REAPER is an accessible and affordable digital audio workstation (DAW). It can be used to compose, record, edit, mix and master pretty much any musical or audio-based thing you could name.
On this page, you’ll find an expanding collection of free training content, all tailored toward using REAPER with screen reader software. We’re calling it the REAPER Made Easy project.
The tutorials on this page start right from ground zero, getting you familiarised with some essential concepts and terminology, then guiding you through installing REAPER along with a couple of extensions to make it as accessible as can be. The majority of our training will apply to Windows and Mac by design, but wherever there are significant differences, we’ll cover both perspectives.
How to Listen or Download
Each standalone tutorial can be streamed direct from this page, you’ll find an accessible embedded player just after the descriptions and download links. We’re also making everything available to download so you can pop a copy onto whichever device is most comfortable for you to listen to while you’re following along with our instructors.
Sometimes, hitting the download link for a tutorial you’re interested in might result in the file being played using your browser’s built-in media player. If that happens to you, don’t worry, it’ll still be possible to download the tutorial. All you need to do is right-click on the download link instead (Windows screen reader users can hit Shift+F10, VO+Shift+M on Mac), then choose an option that mentions something like “Save Link As” or “Download link as” from the context menu that’ll pop up. Sorry we can’t be super specific, each browser uses slightly different lingo.
Recordings of our monthly live meet-ups where we take deeper dives into specific topics are provided zipped. Download the recording you’re interested in and extract the zip file, you’ll find each meet-up has been split into topics, making these easier to reference back to whenever you need a reminder of how something’s done.
If you get stuck with any of the above, drop us a line via the contact form below and let us know what you’re trying to download, we’ll be happy to help you get hooked up.
Are you new to REAPER? Start with these tutorials
Core Concepts with Justin and Scott
Join Scott Chesworth and Justin Macleod as they explain and illustrate the core concepts of a REAPER project. Whether this is your first foray into audio production or you’re considering switching over from some other recording software, this is where to start. There’s informative talk, there are working examples, it’s 18 minutes well spent.
Download Core Concepts with Justin and Scott, or listen online using the audio player below.
Installing REAPER, SWS and OSARA on Windows with Scott
Scott’s back in the hotseat to guide you through installing everything you’ll need for the most accessible experience with REAPER on Windows. He uses NVDA, but the same steps will apply to any other Windows screen reader. Listen in, follow along.
Download Installing REAPER, SWS and OSARA on Windows with Scott, or listen online using the audio player below.
Installing REAPER, SWS and OSARA on Mac with JennyK
JennyK is the first of our resident Mac gurus you’re going to meet. Here, she walks you through installing and configuring everything you’ll need to get Reaper up and running on Mac with VoiceOver.
Download Installing REAPER, SWS and OSARA on Mac with Jenny K, or listen online using the audio player below.
Configuring OSARA with Scott and JennyK
The OSARA Configuration dialog is the place to go if you want to tweak how much OSARA speaks when you’re working in REAPER. Learning what the options do can be a real productivity boost, enabling you to hear feedback on the things you want to know about, while cutting back jibber-jabber you don’t need. Scott and JennyK walked through the options one by one, with a practical demonstration of each choice so you can decide what will work best for you.
Download the OSARA Configuration Walkthrough, or listen online using the audio player below.
Deep Dives into Specific Topics
On the middle Saturday of each month, we run a live meet-up where our hosts do deep dives into specific topics and take questions from anyone who wants to attend. We’d love you to join us live, check when the next meet-up is (opens in a new tab).
Below, you’ll find recordings of previous meet-ups that you can study at your leisure.
Latest release: Scoring short films with Chris Ankin
This is an in-depth conversation with Chris Ankin about his career writing music for film, from the 1980’s through to 2020 when the interview was recorded. Chris has some neat adjustments in place to make his process more accessible, we got to listen to the resources he gets given by directors. We touched on budgeting and deliverables, how Chris keeps his composition chops fresh, then got into chewing the fat about disclosure of our visual impairments around clients and how people react to blind folk when we’re working.
Duration: 1 hour, 7 minutes.
Download Scoring short films with Chris Ankin.
Self-recorded guitar and vocals with Matt and Estelle
For this session we were joined by guests Matt and Estelle, a guitarist and vocalist who posted their cover version of a song in the REAPER Access WhatsApp group asking for feedback. The song is a tasty brew of acoustic guitars, clean electric guitars and vocals, all self-recorded in home spaces, some of it on a shoestring budget. We loved what we heard and they were both relatively new to recording themselves with REAPER, so we figured meeting with them for an in-depth exploration of their project would be a fun way to find answers to some of their questions with plenty of musical context.
Here’s what we covered:
- Matt described some affordable measures he took to improve the recordings he can make in a room that doesn’t have any proper acoustic treatment yet.
- Scott showed a handful of edits he did on the guitars to help maintain the delicate vibe throughout, tighten up timing a little and patch up the one actual mistake in an otherwise brilliant performance, comparing the raw recording versus his touch-up each time. He also tweaked an amplifier simulation plug-in to improve how one of the electric guitar parts sits in the mix.
- Working on the vocals, we discussed managing multiple tracks with Estelle, Scott showed how he coaxed two very different reverb sounds from a free plug-in, then showed how he sometimes uses a quiet delay to add even more space.
- We introduced Matt and Esttelle to a couple of virtual instruments, experimented with what a simple, functional bass line could bring to the table and discussed other potential layers they might want to add to their productions in future.
If you’re new to recording yourself at home or you’re trying to get the hang of editing your own performances, chances are good there’ll be some takeaways for you here.
Duration: 1 hour, 56 minutes.
Download Self-recorded Guitar and Vocals with Matt and Estelle.
Getting Started with Compression
Join Scott, JennyK and Justin for REAPER Made Easy’s deepest dive yet. This session is all things compression, a hearty mixture of analytical listening, advice and demonstration of how compressors can be helpful in musical and sound design contexts. Be sure to check the Links and Extras folder, you’ll find some excellent descriptive additions from Paul Warner.
Download Getting Started with Compression
Getting Started with Audio Restoration
Derek Lane joined us to share how he got into audio restoration, tips on how to cope with less than optimal recording environments, and he showed how choosing a microphone with the pickup pattern that suits your situation can be a huge help. Then we moved into the nitty-gritty of sprucing and restoring some difficult recordings, mostly with stock, free and cheap tools. As always, there are plenty of audio demonstrations throughout.
Download Getting Started with Audio Restoration
Wrapping up 2023, listening to your productions
Scott and JennyK wrapped up 2023 by listening to a random selection of the productions people have done with REAPER and OSARA throughout the year. Nineteen very excellent musics and nearly good jokes in between!
Download Wrapping up 2023
Intro to Editing with Justin and Scott
Whether you’re new to editing in general or you’re switching to doing it in REAPER, Justin and Scott have got your back. This session starts with examples of good recording techniques for capturing dialog, highlights a few things to watch out for, then a thorough dive into the nuts and bolts of editing. Follow along, practice these techniques, they’ll get you slicing and dicing like an audio chef.
Download Intro to Editing with Justin and Scott
Getting Started with EQ
Scott and Jen are here to help demystify EQ (equalization). This session starts from ground zero, explains what EQ is, when you might want to use it, and spends plenty of time demonstrating practical ways you can do that. We haven’t heard a comprehensive audio walkthrough of the frequency spectrum like this anywhere else.
Download Getting Started with EQ
Shout out to Danielle H for letting us use one of her big pop bangers, check out the lyric video for ‘Problem’ on YouTube
Looping part 1 with Justin Macleod
In this stream, Justin covers a bunch of workflows for looping sound effects and music, as well as some tricks that’ll often help to spice up uninspiring loops. Listen in, follow along.
Download Looping part 1 with Justin Macleod
Looping part 2 with Justin and Scott
Justin is going loopy again, this time with Scott along for the ride. In this session, you’ll find deeper dives into sound selection, useful REAPER preference tweaks, more on stutter edits, looping pads/drones, a refresher on Loop Section Source workflows and more musical examples thrown in along the way.
Download Looping part 2 with Justin and Scott
Getting Started with Surge XT, a free and wonderfully accessible open source synthesizer
On this stream, guest hosts Chris (Windows) and Piotr (Mac) joined us to provide an introduction to Surge XT. If you’d like to get into tweaking synth sounds, this is a great place to start. Listen in and follow along as Chris covers core concepts of subtractive synthesis by designing a bass patch from scratch, spruces it up with filters and effects, shows you how to modulate sounds with hands-on control and so much more.
Download Getting Started with Surge XT
Sound Design to Enrich Storytelling
Justin from Skyclad Sound joined us, walking through how he designed the magical realism audio environment to enhance a short story. If you’re at all curious about sound design, this session provides tons of insight into the thought processes, decisions and workflows he uses to get jobs done. There’s gentle sculpting, heavy-handed cranking, the making of a fantastic beast and everything in between. We also did some live tweaking of the scene based on the feedback in chat.
Download Sound Design to Enrich Storytelling
Songwriting and Self-Producing with Noah Lawson
This stream turned out to be something like the lovechild of a longform interview and a listening party. Noah Lawson, a songsmith and multi-instrumentalist from the UK joined us for a deep dive into his creative processes. We covered songwriting, recording, production and mixing, all in context of songs from his excellent ‘When the Night Goes to Sleep’ album. Plenty of good tips here for DIY artists and producers alike.
Download Songwriting and Self-Producing with Noah Lawson
Like the songs you heard? Visit Noah on BandCamp for more top quality tunes
The resources in this section aren’t part of the REAPER Made Easy project, but we’re happy to vouch for them being solid sources of information.
Download Ten Typical Tasks with Scott: bite-sized tutorials
Reapers Without Peepers: a super supportive support group (opens in a new tab)
REAPER Accessibility Wiki: articles in English and Spanish (opens in a new tab)
REAPER home page (opens in a new tab)
SWS home page (opens in a new tab)
OSARA Snapshots page (opens in a new tab)
Send Us Feedback
Feel free to get in touch with feedback on the content you’ve heard, and share thoughts on what you’d like to hear us covering in future. We’re especially interested in hearing what you’ve created after following along with our lessons, send us links to whatever you’ve got cookin’! Scott reads every message, and if you’re particularly unlucky, he might reply to yours.
Supporting the REAPER Made Easy project
TGV Productions has provided sponsorship to get the REAPER Made Easy project rolling. Our goal is to bring the expertise available within the community that’s developed around REAPER accessibility to a wider audience. We aim to pay contributors to the project fair rates to cover their time, but our pockets aren’t bottomless. If you appreciate this project and are in a position to chip in your support, you can contribute via PayPal or CashApp.
Your support will help us to pay our instructors a reasonable hourly production rate as they’re feverishly beavering away on new standalone content, as well as compensating the hosts, presenters and editors who pull together to provide our live streams. To be clear, nobody is getting filthy rich on this gig, we simply intend to pay people fairly for good work.
Absolutely any amount that’s comfortable for you to contribute will be appreciated. If you can’t support us financially, spreading the word that this resource is here, and helping us shape future content with your feedback are both great ways to help.
Thanks in advance for any support, however you decide to get involved.