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Old 12-22-2010, 05:03 AM   #1
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Default Reapers surround/multichannel capabilities vs ProTools HD

Hello all,

I am currently preparing to write a short essay for a computer composition class at the uni, in which I will be comparing Reaper and ProTools in regards to using them for multichannel/surround projects.

I know Reaper quite well and I am aware that many of its current multichannel limitations are currently being solved in the development of v4. Despite those limitations I think the current version is still extremely flexible and after spending a couple of days with ProTools I think Reaper would be my first choice for this kind of projects.

Any pointers from people that have some more knowledge about ProTools would be highly appreciated. One thing I've noticed in plus for ProTools is the ability to define audio paths with any configurations of output or input channels which makes it easy to assign those configurations to indyvidual tracks. Is there any equivalent of it in Reaper?
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:29 AM   #2
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any thoughts?
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:48 AM   #3
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The sore point for Reaper right now is its automation. This is in fact where Protools HD scores its big points, as its hardware integration is very well done. Even the artist series and MCU units are better at this than anything Reaper can muster right now, just because Reaper lacks even basic professional automation features. It is basically a 70s console with some good envelope editing.

If you're feeding a film mixing console that doesn't matter, but if it's all in the box, you'll have lots of advantages as a mixer working with an Icon and Protools HD/Native/9+CPTK.

When it comes to multichannel routing, Reaper has only just gained the ability for sends of any channel count in the v4 alphas, which run more stable than Protools usually does. You can emulate anything Protools can do routing-wise, if you make up tracks for busses. Any scenario you can come up with can be configured in Reaper this way, right down to tracks feeding hardware outputs, and it's all latency compensated perfectly(hardware inserts maybe not 100%).

The v4 alphas come close to what Protools can do with paths, though you need to construct tracks to emulate this. The routing matrix, which could be more user-friendly, is the main hub, not the MCP. Protools has no routing matrix, but its larger slot-based send and simple I/O section do a good job nonetheless. If the routing matrix was a lot better, we'd get a quicker overview and construct more complex routings much easier.
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Last edited by airon; 12-24-2010 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 12-24-2010, 04:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by airon View Post
The sore point for Reaper right now is its automation. This is in fact where Protools HD scores its big points, as its hardware integration is very well done.
As the original poster mentioned musical composition...I have to point out the lack of a very advanced solution, "suitable for extremely tight deadlines", for hardware controlled automation may not matter very much. Serious musical compositions may be worked on for months and there can be plenty of time to automate everything by simply editing automation envelopes directly with the mouse, instead of trying to "ride the automation" in. Of course some composers might on the other hand prefer the on-the-fly recording of automation, for which Reaper may or may not turn out to be comfortable to use.

More broadly about surround spesific stuff...As far as I was able to experiment with it, Reaper 3 wasn't really that nice for doing any surround work, as there wasn't much anything built-in to support that. One needed to use a 3rd party solution (which may more or less suck, like the Waves surround stuff) for surround panning. Reaper 4 seems to be in a different game now that the ReaSurround plugin comes with it. However, as Airon mentioned, surround may require quite complex routings, which Reaper usually allows to set up, but those are not always very quick and easy to build up from scratch in Reaper.
For info on SWS Reaper extension plugin (including Xenakios' previous extension/actions) :
Xenakios blog (about HourGlass, Paul(X)Stretch and λ) :

Last edited by Xenakios; 12-24-2010 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 12-26-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the answers. As Xenakios mentioned I do not really need advanced features for hardware controlled automation, and for editing by hand Reaper does the best job from all the DAWs I've used. In terms of surround panning/spatialization I do it max/msp using ambisonic equivalent panning or vimic. Actually most of my source material is generated in max and recorded into Reaper as 8 channel tracks. As far as I know in v3 it is only possible by recording output of a track which receives audio from multiple mono or stereo tracks. Things got much better in v4 though.

I am currently trying to figure out how apply effects to all channels on a multichannel track. I mean, I know how to stick multiple copies of the same effect in a fx chain and route the channels through them but I'd like them to have their parameters linked. I know I can link parameters through parameter modulation but doing it for every parameter of every effect seems a bit tedious. I recall that in protools it is possible to link two identical effects inserted on different tracks. How is it with effect plugins on multichannel tracks in protools by the way? Thanks again for all help!
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