Recording in Reaper
Reaper is a very powerful audio recording software package that can be used for single and multi-track recording. This tutorial will get you started with Recording in Reaper. In order to record with Reaper it is necessary to have your recording inputs for your audio interface set up in the Reaper preferences menu. This step is assumed for this tutorial. Recording in Reaper involves a few simple steps:
- Inserting a new track
- Arming your track for recording
- Selecting the appropriate input for recording
- Choosing your monitoring options
- Selecting the appropriate recording mode
Inserting a new track for recording
Once you have your project up and running and you are ready to begin your recording the first thing you will need to do is insert a new track. There are a few different methods for inserting new tracks. The easiest method is using the shortcut command Ctrl + T. If you would like to do this by clicking you also have a couple options. The first option is to double click anywhere on the Track Control Panel. The second option is to right click on the Track Control Panel & select insert new track.
It is also recommended that you name your track at this stage for later identification. To change the name of the new recording track double-click in the track name-area. Naming your track will also give your recorded media item a useful name to be easily identified later.
Arming the track
Once you have inserted and named your track you will want to arm the track for recording. This task can be accomplished by left clicking the Record Arm button. The Record Arm button is the red button along the left side of the track.
Selecting your recording input
After arming your track you will need to select the appropriate recording input. To select the appropriate input navigate to the input selection area of the track found beneath the volume slider. Depending on your audio interface what is displayed in this box will vary. In this case a Presonus Firewire audio interface was used therefore you will notice a choice of eight different inputs. Select the desired input for recording.
Monitoring the Recording
Depending on your setup you may decide to monitor your recording within Reaper. This can be useful for hearing what you are recording while in the process. It can also be useful for monitoring with insert effects on the tracks. To turn on recording monitoring you can click the icon that is shown below. Another way to do this is by accessing the right-click menu of the recording area.
Using input monitoring for recording vocals can be useful for a couple of different reasons. One reason is the use of insert effects on the track that is being recorded. Try using compression and a slight reverb while monitoring a vocal track. This will enhance what the vocalist can hear when recording and can build their confidence and pull out a strong performance. This feature is also useful when a vocalist would want a similar sound to their live performance.
Input monitoring can also be used when recording an instrument. One method I use often is the use of monitoring a direct signal of guitar through an amp simulation insert effect. On the recording track an amp simulator is added as an effect. Once input monitoring is used you can then monitor the clean DI signal of the guitar through an amp simulator.
Another great use of input monitoring is when working with virtual instruments. It is essential to hear what you are playing as your record.
There are a couple different recording modes within Reaper that I find very useful. The first recording mode is “Normal.” This is the standard default recording mode in Reaper. This mode functions similar to the majority of other software recording packages. Basically it is going to begin recording at the cursor when the Record button has been pressed. It will then stop recording when the stop button is pressed. This mode is great when you begin tracking a session and are uncertain of the length to be recorded.
The next method I would like to discuss is the mode “Time Selection Auto Punch.” This is an extremely powerful feature. This method is used for punching in parts that need corrected. The great thing about this mode is that you select the area with the time selection tool that will be recorded. When the record button is pressed it will not begin recording until it reaches the time selection. It will also stop recording after the time selection. This feature is great because after the area is recorded there is no need to edit the audio as it has been trimmed exactly to the are you wanted to record automatically.
There are a few very important shortcut keys that make recording in Reaper even better. The easiest way to start a recording is to press the keys Ctrl + R. This shortcut key tells reaper to begin recording.
The next shortcut key to use when recording is the space bar. When this key is pressed it will stop the recording.
The final shortcut key that should be used for recording is Ctrl + Z. This activates the undo function in Reaper. If there was a mistake and another take must be recorded the Ctrl + Z key can be used to undo the recording. I use this a lot because getting the perfect take will often take multiple attempts.
As you can see Reaper is a powerful tool for recording audio. This tutorial provides the basics for Recording in Reaper. There is much more to be learned about the recording process but this will give you a great head start and introduction into the process. If you want to further your knowledge of Reaper or ask questions head over to the Reaper forum. Another great place to keep up on the latest Reaper news is the Reaper blog.