AudioMedia - February 2012 - (Page 44)
digital audio workstation
Halls are alive with talk of a young DAW that is making waves amongst establishment. ALISTAIR McGHEE samples the low-fat alternative.
Cockos Reaper V4
I loaded stereo tracks, and playback was refreshingly unsluggish and the CPU meter was reading to . On a Macbook Air that’s not bad. Though maybe the Flash disk helps. Nice obvious things. Fades are directly applicable in the playlist – a double click takes you to the object parameters where you get to play with all the toys. Fade shapes and durations are selectable here – you pick a shape from a choice of six and you can type a duration directly into a numeric dialogue. One little niggle is that I’d like to be able to click and drag to change the numerical values. Picky kind of a guy, me. You can apply FX to the clip individually, and as you can play your clip while the dialogue is open you are able to hear what exactly your clip sounds like with the effects applied. In version there’s a comprehensive surround sound plug-in that will deliver octophonic sound or up to .. It might be nice if the blue level controls at the bottom of the dialogue don’t reset to normal when you double click them, but okay, I am a small-minded and lazy man. Reaper comes with a variety of home brewed FX EQ, Compression, Delay, Reverb, and an FFT EQ and dynamics package among a range of others. I think it’s fair to say none of these will win any prizes for fancy visuals, but all the ones I needed did the job in a no-fuss way and sounded fine. The question of plug-ins and add-ons raises some difficult questions for developers. Do you try and emulate what everyone else is doing and add a bell and a whistle for everything? Or do you invest your development effort into base band productivity and direct features and interface improvements? Reaper doesn’t come with an orchestra of virtual instruments or three DVDs of samples, and in my book is all the better for it... And Cockos releases updates regularly. I must say though, I do like Sadie’s approach of bundling some iZotope kit – you get quality effects that look great and you don’t have to redevelop wheel ..
irst I must begin with my apologies – it was back in July that Cockos supplied me with a copy of its Reaper DAW for review. As it happened this timing wasn’t great, as shortly afterwards I was winging my way to Juba in South Sudan, the world’s newest country. Never mind – plenty of time while stuck in a UN portacabin to get down to reviewing business. Ahh. First I was too busy, then my PC laptop died, and then the trackpad failed on my MacBook Air. Not only did I miss any August or September deadline, I missed the DAW special and now the upgrade to version . Mea culpa. So covered in sackcloth and dripping with ashes I return to Reaper to pay my debts to society. Reaper is an unusual product in the sense that who would have thought that there was room in the crowded digital audio workstation market for another player? Who indeed? And yet over the last few years in a quiet but impressive way Reaper has been winning friends and influencing people. It’s also not very expensive, which helps; but when I heard BBC outside broadcasts were trialing it in their new vans I thought there really must be something going for the big R.
Rev Those Engines
So, to the bat cave and first the audio engine. I recently laughed out loud while reading a post on an audio forum when a user of a well-known DAW wrote ‘the ability to play files in different formats is of no interest to me.’ At the risk of rudeness – you need to get out more. In the words of the Eagles, I want to do ‘everything all the time.’ Why wouldn’t I? By contrast the Reaper audio engine is pretty slick. I loaded a -bit .wav, a .flac, and an mp. file into a project and after a moment of peak drawing, playback ran just fine – no conversions, no tricks, just playback. Which in is not too much to ask. While playing back you can arm a track and then drop into record on a whim. If you move a clip while playing – no problem, a moment of digital spooling and you’re back in the playback room.
THE REVIEWER ALISTAIR McGHEE began audio life in Hi-Fi before joining the BBC as an audio engineer. After ten years in radio and TV, he moved to production. When BBC Choice started, he pioneered personal digital production in television. Alistair is now Assistant Editor, BBC Radio Wales, but is allowed out occasionally.
AUD I O MEDIA FEBRUARY 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AudioMedia - February 2012
Audio Media - February 2012
Special Report: BVE
Cut Scene: PS Vita
New at NAMM
NAMM Show Wrap-Up
RND Portico 5024
Untrason Signature Pro
Final Cut: Drive
Allen & Health GS-R24
Product Sampler: Broadcase Consoles
ClassicCut: The Haunting
AudioMedia - February 2012