“I just want to record and edit audio tracks — what do I need?” A lot of the software for recording and editing multiple tracks of audio is, admittedly, overkill for the basic user. That could make the new creation from WinAMP creator Justin Frankel appealing. (More bizarrely, he also created a cross-shaped effects processor called the Jesusonic CrusFX, mixing blasphemy with music production.)

Right now, REAPER is free (at version 0.42); when it hits 1.0 it’ll be “inexpensive” shareware. (No pricing is out yet.) The interface looks a lot like Sony’s ACID, but “lite” versions of ACID often strip out critical features, so it could still be competition.

So does Windows need another audio editing program?

I’ve been skeptical, but Brad Sucks, Music thing, and even my former Keyboard mate Carl Lumma have weighed in. Why should we care? These features caught my eye:

  • Lightweight design, simple interface
  • Select by BPM or ms for easy loop slicing
  • High-quality 64-bit float sample pipeline
  • Easy recording and monitoring of buses
  • Templates and smart project file management
  • Coming soon, but not yet: VST, DirectX, markers, envelope curves, public plug-in API, OGG support

  • Sounds good, but Justin is entering an awfully crowded field. Basic versions of Ableton Live (which does pretty much all of this and plenty REAPER can’t) ship with most audio interfaces, and Mackie’s Tracktion has a more elegant interface at a pretty low price. I also expect some of the Linux-based software to make the leap to either Mac or Windows or both very soon, meaning more free competition is on the way.

    A revolution in the making? Or just a rip-off of other editors we’d have ignored if it didn’t come from the guy who made WinAMP? I’m waiting until it gets closer to 1.0.

    Now, you may commence singing Don’t Fear the REAPER.