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Old 09-16-2022, 11:06 AM   #1
shannonsmith
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Default Reaper Training is Totally Overwhelming

Well I have a full time job aside from this but I have more than several albums worth of material written and ready. Upgraded from the old manual push-button machines. Did my research- overall, reaper seems the best.... ready to accomplish my dream.
however, in trying to organize my training, I'm not getting very far.
I find the amount of videos completely overwhelming. Like Kenny's vids- they are terrific but there are 100s of them.
I just want to write, record, master and put out.
I just can't seem to get past the mountain of instructions.
I guess that's a good thing, meaning there is a lot of capabilities available and a lot of training but it's actually a bit disheartening and overwhelming.
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Old 09-16-2022, 11:31 AM   #2
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Hi, Reaper is quite capable and therefore somewhat complicated DAW. You don't have to swallow everything at once, learn by doing. If you are not into tweaking software, there may be easier solutions available. Maybe take a look into Studio One, Mixcraft and whatnot and use what serves you best.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-16-2022, 11:56 AM   #3
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I was the same and still am I just use the basics just like a using a tape etc.
Just stick to learning the basics, later you may want to go further.
Some
First how and where to save your project etc (project settings, save as.
Using
The recording buttons (note rt click tells you a lot on main transport button
As does the REC button on the track header.
the three volumes I use ( FX) for individual note volumes
Track setups
Buss track
Clean current project directory
Enough from me.
Just learn one thing a day.
Everything becomes a habit after that.

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Old 09-16-2022, 12:02 PM   #4
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REAPER might not be the easiest to learn. I’m under the impression thought that it’s more difficult for people coming from another DAW than for folks learning their first. This is very much an anecdotally based observation though.

I think you need to have a plan of some sort. If you try everything at once you’re bound to be overwhelmed. I’d suggest something along these lines:

Basic interface - where is everything?
Simple recording - get some sounds in there
Basic mixing - sends, FX etc
Simple audio editing - envelopes, item handling, takes
MIDI - if you need it

Don’t give up. Keep trying even when it feels too hard. When learning we often hit moments of epiphany when we go from 0 to 100 so to speak. You suddenly get something that you just didn’t understand just a moment ago. Then you hit a hard plateau again until you get to the next breakthrough.

REAPER is tricky because it’s advanced and a bit messy but it has one thing going for itself. It’s a lot more logical and clean under the hood with less of the weird exceptions many other DAWs exhibit.
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Old 09-16-2022, 12:29 PM   #5
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Default Here's a suggestion for you

Hi and welcome,

There are a few video series on the reaper video page that Kenny made just for your situation. They take you through only the basics to get you familiar with reaper.

If you have a band and are recording real instruments - go through "recording my band" or if you are doing more midi, do "first midi song", or maybe both if you are doing a combo of midi and real instruments.

I suggest picking a song you've written and just record the whole thing from start to finish while following one of the above to get you familiar with the workflow, that's what they're for.

If you get stuck, look for another more specific video to help you out or post here for help. (You can also just google how to do something in reaper and a lot of videos from Kenny's own youtube channel and website will pop up there, too).

That will give you a basic foundation from which to build your skills in Reaper. More advanced things like editing, using effects, etc can be found on the video page as well. Please note that the videos on the reaper page by Kenny are focused a lot on the technical aspects of using reaper and not so much mixing.

If you haven't mixed in the box, that's a whole other universe to learn about. Not sure how much mixing experience you have, but just a reality check, it will take some serious practice to mix to a professional level in the box if that's your goal.

A good youtube channel on recording and mixing that I've enjoyed is Produce Like a Pro with Warren Huart. There are tons of free videos on there about recording and mixing pretty much everything (vocals, bass, guitars, drums, using effects in a creative way, etc).

It will take a little work to learn, but reaper is awesome and super stable.

Best of luck!

Last edited by JohnnyMusic; 09-16-2022 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 09-16-2022, 12:34 PM   #6
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Counter opinion. Ignore videos.

Read manual, then start. Start simple, add complexity.
Maybe then seek out a specific video for a certain task.

Do.
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Old 09-16-2022, 12:38 PM   #7
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Remember to ask for help here. You WILL get expert help. This is a friendly, but knowledgeable crowd!

Someone will have the same setup as you and will be able to offer advice if you hit trouble.

dB
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Old 09-16-2022, 12:45 PM   #8
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Default Counter-Counter opinion

In my opinion, reading the manual cover to cover would be boring and a lot of the stuff is too in-depth to ever remember on the first pass (though the manual is a great resource for figuring out how to use different functions in reaper).

I'd say do the videos I suggested first, then read the manual to find out a lot more about the advanced features reaper contains. (for those who haven't checked out these beginner videos, they are very basic just to get you through the initial barebones steps of recording a band or making a midi song).

But everyone learns a little differently, so it depends.

Another way to say it might be: If you're really eager to dig in and get something recorded, follow the videos to get a basic start to finish foundation of the process.

If you're more the type that wants a thorough overview of what's possible before starting, maybe skim the manual first.

Again, best of luck to the OP!
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Old 09-16-2022, 12:53 PM   #9
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Imo doesn't matter if the manual seems boring. You can skim read parts of interests, re read. Read slow read fast.
Sucking at reaper is boring.
Learning any skill is boring until competent. Sitting in front of reaper scratching your head is better than feeling like a genius on your 12th video, with no discernible skills acquired.

This isn't a Sunday walk, its learning something hard!

(It's known I am little anti tutorial video so forgive my stance, whatever works of course..)
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Old 09-16-2022, 02:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannonsmith View Post
I have more than several albums worth of material written and ready.
Book some studio time. Seriously, unless you're keen on becoming an IT professional, mixing engineer, mastering engineer, acoustics expert, etc etc you're literally years away from achieving your goal in any satisfying sort of way.

I agree Reaper is the best...for me and many others. I love customizing literally everything and have spent absurd amounts of time doing so. I know exactly how I want to work and am willing to put in the time to make it possible. Does that sound like you? If not, maybe Reaper is not the best for you. There are far shorter and more promising routes to your goal.

I don't mean to discourage you, but there's this totally BS idea floating around that home recording is convenient and easy. It's not. It's a hell of a lot of fun though.
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Old 09-16-2022, 02:42 PM   #11
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but there's this totally BS idea floating around that home recording is convenient and easy. It's not.
so true, and we've all been there and probably forgotten what a time we had getting into which ever DAW, or four track tape recorder we first picked up

so, to the OP, one thing at a time... you don't have to learn everything at once...
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Old 09-16-2022, 03:35 PM   #12
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Just getting a midi device connected and talking to software could be a weeks worth of tearing your young floppy hair out.

No adversity these days. (Old man talk)
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Old 09-16-2022, 04:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannonsmith View Post
Well I have a full time job aside from this but I have more than several albums worth of material written and ready. Upgraded from the old manual push-button machines. Did my research- overall, reaper seems the best.... ready to accomplish my dream.
however, in trying to organize my training, I'm not getting very far.
I find the amount of videos completely overwhelming. Like Kenny's vids- they are terrific but there are 100s of them.
I just want to write, record, master and put out.
I just can't seem to get past the mountain of instructions.
I guess that's a good thing, meaning there is a lot of capabilities available and a lot of training but it's actually a bit disheartening and overwhelming.
Yep. Overload. It would be cool to have a Reaper intro for 8-track refugees! In lieu of that, here's a concise non-video starter tutorial:
https://www.musicianonamission.com/reaper-tutorial/

Then highly recommend following up with Kenny's "This is Reaper 6" from here:
https://www.reaper.fm/videos.php

Luck!
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Old 09-16-2022, 07:41 PM   #14
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There is an old saying it is well worth remembering and using it.
"Preparation is everything"

Musicians get over tired, remember that too.

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Old 09-16-2022, 11:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HorseloverFat View Post
learn by doing
This is what I tell everyone new to Reaper. Work out what you want to do with it, have a go at it, and as soon as you start scratching your head do a search for that particular thing. There's always something out there to help you. It's a great DAW with an amazing user base. Never found a question that didn't have an answer yet, by doing a search, or asking on here.

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Old 09-16-2022, 11:56 PM   #16
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Work out what you want to do with it, have a go at it, and as soon as you start scratching your head do a search for that particular thing.
I did the same. Just go for it. If you get stuck, search for an answer.
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Old 09-17-2022, 02:21 PM   #17
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OP No answer?
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Old 09-17-2022, 03:06 PM   #18
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For what it is worth, another angle is to keep in mind that what matters is what is sounds like. If you use your ears as a guide, with a sense of musical history to frame your quest, you will find ways to use Reaper to MAKE better music.

Maybe it is not technical - but musical.
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Old 09-17-2022, 10:46 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BenK-msx View Post
Counter opinion. Ignore videos.

Read manual, then start. Start simple, add complexity.
Maybe then seek out a specific video for a certain task.

Do.
But don't get overwhelmed. Start with first three chapters only, slowly and carefully.

Get the absolute basics under your belt before worrying about anything else.

Take small steps, don't try to learn too much at once.

We've all been there, don't worry!
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Old 09-18-2022, 03:05 AM   #20
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I find the amount of videos completely overwhelming. Like Kenny's vids- they are terrific but there are 100s of them.
Watch this video first, it explains how to watch the rest of Kenny's videos: How to Watch My REAPER Videos (New Users)
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Old 09-20-2022, 09:38 AM   #21
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Default THANK YOU

Just wanted to say a big "Thank you" to everyone for their advice and comments. So super helpful!!
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Old 09-20-2022, 10:18 AM   #22
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I've been using REAPER for about 10 years and probably don't even use 10% of what it can do. I don't even have SWS extensions installed. I've never used the action list, other than to change colours in my theme. I literally just use it as a tape recorder, and then obviously I use things like "Copy", "Paste", etc...

I'm not saying those things aren't useful, but you don't NEED anything other Record, Play and......CONTROL>Z....lots and lots of CONTROL>Z
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Old 09-20-2022, 10:36 AM   #23
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I've never used the action list, other than to change colours in my theme.
?!?! Actions list is arguably more immediately informative than either the User Guide or the forum! For questions like "can you do X in Reaper," it's the first place to look.

To each 'is own, but IMNSHO, if you're not using custom actions and shortcuts, you're not using Reaper...like driving a Ferarri w the e-brake on...
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Old 09-20-2022, 10:43 AM   #24
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To each 'is own, but IMNSHO, if you're not using custom actions and shortcuts, you're not using Reaper...like driving a Ferarri w the e-brake on...
Nah, I disagree. I've never found myself NOT being able to do something I wanted to do. And about 200 songs later, I'm pretty sure I'm using REAPER just fine.
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Old 09-20-2022, 10:47 AM   #25
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And about 200 songs later, I'm pretty sure I'm using REAPER just fine.
Can't argue w that, but you better let me catch you asking any questions that the actions list could have answered...
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Old 09-20-2022, 11:03 AM   #26
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Well I have a full time job aside from this but I have more than several albums worth of material written and ready. Upgraded from the old manual push-button machines. Did my research- overall, reaper seems the best.... ready to accomplish my dream.
however, in trying to organize my training, I'm not getting very far.
I find the amount of videos completely overwhelming. Like Kenny's vids- they are terrific but there are 100s of them.
I just want to write, record, master and put out.
I just can't seem to get past the mountain of instructions.
I guess that's a good thing, meaning there is a lot of capabilities available and a lot of training but it's actually a bit disheartening and overwhelming.
Reaper is kind of Adobe Photoshop of the DAW world. I'm not comparing the flexibilities here, but the shortcut workflow.

Once you customize your workflow and create several 10's to 100's of actions/key bindings, everything will be much easier. Same in Photoshop. If you're not able to memorize or build a workflow with shortcuts, it will take lots of minutes to hours to accomplish what you aim for with mouse clicks.

I'm not a years of expert in MIDI/Audio recording and Reaper is my first DAW in this manner but I can guess how the flexibility of it actually contributes to the overall workflow.

OTOH, I agree with you to a degree. It's not the training which is overwhelming but building this structure I'm speaking of above. If its interface is the grammar, Actions are the vocabulary of Reaper to be able to speak its language fast, fluently and in a rich context.

Some things will be hidden under the hood.
For example, I was quite annoyed with one-MIDI-Editor-Per-Project not remembering my MIDI editing choices and acts differently with every single MIDI item. Then, I learned that selecting all items in the project with Ctrl+A and double clicking one item to open them all at the same time and adjusting my preferences would do the trick. But as you said, instructions are a lot and it takes some research to accomplish your tasks.

Though I'm still having problems here and there that I can't seem to understand whether it's the design or me doing some funky things. (My last posts are proofs of this)
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Old 09-20-2022, 01:04 PM   #27
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Can't argue w that, but you better let me catch you asking any questions that the actions list could have answered...
I'm sure I will.

I'm not adverse to using any tool that would help my work flow. If I ever needed to start learning actions, SWS, or anything else, I'd dive in with both feet.
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Old 09-21-2022, 12:13 AM   #28
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?!?! Actions list is arguably more immediately informative than either the User Guide or the forum! For questions like "can you do X in Reaper," it's the first place to look.
In case anybody (including the OP) isn't aware, the search filter in the Actions List does recognise at least some synonyms, something that increases its usefulness by about 1,000% as far as I'm concerned.

For example, if you search for (say) erase, it will find actions that include delete, or remove, or clear , etc.

I'd suggest, though, that this is more ideal for plugging gaps in someone's knowledge than for someone starting out.
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Old 09-21-2022, 05:19 AM   #29
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In case anybody (including the OP) isn't aware, the search filter in the Actions List does recognise at least some synonyms, something that increases its usefulness by about 1,000% as far as I'm concerned.

For example, if you search for (say) erase, it will find actions that include delete, or remove, or clear , etc.

I'd suggest, though, that this is more ideal for plugging gaps in someone's knowledge than for someone starting out.
thanks for pointing that out
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Old 09-21-2022, 09:56 AM   #30
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In case anybody (including the OP) isn't aware, the search filter in the Actions List does recognise at least some synonyms, something that increases its usefulness by about 1,000% as far as I'm concerned.
Exactly why I suggest checking it first. Someone new won't know the terminology to search for in the manual (I don't know anyone who actually reads them cover to cover). But the actions list knows what they want, even if they don't...
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Old 09-21-2022, 02:20 PM   #31
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Maybe some day we will start a business for this.
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Old 09-21-2022, 07:05 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by BenK-msx View Post
Counter opinion. Ignore videos.

Read manual, then start. Start simple, add complexity.
Maybe then seek out a specific video for a certain task.

Do.
Right there...and maybe not even read the manual
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Old 09-21-2022, 10:08 PM   #33
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I find the amount of videos completely overwhelming. Like Kenny's vids- they are terrific but there are 100s of them.
I just want to write, record, master and put out.
Just start recording your music. Tackle problems as they come along. You do not need to watch videos before you get started.

Choose input, arm track, set metronome and record.

Rinse repeat.

You are using excuses to avoid doing the hard part - actually recording your music and making it sound as good as it does in your head. I know that sounds harsh but we've all been there. Some variation of paralysis by analysis. You keep analysing things over and over again because you think you might get some perfect information that is going to unlock the secret to making your music perfect on the first try but it doesn't exist. It's just something you get better at the more you do it. So stop watching videos, stop making excuses, and start making your music NOW!
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Old 09-21-2022, 11:07 PM   #34
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Exactly why I suggest checking it first. Someone new won't know the terminology to search for in the manual .... But the actions list knows what they want, even if they don't...
It would be interesting to see a complete newb (with no previous DAW exposure whatsoever and not a clue as to where or how to get started) teach themselves how to install audio/midi devices, create and arm tracks, select inputs, record, overdub and edit takes ... all from browsing the Actions List! Especially as they likely wouldn't have a clue what to start searching for.

I would suggest that videos, documentation and a supportive forum are all important tools for the learning process.

On edit: I've said it before and I'll say it again: the key to successful learning is to break it down into digestible but structured chunks ... not to try to take on too much at once, or lose focus and fly off on all sorts of tangents.
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Old 09-22-2022, 12:04 PM   #35
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It would be interesting to see a complete newb (with no previous DAW exposure whatsoever and not a clue as to where or how to get started) teach themselves how to install audio/midi devices, create and arm tracks, select inputs, record, overdub and edit takes ... all from browsing the Actions List!
Fair enough. I came to Reaper knowing that already, but actions list has been the most helpful over the years. I already I'll go to the user guide next for more detail on functions, or lastly the forums if I run out of ideas. It would be interesting though...probably not impossible if they read enough about their audio interface to get it up and running.

Still, everyone's different. I can't do anything with "chunks" of information but forget them until I have some contextual framework to put them in, and I can only get to get that through experimentation, trial and error. That's just what works for me.

Admittedly there are probably shorter, straighter paths, but too much structure or dry info and I'll lose interest. I'd rather dive in, get lost, and find my bearings later.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:12 PM   #36
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I tried to do this when first getting into daws (watching lots of tutorials) and IMO it's the worst way to learn. Just learn specific things as you need them / as you go, it's the only way to really internalize anything.
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:26 PM   #37
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It would be interesting to see a complete newb (with no previous DAW exposure whatsoever and not a clue as to where or how to get started) teach themselves how to install audio/midi devices, create and arm tracks, select inputs, record, overdub and edit takes ... all from browsing the Actions List! Especially as they likely wouldn't have a clue what to start searching for.
I get to watch this or parts of this several times a week at our music school.

If I give them the clue that they can search the action list and that they can right click everything, they pretty much google up or youtube the rest if they get stuck (and often they don't).

This is for kids usually under ten years old without previous DAW experience.

Its a weird phenomenon that people who have previous DAW experience seem to always be the ones with the greatest difficulty in getting reaper up and running
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Old 09-22-2022, 02:05 PM   #38
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REAPER might not be the easiest to learn. I’m under the impression thought that it’s more difficult for people coming from another DAW than for folks learning their first. This is very much an anecdotally based observation though.


REAPER is tricky because it’s advanced and a bit messy but it has one thing going for itself. It’s a lot more logical and clean under the hood with less of the weird exceptions many other DAWs exhibit.
Nah... I came from sonar and had zero issues learning reaper. I was mixing (poorly) day one. Yeah there's a learning curve but i would argue that its no more difficult than any other DAW you're coming at cold and if you're at all familiar with Windows OS I would argue its easier. ALL modern daws are complicated given the complexity of the modern mix process. Now if you dont really have any background in using a DAW or with the mixing process in general, then yeah... its gonna take some time. But it would be that way regardless of the the DAW.
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:34 PM   #39
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Its a weird phenomenon that people who have previous DAW experience seem to always be the ones with the greatest difficulty in getting reaper up and running
Maybe because they have to "unlearn" a lot before thay can start learning?
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Old 09-22-2022, 06:52 PM   #40
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So many of us use, enjoy, create, with minimal Reaper skills, or depth of capabilities.
Always there to explore and expand _ when needed.

What a terrific initial DAW choice, decades ago !!
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