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Why Reaper


NOTE: AZ Controller and my other tools for Sonar are still supported!
I plan slow and long transition. I will have to completely rewrite AZ Controller, but probably there will be 2 branches from the same code, one for Sonar and another for Reaper.
But resets will have no "multi-DAW" compatibility.

Why Reaper
In general, that was forced decision for me. No other DAW has a point where I can connect AZ Controller. But that was not the only reason.

Major advantages:

* simplest authorization possible: Ctrl+C a part of purchase e-mail and Reaper notice the clipboard contains the license. Done. No limits. No "calling home". No dongles. Like in good old Sonar up to X3 times, even a tick simpler. Currently unique feature.

* DAW "pure". I still happy I have joined Sonar world back it time, with flagman X1 package. I instantly had a HUGE set of plug-ins which was covering everything I need (and many areas I do not). I mean perfect for learning. But now, I already have all that and I have already "extended" the set of plug-ins with extras I need. I do not need yet another set of EQs/Comps/Synth (normally for particular DAW). But all other DAWs have these sets, and only these sets. I mean if you want most powerful version you are forces to buy most powerful plug-in/content set with it. I repeat, that is good for the first DAW. But almost useless for the second (till there is some specific, like in Mixbus or Ableton).

* Less bugs and better tools to understand them. It seems like DAWs are extremely buggy by definition. There are not only "crashing" bugs, but also a tons of logical bugs. I understand that DAWs are big and complicated systems, but there is the second reason. While almost all other big systems are written by real programmers, many DAWs (and especially plug-ins) are written by "programming musicians". Music is in general less technical discipline, so the result is worse then "programming scientists". It seems like Reaper is written by people which know what and how to write. Obvious debug features (like plug-in firewalling) are not forgotten (as in most other DAWs). Real bugs are perceived by developers as they should be, as "no go". Not as "historical feature" and not ignored. There are features and there are bugs, in Reaper there is clear separation between them. First can be ignored, refused or delayed. The second are fixed. In Sonar the approach was different.
As the second consequence of correctly written program, it is optimized and fast. Note that on slow computers, bundled script based plug-ins can leave wrong impression. Scripts are scripts, they can not work with the speed of optimized binary code by definition. They can come close when scripts just calling binary for CPU intensive processing, but immediately slow down on any "per sample" looping. Till some degree scripts can be "compiled", some are more suitable for that then other and such compilers optimizations improve with time. Still, the level of C/C++ optimization is not matched yet.

* DAW API for extensions. With Sonar, and so ACT, end of life, that is unique feature. Some DAWs owners also produce hardware and so do not want a competition (Presonus, Steinberg/Yamaha). Other allow extensions, but for safety in "santboxed" version, so with scripts only. Any extension binary plug-in can damage anything in the DAW and unlike VSTs too hard to firewall. I mean that is a good reason to avoid them, especially when benefits are unclear.
Reaper give a chance to demonstrate own programming skills to everyone. And unlike Cakewalk ACT, they cover much broader aspects of the DAW. ACT primary and the only target was Control Surfaces, precisely the functionality which developers thought is "sufficient". Everything else was hidden. In Reaper, API allows hooks from interface up to media processing streams. Unlike ACT, which was simply forgotten since more then 10 year and so had no access to any newer features, Reaper API is kept up to date (Reaper can generate the interface file from itself, no separate repository update required, clever!)   

* the price. Not the fact it is low. But the reason why it is low. While as we know all DAWs are barely profitable products, if at all profitable, lowering the price is driven by the concurrence, not because the development is "cheap". And without investments from something else, that limit the possibilities, influencing  the quality. For Reaper, the price has no direct influence on the project. The mission was declared differently, and that seems like true (while with Cakewalk was was told the driving force was the interest of developers, as we know from recent posts, finances and the management was steering everything, down to its break).

"Jewels" of Reaper.
May be not unique, but nice to have features. At least for Noob Sonar user (my) perspective:

* Pre-FX actual waveform. So you can see what goes into FXes, after source volume, Gain staging and pre-fx envelopes (~= Clip Gain in Sonar). Usual argumentation that is not a useful feature is "you should hear the sound, not look at it". Well, ProTools "noobs" have and like it. And I like it as well.
* Homogeneous strips. There are tracks. Thats it (except a bit special master track). No "buses", no MIDI vs Audio and no instrument/aux "mutants". In reality, any DAW core engine deals with Audio and MIDI streams. A track is X audio + Y MIDI streams. That represent the reality. Anything else is in practice artificial (old hardware routing view, "smart" imaginations, etc).
The fact is that VST(i) process audio AND MIDI in parallel, the same with a lot of audio interfaces. "MIDI only" plug-ins (f.e. MFX in Sonar) are obsolete. There is no longer a reason to process it separately.

* Not restricted routing. For audio AND MIDI. The last one was only partially implemented in Sonar and any "advanced" operation was error prone. Do you remember "Enable MIDI output", "None" is "Omni", one track one synth? All that problems are void in Reaper. Send MIDI to any other strip as "Send" (with or without audio streams), "None" is none, etc.

* Folders. In Sonar, one level folders was to visually hide tracks and as a group switch (mute, solo, etc). "Forgotten" in ACT, completely independent from the real signal routing and not completely harmonized with the interface and core engine, folders was only partially useful. Kit peaces into "Drum Kit" folder, vox into "Vocals" folder, etc. And then "Drums" bus, "Vocals" bus etc. Any good reason to double that, almost always 1x1, relation? Not for me. And Reaper also think that is not needed. So folders in Reaper ARE buses, with all consequences (they have FXes, own switches, envelopes, etc). Sounds as logical decision, merge something pure visual with physical signal routing.
Imagine there is no "Output" but there are sends. Is there is a physical difference between post-fader send or "output", in digital world? No. So "Output" can be perceived as the first fixed send (can be disabled). Looking from that perspective, the fact any track always has the "Output" set to its folder (or master, for top level tracks) is not a limitation. Since most of the time something grouped is supposed to have the same "output", make it convenient feature.
Back. Vocal 1 -> Back. Vocal -> Vocal. How to do this with one level grouping? Nothing nice comes in my head. With arbitrary depth of folders in Reaper, the solution is intuitive.   

To be continued...


Speaking from Accessible point of view, this is a huge plus for blind/visually impaired users.    One thing I can tell you, personally, is that I used Sonar vor video syncing of audio for my drum covers.    I'd upload the video into a project, then  import the audio from the recording, and use the camera audio to sync the video to the studio recording.   I wonder if Reaper does something like that.   

Anyways,  I look forward to being able to help as much as possible with this.    I am currently running on the free version, but knowing that this will be worked on, I will purchase a liscensed copy very soon, so that way I can have the  newest version . 

Glad you're still around and even more glad you consider Reaper seeing what's happening to Cakewalk....  Reaper is the most responsive and stable DAW I've used so far and my 1st choice when I need to accomplish advance editing. I'll follow this with much interest.


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