Cockos Reaper is a fairly new DAW program compared to the better-known names on today's market - the first version was only released in 2005. But since then it has collected a dedicated core of fans that use it to create and produce great music.
Reaper is a program with all the necessary features and functions that turn it into a complete DAW to rival the bigger names. But I think the best part is the extremely low price that it's available for - it means that this fantastic DAW is brought into the price range of the majority of home studio owners.
Reaper stands for Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording. It's currently available on both Windows and Mac systems.
One of the great features of Reaper is that there's only one model available, so there's no need to evaluate different options when deciding what to get when compared to other DAW programs. I think this is a great advantage to the program.
There are two different levels of price, but that's purely down to how many copies you're allowed to run according to the license. The discounted price allows you to run one copy for personal use only, whereas the full license allows you to use Reaper commercially.
The program includes all the usual DAW items you'd expect, some of which are:
Cockos Reaper also includes some features that are truly unique. One of these is the ability to customize the visual layout using software called Walter (Window Arrangement Logic Template Engine for Reaper - quite a mouthful!).
There are plenty of options available for you to get the visual arrangement you want, including the color palette. There are hundreds of themes that can be downloaded from the Reaper website as well.
The Reaper website has its own forum that has lots of highly dedicated members, some of which actually create and develop some of the plugins and program the code. This is a really great aspect to using Reaper - when you start to use a new program, you can be sure that you'll need to ask lots of questions. A devoted online community can help massively with any issues you have.
A great place to find some Reaper tutorials is the Tutorials For Reaper website. There are plenty of online lessons to be discovered, as well as a downloadable video series.
You can also find some great training videos over at Groove3.
I think that the quality of Cockos Reaper (the link takes you to the official site) coupled with the amazingly low price means that it's definitely a DAW worth checking out. It's starting to compete with the bigger, more mainstream studio packages, and that's purely down to the excellence of the program. If you're looking for a professional program to produce music in your home studio, but you're on a tight budget, then look no further than Reaper.