How's Reaper's MIDI?

Plug-in hosts and other software applications discussion
trtzbass
KVRist
139 posts since 5 Dec, 2014 from London

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:09 am

Hey all.
I'm again trying to come to grips with Reaper - some things of it I like and some things I struggle with. I'm mainly a Studio one guy BTW.

What's your experience of the MIDI implementation in Reaper?
I'm mainly concerned about the precision of the recording, as very often I'm working with classical and jazz pianists who are very specific about their timing and I wouldn't want to make excuses for my tools in case there is inconsistency in the recording.

On a side note - do you enjoy working in it? Doing stuff like orchestral stuff, writing to picture, doing nuanced stuff. It looks so bare bones. And, yes I know it's part of the program's aesthetic and you can skin it, etc.

I just don't want to get caught in a month's work to customise it and then find out it doesn't perform well in the areas I work in.

Thanks for your help.
He tried to play bass.
www.jordanbrown.co.uk

fairlyclose
KVRian
577 posts since 4 Jul, 2019

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:21 am

worked only with Reaper since v.0.43 (basically whenever it started) until recently I gave up on how terrible it is with VSTi's and switched to S1 and Bitwig - Have not played that much with S1 so might end up selling it down the track as it does overlap with Reaper to some extent, but Bitwig is a huge improvement on Reaper for midi based composition as is S1 by first impressions - althugh lack of a good template system will probably have me selling it if that is not improved in the next major update
Still like Reaper for audio tho - no complaints there, it is excellent.
relevant midi stuff I have done in Reaper - it is not as if you cant work in Reaper, just I got sick of battling with its unreliability and general clunkiness (for midi). It really is a bunch of funtions thrown together as the mood took the devs
https://greghooper2.bandcamp.com/track/ ... -paisaje-2

https://greghooper2.bandcamp.com/track/ ... he-evening

trtzbass
KVRist
139 posts since 5 Dec, 2014 from London

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:32 am

fairlyclose wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:21 am
worked only with Reaper since v.0.43 (basically whenever it started) until recently I gave up on how terrible it is with VSTi's and switched to S1 and Bitwig - Have not played that much with S1 so might end up selling it down the track as it does overlap with Reaper to some extent, but Bitwig is a huge improvement on Reaper for midi based composition as is S1 by first impressions - althugh lack of a good template system will probably have me selling it if that is not improved in the next major update
Still like Reaper for audio tho - no complaints there, it is excellent.
relevant midi stuff I have done in Reaper - it is not as if you cant work in Reaper, just I got sick of battling with its unreliability and general clunkiness (for midi). It really is a bunch of funtions thrown together as the mood took the devs
https://greghooper2.bandcamp.com/track/ ... -paisaje-2

https://greghooper2.bandcamp.com/track/ ... he-evening
Wow! These are wonderful compositions, really loving the modern vibe.

Thanks for your insight. That was my first impression too, but I know the program needs some care to establish some kind of workflow.
And I agree, the audio side of it is really amazing
He tried to play bass.
www.jordanbrown.co.uk

fairlyclose
KVRian
577 posts since 4 Jul, 2019

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:36 am

trtzbass wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:32 am


Wow! These are wonderful compositions, really loving the modern vibe.

Thanks for your insight. That was my first impression too, but I know the program needs some care to establish some kind of workflow.
And I agree, the audio side of it is really amazing

thanks for the compliment on the compositions
The problem with Reaper is not so much setting up the workflow but that after a while stuff just seems to break down and performance degrades. Or things are docked that were never docked before, or windows are now opening in different places etc etc. Again, not so bad for the audio so I think it is worth getting for that. But I found I was constantly having to "take care" of Reaper - it was never just set it up and never tweak it again. There was always lots of tweaking needed.

trtzbass
KVRist
139 posts since 5 Dec, 2014 from London

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:51 am

uuuh yes I see how that can be really annoying.
Thanks for your opinion, much appreciated
fairlyclose wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:36 am
trtzbass wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:32 am


Wow! These are wonderful compositions, really loving the modern vibe.

Thanks for your insight. That was my first impression too, but I know the program needs some care to establish some kind of workflow.
And I agree, the audio side of it is really amazing

thanks for the compliment on the compositions
The problem with Reaper is not so much setting up the workflow but that after a while stuff just seems to break down and performance degrades. Or things are docked that were never docked before, or windows are now opening in different places etc etc. Again, not so bad for the audio so I think it is worth getting for that. But I found I was constantly having to "take care" of Reaper - it was never just set it up and never tweak it again. There was always lots of tweaking needed.
He tried to play bass.
www.jordanbrown.co.uk

User avatar
AsPeeXXXVIII
KVRian
545 posts since 17 Aug, 2015 from Finland

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 1:53 am

I find that REAPER's MIDI implementation is adequate for my needs, but I can see why it wouldn't be some people's cup of tea.
"Creativity is a lot like sex. When it's spontaneous, it's good, but forcing it makes it bad."
My metal music | My electronic music

trtzbass
KVRist
139 posts since 5 Dec, 2014 from London

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 2:04 am

AsPeeXXXVIII wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:53 am
I find that REAPER's MIDI implementation is adequate for my needs, but I can see why it wouldn't be some people's cup of tea.
That's fair enough!
He tried to play bass.
www.jordanbrown.co.uk

User avatar
digitalboytn
KVRAF
1770 posts since 8 Dec, 2008 from Global Cowboy

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 2:20 am

Working with MIDI in Reaper 6 is fine in my world...

It does everything I need it to do and I'm logging many hours a day using Reaper in my "day job"...

I have a Studio One 4 Pro license,but that's not installed and Cakewalk (which I used since Pro Audio 9) is only used for opening older projects and converting them to Reaper....

Every DAW has it's idiosyncrasies and once you get your head around the way Reaper operates and get a good theme and a customised workflow happening, there is no DAW on the planet that can beat it in terms of efficiency and CPU load :tu:
Sorry - I don't use auto-tune....

NERF_PROTOSS
KVRer
24 posts since 14 Jan, 2020

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 2:48 am

it looks bare bones on default. it's not. the main issue with REAPER, always, is time spent tweaking or adapting it to your needs.

the inclusion of an events filter makes it more powerful for anyone who needs to do actual complex editing than pretty much everything other than Cubase. I know S1 is starting to catch up in this regard. demoing DP10 is still on my to-do list, but it looks great.

it handles ghost notes and multitrack editing better than anything else (in my opinion. I don't like that ghost notes in cubase are *always* editable via the mouse)

I have serious dealbreaker niggles with MIDI in basically every other DAW and could spent a while listing them, but REAPER's warts don't bother me as much. whether or not that'd be true for you I have no idea, and yeah it's likely true that you'd have to commit some serious time to finding out.

the thing is, if you're happy with what S1 lets you do now, why change things?

DS_Joost
KVRer
6 posts since 4 Feb, 2019

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 3:35 am

Depending on how you tweak it it can be either worst or absolute best in business.

trtzbass
KVRist
139 posts since 5 Dec, 2014 from London

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 3:59 am

Mainly because I'm curious.
I started putting together some simple actions to work on audio material and I'm digging it.

NERF_PROTOSS wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 2:48 am
the thing is, if you're happy with what S1 lets you do now, why change things?
He tried to play bass.
www.jordanbrown.co.uk

trtzbass
KVRist
139 posts since 5 Dec, 2014 from London

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 4:01 am

Sorry guys, let me be more specific:

My main question is: "how stable and precise is Reaper's MIDI timing". Some of the people I work with are the kind of musicians who play irregular groups of 11 against 5.
If the timing of the take is not what they played in, there WILL be consequences.
He tried to play bass.
www.jordanbrown.co.uk

User avatar
NAD
KVRian
1247 posts since 28 Jan, 2004

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 4:32 am

I use Reaper extensively for midi editing. It's as good if not better than any other DAW that I've had experience with (those are: Live, Cubase, and Reason, mostly). I should mention that I have spent some time setting up keyboard shortcuts and menus and whatnot to my liking so I don't really think about that very often unless I discover some new feature that I want to make more accessible or if I decide to experiment with my work flow. Other than that it's pretty much set up so I can always get straight to work with minimal friction whenever inspiration strikes.

I find that often when people are unsatisfied with Reaper's midi editing, what they are missing can usually be done but you have to be aware of the Actions window and how to assign actions to menus, shortcuts, toolbars, mouse modifiers etc. I realize that can be quite confusing or counter intuitive for new users who may not be aware that there are so many functions in Reaper that can only be accessed in that way.

Another thing people complain about is that Reaper can't perform a very particular function that someone might be used to from another DAW but not realizing that it's only that one particular DAW that has that unique function so it's not like a standard thing to expect in any DAW.

FWIW I haven't had the problems that @fairlyclose mentioned regarding windows and docking.

Regarding the accuracy of midi timing, I'm not aware of such a problem in any DAW and I would be surprised if Reaper performed any differently in that regard, though it's not really something that I've ever looked into. I would imagine that would have more to do do with things like your interface drivers or the midi hardware.

With all that being said, I definitely recognize that Reaper is not for everyone. If you like to have a lot of preferences and settings to tweak and configure then you will probably like it, and I certainly fall into that category. If you like things to just work straight out of the box then it's probably not for you. At the risk of being a bit controversial, I think it's kind of like the whole PC vs Mac mindset....
Image

Danilo Villanova
KVRist
340 posts since 30 Apr, 2018

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 9:13 am

Docking issues may happen when using screensets. For example, if you dock the media explorer on the left, as I do, and you use screensets for recording, editing, mixing, etc., if the media explorer is undocked when you created the screenset, once you press the key shortcut to switch to it and then you open the media explorer, it will be undocked. So you gotta make sure to save all the screensets you use with the windows in the docked/undocked positions you want them to be (even if they are hidden). Takes a few minutes but it's set and forget after that.

Regarding windows not opening up at the same position you left them, close them using Ctrl+click/Cmd+click and they will open in the same position later.

trtzbass
KVRist
139 posts since 5 Dec, 2014 from London

Re: How's Reaper's MIDI?

Post Sat May 23, 2020 11:14 am

NAD wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 4:32 am
Regarding the accuracy of midi timing, I'm not aware of such a problem in any DAW and I would be surprised if Reaper performed any differently in that regard, though it's not really something that I've ever looked into. I would imagine that would have more to do do with things like your interface drivers or the midi hardware.

With all that being said, I definitely recognize that Reaper is not for everyone. If you like to have a lot of preferences and settings to tweak and configure then you will probably like it, and I certainly fall into that category. If you like things to just work straight out of the box then it's probably not for you. At the risk of being a bit controversial, I think it's kind of like the whole PC vs Mac mindset....
Thanks for the long and thoughtful answer.
RE: those two points you made in your post:

You'd be surprised how some platforms have little timing inconsistencies that happen randomly and and are caused by how the software decides to read the timestamp of the note. I've had that in Cubase, of all the DAWs. I'd listen back to what I played and think "Well my timing sucks but not this much!". Some notes were way ahead of the beat, A quick research and activating the option "Use System Timestamp" solved the issue but all that showed me that, yes, even the most advanced DAWs have that kind of issue. Hence my question here.

Also:
I really like the tweaking aspect of Reaper. I actually like it too much to the point that it becomes an incredible excuse to procrastinate. Every time I open the thing I find myself spending too much time tinkering instead of making music, so there is that.
He tried to play bass.
www.jordanbrown.co.uk

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