Reaper by Cockos is an exceptional DAW for recording, mixing & mastering, and even beat-making. It's fairly unknown in the music production world and is often underrated.
However, Reaper is a fully functional, professional DAW, that many veteran producers including Glen Fricker (owner of Spectre Sounds Studios), & Wyste of WhiteSeaStudios, actually prefer over the more popular choices such as Logic, FL Studio, Ableton or Cubase.
This may be due to its usability, and options for customisation.
With Reaper being such a fantastic DAW, many new music producers wonder if Reaper is a free DAW and if you can still use it after the 60-day trial.
In this article, we're going to answer that question quickly, along with many more answers to questions that you may have, and are welcome to read on if you like after.
Is Reaper Free After The 60 Day Trial? (Quick Answer)
Reaper is not free after the 60-day trial. You will have to purchase one of the two available licences – Commercial ($225) or Discounted ($60). It will still be fully functional for use, because of the no strings attached trial. But, Reaper expects you to be honest, purchasing a license for your needs.
This means that after the 60-days, you'll still be able to use Reaper as you have been during the trial period. Nothing will change, and the software won't lock up, or prevent you from saving files.
But be courteous to the developers and buy the software if you like it. They have been very generous with their trust.
Which Reaper version you will have to get depends on how you use Reaper, and whether you use it commercially or for personal use.
How Much Does Reaper Cost?
What Reaper License Types Are Available?
There are 2 Reaper licenses to choose from:
The discounted license is $60. It is only for people who are using the software for personal use, non-profit companies, and educational institutions. Individuals in business who earn under $20,000/year may also purchase the discounted, personal license key.
There is no difference between the discounted and the commercial license in terms of DAW functionality.
You buy the licenses depending on your situation. Use it as a personal license, or for an educational license.
If you are found to be making over the yearly gross revenue of $20,000/year, on a personal license, there could be penalties for doing so.
The commercial license is $225 and is for people earning over $20,000/year. If you are in business and earning above that yearly gross revenue threshold, you need to buy the commercial license of Reaper.
If you are using Reaper commercially, you need a commercial license.
Does Reaper Do An Educational Discount?
Reaper doesn't offer a specific educational discount but offer their Discounted license to educational institutions. The Discounted license is over 70% off the Commercial price.
You can also get this license if you are using Reaper for personal use, or you are a non-profit company.
Can I Get a Refund on Reaper?
Once you've purchased a license of Reaper you cannot refund it. All purchases of Reaper are final, so make sure you're happy with the software before you make the decision to buy.
What Happens if I Don't Pay For Reaper After The 60 Days?
If you don't pay for Reaper after the trial, you will experience a 5s delay message that appears before opening Reaper, asking for your license file, telling you to purchase a copy. They won't disable your software, and you'll still be able to use it like before.
However, if you have the money, and use Reaper a lot, you should support the developers. They have spent a lot of time creating a great piece of software, and need to earn a living too. It only costs $60 for a license, and you can create professional tracks using it.
This is far cheaper than purchasing something like Ableton Live Suite, which costs close to $600.
If you don't have the money, you can *technically* continue using the full version of Reaper. But, if you begin to earn money using it, from selling your own music, buy a license as soon as possible.
Can Sell Beats/Make Money Using an Unlicensed Reaper?
You cannot make money using Reaper unless you have purchased a Commerical license. It's unethical to use their software for free, to earn money with it. And, if you are earning money, you can pay for it!
There is no way of enforcing this, or Reaper finding out unless you have an open YouTube channel or blog that earns money, and you're using an unlicensed version of Reaper. So, if you wanted to be unethical, you technically could (if they don't find you out).
However, you shouldn't do this. It's not right on the developers, and it's already such a cheap software to purchase. So, if you make money, just get it!
If music production is just a hobby, a discounted license is exceptionally cheap.
Comparing it to something like the Gym, or a sport where you have to buy a membership and physical equipment to take part, $65 is absolutely nothing.
How Many Installations of Reaper Can I Have?
You can install Reaper, across multiple computers. However, you can only use one copy of Reaper at a time. So, that means you can’t have Reaper open on two devices at a time.
Here is the direct quote from Reaper about how many installations you can have on a single license.
If you own multiple computers, you may install the same license key on all of them, as long as you only use REAPER on one computer at a time
This is a much better deal than most DAWs you can purchase. For instance, Pro Tools only allows up to three computers at a time. Ableton only allows 3 computers too.
For $60 – $225 for unlimited activations across multiple devices, and a software that contends with the pros, you really can't go wrong.
What Comes With Reaper?
Reaper is a DAW that comes with functionality for mono, stereo and surround soundtrack processing. It has MIDI, support for video, and all forms of audio, on top of support for 3rd party VSTs, AU, LV2 etc. With Reaper, you also get over 30, 64-bit stock VST plugins.
There's a huge amount of functionality with Reaper, including some awesome new features like FX plugin embedding, where you can alter your VST settings in a small window on your FX chain.
In Reaper, you'll have full support for all audio files, options for video (for film composition), and MIDI support. You'll be able to open all 3rd party VSTs, and Reaper is one of the few new DAWs that allows for 32-bit plugins to open in its 64-bit environment.
Other DAWs, like Ableton and Logic, will make you use software such as J-Bridge, and 32-lives to wrap the 32-bit plugins in a 64-bit environment.
Reaper is a fully functional, professional DAW that has all the features the likes of Pro-Tools, Cubase & Logic have, for a lower price.
Does Reaper Have Free Updates?
A purchased copy of Reaper 6, will give you free upgrades until Reaper 7.99. The current version of Reaper is 6.46. After Reaper 7.99, you will have to pay to upgrade to 8.
Before Reaper 6, they offered unlimited free updates, but this has since changed.
This support is much better than something like Ableton, which makes you page every time a new version is released. However is worse than Logic, and FL Studio where you get lifetime updates for free.
For $60 to cover you until version 8 of Reaper, you really can't complain. It's already criminally cheap.
Related Questions – Reaper FAQ
Is Reaper Any Good?
Reaper is very good. It's a fully-fledged professional DAW that you can use to mix, master, record, or even produce/compose music. Reaper is best used for recording, mixing and mastering. However, can be used for anything in the audio production world.
When comparing Reaper to other DAWs, it sits well against them, offering the same functionality, if not more than most. However, it's not as good for composition or beat-making as Ableton, or Logic.
Reaper is most popular among audio engineers. Here's why Spectre Sounds Studios loves Reaper so much:
Is Reaper Good For Beginners?
Reaper is fantastic for beginners. With the huge range of video tutorials available on the official website, anyone can learn Reaper easily. However, the interface might put some beginners off and may overwhelm them.
If you can get past this and aren't bothered about the interface, Reaper could be a great pick for someone learning music production.
We'd recommend Reaper to beginner audio engineers. It's similar to Pro Tools and provides the same functionality, but is much, much cheaper to get started with. Pro Tools First is also free, but is limited, and will hamper your ability to learn due to a lack of features unlocked.
What Is Reaper Best At & Who Is It For?
Reaper is for audio engineers who record artists and mix and master music. Reaper is not for beatmakers or composers but can be used for those features if wanted.
Reaper comes with precise, stock mixing tools that can be used alongside a studio setup. It's best for audio engineers that have a studio environment, and use it as a centrepiece for control over recording, alongside their hardware racks.
This is due to the fact that Reaper doesn't come with many stock sounds or instruments.
With many of the production focussed DAWs like Ableton and Logic, you're paying the higher prices for the inclusion of the sound libraries, intelligent workflow, and incredible creative effects + synths that are amazing for composing music with.
Which is Better Reaper or Audacity?
Reaper is better than Audacity. Audacity is a free tool that has an extremely stripped back UI and functionality. Although you can record, and edit audio in Audacity, it doesn't provide a mixer, panning, or other features you'll find in Reaper that is extremely important for audio engineering.
If you're serious about audio, and you want to get into music production, get Reaper over Audacity.
You'll get a range of incredible stock plugins that you can begin to use to mix and master tracks or learn how to. You'll also get video functionality, and a tonne more features than Audacity, that are important to have.
Audacity will suffice if you're just doing podcasts, or you're recording your audio for YouTube. We personally use Audacity alongside our recording software to capture our audio.
Reaper and Audacity are really best used as separate tools. They aren't really comparable to each other. But, if they were – Reaper would come out on top.
Is Reaper Better Than Ableton?
Ableton is better than Reaper for music production as a whole and is far better for creating & composing music. Reaper is better than Ableton for audio engineering work, with a slight edge in workflow for mixing and mastering.
Both tools are extremely different from each other, and which one is better really comes down to what you're going to use it for.
You've also got to take into account that Ableton is almost three times the price of a commercial Reaper license, so you're bound to get a better piece of software. For the price, Reaper is extremely functional and will do everything you need it to.
However, Ableton has the edge.
It has a better user interface, includes a huge library of professionally recorded sounds like Violins, Pianos, Cellos, Brass & more, includes a number of virtual instruments, an incredible sampler, and everything you'd ever want from a creative DAW suite.
Is Reaper Better Than Pro Tools?
Pro Tools is better than Reaper for audio engineering. It's the industry standard and includes a lot of amazing features. However, there are many professional audio engineers that use a combination of Reaper and Pro Tools, so it comes down to functionality and how you work as a producer.
For instance, Wytse from WhiteSeaStudios uses a combination of Pro-Tools & Reaper. And Spectre Sound Studios uses Reaper too.
More and more engineers are swapping from Pro Tools to Reaper, due to the extremely high price tags on Pro-Tools and the subsequent upgrades. Reaper provides a very similar experience for audio engineers, and is much cheaper.
When you only use your DAW as a means to record audio, and you use a mixing console alongside analog hardware, there's not much point in having the extras Pro-Tools provides.
Is Reaper A Professional DAW?
Reaper is a fully-fledged professional DAW that can be used for mixing, mastering, recording or composition. You can even use Reaper with video, for TV & film projects. Reaper stands up tall next to the industry standard competition.