UPDATE: Please see the new DAW Feature Chart for more up-to-date information and a way cooler chart.
As you may know, I’ve spent a lot of time in Reaper lately.
My time spent in each DAW as a percentage, according to Time Sink has been:
- Reaper - 91%
- Studio One - 3%
- DP - 5%
- Renoise - 2%
There may be a bit of a rounding error there ;) Again… Let’s discuss how things have gone some more though…
I’ve found A LOT of things in Reaper that I like. It’s been an incredibly frustrating experience to get started though.. Overall, the more I figure out about Reaper, the more I like it. It’s really a feature-packed program with a fantastic community.
At this point, I actually see almost nothing about Reaper that would prevent me from using it actively. It does everything that I need, handles the projects I do in an excellent manner, and I’ve found workflows that I never imagined existed. It only took about ~75 hours of frustration and hair pulling to get there. Seriously.
Maybe you think I switch DAWs often, since I do spend a lot of my spare time learning and exploring products, but I have been fairly steadfast. Here’s my progression of primary, and secondary DAWs over the years.
- ~1980s-2017 - Various Trackers. Largely Fast Tracker and Renoise
- ~1995-1998 - N-track - No major work done with this, but it was the first DAW software I owned on my own PC. (as opposed to using at a school or studio)
- ~1997-2007 - SAW->SAWStudio - I love this software. I really do, but it has not kept up with the times.
- ~2002-2005 - Tracktion - I used tracktion for personal projects for a period of time. It is/was a DAW that makes it easy to lay down sound with minimum cognitive overload.
- ~2004-2006 - Podium - As Tracktion became more complex, Podium stepped up and became the “Creative DAW” for me when I wanted to just fool around or make noise with friends. Podium could have been an real contender.
- ~2007-2010 - Pro Tools HD - I refuse to purchase another AVID product, even though I really enjoy using Pro Tools for recording and editing.
- 2008-2010 - Ableton Live - I toured with a band (drums) using Live for backing tracks, click and effects.
- ~2010-??? - Digital Performer - This is basically the best overall product that I have used. Largely because the ability to navigate a project, edit very quickly and manage complex/massive projects is unparalleled. It has its problems, but the overall net experience is a gain for productivity and quality.
- 2009-??? - Studio One - I have used Studio One as a secondary DAW for collaboration and drum editing.
Edit: I left out my non-audio use of a major DAW during that time. While doing sales for a certain companies product, I continued to use SAWStudio :)
So in about 20 years, I’ve used 3 (4 if you count Live being used live) products in a focused/professional capacity. At this point, I feel like I may make another switch unless something major comes down the pipeline for Digital Performer. I am constantly running in to that feeling of, “I know I can get this done faster in another product”, that I started feeling in 2006 with SawStudio. No matter how much I enjoy using the software, the goal is productivity and quality of output.
So anyway here’s the updated DAW Comparison chart after 2 weeks of using Reaper.
My my, how things have changed. 75% of the things that made me improve Reaper’s rating have been added since I first wrote my notes down. 25% of the rating increase is just me torturing myself and learning how Reaper works.
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