Reaper 4.0 has hit prerelease, the latest version of this $40+, lightweight (measured in a handful of megs) DAW for Windows or Mac. The banner feature is called WALTER, “Window Arrangement Logic Template Engine for REAPER.” The idea: you should have your music production screen look the way you want, with elements moved to whatever you like.

Jeffrey James points us to this release and explains that the feature allows you to “design the DAW the way you want it.” For instance, normally Reaper displays meters horizontally. Add a snippet of code telling it that’s not what you want — “set tcp.meter [290 28 12 51 1 0 1 1]” — and you get vertical meters, as seen below. If the idea of hacking your UI sounds unappealing to you, I expect there will be legions of Reaper users posting snippets so you can easily find what you want.

Customization will work per track, globally, in themes, and adjusts appearance, position, size, alignment – the works. You might simply download a theme you like, or hack a particular feature that’s bothering you. For anyone who has said about music software “great, but I wish xx looked like –,” this is the release for you. (I shudder to think how many feature requests for music software looks like that.)

Full explanation and discussion on the Reaper forums

Walter, the SDK has greater technical detail – really cool stuff

WALTER is just one among many small improvements in Reaper 4:

  • Takes are improved, and it’s now easy to turn takes into comps
  • A “Project Media / FX Bay” consolidates the elements you use in a project
  • New tools for time selection, area selection and editing, and mouse modifiers should make editing quicker
  • A 3D surround panner, combined with multichannel input, output, and monitoring improvements, makes going beyond stereo more flexible, while…
  • …if you do choose stereo, you get new panning and stereo width
  • Input FX chains per channel combine audio and MIDI processing into a single bundle of effects
  • with options for processing and monitoring

— among many other improvements.

The Reaper developers have a pretty transparent approach: each major feature has a message board associated with it on their forum so existing users can discuss and ask questions:

v4: Prerelease overview

Note that this is pre-release software and not a public beta test – simply a view of what may be in store for a future release. (In the meantime, there’s plenty to keep you busy with the current Reaper version, which is what I’ll be using.)

Or check out the full changelog:
v4: Everything else

Let us know what you find in the new release, Reaper users. (Also, selfishly, I’m curious about running Reaper in WINE on Linux, if anyone else is doing that.)

  • catfish

    I believe Justin himself runs REAPER in WINE…

    I'm pretty excited by WALTER – I think after years and years messing around with DAWs, most people get to the stage where they basically want to design their own (in terms of the UI, anyway). Just got to get my head round it!

  • Dan

    The first rule of reaper prerelease club is don't talk about reaper prereleases. The actual reaper 4 release is probably months away and all this stuff is likely to change a lot. 

    Also the last thing the prerelease forums need is lots of new users freaking out at the devs that a feature they want that's on the roadmap hasn't been implemented yet. Just saying…

  • Peter Kirn

    @Dan: it's relevant to people to know how Reaper is developed, that it is transparent and out in the open. Message threads I see there have been largely positive. Anyway, this is publicly-shared information; I don't see myself as part of the Reaper "club" so not sure I can be faulted for sharing this.

  • Witte

    That's a pretty, pretty UI.  I tried out the demo of Reaper a while back just because I couldn't believe something that useful could be so inexpensive.  I liked it a lot, and I've been extremely impressed by everything I've heard while following the DAW's development.  If I weren't such a fawning Ableton fanboy already or if I were starting over again from scratch with no ties or preconceptions I would definitely make Reaper the DAW I sink my time into learning.

  • in times of olde (read: v3), reaper was pretty hush hush about beta releases. the download area was password protected and they had a lot of people not adhering to the guidelines. I think this is where Dan's concerns are coming from. I say, as long as people interested in the v4 beta read the release overview abide by the rules posted in the download area then there shouldn't be a problem: 

    I'm not going to say where these rules are posted (because that is one of the rules), but please follow them if/when you find them:


    a lot of people forget number 4. this means ANYTHING v4 related. if you even ask a general reaper question and use a screenshot that happens to be of version 4 – you should still put it in the prerelease section of the forum. 

  • p.s. As schwa says in the prerelease overview: 
    " Anyone who is interested…" he doesn't say "anyone who stumbles upon this section of the forum randomly and didn't get told that v4 was in its beta stage from any outside source, like a blog." 

    i'm just sayin…

  • Peter Kirn

    Well, I didn't link to that site. Yeah, I think "prerelease" and the info is self-explanatory — and that it wouldn't mention "like a blog" on the top if they didn't anticipate that happening.

    I'm not under an NDA with Reaper. 😉

  • Dan

    Ah, my main concern is that it really is months away from a release, the GUI changes posted have been clearly marked as in flux and unfinished, and the forums are already getting really noisy – which makes it harder to actually help out reporting bugs etc, which is really what the alpha process is about. 

    I personally think it's going to be a great upgrade but probably not ready til like February. 

  • @Dan, the more people contributing the better. the forums have been amazing thus far in my opinion. I think especially new users are helpful because they push me to understand the new features really well so I can help them better. Walter is really simple once you get a handle on it. I asked a few questions and had my vertical meters in like an hour. then I got 2 PMs about how to get vertical meters, ha! but I didn't mind. it's a pretty cool feature and it's fun sharing tricks. I'll probably make a highly customized layout tonight and share the rtconfig.txt with folks later. 

    Sure there's might a lot of traffic, but that's a good thing. it generates a lot of excitement to think "wow this is just an alpha pre-release!? holy crap!!!" And it makes the reaper forums a bit more cheery. In slow seasons we get a lot of grouchers! 

  • Peter Kirn

    Only awesome people read CDM. We never have any trolls, ever. Ever.

  • griotspeak


  • Kim

    I really hope there is more video improvements right around the corner. Ps the capture code edit box on this page is behind the code itself in firefox 3.6.9. Peter that should get fixed.

  • shim

    the new site blows. just sayin' is all.

  • shim

    and if reaper is half as solid as they claim (for mac) i will swiftly abandon live and maybe logic (ok just live) post haste.

  • i wanna make beats and record

  • FreakWithoutACause

    Look forward to the new customizable GUI. And I look forward to seeing how they can make an already flexable routing flow even more flexable. (I can hear the conversations now. "You got your MIDI in my audio." "Well, you got my audio in my MIDI!")

    P.S. the new site is awesome. just sayin’ is all.

  • if that WALTER guide is leaving you wanting more here is a way way way better resource:

    written more like a guide than a technical manual like the reaper sdk page. (screenshot:&nbsp ;

    you might wanna include this in the article as well. there's a lot of things that aren't even mentioned on the official cockos documentation. 

  • strunkdts

    A shame to see this here on CDM already. BUT, do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

  • Still too early to talk about what Reaper 4 will be like, There were several dozens of alpha/beta releases slowly evolving before Reaper 3 was defined and close to its final 3.0 release state.

  • Benito del Pierro

    I'm so excited about v4! Since I read this on saturday, I can't sit still any more 🙂
    Since I switched from Logic to Reaper about nearly a year ago, I can't imagine any other DAW to work with. It took some time to get familiar with it (customization, etc.) and to handle the instabilities (Mac!!), but I just love it for its flexibility and endless possibbilities to improve your workflow.
    Also love the new look! Can't wait until its final release!

  • Kind of amusing to see the vaguely negative comments about something that should be giving so many of us something to hope for/look forward to seeing come about. I switched over to Reaper about a year ago 1. Because the demo allowed me to finish a project that was on a deadline when a certain application from a certain hardware company that also sells software failed and took all my custom patches with it. Had it not been for Reaper and the Michael Norris plug-ins, I would have been in deep sh*t. 2. I've not seen any other software licenses that allow me to pay for the software based on my "income"…and that they trust me about that. 3. It's OPEN! The Devs listen!

    I think anyone who digs deep into this appreciates that this is a pre-release…patience is a virtue with software and with music. I'm looking forward to seeing how it evolves into its final release form.

    BTW, no it wasn't Logic…my ancient Mac won't run that very well, and I couldn't afford it anyway. It's quite amazing what one can do with Garage Band these days…

  • Peter Kirn

    Actually, I believe the negativity is directed at me, for running the story while this is still pre-release. 😉

  • @peter,

    Wine users post on a regular basis at reaper forums that everything works smoothly, provided your audio interface has the right Linux drivers.
    Additionally even if audio works, hardware effects in your unit might not work through Wine.

  • jazzybloke

    Yeah, this specific blog post is a pretty cheap marketing shot.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Document02: Right, generally hardware-based effects don't work in WINE. 

  • As for running Reaper in Wine on Linux, it would be equally important to know which 3-party windows VST-plugins are also known to work with the setup. Any experiences? Any list of such VSTs anywhere? I find some PSP and Waves plugins are very hard to replace as well as Spectrasonics tools have become very important in every music production I make…

  • Spence

    I ran Fabfilters V1 plugs successfully in Reaper under WINE. Other than a minor authorization niggle with One. Works like a charm

  • 4.0 is out of beta now!

  • lolamann

    i tried the 4.0 version, but the 3.77 has a lot more stability,…until