Old 11-16-2011, 06:09 AM   #1
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Default c't daw test results

The leading german computer magazine c't reviewed serveal daws among them Reaper 4.

Short summary:

Reaper was mentioned as the only "real" feature complete daw compared to the other programs (Sequel, etc.) and it was mentioned that the pricing is a real bargain.

BUT

At the end they came to the conclusion that Reaper - despite the fact that it is the most feature complete and professional offering in the test field - could frustrate new users with it's multi window cluttered UI that could prevent them from getting good results.

Although I am also a feature addict (where is Rewire64 by the way ;-)) maybe some developent time should be invested in "cleaning up" the menues or reduce the number of windows, e.g. by making all relevant windows dockable. Otherwise Reaper always be refered to as daw for geeks - or for people that have not enough money to buy a real daw. We all know that this is not the case.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:29 AM   #2
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e.g. by making all relevant windows dockable.
You can already do that, most relevant windows are now dockable in Reaper 4.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:05 AM   #3
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You can already do that, most relevant windows are now dockable in Reaper 4.
I'd like to be able to dock Landoleet to the mixer

-Rich
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:19 AM   #4
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I would like to be able tab the tcp and the mcp in a single docker, so that I can have the major screen real estate taken up by one or the other depending on whether I'm editing or mixing, without having to move anything around. Like you can already do in Audition 3 (which sucks as a DAW, but good user interface).
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:09 AM   #5
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I would like to be able tab the tcp and the mcp in a single docker, so that I can have the major screen real estate taken up by one or the other depending on whether I'm editing or mixing, without having to move anything around. Like you can already do in Audition 3 (which sucks as a DAW, but good user interface).
this sounds like something easily done with screensets, though i may well have not understood.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:12 AM   #6
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I'd like to be able to dock Lord Landoleet to the mixer

-Rich
am i the only one who pronounces Landoleet in french in my mind? It sounds like some medieval duke.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:22 AM   #7
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this sounds like something easily done with screensets, though i may well have not understood.
Yep, this can be approximated with screensets.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:24 AM   #8
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Although I am also a feature addict (where is Rewire64 by the way ;-)) maybe some developent time should be invested in "cleaning up" the menues or reduce the number of windows, e.g. by making all relevant windows dockable. Otherwise Reaper always be refered to as daw for geeks - or for people that have not enough money to buy a real daw. We all know that this is not the case.
Thanks, typewriter - I was about to make a similar post!

It should be added that the test was looking for the ideal beginners DAW.

However, I fully agree that the UI needs some cleaning up. Plus, six million preference settings do not a proper concept make.

But I would still classify Reaper as a "real daw".

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Old 11-16-2011, 08:57 AM   #9
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They probably added REAPER for its price to that comparison, suggesting that this could be considered an alternative to the otherwise entry-level software they presented, for more ambitioned newcomers. That it has a steeper learning curve (like any other "full" DAW package would have) is self-evident for us but maybe not for the reader shopping for an affordable and not too complicated software for the weekends, and they might appreciate the hint about the higher demands of REAPER. In other words, having subjectively more potential to frustrate newcomers is a property of any complex DAW and how REAPER compares in that field with other DAWs in its own league was not subject of the test and also remains a matter of preferences.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:55 PM   #10
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Maybe an "Easy-Mode", where just a reduced set of menus is available, could be an option.
The Easy-Mode would be the Out-Of-The-Box-Mode, with most commonly used elements in the dockers and menus,
at positions where most people expect to find them.
Anything else that could confuse is hidden.

Later, when you got more experienced, you may switch to the "Extended-Mode".
There you have access to the entire menu set, advanced options, customize stuff, and so on...
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:12 PM   #11
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I love the fact that the guys over on the Avid forum are complaining about 64 bit, offline bounce, track freeze, software monitoring, paying $1k for an update etc whilst the guys here are more concerned with tiny little tweaks to the interface. Ahh Reaper where have u been all my life.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by typewriter View Post

At the end they came to the conclusion that Reaper - despite the fact that it is the most feature complete and professional offering in the test field - could frustrate new users with it's multi window cluttered UI that could prevent them from getting good results.
Yes I've seen this before and never quite understood the argument.

The more powerful, feature rich and capable any software is, the more easily a new user can be confused or frustrated if they try to do everything at once.

The best answer in my view is for people to understand that patience is a virtue and Rome wasn't built in a day. Take it step by step, on a need to know basis and be methodical.
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #13
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Yes I've seen this before and never quite understood the argument.

The more powerful, feature rich and capable any software is, the more easily a new user can be confused or frustrated if they try to do everything at once.

The best answer in my view is for people to understand that patience is a virtue and Rome wasn't built in a day. Take it step by step, on a need to know basis and be methodical.
I agree completely. At some point software has to choose between powerful/feature-rich/capable and new-user-friendly/pretty/simple. It is at that point these virtues stop being twin goals and start being points at the opposite ends of a continuum.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:34 PM   #14
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I agree completely. At some point software has to choose between powerful/feature-rich/capable and new-user-friendly/pretty/simple...
One does not necessarily exclude the other.
Software can be quite powerful and at the same time new-user-friendly.
Maybe you'll never dive into Reaper, if you've read this article.
Between the lines it suggests: Pay a little bit more and get a slimmed Cubase or Logic instead.
As long as magazines report about Reaper in this way, there is room for improvements, in my opinion.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:48 PM   #15
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Take it step by step, on a need to know basis and be methodical.
This is "THE" answer, for complete and total success with Reaper!
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:00 PM   #16
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-some of us are so ADD methodical is useless (ok, don't scratch your head.....I'm talking about me!)

-It doesn't matter though as I get along quite nicely anyways. Can't lie though, it took kenny's vids to help me the most.

-Windows? You mean as opposed to cubase??? LOL!

-I'm confused about docking. Mr Dragon said something to effect of version 4 having docking but 3 had it too. Am I just not understanding something about 4? (I am pretty new to it)
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:48 PM   #17
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-I'm confused about docking. Mr Dragon said something to effect of version 4 having docking but 3 had it too. Am I just not understanding something about 4? (I am pretty new to it)
Before Reaper 4 you has only one docker. Now you have multiple dockers which you can place where you like.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:53 PM   #18
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Before Reaper 4 you has only one docker. Now you have multiple dockers which you can place where you like.
Cool!
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:04 PM   #19
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One does not necessarily exclude the other.
Software can be quite powerful and at the same time new-user-friendly.
Maybe you'll never dive into Reaper, if you've read this article.
Between the lines it suggests: Pay a little bit more and get a slimmed Cubase or Logic instead.
As long as magazines report about Reaper in this way, there is room for improvements, in my opinion.
..and it's a valid opinion. I'm not saying one necessarily excludes the other in every case. What I will say is I bet if Reaper cost $1500 USD/1000 EUR it would get very different reviews than it does.
The feature set alone sets it apart from other DAWs in the price range as they acknowledge in the article. It is also the price range that categorizes it as a "low cost alternative". To my thinking that is a mis-categorization.
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:31 AM   #20
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Lots of usability improvements could be implemented in Reaper without losing any features or flexibility.
For example here is a quick list of thing related to "multi window cluttered UI"
  • There are several keyboard focus problems when different windows are used inside Reaper.
  • Dockability alone does not solve everything. Window layouts should be optimized to make them fit better to left/right or top/down dockers. For example item properties window is too wide for left or right side docking.
  • User can loose track of which docked window is currently focused. For example if Fx browser and FX chain windows are docked.
  • Adding FX and modifying FX chains clutters the main view. There are too many and too large windows which take up too much screen real estate. The whole song arrangement can be easily buried under FX browser, plugin chain and plugin windows.
  • Can't see plugin chains in TCP. User has to open a new window or use FX button's right click menu to check plugins.
  • Even the simplest included plugins, like ReaEQ, uses a relatively large plugin GUI window. It could be useful if some basic effects could be used with a small GUI. Then user could have a basic chain of plugins, like a channel strip, open at the same time for example in a bottom docker without covering the whole screen. Or those basic plugins could be integrated to the MCP.
  • MIDI controls missing from TCP. User has to open a separate relatively large window to control basic MIDI settings like channel and patch.
  • In midi editor the track/item list (currently inside filter window) should be (optionally and by default) attached/docked to the main ME window.
  • Can't change instrument or patch inside MIDI editor. User has to jump between different windows or screensets.
  • No comprehensive toolbars. Nice set of toolbar icons is included but user has to link those icons to actions and arrange them to toolbars by themselves. Not an easy task for a beginner and not a pleasant task for advanced users.
  • It should be possible to integrate the "Nudge/set items" window to tranport bar or arrange or MIDI editor. Currently it is quite difficult to use because it is available only in a separate floating window. And in my opinion making this window dockable is not a solution to the problem. It is so small that docking it would only waste screen real estate. Those small controls could be easily fitted for example into transport bar.
  • User should be able to change visibility of Transport bar controls and change layouts. At least a couple of alternative layouts could be useful like tiny, normal, and detailed (with all controls visible).

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Old 11-17-2011, 03:43 AM   #21
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Before Reaper 4 you has only one docker. Now you have multiple dockers which you can place where you like.
Yes but only on one screen. As far as I know it is not possible to dock stuff e.g. in a mexer window on a second screen.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:01 AM   #22
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Between the lines it suggests: Pay a little bit more and get a slimmed Cubase or Logic instead.
As long as magazines report about Reaper in this way, there is room for improvements, in my opinion.
I don't read this between the lines. The last sentence about Reaper is: "Besser ist es da, mit einem einfacher zu bedienenden Programm zu starten und später zu wechseln". (translated something like: It's better to start with a program that is simpler to use and to switch at a later date). Beside that i think that this isn't a good advice, i read this as "switch to Reaper" and not as switch to another DAW.

And in generally i think the c't is really a great and important magazine, but it's best to ignore their audio-software related tests.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:08 AM   #23
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Yes but only on one screen. As far as I know it is not possible to dock stuff e.g. in a mexer window on a second screen.
That's not true, i work exactly in that way (with a Docker that contains the Mixer/fx-chains/Add FX&Routing Dialog on a second screen above my Mackie Control). The only "problem" i run into is, that Reaper forgot the screen position of this Docker when i close and open Reaper again, so i must manually move it to the correct position once per session.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:17 AM   #24
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Yes but only on one screen. As far as I know it is not possible to dock stuff e.g. in a mexer window on a second screen.
You most certainly can. I do it all the time!
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:37 AM   #25
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They probably added REAPER for its price to that comparison, suggesting that this could be considered an alternative to the otherwise entry-level software they presented, for more ambitioned newcomers. That it has a steeper learning curve (like any other "full" DAW package would have) is self-evident for us but maybe not for the reader shopping for an affordable and not too complicated software for the weekends, and they might appreciate the hint about the higher demands of REAPER. In other words, having subjectively more potential to frustrate newcomers is a property of any complex DAW and how REAPER compares in that field with other DAWs in its own league was not subject of the test and also remains a matter of preferences.
Exactly, The price of Reaper put Reaper into a class of apps being reviewed here, that it does not belong in.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:22 AM   #26
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I agree completely. At some point software has to choose between powerful/feature-rich/capable and new-user-friendly/pretty/simple. It is at that point these virtues stop being twin goals and start being points at the opposite ends of a continuum.
Just out of idle interest...

Imagine a DAW that had a gui (perhaps switchable) that looked just like hardware, in the way vst processors so often are...

Fill the screen with the top down view of a hardware sequencer and/or tracker...

I've used all the hardware units I've owned without reading the manuals, accept as a last resort...

In the case of Reaper, imagine a button somewhere middle top; you press it and the entire gui turns into a floating hardware sequencer/recorder with just the most needed choices showing (until you need more, at which point you select to open function specific windows)...

Just looked at the Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_sequencer some of those dates make me feel really old!
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:39 AM   #27
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I am 100% OK with Reaper being a "DAW for geeks". That the reason I jumped ship from Sonar. IMO Reaper's greatest advantage is for power users who are fed up with the limitations their current DAW.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:21 AM   #28
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Just out of idle interest...

Imagine a DAW that had a gui (perhaps switchable) that looked just like hardware, in the way vst processors so often are...

Fill the screen with the top down view of a hardware sequencer and/or tracker...

I've used all the hardware units I've owned without reading the manuals, accept as a last resort...

In the case of Reaper, imagine a button somewhere middle top; you press it and the entire gui turns into a floating hardware sequencer/recorder with just the most needed choices showing (until you need more, at which point you select to open function specific windows)...

Just looked at the Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_sequencer some of those dates make me feel really old!
I'll meet you on the Holodeck for the demo.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:56 AM   #29
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They probably added REAPER for its price to that comparison, suggesting that this could be considered an alternative to the otherwise entry-level software they presented, for more ambitioned newcomers. That it has a steeper learning curve (like any other "full" DAW package would have) is self-evident for us but maybe not for the reader shopping for an affordable and not too complicated software for the weekends, and they might appreciate the hint about the higher demands of REAPER. In other words, having subjectively more potential to frustrate newcomers is a property of any complex DAW and how REAPER compares in that field with other DAWs in its own league was not subject of the test and also remains a matter of preferences.
I find this comment a bit defensive. Looks like you have just dismissed the fact that OP and german computer magazine reviewers have found Reaper not so suitable for new users because of it's
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multi window cluttered UI
"Multi window cluttered UI" is definitely not something that every "full" DAW has. For example Logic Pro, Pro Tools and Ableton Live have much cleaner UI design. I can see that many users find Reaper's UI cluttered and not very organized. It kind of lacks the UI design part that many other full DAWs have.

If you don't agree, then please explain in more detail what kind of functions and features in Reaper cannot be implemented without "Multi window cluttered UI".

I agree that all "full" DAWs have a steeper learning curve than the entry level DAWs. But that was probably not the point of the OP. I think it was about the unnecessary clutter.

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Old 11-17-2011, 03:26 PM   #30
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...It is also the price range that categorizes it as a "low cost alternative". To my thinking that is a mis-categorization.
That was exactly the reason why I switched to Reaper.
I was looking for an inexpensive alternative to my historical "Cubase VST 5" and its blue parallel-port dongle.
As I know now - but I did not know from the beginning - Reaper is very much more than that.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:57 PM   #31
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I don't read this between the lines. The last sentence about Reaper is: "Besser ist es da, mit einem einfacher zu bedienenden Programm zu starten und später zu wechseln". (translated something like: It's better to start with a program that is simpler to use and to switch at a later date). Beside that i think that this isn't a good advice, i read this as "switch to Reaper" and not as switch to another DAW...
Ok, maybe it was a little bit overstated.
There was criticism at each daw, but you could feel which software they give preference to.
It would have been nice if they could write:
"Both recommended for beginners and advanced users. No need to upgrade to any major version."
... or something like that.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:40 PM   #32
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The 'user experience' of the Reaper interface is ...not so great. Yet. I genuinely think that's fair comment, from anyone. I say this as someone who is passionate about user experience design and the benefits it can bring, as someone who has been doing it professionally and successfully for many years, and as someone doing his best to bring the best of user experience design, as both an art and a science, to Reaper. It would be easy, at first glance, to say that I have failed and could be expected to be thoroughly miserable about the whole affair.

But no. Not a bit of it.

How come?

Because I have the experience of working the other way, and I have colleagues who do it the other way all the time: projects where the design leads the show. If there is user feedback it is routed directly to design, and anything new or altered is carefully knitted into the fabric of the whole, so consistent UX paradigms are maintained, a best practice overview is followed, and the latest developments in interface theory are integrated into a slick and satisfying whole. Then, the whole lot gets thrown into the pit where the poor code monkeys are told to 'make it so' as fast as possible. Its a designer's heaven and the end product is desperately appealing, at every iteration, year after year. Meanwhile, the code might be turning into a horror show, but ...meh. It looks good and it works ...well ... it works most of the time. We'll get to those bugs eventually

On the other side of the fence, Reaper is stuffed full of awesome, and that awesome is all in the places that really matter for an audio application: stability. dependability. the tiny footprint. agile development. The interface is always a few steps behind, but its also always catching up. We have a long way to go yet, but so much less than it was only a short while ago. Customization is the means by which this happens, because it frees the programmers from the legwork, maintaining agility, and because it doesn't just empower me to do better, but all the other third parties too. Why should one of the superstar programmers of our generation spend hours enacting size and location data from my design? Pfft, gimme WALTER and I'll do it myself. The Reaper way. Its a bitter pill for me to swallow that we're not capable of interface nirvana yet, 'skinning' is maybe 10% of good design, but I do it gladly because I know, in my heart of hearts, the awesome is in the right place. The user must make a similar leap; this is not a slick interface covering a rats nest of hodge-podge code, its genuinely slick code with a good interface that's getting better, and absolutely will get there. I know everyone wants the best of both worlds, but that is the real world choice. Decide!

For me? The code is king. Long live the code!

The other element in play here is the question of what the users, as a whole, are asking for. Obviously, it would be great if all existing Feature Requests could be implemented NOW. But because that's not possible, priorities have to be set. And statistically its likely that the FRs that are most important to you aren't all being worked on, and of course you think your FRs are more important than everyone else's. Naturally! The problem is that we all think like that too If we could all agree to make only interface / interaction / workflow / slickness FRs, than that would be super, I'm right there with you. Hurrah for us. But that's not going to happen, is it? Experienced users can become accustomed to the user interface, and have all their customizations rocking, and now they want NEW FEATURES. Slick little treats of interface finesse aren't going to help them groove quantize this moronic bass player to the drums. So there's a conflict there that we just need to navigate our way through as best we can.

TL/DR : s'all good
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:07 PM   #33
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^^^^^^ Amen Sir White Tie (aka Viking team leader)
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:06 PM   #34
makai
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oberhausen / Germany
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The way others perceive Reaper and report about it, bothers me a little bit. Because I am a Reaper fan.
But if someone is not...

Suppose that someone is looking for a suitable daw, just to do little things, without any daw experience -
He will compare products and read reviews, totally emotionless and in a matter-of-fact kind.
He does not notice the devs outstanding work, nor a great, active community.
But he will read, that getting started with Reaper could be somewhat difficult for inexperienced users.

Isn't there a way to help, using already existing features?
With all the great WALTER stuff, custom menus, multiple dockers, actions...?
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