REAPER vs FL Studio: A Head-to-head comparison for 2022 | Evercast Blog (2023)

A solid digital audio workstation (DAW) is one of the most critical tools in an artist’s toolbelt in electronic music production. It’s the command center where all musical ideas find their shape and combine to create a polished final product.

There are two names that come up time and time again when producers are looking for the best DAW platform to work with: REAPER and FL Studio. These programs are packed with advanced features perfect for electronic music production, which makes choosing between them a difficult task for novices and pros alike.

We’re putting them head-to-head in this guide to see which one reigns supreme in each of our key categories. So, without further ado, welcome to the REAPER vs. FL Studio showdown of 2022.

What Do REAPER and FL Studio Do?

REAPER vs FL Studio: A Head-to-head comparison for 2022 | Evercast Blog (1)

(Video) Top 10 Reasons Reaper is the Best DAW

REAPER and FL Studio (previously known as Fruity Loops) are both DAWs that allow you to record, edit, and mix digital audio. They both allow you to mix recorded media as well as MIDI inputs for a blend of natural and digital sound. Both platforms work on Mac and PC.

The Main Differences Between REAPER and FL Studio

The key differences between REAPER and FL Studio come down to their workflow and price. REAPER allows for nearly unlimited user customizations to the workflow and features. It can handle a wide range of VST plugins and allows users to write their own scripts to expand on its functionality.

On the other hand, FL Studio is a traditional proprietary software program where you play by the rules the software designers defined. That being said, it’s a clean, well-organized interface that still allows for dozens of plugins that allow you to customize the platform to fit your needs and workflow.

Head to Head Comparison

Ok, here’s what you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to put these programs up against each other and see which ones excel in each of our key categories:

Ease of Use

  • Winner: FL Studio
  • Why: This is a category that many users will argue over, but “ease of use” in this case will ultimately come down to how comfortable a user is with manipulating open-source software. REAPER is pretty bare-bones to start, and you’ll need a basic understanding of how DAWs work to get it up and running.

    For those reasons, we’re giving overall ease of use to FL Studio thanks to its easy drag-and-drop interface and user tutorials that will help more novice users get to work faster.

Quality of Support

  • Winner: REAPER
  • Why: Both platforms have excellent support teams, but the REAPER team has gone above and beyond to support their platform and answer any questions or problems that may arise.

    This isn’t to say that FL Studio doesn’t have high-quality support, but REAPER’s vast array of resources and robust community that are happy to jump in and solve other user’s problems edge it out in this category, especially for beginners.

Sound Editing Functionality

  • Winner: REAPER
  • Why: Thanks to REAPER’s robust set of tools and unlimited workspace customizations, it stands out above FL Studio when it comes to general sound editing functionality. It also supports an unlimited number of editing tracks, which is a huge win for anyone who makes complex, multi-layer mixes.

Recording

  • Winner: REAPER
  • Why: Again, REAPER’s limitless customization options and powerful studio tools make it the winner in the recording category. Its MIDI Overlay feature also makes it easy to link keyboard shortcuts to important commands for live editing during recording sessions. It’s also an impressively stable platform, which is critical when working with live recording.

Sound Mixing

  • Winner: FL Studio
  • Why: Ok, here’s an area where FL Studio really shines. Thanks to its 60 built-in sounds, massive library of loops, and extensive library of virtual instruments, FL Studio is truly built to be a one-stop-shop for live or studio mixing.

    REAPER is also an excellent mixing machine, but for beginners who want to dive into the mix right away without any configuring, FL Studio is the clear winner here.

    (Video) WHICH DAW IS BEST?

G2 Rating

  • Winner: FL Studio
  • Why: FL Studio wins a surprising upset over REAPER according to raters on G2, one of the most trusted software comparison platforms on the web. FL Studio earned 4.5/5 stars, while REAPER trailed behind with 4.3/5. However, this small margin of difference is a testament to how well both programs perform overall, making them both an excellent choice for pros and novices alike.

Pricing

  • Winner: REAPER (barely)
  • Why: REAPER just narrowly edges out FL Studio in this category. After the 60-day free trial period, you can purchase a lifetime license to REAPER for just $225 for a full commercial license, or $60 for a personal/educational use license. Here’s the one caveat: REAPER does not include any virtual instruments, so if you don’t already have a library of these ready to go, you’ll have to get some to really get full use out of the platform, which could drive up the cost.

    FL Studio, on the other hand, clocks in at $299 after the free trial period, and includes built-in virtual instruments, so if you don’t have any in your library already, this may edge out REAPER for you in value.

Who is REAPER Best Suited For?

  • Studio Producers: When it comes down to it, REAPER is best designed for studio production. From recording to mixing to mastering, it has all the bases covered. It can also be customized to fit whatever workflow works best for your studio, whether you lean more into recording or mixing.
  • Professional Mixers: While we’ve praised FL Studio for its mixing capabilities, REAPER shouldn’t be overlooked by professional mixers who want a fully customized workflow. Once you get the hang of the platform and install the right plugins, it’s a powerful workstation for creating nearly unlimited combinations of sound.

Who is FL Studio Best Suited For?

  • DJs and Live Mixers: FL Studio has powerful pass-through features that make it great for live mixing. If you want to feed in MIDI instruments and produce on the fly, it’s a great platform for live digital audio production.
  • Amateur Mixers: If you’re more interested in learning how to mix instead of tinkering with unlimited customization options, FL Studio is the better platform to get started on. Its built-in sounds and huge library make it easier to sample what you need to create that perfect harmony.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

The decision of which program works best for you is largely going to come down to workflow structure. . If you’re someone who wants total control over your workflow and doesn’t mind sinking a little bit of time into a platform to get it set up the way you like it, REAPER is a great choice for you.

However, if you’re looking for a slightly easier to use platform that gears itself more towards mixing than recording, FL Studio might be a worthwhile investment.

With any DAW, which platform is right for you really comes down to your own personal workflow and project needs. The best way to figure out which platform is best for your personal style is to sign up for the free trial of FL Studio and REAPER and get hands-on with both of them. After some time, it will probably become obvious to you which one will work best with your workflow.

(Video) Best DAW For Beginners & The Easiest DAW

Hopefully, this head-to-head comparison will make choosing the right software for your next project a breeze, allowing you to unleash your creative energy without being restricted by software.

If you’re looking for a better way to bring your remote audio editing team closer together and collaborate more efficiently from a distance, check out Evercast. Evercast allows you to stream your edit sessions in HD while video chatting and exchanging notes with your team, all under one platform. Because we believe collaboration is the magic behind unlocking our best work.

Related Reading:

  • Avid Pro Tools vs REAPER - Comparison Guide
  • Avid Pro Tools vs FL Studio - Comparison Guide
(Video) Ableton Producer tries Reaper and DIES.

FAQs

Is Reaper better than FL Studio? ›

Why: Thanks to REAPER's robust set of tools and unlimited workspace customizations, it stands out above FL Studio when it comes to general sound editing functionality. It also supports an unlimited number of editing tracks, which is a huge win for anyone who makes complex, multi-layer mixes.

Do professional studios use Reaper? ›

A bunch of professionals here use Reaper for live mixing. MANY use it for recording, if not all of them. Amazingly, quite a few people use it to mix TV or films. The Avid Protools/console combo is still better at high-volume, larger budget work but you can get a lot of things done in Reaper, if you know how.

Which DAW is used by professionals? ›

But which DAWs do most professional producers use? From our research, we concluded that most professional studios still use Avid Pro Tools as their DAW of choice, being used by producers on 65% of the top 100 albums from the past 10 years.

Do professionals use FL Studio? ›

FL Studio is used by many professionals in the music industry, and it is one of the most popular choices for music production. If you are looking for a high-quality and versatile digital audio recording system, then FL Studio is an excellent option.

Which DAW is better than FL Studio? ›

Cubase – Best Paid Alternative Overall. Ableton Live – Best Alternative To FL Studio For Live Performance. Reaper – Best Budget Alternative. LMMS – Best Free Alternative.

Why do sound designers use Reaper? ›

Reaper is well-loved by countless sound designers for many a reason: it's extremely fast, customizable, can mould to basically any workflow, and it's fairly priced.

What is REAPER DAW best for? ›

Reaper delivers live audio and virtual instrument recording, a full mixing console, real notation editing, and support for scoring for video. Unlike many competing DAWs, Reaper lets you build your own menus, toolbars, and macros, as well as change the entire look and color scheme of the interface.

Is REAPER as good as other DAWs? ›

Reaper is a DAW that sometimes gets a bit of a bad press, and is thought of by some as inferior to the other DAWs on the market. Reaper is an excellent DAW, being well known for reliability, stability and efficiency. It has the recording and mixing features expected of modern DAWs.

Is REAPER worth the money? ›

REAPER is still worth it today, considering the amount and quality of plugins it offers each user. These plugins are of professional grade, and the software is also quite light to use. On top of that, the $60 price it gets is quite hard to match and can only be beaten when other paid DAWs drop their prices.

What is the most used DAW 2022? ›

Pro Tools considers itself to be the industry standard in recording software and with good reason. It is probably the DAW most widely used in professional studios.

What is the No 1 DAW? ›

  • Ableton Live. An inspiring DAW with a next-level workflow. ...
  • Image-Line FL Studio. A unique DAW that's kickstarted many electronic music producers' careers. ...
  • Apple Logic Pro. Amazing value and great performance on the Mac. ...
  • Steinberg Cubase. ...
  • PreSonus Studio One. ...
  • Cockos Reaper 6. ...
  • Reason Studios Reason. ...
  • Bitwig Studio.
19 Oct 2022

What DAW does Billie Eilish use? ›

As for the DAWs used, Billie prefers using Apple's Logic Pro X as her digital audio workstation software for producing music. Logix Pro X is another big hitter in the pop music production industry. Coincidentally, these are also the two that Finneas also likes to use.

Do any big producers use FL Studio? ›

Artists such as Tyler, The Creator, Skrillex, and the late Avicii have all stated FL Studio as crucial during the beginning stages of their production journeys. For many, FL Studio is not just a stepping stone into production, it is a way of life.

Which famous musicians use FL Studio? ›

FL Studio has been used by numerous highly visible hip hop and EDM producers, including Porter Robinson, Alan Walker, Madeon, Soulja Boy, Southside, Martin Garrix, Avicii, Imanbek and Deadmau5.

Is FL Studio a legitimate DAW for professionals? ›

FL studio is legit. Fl Studio very popular professional digital audio workstation. This “DAW” is used by many artists in the music industry. However it is wise to check out other professional DAWs like Ableton, Logic pro and Cubase for instance.

Which DAW is the most CPU friendly? ›

What DAW Uses the Least CPU?
  1. Reaper. For a lower-end setup, Reaper is considered one of the lightest-CPU-using DAWs. ...
  2. Ableton Live. One of the most used DAW in general, and one of the most stable of all the software for projects of any size. ...
  3. Logic Pro. ...
  4. Cubase. ...
  5. Pro Tools. ...
  6. Fl Studio.
4 Jul 2020

Which DAW has the best audio editing? ›

Best Audio Editing Software of 2022
  • Best Overall: Audacity.
  • Best Free: GarageBand.
  • Best for Live Music: Adobe Audition.
  • Best for Podcasts: Hindenburg Pro.
  • Best for Music Production: Ableton Live.
  • Best for Professionals: Pro Tools.
  • Best for Apple Devices: Logic Pro X.
  • Best for Android Devices: AudioLab.

Does Pro Tools sound better than Reaper? ›

Reaper offers better usability and production process, once you've committed and taken the time needed to configure it correctly. On the other hand, Pro Tools helps you create the very best of the best sounding tracks but comes at a price. There are, of course, many other options to choose from.

Can you EQ in Reaper? ›

Reaper's built-in plugin suite is fantastic.

The ReaEQ is a particularly great EQ with the ability to add as many bands as you want. Its default is 4, which is a perfect starting point, but you can tailor the plugin to your liking! ReaEQ also has a frequency analyzer helping you pinpoint where to make certain EQ moves.

Is Reaper just as good as Pro Tools? ›

REAPER is significantly more affordable than Pro Tools but lacks some of Pro Tools' features. REAPER allows users to write their own scripts, which gives room for lots of workflow customization, while Pro Tools is closed, proprietary software.

How much RAM do I need for Reaper? ›

The Reaper website states that 16 GB is optimal to run the program.

Is Reaper as good as Ableton? ›

Overall, REAPER is simply the more robust program for live recording tools, while Ableton has chosen to focus more on the mixing and mastering elements.

Is Reaper DAW a one time purchase? ›

Reaper does not require a monthly payment. It offers a 60-day free trial, during which you can use the software without charge. After that, you must make a one-off payment for a license. The license then lasts for the lifetime of two full versions of the software e.g. from versions 5.01 to 6.99.

Which DAW has the best built in plugins? ›

Taking Stock: Which DAW Has the Best Stock Plug-ins for You in...
  • Avid Pro Tools | Ultimate Stock Plug-ins.
  • PreSonus Studio One 5 Professional Stock Plug-ins.
  • Image Line FL Studio 20 Signature Edition Stock Plug-ins.
  • Ableton Live 11 Suite Stock Plug-ins.
  • Steinberg Cubase Pro 12 Stock Plug-ins.
27 Mar 2022

Which DAW is best for live performance? ›

Best DAW for Live Performance: Ableton Live. Best DAW for Recording Bands: Pro Tools. Best DAW for Hip-Hop: Reason Studio. Best DAW for Composing: Cubase Pro.

Do some DAWs sound better than others? ›

In all three DAWs, the audio is subjectively the same. When we examine the frequency spectrum, they are extremely similar as well, although there are some minor differences in the 2kHz to 8kHz range.

Does Reaper have a weakness? ›

The Reaper doesn't have any weaknesses, so make sure you fight them with party members that have had their confidants maxed out. 2. Make sure you enter with at least one party member that has the skill Makarakarn equipped.

What musicians use Reaper? ›

Hans Zimmer uses Reaper beside other DAWs. One of my favorite artists ever - tycho. Also, deadmau5 is now experimenting with reaper in his live streams so keep an eye out for this as well.

Which DAW is best for beginners? ›

  1. Apple GarageBand. Logic's little brother and the best beginner DAW overall. ...
  2. Ableton Live 11 Intro. ...
  3. Image Line FL Studio Fruity Edition. ...
  4. Steinberg Cubase Elements 11. ...
  5. Bitwig Studio 16-track. ...
  6. Presonus Studio One 5 Artist. ...
  7. Cockos Reaper 6. ...
  8. Acoustica Mixcraft 9 Recording Studio.
19 Oct 2022

What DAW Does Taylor Swift Use? ›

Taylor Swift, Björk, Brian Eno, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Shawn Mendes, and Ed Sheeran have all been known to use Logic Pro. That's the beauty of using a DAW to produce music – it's accessible to all genres.

What DAW do most EDM artists use? ›

FL Studio (Windows/Mac)

Image-Line FL Studio has been around for around 20 years now and is the DAW of choice for many electronic dance producers.

What DAW does Dr Dre use? ›

Akai MPC 3000

Dre says "I love using the MPC3000.

What DAW do famous producers use? ›

You can expect famous producers to only work in professional and popular digital audio workstations, or DAW for short. Famous producers will create their music in DAWs like Ableton, Logic Pro, FL Studios, Cubase, Protools etc.

What is the simplest DAW to learn? ›

  • DAWs for beginners Q&A.
  • Best DAWs for Beginners. Apple GarageBand. Bandlab. Roland Zenbeats. PreSonus Studio One Artist. Bitwig Studio. Steinberg Cubase Elements. Reason Studio.
1 Sept 2022

What DAW does Kanye use? ›

Today in the 21st Century it's just more convenient to also use digital tools and not only analog hardware to produce music. So after Kanye West creates his beats with his analog gear he is using the Digital Audio Workstation called Pro Tools for the processing.

What DAW does Justin Bieber use? ›

Firstly, Bieber is running Logic Pro 9 on his Macbook. This is actually not the most up-to-date version of the DAW, that would be Logic Pro X. However, Logic X packages all audio tracks in a project into a single file, making them tough to extract for later use.

What DAW is Travis Scott using? ›

So, what DAW does Travis Scott use? He, basically, uses three DAWs: FL Studio 11, Pro Tools, and Logic Pro X. You can find several pictures and videos online of Scott using these DAWs while creating his music in the studio.

What DAW does Jay Z use? ›

Akai MPC 2000XL

He mainly uses the [Ensoniq] ASR10 and sequences that with an [Akai] MPC 2000XL.

Does FL Studio need a lot of RAM? ›

From FL Studio 20 you'd at least need 4 GBs of RAM. However it is recommended to pack a bit more RAM into your system. As the increase of RAM will increase the power you have within the DAW. The more RAM you have the more/heavier effects and virtual instrument you are able to run at the same time.

What music software do most producers use? ›

Popular DAW's are Ableton Live, Pro Tools, FL Studio and Logic Pro X. Additionally music producers will use virtual instruments (VST's) in these DAW's. These are basically plugins which expand the capabilities of a DAW.

Can I sell music made with FL Studio? ›

You can sell songs made in FL Studio. FL Studio is a professional DAW which is capable of creating professional sounding music. Creating professional music does require a lot of skill, so in order to achieve this professional level of music, study and practice are needed.

What is the best alternative to FL Studio? ›

Top 10 Alternatives to FL Studio
  • Audacity.
  • Adobe Audition.
  • GarageBand.
  • Ableton Live.
  • Logic Pro X.
  • Avid Pro Tools.
  • Studio One.
  • Sound Forge.

What recording software do professional musicians use? ›

Best Music Making Software of 2022
  • Ableton. Based in Germany and California, Ableton is an industry stalwart that's extremely popular with recording artists. ...
  • Avid Pro Tools. ...
  • PreSonus Studio One. ...
  • Audacity. ...
  • Waveform Pro & Free. ...
  • Steinberg Cubase. ...
  • Reaper. ...
  • iZotope Music Production Suite.
28 Mar 2022

Is FL the best DAW? ›

For the number of features, FL Studio is the clear winner. They jam-pack their software with so much that you'll never run out of things to explore, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your workflow. That being said, Ableton Live still has killer, high-quality features that makes it a more than capable DAW.

Why do most producers use FL Studio? ›

The fruity loops version is geared towards beginners, while the flstudio version is more advanced. Both versions allow users to create and edit audio, add effects, and mix tracks. FLstudio is a popular choice for music producers because it is easy to use and has a wide range of features.

What is the most used DAW by professionals? ›

But which DAWs do most professional producers use? From our research, we concluded that most professional studios still use Avid Pro Tools as their DAW of choice, being used by producers on 65% of the top 100 albums from the past 10 years.

What are the cons of FL Studio? ›

FL Studio has a confusing routing, for example to use return tracks for reverbs, you will have to click numerous buttons to get that done. FL Studio has a somewhat steep learning curve, which can demotivate beginners. FL Studio's auto-saving feature is a bit late, which can ruin your project if you rely on it.

Is Reaper the best DAW? ›

Reaper is an excellent DAW, being well known for reliability, stability and efficiency. It has the recording and mixing features expected of modern DAWs. Reaper is extremely customizable, and comes bundled with a comprehensive suite of effects plugins. Its price point is lower than comparable DAWs.

Is Reaper worth using? ›

REAPER is still worth it today, considering the amount and quality of plugins it offers each user. These plugins are of professional grade, and the software is also quite light to use. On top of that, the $60 price it gets is quite hard to match and can only be beaten when other paid DAWs drop their prices.

Is FL Studio good for audio editing? ›

FL Studio is an excellent software for sound design for music projects, films, Games, and Animation. However, it is not the best choice for audio editing. Hopefully, Image-line will improve the editing workflow of the playlist and mixer channel soon.

Is Reaper good for metal music? ›

Below are our top picks for metal and rock music production: Avid Pro Tools. Cockos Reaper. PreSonus Studio One.

What is the best DAW of all time? ›

Best DAWs: Ultimate Music Production Software Picks for 2022
  • PreSonus Studio One 6.
  • Steinberg Cubase Pro 12.
  • Tracktion Waveform Pro 11.
  • Bitwig Studio 4.
  • Reaper 6.
  • Reason Studios Reason 12.
  • Image Line FL Studio 20.
  • AVID Pro Tools.
30 Sept 2022

Which DAW has best sound quality? ›

  1. Ableton Live. An inspiring DAW with a next-level workflow. ...
  2. Image-Line FL Studio. A unique DAW that's kickstarted many electronic music producers' careers. ...
  3. Apple Logic Pro. Amazing value and great performance on the Mac. ...
  4. Steinberg Cubase. ...
  5. PreSonus Studio One. ...
  6. Cockos Reaper 6. ...
  7. Reason Studios Reason. ...
  8. Bitwig Studio.
19 Oct 2022

What is Reaper DAW best for? ›

Reaper delivers live audio and virtual instrument recording, a full mixing console, real notation editing, and support for scoring for video. Unlike many competing DAWs, Reaper lets you build your own menus, toolbars, and macros, as well as change the entire look and color scheme of the interface.

Can you use Reaper forever? ›

How long can you use Reaper for free? You can use Reaper for free for 60 days after you first download and install it. After that, you must buy a license. Reaper will continue to work without issue after the 60 days, but you will be in breach of the licensing terms if you continue to use it without a valid license.

Do any famous producers use FL Studio? ›

A more universal gateway software platform there is not. Artists such as Tyler, The Creator, Skrillex, and the late Avicii have all stated FL Studio as crucial during the beginning stages of their production journeys.

How much RAM is recommended for FL Studio? ›

From FL Studio 20 you'd at least need 4 GBs of RAM. However it is recommended to pack a bit more RAM into your system. As the increase of RAM will increase the power you have within the DAW. The more RAM you have the more/heavier effects and virtual instrument you are able to run at the same time.

Why Pro Tools is better than Reaper? ›

Reaper offers better usability and production process, once you've committed and taken the time needed to configure it correctly. On the other hand, Pro Tools helps you create the very best of the best sounding tracks but comes at a price. There are, of course, many other options to choose from.

Is Reaper as good as Pro Tools? ›

Why: REAPER is great for people who like to tinker, but because of that, it has a pretty steep learning curve that requires a lot of practice with the platform to develop a comfortable workflow. Because of this, Pro Tools is our winner for ease of use thanks to its simpler interface and slightly easier learning curve.

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