REAPER Digital Audio Workstation 6.0 Adds FX Plug-in Embedding, Improved HiDPI Support


REAPER, a digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software for Windows, macOS and Linux, was updated to version 6.0 recently, getting support for embedding small versions of some plugins into the tracks and mixer panels, new auto-stretch timebase, improved support for Retina / HiDPI displays, and more.

Initially released back in 2005, REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) is developed by Cockos, an American digital audio technology company founded by Justin Frankel of Winamp and Gnutella peer-to-peer network fame.

The music production application had its first native experimental Linux release back in July 2018, and since then it has continued to improve, though it's still considered experimental on Linux.

It's also important to note that REAPER is proprietary software. You can evaluate REAPER for free for 60 days. After the trial ends you can still use it, although a nag screen will show up for a few seconds when the application starts. A license costs $225 for commercial use, or $60 for a discounted license (which includes personal use -- details here).

The music production application features hardware and software MIDI support, with 64-bit internal audio processing. The application has hundreds of studio-quality effects for processing audio and MIDI, as well as built-in tools for creating new effects, and there are also thousands of third-party plugins you can use for effects and virtual instruments, including VST, VST3, AU, DX, and JS. It also supports macros / scripting, custom layouts and skins, and much more.

New in REAPER 6.0:

  • FX Plug-in Embedding: embed some plug-in UIs into your tracks and mixer panels (supported by ReaEQ, ReaFIR, ReaXcomp, graphical JSFX plug-ins, and more)
  • MIDI CC Envelopes: handle MIDI CC data as continuous data envelopes, rather than discrete events; create smooth, musical articulations and effects
  • Auto-stretch Timebase: added new "Beats (auto-stretch at tempo changes)" timebase to automatically stretch and reconform audio around complex tempo changes; easily work with tempo-mapped and live-played recordings together
  • Routing Diagram: view and edit project routing using a high-level graphical patchbay emulation
  • Retina/HiDPI: automatic rendering to HiDPI and Retina displays; the new Default theme supports 100%, 150% and 200% scale factors natively
  • Big Project Improvements: vastly optimized behavior for projects with high (200+) track counts; Metal display support for massively faster screen drawing on newer macOS displays
  • New theme with extensive customizability via Tweaker script
  • Dynamic Split improvements: added preset support, overhauled and improved the algorithm and gate handling
  • Import and render media with embedded transient information
  • Per-track positive or negative playback offset
  • Optimized and greatly improved quality of resampling for conversion between common rates
  • Read the complete changelog

On Linux, REAPER supports the ALSA, JACK, and Pulseaudio audio backends, as well as ALSA (raw) and JACK midi. As for supported plugin formats, these are ReaPlugs (built-in) and Linux VST 2/3. DSSI, LADSPA and LV2 are not yet supported.

In case you want to use Windows VST plugins with REAPER running on Linux, see LinVst.

For more about REAPER on Linux, including information on the user configuration, extensions, using Swell themes, a list of tested plugins, and more, see the REAPER Linux wiki page.

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Download REAPER for Windows, macOS or Linux

On Linux, REAPER is available for i686, x86_64, armv7l (ARM 32-bit, e.g. Raspberry Pi 2+) and aarch64 (ARM 64-bit) architectures. The Linux archive comes with a script that you can use to either install REAPER, or run it from the current folder without installing it (with the configuration being in the same folder, useful to use it as a portable app). The script also has an option to integrate REAPER with your system (so it shows up in the applications menu, etc.).

Extract the REAPER Linux package and run the script in a terminal to see all the available options.

Reaper is not available for Linux users on Flathub or the Snapcraft Store, so using the officially provided binary is the only way to install it. Except on Arch, where you can use the Arch User Repository (AUR) REAPER package (which still uses the official binary).