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Using Sub-projects


Before reading this Article, which is rather advanced in places, Here is the video tutorial on sub-projects that taught me the basics of how they work.

The only thing to remember about it is that, if you import a .rpp file, any changes you make to the imported file itself, won't be reflected in the project into which you imported it.

What are Sub-projects for?

If you are working on a project that contains a lot of tracks or tracks that use resource hungry effects, or if you have simply finished mixing a section of a project and wish to get the tracks you're done with out of the way, you could use a sub-project. This is a project that you create, which has an association with the project from which it came, its master project if you like. This sub-project is a normal .rpp file, but it comes with a .rpp-prox file, which associates it with the master project. Another use of sub-projects is to isolate an effects tale in your master project without having to include the audio that was used to make the tale before it.

You can move either items or tracks to a new sub-project or you can insert a blank new sub-project to your master project, work in that and then save it. Here are the stages Reaper goes through when you move tracks or items to a new sub-project.

  • A project in a new tab is created.
  • The items/tracks are cut from the master project, including all effects and routing, and pasted into the sub-project.
  • the sub-project is then saved and rendered.
  • the .rpp-prox file is what is rendered, which designates the master project with which the sub-project is associated and creates an item on a track within the master project containing all the consolidated media that were moved.

The key benefit of using sub-projects is that it is a non-destructive method of consolidation. That is to say that, even though all your individual pieces of media have gone from your master project to be preplaced with their combined result as one item, you can still make changes to any or all of the constituents via the sub-project. Once saved, the changes you've made will transfer across to the master project.

when wishing to glue items non-destructively by moving them to a new sub-project, select the items you wish to move and press alt u. When wishing to consolidate tracks by moving them to a new sub-project, select the tracks you wish to move and press control u. Remember that only the effects on the items or tracks you move will be transferred. That is to say, if you move items that have track effects applied in your master project, you will only hear them dry in your sub-project. Likewise, any processes you have applied to the master track of your master project or to a folder that you haven't moved to the new sub-project, will not transfer. this goes for changes to master play-rate as well.

Lengthening and Shortening Sub-projects

Say you want to add another verse to your project after you moved the guitar section to a sub-project. You would have to include more guitar material in your sub-project and have that render out as a longer item in your master project. Here are the steps to follow.

  1. Having lengthened the audio in your sub-project, see if there are an markers in it. They should be named =start and =end. In my experience, sometimes these appear automatically and sometimes not.
  2. If they are not present, create an end marker where you wish the project to finish rendering, i.e. at the point beyond which you wish no further audio to be transferred to your master project. You create a named marker by inserting one, focussing it, pressing control shift enter to adjust its properties and typing a name, in this case =end into the relevant field.
  3. If start and end markers have already been created for you, you can adjust their positions by focussing them indivdually, pressing control shift enter and changing the values in their position fields.
  4. Then save your sub-project using control s.
  5. then, in your master project, select the item the sub-project has rendered and increase its length to the right amount as this is not done for you automatically.

The crucial thing to remember is that, assuming you have loop source checked by default in your item properties, if your item is longer than the source material in your sub-project that lies between the start and end markers, the content will start to loop in your master project. On the other hand, if the sub-project item in your master project is shorter than the material that was rendered from between the start and end markers in your sub-project, then not all of it will be included in your master project by default. Sometimes this is desirable, as in cases where you wish to isolate an effects tale from the audio from which it was created.


When rendering sub-projects, make sure that your project time-base is set to time. Also, in my experience, trying to associate a sub-project with more than one master project has unexpected and undesirable results. The audio plays at a different speed for some reason. This is believed to be a bug.

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Page last modified on February 25, 2017, at 09:14 PM