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Reaper Preference Tweeking, For Fun And Profit!


 Reaper has many, many preferences. Most are self explanatory or are only necessary for specialists, but quite a few should be changed for smoother operation

or accessibility of Reaper and VSTs. The dialog is found under the options menu, or by pressing ctrl-P. It is set up with a tree view containing categories of options. Some of these contain subcategories. Moving between them changes the layout for the rest of the dialog. Note its location at the end of the tab order, just before the ok and cancel buttons. Also note the presence of an edit field and a find button, which allows you to search for settings if you forget what page they're stored on. The rest of the box contains equally standard edit, combo box, button and checkbox controls.   Currently, only immediately useful preferences are documented. Feel free to pad out this article with more information, as you come across it.  

General preferences root level

  • Set default language of Reaper.
  • export and import buttons, for export and import of preferences between machines.
    Note that choosing what portions of the settings to import and export is not accessible.

Undo settings

  • maximum undo memory, how much ram to allocate for undo points. default is good.
  • undo settings specify what actions go into the undo history.

Turning some of these off can save undo memory at the expense of not being able to undo certain actions. Options include: Track, Envelope point, time, cursor position.

  • When approaching full undo memory, keep newest undo states, does what it says.
  • save undo history in .rpp.undo files. Useful if you save a project but wish to restore it to an earlier mistake, or if the program crashes before you've

had a chance to save your work. For larger projects, these files can take up hundreds of megabytes, but if space isn't a concern they are worth having.

  • Allow load of undo history automatically loads the undo history for all projects that have them when the project loads. This lets you undo changes that

you made the last time you started the program, for instance.

  • Store multiple redo paths, this can give flexibility with undo and redo at the expense of ram use.
 !!!Startup Settings
  • Open projects on startup, you have the following options:

Last active project, Last project tabs, New project ignore default template, New project and prompt. It's entirely up to you what you want.

  • Automatically check for new versions of Reaper on startup, probably a good idea with the development of OSARA being as fast as it is.
  • Open new project tab when opening media from explorer/finder default is checked.
  • Show splash screen on startup, uncheck for faster load.
  • Check for multiple instances when launching default is checked, safe unless you need multiple reaper processes running.
  • When launching with project/media
  • Maximum projects in recent list, 50, with a clear button.
  • Warn when Reaper's memory use reaches default to 3750mb default for 32-bit.
  • Advanced UI/System tweaks the defaults are good.
  • Download language packs, mess with this if you need it.


Paths subsection of general

  • Default path to save new projects, set this if you want to keep stuff together.

Setting a folder for projects is a good idea so you know where the sub-directories will be created.

  • default render path, Default is Okay.
  • Default record path, set this to a fast drive with plenty of scratch space.

This puts recordings for unsaved projects into a specific folder.

  • Store all ReaPeak files in alternate path, check this if you want them all in the one place.
  • Default alternate .reapeaks cache path stick this somewhere out of the way, such as a temp folder.
  • Paths separated by semicolons use alternate for these.


Keyboard/multi-touch under general:

  • commit changes after 1 second of no typing into edit fields, waits until you stop typing to act on input. This is useful when editing parameters while

listening to the result, so changes aren't made until you've completed entry of that change. Unchecking this means values will update the instant they are altered in any way.

  • Use alternate keyboard section when recording; your guess is as good as mine, Fix Me.
  • prevent alt key from focusing main menu, self explanatory.
  • Assign actions to keyboard shortcuts or change existing shortcuts, simlink to the action list which can also be accessed with f4 in the main window. You

can find any action in Reaper here, and assign a shortcut to it. Extremely useful.

  • Show keyboard shortcuts as printable/viewable webpage, actually queries the API to generate the current list of all mouse and keyboard shortcuts for every

view. Likewise, incredibly handy.

  • You can assign multi-touch actions to commands, for those who have such available. This is advanced, but also useful.


Project settings

  • Use the following project as a template, useful time-saver if most of your projects have the same or similar settings.
  • Prompt to save on new project, up to you, default is unchecked.
  • Open properties on new project, refers to the project properties dialogue, which can be accessed by pressing alt and enter. Up to you.
  • Look for media in project directory rather than qualified path, useful.
  • Prompt when files are not found on project load, usually a good idea.
  • Show loading status and flash, can be noisy with NVDA.

Project saving options

  • Save project path references with relative paths, generally a great idea.
  • when overwriting project rename old project with extention .rpp-back probably a good idea.
 * time stamped backup, useful to some

This next group of settings should be read as one long sentence:

  • Every X minutes,
  • save a time stamped file in the project directory, or
  • save to a time stamped file in an additional directory
  • (which directory that is), or
  • Save over the main project file, or
  • save undo history, if enabled in general preferences.

In other words, it autosaves your project state. The above configures Exactly what is autosaved when and how many times.  

Defaults under project

Defaults for tracks/sends/hardware outputs

  • Track default gain defaults to +0.0db usually leave this alone.
  • Tracks show in mixer, usually a good idea.
  • Tracks main/parent send by default; says whether the track has a default send to the master. Usually it should.

The following options make certain things visible by default and they are all turned off on this install by default

  • Track volume
  • Track Pan
  • Track volume pre-fx
  • Track pan Pre-FX
  • Tracks mute
  • Tracks default envelope shape defaults to linear, you can have Linear, square, slow start/end, fast start, fast end or bezier.
  • Track arm envelopes by default, useful and a time saver so you don't have to arm them by default.
  • Track default automation, defaults to trim/read.

You can have trim/read, read, touch, write or latch Touch only makes sense if your control surface supports it.

  • Tracks item free positioning, this defaults to on no idea what it does.
  • Tracks default height in new project, defaults to medium, visual probably left alone unless you need to change it.
  • Tracks record arm, says whether a track is automatically armed for recording on creation. Safer to arm them yourself and avoid nasty surprises.
  • Tracks input 1 button, this sets the defaults for new tracks when they are created, if you hit space on this button you get the following options:
  • Monitor input
  • Monitor input (Tape auto-style)
  • Monitor track media when recording
  • Preserved PDC monitoring in recorded items
  • Record audio or midi input
  • Record midi input/overdub with submenu which has Record midi overdub, record midi-replace, record midi-touch-replace, record midi-latch-replace
  • Record output submenu with options; Record multi-channel latency compensated, Record-multi-channel output, record stereo-output latency compensated, record-output stereo, record-output mono latency compensated, record output mono, record output-midi
  • Default send-gain, +0.0dd
  • Default hardware output gain, +0.0db
  • Default hardware output, defaults to Post-fader, post-pan. Options also include Pre-fader post FX, pre-fx, post-fx V1 deprecated.
  • Send midi by default allows exactly what it says.
  • Send audio by default, does the same for audio.
  • hardware outputs amplitude scaling, the other option is volume scaling. No idea what this does.
  • Warn when changing envelope scaling will change volume scaling, defaults to on and seems to make sense
  • Create fade-in/fade-out for new items, often useful but sometimes need to disable this.
  • Items length 0.010 sets length of fade.
  • Tracks automation mode trim/read Automation refers to "writing" a parameter change in real-time while the project plays, then having it "read" that change

on subsequent playback and render. The default is fine.  

Audio section root level:

defaults are good, most of this is either self explanatory, not worth bothering with, or both.  

Audio Device

  • Audio subsystem: Select between WDM kernel Streaming, Asio, direct sound, wave out and dummy audio. (WASAPI is available in Reaper 4 only.) different

systems have different options, but they are exactly similar! They also save independent of each other; you can have different defaults for ASIO versus direct sound and this will be remembered as you change systems.   WDM kernel streaming and ASIO are exclusive. In kernel streaming, you must set the bit depth, sample rate and channel count you want the device to open at here. WASAPI exclusive is the same.   You can set these here in ASIO as well, or you can set that in the control panel of your device. you must also use the same physical audio product for playback and recording under ASIO. you need to enable inputs, and you can set channel ranges if you don't need access to all channels on a device.   Direct sound and wave out are locked to the system's settings for sample rate/bit depth/channel count by default. WASAPI shared is not, but needs to be; until your settings here match those in windows, it won't open the device.   Setting your block size is vital for cutting down on latency when monitoring a track. The smaller the better, however past a certain point your processor will be unable to handle the load, causing stuttering and dropouts. It should be set in powers of 2 (32, 64, 128, 256, ETC)   Dummy audio is only useful if you do not need to play/record anything.  

Midi devices

Beyond the scope of this course. enable inputs and outputs on devices you wish to use.  


Only play with these options if you know what you are doing or have done research. These are needed for a minority of cranky systems.  

Playback under audio

  • Stop/repeat playback at end of project, this is checked by default and, in most cases, is best left that way. However, when automating effects such as panning for a track on which you have reverb, it is important to note that, when the project stops, the panning and any other effect settings will snap back to their state at the cursor position point, meaning that the reverb tale will not sound as you intended. Don't worry, it won't render this way but, to hear how it will sound, either place your cursor at the end of the project with repeat enabled and press play, turning off repeat while the project plays back to hear how the tale sounds, or uncheck this preference.
  • Stop playback at end of loop if repeat is disabled, check this box to audition time selections when editing without looping them single-track editor style.
  • Scroll project to edit/play cursor needed if working with sighted people.
  • flush fx on stop, not checked by default so that reverb tales etc can play out. Even when unchecked, pausing a project flushes effects.
  • Limit jog rate to 1.0, may wish to disable.
  • Limit scrub rate to 1.0 may wish to disable.
  • Enable scrub durring playback might want to enable.

"Jogging" and "scrubbing" are terms for moving through a project. "jogging" picks you up and moves you by a certain amount (aka moving markers in gold wave, or using PG-up/PG-dn in reaper) whereas scrubbing moves you continuously through the audio (aka FW/rewind in a tape recorder/GW, or using the left and right arrow keys in reaper)


  • Scroll track view when recording, may not be necessary.
  • file name format for recorded files, you may wish to customize this to taste.
  • show free disk space in menu bar, this is handy.
  • Show primary recording path in menu bar, this is also useful.
  • manual offset: for people using DS or other latant sound systems, shifts your recording by a number of samples so they will line up propperly on playback.


Appearance root level:


  • UI updates, may wish to set to Lazy always on slow systems otherwise default is good.
  • tooltips: if you hear a lot of "XXX, tool tip" for no obvious reason turn these off for less chatter.

  Leave the rest of options at appearance root level at defaults.  

Media subsection of appearance

No changes here.

Peaks/waveforms under media:

Disable things if no sighted users will be watching to reduce system load, otherwise leave at defaults.  

VU/faders subsection of media:

  • You may wish to change range of volume/pan faders for control surface use.

Theme editor under media:

  • no need to customize anything here.


Editing behaviour root level:

  • Check setting that says If no items are selected split/trim/delete affects material at the edit cursor.


Envelopes under editing behavior

No changes here.

Mouse under editing behavior:

  • Ignore mousewheel for all faders, uncheck this, especially if running a version of Reaper older than 5.211. This will enable you to move sliders with the keyboard.


Media subsection root level:

  • Copy inserted media to project directory: check this if you import a track and want it to show up in the same folder as everything else. Uncheck it if

you don't want duplicate files.

  • Tail length when applying affects to items, Derek has this set to 8000, or 8 seconds. Justin sets this to 20000 or 20 seconds to deal with long reverb tales so it's a matter of taste and the kind of reverbs/delays/impulse responses you work with.
  • Store cache files in alternate path if unable to write to media directory checked.
  • Store all peak data in alternate cache path CHECK. If unchecked, it will generate .repeak files in the project directory. Checking this stops it from

pooping all over your drive.  

Midi subsection of media:

  • no changes here.


Video/Rex/misc under Media:

Only for editing video, or REX files. If you use this and are on vista and above, enable use enhanced video renderer and leave FFMPEG encoding on by unchecking the disable box. If checked, Reaper uses horrendous native libraries for video which will make your Windows box cry alligator tears. Otherwise, leave everything as default.  

plug-ins root level:

  • bridging/firewalling: determines if effect DLLs will be loaded by the Reaper process, or in a separate one. This is meant to bridge between 32 and 64

bit VST plug-ins, as well as insulate the editor from potential crashes in buggy effects. This setting also has implications for accessibility. A bridged effect appears in a separate window in the alt-tab order, and is treated as a separate object by screenreaders as well as Reaaccess. There are advantages and disadvantages to this depending on the plug-in. This is important because accessing these windows needs to be done via the JAWS cursor, or object/screen review. Fortunately we access plug-in parameters through a much more accessible interface, but not all settings can be exposed to it.  

VST settings under plug-ins:

  • VST Path add your paths to the vst archive in here.

Paths are separated by semicolons and there is an add button and browse box to find paths.

  • note the rescan button and the clear cache and rescan button. These are needed when you add new effects.
  • Default VST to generic UI (instead of plug-in UI) CHECK. Required for screenreaders to interact with a plug-in window in any way whatsoever. It will still

be largely inaccessible, but it is the difference between getting some things to read, and getting a title bar, close button and nothing else.  

  • VST State/knob mode set to default sometimes necessary to change this.


Rewire/DX settings under plug-ins:

ReWire is for receiving data from a different DAW program than Reaper, such as Reason. No changes needed here.  

Visualization under plug-ins:

reaper can run winamp visualisation plug-ins but not that useful to us.  

ReaMote: for sending effect processing to other machines on your network. No changes needed here.


Control surfaces:

No need to touch these if you don't have a control surface. If you do, it's pretty self-explanatory to set up.  

External editors:

It is possible to edit items inside another editor such as goldwave. This section is where you enter the path for the editor you wish to use. Note that after editing, if you change the length of the file, you must manually reset the item's length in Reaper or you will not hear all the edited audio. This means getting the length out of your external editor and feeding it back into the item properties on completion of an edit.

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Page last modified on March 24, 2017, at 11:57 AM