Audacity vs Reaper: A Battle of Two Reputable DAWs

By Monica | News

Jan 02
audacity vs reaper

When it comes to digital audio workstations (DAWs), two names always come on the discussion: Audacity and Reaper. These two programs have been used by many recording artists and audio directors in creating different sound files for a variety of applications. They have been quite popular in the music community because of their user-friendly interfaces and functionality.

But inevitably, these programs are inevitably put into comparison. In fact, the debate between Audacity vs Reaper is a battle that has been subtly perpetuating for quite a time already. Although user preferences do matter here, some technical considerations always usurp their value. As a result, the specs of these two DAWs are being pitted against each other.

So who wins? Which of these DAWs should an enthusiast like you pick? Well, you can know the answers to these questions by checking out this mini guide that I made.


Audacity vs Reaper: A Complete Breakdown

As early as now, let me tell you that a lot of people prefer Reaper more than Audacity. The reason for this is simple: Reaper is an advanced software. There is no arguing on this, especially if you will get its licensed version. Audacity is good for simple applications. But when it comes to audio quality, processing power, and other technical capabilities, Reaper is considered a bomb.

Perhaps, the only DAW that can go toe to toe with Reaper is Adobe Audition. This is only my opinion, but I know that some users out there will adhere to my claim. After all, the stability of Adobe Audition can exceed those of Reaper and Audacity. But of course, the performance and compatibility issues will still depend on the platform that you have (Windows, Mac, Linux).

For now, let us just set aside Adobe Audition and focus with Reaper and Audacity.



The Audacity is a beginner-friendly audio recorder and editing system. It is a multi-track tool that is easy to understand. You can use this on different operating systems such as Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.


Despite being a free and open source audio editing software, the quality of Audacity can still match many premium programs. The features that Audacity has are all pretty decent. Although some would say that they are limited, the functions are still more than enough for those who just want a basic audio tool.

Nobody can contest the fact that Audacity is the perfect alternative to pricey audio auditors. Being a free software, you can download it on its official website anytime. The tool is not just free of fees. It also offers a free system for those who want to explore the world of DAWs. If you want an audio software that will teach you the ropes of audio editing, Audacity is the tool-of-the-trade.

Surprisingly, Audacity has a hassle-free usage. Just I mentioned earlier, the interface of this program is simple. It comes clean as you expected it to be. But alongside with that simplicity is the presence of a myriad of features that are usually found in paid and licensed applications. All the essential applications such as noise removal and clips and effects combination are included in Audacity.

Despite being a no-payment software, Audacity has no limitations when it comes to the project length or size. You don't have to worry about any plugins that are hidden behind a payment boundary.

Also, take into account that Audacity is constantly updated. So when there are issues, you can guarantee that it can be fixed sooner.


For now, Audacity doesn't have major flaws that you have to be bothered about. If that's the case, then people would stop using it. That's how things work in the music community. After all, the precision of the DAW can determine the quality of the audio or sound being produced.

There is no problem to Audacity when it comes to its compatibility with different operating systems. However, there are some issues in where users report that the Audacity program is crashing or not functioning properly. But these are just isolated cases and should not be encountered once you have installed the program properly.

Another notable thing that you should note about the Audacity is its inconsistency on the tool design. This is a developer issue, to be honest. But overall, none of these disadvantages can be considered as deal-breakers.

The Book of Audacity: Record, Edit, Mix, and Master with the Free Audio Editor



The Reaper is another impressive software that you cannot simply find anywhere. It is among of the most consistent and highly rated DAWS today due to its impeccable performance in audio editing and sound recording. Specifically, Reaper stands for Rapid Environment for Audio Prototyping and Efficient Recording. It was developed by Cockos Incorporated in 2004, and since then, the software has witnessed a sudden increase in popularity.


You can reap a lot of benefits when you use the Reaper. It is flexible setup considering that it is a premium and paid software. The compatibility level that it has is astounding as well. It can run on various operating systems and is available on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

There is also a portable version of this program, which you can operate through your USB. The best part of this version is that there is no need for you to install it on your computer. Some users are even syncing Reaper with their Dropbox accounts so that they can access on its different computers.

Even if it is true that Reaper is a feature-studded program, it is still surprisingly lightweight. It can be installed and opened quickly. The initial launching will take time because the software requires scanning the VST directory of your computer. But after that, the program can be launched in less than three seconds, even for devices that don't have SSD.

The Reaper caters an infinite amount of tracks, effects, and other audio materials. The size of the project doesn't matter, too. As long as your computer can take it, so does the Reaper. As of now, I can't see any restrictions when it comes to the working capability of this program.

Take note that Reaper can treat Virtual Instruments as similar to other audio effects. Therefore, you can just freely place them on the FX chain.

When it comes to optimization, Reaper is simply outstanding. Even projects that involve hundreds of effects and track combinations will never hurt your CPU at all. Reaper has smoothen its performance in a way that it will never become deterrent to your computer. Its rendering is smooth and high-quality.


Perhaps, the only disadvantage that the Reaper program has is its cost. This is not a problem, to begin with, as most of the DAWs out there are paid services. However, since we are comparing Reaper with Audacity, then it is proper to highlight this factor. If you are willing to spend, then Reaper is a good choice for you. But for those who are not, sticking with the Audacity is a wise move.

We have different takes when it comes to the interface of the Reaper. Some people say that it is easy to configure and navigate while others are confused to it. Maybe, the experience level of the user will play a factor here. This is directly opposite to Audacity, which is plainly simple from the get-go.

REAPER Power!: The Comprehensive Guide, Book & CD-ROM


The Audacity vs Reaper battle will not end even if I have made this article. Both of these software have their respective fanbase, so it is quite normal to see some upcoming discussions in music forums and communities. But for the meantime, let us just thank that these two DAWs exist to help us in our recording and audio editing needs.

The main selling points of Audacity are its simplicity and premium-like features (since it is free). Meanwhile, Reaper boasts limitless functions and optimization. For me, it is better that you should try these two before you decide which one of them can make the cut!


About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!

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