Tuesday, 18 April 2017

COCKOS REAPER SYNAPSE CIRCUIT REVIEW

 SYNAPSE CIRCUIT 
COCKOS REAPER 5.40

$60 DISCOUNTED LICENSE $225 STANDARD LICENCE REVIEW!

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Synapse Circuit brings you what looks like an unbeatable DAW in Reaper!

NEXT TO FREE DIGITAL AUDIO WORKSTATION!
I don't know if you've​ noticed but there's a great deal of digital audio workstations on the market. Some are available free on the Interweb and then there are commercially available ones from the likes of MAGIX, Steinberg, Cakewalk, and many others! Cockos Reaper comes out like a hand from the heavens reaching musicians all-over the world. Reaper was born on the Interweb but, unlike other Web based software projects, it has taken off… BIG TIME! Let's take a look…Read on!
EFFECTIVE
As well as being cost effective at a discounted $60 licence, it's next to free as you will get a prompt to purchase a license when it's launched. It is fully functional. Even at $225, Reaper appears to be a steal.
What I like about Reaper is that it is less than 15MB to download and takes up about 50MB after the installation. It's ready to go! It can even be run from a flash drive! Cool! Reaper is configured in accordance to your PC soundcard. No need to make any adjustments. I find that quite impressive as MAGIX Music Maker Premium was quite fiddly to configure on an AMD based rig. Above: The sparse but highly functional Reaper interface.

INTERFACE
As interfaces go, Reaper looks pretty good. The layout is very self-explanatory, and, for the most part, quite intuitive. Me? I don't like reading manuals unless I have to. Adding a VST Instrument on a track and adding notes via the MIDI interface was easy!


Unlike the aforementioned MAGIX Music Maker Premium, and other DAWs, Reaper isn't preloaded with a bunch of instrumentation. There are about 27 VST and JS effects. It kind of makes sense to not include Instruments as Cockos, the creators of Reaper, expects users to be in possession of a myriad of Instruments​ (and effects). This DAW is aimed at the serious music producer, yet it is within reach of the bedroom producer. This is what sets Reaper apart from the more established DAWs on the market.


Reaper's nearest competition that springs to mind is, yes, MAGIX Samplitude Pro X3 (I hope to bring you a review soon), which costs £300 for the standard version or £750 for the suite that's currently on sale for £450! So, it looks like Reaper is a very attractive prospect for producers of all abilities. With the money saved, depending on what option you go for, there should be enough money left over to get a decent synth or two, plus effects for mastering, etc. I must look into cost effective mastering effects soon. There again, the standard of freely available VST instruments and effects is astounding! Not only that, there are many developers out there who are creating great mastering effects for a very reasonable price.


AESTHETICS
Reaper looks good and has skins to change the overall colour scheme. It's not like, say, MAGIX Music Maker Premium for example, in that it's colourful with a modernized aesthetic. In comparison, Reaper looks rather dull. However, Reaper is highly functional in ways that MAGIX Music Maker Premium is not. For example, it's possible to modify various aspects of the graphical user interface by using a script. I won't go into detail as you can learn how to modify the GUI via the Reaper website: www.reaper.fm


And let's not forget that Reaper is aimed at the serious music producer and there are other functions that are not available in MAGIX Music Maker Premium such as VCA track grouping. What? Basically, you can group a number of tracks and control these tracks with a single VCA master. As a result, you can create sub mixes. It's very flexible and powerful.

Above: Automation in Reaper and options.
When it comes to automation, Reaper is very, very straightforward in that you load a synth or effect and by going to the automation settings you can then select “Touch” or “Latch” - in addition to others - and proceed to move a knob or slider on the Instrument/effect and record those moments in real-time. Once the knob/slider movements have been recorded they can be played back as part of the composition. Whereas with Music Maker Premium, there are no options for “Touch” or “Latch” automation; these parameters can only be drawn in the MIDI editor interface. Don't misunderstand me, it doesn't mean that Music Maker is less capable, it's just that you have to work in a slightly less efficient manner.


NO FUSS VST
Unlike Music Maker Premium, Reaper isn't fussy about accepting VST instruments and effects - at least during my test time! I didn't encounter an instrument not functioning as it should. Not only that, Reaper locates all the VST instruments and effects from the start; there's no need to keep updating the VST location each and every time a new VST is added. That's a remarkable bit of programming that saves a lot of time.


CONCLUSION
Reaper is on its own when it comes to value for money and professional features. Again, other DAWs that cost around £20 less than the discounted license is guaranteed to have a limited feature set that will appeal to a particular user base. Whereas, Reaper can cover a wide range of users from the bedroom producer right up to seasoned professionals working in a studio environment. Yet, at the same time, Reaper's interface may not appeal to producers who rely upon sample loops for composition.


The sample loop driven DAW is not aimed at musicians and is lacking features. No. I'm not dismissing such DAWs as toys - such applications have a place. That said, MAGIX Music Maker - especially the Petition version - straddles both sample loops and musicians remarkably well.

In contrast, Reaper is perfect for traditional and computer musicians.
SCORE Given that you have the option to a discounted license at $60 while you're working on making your music pay, Reaper is unbeatable!

It's constantly being updated; it seems that Reaper gets updated at least every two weeks. I downloaded a version a couple of weeks ago and then when I launched it today, 17th April 2017, there was an update! The updates aren't solely for the purpose of increased stability, uh-uh! The updates add new attributes that increases the usefulness of Reaper even more!

Reaper scores a super Synapse Circuit Platinum!
You can download it here: Reaper
Enjoy!
Thank you for reading! Synapse Circuit / Blue Gene