removed with the tracks.
Copy a track as the next track Right click over the track number, choose Duplicate selected tracks. All media items are duplicated with the track.
Copy a track to a specified location Click on the track number. Press Ctrl C. Move to the required location then press Ctrl V. All media items are duplicated with the tracks.
Display the Master in Track View Right click anywhere in the Track Control Panel area, below the last track. Choose Show master track, or use the keys Ctrl Alt M to toggle.
Make the Track Control Panel wider/narrower Click and drag right/left on the boundary between the TCP and the arrange area. As the TCP becomes narrower, some controls may disappear from view and faders may change to knobs.

5.2 Track Control Modifiers[edit]

Four of the items used when auditioning tracks are the Volume, Pan, Mute and Solo controls. These controls were introduced in Chapter 2.

The Width control is also shown here. A width control is displayed only if you select the stereo pan or dual pan law (from the pan fader right-click menu). This will be discussed in Chapters 10 and 11.

By default, volume and pan faders control audio output. If you wish instead to use them for data on MIDI channels for any track(s) you should first select the tracks, then right-click over the track number and choose MIDI track controls then one of the Link track volume/pan to MIDI options from the menu (see Chapter 13).

Volume and Pan Controls

Modifier key With volume fader with Pan Rotary Alt When mouse is released, fader returns to its original position. When mouse is released, fader returns to its original position.
Ctrl Shift With more than one track selected, only the current track is affected. With more than one track selected, only the control for the current track is affected.
Ctrl Allows more precise control of fader level. Allows more precise control of fader level.
Double click Reset to zero. Reset to centre.

Mute and Solo Controls

Modifier Key with Mute Button with Solo Button Shift When more than one track is selected, only the current track is toggled. When more than one track is selected, only the current track is toggled.
Ctrl Clears all mutes. Clears all solos.
Alt Unmutes selected track(s), mutes all others. Solo selected tracks only, excludes output from any sends.
Ctrl Alt Mutes selected track(s), unmutes others. Solo exclusive: Solos selected track(s), unsolos all others.
Ctrl Shift Not applicable Toggles Solo Defeat mode for the track or track selection. See comments below.

Note: When a track is muted, a small red M icon is shown in its VU meter. A !S icon indicates that the track is not being heard because another track or tracks is or are soloed.

Solo Defeat

Solo Defeat can be used to ensure that a track will still be heard even when another track or track selection is soloed exclusive.

The Mute and Solo control context menus

The options shown above are also available by right-clicking over the Mute and Solo buttons respectively. These context menus are shown on the right. They can be applied to an individual track or to a selection of tracks.

Bulk Track Mute/Solo

To mute or solo a range of tracks in one action, click and drag in the TCP from the mute or solo button of the first track in the range to the same button on the last track in the range, then release the mouse button. Repeat this action to unmute/unsolo all muted or soloed tracks within a range.

Volume and Pan Faders

Right clicking over the volume fader of any track or folder will open a window displaying volume and pan faders not only for the track itself but also for any sends and receives associated with that track. An example is shown here.

Right clicking over the Pan fader opens a window which can be used to change that track's pan law. This subject was discussed in Chapter 2.

Tip: By default, double-clicking on a track number in the track control panel will cause all media items in that track to be selected. You can change this behavior if you wish on the Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences. For more information about customizing mouse modifiers, see Chapter 15.

5.3 Solo In Front[edit]

Solo in front allows you to hear the other tracks quietly in the background when one track or a track selection is soloed. This feature is toggled on and off by the Options, Solo In Front command.

The level at which the background tracks are heard can be specified via the Options, Preferences, Audio settings page. This setting (in the example shown it is set at 18dB) determines the extent to which the background mix is reduced. This means that the higher the setting the quieter will be the background mix and vice versa.

5.4 Auto-Naming Multiple Tracks[edit]

In one action, you can create and automatically name any number of tracks that serve a common purpose � for example, a number of backing vocal or percussion tracks. This can be done using the Insert, Multiple tracks... command.

In the example shown here, we are creating three Backing Vocals tracks (B Vox) at the end of the current track list. These will be automatically be named B Vox 1, B Vox 2 and B Vox 3, as shown.

5.5 Searching the Preferences Settings[edit]

You have already come across a number of REAPER�s preferences settings. For example, we have looked at some of the preferences settings for Audio Devices, MIDI Devices, Recording and Projects. The more you work with REAPER, the more you will realise how very many preferences settings there are. In fact, there are so many that it can sometimes be difficult to remember which page you need for a particular setting.

To help you there is a text box and a Find button near the bottom of the Preferences window. You can enter any word or phrase in the box, click on Find and the first occurrence of that word or phrase will be shown. If this isn�t the item that you�re looking for, each time you click the Find button the next occurrence of that word or phrase will be shown. The item will be displayed with a colored highlight.

In the example shown here, a search for sends has turned up some information about various options for setting the default parameters for track sends when they are created.

Tip: By default, double-clicking on a track number will cause all media items on that track to be selected. You can change this, and/or add mouse modifiers of your own via the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers preferences page. For example, you could assign Alt Double-click to the action View:Toggle track zoom to maximum height. Instructions for customizing mouse modifiers can be found in Chapter 15.

5.6 Track Colors[edit]

You can use color as an effective means of helping you visually identify different tracks. To do this, simply select the track (or tracks) in the Track Control Panel, then right click, choose the Track Color command, then use any of these commands from the submenu:

Command Effect Set tracks to custom color� Opens a Color Selection dialog box for you to select a color for the track�s media items.
Set tracks to random colors Sets the media items for each track in the selection to a different randomly chosen color.
Set tracks to one random color Sets the media items for all tracks in the selection to the same randomly chosen color.
Set tracks to default color Restores the track's color to the default for the current color theme.

The illustration (right) shows an example of how the Colors interface (displayed by choosing the Set tracks to custom color� command) can be used to specify different colors for different tracks and groups of tracks.

On the Appearance page of your Preferences settings (Options, Preferences) you can use the Track Control Panel options to apply your colors to the track label background, the track panel background, or both.

How the colors will be displayed for your track media items will depend upon which options are selected on the Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms page of your Preferences settings. Waveform peaks and/or the Background can be selected. You can also set the color strength (between 0 and 4) for both selected and unselected tracks. More details of these and other Appearance options are listed and explained in Chapter 22.

5.7 Color Themes[edit]

REAPER also supplies a number of color themes that you can use to present your projects attractively.

To select from the themes supplied with REAPER, use the Options, Themes command. You can modify the colors and other characteristics of your preferred theme by selecting the action Show theme tweak/configuration window from REAPER's action list editor. More details of this can be found in Chapters 10, 11 and 13. In addition, a very large number of complete themes are available in the REAPER stash. These are available for free download at stash.reaper.fm You can also visit the REAPER User Forums for more themes. Be aware, however, that changing themes can also result in changes in such areas as your track control panel layout.

5.8 Track Icons[edit]

Icons can be added to tracks as you wish. You can drag your own .PNG or .JPG files from Windows Explorer and drop them on to any track in the track control panel, or right click over the track number and choose Track Icon then Set track icon... from the track menu to use any of those supplied with REAPER. This opens the Load Image Resource dialog box. You can view the icons as thumbnails (shown here), tiles, or a list. Make your selection and click on Open.

Shown left is an example of a project which uses track icons. Remember that if you create a track template from a track which displays an icon, then the icon will be saved with the template. To display these icons also in the Mixer, open the Mixer, display its menu and choose Show Track Icons in Mixer. To remove icons from any track or selection of tracks, first select the tracks (in either the track control panel or the mixer) then right-click over any selected track icon and choose Remove Track Icon from the menu.

If you don't care for the icons supplied with REAPER � or you can't find what you want � you can download more track icon sets from the REAPER stash, at stash.reaper.fm

5.9 Track Layouts[edit]

Different people and different projects have different needs. That's one reason why REAPER's default theme makes available to you a selection of different track layouts. You can select any of these for your tracks and, indeed, if you wish even use different track layouts for different tracks. This topic is examined in more detail in Chapter 12, where we deal with track, mixer, transport and envelope layouts. Here is a basic introduction.

First select the track (or tracks), then right click over the track panel. From the context menu choose Track layout then Track panel, then select from the list. New layouts are developed and added or modified from time to time. Be prepared to explore! Some examples are shown below:

Default: the theme default track layout.

Default + value readouts: Volume and pan settings displayed as text.

Small: uses less screen real estate.

Large: easier to read but uses more real estate.

Standard media: with horizontal volume fader (rather than rotary).

5.10 Headphone Monitoring[edit]

While you are listening to and evaluating your various recorded items, it�s usually recommended practice to use the monitors (speakers) in your studio or control room. However, you may wish also to use headphones from time to time, perhaps for those occasions when you need to focus in detail on a particular track or media item.

Assuming that you have a PCI sound card or other audio device (Firewire or USB) which supports multiple outputs, here�s a neat little trick.

  1. Assign Output Aliases to your outputs, as explained in Chapter 1.
  2. Display your Routing Matrix and assign the output from the Master to the Control Room speakers.
  3. Put on your headphones.
  4. As you play the song, click on the appropriate cells on the routing matrix to also direct any particular track on which you wish to focus to your headphones. Of course, you can change from track to track, or add as many or as few as you want at any time.

In the example shown (above), the entire mix (from the Master) is being heard thru the Main Speakers, but only track 1 Vox is also being heard thru the headphones.

Remember that you can right click over this grid cell to display the controls for this send (such as Volume). This can be also a good technique to use when you have with you a musician who wants to particularly hear her own track while you are mixing!

When you are mixing down, you might not wish to see all of the available routing information available � it can get quite complex. You might wish to keep the routing matrix display as simple as possible for the job in hand. For example, if you are focussed purely on mixing, you might not need to see all the various input assignments.

Right clicking over the background area lets you customize its display. In the example shown here, by unchecking Show audio hardware as sources we have simplified the display. If you have installed ReaRoute, consider also disabling the options to Show ReaRoute as destinations and Show ReaRoute as sources.

5.11 Creating a Headphone Mix[edit]

Provided your sound card includes at least two pairs of outputs, we can make the process of headphone monitoring easier and more flexible by creating a headphone mix. This is how it is done.

  1. Connect your Headphones to your Headphone Amp, and your Headphone Amp to one pair of outputs.
  2. Create a new track and name it Headphone Mix. Create sends to this track for any and all tracks that you want to be able to monitor thru your headphone mix.
  3. Choose the Options, Preferences command, select the heading General then click on the Advanced UI/System tweaks � button. Enable Allow track envelope/routing windows to stay open.
  4. Click OK then OK again to close the Preferences window.
  5. Select your Headphone Mix track and open the Routing Window. Add an Audio Hardware Output to the paired outputs to which your Headphone Amp is connected. Disable the Master/Parent Send for this track.
  6. You can now use the Pan and Volume faders for your receives, together with the Mute buttons, to control your headphone mix.

5.12 Displaying Grid Lines[edit]

REAPER lets you determine whether or not to show grid lines in your projects. If you choose to show them, you have a number of options to determine how they are displayed. In this section we will look at three examples of how you might choose to use grid lines if you wish. The display of grid lines is toggled on and off using the Grid button on the toolbar, or the Options, Snap/grid, Show grid command, or the keyboard shortcut Alt G.


Grid line display options can be found in the Appearance page of your Preferences. Grid and marker lines can be displayed over, thru, or under media items.

image: Show grid disabled. Show grid enabled. Spacing 1 beat, minimum 10 pixels. Grid line thru items, Marker line over items. Dotted grid lines selected.

Show grid enabled. Spacing 1 beat, minimum 5 pixels. Grid line under items, Marker line over items. Dotted grid lines not selected.

Show grid enabled. Spacing 1 beat, minimum 5 pixels. Grid line over items, Marker line under items. Dotted grid lines not selected.


You also have an option to set the grid line spacing to frame or measure rather than to a fraction of a beat. Frame can be useful when working with video media. (Frame rate is set in Project Settings, see Chapter 2).

If measure is selected, the grid setting will be determined by the time signature.


Later in this guide [[(Chapter 7), you will be shown how to use grid settings to automatically snap various objects and items into position.

5.13 Understanding Sends, Buses, Submixes and Folders[edit]

You have already seen that each of the tracks in your projects has its audio output routed by default to the master, and that from here the audio signal is directed to your preferred output device or devices, such as speakers or headphones. The signal flow that occurs here within REAPER can be represented by the first diagram on the right, which shows a simple project with just three tracks.

In Chapter2 of this User Guide, you were shown how to use a track as an effects bus, for example to add the same reverb effect to a number of tracks. The signal flow for this arrangement can be represented by the second of the two flow charts (below right).

The sends that you create for each track carry a signal to the Bus track, which applies the effect, and then sends the processed (wet) signal on to the Master. At the same time, so long as the Send Master/Parent option remains enabled, the dry signal for each track is also sent directly to the master. Here it is finally mixed together with the �wet� signal from the bus before being directed to your speakers and/or headphones.

These two example models use routing arrangements that you would expect to find in probably any DAW program. However, we are now about to enter territory where REAPER may be substantially different from other software that you may have used before. This relates to how you can create and use submixes.

With most programs, to create a submix (perhaps for your various drum tracks or vocal harmonies) you will need to create a bus, add sends from each track that is to be included in the submix, and then disable the direct sends to the master from each of these tracks.

You can use this method in REAPER. Holding the Alt key while you click on a track's ROUTE button will toggle on and off the direct send to the master. If a track's output to the master is enabled the first of the green �lights� on the ROUTE button is turned on. If disabled, it is turned off. This distinction is shown on the left. In the first (top) track, the output from the track to the master is enabled. In the second (bottom) track, it has been disabled. If there are no other sends or receives on that track, the word ROUTE is then shown in red.

However, a smarter and potentially more powerful way of creating a submix is to use folders (sometimes called track folders). We'll look at how this is done shortly, but first let's get our heads around the concept.

A folder track is created initially in the same way as any other track. You then tell REAPER to treat this as a folder track - and essentially that's it. You now have your submix (as shown here on the right). Direct output to the master from the individual �child� tracks within the folder is automatically disabled. Instead, they are passed thru the folder. Note that you should not manually disable the master/parent send for child tracks within a folder, or their output will no longer go to the folder (the master track).

Anything that you do to the folder will be done to the entire submix. For example, if you adjust the volume up or down, the volume of the submix will be adjusted up or down. If you add an effect such as a compressor to the folder then that effect will be applied to the submix.

Before we see exactly how a folder and its child tracks are set up, there's one more scenario to consider. Even when you have a folder which contains a submix of other tracks, you can still use buses for the folder itself or for individual tracks inside the folder (see right). In this case our folder (submix) still consists of the same three tracks as before. In addition, however, a send has been created from the folder to an FX bus, perhaps to add reverb to the submix. We'll see an example of this soon.

There are three types of send � Post-Fader (Post Pan), Pre-Fader (Post FX) and Pre FX. These are explained in Chapter 17 and illustrated by the flow charts at the end of Chapter 6. For the time being, accept the default option, Post-Fader (Post Pan).

5.14 Track Folder Essentials[edit]

When a number of tracks are collected within a folder, you will probably want to use both the individual track controls and the folder controls. For example, you can use the Volume controls for individual tracks within a folder to set the volume levels for the different tracks relative to each other. You can then use the Volume control for the folder itself to control the overall combined volume level of the tracks in that folder.

Another example is that the Mute and Solo controls for the folder will act on the folder as a whole. However, you do still have the option of using each track�s individual Mute and Solo controls.

The example illustrated (right) shows a folder called Instruments that contains three individual tracks. The faint peaks that you see in the folder's lane in arrange view represent the combined contents of the folder's child tracks. This can be disabled on your Preferences, Appearance, Peaks/waveforms page. Identify the little icons that you can see below the track number of each item in the track control panel. These are used to determine a track's folder status. Ordinarily, this can be one of four states:

An ordinary top level track (the default). The icon is displayed as a faint image of a folder. Hover the mouse over this image and it changes to a+ sign.

A folder track. This is displayed as in the Instruments track above, as a stronger image of a folder. Hover the mouse over this image and it changes to an X (see right).

A child track within a folder. The track is nested and the icon is displayed as a faint image of a folder. Hover the mouse over this image and it changes to a+ (see below right)

The last track in a folder. A folder icon is shown and the track is nested. Hover over this icon and it displays a down pointing arrow.

You can click on this icon to set a track's status. Let's work thru an example.

  1. Open the file All Through the Night.RPP and save it as All Through the Night Folder.RPP
  2. Make sure the Vox track is track 1, Gtr Body track 2, Gtr Neck track 3 and Bouzouki track 4.
  3. Press Alt Enter to display project settings. Select Stereo Pan as project pan mode. A width rotary control is now added to every track.
  4. Select track 1. Press Ctrl T to insert a new track immediately underneath this track. This becomes track number 2. Name this track Instruments.
  5. Click once on the folder button for this track. It becomes a folder and the tracks below it are indented.
  6. We want the bouzouki to be the last track in the folder. Click twice on that track to set this. Adjust the panning of the three child tracks as you wish.
  7. To illustrate a point, select the Bouzouki track and press Ctrl T. A new track is added outside the folder.
  8. Name this track Reverb and insert ReaVerbate into its FX chain. Drag and drop in turn from the ROUTING button of the Vox track and the ROUTING button of the Instruments folder to this Reverb track. This will create two sends.
  9. Lower the Reverb track volume to about � 10.0 db (see right) and save the file.
  10. Play the file. Experiment with folder controls. For example, mute the folder and you mute all instruments. Solo it and you solo all instruments. Adjust the volume and the overall volume of the instrument submix changes.
  11. Use the width control on the folder track to bring the different instrument tracks closer together or further apart. Use the pan control to move the whole instrument mix further left or right.

To restore a folder as a normal track, click on the folder control icon as many or as few times as are required to cycle thru the various options until you see the one that you want.

5.14.1 Drag and Drop Folder Management[edit]

Another way of creating folders is by dragging and dropping. You identify which track is to be the folder, which are to be its children, then select and drag and drop the children into the folder. When you know what you are doing, this method is probably quicker, but it can be tricky at first. This process is illustrated below.

Here's the same project file as before (except that this time the Reverb track has already been added).

Three tracks have been selected and we have began to drag and drop them up. Notice that the thick horizontal bar shown above the first of these tracks occupies the whole width of the track control panel.

Carefully and slowly drag them a little higher and you will notice that the horizontal bar is now indented slightly.

Now release the mouse and you will see the three tracks have been placed as child tracks within a newly created Instruments folder (see below).

If you hover the mouse over the folder icon for the Bouzouki track you should see confirmation that it is the last track in the folder.

The drag and drop method can also be used to add tracks into an existing folder, and/or to remove them. However, the technique may take a little getting used to.

Experiment with this now if you wish.

Notice the small down pointing arrow just above the track number of the folder track (in this case Track2).

This can be used to toggle the display of child tracks in the folder between normal (as shown above left), minimized and collapsed (as shown below left).

Notice that when you view the routing matrix, child tracks of folders are indicated by the letter F being displayed in the master/parent column (see left). The parent destination is also shown in tooltips (see below).

The parent track is also shown in the track routing window (see right).

5.14.2 Nested Folders[edit]

REAPER allows you to nest folders within folders, to as many levels as you like. This feature is probably more suited to relatively experienced DAW users than it is to newcomers.

To create a nested folder, first create an empty track within an existing top level folder, then use the folder control icon to make that track into a folder. Because the track is itself contained within an existing top level folder, it will automatically be made into a second level folder. The project shown here is an example of this. Notice that:

There is a top level folder called Instruments which holds two sub-folders (Drum Kit and Guitars).

The two second level folders which are sub-folders of the Instruments folder each contain child tracks of their own.

There is another top level folder (Reverbs) which itself contains two reverb busses.

Any action taken on a folder will effect its entire contents. For example, if in this case you were to mute the Instruments folder, then you would automatically also mute the contents of the Acoustic Guitar and Other Instruments folders.

REAPER does not limit you two levels of folders. You can have more if you like. Be warned, however, that if you do, life can get complicated!

5.15 Track and Track Parameter Grouping[edit]

Note: As well as conventional grouping, REAPER supports VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) grouping. To help avoid confusion, VCA grouping will be considered as a separate topic later in this chapter.

The topic of track and parameter grouping is a huge one with an extraordinary range of options designed to help you especially in your mixing and arranging. It is based upon this principle. You can define group relationships between different tracks and their controls so as to ensure that when you make a change to one track in the group, changes are also made to the other tracks in the group.

The nature of these relationships can vary from being quite simple to rather complex, and everything in between. Everybody will have their own different ways in which REAPER's track grouping feature can be helpful. Let's look at some possible examples. These examples have been selected primarily for learning purposes. You might or might not find the actual examples themselves to be useful for you.

  • You might have two tracks that you wish to keep at a constant volume relative to each other. In this case, you could ensure that whenever one is faded up or down then so is the other.
  • You might have two tracks that need to be panned opposite each other. In this case, you can ensure that when one is panned in one direction, the other is automatically panned in the other direction.
  • You might have two or more tracks that you wish to treat as a group so that they are always soled or muted together.

In a moment, we'll work thru some examples. There are two main ways to create and manage your groups. This can be done either using the Track Control Panel or the Track Grouping Matrix. Here is an overview of both methods.

Method 1 uses the Grouping dialog box (shown right), which can be accessed from the Track Control Panel or the Mixer Control Panel. The method is as follows:

  • In the TCP or MCP, select the tracks whose parameters you wish to group.
  • Right-click over any track number in the group and choose Track grouping parameters from the context menu (or press Shift G).
  • When the Grouping dialog box is displayed (see left) specify those parameters that you want to group, then click on Close.
  • Make sure that the option Track grouping enabled on the TCP or MCP menu is selected (ticked).

You can use this same method later to make changes to your grouped parameter definitions.

This interface might appear a little overwhelming at first. For this reason, it may be easier, especially at first, to use the second method. Method 2 uses the Track Grouping Matrix. This is illustrated overleaf.

The grouping matrix, which can be docked, can be used to manage up to 64 different groups. To display this, choose the View command, then Track Grouping Matrix, or press Ctrl Alt G. The picture that follows shows just two groups on display. We can create a special project file for our examples. You can then group any selection of tracks that you like: in this example, we will be working with two of three tracks enclosed within a track folder. Note that you do not need to place tracks in a folder in order to be able to group them.

5.15.1 Basic Track Grouping[edit]

Example

In the examples that follow, the optional Width control is shown, but not included in any groups. Whether or not this is visible will depend on your choice of track layout. This is explained in Chapters 10 and 11.

  1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and immediately save it as All Through The Night GROUPS.RPP
  2. Select Track 1 (Vox) and press Ctrl T to create a new track immediately below it. Name the new track Instruments. Using the techniques explained earlier in this chapter, make this track into a folder. Enclose in the folder the two guitar tracks and the bouzouki track. Make the bouzouki the last track in the folder. Save this file. First, you need to make sure that the track grouping is enabled, Choose the Track command from the main menu. If Track grouping enabled (near the bottom) is not ticked, click on this command to select it. If it is already ticked, just click on the REAPER title bar.
  3. Choose the View, Track Grouping Matrix command to display the Grouping Matrix.
  4. Pan one guitar track about 50% left, and the other 50% right.
  5. In Group 1 on the Grouping Matrix, click in the cells representing Gtr Body and Gtr Neck in the Volume column.
  6. Click in the cells for Gtr Body and Gtr Neck in the Pan column. In this column, click also in the Pan Reverse cell for one of the guitars, as shown (right).
  7. The volume controls for these two tracks are grouped so that when you adjust the volume for either track, both volume faders will move together in the same direction.
  8. Perhaps more interesting, when you now move the pan control left or right for either of these tracks, the other track's pan fader will move in the opposite direction.
  9. Save the file.
  10. Now click in the cells for the two guitar tracks in the mute and solo columns and again save the file. The solo and mute controls for these two tracks are also linked together. Try them out!
  11. To temporarily override the grouping, hold Shift while you adjust the volume of one of the guitar tracks. Notice only that one fader is adjusted. You can use Shift to temporarily override any grouped track parameters.
  12. To temporarily disable the group altogether, click where shown (right) on the Group 1 enable/disable toggle control. You will now find that all group controls for this group are disabled.
  13. Click in this same cell again to again enable the group. Save the file.

The table that follows on the next page summarizes what you might have discovered about grouping track control parameters from this exercise.

Note: A item's group control status can be master only (M), slave only (S) or master/slave (the default). In this exercise, all grouping has been of the default type, master/slave. We'll get to the other two options shortly.

5.15.2 Track Grouping Matrix Basic Controls[edit]

In order to do this � Using the Track Grouping Matrix Define the tracks in a new group Display the Track Grouping Matrix. Select at least one parameter (such as Pan) for each track in the group.
Adjust all linked faders for a group In Mixer or Track Arrange view, adjust the fader for any one track in the group.
Adjust the fader for only one track in a group containing linked faders In Mixer or Track Arrange view, hold Shift while adjusting the single fader.
Define a pan or volume relationship as reverse for a track within a group In the track row, click on the intersection cell for Pan Reverse or Volume Reverse.
Change an existing toggle parameter relationship (such as Solo, Mute or Record Arm) into a reverse one In Mixer view, hold Shift while clicking on the appropriate button (such as Solo or Mute) for the individual track. Use Shift again to restore the positive relationship.
Link more parameters for tracks in an existing group Click on the intersection cells where the required parameter column meets the track rows.
Add another track to an existing group Click on intersection cell where the required parameter column meets the row for the track that is being added.
Remove a track from an existing group Click once, twice or three times on the appropriate intersection cell until it shows blank. If more than one parameter is linked, do this for each parameter.
Enable/Disable group Click in the group's Enable/Disable box.
Select all tracks in a group Click on the group name.
Ensure automation mode of slave tracks automatically follows that of master Use the Automation Mode column of for tracks in the group.
Fine tune behavior of groups which share common tracks. Use the Flag: No Slave-Master settings to ensure, for example, that a track which is a master in group 1 and a slave in group 2 will not act as a master in group 1 when being slaved in group 2.

5.15.3 Track Grouping Indicators[edit]

By default, colored ribbons are used on the Track Control Panel to identify grouped track parameters (see right).

Under Options, Preferences, Appearance there is a sub-section Track Control Panels whose contents includes the option to instead use lines on the edges, or not to use any indicator at all.

5.15.4 Master and Slave Group Relationships[edit]

Each parameter that is included in a grouped relationship can take one of three states � Master/Slave (the default), Master only, or Slave only. The different ways in which this affects that parameter's behavior are:

A Master/Slave item can control other Master/Slave and Slave only items, but not Master only items. It can itself be controlled by other Master/Slave and Master only items.

A Master only item can control other Master/Slave and Slave only items, but not Master only items. It cannot be controlled by any other item

A Slave only item cannot control any other item, but can itself be controlled by Master/Slave items and Master only items.

Don't worry, this isn't as complicated as it sounds. To make sense of it all, let's work thru a couple of examples.

In the previous exercise, all items within our group had Master/Slave status. This meant, for example, that when you adjusted the panning or the volume on either of the two guitar tracks, the equivalent parameter on the other guitar track would move according to the defined relationship. This happened regardless of which of the two tracks you used to make the adjustment. Let's now look at some different scenarios.

Example

  1. Open the file All Through The Night GROUPS.RPP that you made in the last example. We are going to add the Bouzouki volume control to this group as a slave only.
  2. Make sure the grouping matrix is displayed. Click in the Bouzouki row of the Volume column for group 1 to add this to your group. It is assigned the default status of Master/Slave.
  3. Click in the same cell again. The display changes to M. It now has master only status. Click again, and the display will change to S for slave only status (see right).
  4. Observe this track in the track control or mixer panel. You will see only one colored ribbon on the track's volume control (instead of two). In the TCP this will be on the right, in the MCP (mixer control panel) this will be at the bottom. This indicates its slave status.
  5. Play the song. Adjust the volume for either of the guitar tracks, first up, then down. Observe that because of its slave status the volume of the bouzouki track will be adjusted with it.
  6. Now adjust the volume of the bouzouki track, first up then down. Because of its slave only status, it cannot control any other track. The volume faders of the guitar tracks will not move as you change the volume of the bouzouki track.
  7. Now, for learning purposes, let's change the bouzouki volume status to master only. Click on that cell several times to cycle thru the options. Stop when it displays M.
  8. This is the opposite of what happened at step 3. First, the colored ribbon indicator for this item is now shown only on the left instead of the right. This confirms its master only status (see right).
  9. Play the song. If you adjust the volume fader on the bouzouki track, the faders on the two guitar tracks will also move. However, if you adjust the volume of either guitar track, the other guitar track will also move, but the bouzouki fader will not.
  10. Save the file when you have finished.

5.15.5 Track Grouping Window[edit]

Earlier we introduced the track grouping window, and said that this interface offered a different method of working with track grouping and with grouped track parameters. Let's now see how.

The Grouping window displays all group information about the various parameters for any selected track or selection of tracks. Most commonly (and most usefully) it makes sense to use it with individual tracks, one track at a time. Again, this will be more readily understood if you work thru an example.

Example

  1. With the project file All Through The Night GROUPS.RPP open, select the Gtr Body track in the track control panel.
  2. Either right-click over the track number and choose Track Grouping Parameters � from the context menu, or press Shift G.
  3. This causes the Grouping window for the selected track to be displayed (see below left).
  4. In the TCP, select the Bouzouki track. The display in the Grouping window changes (above right), to show the currently grouped parameters for the bouzouki � in this case, just the master control on the volume track.
  5. In this dialog box, click and select Mute Master, Solo Master, Mute Slave and Solo Slave. These group parameters are now also selected for this track. This is confirmed by the display in the track grouping matrix.
  6. One more thing we can do here is to rename the group. Click on the Rename button, type Instruments and press Enter.
  7. Close the dialog box. Observe the track grouping matrix. Save this file.

You can define up to 32 groups in a project file. In the example below, a second group has been added, to help when adjusting the balance between the volume of the vocal track and the instrument mix.

Note: You can right-click over the matrix empty background area for a menu which allows you to toggle on (above left) or off (above right) the option to Show individual group details.

5.15.6 Track Grouping Window Basic Controls[edit]

In order to do this � Using the Track Control Panel Define the tracks in a new group Select the tracks in the Track Control Panel, press Shift G then select at least one parameter.
Name a group Press Shift G, select the required group number and click on Rename.
Adjust all linked faders for a group Adjust the fader for any one track in the group.
Adjust the fader for only one track in a group containing linked faders Hold Shift while adjusting the single fader.
Define a pan or volume relationship as reverse for a track within a group Select the track in the Track Control Panel and press Shift G. Click on Reverse Volume or Reverse Pan as required.
Change an existing toggle parameter relationship (such as Solo, Mute or Record Arm) into a reverse one Hold Shift while clicking on the appropriate button (such as Solo or Mute) for the individual track.
Link more parameters for tracks in an existing group Open the Grouping dialog box for the group and select the required parameters.
Reset a track's volume, pan or width to its default value and adjust settings for other group members accordingly Double-click on the volume, pan or width value displayed in the track panel.
Add another track to an existing group.. Select the track in the Track Control Panel and press Shift G. Display the drop down group list and select the required group. Select the required parameters
Remove a track from an existing group Select the track in the Track Control Panel and press Shift G Unselect all selected items except Group enabled
Enable/Disable group Press Shift G, select the group from the drop down list then click in the Group enabled box.

Tip: When you are playing back a song, in the course of editing you may from time to time wish to reset your VU Peaks without needing to stop and restart playback. To clear one peak, simply click on the peak number shown at the right hand end of the VU meter in the TCP or top of the VU in the MCP. To clear all peaks, hold down the Control key while you do this.

5.16 VU Meters on Multichannel Tracks[edit]

Where a track has more than two channels you have the option of showing the output of all channels on the track's VU meters in the TCP and Mixer.

This feature is toggled on and off for any track or track selection by right-clicking over the track panel area (for example, on the track number) and enabling or disabling Multichannel track metering on the context menu.

Shown right is a track with audio on four channels, as displayed in the Mixer using the default theme and layout.

5.17 VCA Grouping[edit]

The origins of VCAs (Voltage Controlled Amplifiers) predate digital audio. Today, REAPER's contemporary implementation of VCAs opens up interesting mixing opportunities for you.

By way of analogy, VCAs in REAPER are a form of track grouping which allows tracks to be slaved within a group to a single track master. VCA slave tracks will have their volume dBs added to that of the VCA master track: thus, with VCA grouping the process is additive. With conventional grouping, however (such as that explained in section 5.15) nothing is added, the tracks are simply linked.

VCA groups can be set up and managed using the same grouping matrix that was introduced earlier in this chapter. With experience and experimentation you will come to learn that VCA grouping can be a very useful mixing tool. To begin with, however, we will keep to simple examples, designed primarily to help you understand the concept and how it is applied. The basic procedure for creating a VCA group is:

  1. Add a new track to your project and give it a suitable name, such as VCA Control. Ordinarily, this track should contain no media items.
  2. Display the grouping matrix and select a currently unused group. Optionally, you may give this group a name.
  3. Set the VCA status in this group for your VCA Control track to M (for master).
  4. Set the VCA status in this group for any tracks that you want it to control to S (for Slave).

You might find the example that follows easier if you understand the basic functionality of the grouping matrix, as explained in section 5.15.

Example

  1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night VCA.RPP.
  2. Pan the first of the guitar tracks about 35% left and the other about 35% right.
  3. Add a new track (Track 5) and name it VCA Control.
  4. Display the grouping matrix (Ctrl Alt G). Make sure that the other tracks are in the same order as shown here in the matrix (below right).
  5. In the grouping matrix, right-click over the text Group 1 to open the Grouping dialog box (above). Click the Rename button, then type VCA, then click on OK, then close the dialog box.
  6. Set up this group as shown (right), so that track 5 is your VCA master track and tracks 2, 3 and 4 are VCA slave tracks. In order to do this, click once on the appropriate cell for each of these tracks to add it to the group, then click once more to make it master (M) and (for tracks 2, 3 and 4) once again to change this to slave (S).
  7. Play the song. As you raise the volume fader on the VCA control track, the three instrument tracks will each become louder. As you turn down the volume on track 5, the instruments will become quieter.
  8. Notice that the VU meter levels on the slave instrument tracks will change during this. The adjusted volume of these tracks (added to that of any audio produced by any items that might be in VCA control track itself) is sent to the master. Thus, the master's VU meter levels will change as the VCA control track fader is adjusted.
  9. In addition, you are free, if you wish, to adjust the volume of any of the individual instrument tracks without affecting any other tracks in the group. Save the file.
  10. Now let's try something different. Make sure that the pan law for all tracks is set to Stereo balance/mono pan. This is done by right clicking over the track's pan control and selecting from the pan law drop down list (right).
  11. Click on the Bouzouki/VCA matrix cell to remove it from the group.
  12. Now play the song again. As you do so, adust the pan setting on the VCA control track. You will find that the panning of the three instrument tracks will each be adjusted accordingly. Save the file.

VCA Grouping Parameters

This table summarizes the VCA grouping matrix options and parameters:

Parameter Comment Volume Adjust the volume fader on the VCA master to adjust the volume of all slave tracks in the VCA group. Note that the slave track faders themselves will not be moved.
Pan Provided either Stereo balance/mono pan or Stereo pan has been selected as the pan law, changing the panning on the VCA master will cause the panning of all slave tracks in the group to be changed. The pan faders on the slave tracks, however will not be moved.
Pre FX Slave If the grouping matrix option Flag: VCA pre-FX slave is selected for any VCA slave track, then the signal volume will be adjusted before it is fed into the that track's FX chain.
Automation Volume, pan and width changes on slave tracks can be automated by adding envelopes to the VCA control track. The envelopes will be applied to all slave tracks in the group. Slave tracks may also have their own automation envelopes. Chapter 18 includes more about envelopes.
Mute A mute envelope can be added to the VCA master. This envelope will be applied to all VCA slave tracks in the group. Automation envelopes are explained in Chapter 18.

Note: Defining a track as a VCA master causes that track's volume and pan faders to control volume and panning on all of its slave tracks. Keep in mind that a VCA control track is not a track folder or submix. No audio passes thru a VCA master/control track. Thus, for example, it would make no sense to add any audio FX directly to a VCA control track.

Further Examples of VCA Grouping Models

Here are some more examples of situations in which VCA grouping can be helpful. Doubtless you will in time find further and perhaps more complex applications of your own.

VCA with Automation Envelopes

You will need to understand something about automation envelopes if you are to understand this section. Automation envelopes are explained in Chapter 18.

Problems can arise when using automation envelopes with conventional groups. For example, a volume or pan envelope on a master track in a conventional group will, on playback, adjust the volume or pan settings on that one track only, not on its slaves.

With VCA grouping, however, an envelope on a VCA control track will be applied to the summed total of its slave tracks. Moreover, you can have separate automation envelopes on both the VCA master and any of the slave tracks within the group. Shown here is the same project as in the previous example, with the same groups as before, and with volume envelopes added to the VCA control track and one of the slave tracks (Bouzouki). The summed levels of both slave and master envelopes will, on playback, be sent to the master.

Actions to Manage VCA Envelopes

Two actions are available which add extra functionality to VCA envelopes. These are Envelope: apply all VCAs from selected tracks to grouped tracks and reset volume/pan/mute and Envelope: apply all VCAs to selected tracks and remove from VCA groups. Actions are explained in Chapter 15, but, in short, you can assign your own keyboard shortcuts to these actions, and/or add them to REAPER's menus.

The effect of the these actions is illustrated here.

Tracks 2 and 3 are slaved to track 4 in a VCA group. A volume envelope has been added to the VCA master track. This track is selected.

Running the action Envelope: apply all VCAs from selected tracks to grouped tracks and reset volume/pan/mute causes an identical envelope to be added to each of the group's slave tracks and to remove it from the master. This is shown on the illustration to the right. The VCA group settings remain intact.

Running the action Envelope: apply all VCAs from selected tracks to grouped tracks and remove from VCA group would also cause identical volume envelopes to be to each of the slave tracks, but these tracks would be removed from the VCA group and the envelope on the VCA master track (in this example, track 4) would remain intact.

Note that if any of the VCA slave tracks already contain a volume envelope, then the values on the VCA master track envelope will be added to those already on the slave track envelope.

These actions can applied to VCA master pan, width and/or mute envelopes as well as volume envelopes.

VCA with Overlapping Groups

Conventional grouping does not fully allow for overlapping group membership. For example, on the right tracks 1 to 3 volume faders are grouped as masters and slaves in one group, tracks 4 to 6 in a second group.

We might want to also group, say, volume faders on tracks 1 and 6 so that they and they alone could be moved together when required. VCA grouping makes this possible. We add a VCA control track (track 7) and set up a third group as shown below:

You would now find that you could adjust the volume of tracks 1 and 6 together by adjusting the volume fader on track 7, the VCA control track. No other track would be affected.

VCA for Mix Control

This is a rather more complex and subtle example: newcomers to working with DAWs or REAPER might be best advised to stay away from this one until your knowledge and experience have grown a little!

This example uses VCA grouping in a project that includes folders as well as tracks. Three VCA groups have been set up, each with its own control track. The track layout shown on the right needs to be interpreted in conjunction with the grouping matrix shown below.

The groups are:

Group 1: Vocals VCA Control, track 14 (controls Lead Vocal track and Harmonies folder).

Group 2: DrumsBass VCA Control, track 15 (controls Drums folder and Bass track).

Group 3: Guitars VCA Control, track 16 (controls Guitars folder and the Bouzouki).

The use of the three VCA control tracks can assist in mixing, making it easier for us to achieve the required balance of sound between the vocals and various instruments in this mix.

The mix has effectively been divided into three groups. Individual track volumes and pan settings can still be adjusted in the usual way, but in addition the VCA controls can be used to adjust the balance between the three groups.

This setup is illustrated in the grouping matrix shown below.

5.18 Audio Jogging and Scrubbing[edit]

Jogging and scrubbing are techniques originated in the days when all recording was done with magnetic tape. They help you to move within a project, or track, or group of tracks, to audition or locate a particular section. This is usually done in REAPER when your project is not playing, but you can over-ride this default setting.

To jog a portion of a song, simply position your mouse over the triangle that is located on the top of the edit cursor, as shown on the right. This causes the mouse pointer to change to a white hand. You can then click and drag in either direction. You�ll probably find when jogging that you will want to zoom in quite closely on your project.

By default, holding down the Ctrl key while jogging will enable Scrub mode. In this mode, playback will be much slower. This can help when looking for very short glitches, for example when zoomed in close.

You can set your jog/scrub preferences in the Audio, Playback page of the Options, Preferences window, as shown below. Notice in particular that:

You can limit the maximum jog/scrub rates (speed) to no more than normal playback speed. This makes it easier to identify the audio material when jogging or scrubbing.

You can also choose to be able to engage jog/scrub mode to over-ride normal playback.

If you enable the Only play selected tracks option, then only those tracks currently selected will be heard when you apply jogging or scrubbing.

You can modify REAPER's jog/scrub behavior by opening the Preferences window and using the Mouse Modifiers page to define your own modifier keys for Edit cursor handle left drag behavior. The default assignments are shown on the right.

Looped segment mode can be used to audition a section of your material as a loop. For example, if in Playback preferences (above right) you specify a range of -1000 ms to 1000 ms, then holding Alt while you click and drag the edit cursor handle briefly left or right will jog a two second portion of audio over and over for as long as you hold down the mouse button.

You can also assign modifiers for jogging and/or scrubbing to your Arrange View middle mouse button drag behavior. For more information about assigning mouse modifier preferences see Chapter 22.

5.19 Default Toolbar Summary[edit]

REAPER's default toolbar is located near the top left corner of the screen. The various tools and their functions are introduced throughout this guide as and when they are required: in addition, you might find the summary diagram below helpful.

The actual appearance of the individual icons will depend on which color theme you are using. Themes can be selected using the command Options, Themes and then making your selection from the list available. Shown below are the icons used by the default themes for both REAPER 5 and REAPER 4.

Toolbar keyboard shortcuts summary (equivalent to left click):

New project Ctrl n
Open Project Ctrl o
Save Project Ctrl s
Project Settings Alt Enter
Undo Ctrl Z to undo last action
Right click to view undo history
Redo Ctrl Shift z to redo last action
Right click to view undo history
Metronome: no default shortcut: Left click to toggle on/off
Right click for settings
Auto Crossfade Alt X to toggle on/off
Item Grouping Alt Shift G to toggle on/off
Ripple Editing Alt P to toggle on/off
Right click for menu
Envelopes, move points with media items: Left click to toggle on/off
Right click for menu
Grid Lines Alt G to toggle on off
Right click for settings dialog
Snap Alt S to toggle on/off
Right click for settings dialog
Locking L to toggle on off
Right click for settings dialog

You can edit this toolbar, for example adding more tools for other commands and actions. You can also create additional toolbars of your own. This topic is covered in Chapter 15

5.20 SWS Extensions[edit]

As you get to know REAPER better you will find that there are a number of editing and related actions that you will want to use frequently. This might include, for example, actions as diverse as lining up a number of media items with the edit cursor, or setting the volume of an entire selection of media items in one action. You will find that many of these actions – and more - are available as a plug-in to REAPER by downloading and installing the SWS Extensions Pack. To do this, you simply follow this sequence:

  1. Go to http://www.standingwaterstudios.com
  2. Follow the instructions to download the correct version for your operating system.
  3. After downloading, run the install program, then start REAPER in the usual way.

The contents of this extension pack include not only hundreds of useful actions for editing and more but also whole modules which bring extra functionality to REAPER, including mixing snapshots and marker management. So comprehensive are they that they come with their own PDF manual.

chapter 6: Managing Track FX[edit]

We have already covered the basic techniques involved in using effects (Direct X and VST) with REAPER tracks. We are now going to look at some of the options available to help manage and use your FX more effectively. We'll be looking in more detail at how you use some of the more important individual effects later (Chapter 16) in this section we're mainly concerned with the broader issues of managing and organising plug-ins.

6.1 Grouping FX in Folders[edit]

FX can be grouped in any way you wish. For example, if you use chorus, delay and reverb a lot, you might wish to create one folder called Chorus/ Delay and another called Reverb. Frequently used plug-ins can be copied into special groups. You can create as many folders as you wish, and the same plug-in can be placed in multiple folders. For example, you could place the Bootsy EpicVerb plug-in (with other plug-ins) both in a folder called Reverb and in a folder called Bootsy.

To create a FX group folder:

Use the command View, FX Browser or the keyboard shortcut Shift F to open the FX browser window.

Right click over the text My Folders where shown (see above) and choose Create new folder. Type a name, then press Enter.

To add FX to a folder:

Select the category All Plug-ins in the left hand panel of the FX window. This will ensure that all FX are available to you.

Drag and drop the required FX from the right hand panel to the folder where you want the FX to be listed. To drag multiple FX, use Ctrl with left mouse click to build up a selection, then drag them all together.

To create a smart folder:

If you enable the Smart folder option when creating a folder, all plug-ins whose names include any character strings that you define will automatically be displayed within that folder.

Right-click over My Folders and choose Create new folder.

Type a folder name, enable the Smart folder option and type a filter. In the example shown, we are creating a folder called Dynamics for all plug-ins with comp or lim in their names.

Click on OK. The folder will be created and all plug-ins with comp or lim in their names will automatically be listed in it. You can still add more FX to this folder manually if you need to.

To change the order in which FX folders are displayed:

Right click on the name of the folder to be moved.

From the context menu choose Move to top, Move up, Move down, or Move to bottom.

To display and select from a folder

In the left panel of the FX window, click on the name of any FX group to display its contents in the larger right hand panel.

Double click on any FX name within that group (listed in the right hand panel) to add it to the current track.

Tip: If you leave the FX Browser open, you can add any FX to any track simply dragging and dropping to the required track in the Track Control Panel (TCP) or Mixer Control Panel (MCP).

Tip: You can add FX from an existing folder to any track directly from the TCP or MCP. Right-click over the FX button and select first the folder and then the FX.

  • From the context menu choose Move to top, Move up, Move down, or Move to bottom.

To display and select from a folder

  • In the left panel of the FX window, click on the name of any FX group to display its contents in the larger right hand panel.
  • Double click on any FX name within

6.2 Backing Up FX Chains and FX Presets[edit]

FX Chains and plug-in presets can be backed up and restored using the export/import configuration buttons in REAPER's Preferences (General settings). See Chapter 22 for more information about importing and exporting configuration settings.

6.3 Filtering Track FX[edit]

By entering a text string in the Filter list text box in the bottom left corner of the Add FX window, you can display a list of those FX which match your criteria. Before doing this, you should select either All Plugins from the list of plugin folders, or any particular folder if you wish to restrict your search. In the example shown here, we have applied the text string chorus as a filter, in order to see what chorus plug-ins we have available.

The filter list also supports Boolean search terms, e.g.:

comp OR lim finds and lists all compressor and limiter plug-ins.

eq ( cockos OR melda ) finds all Cockos and Melda EQ plug-ins.

blue cat NOT ( flange OR phase ) finds and lists all Blue Cat plug-ins except flangers and phasers. Note the spaces before and after the parentheses.

( chorus OR delay ) NOT ( DX: OR JS: ) finds all chorus and delay effects except Direct X and JS.

The Clear Filter button can be used to remove the filter and restore all plug-ins to view. In REAPER's Plug-ins Preferences (Chapter 22) there is also an option to apply a global filter to all browser views.

You also have two options (on the Options menu � see below) which if enabled will ensure that your filters are automatically cleared for you. These are Auto clear search field on folder change and Auto clear search field on close. This latter option refers to closing the FX browser window, not closing REAPER.

REAPER will remember your previous filters. You can access it from the filter drop down list, by clicking on the down pointing arrow located on the edge right of the Filter list box.

6.4 FX Browser Options[edit]

The FX browser Options menu is shown here (from the Add FX dialog). In summary, the commands are: Auto-float new FX windows. If enabled, FX will be opened and displayed in a separate window of their own when they are added, rather than within the FX browser. FX Plug-ins settings... Displays Options, Preferences, Plug-ins settings page (see Chapter 22). Remove all empty folders. Removes all empty folders. Show in left pane list. This displays as a sub-menu a list of categories of plug-in that you can choose to display (or not). Those that are chosen will be listed in the left pane of the FX browser window. You can choose as many or as few of the plug-in types as you want: DX, DXi, VST, VSTi, VST3, VST3i, AU, AUi, JS, Rewire and Cockos. Instruments causes all virtual instruments to be listed together: these will also be listed in their native folders (VSTi, DXi, etc) if these are also selected. Recent causes all plug-ins recently used being displayed here, as well as in their native folders. VST folders causes all folders with VST plugins to be listed in the left pane under My folders. Categories causes plug-ins also to be displayed grouped by function (e.g. Delay, EQ, Reverb, etc.) Developers enables plug-ins also to be grouped by developers. FX Chains will cause FX chains to be listed. Show in FX list In the displayed FX list you can show any Default preset (along with the FX name), [[#6.24 Creating and Using FX Keyboard Shortcuts|FX shortcuts, descriptions, or file names, or both for JS FX, the Video processor (see Chapter 20), and/or plug-ins whose name begins with a #. Renaming a plug-in so that it begins with a # ensures it is not shown in the FX browser's FX list. There are also two Auto clear search field (filter) options – when you change your selected folder, and/or when you close the FX browser. Enabling the option Auto-clear folder view on close ensures that the next time the Add FX browser is opened All Plugins will be selected in the left panel.

6.5 Replacing One FX With Another[edit]

To replace any FX in a track's FX chain, simply follow this procedure:

  1. Display the track's FX chain and select the FX in the chain that you want to replace.
  2. From the FX Window top menu choose the FX, Replace FX� command. This opens the Add FX window.
  3. Select the required replacement FX and click on OK.

Any pin connector assignments on the replaced FX will automatically be assigned to the new one.

6.6 Copying Track FX[edit]

Any track FX (individual FX or complete chains) can be copied from one track to any other track, or tracks. When a plug-in is copied in this way, the settings and parameter values are also copied with it. You can use standard Windows techniques like Ctrl C and Ctrl V, but the simplest way to copy an entire chain is to hold Ctrl while dragging and dropping from the FX button of one track (on the TCP or MCP) to another.

You can also select one or more plug-ins from the FX chain of one track and use Ctrl with the mouse to drag and drop the selection to any other track. This can be done from either the TCP (track control panel) or the MCP (mixer control panel). To copy automation envelopes with the FX, use Ctrl Shift drag.

Example

For this example, open the file All Through The Night Folder.rpp that you saved earlier in this section. If you did not make this file, use any other file which has more than one track.

  1. Click on the FX Button for the track Gtr Neck to open the track's FX Window.
  2. Insert the VST ReaEQ(Cockos) plug-in into this window.
  3. Hover the mouse over the text VST ReaEQ in the plug-in window. Press and hold down the left mouse button and, holding it down, drag the mouse to point on the track control area of the Gtr Body track.
  4. Release the mouse. The ReaEQ plug-in will now have been copied into this track.

You can of course repeat this as often as required to copy the same plug-in to other tracks. When you copy an FX in this way, any settings and parameter values that you have set will be copied with it. To copy more than one plug-in at the same time from one track to another, use this sequence:

  1. Click on the first plug-in to be selected. Hold the Ctrl key down while clicking in turn on each additional plug-in that you want copied. Alternatively, if you want to copy all FX in a chain, click on the first item, then hold Shift while you click on the last item in the chain.
  2. Use the method described above to drag and drop on or near the FX button of the track to which you wish to copy your plug-ins.

Tip: FX can also be copied from the FX chain of any track to individual media items or takes anywhere in the project. Working with per item and per take FX will be explored in Chapters 6 and 7.

6.7 Adding Developers[edit]

To create groups of developers, right-click over Developers in the left pane of the Add FX window, choose Add developer then enter a name (e.g. Sony). Drag and drop from the main window to add plug-ins to a group.

6.8 FX Quick Display[edit]

Track FX are listed on a track's FX button right click menu (see right). You can open the window for any of these FX direct from this menu.

6.9 Moving Track FX[edit]

To move (rather than copy) an FX or FX chain from one track to another, hold the Alt key while you drag and drop, either from the FX button (entire chain) or FX window (selected tracks).

Tip: Hovering your mouse over any track�s FX button causes a tooltip to be displayed, listing the plug-ins present in that track�s FX bin. It displays this information even if the FX chain is set to bypass.

6.10 Managing FX Parameters[edit]

REAPER's FX interface window includes for each FX a Param button which you can use to help you manage and control the various FX parameters.

Click on any parameter control within the FX window then on the Param button to display a menu of choices. The five menu options are Show in track controls, Show track envelope, Parameter modulation, Learn and Alias Parameter.

Show in track controls. This adds a control knob for this parameter to both the Track Control Panel (TCP) and the Mixer Control Panel (MCP).

Choose this command from the menu to display a list of parameters for this particular FX. Select any item(s) from the list to add a control knob to the track control panel. An example (using two parameters from ReaComp) is shown here (below right).

To remove any of these controls, right-click over the button and choose Remove from list from the menu.

This context menu also gives you access to the four other parameter control tools, Learn, Modulate (Parameter modulation), Envelope (Show track envelope) and Alias (Alias parameter).

Show track envelope. The whole topic of envelopes and automation with envelopes is covered in depth in Chapter 18. For the time being note that you can use this command to add to your tracks automation envelopes for any FX parameters. An example is shown here.

The envelopes can be displayed in their own lanes (as shown here) or over the media item(s). To learn how to do this, see Chapter 18.

Parameter Modulation. This is a rather advanced topic. Parameter modulation allows you to define a relationship between two parameters so that one is controlled by the other. For example, you might want a threshold's ratio to automatically increase as the threshold is lowered. This topic is explained in Chapter 19.

Learn. If you are using an external MIDI control device you can assign FX parameters to controls (such as knobs or faders) on that external device. This topic is covered in detail in Chapters 12 and 18.

Alias parameter. This allows you to change (just for this instance) the name of a parameter to one that makes more sense to you.

Shown here is an example.

6.11 Changing the Default FX Name[edit]

To change the default name of any Direct X or VST FX (but not JS) plug-in:

Display the FX Browser Window (View, FX Browser)

Right Click over the plug-in to be renamed.

Choose Rename FX from the menu.

Type the new name and press Enter.

6.12 Renaming Track FX Instances[edit]

You can rename individual FX Plug-in instances so that your custom name is used for that FX in both Track View and in the Mixer. Typically this can be used to describe the purpose of the FX. For example, you might want to rename an instance of ReaEQ that has been added to a vocal as �Add warmth� or �More presence� and so on. To do this, simply select the plug-in and press F2, or follow this sequence:

Right click over the FX Item in either the FX Chain window, or the FX Bin in the Mixer view.

From the menu, choose Rename FX instance.

Type your custom name.

Press Enter.

Note that your custom name will only be applied to that single instance of the FX Plug-in in that one track. Other instances will not be affected.

6.13 Using Default FX Parameter Settings[edit]

You can specify that any set of FX parameter settings is to be used as a default whenever that FX is applied to any track or item. When you have your settings right, click on the small + button and choose Save preset as default from the menu. You will need to enter a name for the preset. The use of presets is explained more fully in Chapters 2, 12, 13 and 16.

6.14 Hardware Output FX Monitoring[edit]

To open the FX: Monitoring window you can:

Choose Monitoring FX � from the context menu of any project tab, or

Click on the Monitor FX button at the end of the project tab bar (if you are using project tabs), or

Use the View, Monitoring FX command from the main menu, or

Hold Shift while clicking on the FX button of the Master track.

This FX window is the same as any track FX window. You can specify any FX that you want to put on your hardware outputs. These do not show up in renders, do not affect the metronome and are not stored in the project file. Examples when you might use this feature might include:

When running analysis FX.

Compensating for the acoustic characteristics (perhaps with EQ or reverb) of a particular room.

Notice that:

You can right-click on the Monitor FX button to access any plug-in assigned to output monitoring, or to add more FX.

Click over the right hand end of this button to toggle bypass status. The button turns red when bypassed.

Within the FX:Monitoring window, click on the Param button then Learn to assign control of any selected FX parameter to an external control device.

6.15 Optimizing FX Performance[edit]

Some plug-ins can be quite greedy in their use of CPU. This especially tends to be the case with delay based FX, such as Delay, Chorus, and especially Reverb. REAPER provides a number of options which you can use to minimize the drain placed on your computer resources by your plug-ins. These options can be found in the REAPER Preferences window (Ctrl P) under the heading Audio, Buffering. This window is shown and discussed further in Chapter 22.

There is no �one size fits all� optimal group of settings. What is best for you depends on various factors, including which processor(s) you are using and which plug-ins. However it shouldn�t be too difficult to experiment. Note in particular the following:

Try using the default settings for Media Buffering at first. You can adjust them later.

Allow live FX multiprocessing. Try turning this on if your PC has multiprocessors.

Anticipative FX processing. This can reduce CPU usage, but too aggressive a setting can cause pops and crackles on playback. If working with UAD-1,for best results, both Synchronous FX and UAD-1 Synchronous modes should be enabled. Anticipative FX should be disabled. UAD-2, however, is compatible with Anticipative FX mode and this is recommended for best low latency performance..

Optimize buffering for low latency hardware.

If you find that any particular plug-in or FX chain gives you problems with media buffering or anticipative FX processing, you can disable either or both for individual tracks using the Track Performance Options on the Track Control Panel right-click menu. These options enable/disable media buffering, anticipative FX, track metering, and/or display of spectral peaks.

6.16 FX Notes and Comments[edit]

The REAPER FX Chain window includes an area for any Comments (or notes) that you may wish to make � see example below. Click on the � button just above the bypass tick box to add comments.

The notes are linked to the individual instance of the specific plug-in. In the example shown, the comment is only displayed when the 4 band EQ is selected for Track 2, the Vox Lead. You may add notes for all or any of a track's FX if you wish, but only one comment at a time will be displayed in the track's FX window.

You can open the comments in a separate window of their own by clicking on that � button . You may have as many as you wish of these comment windows open at any time.

6.17 Wet/Dry Mix and Bypass[edit]

The wet/dry mix control was mentioned in Chapter 2. Click and hold your mouse over the small rotary fader near the top right corner of the plug-in window to see the wet/dry balance for that plug-in displayed as text (above right). At 100% wet (the default) the plug-in is applied to the track in the way that you would normally expect. Click and drag the mouse on this to adjust this value to create a mix of the dry signal (the audio stream with no effect applied) and the wet signal (the audio stream with the effect fully applied. For example, set to 100%, this mix is fully wet. At 0% it is fully dry (effectively bypassing the FX). At 50% the dry and wet signals are mixed together in equal amount.

Notice also that the small check box to the immediate right of this control has a bypass function. Leave it ticked as shown and the effect (as determined by its various parameter settings including the wet/dry mix control) will be applied to the track. Untick this box and the effect is bypassed.

6.18 Plug-in Delay Compensation[edit]

By default, REAPER uses plug-in delay compensation (PDC) to ensure that audio remains time aligned. It does this by adjusting for any latency caused by any plug-in, such as can arise with some convolution reverb plug-ins for example. The latency for any track is displayed in the bottom left corner of that track's FX chain window. For example, a display of 256/512 spls would mean that one of the FX requires a latency of 256 samples: REAPER rounds this up to a number of blocks based on your buffer size. All other tracks will be delayed to match the track with the greatest latency.

If you encounter circumstances in which PDC is creating problems (for examples, dropouts or excessive latency) then it can be disabled for any plug-in from the pin connector button (shown here labelled �2 in 2 out�) context menu. Note too that PDC is disabled when feedback routing is employed.

6.19 Opening a File in Recovery Mode[edit]

Any computer program will crash given the right (or wrong?) circumstances. REAPER is very stable, but nevertheless there may be occasions when you experience a crash. This can be caused by a problem with some third party VST, VSTi, DX or DXi plug-in.

If this happens, you should enable the option to Open with FX offline (recovery mode) when re-opening the file from the File, Open project dialog box (see right). This will open the file with all FX set offline. By reintroducing them online one at a time, you should be able to identify which is the plug-in that is causing the problem. To then fix the problem you should remove this plug-in and replace it with another of equivalent functionality.

Another method is to hold down Ctrl Shift while you open a file from the File, Recent projects menu.

6.20 Stem Rendering[edit]

Stem Rendering is a technique that can be applied to ease your CPU load, to prevent it from becoming overstressed. The item is rendered to a new track, whilst the original track remains but is automatically muted and its FX are bypassed. If you later wish to change the FX in a stem rendered track, you can delete the rendered track, unmute the original, and make your changes. This is how you make a stem track:

  1. In the Track Control Panel area, right-click over the track number.
  2. From the menu, choose Render/freeze tracks, then one of the Render tracks to � stem tracks (and mute originals) commands. Your choices are mono, stereo or multichannel.

The first of these commands will render to a mono item (as shown here). The second will always produce a stereo item. The number of channels produced when multichannel is selected will be determined by the number of channels that you have defined for the track. By default, REAPER tracks comprise just 2 channels: in this case, both the stereo and multichannel options will produce the same result. As well as track FX, any audio or MIDI received from sends from other tracks is included in the rendered material.

Stem rendering has a similar effect to freezing tracks (see section after next). One main difference is that (unlike freezing) stem rendering leaves both the rendered and the unrendered tracks in the project. If you only wish to render the track FX without keeping both tracks in the project, you might wish to consider using one of the Render/freeze freeze actions instead. These are covered in the couple of pages that follow this one.

Stem rendering is also available with an extensive range of options (such as output format and quality) using the File, Render... command. This opens the Render to File dialog box. See Chapter 21 for details.

6.21 Freezing and Unfreezing Tracks[edit]

The Freeze tracks actions (from the Track right click menu Render/freeze tracks command) are used to freeze any track in place, replacing its contents with a single rendered audio item. The first of the freeze actions shown (above) will produce a mono audio item for each track frozen, the second stereo and the third multichannel (according to the number of track channels). If more than one track is selected, each will be rendered separately.

On line FX are applied to the rendered item, as is the content of any signals sent to the rendered channels from other tracks. Where these include MIDI data or items, they will be rendered as audio. Both on line FX and receives are then removed from the track. Note that a MIDI item with no synth attached to it will be rendered as silence. Where a synth is present, it is the output of the synth that will be rendered.

When a track has already been frozen, Unfreeze tracks will appear on the above menu as an action that can be used to restore the track to its state at the point in time that it was frozen. Both the FX chain and any receives will be restored. Other points to note are:

A track can have further FX and receives added to it after it has been frozen. In this case, if you then freeze the track again, these FX (along with audio and or MIDI material from the new receives) will be rendered together with the existing frozen material to another new audio item.

Each unfreeze action will remove the previous freeze on that track and restore it to its state at the time of that freeze action. Thus, if a track has been frozen, had more effects added and been frozen again, then you will need to unfreeze it twice if you wish to restore it its state immediately before first being frozen.

Using the Track Manager

Freezing can also be handled using the Track Manager. Choose Track Manager from REAPER's main View menu.

You can select any track(s) from the list (in the example shown, tracks 3 and 4 are selected) then click on the Freeze button for a menu of freeze choices (mono, stereo or multichannel).

The number of times any track has been frozen (up to a maximum of 8) will be shown in the Freeze column. In this example (right), tracks 3 and 4 have now both been frozen once.

The Unfreeze command will be added to the Freeze menu when that menu is displayed with a frozen track selected. Moreover, this menu will also include an option to display the freeze details for that track (see above).

You can read more about the Track Manager in Chapter 12.

Selected FX Freeze

Other options, available from a track's FX chain window, are to freeze a track up to its last on-line or selected FX, as you wish - see above. In this case, only the first two FX (ReaComp and ReaEQ) have been selected. The action Freeze track to stereo, up to last selected FX will cause the compression and EQ to be frozen on to the track. These two FX will be removed from the track's FX chain. The third (JS) effect will not be rendered to the new audio item. It will remain, and can be further adjusted, or removed altogether as the user wishes.

One useful action (accessible from REAPER's Action List window) is View: Show track freeze details. This can be used to display freeze history and details for any frozen track. Chapter 15 explains in detail more about actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own shortcut keys.

6.22 VST and VST3 FX Compatibility Settings[edit]

Various compatibility settings are available for VST FX plug-ins. These are available by clicking on the + button in the plug-in’s window (immediately left of the Param) button and choosing Compatibility settings at the foot of the menu that is displayed.


For example, you can Save minimal undo states if you wish, and/or Avoid loading undo states where possible. Other options include Inform plug-in when track channel count changes, Hard reset on playback, Save state as VST bank and Buggy plug-in compatibility mode. The Automation notification options let you over ride various VST preferences settings for specific plug-ins. For VST3 plug-ins an additional issue if using sidechaining can be a need to Request VST3 bus channel count as a way to inform the plugin how to interpret the channels REAPER is sending This is because REAPER does not have dedicated sidechain buses. This command is available on the plug-in’s right-click In/Out menu, located immediately to the right of the Param button.

6.23 Vertical/Horizontal FX Tree Display[edit]

The FX tree can be displayed in a vertical layout (the default) or horizontal layout (shown here). The display can be toggled between these two options by double-clicking on the boundary between the two sections, on the double-headed arrow mouse cursor (as shown).

6.24 Creating and Using FX Keyboard Shortcuts[edit]

You can assign keyboard shortcuts which will make inserting individual FX or FX chains into a track or item even easier. This is explained in the chapter dealing with customization. Once a shortcut has been assigned, you can simply select a track or item (or selection of tracks or items) and use the keyboard shortcut to insert the FX.

6.25 Adding FX Comments[edit]

Near the top right corner of every track FX window there is a small button displaying three dots. Clicking this opens a window where you can type any comments you wish to make about the currently selected FX and its settings.

6.26 Installing Extra JS Plug-ins[edit]

You can find more JS plug-ins that are available free of charge at stash.reaper.fm/tag/JS-Effects

To install any of these, follow this sequence:

  1. Download the effect and (if necessary) unzip the file.
  2. If the JS effect file has a .txt extension, edit the file name to remove this.
  3. Copy the effect to your REAPER Application Data Effects folder. You can find this by giving (within REAPER) the command Options, Show REAPER resource path � If you wish, you can place it in a sub-folder within the Effects folder.
  4. Close and restart REAPER.

Some JS FX come with other files (such as data files or image files). As a rule, data files are placed in a sub-folder in the Application Data Data folder, and other files are placed relative to the JS FX file. In most cases where this is necessary, the JS effect developer will supply specific instructions with the effect.

6.27 Track Templates Revisited[edit]

Don't forget that as well as saving FX chains by themselves, you can include them with other track settings (such as name, pan settings, volume levels, etc.) into track templates. Remember too that you can use the Track, Save tracks as template command to save a whole selection of several tracks into a single track template. See also Chapter 3.

6.28 ReaEffects User Guide Supplement[edit]

You will find many examples in this User Guide of the use of various COCKOS effects, especially in Chapter 16. In addition, a free PDF Reaper COCKOS Effects Summary guide (click for accessible version) can be downloaded from the following URL:

http://www.cockos.com/~glazfolk/ReaEffectsGuide.pdf

Note that this link is case sensitive.

6.29 Drag and Drop from FX Browser[edit]

A handy way to add FX to any track or media item is to drag and drop from the FX browser. To do this:

Display the FX Browser window (Shift F or View, FX Browser). This will be displayed as a floating window but can be docked at the bottom, right, left or top of your REAPER window. Basic docking was introduced and explained in Chapter 2. A more in depth examination of the topic can be found in Chapter 12.

Simply drag any required FX from the Add FX (FX browser) window: to add the FX to a track, drop on that track in the track control panel, or to add the FX to a media item, drop on that media item.

Tips: You can use Ctrl Click to select more than one FX at a time, as shown above. Also, if you have previously created any FX chains, you can select FX Chains from the FX browser and drag any complete chain to any track or item.

6.30 Audio Signal Flow Chart: Master Track[edit]

This diagram illustrates specifically the audio flow for the Master Track.

6.31 Audio Signal Flow Chart: Tracks and Folders[edit]

The two diagrams that follow (in this section and the next) illustrate how audio signals flow thru REAPER's tracks to the master and to your output devices. Some of the items shown in these charts (e.g. Item/Take settings) have not yet been discussed in this User Guide. They will be covered throughout Chapter 7.

Notes:

  1. The track mute button is shown more than once (near the beginning and near the end of the chain). This is because it does not only mute at the beginning (so that for example, all media items are effectively muted), it also mutes at the end (so that, for example, a synth in the track FX chain that is fed MIDI data via a receive from another track is also muted).
  2. If track mute and track solo buttons are both enabled, then solo overrides the mute.
  3. If the Master is soloed, direct outputs to hardware from tracks/folders will not be processed.

chapter 7: Editing Tracks and Items[edit]

Note: Some of the arrange view illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default theme and color scheme. The information and instructions, however, are still accurate and correct for REAPER 5.

7.1 Using an External Editor[edit]

You can specify up to two third party programs (such as Adobe Audition, Audacity, Wavosaur or Sound Forge) which you wish to integrate with REAPER for editing your audio media items. To do this:

  1. Choose the Options, Preferences command, then External Editors.
  2. Click on the Add button
  3. Use the Browse buttons (shown right) to identify and select your preferred wave editor or editors.
  4. Click on OK, then OK to close the Preferences window.

Notice that you can specify different editors for different file types, e.g. WAV, or MP3.

To use your external wave editor:

There are two main ways you can access your preferred external editing program from within REAPER:

Select the media item and press Ctrl Alt E.

Within a REAPER project, right click over the media item that you wish to edit. From the menu, choose either Open Items in editor then, from the sub-menu, select either the option to open the item itself or to open a copy of the item.

Unlike versions of REAPER earlier than 4.0, by default double-clicking on an audio media item will no longer open it with your primary editor. This behavior can be changed thru the Preferences, Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers page if you wish. This topic is covered in Chapter 15.

If the external editor works destructively on your files then the safer option is to open a copy. This copy will then be inserted into your track when you save it, close the editor and return to REAPER.

7.2 Editing Items in REAPER[edit]

The topic of editing items in REAPER is a big one. REAPER features a comprehensive range of editing techniques for managing the items within your projects. If you have worked with other audio software, you might find REAPER's ways a little strange at first. The first question you might have when you look at the screen is, 'Where are all the editing tools?' The answer is ' there aren't any! At least, there aren't many the first time that you use REAPER! But as you are about to see, that doesn't mean that REAPER isn't up to the job. You just get the wave editing features that you need, but without the screen clutter. What's more, you can create and add as many editing tools of your own as you like. We'll get to this in Chapter 15.

There are some basic concepts that you need to understand about REAPER's design philosophy and structure before learning individual editing techniques. For example:

Item Editing in REAPER is non-destructive. Edits made to items are unique per item and do not alter the content of the source file. You can experiment knowing that your original recorded files are safe.

Item Editing in REAPER basically consists of selecting an item, or a portion of an item (range), then doing something to it ' such as splitting it, deleting it, copying it or moving it.

Sometimes a number of steps might be required to achieve an editing task. If so, you can assign a single keyboard shortcut to the entire sequence. Just how to do this is covered in Chapter 15.

If you really miss having editing tools, then fear not. You can quite easily create your own tools and toolbars for this (or any other) purpose. This topic is covered in Chapter 15.

To a very large extent, you can customize REAPER's editing behavior thru the Editing settings within your Options, Preferences window. We'll get to this later in this section.

In a moment, we'll be working thru REAPER's many editing facilities and features. Before we do, don't forget that when you are editing you have available not only the Edit, Undo command but also the Undo History window (covered in Chapter 2). Remember that if you get into trouble, this Undo History window can be used to restore a project file to any earlier state. How to enable these various options is explained in Chapter 2.

7.3 REAPER's Smart Editing[edit]

REAPER's smart editing features enable you to do many of the most commonly required editing tasks quickly and easily. In this section, we will look at smart editing techniques for moving, copying and deleting media items, selections of media items and parts of media items. To use them, make sure that the option Loop Points Linked to Time Selection is disabled.

The table below shows REAPER's default behavior for various mouse actions. You can change any of these by selecting the context Media item and Left drag on the Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences.

To do this with the mouse ' You need to do this ' Move item or selection of items ignoring time selection Drag and drop.
Move item or selection of items ignoring snap and time selection Shift drag and drop.
Copy item or selection of items Ctrl drag and drop.
Copy item or selection of items ignoring snap Shift and Ctrl with drag and drop.
Move item contents (within item) Alt drag and drop.
Adjust item pitch fine Shift and Alt drag and drop.
Render item to new file Ctrl and Alt drag and drop.
Copy item, pooling MIDI source data Shift Ctrl and Alt drag and drop.

Shown right is an example of how you might change any of these. In this example, we are in the process of changing the default click and drag behavior from Move item ignoring time selection to Move item: just move. This will enable us to move any selected area of an item just by dragging and dropping it. You'll find more of that in Chapter 15.

Tip: If you accidentally move an item it can be restored to its original position by choosing Item processing then Move item to source preferred position from the media item right-click context menu.

7.4 Standard Windows Editing[edit]

Many of the basic editing tasks that you will be performing in REAPER involve the use of fairly intuitive standard Windows procedures for selecting and manipulating items. There are also some extra ones. Here is a summary.

Select Items

Select an item by clicking on the item.

Select multiple items by using Ctrl Click.

Select adjacent items by using Shift Click.

Select groups of items by right-clicking and dragging a marquee around the items. It is not necessary to marquee the whole of an item to select it (see above right). The marquee feature can, however, be made to behave differently by using any of a number of modifier key options (see Marquee Modifiers table below).

These techniques can be used in REAPER in several contexts ' for example, Ctrl Click and Marquee can also both be used to make multiple note selections in the MIDI Editor (see Chapter 13).

Split Items

Splitting items is used in several REAPER editing functions. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the following:

If no item is selected, pressing S will split items in all tracks at the edit cursor position.

If item(s) are selected, pressing S will split all selected item(s) at the edit cursor position.

If there is a time selection current, pressing Shift S will split all selected Item(s) at the beginning and end of the time selection.

If an item with any FX is split, then both the resulting items will contain the FX. This can be changed in your Options, Preferences, Media page by disabling the option Duplicate take FX when splitting items.

Heal Split Items

To reconnect media item that have previously been split:

Select the media items in the track.

Right click over any media item within the selection and from the menu choose Heal splits in items.

Heal is different from Glue. In short, heal restores items to their original state, whilst glue renders them to a new file. Glue will be discussed later in this chapter. Note also that if a number of previously split items each containing an FX chain are healed, then only the FX Chain of the first of the items is retained.

Cut/Copy Items

Apart from smart editing (see previous section) there are other ways to copy or cut items in REAPER. These are based on standard windows techniques

Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl C to copy or Ctrl X to cut any selected item(s) in its entirety. Note that if a time selection is current, Shift Ctrl C/Shift Ctrl X will copy/cut only that current time selection, not the whole item. You can use the Actions Editor (Chapter 15) to change this behavior if you wish.

Right-click on an item and select Copy items or Cut items from the menu.

Select an item, then select Edit, Copy items/tracks/envelope points ignoring time selection or Cut items/tracks/envelope points ignoring time selection from the menu.

Note: Copying MIDI Items in Arrange View: Special considerations that need to be taken into account when you are copying MIDI (rather than audio) items in arrange view. These are explained in Chapter 13.

Paste Items

Use Ctrl V to paste an item at the cursor position. If a track is selected, the item will be pasted into the selected track. If no track is selected, the item will be pasted into the last track that was selected in the TCP. If you give focus to the main arrange view window before pasting, a new track will be created.

Select a track and use Edit, Paste to paste the item at the current edit cursor position.

Copy or Cut Part of an Item

For those times when you prefer not to use smart editing you can use the Windows clipboard.

Select the item then make the time selection.

To copy or cut the selected area, first make sure that focus is on the main arrange view window, then to copy use Edit, Copy items/tracks/envelope points within time selection or right-click on the item and select Copy selected area of items from the menu, or press Ctrl C, or

To cut the selected area, use Cut items/tracks/envelope points within time selection or right-click on the selected area and select Cut selected area of items from the menu, or press Ctrl X.

Select a track in the TCP, position the cursor in arrange view and choose Edit, Paste from the menu.

Delete Items

Delete completely removes the item from the track. Note that it does not remove the media file from the project directory. There are several ways to delete items. Where an item has several takes, any of these actions will delete all takes, not just the active one. See Chapter 8 for how to deal with individual takes.

Use the Delete key to delete selected item/s.

Right-click on a selected item and select Remove items. This will delete any selected items.

Select Item, Remove items from the main menu.

Show Overlapping Items In Lanes

You might wish to place several overlapping media items on one track. If so, consider whether or not you wish to crossfade them. Crossfades can be applied manually, or automatically, by enabling the Auto Crossfade tool on the toolbar. Crossfade behavior can also be managed using the Crossfade Editor which will be examined later in this chapter. You might also wish to enable Show overlapping media items in lanes on the Options menu. The maximum number of lanes to be used can be set on the Appearance page of your Preferences.

Move Items: Special

Shortcut keys exist for moving items in ways that might be difficult to control with the mouse. For example:

Default Shortcut Key Purpose Num Pad 1 Slide item a little to the left
Num Pad 3 Slide item a little to the right
Num Pad 4 Move item a little to the left
Num Pad 6 Move item a little to the right
Num Pad 8 Move item up one track
Num Pad 2 Move item down one track

Note: This feature is often referred to as 'nudge'. With REAPER, nudging is relative to the screen display. For example, if you are zoomed in very closely on an item, then nudging left or right will move or slide it backward or forward thru a much smaller unit of time than if the view was zoomed out to the full project.

Tip: Double click on a track's index number in the Track Control Panel to select all the items in that track.

Marquee Modifiers

Modifier keys exist for changing the marquee behavior when you right-click and drag. By default, these are:

Modifier Key(s) Purpose Right-click drag (no modifier) Marquee select items.
Shift Right click-drag Marquee add to item selection.
Ctrl Right click-drag Marquee toggle item selection
Alt Right click-drag Marquee select items and time
Shift Alt Right click-drag Marquee select items and time ignoring snap.

You can change any of these modifiers and/or add others of your own choosing, using the Mouse Modifiers page of your REAPER Preferences. More information about how to do this is given in Chapter 15.

7.5 Editing Behavior Preferences[edit]

Familiarise yourself with REAPER's main editing behavior preferences and how they work. If you do, you will find life getting a lot easier! They are displayed on the Editing Behavior page of the Preferences window. These are explained in Chapter 22, but in short, some of the most useful of these include:

Whether to move the edit cursor when performing various actions ' e.g. changing time selection or inserting media.

Whether by default to link loop points to time selection.

Which focus point to use as the center when zooming horizontally and vertically. These two important options put you in control of REAPER's zoom behavior. Selecting mouse cursor allows you to simply point and zoom with the mousewheel.

The option whether to move the edit cursor when selecting a media item is no longer on this page, but can now be set using the Media item left click context on the mouse modifiers page. The default behavior for this is Select item and move edit cursor but this can be changed to just Select item.

7.6 Separating Loop Selection From Time Selection[edit]

The setting Link loop points to time selection (on your Preferences, Editing Behavior page) determines whether by default the loop points are linked to your time selection. When linked, this means that when you select a time area other than that currently selected, the loop selection changes with it. At any time you can override the default behavior by using the toggle command Loop points linked to time selection on REAPER's main Options menu. Even when this option is disabled (i.e. not ticked), you can still use the Alt key while you click and drag along the timeline to set both the time selection and the loop selection together.

Example

For this example we will be assuming that Loop points linked to time selection has been turned off.

In this first example, we have dragged along the timeline to create a loop.

Now we have dragged within the track area, just below the media item.

A new time selection is made within the loop area, but the original loop selection remains.

Next, we have right-clicked over the area and chosen Split items at time selection from the menu. We now have a separate item (for example, to be muted, or to which we could add FX), but the original loop area is still selected.

Here we have added FX to the newly split item. We could now make a different time selection, which we could also edit as required.

Notice that we can carry on working with different times selections, but our original loop area remains intact. You can play this looped area over and over again while working on different time selections within it.

7.7 Snapping with Combined Snap/Grid Settings[edit]

You have already learnt (Chapter 5) how to define grid settings. These determine whether or not a grid is displayed in your track area, and if so how that grid appears. The Snap/Grid Settings window (shown below) can also be used if you wish to ensure that various actions (including time or loop selection) and/or items are automatically snapped into position according to your settings. This, for example, might be to the nearest beat.

The Snap/Grid Settings dialog box is accessed by choosing the Options, Snap/Grid Settings command, or by the keyboard shortcut Alt L, or by right clicking on the Grid button on the REAPER toolbar. The keyboard shortcut Alt S is used to toggle the Snap feature on and off.

Grid snapping can be applied in a number of ways, including: Swing grid: Option to use swing grid, adjusting all or only selected items when changing swing. There is also an option to Use the same grid division in arrange view and MIDI editor. For more information about swing, see Chapter 13.

Cursor: Can optionally be snapped. Media Items: at start, start and the end, or current mouse position. Option to Snap media items to nearby media items. Options to Snap automation items to automation items or media items. Cursor to edge of media items on any track: Good for navigating to item start, end, splits, etc. Snap to project sample rate: Enables items to be snapped to items samples, cursor, markers, loop points and envelope points to snap to samples. Notice the Snap Distance settings. These enable your snapping to be more flexible. For example, you might set your grid spacing at, say 50 pixels, specify snap distance of, say, 5 pixels and turn off the option to Snap to grid at any distance. This will ensure that snapping to grid will occur only when you click the mouse within 5 pixels of one of the grid lines. Otherwise, the cursor will be positioned at the exact place where the mouse is clicked. Notice that you also have the option to make snapping Relative to Grid.

7.8 Snapping with Separate Snap and Grid Settings[edit]

In the above examples, REAPER was set up to use the same set of snap parameters for grid display as was used for snapping. In other words, the snapping would take place to the nearest grid position.

Let's now see what we can do if we disable the option Grid snap settings follow grid visibility.

We have also changed the minimum pixels setting for grid line spacing, in this case to 20 pixels, whilst still specifying (at the point where the cursor is shown on the screen shot) a grid snap spacing of one sixteenth beats.

This produces a less cluttered display on the screen. Provided you have zoomed into your project sufficiently, gridlines will be shown for every quarter beat but snapping will take place between as well as on the gridlines, at every sixteenth beat.

Notice also the Media items snap to option. This can be set to Snap both start/end, Only snap at start/snap offset or Mouse position dependent (that is, at whichever position the mouse is nearer at the time, the start or the end).

Tip: When snapping is enabled, this can be over ridden when selecting a loop along the timeline by holding down the Ctrl key while you make the selection.

7.9 Trim Behind When Editing[edit]

The toggle command Options, Trim content behind media items when editing can be used to ensure that existing material is effectively replaced by new material which as a result of some editing action is placed over it. This option is also available by right-clicking on the Auto Crossfade icon on the main toolbar.

The easiest way to understand what this feature does is to look at an example of what happens when you move one item onto another with 'trim behind' disabled and enabled. In this example, we are assuming that auto-crossfade has been turned off.

Let's first recall how REAPER behaves with trim behind disabled (the default setting).

  1. Shown here are two guitar tracks.
  2. We drag and drop the item from the second track over the top of the first.
  3. If we now enable free item positioning on the track and increase the track height, by dragging the item on top below the original media item, we can see that both the original and the new item are now stored in this track.

Let's now see what happens if we repeat this exercise, but this time with the option Trim content behind media items when editing enabled.

Steps one and two would appear to be the same as before. But look what now happens at step 3:

This time, when we allow free item positioning and drag the new item down, there is nothing behind it! The original item has been replaced with the new one.

This example has been included only as an illustration and an example. It does not mean that you have to make use of free item positioning if you wish to work with 'trim behind' enabled.

7.10 Item Take FX[edit]

REAPER allows you to apply FX not only to individual tracks but also to individual media item takes within a track. Suppose, for example, that you wish to add an effect (such as reverb or delay) to just part of a track. You can split the track media into several items and apply the effect only to those items where it is wanted. If you have selected the option to display the Per take FX and No FX item icons (Options, Preferences, Appearance, Media) you can click on any item take's FX button to open its FX window. This topic will be explained in more detail later in this chapter. Otherwise you can select a media item and use the default keyboard shortcut Shift E.

To add a plug-in to a media item:

Select the Media Item.

Click on the FX button or press Shift E to open the Item FX Chain. The Add FX to Item window will be displayed.

Double-click on the Plug-In.

Adjust the parameters. then close the FX Window. If you now hover the mouse over the item's FX button, you will see a tool-tip showing the FX chain.

If you find this method too 'fussy' then try this. You can simply drag and drop any FX from the FX Browser window straight on to any media item. You can drop the FX anywhere on the item. When FX have been added to an item, then the FX names will be displayed in arrange view together with the item name (see above).

Important note: Where an item has more than one take, be careful to make sure you have selected the correct required take before opening the item FX chain. This is because FX are assigned to individual takes.

Tip: You can also add recently used FX to an item, or open an existing effect for editing, by right-clicking over the item's FX button to display a context menu (see above).

Managing Item FX ' Summary Table

To do this ' You need to do this ' Add a plug-in to an item's FX chain Press Shift E to open the item's FX window. You can then add FX in the usual way.
Delete an item's FX chain altogether Select the first item in the chain then hold Shift while selecting the last item. This will cause all items in the FX chain to be selected. Then press Delete.
Copy an FX to another item Ctrl drag and drop the FX from an item's FX chain to the other item. If the FX button is visible, Ctrl drag and drop from the FX button to the destination item to copy the entire FX chain.
Move an FX from one item to another Hold Alt while dragging and dropping the FX

Shown here are the settings which determine if and how the various buttons are displayed for individual media items. We'll return to this in detail later in this chapter, but for now just notice that available item icons (buttons) include its lock and mute status, its FX chain, its notes and properties.

If you enable the option Draw labels above the item rather than within the item then the buttons will be displayed (with the item name) above the item. You can, however, also specify as an exception that When media item height is less than label height the label should be moved to inside the media item. If you disable these options, the labels (if displayed) will always be superimposed on the media item itself.

7.11 The Nudge/Set Items Window[edit]

The Nudge/set items window can be opened from the media items right-click context menu. You can use the Actions List editor to assign this action to a keyboard shortcut, or the Customize Menus/Toolbars editor to assign it to a toolbar. The use of both the Actions List editor and the Customize Menus/Toolbars editor is covered in Chapter 15.

Once opened, this window stays open until you close it. You can select any item (or a number of items) and use this window to nudge or set a position. Exactly how this behaves will at times depend on your other settings (for example, snap settings, and whether or not the item is loop enabled). The main options and parameters in this window are described in the table below, moving from left to right.

Item Explanation Action Choose Nudge or Set. Which of these you choose will determine how REAPER will interpret the Unit information. If you choose Nudge, the item will be moved according to the unit specified by the amount specified. In the example shown above, the item position would be moved 10 ms to the left or right (depending on which Nudge button is clicked. If you choose Set, the item will be moved to the position specified. Determines exactly what will be nudged or set. Your choices are: Position Whole item: the whole item will be physically moved Left Trim The item is trimmed from the left Left Edge The left edge is moved Right Edge The right edge is moved Contents The item itself remains static, its contents are moved within it Duplicate Creates duplicate item(s) Edit Cursor Moves edit cursor Whether the movement is left or right will depend on which button is clicked. If Duplicate and Nudge are selected, you will be able to specify number of copies.
Nudge/Set Definition

Determines exactly what will be nudged or set. Your choices are: Position Whole item:

  • the whole item will be physically moved
  • Left Trim The item is trimmed from the left
  • Left Edge The left edge is moved
  • Right Edge The right edge is moved
  • Contents The item itself remains static, its contents are moved within it
  • Duplicate Creates duplicate item(s)
  • Edit Cursor Moves edit cursor Whether the movement is left or right will depend on which button is clicked. If Duplicate and Nudge are selected, you will be able to specify number of copies.
Unit Value Determines the number of units by which the item will be nudged. This information needs to be interpreted together with the Unit Type selection. In the example shown above, the unit type is milliseconds and the unit value is 10.
Unit Type Options include milliseconds, seconds, grid units, measures/beats, samples, frames, pixels, item lengths, item selections and notes. If notes is selected, an additional drop down list offering various fractions of a note (from 1/256 to whole) is also displayed.
Snap to Unit Whether to enable or disable snapping.
Nudge Left Nudge Right These buttons are displayed only if Nudge is selected. They determine whether to nudge the item(s) to the left or to the right.
Get Cursor Apply Move These buttons are only displayed when Set is selected. Get Cursor returns the current cursor position and writes it in the 'to:' box. Apply Move moves the item according to the various options and settings, including the position specified in the 'to:' box.

7.12 Media Item Properties[edit]

All media items have a page of property settings which help determine the behavior of that item. Often, editing in REAPER consists of selecting an existing item (or creating a new one) and then changing its properties.

To display an item's properties, select it then press F2, or right click and choose Item Properties, or click on its properties button (if visible). For audio (but not MIDI) items, you can also double-click on the item to do this. The Media Item Properties box will stay open until you close it. If you leave it open, its contents will reflect the properties of whichever item or items is/are currently selected at any time.

You don't need to understand every single one of these properties before you get started, just to know where this information is accessed and changed. The main properties contained within this dialog box are:

  • Position: entering a precise figure here will move the start of this media item to that position.
  • Length of media item (Position and Length can be shown in time, beats or HMSF).
  • Fade In and Fade Out: you can define both the length and the shape of these.
  • Snap offset: The amount of offset from the default snap position if snapping is enabled.
  • Item timebase: Defaults to project timebase but can be changed (time, beats, etc.).
  • Item mix: Effectively whether to replace or mix when an item is placed over another. Defaults to project default.
  • Loop source: whether item is a loop.
  • Mute status: whether or not the item is muted.
  • Item lock status: whether or not the item is locked.
  • Whether or not to apply autofades at item start and end.
  • Whether or not to play all takes. Obviously, this only applies where two or more takes exist.
  • Active take file name.
  • Active take name. By default REAPER will use the media item file name, but you can change this.
  • Pitch adjustment.
  • Start in source: sets start time.
  • Playback rate. For example, type x2 to double the playback rate of all items currently selected.
  • Whether to preserve item pitch when the playback rate is changed.
  • Adjust Volume and Pan, Normalize.
  • Channel mode: this is discussed shortly.
  • Whether to invert phase.
  • Add or remove Take envelopes.
  • Which algorithm is to be used for pitch shift and time stretch.
  • Stretch marker default fade size and whether to optimize for tonal content.
  • The option to use only a section of the media item.
  • Options to reverse the item.
  • Examine the media item source file's properties.
  • Choose a new file to replace the existing source file.
  • Rename the source file.
  • Access the Nudge/Set dialog box for this item.
  • Open the Take FX Chain window for this take/item.

After making any changes, use the Apply button to apply them and leave the window open, or OK to apply them and close the window, or Cancel to close the window without applying changes. There is also an option (right-click on title bar) to Apply changes after 2 seconds of inactivity that you can enable if you wish.

Some of these options ' such as Loop Source and Channel Mode ' are also available on the Item Settings menu. In addition, for many of them Keyboard Shortcuts either already exist or can be defined. You will be shown how to create your own keyboard shortcuts in Chapter 15 when we examine the Actions List Editor.

Tip: To change a property (e.g. playback rate) of several items at once, simply select all of the items then, with the Media Properties window open, make whatever changes you require.

7.13 Media Item Icons[edit]

For several of the settings in the Item Properties dialog box there are icons (buttons) available that can be used as a quick way of accessing these commonly used features. The display of buttons is turned on and off in the Appearance, Media page of the Preferences settings.

The icons are listed in two rows. Ticking options in the first row means that the icons will be displayed only when the item has been enabled (by a keyboard shortcut, the menu, or the Item Properties dialog box). Ticking options in the second row means that the icons will be displayed whether the feature is enabled or not.

For example, if you tick the Mute option in the first row but not the Not muted option in the second, then the mute button will be displayed only when the item is muted. The button indicates the track's mute status and can also be used to unmute it.

If you choose to tick this item in both rows then the mute button will always be displayed (provided there is sufficient room) on all media items, and can be used as a toggle.

Enabling Properties (resampled only) means that this button will only be displayed if an item is resampled.

In the example shown (left) we have two media items, both with lock status, notes, mute and FX buttons displayed. The first item is muted and the second item is locked.

Whether your icons are displayed above the media items or superimposed upon the media items will depend on your preference setting (on the same preferences page) for the option Draw labels above item rather than within item. Note that even if you have this option enabled, it will only be applied if there is sufficient track height. You'll find more information about other settings on this Appearance, Media page in Chapter 22.

7.14 Item Notes[edit]

The Notes button (or the Item settings, Item notes ' command from the right-click menu) can be used to open a text box that can be used to enter any text notes for that item. When notes have been entered, a small Notes icon will appear on the item. Hovering the mouse over this icon will cause the notes to be displayed as a tool tip. Click on the icon to open and edit the Notes window.

Within the Notes window, click on the Load button to load any .PNG or .JPG image file. The option Use as item background can be selected to display that image with the icon. Optionally, you may also choose to Stretch to fit item. An example of a media item displaying an image is shown here. Icons can also be inserted into media items by dragging and dropping from Explorer/Finder.

7.15 Coloring Individual Items[edit]

You can change the colors of individual media items (or selections of media items) by first selecting the items and then displaying their context menu and choosing Item and take colors, then Set items to custom color or Set items to random colors or Set items to one random color. Various options to tint media item waveform peaks and/or backgrounds with Item colors can be found on the Appearance, Peaks/Waveforms page of your preferences (see above).

Some themes (including the default) disable user control of these options, in which case you will not be able to change them. One way to make these options available would be to use a different theme (see Chapter 11).

Examples

In the example below, our vocal track is split into several individual items. Suppose that these include two verses and two choruses, and that we wish to easily identify the choruses. We can select the chorus items, then right-click over any item in the selection and choose Item and take colors, Set items to custom color from the menu. (These commands are also available on the main Edit menu). We can then select any color we wish from the Colors dialog box and click on OK. These items are now shown in the selected color.

Other similar commands include Set items to random color and Set items to one random color. To remove a custom color, choose Set items to default color.

7.16 Adjusting Item Volume[edit]

Besides using envelopes (which we'll get to in Chapter 18) there are three main methods available to adjust the volume of individual media items. They are:

  • Using either the item volume handle or the item volume knob.
  • Using the volume fader in the Item Properties box.
  • Normalization.

7.16.1 The Item Volume Knob/Item Volume Handle[edit]

The Appearance, Media page of your Preferences settings includes the option to use either an Item volume knob or Top edge of media item (item volume handle) as a quick and easy way to adjust the volume of individual media items.

The Item volume knob is shown here (right). Click and drag on this, up or down to increase or decrease item volume. Double-click to reset to 0.0dB. To adjust several items at once, select the required items then adjust the knob on any one within the selection.

The Item volume handle is a horizontal bar that sits across the top of each of your media items. Initially it will not be visible until you hover your mouse over the top of the media item to reveal a double headed vertical arrow. You can click and drag with your mouse down to lower the volume level (see first illustration). To pick up the handle from the top of the media and increase the volume from there, hold down the Shift key while dragging (see second illustration).

Use the Control key while adjusting either the item volume knob or handle for fine adjustments.

Tip: If you want the item volume handle when set to 0.0 dB to appear half way up your media items (rather than at the top edge), choose the Options, Preferences command, then on the Media page set Media item adjustment range to -inf...+6 dB.

7.16.2 The Volume and Pan Faders[edit]

The Item Properties dialog box includes two horizontal faders (Volume and Pan) to the left of the normalize button. These can be used to raise or lower an item's volume and adjust panning. After setting the level, click on Apply to apply it to the item. This method is useful especially if you are making adjustments to both volume and pan settings together, or if you do not wish the item volume handle to be displayed.

7.16.3 Normalizing Items[edit]

The term normalizing refers to adjusting the volume of an item (or selection of items) to a standard level. This can be especially useful if some of your tracks have perhaps been recorded at too low a level. To do this:

  1. Select any item (or group of items) to be normalized.
  2. Right click over the selection.
  3. Choose Item processing then either Normalize items or Normalize items (common gain) from the menu.

Use the common gain option if you want the level on all items to be raised by the same amount, or relative to each other. This will be the amount by which the loudest of the items can be increased without clipping.

If you want every selected item to be normalised independently do not select the common gain option. This can be expected to result in a greater increase in volume for some items than if common gain had been selected. Any individual item can also be normalised by clicking the Normalize button inside the Item Properties dialog box. This is especially useful if you need to make changes to other item properties while you are normalizing.

7.17 Changing Item Channel Mode[edit]

Right clicking over any Media Item and choosing Item settings from the context menu causes a sub-menu to be displayed. Notice in particular that for stereo media items, you have a number of channel mode options (also available in the Item Properties dialog box). These include:

Normal: maintains or returns the stereo item to its original channel state.

Reverse Stereo: swaps left and right channels.

Mono (Downmix): combines both left and right channels into a single mono channel.

Mono (Left): produces a single mono channel using only the output from the original left channel only.

Mono (Right): produces a single mono channel using only the output from the original right channel only.

For multichannel items (see Chapter 3) you have also the option of mixing down in mono or stereo to channels other than 1 and 2.

Examples

Some examples are illustrated below. Note that these changes are non-destructive. You can switch an item between these different states as often as you wish. For example, to convert a stereo media item to two mono items quickly and easily, you can simply duplicate it, then set one to Mono (left) and the other to Mono (right)

Mode: Normal

Mode: Reverse Stereo

Mode: Mono (Downmix) (i.e. mixed to as single mono track)

7.18 Take Source Properties[edit]

The Take media source section of the Media Item Properties dialog box can be used to view the properties of the currently selected take, or to change or rename its source file. Where the media item consists of only one take, then the terms 'take media source' and 'item media source' become synonymous To change the media item contents click on Choose New File, or to rename it use the Rename File option.

You can click on the Properties button to display information about the format of the original Audio file or MIDI recording which is the source of the item. In the case of MIDI items, you can also modify some properties, such as restricting which channels are played. Examples are shown below:

7.19 REAPER Editing and Auditioning Example[edit]

Most new users of any digital audio software struggle with editing at first, especially if they are used to another program which uses different techniques. The best way to understand what's going on is to work thru some examples. These examples assume that you have the option to Link loop points to time selection enabled.

Open the file All Through The Night.RPP. Use the File, Save Project As command to save it as All Through The Night EDITS.RPP.

The examples that follow are designed to help you to learn and understand the use of REAPER. They are not intended to cover every possible feature ' you can explore these for yourself ' nor is it suggested that they represent a particularly good arrangement of this song.

By way of preparation, set pan the two guitar tracks 33% left and 33% right respectively.

  1. We are going to make a copy of the Bouzouki track and then play around with the sound. In the Track Control Panel, right click over the Track name or number for this track, then from the menu choose Duplicate tracks.
  2. Change the name of this new track to Bouzouki Copy. Press Ctrl S to resave the Project File.
  3. In the Track Control Panel, click on the track number for the first Bouzouki Track then hold the Ctrl key and click on the track number for the second track. Both tracks are now selected.
  4. Click on the Solo button for either track to solo both.
  5. With both tracks still selected, use the mouse to lower the volume fader on either track to around '7dB ' both tracks will be lowered. As you get near to the '7dB mark, hold the Ctrl key down for more precise movement.
  6. Holding down the Shift key, move the Pan fader for the first Bouzouki Track to around 55% left, and, again holding the Shift key, move the Pan fader for the second Bouzouki track to around 55% right.
  7. Right click over the Media item for the second Bouzouki Track. Choose Item properties from the menu. Change Start in Source to - 0:00.007. Click on Apply then OK. This causes this item to be nudged 7 milliseconds to the right. This adds a very small delay effect to make the instrument sound fuller.
  8. Press Ctrl S. Play the Song.
  9. While it plays, hold down Ctrl and click on the Solo button for either of the Bouzouki tracks. This clears both the Solos.
  10. Right click just beneath the Track Control Panel area and choose Show master track.
  11. Adjust panning and volume for the various tracks to get a reasonable mix. You might end up with something similar to that shown above. Press Ctrl S.
  12. In the example shown, you might be happy with the overall balance between the different tracks, yet the overall volume of the Master might be just a tad too loud in parts.
  13. Open the FX bin for the Master and insert into it the JS/Utility Limiter. Set the maximum volume of the limiter to '0.5. Close the FX window, and make sure the Volume Fader for the Master is set to 0dB. You can now play the song without clipping.
  14. Notice there is an extended period at the end of the song that we might wish to remove. Position the Play Cursor at around the position shown (right). Make sure that no track is selected, then press the letter S to split all tracks at the cursor mark.
  15. Note that whereas before each track consisted of one item, each now has two items. The items (to the right) that you have just created by splitting should still be selected (as shown here). If they are not, right-click and drag over them to marquee (select) them.
  16. Press Delete to remove these items. Press Ctrl S to save.
  17. Now we're going to mute part of an item. We first need to make a separate item containing just the area to be muted.
  18. Select the media item for the Vox track. Position the Edit Cursor round about the 56 second mark.
  19. Press the ~ key (Shift `) to maximise the current track. Press Ctrl Alt Up or Ctrl Alt Down until the Vox track is displayed. At this level of magnification you can see that some unwanted sounds have been recorded during a passage when the singer is not singing. As likely as not, this is probably headphone bleed. We're going to get rid of it.
  20. If you want to hear it first, you can Solo that track and play it. Don't forget to Unsolo when finished.
  21. View the Big Clock. With the edit cursor near the 56 second mark, repeatedly press the + key, until the area we want to deal with occupies a large part of the screen.
  22. Click once on the media item to select it.
  23. Click and drag just below the timeline to select the region that we wish to work with (see below).
  24. Right click over the media item and choose the command Split items at time selection. This creates a new item, and this new item is still selected. Press Esc to clear the time selection.
  25. If the item's mute button is visible, click it. Otherwise, right click on this new item and choose Item settings then Mute.
  26. Press the ~ key to return the whole of your song to the display. Adjust track heights as you wish.
  27. Play the song. Notice that the Vox track is now muted during the passage that we have been working on.
  28. Press Ctrl S to save. We'll be returning to this example shortly.

7.20 Editing Multiple Media Items[edit]

You can use REAPER's various item editing and manipulation techniques (including smart editing) on selections of multiple items. Just make your item selection and then carry out the required action (delete or move, etc).

  1. You can do this with more than one adjacent track at a time by using the marquee method (right-click and drag) when making a selection.
  2. You can also do this for media items in non-adjacent tracks. Make the time selection, then select the first item, then hold Ctrl while you click on each of the other items. In the first picture (right), tracks 1 and 4 have had an area selected in this way. In the second screen shot (below), the same selected area has been cut from both media items.

This is an example of where you may wish to customize REAPER's mouse settings to change its default behavior. For example, you might wish to ensure that even when multiple items are selected, only the one item is edited. This can be done on the Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences window, a topic covered in Chapter 15.

7.21 Slip Editing[edit]

You can slip-edit unwanted passages from the start or end of a media item by following this sequence:

Hover your mouse over the lower part of an item's left or right edge so that the mouse appears as a double headed horizontal arrow with a square bracket (as shown right). The direction faced by the bracket will depend on whether you are at the start of the item or the end.

Click and drag to the right or left (as appropriate), then release the mouse.

Slip Editing Multiple Items

To slip edit several items in different tracks, simply select all the media items required (for example, hold the Ctrl key while clicking in turn on each item, or use the marquee method), then slip edit any item in the selection. The change will be applied to all items in the selection (see left).

This is another example of where you may wish to customize REAPER's mouse settings to change its default behavior. For example, you might wish to ensure that even when multiple items are selected, only the one item is slip edited. This can be done on the Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences window. This topic is covered in Chapter 15.

Take care when slip-editing adjacent items, especially when they are touching each other. If you click and drag on one of the items so as to create a space between the two, then slip editing will take place in the usual way. However, if you slip edit in such a way as to overlap the items, you will create a crossfade. Both items will be heard when the overlapping portion is played.

This is illustrated here, where the end of the first (further left) of the two adjacent items has been slip-edited to the right, overlapping the other item. This behavior can be modified in two ways. Disabling auto-crosssfade (on the toolbar) will stop the crossfade, but both items will still be heard. Enabling Trim content behind media items when editing (Options menu) will ensure that only the slip-edited item (the item on top) will be heard during the overlap.

Another technique is to use slip-editing to move the boundary between two adjacent items (perhaps when an original item has been split). Select both items and hover your mouse over the boundary between the items to see the symbol shown here. You can then click and drag left or right to move the boundary.

7.22 Adjusting Fades[edit]

If you select any item in a track and zoom in close enough, you will see that there is a fadeout curve at the end of that item. You can change both the shape and duration of this curve, either using the mouse, or thru the Item Properties dialog box.

  1. Select the rightmost item on one or more tracks. In the example shown (right) two tracks have been selected. In this example the items selected are vertically aligned: this does not need to be the case.
  2. Hover your mouse over the vertical white line that marks the start of the fade. The mouse changes to display a curved shape.
  3. Click and hold down the mouse button. Drag left to increase the length of the fadeout (see below left) then release the mouse. Notice that the fadeout curve is now more gradual. If you were to slip edit any or all of these items, the fadeout would keep its shape and duration ' it would just begin sooner.
  4. Make sure that your media items are still selected.
  5. Right-click over the vertical line that marks the start of the fadeout. A menu of different fade curves will be displayed (see right). You can select any of these.

If you prefer, instead of using your mouse, you can press F2 (with the items selected) to display the Items Properties dialog box. You can make your changes there.

Notice that your REAPER Options, Preferences dialog box includes an area on the Project Media Item Defaults screen where you can specify default fade and crossfade length, overlap, and shape characteristics. See Chapter 22 for further information.

In addition, the Preferences Mouse Modifiers page gives you additional functionality by using modifier keys with your mouse when working with fades and crossfades.

For example, holding Shift while dragging the mouse left or right will move a crossfade left or right. Other default settings are shown here, but you can change them. For information about customizing your mouse modifiers, see Chapter 15.

7.23 Crossfades and the Crossfade Editor[edit]

Typically a crossfade might be used to transition gradually from one media item on a track to another. In the example shown (right), two media items overlap each other with a crossfade. Alt X toggles on and off auto crossfade mode. When enabled, this ensures that dragging the start of one media item over the end of another will automatically create a crossfade. Default crossfade parameters (including fade and crossfade shapes) are set in the Media Item Defaults page of REAPER's preferences.

Various crossfade elements (such as shape, start and finish) can be edited with your mouse in much the same way as you might edit a simple fade. In many cases this might be all you need to do. However, if you need it the Crossfade Editor gives you more precise control over the shape and sound of the crossfade. The Crossfade Editor is opened using the View, Crossfade Editor command, or by double-clicking on a crossfade.

Below you can see the same crossfade as before, with the crossfade editor open. The crossfade area has been selected (by click anywhere on the crossfade curve). The crossfade editor displays the fade parameter information for the selected media items.

It might help to use a copy of your project at first, until you become familiar with how the controls work. The following should help you to understand the controls and options and how they can be used:

The fader units (top right) can be set to your preference, either time (seconds) or beats.

Any of the seven shapes shown can be selected for fade out, fade in, or both. After choosing a shape, you can use the mouse directly on the crossfaded media items. Drag left/right on either curve to adjust the fade itself, or at the intersection to move just the point where the fades cross. The dialog box controls can also be used to edit the fades and crossfade (see points below).

Mouse modifiers can be used to customize mouse behavior (see next page).

Optionally, you can select Equal gain or Equal power. Equal gain settings include linear fades (the top shape). Equal power includes logarithmic fades (second from top). Equal gain might be preferred when both items contain similar material. Equal power might be chosen when the crossfade is between two different types of sound or different instruments.

Adjustable parameters are curve, center of crossfade, start and end locations of fade-out and fade-in, length, position of contents (the crossfade media items), and volume of fades. Most of these are self-explanatory. The curve setting will adjust the shape of the left, right or (if linked) both curves. Depending on other settings, this may cause the fades' intercept point to move left or right. Note also that when adjusting the length you can specify which position should be preserved ' center, start, or end. The contents rotary can be used to move either of the media items left or right. The volume control can be used to adjust the volume of the crossfaded items.

Parameter values can also be typed directly into the edit boxes.

Left/right values of the different parameters can be linked or mirrored. Except for start and end, link and mirror are mutually exclusive options. For example, if shape is linked then changing the shape of either fade will cause both to be changed in the same way. If mirrored, selecting a shape for one fade will cause an opposite shape (if one is available) to be applied to the other fade. If start and end are linked and mirrored, then adjusting either of these controls will change the crossfade start and end length equally, keeping the center point constant. If length is linked, adjusting the length of either fade will change the length of both fades equally. If mirrored, lengthening one fade will cause the other to be shortened by an equal amount. If contents are linked, that control will move both media items left or right together. If mirrored, it will move them in opposite directions. If volume is linked, then adjusting either control will raise or lower the volume of both items together. If mirrored, then raising the volume on one side will lower it on the other.

You can choose whether your edits should apply to all grouped items.

You can set the position of audition points before and after the crossfade. Enabling audition will cause the crossfaded area (together with the pre-roll and post-roll) to be looped when play on the mini toolbar is engaged. Any other existing loop settings in the project will be retained.

There are also options to solo the track and mute either left or right side of the crossfade.

Right-click over the Crossfade Editor for a context menu.

The mini toolbar at the foot of the window can be used to play, pause and stop playback, and enable/disable loop audition.

Previous and Next select the previous or next crossfade.

The + button (top) can be used to save the current crossfade editor settings as a Preset. Optionally, you can include crossfade length within the preset. Saved presets can be recalled from the drop down list to the left of this button.

If several crossfades are selected, the crossfade editor will by default apply its settings to the entire selection. For mouse edits, this can be changed in your mouse modifiers.

Fade/Crossfade Mouse Modifiers and Actions

Both media item fade intersection and fade/autocrossfade mouse modifiers (right) can be defined separately for left click, left drag and double click actions. In many cases the left drag modifiers are likely to be of most interest.

These modifiers can be used when working with fades or crossfades, e.g., to enable or disable various options, (such as whether to ignore snap and/or selection/grouping, and whether to stretch items) or to assign actions (such as adjusting the fade curve). There are also options which enable you to adjust the fade curve with the mouse.

Left click and double click modifiers can be used to apply any of a number of additional fade intersection or auto crossfade actions from REAPER's Actions list. These include actions to change fade/crossfade shapes, to adjust curves horizontally only or both horizontally and vertically, and to adjust fade curves in various ways. Search the actions editor to see the full list. For more general information about using both mouse modifiers and the actions list see Chapter 15.

Note also that the Appearance, Fades/Crossfades page of your Preferences includes various options which determine how and when fade/crossfade edit handles are displayed (see Chapter 22).


7.24 Grouping Items[edit]

Provided that Grouping is enabled Options, Item Grouping Enabled command, or Alt Shift G ' items can be grouped together to facilitate working with them. For example, you can move them together, set them all to a common color, mute and unmute them, and so on).

Select the items and use G to add them to a group. If you prefer, you can use the Item grouping button on the REAPER toolbar to toggle grouping on and off.

In the example shown below, three of the six items have been grouped. For grouped items a Grouped icon will be displayed if this has been enabled in Preferences, Appearance, Media. Even when this preference is disabled, you will see a thin colored bar above and below all items that have been grouped (see right).

Further items can be added to a group. Select any item in the group, then press Ctrl G to select the entire group. Hold the Ctrl key while you click on those items that you wish to add to the group, then release Ctrl and press G. Note that U removes a selected item from a group. You can also use the Group commands on the right click item menu to manage groups.

Example

Here is a simple example, using the file All Through The Night EDITS.RPP and save it as All Through The Night GROUP ITEMS.RPP

  1. Select the Vox track, and use the editing techniques that you have already learnt to cut this track into several media items, so that it resembles that shown above. There are a number of ways you can do this ' one is to position the cursor at the point that you want to split, then select the item, then press S. Repeat this as often as necessary. To remove unwanted items, select them and press Delete.
  2. Check your Options menu to ensure that Item Grouping is enabled. If it isn't, turn it on. Notice that by default, the keyboard shortcut Alt Shift G can be used to toggle Item Grouping on and off.
  3. Select the second of the items in the Vox track. Hold down the Ctrl key while you select in turn the fourth and last items for this track.
  4. Press G to bind them into a group. Select any item in the group and press Ctrl G to select them all.
  5. If item icons are visible, click on the Mute button for any item in the group. Otherwise, right-click and choose Item Settings, Mute from the menu. Repeat this to unmute them.
  6. With all items in the group still selected, right-click on any of them and choose Item and take colors then Set items to custom color. Select a color and press Enter.
  7. Now select the first of the items drag and drop to the right a little. All items in the group will move together. Press Ctrl Z to undo this.
  8. Now click on any other media item not in the group. This deselects the group. Save the file.
  9. Click again on any item in the group and press Ctrl G. Again, all group items are selected.
  10. Press U. These items are now ungrouped. Save the file.

7.25 Storing and Recalling Item Groups[edit]

Different groups of items can be saved and recalled using the Item Groups tab of REAPER's Project Bay. The Project Bay will be explored in more detail in Chapter 12. For now, notice that you can open it using the View, Project Media/FX Bay command, and then select the Item Groups tab. To create and save multiple groups, simply use this method:

Open the Project Bay and select the Item Groups tab.

Select the items for your first group then right click over one of them and choose Group then Group items from the menu. A group will automatically be created in the Project Bay. You can right click over the group name and choose Rename group to give it your own name.

Repeat this step to create subsequent groups. The example here shows a project with two item groups.

To select all items in a group, you can now right click over its group name in the project bay and choose Select group from the menu. To remove a group, use the Delete group, keep items command on the same menu.

Tip: To adjust the volume of all items in a selected group, hold Ctrl and Alt while adjusting the item volume button or item volume handle of any one of the items in that group.

7.26 Glue Selected Items[edit]

When you have a number of items in a track that you wish to permanently treat as one, you should consider using the Glue items command. When you glue items, they become one and a new media item is created. For example, two MIDI items glued together will automatically and always open together in the same MIDI Editor window. Two audio items glued together will now share one common set of Item properties. Items that have been glued together can be later split up any way you wish. This can be useful if you later realise that you need to adjust one or more properties of a portion of a glued item. To glue together a number of adjacent items in a track, follow this procedure:

  1. Select all of the items that you wish to glue. The easiest way to do this is probably to right click and drag the mouse across the items.
  2. Right click over any item in the selection and choose Glue items from the context menu.

Example

In the example shown below, a track is made up of six separate media items (as in the exercise above). By positioning the mouse initially over the first item, then right clicking and dragging to the last item before releasing the mouse, we ensure that all items are selected.

We then right click over any of these items (where the mouse is shown above) and choose Glue selected items from the menu. As a result, the items are joined into one, as shown below.

One application for gluing items is to join several items together into a new loop source. You'll learn more about working with loops in Chapter 9. Another use for glue is to render an item, for example, incorporating item gain and item take FX into the new media item and setting the FX to bypass. When a selection of two or more items are glued in this way, the FX and so on will be applied to the appropriate sections of the new item.

Note 1: When MIDI items are glued, any item that includes take FX such as a VSTi synth is rendered as audio.

Note 2: Actions are available in the Actions List (see Chapter 15) to ensure that when an item is glued, its channels will be increased if necessary to accommodate the output of any item FX. For example, if the action Item: Glue items (auto increase channel count with take FX) is applied to an item with FX which use two channels for output, then that item will be rendered in stereo (two channels) when glued.

7.27 Creating and Copying Items in Pencil Mode[edit]

REAPER includes an optional pencil mode that can be used to create new media items or make copies of existing ones. How the feature works is determined by your Track left drag settings on the Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences window.

In Chapter 15 you will learn how to change these settings to suit your own custom requirements if you need to. For example, you could assign the Shift modifier to be used to draw a new item. For now, we will be looking at the default settings. These default settings are shown here.

By default, the following modifiers can be used when clicking and dragging in an empty area in Arrange view:

Ctrl ' draws a copy of currently selected media item. Snapping will be applied if enabled.

Ctrl Shift - draws a copy of currently selected media item, will not snap.

Ctrl Alt - draws a copy of currently selected media item pooling MIDI source data with snapping (if enabled).

Shift Ctrl Alt - draws a copy of currently selected media item pooling MIDI source data, will not snap.

The illustration above is an example of this. The first of two existing media items on a track has been selected. By holding Ctrl while clicking and dragging further along that track, a copy of that media item is made.

7.28 Propagating Items[edit]

Two media item context menu commands, Propagate item to similarly named items on track and Propagate item to similarly named items (all tracks), can be used to copy the settings and features of one media item to other items on the same track and which share the same item name. Let's look at two examples:

Example 1

  1. In this example, we have imported a sample into our project and placed it on a new track:
  2. Next we have copied it as required across the track:
  3. Some time later, we decide to make some edits to the first item. These include an adjustment to the item volume handle, some FX, and a fade out.
  4. Finally, we right-click over this first item and choose Item processing, Propagate item to similarly named items on track to copy these edits to the other items. Any instances of this item on other tracks will not be affected.

Example 2

  1. In this next example, the original item has been copied to create several media items across two tracks. Notice that each track has its individual settings, such as different panning and FX on one track but not the other. As well as this, the original media item has its own FX, volume envelope and pitch adjustment.
  2. The Item processing, Propagate item to similarly named items command has been used copy the features of the original item to all other similarly named items in the project.

Tip: You can assign one name to several media items all in one go. Select all of the items, press F2 to open the Item Properties dialog box, type the name in the take name edit box and click on OK.

7.29 Implode Items To One Track[edit]

Where you have built up a number of items that belong together but are spread across several tracks (as shown top right) you can select them all, right-click over any track in the selection and choose Item processing, Implode items across tracks into items on one track.

This will collect them together on to a single track (bottom right).

7.30 Insert Space in Selection[edit]

The command Insert, Empty space in selection can be used to create a gap anywhere in a song. Make your time selection before using this command. The space is applied to all tracks (as shown here). Existing material is moved to the right. You could then create additional material on any or all tracks in the space that you have opened out.

7.31 Ripple Editing[edit]

The simplest way to describe ripple editing is this: usually, when you delete part of a media item, a gap is left on the track where the deleted item used to be. With ripple editing, the material on the track is moved over to fill that gap. This is illustrated in the three screen shots below.

This first picture (left) shows a media item selected with a time selection highlighted.

With ripple editing off, deleting the selected area of the selected media item has the effect shown here.

With per track ripple editing enabled, deleting the selected area of the selected media item has the effect shown here.

Two ripple editing options are available on the Options menu, or by right-clicking on the ripple edit button on the default toolbar. These are Ripple edit per track and Ripple edit all tracks. By default, both of these are off. Either one or the other (but not both at the same time) can be turned on from this menu.

Both off: This is the default mode. Items will not shift when you edit a track.

Ripple edit per track: If this is enabled, ripple editing will be applied when you are editing the currently selected track(s) but not to any other tracks.

Ripple edit all tracks: If this is enabled, all tracks will be subject to ripple editing. This means any editing you do to any of the items on any track will also be applied to all other tracks. This can be used, for example, for deleting entire sections of songs.

The keyboard shortcut Alt P can be used to cycle between the three ripple editing modes, as can the Ripple Editing button on the default toolbar. The right-click menu on this button also includes the options Ripple edit all affects tempo map and Add edge points when ripple editing or inserting time.By default both are disabled.

In this mode, markers and automation are locked to the items that they relate to, so as you move items the associated markers and automation move too. Using this mode on multiple tracks is very useful for editing multitrack recordings of live material - everything that belongs together stays together in sync as you edit.

For instance, if you split the item at a couple of places (so you now have three items) then delete the middle piece, the remaining pieces join up, but unlike with a normal stereo editor, you can adjust the join by dragging the ends of the items appropriately. If you want to move material from one place to another, you can split at the insertion point, drag the material to the right of the insertion out of the way, then make the insertion and drag the displaced material to join it. All items to the right of the dragged item will stay together and markers and automation will move correctly too.

Here is shown an example with ripple editing on all tracks. Ripple Editing, all tracks is enabled. In the first picture the silence before the music starts is selected. The command Cut selected area of items is then applied. The selected area is cut from all tracks, and the remaining material is moved to the project start.

Note: Complications can arise if locked items are included in the selection that is to be ripple edited. In particular, REAPER needs to know whether the ripple editing should be applied to the locked items. The Editing Behavior preferences page includes options for dealing with this ' see Chapter 22.

Tip: Shortly in this chapter you will be shown how to use mouse modifiers to determine how REAPER behaves when an item or selection of items is dragged. This includes options to select and apply any of the three ripple editing states when the item(s) is/are being dragged,

7.32 Trim to Selected Area[edit]

If you want to trim a media item or track from both the start and the finish at the same time you can do so. Just follow this sequence:

  1. Select the media item (or items).
  2. Click and drag in the track background area to select the area that you want to keep.
  3. Right click over a selected media item and choose Trim items to selected area.

If Ripple Editing is turned on, the area that is trimmed will also be removed from the timeline, otherwise some empty space will be left. If your Snap/Grid Settings are set to include Media Items, then provided that snapping is enabled, snapping will be applied when you select the area to be trimmed.

7.33 Free Item Positioning[edit]

Choosing the option for free item positioning enables you to move your media items around freely within a track or tracks. This can be helpful, for example if you want two or more media items to play simultaneously or to overlap on the same track. To turn this feature on:

  1. Select the track (or tracks) for which you wish to allow free item positioning.
  2. Right click over the Track Control Panel and choose Enable track free item positioning from the context menu.

These illustrations demonstrate an example of how this feature might be used. In the first screen shot we have a Lead Vocal and a Harmony Vocal on different tracks. We might find it convenient to place these together on the same track.

In the second screen shot we have enabled Free Item Positioning for the Vox Main track. Notice that there is a small handle (shown by the mouse cursor) which can be used to adjust the height of this media item.

In the third screen shot (below) the media item for Vox Hmy has been dragged and dropped into the Vox Main track.

When this track is played, both media items will play together. In fact, in this example, Track 3 can now be deleted.

Each item is independent of the other. Either or both can be muted and unmuted, have FX added to them, have changes made to pitch and/or playback rate, and so on. You can use the Media Item Properties dialog box (F2) and/or the right-click context menu for this purpose.

Tip: As you move items around in free item positioning mode you can sometimes find that items are placed on top of each other: this can make editing difficult. If this happens, select the items, right-click and choose Item processing, Auto-reposition items in free item positioning mode.

7.34 Mouse Modifiers[edit]

You have already encountered many examples of how REAPER uses the mouse with and without modifiers to perform a whole range of tasks. These have so far included making loop and time selections, copying and moving media items, slip editing media items, using item pencil mode, and so on. In Chapter 15, you'll learn more about how you can modify any of these if you wish, and even create your own. Meanwhile, you can find out more about the various Mouse Modifier default settings by browsing thru the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers section of your REAPER Preferences.

From the Context list, select a topic, such as Media item click, Media item edge drag, Track click, Ruler, click, Arrange view right-click, etc. A summary list of all default mouse actions relevant to that context will be shown. You can then double-click on any entry in the Modifier column to assign an action to that modifier.

Shown here (below) is an example of the default actions associated with the various mouse modifiers for when you are dragging media items. For example, by default, clicking and dragging a media item will move it, ignoring any time selection. Holding Ctrl as you do so will copy it ' and so on.

There are many more for you to choose from. For example, you could define Shift Win as a modifier to restrict item movement to vertical only when moved or when copied. You could use Ctrl Win for adjusting an item's volume, and so on. To do either of these, you would need to double-click on the modifier in the list, then make your choice from the list of commands and actions offered.

The Context drop down list includes the following entries that can be relevant when you are working with media items.

Media item (left click, left drag and double-click)

Media item bottom half (left click, left drag and double-click)

Media item edge (left drag and double-click)

Media item fade/crossfade (left click, left drag and double-click)

Many contexts have an option associated with them: where present, this is displayed below the table, just above the OK button. In the example here, you have the option whether or not to treat the label area above the item as empty track space.

Notice too the Import/export button. This can be used for saving and recalling your mouse modifier actions, either for the currently selected context or for all contexts.

There's a lot to explore here, and how you use these options will very much depend on your own personal needs. The examples that follow should help to get you started.

Media Item Left Click Modifiers

Shown here are the default mouse behaviors when you click on any media item.

Notice that the default behavior for a simple click is Select item and move edit cursor. On the other hand, Alt Click will select the item ignoring grouping.

If you wish, you can swap these assignments over, so that a simple click will select the media item without moving the edit cursor.

To do this, just double-click in the list on the item that you wish to change, then select your preference from the list (see right). You will find more information about customizing mouse modifiers in Chapter 15.

Media Item Edge Left Drag

Shown here (right) are the default mouse modifier settings that are used when clicking and dragging on the edge of any media item(s).

Chapter 15 includes a step by step example showing how you can change these.

Other Options

Notice that you can assign different modifiers to be used when clicking on the bottom part of media items from those used when clicking on the top part.

In the example shown here, the default action for a simple click on the bottom half of a media item is being changed to Toggle item selection.

Note: When the context Media item bottom half is selected, an option is displayed to Disable targeting of bottom part of media when take lane height is less than xx pixels. By default this is set to 44. You will need to change this if you want to be able to use these context actions with media items less than 44 pixels high.

These are just some of the many possible examples of how you can use mouse modifiers in different contexts when editing media items. It's up to you now to explore the many other options for yourself, depending on which aspects and options are most important to you!

7.35 Dynamic Splitting - Remove Silent Passages[edit]

REAPER's Dynamic Splitting is a powerful feature which can be used for all sorts of purposes. Many of these are designed to help you with tempo based composition, but it has other more widespread applications. One such use is to clean up a track and remove those passages that should be silent. This can be handy, for example, with a vocal track, to auto4matically clean up the passages between verses which might contain unwanted background noises such as breathing or shuffling sounds.

Suppose that you have recorded such a vocal track. With dynamic splitting you can effectively tell REAPER to go thru the track and take out all of the passages where the vocalist isn't singing. These are the passages where you want the track to be silent and which otherwise might contain various breathing or other unwanted sounds.

To do this, you first select the media item then right click over it and choose the Item processing, Dynamic split items' command. You then need to select the required parameters before splitting.

You are given immediate visual feedback before executing the command. Each split point is indicated by a colored vertical line and those areas marked for removal are shown as darker.

Dynamic splitting will be examined in more detail in Chapter 9, in the context of tempo based music production, but when applied to this particular task it can be used as explained in the table below.

Start with settings similar to those shown here and adjust then as necessary.

Summary of Dynamic Splitting Parameters

When used in this way, dynamic splitting basically employs a noise gate to tell REAPER how often and where to split your media items and which areas are to be removed.

Dynamic Split Parameter Setting to Remove Silent Passages
At transients Deselect this option when using dynamic splitting for this purpose.
When gate opens
When gate closes
You would be unlikely to select one of these options without the other. Both of these options need to be turned on, so that REAPER can work out the beginning and end of each passage that is to be removed.
Reduce split In most cases, when using dynamic splitting for this purpose this item should be deselected.
Min slice length This sets the shortest length for any slice. You will probably need to experiment to get it right. Usually, this should be set to a low value. Happily, REAPER's dynamic splitting interface gives you immediate visual feedback.
Constrain slice length Options are left to right and best to worst. In many cases for this particular application this setting should not matter. If in doubt, try both and be guided by the visual feedback.
Gate threshold This setting is important, but usually has a reasonable range of acceptable values. If made too low, unwanted sounds might pass thru the noise gate. If set too high, you risk deleting quieter passages of the recorded material. Start around -50dB and make any necessary adjustments from there.
Min silence length This is another parameter that will require fine tuning. Set too high it will fail to catch all the periods of silence.
Hysteresis This setting can be used to adjust the level at which the gate closes relative to that at which it opens. In the example shown above, the gate will close at -62.5 dB and reopen at -50 dB. Raising the hysteresis figure closer to or even above 0dB will have create more splits.
Action to perform

For this application you would choose Split selected items or Split selected and grouped items. Other options are:

  • Write stretch markers to selected items, or to selected items and grouped items: stretch markers are explained in Chapter10.
  • Add transient guide markers to items: this option causes transients guide lines (vertical broken lines) to be added to the selected item(s), without the items being split.
Remove silence This option should be enabled.
Fade Pad Enabling fade pad can help ensure a smoother transition.
Other settings Leave them as shown here.

Note: Another method of removing silence is to use the Auto trim/split items action. This is essentially similar to the above method, but also includes some additional options. This is discussed later in this chapter.

7.36 Auto Trim/Split Items[edit]

REAPER's action list contains literally hundreds of commands and actions, many of which are not shown on any menus. Actions are covered in more depth in Chapter 15. Two actions worth looking at here are Item: Auto trim/split items (remove silence) and Transient detection sensitivity/threshold (adjust). These two actions can work together. Actions are run by first choosing the Actions, Show actions list command from the main menu, then selecting the required action and clicking Run. Two points to note are that the Actions menu includes an option to Show recent actions on menu, and that within the Actions list you can use the Filter box to help find an action.

Auto trim/split items is similar to using dynamic splitting to remove silence, except that it supplies you with some additional options. Selecting an item and running this action opens the dialog box shown here.

Threshold and Hysteresis control the noise gate to determine the level below which passages are removed, and the degree of sensitivity applied ' the same as with dynamic splitting. Similarly, the controls Ignore silence..., Make non-silent clips no shorter than..., Pad controls and Auto adjust snap... all work in the same way as their equivalent dynamic splitting options.

The main item of interest is the Mode drop-down: this has four options ' Split and remove silent areas, Split and keep silent areas, Split only before non-silence and Split only before silence.

If working with a selection of grouped items, you have the option to Split grouped items at times of selected item splits.

You can also set the gate to be applied post-FX by enabling the option Run signal through track FX for detection.

If you also run the action Transient detection sensitivity/threshold a pair of faint horizontal lines will be displayed to give you visual feedback on your gate settings (as shown, right).

Another useful option is to Use zero crossings when splitting. This can prevent audio clicks on playback.

7.37 Rendering a Group of Tracks to a Single Track[edit]

This example uses the Render to File dialog box, which is explained in detail in Chapter 21.

You can apply stem rendering to a group of tracks, so that they will be mixed down to a single audio file. To do this:

  1. Put the required tracks in a folder.
  2. In the Track Control Panel, select the folder. No other track should be selected.
  3. Choose the File, Render command.
  4. Make sure your selected options include Stems (selected tracks) and Channels Stereo or Mono (as you wish) as shown on the right. If you wish, also select the option to Add rendered items to new tracks in project.
  5. Select your output format (e.g. WAV) and format specifications (e.g. 24 bit).
  6. Click on Render 1 file...

In the example shown below, the output of the Guitars folder has been rendered to a single stereo track. This has been added to the file and the folder has been muted.

When working with multichannel tracks you can also render your output in multichannel format. You will need to select the required number of channels from the Channels drop down list in the Render to File dialog box.

You'll learn more about file rendering, including multichannel rendering, in Chapter 21.

7.38 Spectral Peak Display[edit]

By default, audio media items in arrange view are displayed as waveforms only. You can change this to a spectral display in which the media item is colored so as to reveal information about its audio frequencies, and in particular the most dominant frequency as it changes thru time. An example of this is shown below. Before looking at the nuts and bolts of how to use this view, it is worth taking some time to consider just what it is and what it can (and cannot) be used for. First, it is a diagnostic tool, designed to help identify and resolve issues in your mix. It is not a silver bullet, nor does is it offer an instant fix for all your problems. Nor is it intended that your eyes should replace your ears! By viewing your waveforms as a range of colors, you should more readily be able to identify critical frequencies, especially where your ears are already telling you that you have a problem, or at least a decision to make. A simple example is shown below. Tracks 6 and 7 are a single acoustic guitar which has been set up with two mics. You can visually identify the frequency differences between the two tracks. Spectral peaks can be helpful in recognizing content. For example, the lower and upper registers of a clarinet will show as different colors. A flute will be different again. Some other possible uses are:

  • To identify and pinpoint

precisely unwanted noise (such as low end hum), or frequency spikes that you can hear in a track, or a particular event in a track, such as a percussion hit.

  • To identify the precise

location of a note where this might otherwise not be obvious (e.g. when a distorted guitar has been recorded).

  • To check the frequency at which a track's sounds are peaking for possible conflict with other tracks, or

tp identify precisely where there are frequencies that may need to be EQ'd.

  • To check (for example) bass instruments for notes that are individually quieter or louder than intended.

You can find more detailed information about these concepts here www.mat.ucsb.edu/~b.sturm/MAT201A/presentations/Fri/OhnandPark.pdf: Use the Options, Peak display mode, Show spectral peaks command to turn the display of peaks on and Options, Peak display mode, Normal peaks to turn them off. Another peaks display mode option is to Show spectrogram: this will be considered in the next section. Use the command View, Peaks Display Settings to open the window shown here. image

  • You can use the Display mode dropdown to

select Peaks, Spectral Peaks, Spectrogram or Spectrogram + Peaks. Note that the setting is global and will apply to all open projects.

  • The Display gain slider can be used to increase

or decrease the height of the peaks displayed, but will not affect the volume.

  • The Opacity fader can be used to increase or

decrease the degree of visual color contrast shown in your track media item spectral peaks.

  • Right-click on the color display to open a context

menu. The option to Fade non tonal content to theme peaks color will by default be on.

  • All settings in this window can be reset by choosing Reset to defaults from the context menu.

Be aware that enabling spectral peaks will roughly double peak file size and that generating these peaks requires considerable RAM. RAM usage may double if spectral peaks are displayed while recording. Spectral peaks can be enabled/disabled on a per track basis via a Track performance option (Prevent spectral peaks/spectrograms) on the right-click TCP context menu. Peak Display Controls In order to use this tool effectively you will need to understand and master its various controls. For example, if you are focussing on low end rumble you will probably want the display to focus on the lower end of the frequency spectrum. If dealing with high end resonance, you will wish to concentrate on higher frequencies. Here is a summary of the controls available, in many cases by clicking and dragging your mouse. Getting to grips with them all can be a bit tricky at first … you always have the Reset to defaults option! Remember that the media item will be made up of a whole range of frequencies (as can be seen, for example, if you place, say, ReaEq in a track's FX chain). Spectral peaks are used to identify only the most dominant frequency at any point in time. The Frequency Range (20hz to 10khz) The display is divided into seven frequency bands. To adjust how the frequency range is divided between these bands, click and drag the mouse left or right on the border between any two bands. Dragging right helps you focus on higher frequencies, left on lower ones. To adjust all colors used in the display, click and drag left or right over the color display.

To adjust only low colors, click and drag on left edge of color display. To adjust only high colors, click and drag on right edge of color display. By default, the color spectrum occupies the whole frequency range. You can change this, for example, to use the entire color range for each individual octave: this can help you to focus on much smaller variations in frequency. These options are available on the right-click context menu (shown right). A Reverse spectrum option is also available. As an example, both of the images on the left depict the same media item. The first (top) example uses Set range to full spectrum. The second example uses Set range to full spectrum every octave. Variance and Noise Threshold Click and drag up or down on the Variance (HSV color mapping) and Noise Threshold settings to adjust these. The noise threshold determines the degree of sensitivity applied in making color changes at different frequencies. Presets The Save spectral view and Load spectral view commands allow you to save and recall up to ten configurations as presets. The first five of these can also be loaded using actions (and therefore can be added to custom toolbars and/or menus, and/or be assigned keyboard shortcuts.) Preferences A number of options affecting spectral peak behaviour are included on the Media page of your Preferences. These include an option to Always generate spectral peak information. Be aware, however, that enabling this option can considerably increase RAM usage.

7.39 Spectrogram View and Spectral Editing[edit]

Spectrogram view shows you a visual representation of all of an item's sound frequencies as they vary through time, that is, throughout the length (or duration) of that media item. The most obvious difference between this and spectral peaks is that the latter displays only the dominant frequency as that changes through time. Spectrogram view can be turned on globally either by choosing Show spectrogram from the Options, Peaks display mode menu, or by selecting Spectrogram from the Peaks Display Settings window. Using this global option can, however, be resource intensive. You might wish to consider leaving this off, instead turning the option on only for media items as required, by choosing Spectral edits, Show spectrogram from the media item's right-click context menu. Spectral editing allows you to make edits to selected frequencies within an item, for example to remove breathing sounds or sibilance, whilst leaving other frequencies intact. Shortly, we'll look an example of how this can work in practise: first, a summary of its basics (insert or convert image shown here).

Defining an area within a media item for spectral editing. Make a time selection in the usual way, then right click on the item and from the menu choose Spectral edits, Add spectral edits to item. A box will be drawn around the selected area of the item, as shown on the right. Click on the edge of a spectral edit item (or on the shaded bar that runs left to right across its center) to make its rotary controls visible. Drag the edges of the box left or right to increase or decrease the time selection. Drag up or down from the top or bottom to increase or decrease the frequency range. This can be done from the sides or the corners. An example of this is shown above left. Holding down Ctrl over any part of an edit item's top or bottom edge changes the mouse cursor into a pencil. You can then make freehand changes to the item area by clicking and dragging. An example of this is shown on the right. Holding Alt over any part of an item's edge changes the mouse cursor to an X. You can use this (by dragging) to remove any freehand drawn edges, replacing them automatically with a straight line (or lines). Drag from the center of the item in any direction to move the selected area up or down (change frequency range) and/or left or right (change time selection). Let's now look at the eight rotary controls that operate on the selected area, located around the the box.

  • High frequency fade: fades up or down the high frequencies. Works in conjunction with the Spectral region gain knob.
  • Spectral region gain: fades up or down the gain level for the selected region.
  • The next two knobs together act as a compressor on the selected area: threshold (left) and ratio (right) Moving threshold down to the left of the 12 o'clock position changes it into an expander.
  • The next two knobs act as a gate on the selected area: threshold (left) and floor (right). Below that, the Spectral region fade out knob lets you control the rate at which the spectral edit item settings are faded out..
  • The knob at the bottom controls the Low frequency Fade, and the knob at 9 o’clock the rate of fade in for the spectral edit item settings..

All buttons: Right-click over any button (or on the center bar) for a menu of options which include Delete spectral edit (removes the spectral edit box, does not delete the media), Bypass spectral edit and Solo spectral edit (for comparison purposes). There is also a submenu to select FFT size. There is also an option in the Peak Display Settings to view both the peaks and the spectrogram, in parallel, as shown on the left.

Note: If you find the number of controls and options intimidating, don’t worry. Not every job requires all of these controls to be employed. Start simple!

Example This picture (left) shows the vocal at the end of a line that ends with a “T” sound. The rightmost small shaded area represents an unpleasant “TT” where the singer has not let go of the word. If we mute or remove the whole area, we will create a hole. The trick is to find and remove only the unwanted part. First, add a spectral edit to the problem area. Next, adjust the area and lower the gain until it sounds about right. Introduce fades to both time and frequency selections, for a smoother transition. Throughout this process, we make use of the Bypass spectral edit and Solo spectral edit options during playback, for comparison purposes.

Stereo and Multichannel Items

When a spectral edit is added to a stereo or multichannel item separate edit items are added to every channel, each with its own set of controls. By default, these edit items are linked: any change made to one will be made to all. However, the context menu allows you to select a single channel, thereby leaving only the item on that channel. You can then right-click again (shown right) and copy this item to all or any other channel. Each item can now be independently edited. Tip: When you are 100% satisfied with your spectral edit, you can Glue the item to make the change permanent and remove the spectral editing box. Remember that glueing creates a new media file but does not remove the original file from your hard drive. You can later go back to it if you need to. Tip: Spectrogram display can be enabled/disabled on a per track basis using the Track performance options, Prevent spectral peaks/spectrograms option on the right-click TCP context menu.

Note that several peaks display options can also be found on the Options, Peaks display mode main menu. These are:

  • Show normal peaks Scale peaks by square root (toggle)
  • Show spectral peaks *Rectify peaks
  • Show spectogram Peaks *display settings Show spectogram and peaks

Notes:

  1. Spectral display is pre track FX but post take settings. For example, it reflects changes in pitch from the Item Properties dialog box or from a take pitch envelope, but not from a VST plug-in such as ReaPitch.
  2. Overlapping spectral edits on the same media item are allowed.
  3. When working with spectral peaks or spectrograms displayed, there may be times when you will want to rebuild your peaks. These are some of the actions available to you. Search the action list to view them all:

Peaks: Build any missing peaks Peaks: Rebuild all peaks Peaks: Rebuild peaks for selected items Peaks: Remove all peak cache files Peaks: Decrease peaks gain (Shift Down) Peaks: Increase peaks gain (Shift Up) Peaks: Toggle spectral peaks Peaks: Toggle normal peaks Peaks: Toggle spectrogram Peaks: Toggle spectrogram and peaks. Track: Prevent spectral peaks/spectrogram Spectrogram: Toggle show spectrogram for selected items Any of these can be assigned to shortcut keys or toolbars if you wish – see Chapter 15.

chapter 8: Arranging, Comping and Editing Takes[edit]

Earlier, in Chapter 3, we looked at how you can create multiple takes when you are recording. In particular, make sure you are familiar with the sections that cover Showing Takes in Lanes, Using Color Coded Takes and Working With Multiple Takes. The editing and arrangement techniques covered in Chapter 7 can also be applied to editing a project with multiple takes. This example is intended really to get you thinking about how you might approach the task. You have two main methods at your disposal. You can either:

Explode the takes to new tracks. You can then work on and edit each track separately and (if you wish) join them all back to a single track when you have finished, or

Work on and edit the various takes all within the single track on which they were recorded. We'll get to this method later in this section.

Note that unless specifically stated otherwise, the instructions in this section assume that you have the free item positioning option disabled for the tracks that you are working on. This is the default setting. (For more information about free item positioning, see chapter 3).

8.1 Using Item FX with Individual Takes[edit]

In Chapter 7 you learnt how FX can be added to individual media items. Where multiple takes exist on a track, each take can be assigned its own FX and FX chain. For example, you can insert separate FX plug-ins into individual takes, as shown in the example here. Select the required take, then press Shift E to open the take add FX window.

If you have enabled the options Display media item take name and Draw labels above the item (both under Preferences, Appearance, Media), then any FX chain for the currently selected take will be included in the information displayed. In the example shown on the right, Take 2 is currently active: the FX names displayed are those FX assigned to Take 2.

If you wish, you can insert the same FX into each take and apply different parameter settings for each one.

8.2 Exploding Takes to Multiple Tracks[edit]

We'll start by looking at the first of these two methods. Let�s suppose that we have recorded three takes of a vocal track. We can right click over the item and use the Take, Explode all takes to new tracks command.

This command creates (in this case) three extra as yet unnamed tracks � the original track with its three takes is still intact. Now suppose that after auditioning we have decided which parts we want to use from each take. In the next illustration, we have edited the various takes to leave only the portion of each take that we wish to keep. This has been done using various editing techniques that have been covered in Chapter 7.

Finally, we select the various items from tracks 3 and 4 and use the Num Lock 8 key to move them up to track 2. Track 1 is now muted and could of course be hidden. Tracks 3 and 4 could be deleted.

You could now select all of the items in track 2 and use the Glue Items command to bind them together as one media item. Note that the original muted track with the three takes on it is still available. This makes it easy at some later time for us to change our mind about what to include in the vocal track if we wish.

8.3 Crossfades with Takes[edit]

If you intend to arrange your media items so that they overlap, then you should first decide whether or not you want REAPER to add a crossfade. This feature is turned on and off using the Auto Crossfade button on the main toolbar (or the keyboard shortcut, Alt X).

The curves of crossfades can be edited. You can extend the crossfade in either direction by dragging the vertical fade bars. If you hold Shift while doing this, you can move the crossfade itself left or right to a new position. Right-clicking over the crossfade reveals a menu of different crossfade shape options (see left). Using these techniques can ensure that an otherwise abrupt edit is made into a gradual transition at the best edit point.

Various options are available to you for customizing mouse behavior when crossfade editing. These can be selected from the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences � see also Chapter 15. An example of this shown here. For more advanced crossfade editing, you might wish to use the Crossfade Editor (see Chapter 7)

8.4 Exploding Takes in Place[edit]

Another option is to use the Take, Explode all takes (in place) command. This has the effect of merging all takes on the track into a single lane. Here's an example of when you might wish to do this. The track shown here includes three lead vocal takes. You have made your selection of the best parts of each take. These have had their individual item properties (such as volume) adjusted to give you the sound that you want.

By exploding all takes in place, the selected items are placed over the others takes in a single lane, and are played together.

8.5 Play All Takes[edit]

Here's a really interesting trick you can do with takes. Shown here is a vocal track with an overdubbed vocal harmony for just a short part. Both takes at that point have had individual pan and volume envelopes added, and some delay and perhaps pitch shift FX to the second take's FX chain.

After selecting both these media items, right-click over either one of them and choose Item settings then Play all takes. We can thus have our complete vocal and harmony mix on one single track! This setting is also available from within the Item Properties window.

8.6 Editing and Comping Multiple Takes and Multiple Tracks[edit]

You don't need to explode takes to multiple tracks in order to manage them. In this section we'll see some of the ways in which you can manage your takes all within a single track. In overview, this essentially consists of selecting the best parts of each take and comping them together into a single take of your preferred selections.

Slice and Dice

When you choose the Option to Show all takes in lanes (when room) there is a neat technique known as slice and dice that helps you combine the best of each take together, to play as one track. To do this, you simply Split the track in as many places (and at the exact points) that you think appropriate, then select from each slice your preferred section. The different methods that you can use for splitting are explained in Chapter 7.

A clever trick is to make all of the items that together make up a complete set of preferred takes a different color from the others. To do this, first choose your takes and select all of the media items (use marquee to do this), then choose from the right-click menu Item and take colors, then Set active take to custom color or Set active take to one random color. These commands are also available from the media item right-click context menu. An example of how this can be used is shown below.

Suppose that one of these takes consists of an overdub of just a small portion of the song. The option to Display empty take lanes (Options, Take lane behavior menu) can be enabled to ensure that your takes are displayed more clearly. An empty part of a take (such as exist in Take 2 here) cannot be selected unless you enable Allow selecting empty take lanes (Options, Take lane behavior menu).

Note: If you prefer not to see the empty take lanes, you can hide them by disabling Display empty take lanes (Options, Take lane behavior menu).

Comp Sets

You can save multiple comp sets for individual tracks (example shown above) and even for multiple tracks (as shown right). This latter example is a project with two vocal tracks, each of which has been sliced and diced and colored at random.

With all media items in this set selected (use marquee), you can right-click over the selection and choose Comps then Save as new comp from the context menu. You will be prompted for a name: this name will then be added to the Comps menu and can be used to recall this comp from the menu at at any time. One benefit of this is to make it easier for you to compare different combination of slices from different takes, and hence arrive at the best outcome. There is no limit to the number of comp sets that you can save and use.

Saved comp sets can be applied by selecting the media items (all takes) of the relevant tracks in arrange view, then right c licking over the selection and choosing Comps then the comp name from the context menu.

Here is a summary of the commands on the Comps sub-menu.

Command Explanation Save as new comp Saves your current selection of takes on all currently selected tracks as a new comp set. You will be prompted for a name.
Rename active comp Lets you change the name of current active comp set.
Remove active comp Deletes selected comp set and removes it from the Comps menu. Does not remove any takes or media items from the project itself.
Crop list to active comp Removes other comp sets from comps menu list.
Move active comp to top lane Moves all items in take selection to the top lane of its track. This action respects both item grouping and undo.
Comp names Your comps will be listed at the end of the Comps menu (see example right). Choosing any of these will cause that set of takes to be selected.

In this example, we have created a second comp set and colored it green. We can now switch between comp sets at will.

In this example, with our preferred comp set selected we have used the command Move active comp to top lane.

Don't forget also that by pressing Ctrl L you can toggle lane display on and off, as shown below.

Tip: When you use lanes and slice and dice in this way, you can use the Num Pad keys 1 and 3 to slide items left or right if their timing is slightly out of sync with other takes. The exact amount by which these keys will slide your selected media item(s) will depend on how closely you are zoomed in or out.

You might find that in the earlier stages of post production you are more likely to want to create and save comp sets for individual tracks rather than for groups of tracks. This will offer you a great deal of flexibility in how you �mix and match� your various tracks together. Note also that comps are preserved when items are split. Moreover, as your mix progresses towards its completion, you may find that it more advantageous to save comped sets for whole selections of tracks, so that they can be recalled and used together.

Take Lane Behavior Options

Note the four take behavior toggle options on the Options menu. These are mostly self-explanatory:

Show all take in lanes (when room), Display empty take lanes, Allow selecting empty take lanes and Select takes for all selected items when clicking take lanes. Disabling this last option allows you to work with takes on individual tracks within a track selection without losing the selection.

8.7 Take Menu Command Summary[edit]

The table below summarizes other Take menu management commands that are available to you:

Command (Shortcut) Explanation Next take (T) Makes next take the active take for all selected media items.
Previous take (Shift T) Makes previous take the active take for all selected media items.
Delete active take (X) Deletes currently selected take on all currently selected media items.
Crop to active take (Alt Shift T) Removes all non-active takes from currently selected media items.
Duplicate active take Adds a copy of the active take to the item as a new take.
Lock to active take This is a toggle command. It locks the current active take selection. When take locking is applied to a media item, its active take cannot be changed unless this toggle is unlocked.
Show FX chain for active take Opens the FX browser to allow you to add FX to the active take for the selected media item.
Remove FX for active take Removes FX previously added to a take's FC chain.
Take envelopes... Opens a window from which you can choose to add a volume, pan, mute and/or pitch, and/or any take FX parameter automation envelope. Automation envelopes are explained in Chapter 18.
Explode all takes to new tracks Copies each take to a new track.
Explode all takes in place Places selected takes on the same track on top of each other, so that all will play at once.
Explode all takes (in order) Places selected takes on the same track in sequence, one after the other. This command turns this � . into this: (sic)
Implode items across tracks into takes: Copies all selected items to a single track as a series of takes. This command turns this ... � into this: (sic)
Implode items on same track into takes: Moves all selected items to the same start time as a series of takes on the same track. This command turns this �� ... into this: (sic)
Paste to takes in items Pastes previously selected and cut or copied takes into selected tracks as a new item

8.8 More Take Commands and Actions[edit]

The third section of the Items context menu contains a series of commands that involve creating a new take from an existing item. These commands open up for you a number of interesting and creative options.

The first four of these involve applying track effects to an existing media item and are in principle quite similar � the first three create a new audio take and the fourth of these creates a new MIDI take. he table below summarizes these commands.

Command

Command Explanation Notes for items 1 to 4 Apply track/take FX to items as new take - creates a new stereo take for the selected item.. One use for these four commands is to free up CPU if your system is becoming stressed. Consider an example of a track with some FX in its FX chain, say EQ and a compressor (continued next row):
Apply track/take FX to items as new take (mono output) � creates a new mono take for the selected item. After applying track FX (mono output), we have a new take with the FX applied to it. The original FX chain can now be set to bypass (continued next row):
Apply track/take FX to items as new take (multichannel output) � creates a new take for the selected item, with the same number of channels as are defined in the track's routing window. This reduces CPU overload, and opens up creative options- e.g. you can select Play all takes then use pan and volume envelopes to vary their placement and relative volume throughout the song.
Apply track/take FX to items as new take (MIDI output) � creates a new MIDI take on selected MIDI item
Render items as new take This command is another CPU miser. It will render the existing media item as a new take. Any MIDI items with take FX (such as VSTi) will be rendered as audio.
Reverse items as new take You can have some fun with this one. It does what it says � it adds a new take to the media item with the material reversed.

As well as these commands, REAPER's Action List (see Chapter 15) includes a number of actions you can use to deal with empty take lanes. These actions (which can be assigned to shortcut keys or toolbars) are:

Item: Remove all empty take lanes

Item: Remove the empty take lane after the active take, and

Item: Remove the empty take lane before the active take

Don't forget how many options you now have � slice and dice, play all takes, volume, pan and mute envelopes, pitch and/or playback rate shifting, take FX � and so on!

Footnote: Confused about colors?

REAPER's Preferences, Appearance, Peaks/ Waveforms settings includes many color options. These options may be disabled by some color themes, including the default theme. Where they are enabled, their order of precedence is not obvious.

In the example shown here, we have asked for media item peaks and backgrounds to show both track colors and take colors. Clearly to show both of these will not be possible.

In cases like this, the option furthest to the right will take precedence. In other words, for a particular media item, if takes have not been colored then the track colors will be used. If, however, take colors have been specified, then these will take precedence over track colors.

8.9 Managing Comps with the Project Bay[edit]

Takes and comps can also be managed from within REAPER's Project Media/FX Bay.

The Project Bay is a one-stop center which allows for the convenient management of a project's media items, FX, item groups, takes and comps. It is explored and explained in detail in Chapter 12 of this User Guide.

To open and display the Project Bay, use the View, Project Media/FX Bay command. Click on the tab labeled Take Comps to display the takes and comps management section.

Clicking on the Options button (bottom right) displays a menu. This menu is explained in detail in Chapter 12. For now, notice the option to Mirror selection in bay and project. When enabled, this allows you to select any media item or segment by clicking on it either in the project itself or in the list shown in the project bay.

Within the project bay window (see below) you can right click over any listed comp to display its context menu. Choices include commands to Activate comp, Rename comp and Delete comp (keep takes).

You can also create a new comp from your current take selection by clicking on the Actions button (bottom right) and choosing Create new comp from the Actions menu.

An example of a project with the Project Bay open and the Take Comps window selected is shown above.

The illustration on the right shows how within comp sets you can also select and manage individual takes and items. For example, you can activate or deactivate individual takes, or remove them from the comp altogether.

8.10 Propagating Takes[edit]

In Chapter 7 you were shown how to copy a media item's properties and characteristics to all similar media items on the same track or on all tracks. The same principle can be applied to takes, using either of the Item processing commands Propagate take to similarly named active takes on track or Propagate take to similarly named active takes (all tracks). Here is an example.

In this example, we have three takes of a media item, which has also been split into three sections. All three takes share the same name (Vox.mp3). Notice that some FX have been added to the active take for the first section, together with an envelope and a fade out.

By choosing Item processing, Propagate take to similarly named active takes on track from the context menu, we ensure that these features are copied to the other active takes on this track:

Notice that although the envelope is copied, the envelope points are not.

chapter 9: Loops, Markers and Regions[edit]

Note: Many of the arrange view illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default theme and color scheme. The information and instructions, however, are still accurate and correct for REAPER 5.

9.1 Creating Loops[edit]

Any audio, MIDI or click source Item can be looped. Indeed, by default REAPER media items are loop enabled. You can disable this for individual items in the Media Item Properties dialog box, or globally (for MIDI and imported items) on the Project, Media Item Defaults page of your Preferences.

The loop point is defined by the duration of the source media. If you insert an item that is four bars long, it will loop every 4 bars, if it is 8 bars, it will loop every 8 bars, etc. Note that in the following examples, if you are using beats for your timebase, the item must be an exact number of beats in length, or it will not loop in sync. If necessary, adjust the playback rate (Media Properties) while preserving pitch, then glue the item to do this.

To Loop an entire Item:

  1. Hover the mouse over the edge of an Item until the Cursor changes to a double-headed arrow (see right).
  2. Drag the Cursor to extend the Item. Each loop point will be indicated by a notch in the item edges.
  3. The length, start time and end time of the looped item will be displayed as you drag the edge of the loop.

Cropping and Looping:

If you wish to loop only part of an item, then one method is to first crop and glue the item.

  1. Make sure snapping is enabled. Hover the mouse over the edge of the Item until the Cursor changes to a double-headed arrow. Click and drag the mouse in on the item to make it shorter, so that you are left with only that part of the item that you want to use as the basis of the loop. Release the mouse button.
  2. Right click over the item and choose Glue items.
  3. Now drag the Cursor to extend the Item. Each loop point will again be indicated by a notch in the edges of the item. Extend the loop as required.

Changing Playback Rate:

There may be times when you will wish to change an item's playback rate, for example to keep it in sync. Taking the same example as above, you would first display the Item Properties box, and most probably make sure that Preserve pitch when changing rate was selected. You could then change the Playback rate (for example, to 2.0). This would have the effect shown here. The original item (looped) as shown above has had its playback rate modified (right).

Creating a Loop from a Time Selection

Another way of creating a loop from only part of an item is to select the required item, highlight the required part of it as a time selection, right click, choose Copy loop of selected area of items, remove the original, then paste in the loop in its place. This is shown here:

  1. Select first the source item, then select the area to be looped (see above). Either press Ctrl Alt L or right click and choose Copy loop of selected area of item.
  2. Select the track and position to which you want the item copied.
  3. Press Ctrl V to paste in the area to be looped.
  4. Drag the cursor from the edge of the item as before to create the loop.

9.2 Creating and Navigating with Markers[edit]

Markers are like bookmarks. They can help you when you are navigating, arranging and editing your projects. Markers can be inserted at the current Edit Cursor position, whether or not the project is being played.

Action Shortcut Effect
Insert, Marker command m Inserts numbered Marker at present position.
Insert, Marker ( prompt for name) command Shift M Inserts numbered Marker at present position and opens dialog which prompts for a marker name. Other options include Set color... to color the marker.
Right click mouse over marker Displays menu to Edit Marker or Remove Marker.

Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts

Default Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts for creating and navigating with markers are:

To do this Mouse/Keystroke Go to marker 1 thru 10. 1 thru 0 on main keyboard, not Num Pad.
Move marker 1 thru 10 to cursor position, or create new marker if no marker of that number exists. Ctrl 1 thru Ctrl 9 and Ctrl 0
Go to next marker/ project end or previous marker/ project start. ] or [
To jump to any marker. Ctrl J opens Jump To dialog. Type m and marker number � e.g. m2 to jump to marker 2.
Jump to marker using the Transport Bar. Right click on Transport Bar then Jump to marker
Open Edit marker dialog (e.g. to add or change marker name or change marker color). Shift double-click on marker number. Type a new name, or click on Set color.
Make loop selection in REAPER's main arrange view or in the MIDI Editor piano roll view. Double-click on ruler between two markers
Select area between the two markers. Double click on timeline between markers
Move a marker. Click and drag marker along timeline
Remove a marker. Alt Click on marker

Example

This example illustrates the use of markers. Before you begin, on the Options menu, enable the option Loop points linked to time selection.

  1. Open the sample file All Through The Night.RPP and immediately save it as All Through The Night MARKERS.RPP
  2. Play the song. Just before the place where the vocal starts. Press Shift M. When prompted, type as the name Verse 1 Start and press Enter
  3. At the end of the first verse, press Shift M again, name this marker Verse 1 End and press Enter.
  4. Create similar markers for the start and finish of Verse 2 and Verse 3. These will be at or around 1:00, 1:38, 1:46 and 2:35. Save the file.
  5. Press 1 on your keyboard (not the numeric keypad). Notice the edit cursor jumps to the start of Verse 1.
  6. Press 2. Notice it jumps to the end of Verse 2.
  7. Double click on the timeline ruler (not the markers row) between markers 2 and 3. Notice that this area is now looped and will play repeatedly.
  8. Right click over the timeline and choose Zoom selection. You could now do any close editing work required for this selection.
  9. Press Esc to clear the selection, then Ctrl PgDn to restore the whole project to view. Save the file.

Note: Do not use the names =START or =END when naming ordinary markers. These names should be used only when creating special markers which can be used to denote the start and end of a project. This information will be used by REAPER when rendering an entire project to audio media (see also Chapter 21).

9.3 Time Selection Start/End Markers[edit]

REAPER treats the start and end of any current time selection as floating markers. The shortcut keys for Go to next marker and Go to previous marker are ] and [. These will also find the start or end of the current time selection and move the play cursor there.

You can also right-click over the Go to start button and enable the option Use transport home/end for markers. The Go to start and Go to end buttons will now find the previous/next marker or start/end of a time selection when one is current.

9.4 Snapping to Markers[edit]

Optionally, you may wish to ensure that when you are making a time selection, the boundaries of the selection will automatically snap to nearby markers at the start and/or end of the time selection (if any such markers are present).

Consider the portion of the Snap/Grid Settings shown on the right. Notice that snapping has been enabled, with a snap distance of 10 pixels defined.

With snapping disabled, it can be quite difficult to make a selection which starts or ends exactly at a marker. When you attempt to make such a selection, you might end up with the selection shown in the first of the screen shots below. Notice that the end of the selection doesn't quite match the marker.

However, in the second example shown, with snapping enabled and the settings shown above, if you drag the selection to within 10 pixels of the marker position, the selection will automatically snap to the marker when you release the mouse. Notice the effect of making exactly the same selection with the above snap settings disabled (left) and enabled (right).

Example

In the first screen shot (below), a project contains two markers, one at the start and one at the end of the project.

Suppose that you wish to reposition Marker 2 at the start of the second verse. You can simply position the edit cursor there and then press Ctrl 2.

Now let us suppose that you want to create Marker 4 at the end of the song, reserving Marker 3 for a position as yet unspecified. You can position the edit cursor at the end of the song and press Ctrl 4.

9.5 Removing Markers[edit]

There are two main methods of removing unwanted markers.

To remove a single marker

Position the mouse over the marker �flag� and hold down the Alt key while you click the left mouse button. Alternatively, you can right-click over the marker flag and choose Remove Marker from the context menu.

To remove a series of markers

Define a time selection that includes all of the markers that you wish to remove.

Right click over the space just above the marker �flags� within the time selection, and choose Remove all markers from time selection from the context menu.

9.6 Show/Hide Regions/Markers in Grid[edit]

You can choose whether or not to show project regions/markers and/or time signature changes on the grid by enabling or disabling the relevant preferences. These can be found on the Options, Preferences, Appearance settings page.

9.7 Marker Actions[edit]

Many actions are available (in the Actions List Editor) to help you manage markers. These include Markers: Delete marker near cursor and Markers: Renumber all markers in timeline order.

Chapter 15 explains in detail more about actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own shortcut keys.

9.8 Creating and Using Regions[edit]

Regions essentially take the idea of markers one step further. You can create regions for your projects, making it easy to identify, select and work with different passages of a song.

To do this ... Mouse/Keystrokes/Command Create a new region from the current selection. Shift R or right click, Create Region from Selection
To change name or other properties of the region. Shift Double click on region icon.
To specify a color for a region. Shift Double click on region icon then Set color.
Make the area of the region the current selection. Double click on region icon, or right click on region icon, Select Region
Adjust region start/finish point. Left drag on region edge.
To copy a region and its contents. Ctrl left drag with mouse.
To move a region with its contents. Left drag with mouse.
To move a region without moving its contents. Alt left drag with mouse.
Remove a region. Alt Click on region icon

To create a Region from two existing Markers…

  1. Make sure the Option for Loop points linked to time selection is enabled.
  2. Double click on the timeline (not the markers row) between the markers to make the selection.
  3. Right click and choose Create region from selection.

To create a Region from scratch:

  1. Click and drag across the background area of the Track View to make the selection.
  2. Right click and choose Create region from selection.

Example of working with Regions

  1. Make sure that the Option for Loop points linked to time selection is enabled.
  2. In the file All Through The Night MARKERS.RPP, double click on the timeline between the first two markers. This causes this area to be selected.
  3. Right click over the timeline, between the markers, and choose Create Region from Selection.
  4. Hold Shift while you double-click on the new region�s icon to display the Edit Region dialog. Type Verse 1 and press Enter.
  5. Double click on the timeline between markers three and four to select this area. Press Shift R to define a region. Right click over the icon for this region, choose Edit Region, type Verse 2 and press Enter.
  6. Repeat this process using the area between markers five and six to create a Verse 3 region. Keep this region selected.
  7. Press Ctrl with the + on the Numeric Pad to zoom in on that region.
  8. Press Ctrl PgDn to restore the whole project to the screen.
  9. Press Esc to remove the current selection.
  10. Save this file.

Several actions are available (in the Actions List editor) to help you create and manage regions. These include Markers: Insert region from time selection and Markers: Insert region from selected items as well as Regions: Go to next region after next region finishes playing. Also, Project region left drag and Project marker/region edge actions can be customised/edited via your Preferences, Mouse modifiers page. Chapter 15 explains in detail more about actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own shortcut keys, and about mouse modifiers.

9.9 The Region/Marker Manager[edit]

The View, Region/Marker Manager command toggles this display, used to manage regions and markers.

This table shows how the region manager manipulates markers and regions using its buttons, its controls, and its context menu (displayed by right-clicking on its title bar or in its background area.)

To do this � � you do this Renumber markers and regions in timeline order Choose Renumber in timeline order from context menu.
Go to marker or region and scroll into view. Enable Seek playback when selecting a marker or region on context menu.
Auto play any region on selection in region manager. Enable Play region thru then repeat or stop when selecting a region from context menu.
Edit marker/region name Double-click on marker/region name in table then edit.
Change marker/region color Click on current color to open color palette.
Edit other marker/region data Double-click on number, start time, end time or length to edit.
Sort rows in any order Click on column header, e.g. Color, Name or Start time. In the above example, Start has been chosen as the sort column.
Delete a marker or region Select the marker or region in table and press Delete. Removes the region definition but not media content.
Show/not show regions or markers in Region Manager Tick/untick Regions and Markers options (top right).
Change column order Click and drag column header left or right.
Hide/Show columns Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Open Edit region/marker dialog box Double-click on region or marker name.
Change region or marker color Click on small color icon to left of marker/region number.
Zoom to region or marker Double-click on region or marker number.
Render regions as a separate file each (all tracks) From context menu choose Mark all regions to be rendered or click in Render column to select required regions and choose Mark selected regions to be rendered from the context menu, then use the Render Matrix... button to open the Render Matrix window. See Chapter 21.
Render only selected tracks within regions, as separate files After selecting region to be rendered, left click in Render Matrix column to select tracks. For details see Chapter 21.
Export marker/region list as .txt or .csv file Tick Regions and/or Markers option box(es), choose Export regions/markers... from context menu, then type a file name, choose file type and click on Save.
Import regions/markers from .csv file (replace existing) Use Import regions/markers (replace existing) command from context menu, select file then click on Open.
Import regions/markers from .csv file (merge with existing) Use Import regions/markers (merge with existing) command from context menu, select file then click on Open.

9.10 Overlapping Regions[edit]

REAPER allows for overlapping regions. Create your regions in the normal way. Use the Ruler context menu to choose Ruler layout, then Display project regions in lanes and/or Display markers in lanes (toggle). To then display these correctly, you can click and drag down on the boundary between the toolbar and the track panel (in order to create enough room to display more than one marker/region lane), as shown here. Also, REAPER’s Action List includes actions to set ruler height to maximum, minimum or default, and Mouse Modifiers preferences allow you to customise Ruler marker/region lanes left drag behavior. For more information about ruler layout options, see the section Ruler Display Options.

9.11 Project Building with Regions[edit]

Regions can be used as a very powerful project building tool, especially when you are constructing a project from samples and/or loops. Two especially powerful features of regions are:

Drag and drop a region along the timeline to move a region's entire contents.

Hold Ctrl while dragging and dropping to copy the entire contents of a region.

To illustrate this, take a look at the image above. We have started building a project, with an introduction, then a verse (which has been made into a region), a chorus (also a region) and a second verse.

By holding the Ctrl key while clicking and dragging the icon for the Chorus region to the right, to the end of verse 2, we are able to copy the entire chorus to that point (see below).

Notice that any markers and time signature markers that are inside the region will also be copied or moved when the region is copied or moved.

Note: You can also select a series of media items and create separate regions for each item in the selection. To do this, make your selection, then run the action Markers: Insert separate regions for each selected item. This action can be run from inside the Actions window, and/or be assigned to a keyboard shortcut, and/or added to a toolbar, and/or added to one of REAPER's menus. see Chapter 15 for more information.

9.12 Changing the Project Timebase[edit]

You can select Time, Beats (position, length, rate) or Beats (position only) as the timebase for your envelopes, events and markers. To do this:

  1. Press Alt Enter to display the Project Settings window. Click on the Project Settings tab.
  2. Make a choice from the Timebase for items/envelopes/markers drop down list, then click on OK.

You can also change the beat by clicking in the BPM box (on the Transport Bar) and entering a number.

9.13 Markers and Media Cues[edit]

If you need to share your media files with other applications that use media cues (for example, Sound Forge) you can convert your markers to media cues when rendering. File rendering is covered in detail in Chapter 21. REAPER also has an option on the View menu (enabled by default) to show media cues where they exist on imported media items. Moreover, you can use the Item Processing command to create markers within REAPER for these media cues.

Example

  1. In the screen shot shown below, our project includes a number of markers:
  2. We can now select the appropriate tracks and render the file (using the File, Render) command, selecting the option Stems (selected tracks) from the Render drop down list, Mono channels, and specifying which combinaton (if any) of markers and regions we want written into the output files as cues. In this example, Markers only has been selected.
  3. If these rendered files were later imported back into REAPER, we can see that the media items contains cues which correspond exactly with the original markers. This is illustrated below. Notice the series of vertical broken lines which indicate the positions of the media cues.
  4. If we now select any of these media items then right click and choose Item processing then Import media cues from items as project markers then a set of REAPER markers and regions is automatically created for the project.

9.14 Tempo Based Music Production[edit]

REAPER incorporates a number of features which make it a good choice for tempo based music production. Some of these elements (such as creating loops and various item properties) have already been mentioned in the context of other uses. Others have not yet been mentioned. In this section we will draw these elements together to give you a flavour of how REAPER can be used for the production of tempo based music. Creating tempo based music is a process that largely consists of creating and sequencing loops from audio samples. These become the building blocks from which a work is created. Individually they can vary in length from a single note to a complete rhythmical pattern, and anything in between.

One advantage that sampling has always had over MIDI is sound quality. There are any number of human performance techniques and subtle variations that it are very difficult if not impossible to simulate with MIDI. However, until recently MIDI held one big advantage over sampling. A MIDI track can easily be transposed without altering its tempo, and its tempo can be changed without affecting its pitch. This has not always been the case with audio.

Take the example of drum loops. One of the biggest problems with using samplers to trigger drum loops has been that when the tempo changes, so does the pitch. Samplers change pitch by slowing things down or speeding things up. This means that as you play keys up and down your keyboard, you must at the same time handle the issue of beat changes. It becomes almost impossible to get the exact tempo you want without having to open the sampler and make adjustments to the loops.

Today, however, there are available many tools that can do all this for you. The time and pitch altering tools that come with REAPER use high quality algorithms which give you all the options you need to change or maintain such factors as length and intonation. It thus becomes possible to modify samples accurately and without distorting their essential characteristics.

ReCycle is one program that has become popular because its REX grooves automatically arrange themselves to the project tempo on import. Bring in a groove and it always fits the song. Take a set of items representing slices in a rhythmic groove, set their timebase to beats, and change the tempo -- magic! They move all over the place but remain exactly in rhythmic time according to the tempo. Using REX files you are able to play back loops at different tempos without altering the pitch. You're on your way to being able to create drum loops and other sounds exactly the way you want them, and with relatively little effort.

Later in this chapter we'll have more to say about ReCycle, and indeed about REAPER's own dynamic splitting capabilities which puts this magic at your disposal. After dynamic splitting, just double click in the BPM area of the transport bar, enter a number and, hey presto! The whole track plays faster, or slower, in perfect pitch. What's more, the whole track will speed up or slow down naturally, without glitches, pauses or stuttering.

9.14.1 Project Settings[edit]

Before creating any music, you should make sure that your project settings are specified correctly. To display the project settings dialog box, press Alt Enter or choose the command File, Project Settings� from the main menu. In particular, check the following:

Under Project Settings, Project beats per minute.

Under Project Settings, Time signature.

Under Project Settings, Timebase for events. You can select Time, Beats (position, length, rate) or Beats (position only). The former locks items to the timeline so that changes in tempo will cause items to be resized and their play rate adjusted. With Beats (position only), the start of the item is locked to the beat, but the item contents are not affected or modified by tempo changes.

Under Project Settings, Default pitch shift mode and parameter.

Remember that you can change the timebase for individual tracks (right-click, Track timebase) and for individual media items (F2, Item timebase). You can also change properties such as Beats per Minute and Time Signature as often as needed during the song. For example, you can increase the tempo for one passage then restore it to its original setting at the end of that passage. Shortly we will see an example of how this is done.

9.14.2 Audio Media Item Properties[edit]

You can record your own media items or import them from existing files. You can also change various properties such as playback rate and pitch for individual media items.

You can specify parameter settings for individual media items and/or for selection of items. For example, if you wish to change the pitch or playback rate for several items you can select those items and press F2 (or right click anywhere in the selection and choose the Item properties� command).

In the example shown, we are increasing the playback rate for the selected items by 5% and preserving the original pitch. Notice that you can override the project default pitch shift mode if you wish. You may find that different algorithms work better with different kinds of audio item (such as vocal, snare, kick or bass guitar). More information about time stretching can be found in the section Time and Pitch Manipulation.

9.14.3 Creating a Loop from a Time Selection[edit]

Remember that you are able to select any part of an existing media item and use it to create a loop. This subject is covered earlier in this chapter.

Chapter 15 will introduce you to REAPER's actions and the action list editor. This can be used to assign keyboard shortcuts to many actions that can be useful when you are working with loops and time selections. There are actions, for example, to extend the time selection in either direction, to reduce it from either direction or nudge it in either direction. Browsing and searching the action list will help you to identify those which are most useful to you. Chapter 15 will show you how to bind these actions to your own shortcut keys.

9.14.4 Creating a Loop from Transients[edit]

Another method of selecting the area required for your loop is to use the transients in an existing media item. The following actions are just some of the many that can be found within the Action List Editor (Chapter 15). Where no existing keyboard shortcut exists, you can assign your own if you wish.

Item navigation: Move cursor to nearest transient in item Ctrl Tab

Item navigation: Move cursor to next transient in item Tab

Item navigation: Move cursor to previous transient in item Shift Tab

Time selection: Extend time selection to next transient in items

Assuming that you are using the default key bindings shown above, and that Ctrl Alt Tab has been assigned to Extend time selection to next transient in items, you can select the item, navigate exactly from transient to transient and select the exact area required.

You can select the item, copy and paste it elsewhere, then right click over it, choosing Copy loop of selected areas of items from the context menu.

These are just a few of the actions and commands that can be used to suit your own method of working when creating your tempo-based projects. Explore the others and get to know them. They include:

Copy selected area of items

Trim items to selected area

Split items at prior zero crossings

9.14.5 Transient Detection Settings[edit]

The command View, Transient Detection Settings causes the window shown here to be displayed.

This can be used to make your transient detection sound more natural and human, by introducing subtle variations in sensitivity and/or volume threshold. Enabling the zero crossings option will help to prevent unwanted clicks.

9.14.6 Beat Correction[edit]

REAPER includes many actions to assist you with beat detection and beat correction. There are actions to detect tempo, create measures from time selections, extend or swap time selections to the next transient, and more. Some of them are on the context menus and all of them are in the Action List. Any action can be assigned shortcut keys, run from the action list window itself, and/or added to REAPER's Actions menu. More information about the Action List can be found in Chapter 15.

How you string these actions together is up to you. Here is an example. You might have a live performance that was not done to a click. It is a simple process to go thru the track and manually tempo-map the whole performance. We're going to assume that you are using the following keyboard assignments:

Tab Item navigation: Move cursor to next transient in items.

Ctrl Alt Tab Time selection: Swap left edge of time selection to next transient in items

Ctrl Shift Alt Tab Time selection: Extend time selection to next transient in items.

Example

In the example shown here, we have used our shortcuts to create and extend extend the selection out, as required.

We then instruct REAPER to Create measure from time selection (detect tempo).

We could do this either from the timeline's context menu or using a keyboard shortcut.

We then use our keyboard shortcuts to capture the next time selection required, again using that time selection to create a measure with REAPER auto detecting the tempo.

This process is repeated until we come to the first place where a change of time signature is required.

By right clicking over the timeline we display the context menu and select the command Create measure from time selection (new time signature).

This causes the Edit Time Signature dialog box to be opened, which you can edit at will then click on OK.

This process can then be repeated up to the end of the performance.

9.14.7 Quantizing Items[edit]

REAPER allows you to quantize your audio items. This essentially means lining them up according to the project tempo or time signature.

You might have a situation in which you have copied and pasted a sample several times within a track (or across several tracks) and you need to ensure that they are correctly aligned. To ensure that all items are aligned to the beat, you simply do this:

  1. Double-click on the track in the Track Control Panel to select all the media items in the track. Alternatively, you could right click drag with your mouse to marquee or "lasso" them.
  2. Right click over any of the items, then choose Item Processing then Quantize item positions to grid. This causes the Quantize Item Positions dialog box to be displayed.
  3. Specify your required parameters, including the note length setting (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, etc.) and whether you want the items stretched to fit. An example is shown on the right.
  4. Click on Process for the quantizing to be done.

In the example above, the option to also quantize item ends and stretch to fit was enabled.

9.15 Dynamic Splitting[edit]

Dynamic splitting is a very powerful feature which has a number of applications. You have already seen (in Chapter 7) how it can be used to remove silence. For example you might have recorded a pretty good bass line that you'd like to use for a song. Maybe it was recorded at 96 beats per minute. The timing might be a bit out at times but on the whole you're pretty pleased with it. The trouble is that you want to use 120 beats per minute for your new song.

Here's another example. Maybe you've recorded a killer slide guitar track. You like it but think it would be pretty clever to give the tune one or two tempo changes. Dynamic splitting is the answer to both these challenges. It works on the principle that you can instruct REAPER to split any media item (or selection of media items) according to criteria that you specify. Basically it works like this:

You first select the media item (or items) to be split.

You right click over the item and choose Item processing, Dynamic split items� from the menu.

This causes the Dynamic split items dialog box to be opened.

You give it the information that it needs to work out where to split your items. This will essentially either be to split the track at its transients or to use a noise gate to split whenever the audio volume falls below a specified amount. As you will shortly see, each has its separate uses.

REAPER then "shadow splits" your selected item(s). That is to say, it indicates with a row of colored bars exactly all of the points at which the item will be split if the parameter settings are left as they are.

You make such adjustments as you wish to the parameter settings until satisfied that they are right.

You tell REAPER to split the items.

Once split, each slice of the original item will be set to the current timebase. You can set any of the splits to any other timebase you choose. You can use the items together or individually, according to your needs. Suddenly you've got a whole library of samples!

Dynamic splitting is non-destructive. This means that your original audio files (WAV, MP3, AIF or whatever) remain intact. Nevertheless, if you are going to use this method to build a sample library, it's often a good idea to work on a copy of the original track. This just makes it easier to go back to the original if you wish to use it to make a fresh set of samples. Let's now take a look at an example or two.

9.15.1 Splitting a Media Item into Samples[edit]

In the examples below, a recording of a resonator guitar is selected. We have then chosen Item processing then Dynamic split items from the context menu. Studying these examples will help you to understand how the settings work. In every case, the At transients option should be enabled. These examples should be sufficient to get you started. After that, it's up to you to experiment according to your particular needs.

Examples

Only a minimal number of options are used here.

If you specify a very low minimum slice length REAPER will seek out transients with a high degree of sensitivity. This will result in our media item being split into a very large number of items. This might be suitable, for example, if we are intending to introduce tempo changes to the song. The larger the number of samples and the shorter their length, the more sensitive and immediate will be the track's response to any such changes. Consider the two examples shown.

Notice (right) that Best to worst has been selected as the method for constraining slice length. This option is likely to be preferred when splitting at transients. Notice also that we have specified that we want to keep the beat locations unchanged even if the tempo changes. (A further explanation of constrain slice length methods follows immediately after these examples).

Now let's see what happens when we bring some of the other options into play.

In the case shown above right we have set a largish minimum slice length with the result that our media items are quite longer. This might be appropriate if we are creating samples to be used with a software synthesizer. However, we might want to do some more fine tuning.

In this next example (lower right), we have increased the minimum slice length and used the Reduced splits option to further reduce the number of splits. In this particular case, these settings might be about right for creating our sample library from this bass guitar track.

Before splitting it might in some instances be worth considering whether you wish to enable the noise gate settings to allow you to also remove silence. Whether you would do this would depend largely on the instrument in question and the nature of the tune and arrangement. If the instrument is played continuously and produces an audio signal similar to that shown above, then there may be little point in using the noise gate.

Below we can see how part of our original media item now looks after splitting.

This next example (right) shows splitting at transients with a noise gate employed to remove unwanted background sounds such as drawing breath from a vocal track.

In this example if we were to set the gate threshold too low, too many unwanted sounds would still get thru. If we set it too high, we risk removing some of the quieter vocal material. You are likely to find that a fair amount of experimenting is needed to get the settings just right.

Constrain slice length methods

Left to right means the media is read from left to right, and whenever a transient crosses the threshold, a split point is created. The minimum slice length then determines how close the next split point can be.

Best to worst means the media is read in its entirety, the strongest transient is found, and a split point is created. Then the next strongest transient, and so on.

The difference is that the left-to-right method can end up missing some strong transients if they happen to fall less than the minimum slice length distance to the right of another transient.

9.15.2 Changing the Project Tempo[edit]

Once an item has been dynamically split, you can create time signature markers for changes in tempo to which your music will respond when played back. To create these, follow this sequence:

  1. Right click over the timeline and choose Insert tempo/time signature marker� from the context menu.
  2. Specify your required changes in Beats per Minute or time signature. If you wish, you can select the option for a gradual tempo transition between markers.
  3. Click on OK.

You can double-click on any time signature marker to edit its settings and you can drag it along the timeline to change its position.

These settings, along with more information about time signature markers and their behavior (including editing and moving markers) can be found near the end of Chapter 10.

9.15.3 Creating a Chromatic MIDI Item[edit]

When dynamic splitting you can select the option to Create chromatic MIDI item from slices.

This causes a MIDI item to be created that creates one MIDI event for each slice, moving up the chromatic scale. One common application of this is for sample triggering.

Suppose that you have a groove that you have assembled from various items from different sources. You can now create chromatic midi from the items and then load those items into a sample player, each mapped to the next note in sequence. The midi will then play the groove. Moving the midi notes around changes the groove. It is also quite easy to swap out exactly what it is that is being triggered.

Another example is hit replacement. You can dynamic split a drum part, creating chromatic midi from it. You then have one velocity-sensitive midi note for each hit. It's then a straightforward job to delete a bad hit and use the midi note to trigger a drum sample. Alternately, you can use the whole midi track to trigger a drum sample to double a recorded part (thereby fattening it).

The chromatic MIDI item can, of course, be edited like any other MIDI item with the MIDI Editor, and used to play any synthesizer or sample player. A comprehensive section on using the MIDI Editor can be found later in this User Guide, at Chapter 13.

Leading Pad, Trailing Pad and Fade Pad settings

The examples used in this section have not made use of any of these three settings.

Leading pad is the amount in milliseconds (ms) by which the split point is pushed left of the transient or gate open point when you click on Split. This works both with transient splits and gate open splits. Dynamic split works out where to split and then pads it left by your ms value.

Trailing pad pushes the actual split point to the right by the number of ms specified., and by that same value to the right of the gate close point in gated splits. The actual splits in this case will be to the left and right of the dark area boundaries if you use both When gate opens and When gate closes.

The Fade pad option, if enabled, will fade in and out over the length of those pads.

9.15.4 Saving and Using Samples[edit]

After splitting, you can save any of the individual slices as samples. To save an individual sample, simply right click over it and choose Glue items from the context menu. The sample wave file can then be imported for use with any VSTi sampling plug-in, such as ReaSamplOmatic5000.

Remember also that if you save the original file with the split items, you can return to it as often as you need to whenever you wish to use it to create more samples.

9.16 Ruler Display Options[edit]

The Ruler Display command on the ruler right- click context menu lets you decide what is displayed on the ruler and how it is presented. Options pertaining specifically to regions and markers are discussed earlier in this chapter. These include: Display project regions in lanes Display project markers in lanes. You can also choose whether or not to: Display tempo changes Display time signature changes Display tempo and time signature changes in separate lanes. Enabling all three of these causes tempo change markers and time signature change markers to be shown as in this example (right). Grid lines can be shown or not (as you wish) for project/region markers and time signature markers: these can be enabled or disabled in your Appearance Preferences On this page you can also choose whether to also divide arrange view vertically by a specified number of measures.

The ruler height can be adjusted using any of these methods:

  • Left drag the mouse down or up on the boundary between the toolbar and the track panel.
  • If you have enabled the necessary Editing Behavior, Mouse preferences option, left drag the mouse down or up on the boundary between the ruler and arrange area.
  • Other options are to use one or more of the Actions List actions Ruler: Set to default height, Ruler: Set to maximum height and Ruler: Set to minimum height. These, like any other actions, can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts and/or toolbars if you wish.

Some general tips for managing markers (project regions/markers and time signature/tempo markers) are:

  • Alt click on a marker to delete it.
  • Double-click on a marker to edit its settings.
  • Click and drag a marker left or right to move it.

Under Preferences, Mouse modifiers you will find various left drag actions that you can use (or change) when working with Project marker/region markers or Time signature/tempo change markers. Further detailed instructions specific to managing time signature/tempo markers can be found in the section Time Signature/Tempo Changes and Markers.

9.17 REX File Support[edit]

REX files consist of sets of groove slices. They are created in and exported from a program called Recycle for the purpose of being used in the creation of tempo based music. You can import these files into REAPER either using the Insert, Media command or by dragging and dropping from the Media Explorer. When you do this, they will automatically position themselves according to the current tempo.

Once you have imported your REX files into REAPER, you can manipulate and use them in exactly the same ways as you can use other media items that have had dynamic splitting applied within REAPER.

For example, imported REX slices can be made to keep their beat location even if the project tempo is changed.

In your Preferences settings, under Media, Video/REX/Misc there are a number of options available for determining how your REX files behave.

You can choose to import REX files as Beat slices that dynamically adjust to tempo change or as A single loopable item at the current project tempo, or ask REAPER to Always prompt.

You can also specify REX tail behavior as any of Preserve all slice tails, Chop all but the final slice tail. Chop only the final slice tail, or Chop all slice tails

The Action list also includes a useful action Item: explode REX item into beat slices. This can be assigned its own shortcut key if you wish.

chapter 10: Pitch and Time Manipulation[edit]

10.1 Changing the Project Play Rate[edit]

You can adjust the play rate for the whole project, using the Transport Bar. The project�s default pitch shift mode will be applied. You can use any of these methods:

Click in the Rate edit box and type a new value (e.g., to speed up by 10% type 1.1)

Click the mouse in this edit box and scroll the mousewheel, up to increase or down to decrease play rate.

Drag the horizontal fader adjacent to the play rate edit box.

In addition to these methods, you can right click over the same edit box or the play rate fader and select one of the options from the menu. From this menu you are able to:

Reset the playrate to 1.0.

Increase or decrease the playback rate by any of the values listed.

Enable or disable the option to Preserve pitch in audio items when changing master playrate.

Apply play rate to the current BPM.

Set the playrate fader range according to any of the available options.

Note: If the playrate fader is not visible in your transport bar, you can display it by right-clicking over any part of the Transport Bar background and selecting the option to Show play rate control.


10.2 Changing Pitch for Individual Media Items[edit]

An item’s pitch can be changed from the Media Item Properties dialog. To open the Media Item Properties dialog box for any item, first select the item, then press F2. The default algorithm is determined by your Project Settings. The pitch is measured in semitones. You can enter a number to raise or lower the pitch of any item by that number of semitones, or you can type in a multiplier, such as x1.5.

Choose an algorithm from the drop down list:

  • Project default (from Project Settings).
  • SoundTouch 1.9.0 (allows stretch rates up to 1,000 times and up to 64 channels).
  • Dirac LE (better quality, more CPU intensive).
  • Simple windowed.
  • Élastique 2.28 or 3.2.7 Pro (best).
  • Élastique 2.28 or 3.2.7 Efficient (less resource

intensive than elastique Pro).

  • Élastique 2.28 or 3.2.7 SOLOIST (suitable for

monophonic items).

  • Rubber Band Library.

For any of the élastique algorithms, you should also select a Parameter from the different options available (example shown here). For rubber band, select further options from the rubber band library (categories shown below right).

Keyboard shortcuts allow you to easily and quickly change the pitch of any selected item or group of items without needing to open the Media Item Properties box:
Keyboard Shortcut Description Shift 9 Move pitch down one semitone.
Shift 7 Move pitch down one cent.
Shift 0 Move pitch up one semitone.
Shift 8 Move pitch up one cent.

You can also use a take pitch envelope for pitch changes. Right click on the take (or media item if only one take) and choose Take, Take pitch envelope from the menu.

For more adventurous pitch shifting escapades you can try using one of the pitch manipulation plug-ins that are supplied with REAPER. Simply open the FX window for a track, click on Add, then in the filter list type pitch to discover what is available.

One example is the JS Pitch: Octavedown plug-in. Other JS pitch shift plug-ins include fft-ps, mdct-shift, octaveup, pitch2, pitchdown and superpitch. These are each suited to particular tasks, but the most powerful of the available pitch shift plug-ins is ReaPitch.


10.3 Using ReaPitch[edit]

Simply insert the VST ReaPitch plug-in into a track�s FX chain and you have a powerful pitch manipulation tool at your disposal.

For example, you can use ReaPitch to create vocal harmonies.

The first illustration (right) shows ReaPitch inserted into the FX chain for a vocal track. The Elastique Soloist algorithm has been selected, together with the Monophonic parameter. Notice that the pitch has been shifted down by 25 cents and the effect panned 50% right.

In the second illustration, you can see that we have added a second shifter, this time taking the pitch up by 25 cents and panning the effect 50% left, thus creating an extra harmony.

Notice also that in the second illustration we have also adjusted the panning and the mix of the wet and dry signals to produce a more pleasing overall effect.

Pitch Shifting and Channel Splitting

If you intend to do a lot of work in this area, you should definitely take the time to get on top of REAPER�s channel splitting capabilities. These are explained in some detail in the section More REAPER Routing Examples (and elsewhere). Look especially at the example headed Channel Splitting and Pitch Shifting.

With channel splitting, you can, for example, not only create several vocal harmonies, but also apply different FX plug-ins or plug-in chains (such as Reverb or Delay) to each of your different harmonies.

10.4 Using ReaPitch with Multiple Tracks[edit]

We�ve already looked at how REAPER can send audio streams from one track to another. Let�s now have a look at how this feature might be used with ReaPitch.

In the example shown on the left, sends are used to send a signal from a Lead Vocal Track to two other tracks.

Each of these other tracks has its own FX chain which includes ReaPitch, and of course the pan and volume faders for these tracks can be controlled independently of each other and of the lead vocal.

Chapter 17 will help you to understand how to go about setting up a signal flow such as this.

10.5 Time Stretching[edit]

The Take properties and Take pitch shift/time stretch mode sections of the Media Item Properties dialog box (F2) can be used to stretch or shrink the time for an item.

To do this, adjust the Playback Rate. In the example shown (right), playback rate is being increased by 2% and the option to Preserve Pitch has been selected. �lastique 3 Pro has been selected for the algorithm to be used.

To open the Item Properties dialog box for any item, select the item, and press F2. To do this for a number of items:

  1. Select all of the required items.
  2. Press F2.
  3. The Media Item Properties dialog will display properties where changes can be made to several items at once. These include pitch adjust and playback rate (see right).
  4. Make your changes and click on OK.

When the Media Item Properties dialog is opened for more than one item at once, some of the options will been dimmed and are not available when setting properties for multiple items. (such as Take envelopes and Rename file). Most options, however, are available.

Another method of adjusting the playback rate of any media item (or selected group of media items) is this:

  1. Select all the required items.
  2. Hover mouse over the end of one of the items until it turns to a double-headed arrow, as you would for slip-editing. Hold down Alt, click and drag mouse, left to increase playback rate, right to slow it down.
  3. Release the mouse when finished.

If you enable the option Display media item pitch/playrate if set (Preferences, Appearance, Media) any changes to Pitch or Playback Rate will be displayed on or above the Media Item(s) in Arrange View.

10.6 Pitch Correction with ReaTune[edit]

The plug-in ReaTune can be used for pitch correction. It can be used in either manual or automatic mode. In either mode, �lastique SOLOIST is a suitable algorithm.

Automatic mode is illustrated top right. To apply it, first insert the ReaTune plug-in into a track�s FX window. You should then:

Select the page headed Correction.

Enable the Automatic pitch correction option.

Select the required algorithm and parameter.

Specify the correct key and play.

ReaTune will then do the rest for you!

Manual mode is illustrated below right. To use it, first insert the ReaTune plug-in into a track�s FX window,then:

Select the page headed Manual Correction.

Enable the Manual pitch correction option, and other options as preferred.

Enable or disable the other options as required. These are Update, Prevent octave shifts, and Prevent overlapping segments.

Use your mouse (click and drag) to draw your corrections. You can also use the Clear button to clear the display.

10.7 Stretch Markers[edit]

Stretch markers can be used to speed up or slow down part of an item or selection or group of items. They can be inserted at the current play cursor position or at the start and end of a time selection. Unlike standard project markers (which apply to the project as a whole), stretch markers are only applied to the item(s) selected at the time they are inserted. By dragging these markers left or right, the tempo of these items can be changed. To create stretch markers, follow this sequence:

Position the play cursor at the point where you want to insert a single marker, or make a time selection starting and ending where you wish to insert two stretch markers.

Select the item or items to which you want the marker(s) to be added

Choose Item from the main menu (or right-click on the item to show the context menu).

Choose Stretch markers then either Add stretch marker at cursor to insert a single marker or Add stretch markers at time selection to insert a pair of markers at the start and end of a time selection.

Note that as am alternative to inserting stretch markers, the Stretch markers menu has options to calculate transient guides: the same menu also has an option to clear these.

Hover the mouse over the stretch marker to display a horizontal (not vertical) double-headed mouse cursor as shown in the examples below. Stretch markers can then be dragged left or right with the mouse to adjust timing. Holding Shift Alt while dragging the first of a pair of stretch markers will move both markers together, preserving the distance and timing between them. Other modifier keys are listed on the table on the next page. Meanwhile, here are some examples showing how stretch markers can be manipulated.

A stretch marker is inserted in this item at the position shown.

As it is dragged left, timing is made faster before (left of) the marker and slower after (right of) the marker.

In this second example, stretch markers are added at a time selection.

Left marker dragged right to speed up area between markers, slowing down area before. Notice new stretch markers are automatically added to the left and at the start of the item.

The same marker is dragged back left as Shift Alt are held. Timing before the marker changes but the timing between the original two markers does not change, as both markers and the area between them are dragged together.

Stretch markers can be snapped to grid by choosing Snap to grid from the Stretch markers in selected items or Snap stretch markers in selected items within time selection options on the Stretch markers menu.

A stretch marker can be removed by holding Alt while clicking on it. Markers can also be removed by choosing Remove from the Stretch markers in selected items or Snap stretch markers in selected items within time selection options on the Stretch markers menu. Removing stretch markers will cause an item's timing to revert to its state before the markers were added. To make any changes to the item permanent, instead of removing the stretch markers manually you can Glue the item (from the main Item menu).

Where a number of items have been selected, markers will be added to the items in that selection. As long as they remain selected, moving one marker in the selection will also move the others. This can be over-ridden by holding Ctrl while dragging the marker.

Where items have been grouped, markers added to one item in the group will also be added to other items in that group. By default they will be moved together when one is moved. This can be over-ridden by holding Ctrl when dragging the marker. Grouping items is explained in Chapter 7. The following example shows how stretch markers can be used with grouped items.

These two items have been grouped. Selecting and adding stretch markers to either item causes the markers to also be added to the other.

Adjusting the marker position for one item by default makes the same adjustment on other items in the group.

Various modifier keys can be used in conjunction with your mouse (left drag) to modify the behavior when a stretch markers are dragged. These defaults can be changed by selecting Media item stretch markers on the Mouse Modifiers page of REAPER's preferences (see Chapter 15).

Default left drag mouse modifiers for context Media Item Stretch Markers

Modifier Action (none) Move stretch marker
Shift Move stretch marker ignoring snap
Ctrl Move stretch marker ignoring selection/grouping
Shift+Ctrl Move stretch marker ignoring snap and selection/grouping
Alt Move contents under the stretch marker
Shift+Alt Move stretch marker pair
Ctrl+Alt Move contents under the stretch marker ignoring selection/grouping
Shift+Ctrl+Alt Move stretch marker pair ignoring snap

Other stretch marker mouse modifier choices are available from the Preferences, Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers window, including enabling or disabling the option to act on a pair of stretch markers.

You can also use your mouse (left drag) to modify stretch marker rates. First, hover your mouse over the stretch markers so as to show a vertical double-headed arrow as in the examples below.

In this example, dragging up causes the playrate to increase up to the stretch marker, thus speeding up playback.

Holding Shift while dragging up causes the playrate to slow down at the beginning and speed up progressively thru to the stretch marker.

Default settings are listed below. These defaults can also be changed.

Default left drag mouse modifiers for context Media Item Stretch Marker Rate

Modifier Action (none) Edit stretch marker rate, ripple markers
Shift Edit stretch marker rate
Ctrl Edit stretch marker rate, move contents under marker
Shift+Ctrl Edit stretch marker rate, move contents under marker, ripple markers
Alt Edit stretch marker rates on both sides, ripple markers
Shift+Alt Edit stretch marker rates on both sides
Ctrl+Alt Edit stretch marker rate on both sides, move contents under marker
Shift+Ctrl+Alt Edit stretch marker rate on both sides, move contents under marker, ripple markers

Other stretch marker rate mouse modifier choices are available from the Preferences, Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers window, including the option to ignore selection/grouping.

In addition to the commands and mouse actions explained above, please note that:

The Item Properties dialog box includes an option to optimize stretch markers for tonal content.

The Dynamic Split Items dialog (see Chapter 9) has an option to Replace stretch markers. This replaces existing stretch markers in the item(s) and replaced with dynamic splits.

Several stretch marker Actions are available, for example to go to the nearest, next or previous stretch marker. For more information about REAPER's Actions and Actions Editor, see Chapter 15.

Media Item Stretch Marker double-click modifiers.

Double-click on a stretch marker to reset its value to 1.0.

Ctrl Double-click on a stretch marker to open a dialog (shown here) where you can manually edit start rate, end rate, or both.

These options can also be accessed from the context menu, using the Stretch marker, Stretch marker at cursor command.

10.8 Time Signature/Tempo Changes and Markers[edit]

The default project beats per minute and time signature for any project are determined by the values assigned in the Project Settings window. You can make changes for the entire song by any of these methods:

  • Display the Project Settings window (Alt Enter) and change it there, or press W to return the edit cursor to the start of the song, then either ...
    • Type your value in the BPM edit box (shown here) or Time Signature edit box on the transport bar, or hover your mouse over the BPM edit box and scroll the mousewheel up or down.
  • Make a time selection, display the ruler context menu and choose one of the options shown here.

You can also make changes to time signature and/or tempo within a song, using either the project tempo envelope or markers. If you intend to do this, first make sure that your Project Settings are using the default timebase setting Beats (position, length, rate). Pressing Alt Enter will display the project settings dialog and give you the opportunity to change this if necessary.

The project tempo map envelope is explained in Chapter 18. This works essentially like any other automation envelope. Note, however, that editing multiple points at once on this envelope causes each point to be adjusted pro rata, not by a constant BPM value. This section focuses on inserting time signature and/or tempo change markers on the ruler to make changes within a song. An example is shown here (right). These changes take effect immediately following the marker’s position. Before looking at how to do this it’s worth noting that:

  • Time signature markers and tempo markers are two separate entities but are both inserted on the ruler using the same method.
  • At any point along the timeline you can change either the time signature, or the tempo, or both.
  • By default, time signature changes are also displayed as a grid line in arrange view. You can disable this on the Appearance page of your preferences if you wish.
  • If you are using either time signature markers or tempo markers it is advisable to enable the relevant ruler layout options (Chapter 9) to ensure these are displayed. If using both, you should consider also enabling the option to display both types in separate lanes. These options are accessed by choosing Ruler layout from the ruler’s right-click context menu.

The method for inserting a time signature or tempo change marker is as follows.

  • 1. Position the edit cursor at the required place in the song. From the menu, choose the Insert command, then Time signature/tempo change marker (or press Shift C).
  • 2. Specify your requirements in the dialog box (shown below right). Available choices include BPM, whether to Gradually transition tempo to next marker and/or Set time signature , Allow a partial measure before this marker and (where the metronome is enabled and uses a beat pattern) to define and Set metronome pattern starting at this point.
  • 3. Click OK.

Alternatively, you can use an action to Insert a tempo marker at edit cursor without opening tempo edit dialog.

Remember, you can use markers to set time signature without also specifying a tempo change (or vice versa). Markers can be modified, for example by editing (double-click on marker to open the dialog) or moving them (see table below). Note also that:

  • Tempo/time signature markers are always pinned to beat position rather than time.
  • Manually editing time signature markers requires them to be placed at the start of a measure.
  • With snap enabled (Chapter 7), time signature changes snap to bars, tempo changes snap to beats.
  • With snap disabled (Chapter 7), moving time signature markers will modify the preceding tempo if necessary to ensure that the project contains only complete measures.
  • Time signature changes that truncate the previous measure are marked with a *.
  • Time signature correction may be problematic when a project contains linear tempo transitions.
  • One tempo/time signature marker cannot be moved past another.
  • Markers will turn red while they are being moved.
Managing Time sig/Tempo markers: to do this ... You need to do this …
Move a time signature or tempo marker. Left click/drag marker.
Move time signature marker, adjusting previous tempo as necessary to preserve relative position of later tempo changes. Left click/Ctrl drag marker.
Move tempo marker, adjusting its value and that of previous tempo markers so as to preserve position of tempo changes after the one being modified. Left click/Ctrl Shift drag marker.
Move marker, ignoring snap. Left click/Shift drag marker.

Footnotes:

  • The Project tempo/time sig marker left drag actions in the above table can be customised on your Preferences, Mouse modifiers settings page.
  • After time signature or tempo change markers have been added to a project you will no longer be able to set project tempo from a time selection within that project.
  • The Preferences, Audio Seeking page includes the toggle option Playback position follows project timebase when changing tempo – see Chapter 22.
  • The ripple edit toolbar button right-click menu includes the option Ripple edit all affects tempo map.

10.9 Instrument Tuning with ReaTune[edit]

ReaTune is a plug-in that can be used to help you correct the pitch on your recorded media items. This is commonly used with vocal tracks. – select the ReaTune – Tuner tab, as shown here (right). Simply arm the track for recording in the usual way, then tune your instrument in front of the microphone.

chapter 11: The Mixer and Master[edit]

11.1 Introduction[edit]

Until now, most of the emphasis has been on working in Arrange View. This is hardly surprising, as that is the area where you will find yourself spending most of your time (at least with audio) and doing most of your work. As your mix progresses, however, you may find that the REAPER Mixer becomes more important. The contents of this section should help to familiarise you thoroughly with the REAPER Mixer and its various features and capabilities. You will also learn more about how to get the best out of the REAPER Master.

Mixer display is toggled on and off using the View, Mixer command (Ctrl M).

Note: Some of the screen shots shown in this chapter use themes other than REAPER 5 default. The commands and actions, however are the same regardless of which theme you are using.

11.2 Mixer Commands[edit]

The Mixer menu (above right) is opened by right-clicking over the title bar or any any vacant area of the mixer window, or by clicking over the word �Master� on the Master track, or (when docked) right-clicking on the Mixer tab in the docker.

This menu offers you much flexibility as to how the mixer is displayed. For example, you can choose whether or not you wish to display (and be able to manage) your FX and sends in the mixer. The main mixer menu options are summarized overleaf.

You can also access the TCP context menu in Mixer view by right-clicking over any track name or number.

11.3 Mixer Layouts and Screensets[edit]

Commands on the Mixer menu let you select what is displayed in the mixer: mixer layouts let you decide how it is displayed. Chapter 12 - Project Management Features, covers the topic of layouts (TCP and MCP) in more detail, but for now note the following:

Layouts are created and saved with, and attached to, individual color themes, not within REAPER itself. An example of an alternative mixer layout (Session mixer) is shown here (left). The theme that you are using might not include this exact same layout. Themes can be downloaded from stash.reaper.fm. To select an installed theme, use the Options, Themes command.

Layouts can be accessed by choosing Track Layout then Mixer Panel from the TCP context menu, or Options, Layouts from the main menu, or by the View, Screensets/ Layouts command, then selecting the Layouts tab.

Mixer layouts are assigned on a per track basis. If using the context menu, you should first select the tracks for which you want the layout assigned. If using the Screensets/Layouts window you can choose to apply the layouts globally or to selected tracks only.

Before getting too involved with layouts, however, it will pay you to familiarise yourself with the Mixer menu commands and what they do.

11.4 Mixer Menu Commands and Options[edit]

Command Description Master Track

Leads to a sub-menu of toggle options for Master Track:

  • Show in mixer
  • Show on right side of mixer
  • Show in separate window
  • Show in docker The View, Floating Mixer Master command (from REAPER's main menu) can also be used to toggle the floating of the Mixer Master in its own window.
Show folders Determines whether track folders are shown.
Show normal top level tracks Determines whether tracks not in folders are shown.
Show tracks that are in folders Determines whether tracks in folders are shown.
Show tracks that have receives Determines whether tracks with receives are shown.
Scroll view when track activated If there is not sufficient room in Mixer view to display all tracks, the mixer will scroll to follow the TCP track selection.
Auto-arrange tracks in Mixer Mixer track order will follow any changes to track order made in the TCP. Disable this if you want to arrange tracks in a different order in the MCP and TCP.
Group folders to left Places track folders to the left. This can be useful at times in bringing all your submix folders, but confusing at other times for separating folders from their child tracks.
Group tracks that have receives to left Places all tracks with receives to the left. Especially useful if the only tracks with receives are all buses.
Clickable icon for folder tracks to show/hide children Enables folders to be opened/closed to show/hide child tracks.
Show multiple rows of tracks where size permits Shows tracks displayed in up to three rows when tracks will not fit in one row and the mixer window has sufficient height.
Show maximum rows even where tracks would fit in less rows Causes tracks to be displayed in as many rows as will fit in the track height, regardless of how few tracks there are.
Show sends when size permits Displays a Sends bin above the track controls.
Show FX inserts when size permits Displays an FX chain area above the track controls.
Show FX parameters when size permits Shows FX parameter controls: right-click on any of these to assign control to an FX parameter.
Show track icons in Mixer Track icons (if used) will be shown in tracks in the mixer.
Show icon for last track in folder Displays the last track in folder icon for last track in folder.
Dock Mixer in Docker Docks the mixer in the REAPER docker.
Close Closes the Mixer view.

Tip: Double-click on any track panel in the Mixer to toggle on and off zoom to track in the TCP. This behavior can be changed on the Mouse Modifiers page of your preferences (see Chapter 15). You can also use the Mouse Modifiers page to add further actions of your own. For example, you could assign Ctrl Double-click to the action Track: Set to custom color � How to assign your own actions is also explained in Chapter 15.

11.5 Showing and Hiding Types of Mixer Tracks[edit]

Take as an example the above project. It has two folders (or parents) - Vocals and Instruments, containing two and three child tracks respectively - and one top level track, called Reverb. There are sends from the two folders to the Reverb track (which acts as a bus), and the tracks have some FX in them.

The four �Show� commands on the Mixer menu are used to determine which types of track are displayed.

In the example shown here we might have reached a stage in our mixing where we are happy with the balance within our submix folders and want to focus on getting the balance between the submixes and the level of our vocal and instrument folders and our reverb bus just right.

In this case, we could elect to show not the tracks that are in the folders, but only the folders, tracks that have receives and our master track (on the right). This example also uses a sidebar mixer layout.

The example shown here is a simple one: imagine how useful this feature might be if your project contained perhaps 90 individual tracks inside perhaps a dozen submix folders and with maybe another half dozen buses! In that case, you might also find one or more of the Show and Group commands to be very handy.

The Mixer menu does not have the facility to specifically hide or unhide named individual tracks. However, this can be done using the Track Manager. The Track Manager will be explored in Chapter 12.

11.6 Working with FX in the Mixer[edit]

If you wish, you can do just about all of your FX management working in Mixer view. You can add FX to tracks, move or copy them from one track to another, open the FX window for any plug-in, or open the track's FX chain for more complete FX control. For this to be possible, though, you need to enable on the Mixer menu the option Show FX inserts when size permits. The table below summarizes these and other activities.

In order to do this ... � you do this Change the order of plug-ins in the FX Chain. Drag and drop up or down the order.
Copy FX from one track to another (similar to Track View). Drag and drop FX to FX area on another track.
Display FX context menu Right click on any displayed plug-in name.
Display the Add FX window. Click in any vacant area of the FX area.
Display the FX chain and the control window for that plug-in. Ctrl click on any displayed plug-in name.
Move FX from one track to another. Alt drag and drop to another track.
Open and float a plug-in�s control window. Click on the plug-in name.
Remove a plug-in from FX Chain. Alt click on plug-in name.
Remove all plug-ins from a track�s FX Chain. Alt click on track�s FX button.
Toggle offline status of a plug-in. Ctrl shift click on plug-in name.
Toggle bypass state for a plug-in. Shift click on plug-in name.

In addition, right clicking over the FX area of any track in the Mixer produces a context menu as shown on the right. If you click over an empty part of the FX area then some commands (such as Copy FX and Float FX configuration) will not be available. If you right click over an actual plug-in name then you will be presented with the full menu. You can use this for any of the following:

Add FX... Opens FX browser for you to add any installed FX plug-in(s),

Quick Add FX Displays a sub-menu of recently used FX: you can select any item from this menu to add to the track's FX chain.

Add FX Chain Displays a menu of FX chains, any of which you can select and insert in this track.

Replace FX... Opens FX browser for you to replace selected FX with any other: any existing routing configuration will be preserved.

Quick replace FX... Opens sub-menu of recently used FX, from which you can choose any item to replace the selected FX.

Copy FX Copies FX to clipboard so that it can be pasted to other tracks or items. Notice the option to include automation envelopes. You can also use Ctrl drag to copy from one track to another, or Ctrl Shift drag to copy the FX and its automation envelopes.

Paste FX/ Paste Replace FX Pastes FX in clipboard to the selected track, optionally replacing existing FX.

Float FX configuration Opens the FX window for the selected plug-in.

Show FX chain Opens FX chain for the track: same as clicking on the track's FX button.

Bypass chain Sets FX chain for this track to bypass. Same as clicking on the track's FX enable/disable button.

Bypass FX Sets the individual plug-in to bypass mode.

Offline FX Sets the individual plug-in offline.

Delete FX Removes this plug-in from this track's FX chain.

Rename FX instance Allows you to give an individual name to this particular FX instance.

Track FX Parameter Controls

You can turn your mixer into your own truly customized mixing console by adding controls directly to the mixer track panels for those FX parameters that you find you are most likely to need to tweak most often.

You'll find more useful information about this in Chapter 12, Project Management Features. Meanwhile, it's easy to get started. Let's see how you would go about creating a console like that shown below.

Notice the rotary faders for Band 2 and Band 4 EQ gain on every track.

Example

You can use one of your existing project files for this example.

  1. Open one of your earlier project files, for example, All Through the Night MARKERS and save it as All Through the Night MIXER.
  2. Display the Mixer. Undock it, and adjust the width and height of this window as you prefer.
  3. From the Mixer menu enable Show FX inserts when size permits and Show FX parameters when size permits.
  4. Insert into the first track an instance of ReaEQ.
  5. Select the band 3 settings page.
  6. Click once on the Gain fader control for this band, then click on the Param button to display the Param menu.
  7. Click on Show in track controls.
  8. Select the band 2 settings page and click once on the gain fader for this band.
  9. Click on the Param button to display the Param menu. Click on Show in track controls (see above). Close the EQ window.
  10. In the mixer, you should now see these two controls displayed for track 1. Drag and drop the ReaEQ from track 1 in turn to each of the other tracks. Save the file.

Note 1: These controls can also be assigned within the Mixer. Right-click over the control button, then choose the FX and parameter from the context menu (see above). Choose All parameters if you wish to add a control for each of the FX parameters.

Note 2: These controls will be added to the track control panel as well as the mixer panel. You could of course have created as many controls as you like, not just these two. This exercise was just an example.

Note 3: When we revisit this topic in Chapter 12, you will see that we have a couple of options up our sleeves for making it easy to have controls like this automatically added to new tracks as they are created.

11.7 Working with Sends in the Mixer[edit]

Enabling the Show sends when size permits option from the Mixer menu will cause your existing sends to be displayed, each with a small rotary fader to enable you to adjust the send volume level directly from the mixer panel. Right clicking over an existing send causes a menu to be displayed with the options shown here. Right clicking over an empty part of a track's sends area will produce a menu with only one command � Show track routing window. This can also be displayed by left clicking anywhere on the track's empty sends area.

Show send parameters Opens a small window with parameters (volume, pan, etc.) for that send.

Mute send Toggles the send's mute status.

Remove send Deletes the send altogether.

Show track routing window Opens the track's routing window.

Go to send destination track Selects the send's destination track.

As well as this menu, a number of other techniques are available for creating, editing and managing your sends. You can drag and drop from the ROUTING button of one track to another (as in the TCP) to create sends, but using the sends area of a track's channel strip for this purpose offers you more options. This can be seen in the following table:

In order to do this ... ! … you do this
Add a send from one track to another. Drag and drop from one track's send area or ROUTING button to the other. In the latter case, a send control window will be opened.
Add a send from one track to another and open control window for that send. Ctrl drag and drop from one track's send area or ROUTING button to the other.
Add a send from one track to another and disable send from first track to the master. Alt drag and drop from one track's send area or ROUTING button to the other. Use this method to create sends from several source tracks to the same destination track to create a traditional submix.
Add several sends to one track in one action Select all sending tracks. Hold Shift while dragging and dropping from send area or ROUTING button of any selected track to receiving track.
Add several receives to a track in one action Select all tracks from which you want the sends to come. Hold Shift while dragging and dropping from the ROUTING button of the receiving track (unselected) to any of the selected tracks.
Copy a send from one track to another Drag and drop the send to another track.
Delete a send. Alt click on the send.
Display a context menu. Right click on any send
Open entire routing window for a track. Ctrl click on a send or Click in empty part of sends area or Click on the ROUTING button.
Open the control window for a send. Click on the send – allows you to change volume and/or pan, specify send/receive channels, mute etc.
Raise or lower the send volume level. Click and drag on a send’s control knob.
Toggle a send’s mute status on or off. Shift click on the send.
Add a send from a track directly to an FX (e.g. for sidechaining). Drag and drop directly from the track's ROUTING button to the FX.

Note that in the above table, those actions which use the routing button can be carried out in both the Track Panel and the Mixer Panel.

11.8 Showing Track Icons in the Mixer[edit]

The option to Show track icons in Mixer (from the Mixer menu) can be enabled to ensure that any track icons that you have allocated will be displayed at the head of the track's mixer panel.

Track icons are inserted using the Custom track icons, then Set track icon... commands from the TCP menu. This menu can also be accessed from within the Mixer by right-clicking over a track's name.

11.9 Managing the Mixer[edit]

Note: The sample layouts used in the illustrations in this section are illustrative only and have been selected for learning purposes. They will not necessarily look exactly the same as the layouts that you are using.

You might find yourself faced with conflicting objectives when you want to display track FX inserts, sends and so on all at once and for all tracks, especially if you have a large number of tracks.

One option for displaying more tracks is to enable Show multiple rows of tracks where space exists. Shown here is an example of what might happen when you enable this option.

The problem has arisen that all the tracks have been squeezed into the window � but now there doesn't seem to be enough room to show all the features that we need to see.

In this example, there appears to be not enough room to display all of the track FX and the sends. When this happens you have two main options. These are either to make manual on-screen adjustments to the relative size of the different parts of the track panels, or to use a thinner mixer layout.

Making manual on-screen adjustments.

If, in the example here, you hover your mouse on the boundary between the FX area and the hidden sends area for any track, the mouse cursor will change to a double-headed arrow, as shown on the right. Finding the right spot can be a little tricky at first, so be patient.

You can then either click and drag up or down to drag the boundary up or down for that one track or hold Ctrl while you drag up or down to move the boundary for all tracks.

By holding Ctrl and dragging (in this case) up, we are able to make more room to display the sends as well as the FX inserts if we wish to, as shown in the second of these illustrations.

In order to do this �. � you do this Adjust relative height of elements for the current track only. Click/Drag up or down
Adjust relative height of elements for all selected tracks. Alt Click/Drag up or down
Adjust relative height of elements for all tracks. Ctrl Click/Drag up or down

Here we have adjusted the boundaries between the different elements (track controls and FX inserts) so as to make all of the FX visible. For example, Track 5 has no sends, but more space has been allocated to displaying the full list of track FX

We have then made some further manual adjustments - for example, the VU meter on the master has been made taller again by dragging up its top boundary.

Themes and mixer layouts.

REAPER's default theme includes many layouts, a sample of which are shown in this chapter. Listed below right are some of the layouts included with the REAPER 5 default theme. In addition, other themes are available, which have their own layouts. Themes can be downloaded from stash.reaper.fm and installed by dragging the .ReaperThemeZip file into REAPER's arrange view. Installed themes can be selected from the main menu, using the Options, Themes command.

Then, to choose a mixer layout for your tracks you can just do this:

  1. Select the tracks whose layout you wish to change. For all tracks, just select one then press Ctrl A.
  2. Right click over any selected track name then choose Track layout then Mixer Panel then select from the menu. The layouts that you will see listed are attached to whichever theme you are using and may not be the same as those listed here.

This is an example of another of the mixer layouts (Strip Full Controls) included with the REAPER 5 default theme. To browse thru, and download, the available REAPER themes go to http://stash.reaper.fm/. Sample screen shots of some of the other track and mixer layouts supplied with the REAPER 5 default theme are shown in Chapter 12.

11.10 Track Control Menus[edit]

The same functions that are available in the track control panels of your track view are generally also available in the mixer control panels. These functions are covered in detail in Section 2 of this User Guide. For example:

Right clicking over the background area or Track Name for any track panel in the mixer displays the track context menu.

Tracks can be armed in the Mixer for recording.

Clicking on a track�s ROUTING button displays the track�s Routing Window. Right clicking on this button displays its routing menu.

Clicking on a track�s FX button displays the FX chain for that track. Right clicking on this button displays a context menu.

Right clicking over a track�s volume or pan fader causes the Volume Control or Pan Law window to be displayed.

Similarly, the Record Arm, Record Monitoring and Select Record Mode buttons serve the same purposes as they do in Track View.

Tracks can also be muted or soloed in the Mixer view. Both buttons use the same mouse modifiers and have the same context menus as they do in the TCP.

11.11 Introducing Windows Screen Sets[edit]

Windows screen sets can be used to save and recall complete on-screen layouts of your REAPER windows, including Arrange view, Mixer view, the Navigator, the Routing/Grouping matrix, and more. We'll examine their capabilities in more detail in Chapter 12, along with some examples in action.

Using Windows screen sets to save different combinations of Mixer settings can be a useful step towards fully understanding what screen sets are and how they work. They can be a great time saver, because the more you use REAPER, the more you will find yourself settling on perhaps three or four different layouts that you prefer for use in different circumstances. This will depend mainly on factors such as:

Number of Tracks: your preferred mixer layout is likely to be different for a project with only three or four tracks from what it would be for a project with perhaps 20 or 30 tracks. For larger projects you are more likely to show multiple rows.

Project Stage: the information that you would like to see in your Mixer may vary according, for example, to whether you are at the recording, early mixing or final tweaking stage of your project.

Windows screen sets are globally available in all projects. They are stored in a screensets.ini file in your \Application Data\REAPER folder. This means that you can use any project to create a screen set, and then use that same screen set with any other project. You should find the following summary information useful.

In order to do this �. � you do this Create a Windows Screen Set Arrange your Windows, including the Mixer and its various options and settings, on screen, exactly as you want it. Choose the View Screensets/Layouts command (Ctrl E).Select the Windows tab. Click on any item number to select it, then on Save to open the Save Windows Screeenset window (see above). Select as many options as you require, e.g. Main window position, Tool window positions (ie. all other windows), Docker selected tab, Mixer flags (i.e. whether inserts, sends, FX, etc are visible), Layouts, Last focus (currently focussed window). Click on Save. You can accept any default shortcut Load key that is shown (e.g. F7 for windows screen set #1) or click on Edit shortcuts to open the Actions List Editor and assign your own. The Actions List is explained in Chapter 15.
Load/Recall a Windows Screen Set Either use the keyboard shortcut (where one exists), or Choose the View Screensets/Layouts command (Ctrl E).Select the Windows tab and double-click on the required screen set name.

11.12 Mixer Appearance Preferences[edit]

REAPER's Preferences window does not have a section specifically labelled Mixer, but there are several places where your choices will affect the Mixer and its appearance.

One of these is the Theme development/tweaker window, accessible from the action list editor. Choose the Actions, Show action list command, enter theme in the filter window then select and Run the action Theme development: Show theme tweak/configuration window. The action list editor is explained in depth in Chapter 15.

Click on any element name in the displayed list, choose a new color from the color picker window and click on OK. Use the Save Theme... button if you want to save your changes.

Mixer FX text normal color

Mixer FX text bypassed color

Mixer FX text offline color

Mixer sends text normal color

Mixer sends text muted color

Mixer sends text MIDI hardware color

Mixer sends level color

Mixer FX knob text normal color

Mixer FX knob text bypassed color

Mixer FX knob text offline color

Whether you want the VU meters to be interlaced.

VU meter clip indicator color

VU meter top color

VU meter middle color

VU meter bottom color

VU meter interlace/edge color

VU meter show MIDI activity

Under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Track Control Panels you will find a couple of options that you might be able to use to customize your mixer appearance by the use of color coding. Control of these options is disabled by the some color themes (including the default, which locks these options on). These are to Set track label background to custom track colors and to Tint track panel backgrounds.

This can be changed by editing the rtconfig.txt file (contained within the theme's .ReaperThemeZip file). If you wish to do this, first make a backup copy of the ReaperThemeZip file. Proceed with caution: this should only be considered by experienced users. The procedure is explained here: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=181803 More useful tips can be found in White Tie's thread “Common tweaks to a REAPER theme” which can be found at http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=172341

Any colors selected using the context menu Custom track colors command (see Chapter 5) will be applied to the track panels in your Mixer. Shown below is an example with custom colors applied and using the settings of the default theme.

If you wish to be able to change these and various media item coloring preference options, one way is to use a theme that allows this. An example (which in most respects closely resembles the default theme) can be found at http://stash.reaper.fm/theme/1621/Default20Nitpicky%20Edition.

One final preference setting to note is the Show in mixer option under Project, Track/Send Defaults. By default, this option is enabled, which means that new tracks as they are added are automatically shown in the Mixer. You should disable this preference if you wish to change this default behavior. This setting can be over-ridden for individual tracks using the Track Manager. This is explained in Chapter 12.

11.13 Stereo and Dual Panning[edit]

The stereo panner and the dual panner are designed to give you more control over how you pan stereo tracks. The default pan mode (stereo balance/mono pan) gives you a single pan control which moves the sound between the left and right speakers.

However, a stereo track is made up of two channels � left and right. You can see these on any stereo wave file that you record or import into any project. The output of one channel (the top waveform) is normally routed 100% left, the other (bottom waveform) 100% right. Using the dual panner or the width panner you are able to change this in one of two different ways.

The dual panner (shown below right)) is easier to understand. Each of the two pan controls contains one of the channels. Pan the first of these 100% left and the second 100% right and you will hear the first channel thru the left speaker only and the second thru the right speaker only. Reverse these and you will now hear the first channel only thru the right speaker and the second only thru the left channel. Pan both fully left and you will hear both thru the left speaker only. You can adjust both pan controls independently to place each channel exactly where you want it. For example, if you set both controls dead center you will hear exactly the same mix of the two channels thru both speakers.

The stereo panner is in some respects more subtle. You can use the width control to adjust the mix of the two individual channels of a stereo media item, folder or submix, and the balance panner to position that overall mix further to the left or the right.

To help you understand this, let's work thru a relatively simple demonstration.

Displaying the Dual Panner or Stereo Panner

Any track's dual or stereo panner can be shown by right-clicking over the pan fader and selecting the required pan mode. You are most likely to want to do this for a track which contains stereo media items, or which is a folder, or acts as a bus or submix.

Example

In this example we will first create a stereo file in order to help us experiment with the use of the width panner. We will then get a little more ambitious and use it on a submix. This will include rendering the mono media items on two current tracks a single stereo file. The topic of rendering will be covered in detail in Chapter 21.

  1. Open the file All Through the Night.RPP and save it as All Through the Night WIDTH.RPP.
  2. Mute all tracks except the Guitar Body and the Bouzouki.
  3. Pan the Guitar Body 100% left and the Bouzouki 100% right.
  4. Choose the Render command from the File menu. Make sure that you set Channels to Stereo, and select Master mix and Entire project. Select output format MP3 and Add rendered items to new tracks in project (see next page).
  5. Click on Render 1 File.
  6. After a few seconds, the rendered file will be added as a new track. Give the track a suitable name. It should resemble that shown here.
  7. In this rendered track, the guitar makes up the audio on one channel, the bouzouki on the other channel.
  8. Solo and play this track.
  9. Adjust the pan control slowly, first fully left, then fully right, then back to the center. As you do so, one channel will gradually fade away. Panned full left you will hear only the guitar, full right only the bouzouki. Move the pan back to the center.
  10. Selected this track in the TCP, right click over the pan control and choose Dual Pan option from the pan mode drop down list (explained overleaf).
  11. Play the song. Slowly move the top pan control to 100% right. You will hear both instruments in the right speaker only.
  12. Move the lower pan control to 100%% left. Now you will hear the guitar in the right channel only, the bouzouki in the left channel only � the opposite of what you started with.
  13. Experiment moving these faders. When finished, move the top pan control to 100% left and the lower pan control to 100% right. Save the file.
  14. Now change the pan mode for this track to Stereo Pan.
  15. Play the song. At first you will hear only the guitar in the left speaker, only the bouzouki in the right speaker. Slowly move the lower (width) panner from 100% right towards the centre (0W). As you do so, the two instruments will tend to blend more together.
  16. With width set at 0W, move the top (pan) control fully left. The mix will now be heard thru one speaker only. Move it back to the center. Save the file.

Now try this:

  1. Unsolo and mute the stereo track.
  2. Create a folder called Instruments just after the Vocal track. Select Stereo pan mode for this folder.
  3. Make the two guitar tracks and the bouzouki tracks child tracks of this folder. Adjust the volumes and pan settings of the individual tracks and the folder to get a nice mix. Pan the different tracks well apart.
  4. Use the width control on the folder. Experiment with using this to bring the instruments closer together or further apart. Use the pan control to position the overall mix further left or right. You can still adjust pan settings for individual child tracks within the folder as well if you wish.

Tip: This technique can do wonders when you are mixing vocals, including vocal duets and vocal harmonies!

Pan Modes

By default, the stereo width is applied before the pan/balance control. To select a different pan mode, right-click over either the pan or width control fader and choose from the drop down list. The three modes are:

Stereo Balance/Mono Pan: The track is treated as mono, even if it contains stereo media. Set to center, you hear the same signal equally thru both speakers. Set hard right, you hear it in the right speaker only.

Stereo Pan Lets you control side (pan) and width separately. Side means that the stereo image is set more to the left or right, and width means how far apart the left and right channel are in the stereo image. With side set to center and width set to 100%, you hear the left channel in the left speaker and the right channel in the right speaker. With side set to center and width set to 0%, you hear both channels equally in the left and right speakers. With side set hard right, you hear both channels equally in the right speaker, regardless of the width setting.

Dual Pan: Lets you control both channels separately. The left knob sets the left channel more left or right, the right knob sets the right channel more left or right. With left set hard left and right set hard right, you hear the left channel in the left speaker and the right channel in the right speaker. With left and right both set to center, you hear both channels equally in the left and right speakers. With left and right both set hard right, you hear both channels equally in the right speaker.

It is recommended that you do not use the deprecated Reaper 3 pan mode. This has only been left as an option to ensure that older Reaper 3 projects which may have used this mode do not become broken.

11.14 Master Track Options and Settings[edit]

The mixer Master Track controls has the same functions as when the Master Track when shown in Track View. Note the Output button (above - by default labelled Mono):

Left click on the Output button to toggle between Stereo and Mono modes.

Right click on the Output button to set any one of four available Mono modes (above right).

Left click on the FX button to display the master FX Chain.

Right click on the FX button for the Add FX context menu.

If the FX chain for the Master is displayed, then you can use all and any of the FX management keyboard shortcuts that you can use on your tracks.

Right click over the VU area to display the settings that you can use to control what is displayed in the VU and how it is displayed (above right).

This includes the option to display output in multichannel mode (e.g. when working with surround sound). Disabling this option will ensure a two channel display.

11.15 Master Hardware Outputs[edit]

Output from the master can be directed to one or more of your available hardware outputs. This can be done using the routing matrix. The master routing button (in the Mixer) can also be used to set up and manage your hardware output or outputs.

Right click on the ROUTING button to display a menu of hardware output options. These can be toggled on and off in any permutation that you require.

Left Click on the ROUTING button to display the master track outputs window. This can be used to control the levels and panning of the signals to the hardware outputs.

Notice (below) that for each output you can independently control any or all of the following:

Toggle Mute on/off. Toggle phase invert.

Set Volume level. Set panning position.

11.16 Master Track Channels[edit]

The topic of routing and channel splitting is one that recurs throughout this user guide. The concept itself starts as a relatively simple one, but from those simple beginnings it can grow into something as complex and as complicated as you like. You'll find no shortage of examples in Chapter 17.

You can use channels to send two copies of the same signal to two different places. You can then do separate things to each signal before joining them up again. Below is a relatively simple example. The example itself may or may not be something that you�ll ever want to do, but that�s not the point. The point is that it will help you to understand what channel splitting is about and how to do it.

Let�s take an example of using multiple channels (two stereo pairs in fact) for our master. We can use this to feed some effect (such as reverb) into our signal chain, then send the effect (and only the effect) out to our headphones (to enable us to assess it), while sending the overall final mix to our speakers. In order to work thru this example, you will need a sound card with at least four audio outputs.

Example

This exercise will almost certainly be too complex for the novice user, and as such is recommended for the more experienced only. Otherwise, you might wish to return to it after you have completed Chapter 17.

This diagram shows what we are going to achieve. It assumes that our audio signal flows from left to right.

First we will create the necessary extra Channels for the Master Track.

The audio coming into our Master from the mix will be split between Channels 1/2 and Channels 3/4. The signal that is passed to Channels 3/4 will be fed thru a Reverb plug-in then directly out to our headphones. It will also be passed back into a Compressor plug-in, where it will be mixed back into the original incoming signal. The final mix will then be fed to the speakers.

  1. Open the file All Through The Night.rpp and save it as All Through The Night MASTER.RPP.
  2. Pan the two guitar tracks roughly 40% left and 40% right respectively. Pan the Bouzouki about 15% left, the Vox around 10% right. Quickly adjust the volume levels for each track to suit, especially to avoid clipping in the Master. Save the file.
  3. View the Mixer and enable the options to Show FX inserts when size permits and Show sends when size permits.
  4. Make sure your Speakers and Headphones are each connected to different paired sound card outputs.
  5. Right click over the ROUTING button in the Master and make sure that output is directed both to your speakers and to your headphone amp.
  6. To create the required channels, left click on the ROUTING button for the Master Track and set the number of channels to 4 (as shown, right).
  7. Assign the output of channels 1/2 to your studio speakers and 3/4 to your headphones. Your settings should appear similar, but of course not identical, to those shown here.
  8. Play the song. For now, it should be heard over the speakers, but your headphones should still be silent.
  9. In the Master FX chain, add the plug-in ReaEQ and, for the purpose of this exercise, add a 2 dB gain on Band 2, a 1 dB drop on Band 3, and a 1dB gain on Band 4.
  10. In the Master FX chain, click just below the ReaEQ and add ReaVerbate. Leave the parameters at their default settings, but adjust the outputs from this plug-in so that they are directed left and right respectively to channels 3 and 4 only. The settings for these outputs are shown (right).
  11. Now play the song. The playback thru the speakers will include the effects of your ReaEQ settings but not ReaVerbate. In contrast, if you listen thru the headphones, you will hear only the reverb.
  12. Now click again in the master FX chain and add ReaComp after the reverb plug-in. Adjust the Input Settings for this plug-in so that Channels 1 and 3 are the Main Input for the left, and channels 2 and 4 are the Main Input for the right, as illustrated below right.
  13. Play the song. You can adjust the amount of reverb in the mix by adjusting the vertical Wet and Dry faders in the ReaVerbate window. You can also adjust the Threshold (vertical fader on the left) and Ratio settings for ReaComp if you wish.
  14. Your speakers will now play the output signal from your Master Track�s FX chain, including the reverb mixed in. Your headphones will still play only the direct output of the ReaVerbate plug-in.
  15. Save this file.

11.17 Avoiding Channel Leakage[edit]

You need to be aware when you are using multiple channels for the Master Track that any signal routed along any channels between tracks will also be sent to the Master. For example, you might be using channels 3/4 in one or more of your tracks for some other purpose. In that case, if you also used channels 3/4 for the purpose outlined in the above example, then the signal on channels 3/4 of your tracks would also be leaked into the signal being fed to your reverb plug-in.

This channel leakage can be avoided simply by reserving for the Master a pair or pairs of channels not used elsewhere in the project � in this example, you might choose to use Channels 5/6 or Channels 11/12. Since you have up to 64 channels available to you, this should not normally present you with any problem.

11.18 Reset VU Meter Peaks[edit]

Notice that during playback, your VU meters in both track view and mixer view will display the peak level recorded for each individual track (see right). To reset the peak reading for any individual track, click your mouse over the area where the peak value is displayed.

To reset the peak reading for all tracks, hold the Ctrl key while you click your mouse over the area where the peak value is displayed in any one track.

You can also if you wish disable the option under Options, Preferences, Appearance, Track Control Panels, VU Meters to Reset meter peak indicators on play/seek. If you do this, the current peak levels will be remembered even when you stop playback. When you resume playback, they will be retained as the peak levels until, of course, a louder passage is encountered.

chapter 12: Project Management Features[edit]

12.1 Introduction[edit]

In this chapter we'll be looking primarily at some of those features of REAPER which you are more likely to want to use when you are managing your project as a whole rather than just focussing on individual tracks or items. These include using the Project Media/FX bay, Locking, modifying a color scheme, using the Track Manager, Screen Sets and more. We'll start by looking at how you can change a project's start time.

Note: Some of the illustrations in this chapter use REAPER 4 theme and colors. The information and instructions, however, are valid for REAPER 5.

12.2 Setting the Project Start Time[edit]

With many projects you will find that you have a few seconds of recorded silence before the program material (instruments and vocals) actually start. This can create two annoying problems:

Times shown on the timeline and on the big clock do not accurately represent the time within the song.

When you go to the start of the project, there are always a few seconds of silence to be played before you reach the start of the song.

In the example shown above the actual start of the song is at 0:04.701. We want to reset this point to Zero. This is how it is done:

Place the cursor at the point that you wish to mark as the start of the song - in the example shown this will be 04.607 into the project.

Press Alt Enter to display the Project Settings window.

Select the tab labelled Project Settings.

Click the button labelled Use Cursor (see right). REAPER will automatically enter the correct position into the Project start time box for you.

Click on OK to close the Project Settings interface.

If you wish to mark this point, press the letter M on your keyboard. This creates a marker on your timeline labelled 1.

If you need to refresh your understanding of markers, look back thru Chapter 9.

The position of the marker is now set to 0:00.000 and you can jump straight to this point at any time by pressing 1 on your keyboard (see right).

If you wish, you can double-click on the marker to open up the Edit marker dialog box, where you can give it a name.

12.3 Crop Project to Selection[edit]

When recording, it�s not unusual to end up with a period of silence at the beginning, before your song actually starts, and varying periods of silence at the end of your various tracks, where you have perhaps allowed the recording to continue longer than necessary.

Of course, you can fix this by slip-editing your tracks individually, then dragging and dropping them to the start of your timeline. A quicker way would be to Crop project to selection. To crop a project to selection, do this:

  1. Click and drag along the background area to mark the area that you want to keep � see picture below.
  2. Right click over the Timeline and choose Crop project to selection from the menu. If you wish, press Esc when this is done to remove the time selection.

Tip: If immediately after cropping to selection (and before pressing Esc) you again right click over the Timeline and choose Zoom selection from the context menu (or use the shortcut keys Ctrl Numpad Plus your project will expand horizontally to fit the width of your Track View window.

12.4 Locking Media Items[edit]

Individual items can be locked into position to prevent their settings from being accidentally changed, such as by being moved or deleted, while at the same time leaving you free to manipulate other items as you wish.

To make use of this feature, first ensure that both of the item icons Locked and Not locked are selected (along with any other item icons that you wish to use) under your Options, Preferences, Appearance, Media settings (see above). Whether the icons are displayed on top of the media items or in a lane above it (as in the example below) will depend on whether you have enabled the option Draw item labels above rather than within the item.

Locking for individual media items is then toggled on and off by clicking on the small padlock item that will be visible at the top left corner of the media item.

The example above shows a track with two media items. The first item has been locked (notice the dark padlock icon). It can now not be deleted or moved, unless its status is set to unlock. Similarly, you cannot grab the handle across the top of the media item and drag it down to adjust its volume, nor can you add a fade in or fade out, nor can it be slip-edited.

You can, however, make changes to most of its settings within the Item Properties dialog box (pitch, play rate, FX Chain, and so on) or using the media item context menu. The second item, however, remains unlocked (notice the open padlock icon). It can (for example) be moved, or deleted, or have a fade out added. You can also open the item for editing, in the MIDI editor (MIDI items) or your installed external editor (audio items).

Locking and unlocking can also be performed with multiple items. To lock a number of items, simply hold the Ctrl key while you click on each item in turn to build the selection, then click on the padlock for any item included in the selection.

12.5 Locking Track Controls[edit]

The toggle command Lock Track Controls (from the track control panel right-click context menu) can be used to lock/unlock the controls for any track or selection of tracks. This prevents you from making accidental changes to any of the track's controls (e.g. Volume or Pan). In the example shown, track controls have been locked.

You can hover your mouse over the control of a locked track to see its current setting displayed as a tool tip.

12.6 Project Lock Settings[edit]

The Locking feature of REAPER can be used to effectively freeze certain aspects of a project file to prevent something accidentally being changed or deleted. There are two aspects to locking:

Deciding which project elements you would like to be locked.

Enabling or disabling the locking feature. The keyboard shortcut L can be used to toggle this on and off.

To display the Lock Settings window (shown right), press Shift L or right click over the lock button (the last item) on the toolbar. The table below summarises some of the ways in which you are able to make use of this feature. Select which ones you wish to lock, then Enable locking to actually lock them.

Locking Option Comment Time selection This locks the current time selection so that, for example, if you accidentally click and drag at some other point along the timeline your time selection will remain unchanged. You can remove a locked time selection by pressing Esc then selecting Yes when prompted.
Loop points Locks currently selected loop points.
Items full This option prevents you from making any changes at all to any of your existing media items. For example, you cannot mute them, add FX to them, delete them, move them, slip edit them, or even access the Item Properties window or right click menu for any of your items.
Items (prevent left/right movement) This option allows you to make any other changes you like to your media items except move them left or right.
Items (prevent up/down movement) This option allows you to make any other changes you like to your media items except move them up or down.
Item edges This option disables actions such as slip editing.
Item fade/volume handles This option can be used to prevent any adjustments being made to any item's volume handle or rotary fade controls.
Item stretch markers This option can be used to prevent any changes or movement from occurring to any item's stretch markers.
Item envelopes
Track envelopes
This option ensures that when locking is enabled you will not be able to make any changes to existing item and/or track envelopes. For example, you will not be able to move or add points, or change shapes. You will still be able to add new envelopes for faders and plug-in parameters, but you will not be able to edit these in any way. For more about envelopes see Chapter 18.
Regions Locking regions prevents you from changing (for example by moving, deleting or renaming) existing regions. However, you will be able to create new regions with Lock Regions enabled.
Markers Locking markers prevents you from changing (for example by moving, deleting or renaming) existing markers. However, you will be able to create new markers with Lock Markers enabled.
Time Signature Markers Locks time signature markers and prevents them from being modified.

Example

Let�s suppose that we are happy with the way our media items line up, and we don�t want any of them being accidentally nudged or moved to the left or right. You might then wish to lock their horizontal position.

  1. Press Shift L to open the Locking Settings window.
  2. Tick only Items (prevent left/right movement).
  3. If Enable Locking is not enabled, click on it to turn it on.
  4. Now try to drag and drop any of your items to the left or right. They won�t move.
  5. Press the L key � this toggles locking off again.

12.7 Customizing Colors and Fonts[edit]

Chapter 15 of this User Guide covers REAPER's action list editor. One action that you might find useful is the action Theme development: Show theme tweak/configuration window

This is selected after choosing the Actions, Show action list... command. Enter theme in the filter window then select and Run the action Theme development: Show theme tweak/ configuration window.

Themes consist primarily of three types of materials: image files, color/font definitions and Windows settings. The image files provide, for example, the track control items and media item icons (pan and volume faders, mute and solo controls, etc.).

The definitions apply to items such as the font used for track names and the colors used for media items, track and mixer panels, edit and play cursors, markers, VU meters, envelopes, and so on. If you are not sure what any of the listed items are, you can use the Theme element finder to identify them (see below). To display this, Eter theme in the action list filter window then select and Run the action Theme development: Show theme element finder.

In addition to those installed with REAPER, many themes are available for download from stash.reaper.fm. To install a downloaded .ReaThemeZip file, drag and drop it from Windows Explorer into REAPER's Arrange View (main view).

The Load Theme � button (in the theme development/tweaker dialog) can be used to select any available theme. Scroll thru the Theme color/font settings list to see all of the items which you can change. Click on any item to open (as appropriate) the color picker or font dialog box, where you can change its definition.

Finally, having chosen your fonts and colors, you can save them all together into a new theme by clicking the Save theme... button and giving your theme a name.

12.8 The Project Media/FX Bay[edit]

Overview

The Project Media/FX Bay is a one stop center which you can use for managing and arranging a project's FX and media items. It is opened from the main menu by the View, Project Media/FX Bay command. The window contains five tabs (pages). The Item Groups (Chapter 7) and Take Comps (Chapter 8) tabs have already been introduced. The other three are:

Source Media. This lists the media items that are available for use in, or are already used in, the project. Each item will occur only once in this list. Where it is used more than once in the project, this will be indicated by the number in the Usage column.

Media Items. This lists only the items that are actually used in the project (i.e., active). An item will appear in this list as many times as it is used in the project.

FX. This lists the FX plug-ins that are used in the project.

You can drag media files (e.g., from REAPER's Media Explorer or from Windows Explorer) or FX (e.g., from the FX browser) into the Project Bay. Media items inserted in this way are added to the Source Media page. If the item is then used in the project, it will be added to the Media Items page. FX items are added to the FX bay.

You can rename items within the Project Bay, select all instances of a media file or FX within the project, and replace media/FX in the project with any other media/FX from the Project Bay. You can also mute/solo media items and bypass/unbypass FX.

Both Media pages and the FX page include a Retain column. When you drag media items or FX into the project bay, they are marked with a + in the retain column. This setting means that the entry will remain in the project bay even if there are no instances of that media item or FX in the project.

When you add media (by recording or inserting) to the project, they will appear as entries in the media items and source media bays, with the retain status unset. These entries will be automatically removed from the project bay if they are removed from the project itself. If you want the entries to remain in the project bay even after being removed from the project, you should enable retain for those entries in the source media bay.

FX entries in the project bay include a Preset column. If you change the value in this column (from the right-click menu), all instances of that FX in the project with the previous preset selected will be changed to the new preset. In addition, you can retain an FX entry with a specific preset, or multiple entries for the same FX with different presets, in the project bay.

The Project Bay includes the buttons Actions and Options. Clicking on either of these displays a menu. As an example, the Options menu is shown on the right. Most of these commands require little explanation.

Mirror selection in bay and project. When enabled, this causes an item selected in the project to also be selected in the bay, and vice versa. You can also ensure that REAPER will zoom to a selected item when this option is enabled.

Use last selected item as source for �draw a copy� mouse action. This enables you to use pencil mode to create copies of the last selected item.

Space bar previews media allows use of the spacebar to play the currently selected media or source media item. Loop media preview will allow any loop marked in the project to be applied. Preview (source or media items) through selected track allows you to play back the item with, for example, any FX in a particular track's FX chain, or any track envelopes, being applied. The Filter can be set to use name, path or comment.

Make sure the option Clear bay when changing projects is enabled if you wish to make each Project Bay project specific. Disable it if you want to carry over items in the current bay to the next project that you open or create. You also have the option to Automatically retain media items when they are removed from project. This ensures that retain status is automatically assigned when an item is removed from the project.

The Dock project bay and Close window commands are self-explanatory.

The commands on the Actions are shown right. They can be used with and applied to the items (media or FX) on whichever bay page is currently selected.

New project bay window opens a new project bay window. You can then use this (for example) to load a different saved project bay, whilst keeping the original bay open in the original window.

Create new folder. Individual project bay entries can be dragged and dropped in or out of the folder (see example below, where two folders have been created, Bells and Strings). Folders can be used for source media items (as shown below), Media Items (in project) or FX. Double click left of the folder name to collapse or expand the folder.

Force refresh forces a refresh of the project bay display.

Select all items causes all items in the current tab to be selected.

Retain all items causes all items in the current tab to be marked to be retained in the bay even when they are deleted from the project.

Remove all items from project will remove all items from the project, and Remove all items that are not used in project will remove from the media bay all items that are not used in the project.

The Media Explorer button (lower left) can be used to open the Media Explorer, from where media items can be dragged and dropped into the project bay (as source media) or into the project itself.

The rotary Volume control can be used to control the volume of any item being previewed when the option to preview thru selected track has been disabled.

The Bay button (bottom left) serves three basic functions. You can use it to create a new project bay, to replace the contents of the current bay with a previously saved one, or to merge the contents of a previously saved project bay into the current one.

The Source Media Bay and the Media Items Bay

The techniques for working with media items in both of these bays are very similar. The main differences are:

Items dragged into the Bay are placed in the Source Media Bay only, until such time as they are actually added to the project. They are then automatically also listed in the Media Items bay.

Only items which are active (and therefore included in the project) are shown in the Media Items Bay.

Active items can be managed from either of these bays. Available items can only be managed from the Source Media bay.

In order to do this � � you do this Change the column order Click and drag column header left or right. You can do this with any of the five Project Bay tabs selected.
Hide/Show columns Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Add an item to Source Media Bay Drag and drop from Windows Explorer or REAPER's Media Explorer. You can drag an entire item or (if using Media Explorer) a time selection.
To preview an item Select the item then press Space.
To add an item from Source Media or Media Items Bay to a project

Either...

  • Drag and drop from Bay into the project arrange view window,
  • Or � Select track and position cursor in Arrange view. Right-click on item name in Bay and choose Insert into project from context menu. If not already active, its status will now be made active.
To remove an item from within the project. Select the item and use the Delete key, either from the arrange view window or within the Media Bay.
To remove an inactive item from Source Media Bay Select item and press the Delete key, or right-click in item row in Retain column (to left of item name), then choose Remove from bay.
To remove all unused items from the Media bay Right click on title bar, choose Remove all items that are not used in project from the context menu.
To remove the retain status of an active item Select item in bay, right click in Retain column, choose Remove from bay if removed from project.
To remove all instances of an item from project Right-click item in Retain column for the item, choose Remove from project.
To reassign retain status to an active item Select item in Bay, right click in Retain column, choose Retain from menu.
To locate a Media Items Bay item or Source Media Bay item in the project Click on the item in the list then on the Usage button. Click on any item in that list in order to go to and select that item.
To mute an item in project Right-click on item, choose Mute from the context menu (to toggle).
To rename any media item Select item in the Bay: click Rename button or use the context menu.
To add comment to an item Double click in the comments column of the item row.
To filter the media item list Type a text string in the Filter box (e.g. vox to see only media items with vox in their name) then click on the Refresh button.
To clear a filter Click on Clear Filter button.
To replace a Source Media or Media Items item with another item Select item name in Source Media or Media Items list. Right-click and choose Replace in project. Then select from flyout menu, e.g. All instances or any single instance: choose the replacement item. The media format (e.g. MP3, WAV) need not be the same for both items.
To save an item set list from the Bay (for possible use in other projects) Select the items, then click on the Save button and choose one of the available options. You can Save selected items to a new project bay, or Save all items as a new project bay. For either of these, you will be prompted for a new .ReaBay file name. You also have the option to Save and merge selected items to an existing project bay file, in which case you will need to select the required file from the list.
To load a previously saved item set list. Click on the Bay button, choose a .ReaBay file from the list. You may Load and merge it with the current one, or replace the current one.
To sort media items list. Click on any column header to sort. Click again to reverse sort order.

The FX Bay and FX Parameter Bay

Many FX Bay management commands are the same as in the Media Bay � e.g., setting retain status on/off, applying and clearing filters, creating and using folders, and removing items from the media and FX bays are handled in exactly the same way. The example here shows three folders being used to organize the FX. This table emphasises those aspects more specific to the FX Bay itself.

In order to do this � � you do this Add FX from FX Bay to track or media item in project. Either... Select track or media item in Arrange view, right-click on plug-in name in FX Bay, choose Insert into project Or... Drag and drop plug-in from FX Bay to track panel or media item.
Open FX browser window Click on the FX Browser button.
Add FX to the FX Bay Drag and drop from FX Browser.
Locate and open FX window for any FX instance Right click over the track name or number in the Track column then click on the required instance. The Usage button can also be used for this.
Toggle any FX to bypass or offline Select the FX then choose Bypass or Offline from the right-click menu, or use the Bypass button (Shift-click for Offline.
Assign a preset to an FX (see note below table) Right-click in the Preset column for the FX and select from the menu.
Manage any FX parameter Right-click on FX name, choose FX parameters then FX parameters list, then select feature (e.g. Show in track controls or track envelope), then select parameter from list. More about this in Chapter 19.
Change FX instance preset Right-click in the Preset column for the FX and select from the menu.
Replace one FX with another project bay FX Right-click on FX name, choose Replace in project then select from the flyout menu of FX. You can replace all instances or a single instance.

Note: Some FX names may occur more than once in the list. In the example above, ReaComp appears twice. This is because one of these instances have been assigned a preset. This enables you to manage these separately. The preset stock � Modern vocal has been applied on one ReaComp on the Vox track.

Next to the FX tab in the Project Bay window there is a FX Parameters tab. This is used for managing various FX parameter features such as envelopes, learn mode and parameter modulation. This will be explained in Chapter 19, which deals with parameter modulation.

12.9 The Track Manager[edit]

The Track Manager (View, Track Manager) gives you overview control of your tracks. It displays a grid similar to a spreadsheet or table. If the grid is empty, click on the Show All button (above right) to display a list of the project's tracks.

Click on the Options button or right-click on the title bar to display a menu which includes Mirror track selection. This allows any track selection made in either the Track Manager or the TCP to be automatically applied in the other. You can also ensure that when this is enabled, selecting a track in the Track Manager will Scroll to selected track in TCP and mixer.

If your project includes folders with child tracks, then that hierarchy is retained within the track manager's track list. The option to Indent tracks in folders can be disabled from the Options menu. The other Options button menu items are explained in their context in the table below. The table also summarises what you are able to do within the track manager window.

To do this � you do this Change column order Click and drag column header left or right.
Hide/Show columns Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Adjust column width Click and drag left or right on boundaries between column headers
Filter the track list by name Click and drag left or right on boundaries between column headers, Type text in filter box: e.g.� vo� to list in Track Manager only those tracks whose name includes vo. Supports use of NOT and OR filters: e.g. �bass OR guit� will find all tracks with either bass or guit as part of their track name. Use the appropriate Options menu commands to also Hide filtered-out tracks in TCP and/or Hide filtered-out tracks in mixer. The Clear button removes the filter. There is also an option on this menu to Display child tracks if folder parent is displayed. If you enable the option Close track manager on enter key in filter box from the Options menu, then pressing Enter in the filter box will automatically close the Track Manager.
Change TCP track order in track manager Drag and drop tracks up or down. This can be disabled by disabling Allow reordering tracks via track manager from the context menu.
Delete track Select track row and press Delete. You will be prompted to confirm this.
Show/hide Master Toggle Show master track in track manager in Options button menu.
Show/hide tracks in TCP/MCP Click in track row in TCP/MCP columns. You can use the toggle option (on the Options button) to Link TCP/Mixer visibility to synchronize track display. Supports �Swipe� (see last row of table).
Scroll track into view Double-click on track number in # column.
Set/change track color Click on the small square colored icon in the column left of the track number.
Open/show track FX chain The FX column shows the number of FX in each track's FX chain. Double-click on that cell to open the FX chain for that track.
Add FX to track or open an FX window Right click over the track's FX cell and use context menu.
Open/show track Input FX chain The IN-FX column shows the number of FX in each track's Input FX chain.
Monitor plug-in delay compensation Any plug-in delay compensation used by a track's FX will be indicated (in ms) in the track's PDC cell. Clicking on this cell toggles track FX bypass.
Arm/unarm tracks for recording Click in the R column for any track(s) to arm for recording. The letter R will be shown for armed tracks. Click again to unarm. Supports �Swipe� (below).Right click on any cell in this column to display record menu for that track.
Mute/unmute tracks Click in the M column to toggle mute status. All the modifier keys used in the TCP can be used here � e.g. Ctrl Mute to unmute all. Right-click for TCP mute context menu � see Chapter 5. Also supports �Swipe� (see below).
Solo/unsolo tracks Click in the S column to toggle solo status. All the modifier keys used in the TCP can be used here � e.g. Ctrl Alt Solo to solo exclusive. Right-click for TCP solo context menu � see Chapter 5. Also supports �Swipe� (see below).
Lock/unlock track controls Click in the Lock column to toggle lock status. Locked tracks display a + sign. Supports "Swipe" (see last row of table).
Lock track height Click in Height column to toggle.
Manage MIDI items Double-click a track's MIDI cell to open track MIDI items in new MIDI Editor. If item is already open, double-click to close. Right-click in cell for menu of options: Open in new MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor (clear editor first) or Remove from MIDI editor. The third of these options removes from the MIDI editor any tracks/items already open before opening this one. Right-click in cell for menu of options: Open in new MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor, Open in existing MIDI editor (clear editor first) or Remove from MIDI editor. The third of these options removes from the MIDI editor any tracks/items already open before opening this one.
Free Item Positioning on/off toggle Click in the FIPM column to toggle on/off Free Item Positioning. FIPM on shows a + sign. Supports �Swipe� (see last row of table).
Freeze/unfreeze tracks Select track(s) in Track Manager window, then choose whichever action you wish from the Freeze button menu. See also Chapter 6.
Sort Track Manager list Click on any column header. Click again to reverse sort order.
Manage track groups The track manager will respect grouped track parameters (Chapter 5). As with the grouping matrix, you can use Shift to temporarily over-ride these.
Swipe to toggle several adjacent tracks For example, to arm several adjacent tracks for recording, or to mute several adjacent tracks, or to enable free item positioning on a series of adjacent tracks. Click and drag/sweep down the appropriate column.

In the example shown above this table, the Vocal and Acoustic Guitar tracks and folders are the only ones shown in the TCP. All tracks are shown in the Mixer. The Vocals folder settings have been locked. Both the Vox Lead and Vox Harmy tracks are soloed. They are also FIPM enabled. The Reverb track uses plug-in delay compensation of 512 ms. Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, and 11 have all been frozen, track 11 twice.

Tip: You can use the Screensets window to save different sets of Track Manager settings as Track Views, any of which can be recalled in an instant. Screen sets are explained later in this chapter.

12.10 Track View Screen Sets[edit]

Screen Sets enable you to save several different views of your project, so that you can easily select and recall them when editing or arranging. There are two types of Screen Set � Track Views and Windows.

Track Views are created and saved on a per project basis � the screen set data is stored in the project's .RPP file and can be recalled only when you are working with that project file. Using track view screen sets can be especially useful when you are editing or in some other way working closely with media items.

Windows screen sets are global and are stored in the Application Data screensets.ini file. They can be recalled from, and applied to, any project file.

The procedure for creating track views is:

Use the View, Screensets/Layouts command to show the Screen Sets window (the default keyboard shortcut is Ctrl E). The Screen Sets window may be docked (or undocked), and (if undocked) pinned to stay on top.

Adjust your track layouts to suit.

Select a number from the Track views page of the Screen Sets window.

Click on Save and name the set.

You can create up to 10 track view screen sets per project file. To recall a view, double click on its name.

You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to individual screen sets. By default, Shift F4 to Shift F6 are used to save your first three track views, and F4 to F6 are assigned to load each of these first three track views.

If you want to modify these, or assign shortcuts to other track views, then you should click on the Edit shortcuts button in the Screensets window. This opens the Action List Editor. For instructions on how to use the Action List Editor, see Chapter 15.

Notice that there is also an option available to Autosave when switching screensets. If enabled, this ensures when switching from one screen set to another that any changes made to the layout of the first of these screen sets will be saved. The Edit fields... button can be used to �tweak� this, so that only certain aspects of your changes are automatically saved.

Example

  1. Open the file All Through The Night.RPP and save it as All Through The Night TRACK VIEWS.RPP.
  2. Adjust the track height of your Vox track as shown here (above).
  3. In the Screen Sets Track View page, click on 1, then Save to open the Save Track View dialog (below).
  4. Type: Vox View but do not yet press Enter.
  5. Take a look at the five options that are available. We'll examine these shortly. For this exercise, make sure that only Track control panel status is selected.
  6. Click on Save.
  7. Now adjust the track heights so that all tracks are minimized except the two guitar tracks. Make these two tracks high enough to show all track controls.
  8. In the Track views window, click on 2.
  9. Click on Save to open the Save Track View window.
  10. Again make sure that only Track control panel status is enabled and type Guitars View. Press Enter.
  11. To switch between these track layouts, double-click on their names in the Screen Sets window.

This simple example has introduced you to screen sets and how to use them. Because we selected only the option Track control panel status the project track layout was the only information saved with this screen set.

Notice the five options that you may choose to include in or exclude from a track view:

Track Cursor Position

Track Scroll Position

Horizontal Zoom

Track Control Panel Status

Track Mixer Status

Let's then now work thru a further example which use options other than track height.

Example

  1. Horizontally zoom your project to display only the first 45 secs. Position the cursor at the 46 sec mark.
  2. In the track view page of the screensets window, click on 3 then on Save.
  3. Make sure that ONLY Track cursor position and Horizontal zoom are selected.
  4. Type a name for the screenset: Verse 1. Click on Save.

You can now at any time use track view screen set 3 to zoom to Verse 1 and position the play cursor there, and either of the other two screens sets to then zoom vertically to either the vocal or the guitar tracks. To remove any screen set that you do not wish to keep, simply select it and click on the Clear button.

Track Mixer Status

Notice that one of the options that you have when saving track view screensets is Track Mixer status. This option can be used to save any Track Manager settings regarding which tracks are and are not displayed in the Mixer at any time. Switching between different track views would then automatically select different selections of tracks to be shown in the Mixer.

Do not confuse this with the option Mixer flags in Windows screen sets, which allows you to select not which tracks but which mixer elements and options (FX inserts, sends, multiple rows, etc.) are applied.

Note: As you adjust the height and/or width of your track panel, the display area for track controls will become smaller or larger. Some control will disappear and reappear. An example is shown here.

12.11 Windows Screensets[edit]

Unlike track view Screen Sets, Windows Screen Sets are not project specific, but can be applied to any project. They are stored in the Application Data folder in a file called screensets.ini.

After opening the Screensets/Layouts view (Ctrl E), the procedures for creating Windows screen sets are as follows:

Decide which windows and views you want displayed, and arrange them on screen as you wish.

In the Screen Sets window, select the Windows page, select a number, then click on Save. Type a name, then select as many of the six options as you require (see below). Click on Save.

To recall and open any screen set, simply double-click on its name.

To change a screen set, open it, make the changes, then save it.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts with Windows screensets. By default, Shift F7 to Shift F9 are assigned to saving Windows screen sets 1 to 3, and F7 to F9 to loading them. These assignments can be changed in the Actions List Editor (see Chapter 15).

The options that you may choose to include in or exclude from any screen set are:

Main Window Position

Tool Window Positions

Docker Selected Tab

Mixer Flags

Layouts

Last Focus

Some of these are self-explanatory. In addition, note that:

The tool window position option will cause the position of those windows which are defined by Windows as tool items (such as VST FX and the MIDI Editor) to be saved and recalled with the screen set. For any particular project, however, this will only be applied if that particular window exists in that project. This option is useful, for example, if you use a set of standard plug-ins in the Master and you want to easily be able to open and close all these FX windows when working with any project.

Enabling docker selected tab will ensure that whichever window in the docker is visible when the screen shot is saved will be visible when it is recalled.

The mixer flags option, if enabled, will save your various Mixer menu options (FX inserts, sends, folders, top level tracks, position of master, etc.) with the screen set. These options are discussed in detail in Chapter 11.

We encountered layouts in Chapter 11, in the context of the Mixer. You'll find more information about Layouts later in this chapter. Enabling this option will ensure that your layouts are saved with the screen set.

The last focus option can be selected to ensure that a particular view automatically is given focus whenever the Screen Set is loaded.

12.12 Auto Saving Screen Sets[edit]

You have the option to automatically save changes to your Track Views or Windows screen set layouts. To do this, simply ensure that the Auto-save when switching screensets option is selected (see below). This can be used to ensure for example, that if you change the selected tab to be displayed in the docker before switching to a different Windows screen set, when you return to the first screen set, REAPER will have remembered which docker tab was last selected.

If using auto-save, consider using the Edit fields... button to decide which elements for which you want changes automatically saved (see right).

The available options are all items that were included in your options when you created your screen sets.

12.13 Item Selection Sets[edit]

By using item selection sets, you are able to create many different selections of items within a project file and select all of the items in any set simply by selecting that set name. The procedure is as follows:

Use the command View, Screensets/Layouts to display the Screensets window.

Select the Selection sets tab.

Within your project, select all of the items to be included in the group. These can be on a single track or across any number of tracks.

Select a set number, then click on Save.

Give the group a name and press Enter.

At any time you can now recall that group by double-clicking on its name, or by selecting the name and clicking on Load.

In the example shown here, two selection sets have been created, one for Vox Verses and one for Vox Choruses. Simply by double-clicking on the required set name, we can select all of the items in either set.

12.14 Track, Mixer, Transport and Envelope Layouts[edit]

Layouts in general, and mixer layouts in particular, were discussed in Chapter 11. Layouts are created, stored and retrieved with individual themes. From the Layouts tab of the Screensets/Layouts window you can select any theme from the drop down theme list.

Layouts are designed and created for use with individual themes. Therefore, the choice of layouts available to you will be largely dependant on which theme you are using. Themes can be downloaded from stash.reaper.fm.

Layouts associated with your chosen theme will be available to you from the various drop-down lists in this window, such as track panel layouts and mixer panel layouts. For earlier themes that do not include any layouts, a number of standard layouts are available.

Shown right is an example, in this case double-clicking to display the Mixer Panel drop down list and to select a mixer layout. This is an example only � the exact range of choices available to you may not be exactly the same as shown here. When one of these drop down lists is displayed you can hover your mouse over any item to see how it looks, in this example in the mixer.

Here is a summary list of the main layout elements available:

Global Layout Selects theme defaults for all layout elements.
Transport Selects layout for the Transport bar.
Envelope Panel. Selects a layout for track envelope panels. See Chapter 18
Master Mixer Panel Selects a layout for the Master in the Mixer panel.
Mixer Panel Selects a layout for all tracks and folders in the Mixer panel.
Master Track Panel Selects a layout for the Master in the Track control panel.
Track Panel Selects a layout for all tracks and folders in the Track Control panel.
Selected track panel Selects a layout for selected tracks in the Track Control panel.
Selected track mixer panel Selects a layout for selected tracks in the Mixer panel.

Shown here is an example of one rather different track panel layout that you might choose � Standard Media. Amongst other things, it uses horizontal faders (rather than rotaries) for volume control.

You do not need to open the Layouts window to select layouts for a project. You can also use the Options, Layouts command from the main menu or the Track layout command from the TCP or MCP context menu.

Assigning Actions to Layouts

Within the Layouts screen you can assign up to 20 actions to quickly recall any layout. These can be assigned to shortcut keys and/or to custom toolbars.

In the example shown here, Action #1 has been assigned to select a Track Panel layout called Tracking and Action #2 is being assigned to select a different Track Panel called Vertical (vertical meters). You could then click on the Edit shortcuts button and assign shortcuts to the two actions Layout: apply custom layout #01 and Layout: apply custom layout #02. You could also use the Customize toolbar editor to create icons for these actions on one of your toolbars. See Chapter 15 for information on both how to assign keyboard shortcuts and how to create custom toolbars.

Default Theme Layouts

The drop down lists in the various Layouts categories include many options that you can explore. These include Track Panel specialist layouts for recording and tracking, and layouts with vertical meters. Mixer Panel layouts include narrow channel strips and wider strips with a sidebar to display FX chains, sends, etc. (see example right).

12.15 Further FX Parameter Management[edit]

In Chapters 2 and 5 we looked at some uses for the Param button in REAPER's FX plug-in windows. In chapters 16 and 17 you'll see how this can also be used to create automation envelopes and for parameter modulation. Meanwhile. here are some other ways in which you can use them.

If you touch any FX control (such as a fader) with your mouse and then click on the Param button you will see a menu similar to that shown here. In summary, these options are:

Show in track controls. Adds a rotary fader to TCP and (optionally) MCP for adjusting that parameter's value. See Chapter 11 and below.

Show track envelope. Adds an envelope for automating that parameter � see Chapter 18.

Parameter modulation. Enables parameter modulation for this item � see Chapter 19.

Learn. Allows you to assign this parameter to an external control device, such as a fader or button on a control surface � see The Learn Option below.

Alias parameter. Allows you to assign your own name to this one instance of this parameter. This name will be used, for example, on any track control or envelope that you create for this parameter.

FX parameter list. This causes a flyout menu of a list of all parameter controls for this FX to be shown. Using this menu is another method of assigning (or unassigning) any of these options to any parameter, rather than touching it with your mouse � see above right.

Most of these options are available only with FX in a track's FX chain (including the Master). However, Learn is also available with record input FX and monitoring FX. Learn and Show track envelope are both available with per take FX.

The MIDI Learn Option

Let's take a closer look at the Learn option.

When you touch the control in the FX window with your mouse and then click on Learn the Learn window is displayed (see below).

Twiddling the control (such as fader or rotary) on your control surface device will cause information to be displayed in the Command window about the channel and CC assignment for this control. This information is picked up from the control surface.

Choice of CC mode (absolute or relative) will depend on the parameter being assigned and your own control device. In many cases, absolute mode with soft takeover will be appropriate, but you may need to experiment.

Soft takeover: if enabled, the learned parameter will not be changed by moving a MIDI knob or fader until the MIDI knob/fader equals the value on the screen.

For example, if the current value of a parameter is (say) 100 and the controlling hardware slider is (say) 30, then with soft takeover enabled moving the fader will not cause any change to the parameter value until the value of the fader itself nears 100. If the fader is then moved to (say) 120, then the parameter value will also be moved to 120.

The option to Enable only when effect configuration is focused is especially powerful � it means that this control surface assignment will only be used when that plug-in has focus. This enables you to assign the same control surface fader to any number of different functions with different plug-ins. For example, the same fader used to control EQ gain in one plug-in could also be used to control the threshold setting on a compressor.

When one or more parameters in a plug-in has been assigned to a control surface, you will see an extra command on the Param menu � Default controller mappings.

This leads to a flyout menu (right). You can use this menu to save these settings as the default for this plug-in, so that these controls will be automatically made available whenever that plug-in is loaded into other tracks.

Other options on this menu (where a default has been saved) are to Clear default or Use default.

Show in track controls

When track controls are shown in the TCP and MCP, they are not only controls for individual parameters. They also serve as a gateway to managing your console. To display these in the Mixer, you must enable the option Show FX parameters when size permits from the Mixer menu.

Right click over any of the controls in the TCP or MCP for menu (see below right). This menu includes:

Remove from list. This removes the control from the TCP and MCP.

Learn, Modulate, Envelope and Alias. These four options are the same as on the Param button menu in the FX window. For example, from here you can add control surface support to any of your custom track controls by choosing Learn.

Plug-in Menu (shown in the example below are ReaEQ and ReaDelay). This lists the plug-ins in the track's FX chain, together with a flyout menu of all their parameters. You can use this menu to add controls for any of these parameters: the menu includes the option All parameters.In the MCP, when the option Show FX parameters when size permits is enabled, you can right-click in this area for any track to add controls to that track. An example is shown right. The actual menu that is displayed will, of course, depend on which FX are included in the track's FX chain.

Track Templates

Back in Chapter 3 when you were introduced to recording, we mentioned track templates and how useful they can be. Now that you have discovered a lot more about REAPER, it's worth revisiting this topic. Track templates can be your best friend when you are setting up your projects.

A track template can be made up of any track or any selection of tracks. For example, you might have a folder called Drums. This might contain a series of child tracks � Kick, Snare, Toms, Hi hat, etc. � all of which have their own track FX with their own settings, and with volume and pan faders set at their own levels. You could save the entire folder (parent) with its child tracks and all their settings into a single track template called Drum Kit.

Items that get included in track templates include track name, track control settings, track properties (color, icon, etc.), track FX (together with their parameter settings), track controls, FX alias names and FX parameter alias names, parameter modulation, FX parameters, sends and receives, and more.

To save a track (or selection of tracks) as a track template, choose Track, Save tracks as track template from the main menu. To insert tracks from a track template into a project, choose Insert track from template from the same menu.

12.16 Track Control Panel and Menu Bar Help[edit]

A selection of useful information can be displayed below the control panel and at the end of the main menu bar. Right click just below the track control panel and select from these options:

Selected track/item/envelope details

CPU/RAM usage, Time since last save

Track/item count

REAPER tips

No information display

Show mouse editing help

The first five of these options are mutually exclusive: that is you can select only one of them. In the case of the menu bar (right hand end), you can select as many or as few of the following options:

Show free disk space

Show recording path

Show recording volume name

Show recording format

Show audio device information

This menu also gives you access to the Audio Device page of your preferences, the Media Settings page of your project settings, and the Monitoring FX window.

12.17 Using Multiple Dockers[edit]

In Chapter 2 you were introduced to working with REAPER's docker as an aid to navigating your way thru REAPER's various views and windows. In fact you are not restricted to just one docker: you can create up to 16 dockers if you wish. In the example shown here, we have two dockers attached to the bottom of the main window and a floating docker. The first docker (bottom left) contains tabs for displaying the Routing matrix, the Mixer, and the Media Explorer. The second is used to display at any time the Screensets window, the Track Manager or the Undo History. The floating window is a third docker, and this contains tabs for displaying the FX chains for four of the tracks in the current project. This is, of course, only an example.

These instructions assume that you are already familiar with the basic techniques for docking and undocking windows, and so on, as explained in Chapter 2. You can attach any docker to the main window in any of the four positions. You can also choose the same position for more than one docker (for example, you might wish to attach two dockers to the right).

To do this � You need to do this ... Attach a docker to the main window Click on the ! to display the menu, then choose Attach docker to main window, then select a position (bottom, left, top or right). More than one docker can be attached to any of these positions. Click and drag on the boundary between two dockers docked in the same position to adjust the position of the boundary between them (and therefore the relative size of the two dockers. Use this menu also to change the position of a docker, e.g. from top to left.
Dock a window Right-click on the window's title bar and choose the command Dock � in Docker.
Create a new docker Drag and drop any tab from an existing docker into the arrange view area.
Move a window from one docker to another Drag and drop the tab from its present docker to its new one.
Reorder tabs in any docker Drag and drop tabs left or right.
Close a docked tab Alt Click on tab, or click on tab x button.

12.18 Saving New Project Versions[edit]

REAPER's action list includes an action File: Save new version of project (automatically increment project name) which by default is assigned to the keyboard shortcut Ctrl Alt Shift S. This causes a new .RPP file to be created when you save a project. Thus, if, for example, you have a file open called WinterBlues.RPP then running this action would cause this project in its current state to be saved as WinterBlues_1.RPP. Running the action again would save it as WinterBlues_2.RPP, and so on.

12.19 Multiple Project Backup Versions[edit]

The Project page of REAPER's Preferences includes an option when saving to create multiple rpp-bak backup files. To do this, enable the option Keep multiple versions, with or without (as you wish) their own undo histories. If enabled, using File, Save project as... to save a project (over writing the previous file) will cause a new time and date stamped backup version to be created.

Opening the .RPP file will always open the most recently saved version. However, opening the RPP-BAK file will cause a Choose version from backup file dialog to be displayed. Here you can select which version you would like to load. With multiple project tabs you are able to have multiple versions open at the same time.

12.20 Associating Rendered WAV Files with Source Project Files[edit]

When using the File, Render command to render a project (or part of a project) to .WAV file(s), there is an option to Include project file name in BWF data. Rendering is discussed in detail in Chapter 21. If this option is enabled, the RPP project name will be embedded in the rendered file(s). This ensures that this RPP file will remain associated with the rendered WAV file(s).

If any file rendered with this option enabled is subsequently inserted into another project, then the command Open associated project in tab: xxx.RPP (where �xxx� represents the associated project file name) will appear under Open items in editor on the media item context menu.

This can be used to create a new project tab into which it will open the associated RPP file.

12.21 Projects and Subprojects[edit]

A very powerful feature of REAPER is the ability to build a master project that uses any number of subprojects, rather than having to store all your individual tracks, folders and media items within a single project file. As you are about to see, this has many potential applications but is likely to be especially useful for those projects which require a very large number of tracks or for sound design projects where you might wish to use subprojects to build a single overall audio item. The more the subprojects contain multiple media items which need intricate editing, or make use of features such as automation, parameter modulation and FX, the greater are the potential benefits (in terms of project management) that can be gained from using subprojects. A more advanced application might be for a single subproject (or proxy) to be used in multiple projects (for example, advertisements), so that when it is updated all of the �master� projects are automatically updated.

Before you consider working with subprojects, however, you should first develop a solid knowledge and understanding of REAPER's essential project building features, such as (but not confined to) audio and MIDI recording, the media explorer, editing media items, track and item FX and automation, and so on.

In principle, subprojects are not too difficult to understand. Shortly we will work thru an example. In overview, the basic steps involved in using it are as follows:

  1. Create a new project file in the normal way (Ctrl N), and save it. In doing this, it is advisable to select the option to create a subdirectory for the project. Consider also whether you wish to use one of the options to copy or move all media into the project directory.
  2. Create (either by recording or importing, or some combination of both) one or more tracks for this project, such as some foundation tracks or a guide track. You do not have to do this before adding any subprojects, but it can often make sense to do so.
  3. Create a track to �hold� your subproject. The reason for this should become clear shortly. Name this track: e.g., if it is for drums, call it Drums, or for strings, call it Strings, or for foley or sound effects call it Foley or SFX, and so on.
  4. Select this track and choose the command Insert, New subproject. If you wish, you can set the initial length of the subproject by defining a time selection before doing this. When prompted, accept the default name or make up a name (e.g. DrumsSub, StringsSub, etc.) and click on Save.
  5. A short media item will be inserted at the play cursor position. This is (or represents) the subproject.
  6. Double-click on this item to open the sub-project in a new tab. Two markers are automatically created, (=START and =END) at the start and end of the subproject. They define the rendered portion of the subproject, and can be moved or deleted at any time.
  7. Build your subproject by recording or importing media as required. Various options that control playback behavior when working with multiple projects open are available on the project tab context menu. We'll get round to explaining these shortly.
  8. When finished, press Ctrl S to save the subproject. The media items will be rendered to a single file which will appear as a single media item on its own track in the main project.
  9. Display the main project (select its project tab). You may need to extend the length of the media item on the sub project track to display its contents. You may now close the subproject file if you wish. It can be re-opened by double-clicking on the media item in the main project file. With large projects (e.g. with many sample based instruments) that are slow to load it can be simpler just to keep them open, although doing so will use more RAM.
  10. When you play the main project file, its output will now include the rendered contents of your subproject.

Example

Let's now look at an example of how this might be done in practice. To make it easier to understand, this example will be kept to a simple project. After reading thru this, you might be able to then think of a further example that you can try out for yourself using your own projects.

  1. Here we have created a new project file, and saved it into its own subdirectory, calling it WaitingMain.RPP, We have recorded a guide track and added a second track, called Drums.
  2. After selecting the Drums track we used the command Insert, New subproject to insert a subproject which we named and saved as DrumsSub.RPP. Notice both the short media item that is automatically added to the track and the new project tab above the toolbar.
  3. We select the DrumsSub subproject either by clicking on its project tab or by double-clicking on the media item. We right click on this file's project tab and enable the options Synchronize any parent projects on playback, Run background projects, Run stopped background projects, Play stopped background projects with active project and Synchronize play start times w/play background projects.. We'll get to the two markers shortly.
  4. We build our drum tracks in the normal way. For the sake of simplicity, in this example we have just added two tracks, but of course we could have as many as we require. Whenever we play these back, the guide track in the master project will also be heard. Track volume and pan settings are adjusted as required, FX and envelopes are added, and so on. When finished, we move the =END marker to the end of the tracks.
  5. We now save this file. Notice that audio output is rendered as the file is saved. We return to the main project. At first sight, nothing seems to have changed:
  6. However, when we extend the media item to the right, we can see the rendered drums:
  7. If we close the DrumsSub project and play the main project file, the rendered drums can clearly be heard along with the guide track.
  8. Any later changes that we make to the DrumsSub project will be included in the audio file that is rendered when the subproject is saved. Thus, when the main project is next opened, the audio item on the Drums track will include these updates.
  9. We can now add further subprojects, in this example one each for the vocals and the rhythm section. The guide track is no longer required: it can be muted and hidden. We can also make further edits, add FX, etc. to the rendered subproject tracks:

This example has been kept simple for learning purposes. In practise, subprojects are most useful when working with complex and intense applications such as movie scores, radio programs, large orchestral arrangements, game/video sound design and electronic music production. Another potential application is in finalising an album, with each song being inserted as a separate subproject within a master project.

Working with subprojects � some handy tips and hints

It's easy to stumble and make (sometimes elementary) mistakes when trying out something new. These comments are not comprehensive but they are here to help you.

Creating a subproject file

It's not the end of the world if you forget to position the edit cursor in the master project accurately before creating a subproject. You can move the media item within the master project file later.

You can specify the position and length of a subproject by defining a time selection before you create it.

It usually pays to ensure that the master project is set up within a new folder, and the subprojects are all stored in that same folder.

Don't use the name of an existing file in the same folder as a subproject file name. If you do, you will overwrite that file with a new empty one.

Individual media items from an existing project file can be imported into a subproject file in the usual way (e.g. using REAPER's Insert, Media item command, or via the media explorer).

An existing .RPP project file can be imported into a master project as a new subproject item.

Either drag and drop the .RPP file from media explorer into an empty track in the master file, and when prompted choose Insert project as media item, or select the empty track and use the Insert, Media file... command.

An existing media item (or item selection) in a master project file can be extracted from the master file and moved into a new subproject file. Right-click on the selected item(s) and choose Move items to new subproject. Items within the selection on the same track will be moved to a single subproject file. Items on different tracks will be each be moved into a separate subproject file. The subproject file is fully editable: its contents will appear in the master project file as a single item, which will be updated each time the subproject file is saved.

An entire track or selection of existing tracks in a master project file can be converted into a subproject by following these steps:

  1. In the TCP, select the track or a number of tracks. If these are enclose in a folder, include the folder in your selection.
  2. From the main menu, choose Track, Move tracks to new subproject.

The tracks (including any folders) will be moved and saved to a new subproject file: their output will appear in the master file as a rendered single item on a single track. Note, however, that any sends/receives between the selected tracks and any other tracks in the master file will be removed.

Working with subproject files

If your master/subproject arrangements become very complicated, and you wish to be able to save without having to wait for rendering to complete, click on one of the project tabs and enable the option Defer rendering of subprojects (render on tab switch rather than on save).

A new subproject file will take some project settings (e.g. BPM, time sig) from the master project file. However, changes to master project settings will not be automatically applied to subprojects.

You do not need to have the master file (or any other file) open when you are working on a subproject file. The file will be automatically re-rendered when you save your changes, and it is this re-rendered version that will be displayed when you next open the master file. However, often you will want to have the master project file open, to give your subproject file(s) relevant context.

The =START and =END markers can be used to ensure that only a portion of the material in a subproject file is rendered and returned to the master file when the project is saved (shown here).

If you delete these two markers, the entire project from the start (zero on timeline) to the end of the last item will be rendered when the file is saved. This could lead to the loss of reverb tails if the reverb is intended to play beyond the end of the last item.

When you play back a subproject file with Run background projects and Synchronize any parent projects on playback enabled, the item takes in the master file that correspond with that subproject file will be automatically muted, and remains so as long as that subproject remains the active project.. This prevents the same material from being played twice.

If when working on a subproject file you wish to hear only the contents of that file on playback, you should disable the project tab option Synchronize any parent projects on playback.

Be aware that if a subproject has been edited within the parent project (e.g. with FX, playrate changes, etc.) the Synchronize any parent projects on playback option may not produce the same results as playback of the parent project would provide.

You have already learnt that when a subproject file is saved its contents are rendered to audio. This process uses that file's project render realtime/online settings. Thus, if you wish you can use different render settings for different subproject files.

A subproject file can be auditioned in media explorer. Navigate to the correct folder, and select the .RPP project in the usual way. The audio render will be played. This enables you to play it back in media explorer without having to open it. Within media explorer, the Options menu includes Auto-render proxy (subproject) to preview REAPER.RPP projects. If enabled, this ensures that when you select an .RPP subproject view for preview, if it needs rendering it will automatically be rendered.

Within the main project file, you can create a new take of any subproject item. Just right-click on the media item and from the context menu choose Open items in editor, then Open item copies in subproject tab. You will now have two subproject files for this track. These two files can be edited independently of each other and will be displayed in the master project as two separate takes. They can be manipulated and edited in exactly the same way as any other takes.

Your subproject files, like any other project files, can include markers and regions, as you wish. On saving, any regions will be identifiable within that subproject's rendered media item in the main project file.

Summary of master and subproject project tab options

Parent projects:

If you enable the option Run background projects then you can fine tune how the background projects should behave by enabling or disabling any or all of the options Run stopped background projects, Play stopped background projects with active project and Synchronize play start times w/play background projects.

Subprojects:

If you enable the option Run background projects then you can fine tune how the background projects should behave by enabling or disabling any or all of the options Synchronize any parent projects on playback, Run stopped background projects, Play stopped background projects with active project and Synchronize play start times w/play background projects.


On both parent and subproject project tabs various subproject rendering toggle options are available. These are Do not automatically render subprojects (require manual render), Prompt before automatic rerender of background subprojects, Defer rendering of subprojects (render on tab switch rather than save) and Leave subproject open in tab after automatic open and render.

chapper 13: Manipulating and Editing MIDI Items[edit]

13.1 Introduction[edit]

REAPER has a number of techniques for manipulating and editing your MIDI items. In brief these are:

  • Many of the commands on the arrange view right-click media item context menu can be used with MIDI items as much as they can with audio items - for example you can create and manipulate multiple takes, add MIDI FX to a take's FX chain, cut, copy and move items, and so on.
  • In addition, there are commands on the arrange view right-click item context menu that are specific to MIDI items and only MIDI items. We?ll get to these soon enough.
  • You can open any MIDI items or selection of MIDI items in REAPER?s MIDI Editor for detailed editing. You can choose either to open a single item, several items together in the same single MIDI Editor window, or to use a separate window for each item.
  • For quick MIDI editing, you can edit the track in-line. This makes the item?s content available for editing without needing to open a separate MIDI editing window. This is covered near the end of this chapter.

Before looking at editing, however, we'll resolve a couple of other issues of importance to MIDI users.

13.2 Monitoring an External Synthesizer[edit]

An external synthesizer can be monitored using MIDI or audio input. Just do this:

Activity Procedures Monitor using MIDI Input Monitor using MIDI Input. Insert a track and name it. Arm it for recording and turn record monitoring on. Set record mode to Disable (input monitoring only). Select Input: MIDI, then the device, then the channel(s). Open the track's routing (I/O) window, select your MIDI Hardware Output.
Monitor using Audio Input Monitor using Audio Input. Insert a track and name it. Arm it for recording. Turn record monitoring on. Set record mode to Disable (input monitoring only). Select the necessary mono or stereo audio input from the synth's audio interface.

13.3 Using Track Controls with MIDI[edit]

As mentioned in Chapter 5, REAPER's track volume and pan controls by default control a track's audio signals. If you wish to use these for MIDI instead, you can do so. Right click on the track number in the TCP or MCP and choose MIDI Track Controls then select one of the Link track volume/pan to MIDI options from the menu. You can choose all channels or any individual channel.

You can also use the plug-in ReaControl MIDI with any track. This is explained in detail later in this chapter.

13.4 Controlling MIDI Data Sends[edit]

REAPER's sends and receives can be used with audio items, MIDI items, or both. You have already been introduced to this topic (Chapter 5), and it is covered in more depth in Chapter 17. Meanwhile, note that the button indicated on the right can be used to ensure that a send's fader controls are used to control the MIDI data.

With this button enabled, CC messages CC07 for Volume (127, max) and CC10 Pan (64, center) are sent on the selected channels (by default, all channels). If there are any MIDI items (even empty ones) on the sending track, they are sent when transport starts or stops, or play position changes. However be aware that not all synths and plug-ins recognize this feature.

13.5 Configuring and Accessing the MIDI Editor[edit]

Note: Many of the illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default color theme. The instructions and actions are nevertheless accurate for REAPER 5.

The MIDI Editor needs to be opened from an existing item. If you wish to open it with a ?clean sheet? then you must first create a new empty MIDI item. To do this, select the required track and (optionally) make your time selection to define the length of the item. Then choose Insert, New MIDI Item from the main menu.

By default, MIDI items created in this way are loop enabled. You can change this for an individual items within its Media Item Properties dialog box, or globally on the Project, Media Item Defaults page of your Preferences settings.

The MIDI Editor can be opened by any of these methods, using a single MIDI item (either recorded or empty):

Unless you have changed your default mouse modifier preferences, double-click on the MIDI item, or

Select the MIDI item and press Ctrl Alt E

Right-click on the item and choose Open in built-in MIDI editor from the menu.

However, exactly how the MIDI Editor will behave when opened will depend on your Preferences settings. Before delving into the MIDI Editor, therefore, we really need to explore these preferences. Use the Options, Preferences command, the choose MIDI Editor from the list to access the MIDI Editor preferences.

The wider range of MIDI Editor preferences is explored in Chapter 22. For now, we just need to focus on those shown on the right.

First, you can specify what by default will be opened with the MIDI editor. This can be clicked MIDI item only, all selected MIDI items, all MIDI on the same track, or all MIDI in the project. The default is All selected MIDI items.

You can override the default settings at any time by opening the MIDI Editor by right-clicking on an item (or a selection of items) and choosing Open items in editor, then, from the sub-menu, choosing either Open items in built in MIDI editor, Open MIDI item in editor or Open item copies in built-in MIDI editor.

You can also determine what is to happen when more than one MIDI item is open: you can choose to have a separate MIDI editor instance per media item, per track or just one editor for the whole project.

13.6 The MIDI Editor Window[edit]

The next part of this User Guide focuses on how to work in the MIDI Editor with a single item. Later in this chapter we will look at working in the MIDI Editor with multiple items, and with items on multiple tracks.

When you open an item in the MIDI Editor you will see a display similar to that shown below. It includes:

The Main Menu.

We?ll take a detailed look at the main menu, its various commands and actions shortly: for now, note that if your MIDI Editor is docked, this menu is accessed by right-clicking on the windows docker tab. Meanwhile, you need to understand some more about the interface and how to navigate it.

The Toolbar(below Main Menu)

Hover your mouse over any button for a tooltip. You can customize this toolbar to meet your own requirements (see Chapter 15). The default toolbar icons are described below (left to right).

Select View Buttons

The first four buttons select which view will be displayed in the MIDI Editor. From left to right, these are Piano roll (the default), Named note, Event list and Musical notation. The first three of these are explained in detail throughout this chapter. Musical notation view is dealt with in the chapter following this one.

Filter Button

This is the third button on the toolbar. It opens the Filter Events window to allow you to decide what you want displayed in the MIDI Editor. The Show only events that pass filter box toggles your filter settings on and off. Invert causes all notes to be displayed except those defined by the filter settings. You can choose to display all Channels, or any combination or permutation of channels.

Enabling Solo will cause only events that pass through the filter to be played.

Use the Event Type drop down to select any type of event as a filter. The default is All, but you can choose Note, Poly Aftertouch, Control Change (CC), Program Change (PC), Channel Aftertouch, Pitch, or Sysex/Meta.

The content of the Parameter drop down lists depend on the event type selected. For example, for Note (as shown below), it will display a list of notes, with options to filter on note (optionally using the keys in piano roll) or note range, velocity, position in measure and/or length. However, choosing Program Change (PC) as event type will allow filtering only on program number and/or position in measure. Pitch can be filtered on low/high values or position in measure.

Position in measure behavior will vary with the event type. For example, if the event type is Note, position in measure allows you to restrict display to a range you define anywhere between 0 and 127. For PC, CC or Pitch, low and high position in measure values are set to any range within 1/32 and 1.

Set selection causes current filter settings to be applied, and Add to selection lets you add to the existing filter selection. For example, you can create a filter on Note then add to it one based on Pitch. You can also specify settings to Remove from (current) Selection. Set filter from selection will automatically create a new filter based on the current MIDI Editor note selection.

The Filter Button includes a right-click context menu which can be used to toggle on/.off the options Show only events that pass filter, Invert filter and/or Solo.

Track List

This button opens (on) and closes (off) the Track List panel. This is explained in this chapter, in the section Working with Multiple Tracks and/or Items. For the time being, leave this set to off.

To the right of the track list button are six toggle icons, Quantize (on/off), CC selection follows note selection, Show grid, Snap to grid, Step Sequencing (use MIDI inputs for step recording, on/off) and Dock editor. Right-click over the Snap to Grid button to set behavior for when snap is enabled ? Always snap notes to the left, Snap notes to end of grid (the default), or Snap relative to grid. The final icon Dock editor can be used to dock and undock the MIDI Editor window.

Note: If both Media, MIDI preferences to Create new items as .MID files and Import existing MIDI files as .MID file reference are enabled, the MIDI Editor toolbar will on the left display two further buttons - File, Save MIDI file and File, Revert to saved MIDI file.

Tip: The View, Piano Roll Timebase command includes the options source beats, project beats and project time. MIDI data is always defined in beat-based terms, but in the time view mode the grid is adjusted to reflect any tempo changes in the project. If there are no tempo changes, the beat and time views will be identical. You also have the option to select Project synced. This synchronizes the timeline of the project and MIDI item together. It also ensures that both windows are synchronized during such actions as zooming and scrolling.

The Ruler

The MIDI Editor follows your Arrange view settings. For example, if the option Loop points linked to time selection is enabled, click and drag along the MIDI Editor ruler will define both loop and time selection.

The Transport Bar

This is found at the bottom of the MIDI Editor window. It contains the transport buttons and a number of drop down lists. The six buttons (not shown) are self explanatory ? left to right they are rewind, start, pause playback, stop playback, jump to end, and toggle repeat loop mode on/off. The loop area can be set on the timeline in either the MIDI Editor or the Arrange window. The drop down lists (shown above) from L to R are:

Grid: The grid division box is used to set the grid division unit, in notes. Select a values between 1/128 and 4.

Grid spacing type: Options here are straight, triplet, dotted or swing. If you choose swing, several other parameters will also be displayed on this bar. These are discussed later in the context of quantizing.

Notes: This is used to select the default note length (expressed as a fraction of a note) that is used when new notes are added. In the example above, this has been set to be the same as the grid setting. It can be overwritten using the main menu command Options, Drawing or selecting a note sets note length.

Scale and Chord: Enabling the key snap option allows you to select a scale and a chord from the two drop down lists. You can also use the chords button (here labelled ?Major?) to load a REAPER .reascale file.

Color: Uses color to display differences in Velocity, Channel, Pitch, Source, Track or Media Item.

Track List: Where more than one track contains MIDI item, this selects which track is to be made active in the MIDI editor. This can also be used to show or hide the track list panel.

Channel: Use this to select a channel from 1 to 16 for current editing (or All). The Filter box modifies selected channel behavior: when off, all channels are displayed, but the selected channel is still used for note entry.

The Main Window

The main window by default consists of two panels. The larger (top) panel displays your MIDI notes. Here you do your editing. The default view is Piano Roll View. Click on any piano key to play that note. The smaller (bottom) panel is the CC lane, used to display various information, such as note velocity or pitch.

Move your mouse over the main window area (where the notes are displayed) and you can see your mouse cursor displayed as a pencil. This indicates the current edit position, for example for inserting notes. Both the position on the timeline and that on the piano roll are shown in the top left corner, just beneath the toolbar.

The Scroll Bars

The MIDI Editor window includes vertical and horizontal scroll bars which can be used to navigate and zoom in and out of the contents of the MIDI item(s).

The CC Lane(s)

By default, Velocity information is shown in the CC lanes. To change this, either:

Click on the drop down arrow (right) to see a menu of items (including standard MIDI control messages) that you can choose to display in the CC Lane instead of velocity. A small selection of the available choices are shown on the right, or

Click on the small + button next to the drop down list arrow to add extra CC lanes. Select any item from the list to display in the selected lane.

Right-clicking over the shaded area at the edge of the top border of a CC lane will produce a menu that can be used to hide a CC lane, clear it, change its contents (Set lane), or add an extra lane.

To remove a lane from view, click on the small minus sign that appears to the immediate right of its drop down arrow.

Provided the lane height is tall enough, the existence of CC messages can also be seen on the MIDI item in the main window (see right).

13.7 Control Change Messages[edit]

Control change messages are used to change the status of a MIDI parameter. If using an actual MIDI device, these messages can be used to physically control the foot pedals, volume sliders, modulation wheels, and other controls on electronic instruments. Within REAPER, control change messages can simulate this effect when playing back your MIDI data thru a software synthesizer.

Controller data is used for various purposes. The different controller data streams are numbered from 0 to 127. Some of these controller numbers are industry standard. For example, controller 7 is generally used to control volume and controller 10 for panning. A control change message has two parts. The first is the control change number, which determines which parameter is to be set. The second is the desired value for that parameter. For example, first, you might send a CC #7 message to specify that you want to adjust volume. Next, you send a value that sets the actual volume level required.

A control change message can act as either an override (setting the parameter to the exact value specified), or an offset (adjusting the parameter up or down by the amount specified).

MSB and LSB

MSB and LSB stand for Most Significant Byte and Least Significant Byte respectively. MSB control change messages typically act as coarse controls, while LSB messages generally allow fine adjustments. Some control change messages have both MSB and LSB versions. Most MIDI devices that contain sounds/patches respond to both Bank Select MSB and LSB control change messages.

Some of the more commonly used cc parameters are listed below. Don?t worry if you don?t understand them all. You should consult your MIDI device?s documentation for more details.

Parameter Description Bank Select MSB
Bank Select LSB
Many MIDI devices offer a total of more than 128 instruments, in which case these instruments are grouped into banks. Thus, depending on the device, a full program change message might consist of five parts ? cc #0 (Bank Select), followed by the Sound Bank MSB value, then cc #32 (Bank Select LSB) followed by the Sound Bank LSB value, then finally the Program Change number. Program change numbers are discussed in more detail in the sub sections that follow after this one.
Velocity The measure of the speed with which a key on a keyboard is pressed. A lane is also available for Note Off Velocity.
Mod Wheel This can add vibrato or other changes to a sound.
Breath Varies from 0 (no force) up to 127 (high force).
Portamento Determines the smoothness of the glide from note to note
Balance Typically used to adjust the volume of stereo parts without affecting the panning.
Expression Used to create relative volume changes.
Sound Timbre The property of a sound that gives it its unique ?color?.
Sound Release Determines how long it takes for a sound to fade out.
Sound Attack Controls how long it takes for a sound to fade in.
Sound Brightness This adjusts a sound?s filter cutoff, allowing you to create filter ?sweeps?.

13.8 Control Channel Basics[edit]

MIDI Data Control Channel (CC) messages can be recorded during live performance, and edited or manually entered using the CC lane in the MIDI Editor. The CC Lane appears at the bottom of the MIDI Editor. Data is displayed horizontally according to its position on the Timeline, and vertically according to the value of the data.

Most CC data has a value of 0 at the bottom of the CC Lane, and 127 at the top of the CC Lane. The example (right) shows Velocity. Exceptions to this rule include Pitch, Pan and Pan Position, which are displayed as positive or negative variations from a centre line.

The information displayed in the CC Lane is selected from the drop-down list at the left of the window. CC Data is entered or edited by dragging the mouse to the required value. To delete an event, select it, then press Delete.

The Mouse Modifiers page of REAPER's Preferences includes the ability to customize left drag and double-click behavior when working with MIDI CC events.

13.9 Working with MIDI Editor Lanes[edit]

There are a few especially interesting items that you can display in your lane or lanes that are not included in the above table. These are worth a special mention, because they might otherwise slip under your radar. They are System Exclusive messages, Text Events, and Bank/Program Select.

13.9.1 Sysex Events[edit]

System exclusive (Sysex) messages are MIDI data that can only be understood by the particular make and model of the device that created them. For example, all synthesizers should respond to CC messages like Volume or Pan control, but system exclusive messages created by a Roland synthesizer would not be understood by, say, a Yamaha synthesizer.

You can add a lane which can be used to manage system exclusive (Sysex) messages, as shown above. In this example, a Sysex lane is displayed in addition to a Velocity lane.

Some MIDI hardware, especially older devices, accept sysex messages as a way to initialize or change settings on the device. Sysex messages are raw MIDI data, represented as a list of hexadecimal bytes.

Sysex events may be added, edited, moved, or deleted in the same way as text events (see below). Double click in the lane to open the Add Sysex Event dialog box, enter the message and click on OK. Click, hold and drag on any sysex event to move it. Double click on any existing sysex event to edit it, or right click to delete it.

13.9.2 Text Events[edit]

The Text Events option lets you display a CC Lane which can be used to display text in a lane below your MIDI notes. These could be, for example, lyrics, or marker information or any of the other available text types.

Just double click at any point in the lane to open the Edit Text Event dialog box, type your text, specify its type, and click on OK. As with system exclusive events, double click on any existing text event to edit it, drag it to move it, right click to delete it.

13.9.3 Bank/Program Select[edit]

When you choose the Bank/Program Select option for a CC lane, you can double click at any point to open the Bank Program Select dialog box.

Here you can select any bank/program combination, and assign it to any channel. The bank/program combinations available to you will depend on what instruments you are using (see example, right).

If using a synthesizer which has its own instrument definition files, you can load a file into the MIDI Editor by clicking on the Load File button, then navigating to its directory, then selecting it.

An example of the use of program changes is shown here. To edit any program change message, just double click on its CC Lane bar. This will open the Bank/Program Select window for you to make your changes. Also, click and drag to move a program change message, double-click to edit it. To delete it, simply right click over its CC Lane bar.

13.10 MIDI CC Lanes: Tips & Tricks[edit]

REAPER's MIDI CC lanes include a number of additional features. Here are some that you might find useful.

13.10.1 General CC Lane Editing Techniques[edit]

Many of the CC message types ? such as Mod Wheel, Breath, Portamento, Pan, Volume etc. ? can be expressed as a continuous range of values, rather than as discrete items (in the way that text events, for example, are). For messages of this type there are a number of standard techniques you can use to enter, edit or delete them.

To enter a single message, click and move (gently push) the mouse in the appropriate CC lane at the required point. The nearer the top of the lane, the higher the value of the message.

To change the value of an existing message, click and drag it up or down.

To delete a message, right click over it. Alt right click sweep will delete a series of messages.

You can click-hold-drag-sweep to insert a continuous sequence of messages. The example shown (right) causes the notes to be panned in increments first to the left, then to the center, then to the right, then back to the center again.

13.10.2 Right Click Marquee Selection[edit]

You can right-click and drag within any CC lane to make a selection of multiple events. Having made your selection, you can work with them in the CC lane, as well as (if appropriate) in the piano view window. For example, if the CC lane displays Velocity, then there will be one event shown in the CC lane for each note in the piano view. Selecting the events in the CC lane will also select the corresponding notes in the piano roll view.

You could then work with those selected events in the MIDI Editor or work with them in the CC lane itself. For example you can:

Delete them.

Adjust their values (up or down).

Right click over the CC lane for a context menu (see right). This can be used to nudge or move the selected events.

Click and drag to move the selection left or right, control click and drag to copy.

The exact behavior here will be determined by whether the individual CC events are directly linked to individual note events. In the example shown here, this would be the case with the velocity events but not the pitch change events. Thus, in the former case (velocity) you would need to move the events in the piano view window itself and the velocity events would move with them. In the latter case (pitch changes), you would move the events in the CC lane itself.

13.10.3 Intelligent CC Lane Dropdown List[edit]

The CC Lane dropdown menu uses markers to show which other lanes already exist and contain data, whether they are currently displayed or not. In the example shown here, this applies to Velocity, Pitch, Program, Bank/Program Select, Text Events and Breath.

13.10.4 14-bit CC Lanes and Actions[edit]

The CC Lane drop down menu includes a complete range of options for 14-bit CC messages. These can be found at the end of the drop down list. There are also actions that can be used to select any message type for any lane. Use of the Actions List Editor is explained in detail in Chapter 15, but in brief:

  1. From the MIDI Editor Actions menu choose Show action list ?
  2. In the Action List, select one of the actions CC: Set CC lane to ... (e.g. Set CC lane to 007 Volume 14-bit or Set CC lane to 007 Volume MSB). You can now assign a shortcut key to that action (see Chapter 15). Close the Action List Editor.
  3. Now you can at any time select a MIDI Editor CC lane and use the shortcut key to use that CC lane for the chosen message type: existing data will be displayed and new data can be inserted and/or edited.

13.10.5 Resizing CC Lane Height[edit]

You have three options for changing the height of CC lanes. All involve clicking on the dotted ?handle? (shown here) on the ?ceiling? boundary above the CC lane in question. The mouse cursor becomes a vertical double-headed black arrow. You can then drag the mouse up or down. When you have only one CC lane displayed all three actions do exactly the same thing. However, when there are two or more CC lanes shown, these three actions will behave differently.

Click and Drag: Simply click and drag up/down to increase/decrease the portion of the MIDI Editor window used to show the selected CC lane. Increasing this portion will decrease the height of the piano roll window and vice versa. Other CC lane heights remains unaffected.

Shift Click and Drag: Shift click and drag up/down will increase/decrease the height of all CC lanes and adjust the height of the piano roll window accordingly.

Control Click and Drag: Control click and drag will adjust the height of just the one CC lane, leaving other CC lane heights unchanged.

In addition, you can double-click on the dotted handle (also known as ?grippy area?) of any open CC lane to toggle between viewing and minimising it.

13.11 Navigating the MIDI Editor Main Window[edit]

The MIDI Editor?s menus and action list contain any number of techniques that you can use for precision navigation: we?ll get to these shortly. First, you should familiarise yourself with the tools that you have available for ?broad brush? navigation. The horizontal and vertical scroll bars in the MIDI Editor window are used for scrolling, and their respective plus and minus buttons can be used for vertical and horizontal zooming. You can also use your mousewheel. This can be customized in the Actions List Editor (see Chapter 15), but by default the settings are:

Mousewheel: Horizontal Zoom Ctrl Mousewheel: Vertical Zoom

Alt Mousewheel: Horizontal Scroll Ctrl Alt Mousewheel: Vertical Scroll

The keyboard shortcuts PageUp and PageDown can be used to zoom in/out vertically, and + and ? to zoom in and out horizontally. These too can be changed in the Actions List Editor if you wish.

13.12 Basic Note Selection and Manipulation[edit]

The MIDI Editor?s menus and action list contain any number of techniques that you can use for precision editing and manipulation of your notes: we?ll get to these shortly. First, you should familiarise yourself with the most basic tools that you have available for quick and basic editing.

To do this ? You need to do this ? Add a note Click and drag in the MIDI editing area.
Delete a note Double-click on the note.
Select a note for editing Click once on the note.
Select a range of notes Right click and drag around the selection.
Select all notes in a range Right click and drag keys in piano roll.
Add to an existing selection Hold Alt and Ctrl while right clicking and dragging around notes.
Change a note?s length Hover mouse over the start or end of the note - the mouse cursor is now a double headed black arrow. Click and drag left or right , as required.
Move a note Click and drag note to new position then release.

13.13 Loop/Time Selections and Smart Editing[edit]

To move the position of the cursor, click on the timeline (ruler) in the MIDI Editor window.

Loop and time selection within the MIDI Editor will behave in accordance with whether or not you have enabled the option Loop points linked to time selection on REAPER's main menu. These notes assume that you have this disabled.

You can select an area to be looped, as in the main REAPER window, by clicking and dragging along the MIDI Editor timeline. You can also use the REAPER arrange view timeline to define and modify loop areas if you wish. Use the Toggle Repeat button on the MIDI Editor Transport Bar to enable or disable looping.

To make a time selection, click and drag along the boundary between the piano roll display area and the CC lane. The mouse cursor becomes a horizontal double-headed arrow. Notice that the time selection is mirrored in REAPER's Arrange view (see right).

This facilitates smart editing (see Chapter 7). For example, within the docked MIDI Editor window you could work on the part of a MIDI item that you wish to copy or move to another track and then, still in the MIDI editor, mark that as a time selection.

In Arrange view, you could then Ctrl Click Drag that area to another track (or elsewhere on the same track) and create your copy. If using this feature, you should first decide whether or not you wish to enable Auto-select CC when moving/copying within time selection from the Options menu.

13.14 The MIDI Editor Menus[edit]

This section is an overview of the MIDI Editor's main menu commands. When docked, the main menu is not displayed, but you can access these commands by right-clicking over the window?s tab in the docker. You can also access the MIDI Editor menu by right-clicking just above the piano keys or timeline.

The File Menu

Rename MIDI take ... Renames the MIDI Item.
Export to new MIDI file ... Exports active MIDI track to a file. MIDI events are normally stored in the Project file itself.
Notation: Export as MusicXML Available in musical notation view only ? see next chapter.
Note names Displays a sub-menu. Rename current note.... Use this in Piano Roll or Named Notes mode to name the currently selected note. After entering a name you can use Tab to move to the next note in the piano roll, Shift Tab to go to the previous note. Choose Load note names from file... to browse for your required file. Recently used files will also be displayed on the menu. When loading from the recent file list, hold Shift with this command to merge imported names with existing note names rather than replace them. (also see [[Custom MIDI note and CC names.) Another option is to Save note names to file... There is an option to Clear note names and a toggle option Note name actions apply to active channel only.
Note colors

Displays a sub-menu. Load color map from file .../Clear color map (use defaults). Used to import your own .PNG color map file or restore the REAPER defaults. For more information about how to create a color map file, go to forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=78839.

Close Editor Closes the REAPER MIDI editor, and returns you to the main REAPER window.

The Edit Menu

Undo, Redo, Copy, Cut, Paste, Select all, Delete These features work as expected on all selected MIDI notes. Note that you can cut, copy and paste between MIDI Editor windows, and into some external applications. These features work as expected on all selected MIDI notes. Note that you can cut, copy and paste between MIDI Editor windows, and into some external applications. Also, the Actions list includes several Select actions, e.g. various actions for selecting CC events in time selection, actions to select CC events under selected notes, actions to select muted notes, actions for selecting all notes in measure, and actions for selecting all notes at pitch cursor.
Paste, Paste preserving position in measure Paste will paste to the current cursor position. Where a selection of notes (rather than a single note) has been cut or copied, the entire selection will be pasted starting at the current cursor position. Paste preserving position in measure pastes to the next measure after the cursor position, retaining the relative position of the item pasted.
Mute Mutes current note selection.
Insert note Inserts new notes at the Edit Cursor.
Split notes Splits selected notes (using the S key). If no notes are currently selected, all notes currently under the Edit Cursor are split.
Join notes Joins selected notes together.
Set note ends to start of next note (legato) Sets ends of selected notes to start of next notes by adjusting end points of all notes in selected range.
Quantize ... Opens Quantize Events dialog box. See also the Quantize section and the MIDI Toolbox section.
Quantize submenu:
  • Quantize using last settings
  • Quantize position to grid
  • Unquantize
  • Freeze quantizationSee the Quantize section for more information.
Humanize ? Opens the dialog box shown here. Humanizing can make the exact timing of MIDI generated music sound less ?clinical? and more realistic. It does so by allowing you to introduce random small and subtle imprecisions in timing and velocity. As well as being found on the Edit menu, this command is also available as an assignable action.
Transpose ... Transpose ... Opens the dialog box shown here, which can be used to transpose all or a selection of MIDI notes. You can transpose by a specified number of semitones, with a snap to scale option, or from one specified key/scale to another.

The Navigate Menu

This menu presents a number of options for moving notes in any direction, either by grid or by note:

Move cursor left by grid: Move pitch cursor up a semitone

Move cursor right by grid: Move pitch cursor down semitone

The following commands can be used to jump to and select a note, either instead of or in addition to any current selection:

Select note nearest cursor

Add note nearest cursor to selection

Select previous note

Select next note

Select previous note with same pitch

Select next note with same pitch

Select all notes with same pitch

Add previous note to selection

Add next note to selection

Move edit cursor to start of selection

More note selection actions are available in the MIDI Editor's action list, including actions to select the next note with higher or lower pitch.

The Options Menu

Dock window Moves MIDI Editor to the Docker. The MIDI Editor?s main menu will no longer be displayed. This menu can then be accessed by right-clicking over the window?s tab in the docker (right).
Sync editor transport to project transport Synchronizes MIDI Editor transport to REAPER's main Timeline.
Use the same grid division in arrange view and the MIDI editor This makes the displays in arrange view and the MIDI editor consistent with each other.
Chase MIDI note-ons in project playback When playback starts anywhere other than at the very start of a project, notes that begin just before the playback position might not be heard. This could be the case, for example, if you start playback in the middle of a long note. Leaving this option on prevents this from happening.
Time format for ruler, transport, event properties Gives you the choice of Measures.Beats.100ths or Measures.Beats.MIDI_ticks and option for Ruler in Measures.Beats only.
Snap Settings Displays sub-menu of snap toggle options: Snap notes/CC to grid, Soft snap notes to other notes, Always snap notes/CC to the left, Snap note ends to grid and Snap notes/CC relative to grid.
Note preview Displays a sub-menu enabling you to select any or all of four situations when you would like notes to be previewed (.i.e. audibly heard) ? Preview notes when inserting or editing, On velocity change, On keyboard action, and/or All selected notes that overlap with selected note.
CC events in multiple media items Two options are available, either of which can be enabled if you wish. These are Draw and edit on all tracks or Edit on all tracks.
Drawing or selecting a note sets the new note length Over-rides the default note length set by the drop down Notes box on transport bar.
Allow MIDI note edit to extend the media item If enabled, this toggle will ensure that the media item length will be extended when a note is moved or copied within a time selection.
Display 14-bit MSB/LSB CC data as a single entry ... If enabled, ensures that 14-bit MSB/LSB CC data will be shown as a single entry (rather than separate entries) in event list view and properties
Automatically correct overlapping notes Toggles on and off the automatic correction of overlapping notes.
Use F1-F12 as step sequencer (see also section ?Step Recording?) When enabled, the function keys (F1 - F12) can be used to enter notes. These keys are mapped to the 12 Semitones of an Octave, with F1 having the lowest pitch and F12 having the highest pitch. The starting pitch for F1 is set by the location of the highlight bar. In the example shown (right), the starting pitch for F1 is C6. In this case, pressing (for example) F5 will create an E note. By moving the highlight bar and edit cursor, and using function keys to enter notes, complete arrangements can be quickly created. Normally this mode will also advance the cursor according to the snap settings. You can bypass this by holding Shift while pressing the function key.
Use all MIDI inputs for step recording Toggles the use of MIDI inputs when step recording.
MIDI editor mouse modifiers Opens the mouse modifiers page of your preferences window. Here you can select actions to be assigned to mouse behavior in various contexts. This is discussed later in this chapter and in Chapter 15.
Customize menus/toolbars ... Opens the Customize Menus/Toolbars window. See Chapter 15.

The View Menu

Filter events..., Quantize..., Humanize..., Transpose ? Opens one of these dialog boxes, which are individually discussed elsewhere in this chapter.
Event properties ... Opens the Note properties dialog box. This topic is covered later in this chapter.
Raw MIDI data Opens a window displaying raw MIDI data for currently selected item.
Mode: piano roll Displays a standard, white/black piano key view. This is the mode most commonly used for MIDI editing.
Mode: named notes Replaces the Piano Roll view with note names. Note: Only works when using a VSTi that reports note names, such as Fxpansion's BFD. Check the REAPER forum to see if a note namer plug-in has been posted for the VSTi you want to use. For example there are EZDrummer note namers available.
Mode: event list Displays the event list. This is explained later in this chapter.
Mode: musical notation Displays MIDI notes in musical notation view. See next chapter.
Piano roll notes Displays a sub menu of Rectangles, Triangles and Diamonds to determine how notes are displayed. There are toggle options to Show velocity handles on notes, Show velocity numbers on notes, Show note names on notes and/or Show velocity and names only on active media item. In the example shown, velocity handles and note names are displayed.
Color notes by This command selects the criteria used for coloring notes. The options are Velocity, Channel, Pitch, Source (using color map), Track, Media item and voice. You can toggle on/off Show color selector in editor. You also have options to Load color map from file and Clear color map (use defaults).
Show/hide note rows Displays a sub-menu with three options: Show all note rows, Hide unused note rows or Hide unused and unnamed note rows. The hide options are not compatible with piano roll view.
Piano roll ruler Provides options to display or hide project markers, project regions and/or tempo/time signature markers on the piano roll ruler. These are displayed above the ruler, and tempo/time signature markers can be edited by double-clicking on them. You can also right-click for a context menu.
Piano roll timebase Sets the timebase for the piano roll. Options are Source beats (from media source item), Project beats, Project time, or Project synced. For more information, choose Timebase help from this menu.
Notation view options Displays a sub-menu of various options that are only relevant when working in notation view. These are explained in the chapter immediately following this one.

The Contents Menu

Track List/Media Item Lane Toggles the display of these panels which list and display tracks and MIDI items respectively.
One MIDI editor per Opens sub menu where you can specify one MIDI editor window for each item, each track, or the project.
Behavior for ?open items in built-in MIDI editor? Select whether opening items in arrange view, using the media item menu, should Open the clicked item only, Open all selected MIDI items, Open all MIDI items on the same track as the clicked item or Open all MIDI in the project.
Options when using one MIDI editor per project Opens sub menu where you can specify various options which determine how REAPER behaves when you are using one MIDI editor per project. See section ?Managing Multiple MIDI Tracks and Items.?
List of project tracks/MIDI items This menu lists all tracks which contain MIDI items and all items themselves. A tick indicates that the item is currently open and the active item. Select an item from this menu to open it in the MIDI Editor window, closing all other items: hold Shift while doing so if you do not wish to close all other items.

The Actions Menu

This has two default commands - Show action list and Show recent actions. Show action list opens the Actions ? window with the MIDI Editor section automatically selected. Custom actions and keyboard shortcuts play an important role in working within the MIDI Editor.

When Show recent actions is enabled, the Actions menu will list your most recent activities, as well as any custom actions or keyboard assignments that you have placed there. These commands can then be executed from this menu (see example, right). There are some simple examples showing you how you can use the Actions List later in this chapter. The Actions List Editor is covered in detail in Chapter 15.

Remember that REAPER makes extensive use of right-click context menus. Knowing which commands are on the main menu is useful, but often you?ll find using the right click menus easier.

13.15 Note Creating and Editing[edit]

Overview

A MIDI Item can contain data from up to 16 channels. The MIDI Editor can display and edit all 16 MIDI channels, or you can use the Filter Events window or Channels drop down list to limit the channel display.

If you select Channel from the Color drop down list, each channel will be assigned an individual color, visible in both the Piano Roll and the CC lane. The MIDI Editor uses as its default a Piano Roll interface to display and edit MIDI information. Notes are displayed vertically according to their corresponding value on a Piano Keyboard, and horizontally according to the duration of each note and their location within the MIDI Item or the Timeline.

Preview Keyboard

The Preview Keyboard at the left of the screen provides a visual representation of the value of the notes on the Piano Roll, and allows you to audition a note without having to enter or edit it first. Clicking a key on the Preview Keyboard will send a MIDI note of the corresponding value to the MIDI Instrument that is connected to the Track. The Preview Keyboard can mimic a velocity sensitive keyboard. Clicking on the far left of a key will generate a soft note, while clicking on the far right of a key will generate a loud note.

Entering / Editing Notes

MIDI notes can be recorded as part of a performance, imported from an existing MIDI file, or they can be manually entered using the MIDI Editor.

Using the Mouse:

Notes can be entered by dragging your mouse from left to right across the Piano Roll. The duration of the note will increase as you drag the Note. If Snap is enabled, the duration will Snap to the nearest Grid Line (depending on the strength of your Snap settings). Notes can also be entered by double-clicking on the Piano Roll (in a space not already occupied by another note). In this case, the duration of the note is determined by the value of the Grid Setting. Notes can be deleted by double-clicking on the Note.

The duration of an existing note can be altered by dragging the edge of the note. While holding it, you can drag the note out, move it up and down, etc. When you let go, the notes will be positioned according to your snap setting. A note?s velocity can be adjusted by clicking and dragging up or down from the top of the note, in similar fashion to that used for adjusting the item volume button or handle in REAPER?s main window. Notes can be moved by dragging in any direction. Dragging left or right will change the location of the note in the Timeline, while dragging up or down will change the note value.

The Right-Click Piano Roll Context Menu

Copy/Cut/Paste These are standard Windows editing commands which perform standard Windows functions.
Paste preserving position in measure This pastes notes to the next measure after the cursor, retaining the relative position of the item(s) pasted.
Select all Selects all notes in this MIDI Editor window
Delete Deletes all notes in current selection.
Mute Mutes according to context the current note selection or the note under the mouse cursor.
Insert note A very quick way to insert notes. It will insert notes according to the current snap values at the edit/play cursor position.
Split notes Notes can be split at the Edit Cursor by selecting Split notes (S) from the right-click menu. All notes that are under the Edit Cursor will be split.
Join notes Joins all notes in current selection to make one note per row.
Set note ends to start of next note Extends the end of each note in a selection to the start position of the next note in the selection.
Select previous note
Select next note Selects previous or next note in place of current selection.
Select previous note with same pitch
Select next note with same pitch
Select all notes with same pitch Selects previous, next or all notes with the same pitch as the currently selected note.
Rename current note Allows you to rename in the piano roll the note underneath the mouse cursor.
Note properties Midi note attributes can be edited by entering values into text boxes. You can change any of these: note pitch, velocity, position, channel, note off velocity, length. You can use + or ? to make relative changes. For example, for note value, entering +1o2 will raise the pitch by one octave and two semitones.
Note channel (1-16) A quick way to change the channel for the current note selection. For example, choosing channel 8 will ensure that a note will use channel 8 -- and will send that note to the vsti or midi instruments channel 8.
Note velocity (1-127) Used to change the velocity for a note or note selection to a specified value, within the range 1 to 127.

Notation

Presents a limited submenu of some musical notation options ? Voice, Phase/slur, Articulation, Ornament and Note head. These are explained in the chapter immediately following this one. Notation data can be displayed in a MIDI editor lane. It is selected n the same way as other data such as Velocity, Pitch, etc.

13.16 Using the Keyboard[edit]

Looking at the right click Notes menu you can see that default keyboard shortcuts have been assigned to many of these commands. There are others that are not shown on the menus. Some of the most useful of these are listed here.

Notes can be entered at the position of the edit cursor by using the Keyboard Shortcut I or at the mouse cursor by pressing Insert. The duration of the note will be determined by the value of the grid setting (from the Grid Division box). The effect of this is shown in the two illustrations (right), before and after.

The Edit Cursor position on the Timeline is adjusted by using any of the following Keyboard Shortcuts.

To do this ? ? use this shortcut Move edit cursor right by one grid division. Right or Ctrl Num 6
Move edit cursor left by one grid division. Left or Ctrl Num 4
Move edit cursor right by one pixel. Shift Right or Ctrl Alt Num 6
Move edit cursor left by one pixel. Shift Left or Ctrl Alt Num 4

Notes can be moved using any of the following Keyboard Shortcuts.

To do this ? ? use this shortcut Move selected note(s) down one octave. Alt Num 2
Move selected note(s) down one semitone. Num 2
Move selected note(s) up one octave. Alt Num 8
Move selected note(s) up one semitone. Num 8
Move edit cursor left by one pixel. Alt Num 4
Move edit cursor left by one grid unit. Num 4
Move edit cursor right by one pixel. Alt Num 6
Move edit cursor right by one grid unit. Num 6

Note display can be filtered for channels 1 to 10 using any of the shortcuts Shift 1 thru Shift 0. Shift ` removes the note filter and restores all notes to view.

Use F1-F12 as step sequencer:

When Use F1-F12 as step sequencer is selected, the keys F1 thru F12 can be used to enter notes. These keys are mapped to the 12 Semitones of an Octave, with F1 having the lowest pitch and F12 having the highest pitch. The method for using this is the same as already described under the MIDI Editor?s main Options menu.

Note Properties:

The keyboard shortcut Ctrl F2 can be used to open the Note Properties box, as an alternative to choosing the command from the right-click menu.

Selecting / Editing multiple Notes:

Multiple notes can be selected by holding down the Ctrl or Shift keys while selecting notes with the mouse, by drawing a Marquee (Right-click and drag) around a group of notes, or by using Select All (Ctrl A).

The value of all selected notes can be adjusted by dragging one of the selected notes.

The duration of all selected notes can be adjusted by dragging the edge of one on the selected notes.

The note velocity of all selected notes can be adjusted by dragging the Velocity handle (when active) of one of the selected notes.

The default Velocity value for notes created in the MIDI Editor is taken from the last selected event - e.g. if the Velocity of the last selected event was 70, then the Velocity value for the next created note will be 70.

13.17 Transposing Notes[edit]

As an alternative to using the Edit, Transpose command to transpose MIDI notes you can use a number of keyboard shortcuts. First select the required notes, then use one of the following shortcuts:

Move notes up one octave Alt NumPad 8
Move notes up one semitone Ctrl Up or NumPad 8
Move notes down one octave Alt NumPad 2
Move notes down one semitone Ctrl Down or NumPad 2

13.18 General MIDI Program Patches[edit]

We have already seen that you can use a Bank/Program Select lane to make program changes within an item. It?s worth noting that REAPER includes a file GM.reabank (in the \Application Data\REAPER\Data folder) which can be used to select standard General MIDI banks and patches. An example is shown here.

If the General MIDI banks are not automatically available in the Bank drop down list, click on the Load File button, navigate to the REAPER data directory and select the file GM.reabank.

13.19 MIDI Preview Scrub[edit]

Within Piano Roll View and Named Note View you can preview your MIDI material by clicking and dragging the edit cursor along the timeline. This is similar to audio scrub: exact scrub behavior will be determined by the settings under Options, Preferences, Audio, Playback.

13.20 MIDI Editor Modes and Views[edit]

13.20.1 Note Modes[edit]

The MIDI Editor has three modes, accessible from the Views menu.:

  1. Piano Roll View ? keyboard shortcut Alt 1.
  2. Named Notes ? keyboard shortcut Alt 2.
  3. Event List ? keyboard shortcut Alt 3.

Up until now, the only view used in this User Guide has been Piano Roll. Before moving on to examining the other two views, there are a couple of points that you might find interesting.

Named Notes Mode:

In this mode you can double right click in the left pane to enter text, as shown. If you select the option on the View menu Piano roll notes, Show note names on events, then the names will be shown on the actual notes themselves, as shown here. If you leave this option enabled, the names will also be displayed in Piano Roll View.

In named note mode, you also have the options (View menu) to Show all note rows, Hide unused note rows and Hide unused and unnamed note rows. The first option is the default.

Hiding unused note rows can make it easier for you to navigate thru the MIDI Editor to work with existing notes. However, problems may occur if you then want to add or move notes to rows that are currently empty. The option to Hide unused and unnamed note rows can help you to get round this. By taking the time before you choose this command to name any empty rows that you are likely to need, you will ensure that these rows will still be available to you.

Event List Mode:

Event List mode displays the MIDI information as a list of events, in tabular form. In this mode you can use the right click menu (shown left) to i(for example) insert, copy, cut paste, delete or mute any events.

The full menu is shown here.

You can also double click on any event to modify that event?s properties (see example below right).

Of course, the information displayed in the Event Properties dialog box will in large measure depend on the event type of event.

The Toolbar displayed in Event List view is simpler than that used in the other two views. The Filter button (top left) is used exactly as in the other two views to filter only those events that you want displayed. The Add Event button will insert a new event immediately before the currently selected event, and the Delete button will delete the currently selected event. The fourth button toggles the docking of the MIDI Editor on and off.

Note: From the Options menu, the toggle command to Display 14-bit MSB/LSB CC data as a single entry in event list view and event properties dialog is by default enabled. This causes 14-bit MSB/LSB CC data to be shown as a single entry rather than separately.

13.20.2 Note Styles[edit]

The default display note style used by the MIDI Editor is rectangular. This is the style that has been displayed in all of the Piano Roll View and Named Note View examples up to now. However, two further options are available, specifically for use with drum sounds.

These are triangle and diamond modes. To choose a note style, use the View, Piano Roll Notes command and select Rectangle, Triangle or Diamond.

An example which uses triangles instead of the default rectangles is shown on the left.

13.21 Quantizing MIDI Data[edit]

The term Quantize refers to a process of aligning a set of musical notes to a precise setting. This results in notes being set on notes and on exact fractions of notes. When you quantize a group of MIDI notes, the program moves each note to the closest point on the timing grid.

The point of quantizing is to provide a more uniform timing of sounds. It is often applied to MIDI notes created by a musical keyboard or drum machine. Quantize is available by choosing the Edit, Quantize events command from the MIDI Editor menu. This causes the dialog box shown on the right to be displayed.

The first choice you have is between the Use Grid and Manual Settings option. We'll come to Use Grid shortly. Shown right is the dialog box interface that appears when the Manual option is selected. The various quantize parameters are explained below.

Notice the Bypass option (top right). Disabled it lets you see the result of different quantize parameter settings as you tweak them. Enable this until you are finished if you don't want this to happen. Toggle it to compare how your music sounds with and without quantizing applied.

All Notes, Selected Notes, All Events or Selected Events. The first Quantize drop down list allows you to quantize selected notes or events (not just notes) or the whole sequence (all notes or all events). This can come in handy if you just need to quantize a certain off section, or perhaps just a certain instrument, such as the hi-hats of a drum section. The second Quantize drop down list works in conjunction with whatever selection you make from the first. You can choose to have the quantizing of notes and/or events applied to the Position only, Position and Note End, Position and Note Length, Note End Only or Note Length Only.

The Strength setting adjusts how strictly notes are quantized. The lower you set the strength, the less 'magnetism' the grid has to the midi notes. This introduces subtle imprecisions to the quantizing which can make the outcome seem less clinical.

The Grid and Length values determine which units (measured as fractions of a note) are used for quantizing. These can be selected from the drop down lists or entered manually in their respective boxes. They act in conjunction with the Allow notes to options (see below). Grid type can be straight, triplet, dotted or swing. If swing is selected, you will also need to specify swing strength.

Move left and Move right. If Quantize Position is enabled, these will ensure that notes are individually quantized to the start or end of the specified note fraction, whichever is nearest. Move left only will only quantize notes to the start, move right only will only quantize notes to the end.

Shrink and Grow. These are applied if Quantize Length is enabled. REAPER will extend or shorten notes by moving the end position of each note. You can enable either or both of these options.

The Only quantize range faders let you specify a percentage range for quantizing. 50% represents the mid-point between the grid lines. Values more than 50% are only really meaningful if ?allow move right? or ?allow move left? is disabled. The distance is measured from the grid line being quantized: normally it will select the closest line so that you will never be more than 50% away.

Fix Overlaps can be enabled to stop notes from overlapping as a result of being quantized.

When the Use Grid Setting is selected, the Quantize Events dialog box will be as shown on the right.

From the Grid drop-down list (at the bottom of the MIDI Editor window, next to the transport bar), select a note length value (such as 1/32, 1/16 or 1/8) and then select an item from the grid spacing type list. This can be straight, triplet, dotted or swing. If you choose Swing a strength fader is displayed (see below). This is used to adjust the swing setting within a range of -100% to 100%, or you can enter a value directly into the Swing % edit box to its immediate right. You should also set a Notes value: left at Grid, this will take its value from whatever is chosen for the grid. Otherwise you may select any other required value from the drop down list.

Used well, swing can result in a more musically pleasing output. In essence, you define a percentage delay to be applied on the upbeat. For example, if you apply swing to 1/4 notes then those which coincide with the 1/2 note divisions will be unaffected by the swing, those that fall between these divisions will be delayed by the amount specified. Small amounts of swing (even 5% or less) can help to prevent a part from sounding too rigid.

Quantize is non-destructive ? that is to say, the process can be reversed at any time. The various other commands on the Edit menu that are used with quantizing are:

Quantize notes using last settings

This bypasses the Quantize Events dialog box, making it easier for you to apply the same quantization settings to various disparate selections.

Quantize notes position to grid

This quantizes notes according to your grid settings.

Unquantize events

Removes quantization and returns the notes to their previous state.

Freeze quantization for events

Freezes the quantization for all currently selected events.

Shown above is an example. The top picture shows two unquantized notes selected. In the second picture they are quantized by moving them left. In the third picture, they are quantized by moving them to the right.

More quantize options are available in the MIDI Editor Action List, including actions to quantize note positions to specific divisions, ranging from 1/4 down to 1/64.

13.22 Input Quantization[edit]

The term Input Quantize refers to a process by which MIDI notes are automatically quantized as they are entered. This could be, for example, by playing your MIDI keyboard, or even the REAPER Virtual Keyboard.

Input quantize is applied on a per track basis. Simply right click over the track?s VU Meter (TCP or MCP) and choose Track Recording Settings from the context menu. This causes the dialog box shown on the right to be displayed. You should then select the option to Quantize track MIDI recording. Options then available include:

The note length to be used for quantization (e.g. 1/8).

Quantize positioning preference. Options are Nearest value, Previous value and Next value.

Whether to quantize note-offs.

Quantization strength. A lower setting will allow more subtle variation, creating a more ?human? effect by allowing minor variations in how strictly the quantization is applied.

Swing setting. This can be between 0% and 100%. You can use this setting to add a touch of delay to those notes that do not fall on the upbeat. The best way to understand how these settings affect how your notes sound is to try a few examples.

Quantize within % range. These are similar to the Nearly Quantized and Far From Quantized faders in the Quantize Events dialog box (see previous section).

In addition, the Main (alt Recording) section of the Action List includes actions to:

Toggle MIDI input quantize for all tracks, selected tracks, or last touched track.

Enable or disable MIDI input quantize for all tracks, selected tracks, or last touched track.

13.23 Humanize Notes[edit]

Humanize Notes (from the Edit menu) can be used to introduce subtle variations ? some might say imperfections! ? to a MIDI item that is just too exact, too perfect. For example, no human pianist will ever complete an entire live performance on an acoustic piano with every key being struck with exact precision and perfect timing. Therefore, you might not want your MIDI items to be too perfect.

The Humanize Notes dialog box (right) can be used to introduced random variations in timing and velocity to an existing MIDI item to make it sound ? well, more human!

13.24 F3 - The Panic Button[edit]

The F3 key can be your best friend when you are working in the MIDI Editor (and also when you are playing back MIDI items in REAPER's main Arrange View). Pressing F3 will set all notes to all MIDI outputs off, until you stop and recommence playback.

13.25 Using the MIDI Editor: a Basic Exercise[edit]

In this example, you will be introduced to some simple examples which involve working with the REAPER MIDI Editor. The objective of this is not to produce a stunningly brilliant piece of music, but to help you to become familiar with the MIDI Editor. The step by step instructions assume that you are using a PC with Windows. OS/X users will need to adapt some of the steps to suit their own environment.

Example

  1. Create a new project file. Add one track to it. Arm this track for recording and set its input to your MIDI keyboard if you have one, or to the virtual keyboard if you do not.
  2. Record about 20 or 30 seconds of a very simple tune on Channel 1. This might be part of a nursery rhyme or some other song with which you are familiar. Your Track and Item will look something like this:
  3. If you are using Windows, display the track?s routing window and add a MIDI Hardware Output to Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth.
  4. Play the tune. It should play with a piano sound.
  5. Double click on the item to open it with the MIDI Editor.
  6. Check the first two MIDI toolbar buttons to make sure that neither the Track List nor Media Item Lane are displayed ? you do not need them for this exercise,
  7. Display the drop down note-length list (labeled Notes:) and set it to 1/2.
  8. Scroll your mousewheel up or down until you are satisfied with the horizontal zoom setting. Use Ctrl with the mousewheel to find an acceptable vertical zoom setting. You should see something like this.
  9. Just for fun, draw in a few more notes by clicking and dragging in the edit window. Experiment with using your mouse to move them about and change their length (by clicking and holding over a note?s right edge and dragging left or right). Delete any that you do not want to keep.
  10. Now Zoom out horizontally to see the entire length of the item.
  11. Display the CC Lane List and choose Bank/Program Select (see right).
  12. At the very start of the song, double click in the CC Lane. Select the bank General MIDI and the program Church Organ. Click on OK.
  13. Return to the start of the timeline and play the tune. It should sound like a church organ.
  14. Draw in a number of long ?dronish? notes as shown below. Marquee them (right click drag) to select them all (but only your new notes).
  15. Right click over any of the selected items, choose Note Channel from the menu, then channel 2.
  16. Double click in the CC Lane,at the start of the song. Select General MIDI, Choir Aaahs and Channel 2 (see right). Click on OK.
  17. Play the song from the start. You should hear an organ with a choir. The choir may seem too loud.
  18. Change the CC lane to display 07 Volume MSB.
  19. Click on the Channel Filter List (on the toolbar) and choose Channel 2. Now only your Aaahs are displayed.
  20. Click/hold/drag your mouse as you sweep along the CC Lane with a fairly low volume setting, as shown below.
  21. Remove the channel filter and restore all channels to view.
  22. Display the Color drop down list and choose Channel.
  23. Close the MIDI Editor and save the file.
  24. Play it. The choir should now sound a lot quieter.
  25. Continue if you wish to further explore the MIDI Editor on your own.

13.26 Step Recording[edit]

Step recording is a method of recording a sequence of MIDI notes within REAPER's MIDI Editor, one step at a time. In overview, you start by choosing a step size (such as a quarter or eighth note), then play your notes using a MIDI keyboard or the function keys F1 to F12. Each note you play is recorded and the insertion point is moved into position ready for the next note. You can then continue, playing more notes as you wish. You can also, if you wish, change the note size while recording. Let's see how this is done:

  1. From REAPER's main menu, choose Insert, Virtual Instrument on new track. Select the required instrument and click OK. The track should be inserted already armed for recording, with input monitoring enabled.
  2. Display the Input drop down list for this track and select a MIDI channel (or All channels) for your MIDI keyboard.
  3. Click and drag in the arrange area to define the length of your required MIDI item. From the menu, choose Insert, New MIDI item to insert the item.
  4. Open the item in the MIDI Editor. By default, double-click on item will do this, or you can choose Open in built-in MIDI editor from the right-click context menu.
  5. If you are using a keyboard, enable step recording either by choosing Use all MIDI inputs for step recording from the MIDI Editor Options menu, or by clicking on the equivalent toolbar button.
  6. If you wish to Use F1 - F12 for step recording, enable this menu option. These keys are then mapped to the 12 semitones of an octave. In this example, we'll use these keys. Remember, however, you could use a MIDI keyboard if you have one.
  7. Select a note length (e.g. 1/4, 1/8) from the drop down list next to the MIDI Editor's transport bar.
  8. In the piano roll keyboard. select a note (e.g. C4). This note will now be represented by F1, with subsequent function keys moving up the scale to higher notes. Press function keys as required to enter notes and to advance the cursor according to snap settings (hold Shift if you wish for snap settings to be ignored). These notes can be edited like any others, for example to adjust velocity.
  9. Selecting a different note in the MIDI editor keyboard will reset the value of F1 (and all other function keys accordingly).

These instructions represent the essentials of step recording. Depending on which virtual instrument you use, and on your MIDI keyboard setup, you might need to ?tweak? them to suit your exact requirements.

13.27 Working with Multiple MIDI Tracks and/or Items (Overview)[edit]

From Arrange view you can make MIDI items available for editing by choosing the command Open in built-in MIDI editor from the right click context menu. This command has four mutually exclusive options ? Open clicked MIDI item only, Open all selected MIDI items, Open all MIDI on same track, and Open all MIDI in project. You can set a default option in the Editing Behavior, MIDI Editor page of REAPER's preferences (see Chapter 22).

Double-clicking on the item causes the MIDI Editor to open according to your preferences setting. For example, if you set your preference to one MIDI editor per media item, then each MIDI item you double-click on will open in a separate MIDI editor instance by itself. If you set it to one MIDI editor per project, this will result in all MIDI items being opened in the MIDI editor when any single MIDI item is double-clicked: The double-clicked item will be the selected and active item.

If One MIDI editor per project is specified, then you should also specify whether to open the clicked MIDI item only, all selected MIDI items, all MIDI items on the same track, or all MIDI items in the project (see right).

Within the MIDI Editor, your default preference settings can be overridden on a per project basis from the Contents menu. This will be discussed shortly.

Tracks and items can be managed in the MIDI Editor by displaying the Media Item Lane (second button on toolbar toggles) and the Track List (first button on toolbar toggles). Both these options are also available on the Contents menu.

The illustration below shows an example of the MIDI Editor window opened with three MIDI tracks, the first of which comprises three items. Both the Track List (right of window) and the Media Item Pane (foot of window) are displayed. In a moment, we'll examine these more closely.

In the MIDI Editor each item is assigned three qualities ? visibility status, active status and editability status. These can be set as required to allow you to work with different items at different times. Visible means the item and its notes are displayed in the MIDI editor window. Active means that the item can be used for inserting, copying, pasting notes, etc. Editable means that mouse edits (move, lengthen, etc.) and commands such as quantize, transpose and humanize can be performed on an item's notes. One and only one item at a time may be active, but as many items as you wish may at any time be visible and/or editable. Note that:

An item can be visible without having to be editable or active. One or more items may be visible.

An editable item will also be visible but need not be active. One or more items may be editable.

An active item will also be editable and visible. One and only one item is active at any time.

An item can be made active using the track list (above right). A track can be made active from the Contents menu or using the drop down list near the end of the transport bar (also see below right). If the track contains only one MIDI item, that item will be made active. If it contains more than one item, all items will be visible and editable but only one item will be active.

The Filter Events window allows you to select multiple channels for display and editing. If you select two or more channels in this window, the drop down channel list at the foot of the MIDI editor window will read ?Multi? or ?All?. Alternately, you can simply use the drop down channel list to select ?All.?

The MIDI column in the Track Manager (Chapter 12) can also be used to open items in/remove items from the MIDI Editor, and to show items in/hide items from the MIDI Editor track list. Tracks can also be selected to be shown in or hidden from the track list using the track list's context menu (see below).

13.28 Managing Multiple MIDI Tracks and Items[edit]

The Track List

Track List display is toggled on and off by the first icon on the MIDI Editor toolbar, or from the Contents menu. Right-click on the track list area to open the Track List context menu. If you need to override the preferences default setting, you can specify whether you want One MIDI editor per media item, track, or project.

Behavior for ?open items in built-in MIDI editor? options are to open Clicked item only, All selected MIDI items, All MIDI items on same track as clicked item or All MIDI in project. These options are also available from the MIDI editor Contents menu.

Two mutually exclusive options from the MIDI Editor Options menu are repeated here: these are Draw and edit CC events on all tracks and Edit CC events on all tracks. You can enable neither or one of these at a time, but not both.

You can use the command Choose which tracks appear in track list to hide tracks from or restore them to the track list. Selecting this command causes the X symbol to be displayed beside each track name. This toggles track display. In its default gray state, the track will be marked for display, when red it will be marked to be hidden. After making your selection, again select Choose which tracks appear in track list from the context menu to implement this selection. Those tracks marked with a red X will now be hidden. The command Show all tracks in track list will restore them to view. Also, you can choose whether to Show tooltips in MIDI track list.

The Options when using one MIDI editor per project command (also on the MIDI editor Contents menu) includes further ways in which you can specify MIDI Editor behavior when selecting and editing items

Item selection toggle options are Active MIDI item follows selection changes in arrange view, Media item selection is linked to visibility and Media item selection is linked to editability. Select any, all or none of these.

Item editing toggle options are Only MIDI items on the same track as the active item are editable and Close editor when active MIDI item is deleted in arrange view. Enable both or neither of these.

In the example shown here three tracks are displayed, containing in total five MIDI items. The Acoustic Guitar track holds three items. Guitar break 1 is the active item: it is therefore also editable and visible. guitar break 2 is editable and visible, guitar break 3 is visible but not editable. The acoustic bass item is both editable and visible. The electric guitar is not visible and therefore not editable.

The diamond shaped symbol to the left of each track name opens and closes a list of MIDI items on that track.

The track list here operates in much the same way as does the arrange view track list. Click on any item name to select it, or on any track name to select all items on a track. You can use control+click or shift+click to build a selection. The first item in a built selection will be made active, but you can change this by clicking on the ?make active? icon of any other item. You can then use the various other icons to set qualities such as icon color, solo, mute or editability for the entire selection.

The small colored square to the right of an item name opens the color picker: this can be used to select a different color to be used for this item in the Media Item Lane.

The column to the right of the color picker is the ?make active? column. Click here to make any item the current item for inserting events (shown by the green arrow). It will automatically also be made editable and visible.

Click in the next column to the right of this to make any item visible and editable, indicated by the green unlocked padlock icon. If contents do not appear visible, check 1) the scroll settings for the MIDI editor window, and 2) the channel filter, to ensure that the required channel is included in the filter. This same green icon can then be used to toggle editability.

The eye symbol to the right of this toggles the visibility of any item (or item selection) in the MIDI Editor. The gray/red circle to the right of this (for tracks) toggles record arm status for that track. This is used in conjunction with the Record button on the Arrange view Transport Bar.

Use the M button to the right of this to toggle mute status for individual tracks or items. Use the S button to the right of this to toggle solo status for any track.

The track list can also be opened (shown) and hidden using the track select drop down list at the bottom of the MIDI Editor window.

The Media Item Lane

This displays the MIDI items and their position in the arrangement. Clicking on any item highlights, selects it but does not make it active. As with the track list, you can use control+click or shift+click to build a selection.

The individual media item right-click context menu offers you various options for setting items to custom colors or random colors.

13.29 Editing Multiple MIDI Items[edit]

In order to be able to edit different MIDI items at the same time you will first need to select those items that you wish to make available for editing, as explained in the previous section. You can then perform normal mouse editing activities on any part of the selection, such as copying or moving, adjusting velocity, stretching, shrinking, etc. The table below gives some examples of how you can apply this to various MIDI editing tasks.

If you want to do this ? ? do this! Change track/item name. Double-click on name in track list and edit.
Copy/move a note (or note selection) to another item within MIDI editor. Make sure source item(s) editable. Select note(s), press Ctrl C (copy) or Ctrl X (cut). Make the destination item active. If required, position play cursor. Press Ctrl V (paste).
Copy/move a note (or note selection) to another item in Arrange view. Make source item(s) editable in MIDI Editor. Select note(s), press Ctrl C (copy) or Ctrl X (cut). Select destination item in Arrange view, make it active in MIDI Editor, position play cursor. Press Ctrl V (paste).
Mouse edit a selection of notes in more than one MIDI item. Make items editable. Select notes and use mouse (e.g. drag to move, click drag from edge of any note to lengthen or shorten notes).
Delete selection of notes across more than one item. Make items editable. Select notes and press Delete key.
Mute/Unmute note selection across more than one item. Make items editable. Select notes and press Alt M, or use Mute events command from Edit menu.
Change note properties for a selection of notes Make items editable. Select notes and press Ctrl F2. Make changes then OK.
Quantize, Humanize, Transpose across multiple items. Make all required items editable. Make note selection and choose Edit menu command, e.g. Quantize, Humanize, Transpose.
Adjust velocity of notes selected in two or more items. Display velocity lane and make items editable. Select required notes. Click/drag mouse up/down from top edge to increase/decrease velocity.
Edit CC data across multiple MIDI items. Display CC lane and make items editable. Select required events and perform edit as required with mouse or via Event Properties dialog.
Show/Hide all MIDI items on tracks in Track List. Click (for one track) or Shift click (for all tracks) on diamond symbol to the left of any track name in Track List (toggle).
Show/Hide all tracks/MIDI items in Track Folder. Click on circle symbol to left of folder name in Track List (toggle).

MIDI Editing with Multiple Items: Some Tips and Examples

These notes assume that you are by now familiar with the basic MIDI editor navigation and editing techniques explained earlier in this chapter and, for example, shown in the exercise in section 12.24. Indeed, you are advised not to experiment with editing multiple MIDI items until you are confident that you have mastered the techniques for editing the contents of a single MIDI item.

13.30 MIDI Editor Mouse Modifiers[edit]

The Mouse Modifier dialog is opened by the Options, MIDI editor mouse modifiers command. Here you can customize exactly how you would like the mouse to behave when you are working in the MIDI editor.

There are several areas in which you can modify mouse behavior within the MIDI Editor. These include MIDI note, MIDI note edge, MIDI CC lane, MIDI CC event, MIDI Source loop and marker, MIDI ruler, MIDI marker/ region lanes, MIDI piano roll and MIDI editor. In many cases, separate contexts are available for left click, left drag and double-click behaviors. For example, if you wanted to, you could ensure that, say. Shift Alt Left click is used to toggle a note's mute status.

For much more about mouse modifiers, including MIDI Editor mouse modifiers, see Chapter 15.

13.31 MIDI Editor Actions[edit]

REAPER's Action list Editor lets you assign keyboard shortcuts to any command or action, or sequence of actions, including many not shown on the MIDI Editor menus. Chapter 15 will show you how to do this, including adding actions to the MIDI Editor menus.

The Action list is displayed by choosing Show actions list from the Actions menu. One of the first things to notice about it is that it contains a whole load of assignable actions beyond those that are shown on REAPER's menus. This means that you are able to create your own keyboard shortcuts for any of these actions, and even for sequences of actions.

Notice also (right) that when using the MIDI Editor Action List, you are able to assign MIDI commands and actions to keystrokes so that those keys will behave differently in the MIDI Editor from the way they behave in the main REAPER environment. You can see that there's quite a few, and that some already have keys assigned to them. You can assign your own keys to other actions.

Let's take a simple example. Being able to select notes quickly and easily is important when you are working with the MIDI editor. If in the Action List filter box you type add note then only those actions which included these characters will be displayed (see right). One of these is Add next note to selection. You can assign a shortcut to this action ' perhaps the letter N.

Example

  1. With any MIDI item open in the MIDI Editor, choose the Actions, Show actions list command.
  2. Click on the action Add next note to selection.
  3. Click on the Add' button. This causes the Keyboard or MIDI Input window to be displayed.
  4. Press the letter N. Click on OK. You can see that this keystroke has now been assigned to this action.
  5. Close the Actions List.
  6. Click on any note to select it. Now press N several times. Each time you do so, the selection will be extended by one note. You could now move these notes together, or assign them to a different channel, or delete them, or perform any other editing action.

You'll see in Chapter 15 that the Actions List Editor lets you do much more than this. For example, you can:

  • Chain together any sequence of actions so that the sequence can be executed with a single keystroke.
  • Add actions and custom actions to your MIDI Editor toolbar and/or the MIDI editor Actions menu, and/or any of REAPER's MIDI Editor menu commands (File, Edit, Navigate. Options, etc.)

REAPER's MIDI Editor commands (such as Edit -> Delete events, Edit ? Insert note, Edit ? Quantize, Navigate ? Select next note, Options ? Correct overlapping notes when editing, etc.) can all be found in the Action list. In addition there are many hundreds of actions, some very precise, which are not shown on the menus. The table that follows should help guide you thru many of these.

Category/Group Examples of MIDI Editor assignable actions(not fully comprehensive)
Note/event selection Select all notes with same value, note nearest to edit cursor, all muted notes. Add next/previous note to selection, Add note nearest edit cursor to selection. Select/unselect all CC events, Select/unselect all CC events in last clicked lane. Select all notes in time selection, Select all notes starting in time selection, Select all CC events in time selection (several variations).
Activate item/track Activate next/next visible/previous/previous visible MIDI item. Activate next/next visible/previous/previous visible MIDI track (if multiple items/tracks are open).
CC lane management Next/previous CC lane. Set CC lane to xxx.
Channel display Show only channel xx, Show only next/previous channel, Toggle channel xx, Color notes/CC by channel.
Grid actions Set grid type (straight, dotted, triplet, swing). Adjust swing grid strength.
Navigation Actions to navigate by channel, voice, pitch (all views) or staff (notation editor).
Note inserting/ editing/ manipulating/ moving/ transposing Color notes by velocity/channel/media item custom color/using colormap/by track custom color.

Delete all notes/trailing notes less than [1/128 to 1/8] note in length. Lengthen/shorten one grid unit/one pixel. Make notes legato, preserving note start times/relative note spacing. Move notes down/up one octave/semitone (transpose) Move notes left/right one grid unit/one pixel. Invert selected/all notes. Reverse selected/all notes. Invert chord voicings. Edit note velocity +/- 01/10. Set note length to grid size/double/half. Set length for next inserted note to grid. Trim left/right edge of notes to edit cursor. Insert note [1/128 to 1] note length. Set note length to [1/128 to 1] Set note ends to start of next note. Set note position to edit cursor. Split notes on grid. Copy/cut/duplicate notes within time selection, Fit notes to time selection. Paste events into active media item regardless of source media item (allows items to be copied from a selection of media items into a single media item.).

Loop/time selection Loop point: set start/end point. Remove loop point. Double/halve loop length. Set time selection to selected notes, Remove time selection, Remove time and loop point selection.

Move cursor to start/end of loop/time selection.

Cursor movement Cursor advance [1/128 to 1]. Cursor advance [1/32T to 1/4T]. Move cursor left/right one measure, To start/end of current measure.
Lyric events Align lyric events with notes. Import lyrics for selected noted from file. Insert/edit text/lyric event at first selected note.

Select next/previous lyric event. Shift lyric events backward/forward one note.

Mouse modifiers Actions are available to set mouse modifier behavior within the MIDI Editor for each of the categories CC event left drag, CC lane left drag, MIDI editor right drag, note edge left drag, note left click, note left drag, piano roll left click, piano roll left drag, ruler left click and ruler left drag. The list of actions is exhaustive.

13.32 In-Line MIDI Editing[edit]

To use the in-line editor on any MIDI item, first select the item then either use the default shortcut key E or right click and from the menu choose Open items in Editor then Open items in In-line Editor. The in-line editor will only be displayed if there is sufficient track height.

REAPER?s main MIDI Editor is recommended for serious and in-depth editing of your MIDI items. However, many common tasks can be carried out using the in-line editor if you prefer. This allows you to edit the MIDI item without leaving the main window.

The in-line editor displays piano roll view only, and the contents of CC lanes will be determined by whichever lanes were selected last time the item was opened in the MIDI Editor. If it has never been opened in the MIDI Editor, the Velocity lane will be selected by default. You can adjust the boundary between the editing area and the CC lane with the mouse to adjust its height, just as in the MIDI Editor.

Right-clicking over the editing area will display a menu that will show you which editing tasks can be carried out with the in-line editor. These are listed in detail in Chapter 22, but in summary, the following types of commands and actions are supported within the in-line MIDI editor:

Note editing mouse actions, including change length, change velocity, marquee, move, delete and insert.

Most commands on the MIDI Editor?s Edit and View menus, including quantize and humanize.

When working with the in-line editor, any keyboard shortcuts and custom actions that you have defined in the main MIDI Editor will apply, along with any defaults. For example, PageUp and PageDown will zoom vertically in and out within the in-line editor. You can run your MIDI Editor custom actions within the in-line editor. The in-line editor also displays a small toolbar in its top right corner. From left to right, the function of these tools is:

The Move CC with events toggle tool: serves the same purpose as its equivalent tool in the MIDI Editor window.

The Show/Hide tool (magnifying glass): toggles between the functions Show all note rows, Hide unused note rows and Hide unused and unnamed note rows.

The Item Style tool: toggles between rectangle, triangle and diamond note display.

The Vertical Scroll/Zoom tool. Click and hold on this and drag vertically up or down to scroll vertically up and down, left and right to zoom vertically in and out (see example, right). You can double-click on this button to zoom to contents.

The X tool. This closes the in-line editor and restores normal display.

The MIDI Editor and In-line Editor are designed for editing your MIDI events. Remember also that many of the item editing tasks, functions and activities that you discovered in Chapter 7 can also be applied to MIDI items as a whole. For example, in arrange view items can be dragged and dropped, split, copied, muted, grouped in selection sets, locked and so on. Plug-ins can be added directly to an item's FX chain. Selecting a MIDI item in Arrange view and pressing F2 will display its Item Properties window where you can shift pitch, change play rate, loop enable/disable, and do much more.

13.33 Copying MIDI Items in Arrange View[edit]

When you make a copy of a MIDI item in arrange view, then depending on your preferences and on how you make the copy one of two outcomes will occur:

The first of these is that the new item will be created as a new instance of the original item, and will use the same source data as the original. In this case, any changes made to either item will be applied to the source data, and therefore also to the other item. This might be what you want, for example, if you have a melody, a bass line, or a drum pattern that you wish to repeat throughout a project. You?re still working on the line, and you may need at some future time to make changes to these items, and you wish to do this in such a way that when you make these changes to any one item they will automatically be applied to all of the others.

In the alternative scenario, the new MIDI item becomes a discrete item in its own right, so that you can independently edit either item without affecting the other.

By default, when you copy and paste items using the menus or keyboard shortcuts (such as Ctrl Shift C and Ctrl V), the former method (with common source data) is applied. The items are also added to the Project Media Bay (see Chapter 12) where they are listed as MIDI pool items.

To change this default behavior, disable the preference (under Options, Preferences, Media, MIDI) to Pool MIDI source data when pasting or duplicating media items (see also Chapter 22). Items will then by default be copied as discrete items. Note that a new MIDI pool item is never created when an existing MIDI item is split. Note also that by default MIDI items added to a project from the Project Media Bay are not pooled.

The default behavior when you copy an item by dragging with the mouse depends on your mouse modifier settings for the context Media item drag. By default, the following apply when dragging MIDI items:

Drag and drop: Move item ignoring time selection

Ctrl with drag and drop: Copy item as discrete item

Shift Ctrl Alt with drag and drop: Copy item, pooling MIDI source data.

For a complete list of mouse modifiers, see the Editing Behavior, Mouse Modifiers page of your Preferences. Select Media item left drag from the context list. You can change any assignments if you wish. The method is explained in Chapter 15.

You can remove any individual MIDI item's pooled status and convert it into a discrete item. To do this, either display the item's source properties window (Ctrl F2 or use the context menu) and click on Un-pool this item, or click on the item's pooled status icon (see above).

13.34 Joining MIDI Items[edit]

There may be times when you wish to join a number of MIDI items together. This might, for example, be to create a single loop enabled item, or simply so that you can edit them as one item, or perhaps to be able to export the MIDI data as a single MIDI file. For example, you might have several MIDI items that you wish to export together as a single file. The track shown below might be an example of this.

You can select all of the items (right-click and drag is often the easiest way to do this) and glue them together: right-click anywhere on the selection and choose Glue items from the context menu.

You can then double-click on the glued item to open the MIDI Editor, from where you can export it as a single MIDI file (File, Export to new MIDI file ?).

13.35 MIDI Preferences Settings[edit]

To specify your MIDI preferences, choose the Options, Preferences command (Ctrl P) and then select the Media, MIDI page. You'll find these shown in Chapter 22, but for now the following are worth noting.

You can specify whether by default new MIDI items are created as REAPER media items (the default) or .MID files.

You can specify how your edits to imported .MID files are to be interpreted ? that is, whether to apply your edits only to the item in the REAPER project file or also to the original file on your disk.

You can set the default behavior for imported multichannel MIDI files ? as multichannel on a single track, as single-channel items on multiple tracks, or always prompt to ask.

13.36 MIDI Output Direct to an External Synth[edit]

The MIDI output of any track or selection of track can be sent directly to an external hardware synthesizer instead of (or as well as) to the master. Right-click on the track's ROUTE button, choose MIDI output from the menu, then the device name, then the channels. Optionally, you may also disable output to the master send.

13.37 Exporting Project MIDI[edit]

From Arrange view, the File, Export Project MIDI ? command can be used to export either an entire MIDI project or selected items or tracks, or a time selection within that project (all or selected items) to a single MIDI file. If no time selection is made, data will be exported for the entire timeline.

An example of such a project file is shown here. It includes six tracks with MIDI events ( a different channel for each track), enclosed in a folder whose FX chain includes a virtual instrument. For the most part, the options shown here require little explanation.

You can choose to export the Entire project time or the current Time selection only.

You can include All media items within the project, or Selected tracks only or Selected items only. In the example shown, All MIDI items has been chosen.

You can merge MIDI tracks to a single MIDI track as a type 0 file or export it as a Multitrack MIDI file, with the integrity of the different tracks maintained in the type 1 file.

You also have options to Embed project tempo/time signature changes and/or Embed SMPTE offset and/or Export project markers as MIDI markers or cues. This includes an option to Only export project markers that begin with #.

13.38 MIDI Routing, MIDI Buses and ReWire[edit]

REAPER's MIDI routing capabilities can be enhanced by the use of MIDI buses. By default, your MIDI tracks can contain up to 16 MIDI buses, each comprising 16 MIDI channels. When sending MIDI data from one track to another, you are able to specify bus/channel combinations for both the source and destination tracks rather than just a channel.

These options are available in the drop down lists in the MIDI send/receive windows (below right).

MIDI data sent from one track to another in this way can be directly routed to any VST or AU synth in that track's FX chain. To do this, right-click over the plug-in's ?2 Out? button and choose the required MIDI Bus from the MIDI Input menu (right).

The same context menu can also be used to assign MIDI Output to any bus, and/or to assign the synth's audio output to any track channel or channels.

When a track has volume and pan MIDI controls, moving the volume/pan fader within the routing window will generate CC7/CC10 events. When a send's MIDI routing button is enabled, these CC events are sent to the destination track.

ReWire users may be interested to know that MIDI data routed in this way can be also be mapped to ReWire, using any permutation of buses/channels that you require. For more information about using ReWire with REAPER, see Chapter 17.

13.39 ReaControlMIDI[edit]

The ReaControlMIDI plug-in can be used to set a track's various MIDI parameters. It can be inserted from the track?s FX chain, or by right-clicking over the track name or number and choosing Show ReaControlMIDI for Selected Tracks from the menu.

You can use different instances of this plug-in on the one track to send different MIDI messages to different channels. This enables you, for example, to send control messages to a synth or virtual instrument placed after ReaControlMIDI in the FX chain.

Many DAWs have MIDI tracks with MIDI-specific controls, like bank/program select, MIDI volume and pan, etc. REAPER instead uses ReaControlMIDI, which provides a MIDI track TCP for any track.

This gives you additional flexibility, because you can insert multiple instances, or insert it at any point in an FX chain, either for the track as a whole or for individual items. Notable features of ReaControlMIDI include:

Load File: You can load a REAPER .reabank file or Cakewalk .ins file of instrument definitions and then select a preferred bank/program combination.

Control Change: Up to five CC items can be selected from the drop down lists. Any and all of the items available for CC lanes in the MIDI Editor are available.

Show Log reveals a log of MIDI activities. You can choose to include any or all of control change, sysex, all-notes-off and/or meta-message activities.

ReaControlMIDI also gives you a vehicle for creating MIDI CC track envelopes, by allowing automation of any of the plug-in's enabled CC sliders. Automation will be explained in Chapters 18 and 19. You can also assign track controls to the TCP and/or MCP to manage its various parameters. This is explained in Chapter 11.

13.40 Some MIDI Plug-ins[edit]

REAPER includes many plug-ins that can be placed in the FX chain of any of your MIDI tracks or MIDI items. Many of these have been written and developed by Philip Consadine. Now is a good time to take a look at them.

The basic steps involved in inserting and using Track FX are covered in the section Track FX Basics. If you are unfamiliar with these steps, you should review that section before proceeding.

If you display the Add FX window and type midi into the filter list box (as shown here), you will see a list of those MIDI FX that are currently available. Below are listed some of the JS MIDI FX supplied with REAPER.

FX Name Comments MIDI_CCRider A LFO Controlled CC generator.
MIDI_DuplicateFilter Blocks duplicate notes.
MIDI_KeyMap A MIDI key mapping utility.
MIDI_KeySnap This is a good cheat for bad pianists.
MIDI_Router Routes events from one channel to another.
MIDI_Tool and MIDI Tool II These do interesting and fun things to MIDI note events.
midi_transpose Transposes a note or a range of notes.
MIDI_Variant A pattern based, musically aware, randomification monster.
MIDI_Velocifier II This is a pattern based velocity modifier.
midi_velocitycontrol Used to vary and control velocity on a MIDI track.
MIDI_Wobulator A LFO Controlled automatic pitch wobulator.
sequencer_megababy An awesome pattern sequencer (see later in this chapter).
Synthesis/midi_drumseq Use this drum sequencer with your favourite patch set.

These plug-ins can be made even more powerful by the use of automation envelopes, which can be applied to any of their parameters. How to create, manage and apply automation envelopes will be covered in Chapter 18.

For more information about how to use these and other MIDI plug-ins, visit the Cockos web site, and in particular http://www.cockos.com/wiki/index.php/Jesusonic_Effects_Documentation#MIDI

13.41 MIDI Controlled Pitch Shift with ReaVoice[edit]

The ReaVoice plug-in can be used in conjunction with a recorded vocal track to create pitch shift harmonies. As with many other plug-ins, ReaVoice can be used in a number of ways. In this section we will take you thru just one example. After completing this example you should be able to experiment with this plug-in?s capabilities for yourself. The procedure for using ReaVoice is as follows:

Record the Vocal Track.

Insert a new track immediately below the Vocal Track.

Create a send from the Vocal Track to the new track. Initially at least, this should be Pre FX.

Insert ReaVoice into the FX Window of the new track.

Arm this track for recording. Make your MIDI keyboard the Input Device and turn Input Monitoring on.

Mute all tracks except these two.

Play the song. As you do so, play the keyboard, experimenting until you find an appropriate range of notes.

Work out what you want to play, press W to return to the beginning, then Ctrl R to record. Stop recording when finished.

If you do not have a MIDI keyboard, you can either use REAPER?s Virtual keyboard, or you can enter the notes by hand using the MIDI Editor.

If you wish, you can record more than one take, selecting Play All Takes for the MIDI track items.

After finishing recording, you can use the MIDI Editor to polish your work.

Example

In this example, you?ll have some fun and explore how ReaVoice works at the same time.

  1. Open the file All Through The Night.rpp and save it as All Through The Night REAVOICE.rpp.
  2. Mute all tracks except the Vox track.
  3. Move the Vox track to the top, select it and press Ctrl T to insert a new track. Your Vox track is now track 1 and the new track is track 2.
  4. Name the new track Vox MIDI.
  5. Display the Routing window for the Vox MIDI track and add a new Pre FX Receive on Audio 1/2 from the Vox track.
  6. Insert the ReaVoice plug-in into the FX Window for this track. For now make its settings as shown above. Note in particular the number of voices and the long sustain setting.
  7. In the Vox MIDI track, insert an empty MIDI item from about the 13 sec mark to about the 50 sec mark. This should coincide with the first vocal passage on the Vox track.
  8. Double click on this to open it in the MIDI Editor.
  9. Create a pattern of notes similar to that shown above. You don?t need to follow this precise pattern, be prepared to experiment.
  10. As you play the song, make sure that the two vocal tracks are soloed. You can of course edit any individual note or notes, for example, by moving them up or down, by lengthening them or shortening them, or by changing their pitch. Here are some more possibilities, just for fun and to give you some ideas.
  11. Within the MIDI Editor window, press Ctrl A to select all events.
  12. Press Ctrl F2 to display the Note Properties dialog box.
  13. In the Note box, type +2 (as shown) then click on OK. This raises the entire selection by two semitones.
  14. Experiment with other settings as you wish. Save the file finished.
  15. Now experiment with adjusting some of the ReaVoice settings.

13.42 JS: IX/MIDI_Router[edit]

This plug-in can be inserted from a track's FX chain. It is used to redirect MIDI data from one channel to another.

You can choose whether to send notes, non-notes, or both.

13.43 Feedback Routing with MIDI Tracks[edit]

We have already mentioned (Chapter 2) that REAPER's project settings allow you to use feedback routing. You will need to enable this feature if you wish to route MIDI output from one track to another, then audio output from the second track back to the first.

13.44 Working with Piano Roll Synced to Project Arrange View[edit]

Here is one example of how you can work with the MIDI Editor piano roll synced to the project. This is what we have done:

  1. Recorded a percussion instrument as a wave file and, using stretch markers, dynamic splitting, or any other technique, edited this item so that the notes are exactly as we want them.
  2. Created a new empty MIDI item and opened it in the MIDI editor.
  3. Used the MIDI editor command View, Piano roll timebase, Project sync.
  4. Right-clicked on title bar and chosen Dock Window.
  5. Clicked on the ! in lower left corner of docker and deselected (i.e. unticked) the option Attach docker to main window.
  6. Clicked on the ! in lower left corner of docker and chosen Set opacity, 75%.

We can now move the MIDI editor window and place it over the previously recorded track: this helps us visually in using the MIDI editor to add the notes for our next percussion instrument.

13.45 The Scale Finder[edit]

REAPER's main Arrange View includes a feature that MIDI users may find useful ? the Scale Finder. It can be used to identify those scales which contain any given set of notes.

The Scale Finder is opened using the command View then Scale finder. Notes can be typed from the computer keyboard or entered using a MIDI device (including the Virtual MIDI Keyboard).

The file sample reascale (provided and installed with REAPER) can be used with the scale finder, or you can click on the button at the bottom of this window and use the Load command to import a file of your own choosing.

You also have the option to use the notes that are currently selected in the MIDI Editor.

13.46 Sequencer Megababy[edit]

Sequencer Baby is a pattern sequencer which can be used to play a MIDI synthesizer under program control. This section is intended to introduce relatively new users to the concept of pattern sequencing, together with a simple example of how one can be used. Beyond this, don't hesitate to explore and experiment for yourself!

We'll start by working thru a step by step example, then go on to examine Sequencer Megababy in more detail.

Example

  1. Create a new file, and insert a single track.
  2. Open the track's FX chain and add an instance of JS: MIDIsequencer_megababy.
  3. You need a synthesizer to use with Sequencer Megababy. You could use one of your choice, but for this example insert an instance of ReaSynth. For now, leave its settings at their defaults, except (as a precaution) Volume. Set this to about -15 dB. If this turns out to be too low, you can later raise it.
  4. Also as a precaution, insert the JS: Utility/limiter and set max vol to -3.0 dB.
  5. Select the Sequencer Baby plugin. Some of its main controls are shown below.
  6. Click and drag in a few places (example shown right) to enter a note pattern.
  7. Click Play on REAPER's transport bar. This pattern will play over and over again.
  8. Stop playback. Change the Steps per beat value to 8 and play again. Notice the music plays faster.
  9. Set this to 2: notice playback becomes slower. Set this back to 4.
  10. Change Sequence length to 24. The sequence becomes longer. Draw some more notes.
  11. Click on the number 1 above the pattern grid (but below the parameter controls). A new screen is shown: here you can create another pattern. Do this!
  12. Now hold the Alt button while clicking on the number 1 button. Notice the column headers change color.
  13. Play the music. The two patterns (0 and 1) are now chained. You can chain up to 16 patterns.
  14. If you wish, save the file.
  15. You can also record the synth's output as an audio item. Arm the track for recording, choose Record output from the record arm context menu, then press Ctrl R.

Note: The four lanes below the pattern grid area can be used to set modulation, volume, pan and/or expression values for individual notes or any sequence of notes. Click/sweep to create an envelope: right-click on any node to delete it, right-click/sweep to delete entire envelope. Shown here is a pan example.

Summary Examples of Sequencer Baby Keyboard/Mouse Control Combinations

Left click-drag Draw new notes/ erase existing notes.
Right click-drag Audition notes without drawing.
Shift Ctrl Alt Left click-drag ?Sweep? draw notes freehand / erase existing notes.
Ctrl Left click-drag Adjust note velocity.
Shift Left click-drag Adjust note start offset..
Ctrl Left-click / Ctrl Right-click Halve steps per beat, slow down / Double steps per beat, speed up.
Left click pattern number Select pattern number.
Ctrl right-click pattern number Clear pattern.
Alt Left-click pattern number Set pattern chain end.

A more complete list can be displayed by clicking on the plugin's Edit button.

13.47 Using MIDI CC Messages to Control FX Presets[edit]

This is an advanced topic and as such not recommended for novice users.

Bank/Program Select CC messages can be used to switch programmatically between presets for any FX on any track during playback in real time. This can be done using a dedicated MIDI item that is placed on the same track as the media item containing the FX whose presets you wish to automate. The procedure can be a little bit ?fussy? so be prepared to take your time over this, especially at first, until you get used to it.

  1. After recording the item, insert the required FX into the track's FX chain and (if it is not already displayed) import the required preset library. To do this, click on the + symbol to the right of the presets drop down and choose Import preset library (.rpl).
  2. The available presets can now be displayed from the presets drop down list. The example here shows the default presets library for ReaDelay, but you can do this for any plug-in. You could delete any presets that you do not wish to keep and/or create and save more presets of your own if you wish. The self-evident commands for doing this can be found on the same presets + menu that you used in step 1. above. If you do this, it is recommended that you then export the presets library with a new name.
  3. For the purposes of this example, we will be content to use just the supplied set of ReaDelay presets shown on the right.
  4. You now need to create a .reabank patch/bank file. This is in fact an ordinary text file, but it must be laid out in a certain way, and it must be saved with a .reabank extension. You can use any text editor for this.
  5. Joel Sampson has available (free of charge) on his web site an excellent and comprehensive five page PDF manual explaining just about every aspect of reabank files and how to create them. Summary instructions follow below, but I would strongly recommend that you download and study The Art of Reabanks from www.djemberecords.com/reaper.html
  6. An example of a reabank file for the default ReaDelay preset library is shown below. In this case, Notepad has been used to create the file. Note the comments at steps 7 and 8.
  7. The bank line is the first line of the file. It sets the most significant byte (MSB) and least significant byte (LSB) of the Bank Select number, then the bank name. You can set both numbers at zero.
  8. Each subsequent line consists for each preset of its patch number (starting at zero) and its name, which is shown here the same as the name displayed in the FX presets drop down. However, you may use different names if you wish, as the selection process is based on the patch number.
  9. Save the file and close the text editor when finished. A fairly sensible place to save it is in a subfolder of your \Application Data\REAPER\Data folder or equivalent (depending on whether you are using Windows or OS/X, and which version) ? but that's up to you.
  10. Start REAPER and open the appropriate track's FX chain. Select the FX and from the preset + menu select Link to MIDI program change and select a channel (e.g. Channel 16). This will make the controlling MIDI messages distinct from any others.
  11. From the track's context menu, set Enable track free item positioning on. This command will now appear on this menu with a tick beside it. By enabling free item positioning you ensure that you can place two or more items underneath each other on the same track.
  12. Select the track that contains the media item with the FX plug-in whose presets you wish to control. Use your mouse to make a time selection that includes this item. Now from the Insert menu choose New MIDI item to create an empty MIDI item alongside (parallel to) the existing media item. The result of this is shown below:
  13. Open the empty MIDI item in the MIDI Editor, and make sure that the Bank/Program Select lane is displayed.
  14. At the point where you want to make your first automated preset change, double-click in the Bank/Program Select CC lane. This will display the Bank/Program Select dialog box.
  15. Click on Load File. Navigate to and select the file that you saved at step 9. and click on Open.
  16. The preset bank will now be loaded. Display the Program drop down list and select the required preset (see right). Be sure to select the same channel as you specified at step 10. Click on OK.
  17. Repeat step 16. as many times as you wish to create as many automated preset changes as you require.
  18. You should now be able to see your program changes displayed in the MIDI Editor CC lane (see below).
  19. Play the song. Your ReaDelay presets will now automatically change according to your instructions!

13.48 Custom MIDI Note and CC Names[edit]

You can define your own MIDI note and CC names and save them into a text file, which can then be imported into any MIDI project file using the command File, Note names, Load note names from file. A sample file is provided with REAPER: you can edit this file to suit your needs, or create your own files using any standard text editor. To locate the sample file, choose from the main arrange view menu the command Options, Show REAPER resource path, then double-click on the folder MIDINoteNames to open it. You should then see a file named note_name_sample.txt. Right-click on this file name and choose Edit from the context menu to open it in your default text editor. The sample file content is shown here (right). The # sign at the start of each line means it is a comment for illustration only and will be ignored by REAPER. To create actual names, simply type the extra lines in the format shown (without the #). An example is shown on the left. You can also delete any comment lines that you do not wish to keep. Save the file and close the text editor. This file can now be imported into any project file, using the method described in the MIDI Editor Menus section.


Chapter 14: Music Notation and REAPER's Notation Editor[edit]

14.1 A Brief Introduction to Notation[edit]

In a broad sense, the term notation can be applied to any system that uses written symbols to represent musical notes. Thus, the piano roll view of REAPER's MIDI Editor can be seen as a type of notation, as is the use of guitar tabs, which you might have encountered elsewhere. However, in practice the term �notation� is often used to refer to modern staff notation. This was developed for use with European classical music, but is now widely used to represent music of many genres. This chapter will focus on the use of REAPER's notation editor for modern staff notation. First, here is a general introduction.

The practice of notation writing is sometimes also known as scoring. Notation is a huge subject about which there is much to learn, and the journey from complete beginner to competent achiever can be a long one. Many books are available on the subject, including Music Notation (Theory and Technique for Music Notation) by Mark McGrain and Music Notation and Terminology by Karl Wilson Gehrkens (available on line as a free download from Gutenberg). A handy short general introduction to understanding music theory and notation can be found on line at method-behind-the-music.com and some introductory tutorials at www.musicians-place.com/harmonics/course-1/staff-notation.html.

If all this intimidates you, don't let it! You don't need to be able to read or write musical scores to be a musician. Robert Johnson, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel and many, many others are all proof of that!

This User Guide does not aim for the impossible goal of teaching everybody everything they could ever wish to know about notation scoring and editing, in just a few pages! Its purpose is to help you to learn how to start using REAPER's notation editor with such knowledge and skills as you can bring to the table.

Below are illustrated some of the basic elements and terminology of notation scoring:

The staff is the five line grid on which notes can be written, and which is used to display the notes. If a MIDI item recorded using a keyboard or created by hand within the MIDI editor is opened in the notation editor, then that item will be automatically scored. You can also edit that score, or add to it, within the notation editor. The staff is divided into a number of measures for the duration of the piece. The number of beats to a measure is itself determined by the time signature (see also below).

On the left end of the staff is displayed the clef. For the treble clef the first (lowest) line of the staff represents E this goes up alternately thru grid spaces and lines to F, G, A, B, C, D, E, and F. The bass clef uses the same musical alphabet but goes up G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and A. Where a note needs to be displayed above or below the range covered by the staff, this is done using ledger lines.

A different symbol is used to represent each note, from double whole note or breve (not shown) thru (shown from left to right below) whole note (semibreve), half note (minim), quarter note (crotchet), eighth note (quaver), sixteenth note (semiquaver), thirty-second note (demi-semiquaver) and sixty-fourth note (semi-demi-semiquaver). Above you can see where ties have been used to join together two or more adjacent notes of the same pitch, effectively creating a single longer note.

To the immediate right of the clef are the key signature (if present) and the time signature. The key signature designates notes to be played higher or lower than its corresponding natural note. The time signature determines how many beats there are per measure, and what kind of note gets the beat. For example, in 4/4 time there are four beats per measure with the quarter note getting the beat. In 3/4 time also the quarter note will get the beat, but with only three beats in a measure.

Finally in the above diagram you can see Rests. A rest represents a period of silence in a bar. The duration of the rest corresponds to a note length and is indicated by the symbol used, as illustrated in the examples shown on the right.

14.2 REAPER's Notation Editor: a First Look[edit]

The single most important thing for you to understand about REAPER's notation editor is this:

It is a fully integrated part of the MIDI Editor, not a stand-alone module. Any changes you make when editing will be to the MIDI item itself, and will show up in every view. This architecture has a number of significant advantages, such as:

If you are familiar with working in, say, piano roll view, then learning to use the notation editor presents a significantly less steep learning curve than would otherwise be the case. Indeed, you would probably be unwise to attempt to use the notation editor without first getting to know the MIDI Editor, and especially piano roll view.

You can make your edits (such as moving, copying or modifying notes) in whichever view you find it easiest to work. The results of the edits will be visible (and audible) in any view.

The MIDI Editor's different views are selected from the View menu. The different modes (already introduced in Chapter 13) are:

Mode: piano roll (Alt 1)

Mode: named notes (Alt 2)

Mode: event list (Alt 3)

Mode: musical notation (Alt 4)

Consider the example on the right. This is a fairly simple MIDI item. It could have been imported from an external MIDI file, recorded using a keyboard, or crafted in the REAPER Midi Editor piano roll view or musical notation view. It is shown here in piano roll view (top) and musical notation view. When you switch between views, you are seeing exactly the same notes each time.

You can also see that the MIDI editor environment is also the same. For example, the menus and toolbars are the same, as is the essential MIDI Editor functionality. In either of the two view shown here, for example, you can add, delete or move notes.

Note that a MIDI item can be displayed in only one view at a time (e.g. musical notation mode or piano roll mode, but not both at once), although different items may be open at the same time in different views in separate MIDI Editor instances.

Note also that the methods employed when working within the different views (or modes) are as far as possible, the same.

For example, use double-click to insert a new note. Use right-click-drag to select a series of notes (marquee). You can perform tasks on your selection such as delete, move, copy, quantize or humanize, and so on.

As you will see later in this chapter, musical notation view also incorporates a large number of extra features that are specific to scoring music.

First, let's return for a moment to our simple example.

In this case, we have added some more notes in the piano roll view (shown here as selected).

When we switch to musical notation view, we can see that the edits are also displayed there.

Thus the process of working and moving between the different modes is quite seamless.

If you are working with projects which contain more than one track with MIDI items, and/or more than one MIDI item per track, it is important that you understand your options for managing how the MIDI Editor (including musical notation mode) can handle these. You might already be familiar with this, from sections 13.27 to 13.29 of this guide. If necessary, refer back to these sections, but there follows a brief summary.

14.3 Opening MIDI Items in the Notation Editor[edit]

Under Options, Preferences, Editing Behavior, MIDI Editor you can specify your default preference as to whether you want one MIDI editor instance opened for each item, for each track, or for the entire project. When in musical notation mode, it can often be helpful to have all MIDI items open together.

On the same page, you can also determine what happens by default when you open a MIDI item in the MIDI Editor, either by double-clicking, or using the Open in built-in editor command. The options are to open the clicked item only, all selected MIDI items, all MIDI items on the same track, or all MIDI items in the project. Your default setting can be overridden for individual projects from the MIDI Editor's Contents menu. There are also a number of other options, shown above.

14.4 REAPER's Notation Editor: A Closer Look[edit]

Once opened, musical notation mode can be selected (View menu) and the option to view the track list should be enabled from the Contents menu. This can be used, amongst other things, to determine which items are visible and optionally editable, as well as which is to be used when inserting notes (see 13.27 to 13.29). You should make sure that you have a sound understanding of the track list and its features before working in musical notation view.

Shown here is an example of a folder with a synth inserted in its FX chain and three child tracks, each containing a MIDI item. All three are open together in the MIDI Editor's musical notation view. By looking at the panel on the right you should be able to see that all three items are visible in this window. The first of these is the only one currently selected as editable and it has also b