Reaper is one of the most popular DAWs for new and aspiring producers.
It’s inexpensive, flexible and built on powerful technology that rivals that of professional apps.
But one of Reaper’s best kept secrets is its unique plugin suite.
Called ReaPlugs, these software audio tools are now available in any DAW.
They offer some of the same features and benefits that have made Reaper so successful.
In this article I’ll break down the top 6 ReaPlug processors and explain what makes them so great.
What are ReaPlugs?
ReaPlugs are a set of audio plugins specifically designed for use within the Reaper digital audio workstation.
They include essential music production basics like EQ, compression and effects.
Reaper was built to be a cost-effective and customizable alternative to professional DAWs, and it needed a comprehensive set of built-in tools to compete.
But unlike the proprietary approach of other companies, Reaper plugins focus on performance and usability over style.
That’s why some ReaPlugs might look a bit basic compared to plugins that model vintage hardware or incorporate unique designs.
But don’t judge a book by its cover. ReaPlugs are often built around advanced signal processing techniques.
What’s more, they’re optimized to be lightweight and fast, running well even on modest systems.
And did I mention free? Yes! These workhorse plugins are free to download at no cost.
To top it off, ReaPlugs are now available for DAWs other than Reaper, making it a perfect time to try them no matter what your main DAW is.
The 5 Best Reaplug Tools for Music Production
Now that you know the basics, let’s dive into the top 6 ReaPlugs to use in your production workflow:
ReaComp is a versatile and powerful compressor that excels wherever you need dynamics control in your mix
Its clean and transparent sound makes it suitable for any genre and source material. While some engineers reach for character compressors at all times, invisible gain reduction is a desirable quality for many.
In addition to its sound, ReaComp’s flexible sidechain options, lookahead, and knee control round out an advanced feature set.
ReaDelay is a multi-tap delay effect that allows you to create rich and complex echoes with full control over individual taps’ parameters.
You can adjust the timing, feedback, filtering, and panning of each tap, opening up a wide range of creative possibilities. From subtle spatial enhancements to experimental soundscapes, ReaDelay offers a comprehensive solution for crafting unique delay effects that can elevate your productions.
ReaEQ is an efficient and straightforward equalizer with powerful features to shape the tonal balance of your tracks.
With its unlimited bands, customizable filter shapes, and precise frequency control, ReaEQ is on par with modern digital EQs costing much more.
ReaGate is an advanced gate and expander plugin perfect for traditional gating tasks and beyond.
With its highly configurable envelope settings as as well as sidechain input and MIDI triggering capabilities, ReaGate offers both precision and creative control.
ReaControlMIDI is a powerful MIDI processing plugin that allows you to manipulate and automate MIDI parameters in real-time.
It features such as extensive control options, such as MIDI channel filtering, pitch bend, and CC adjustment.
Working with large streams of MIDI data is not always easy, but ReaControlMIDI gives you the you need for the best results from your MIDI-enabled gear.
ReaXComp is a multi-band compressor that provides precise dynamics control for individual frequency areas.
With its customizable crossover points and flexible compression parameters, ReaXComp can be used for tasks like de-essing vocals, tightening up drum mixes, or enhancing the dynamics of an entire mix.
Not only that, ReaXComp offers detailed metering per band and easy adjustment of compression parameters from the graph.
ReaPlug it in
There’s something compelling about no-frills software tools that get the job done.
If you’re looking for a workhorse suite of well-engineered plugins to use in any situation, the ReaPlugs suite is worth a try.
And if you’re already a Reaper user, maybe you can think twice about paying for expensive third party plugins—you might find the built-in plugins are all you need!
Various contributors from the LANDR team of music mentors.
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