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Folders are a simple concept in Reaper that enable you to organize your tracks and hide some away when you don't need them. They are the equivalent of creating a channel group or bus on a mixer. Here are the steps that we recommend for creating and using folders. In this example, we will say that you wish to organize the drum tracks for a song.

  1. Insert a track, call it drums and leave it empty. If you already have content in your project, this track should be above those you wish to contain within the folder.
  2. Focus the track with the cursor keys and press shift and enter on it until it says folder.
  3. Cursor down until you reach the last drum track and ensure that there are no other tracks mixed up with the drums. If there are, cut and paste them out of the way.
  4. Having focused the last drum track, insert a new one, which will appear below it.
  5. Focus this track and press shift enter until it says end of folder.

You have now enclosed the drum tracks in a folder. If you solo the folder track, you will be able to hear all the tracks in that folder. You have created a sub-mix.

If you add effects to the folder track, all the tracks within it, called the children of that folder, will have their output fed through those effects. If you adjust the volume or pan of the folder track, the pan and volume of that whole sub-mix will be affected. You can still treat individual tracks' volume, pan and effects as normal.

Once you have the folder and its contents organized and set as you want, you can hide it away by highlighting the folder track and pressing enter twice, till it says closed. You will then only see the folder track when you go up and down through your track list.

This concept becomes even more powerful when you consider that it is possible to create subfolders within folders. you may wish to group all your vocals together for a song featuring a duet, that also has backing vocals. You could group the two lead vocalists together in one subfolder, backing vocals in another and enclose the whole thing in a folder named vocals.

Closing Folders Tidily

Highlighting a folder track and pressing enter on it twice will close it. This means that you will not be able to see the tracks the folder contains, except in one important circumstance.

If you close a folder containing other folders that you have left open, the tracks in the open sub-folders will still be visible except the front cover of the sub-folder. this does not mean that your implementation of folders has failed. Simply close the sub-folders first and then the encapsulating folder and all tracks should be tidily hidden away.

Creating a Virtual Master Track

Some engineers prefer not to touch the actual master track of their project. Their argument is that it should be treated like the master fader on a studio mixing console, which remains untouched after calibration.

While this workflow isn't wrong or right, there is one important advantage for us. It is difficult to change the volume of the master track in Reaper in big jumps, likewise its pan etc. If you create a folder to encompass the whole mix and call it master, you can adjust the volume of the whole mix using reaconsole. If you wish to add an effect to the whole mix, you could add it to this master folder rather than the master track.

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Page last modified on March 27, 2017, at 11:47 PM