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Reaper vs Studio One Comparison: Which DAW is Right for You?

Reaper vs Studio One Comparison_ Which DAW is Right for You

Reaper vs. Studio One Comparison: Which DAW is Right for You?

Reaper vs. Studio One is another DAW matchup with almost similar features and benefits that can help producers bring out their best music creations.

Reaper may be around longer by a few years, but Studio One’s presence in the music industry has been stellar.

However, Reaper is not a sloucher either, as this DAW is also popular among beginners in the industry.

So for this matchup, let’s find out which one fits your needs: Reaper or Studio One? That is the question we will answer today.


  • Studio One has a great drag-and-drop feature
  • Reaper has a 60-day trial before paying for a subscription.
  • Both DAWs are widely recognized and widely praised for their usability.
Table of Contents

Reaper Overview

Reaper Overview

Unlike any other digital audio workstations, the Reaper is a simple tool you can use for your audio recording, video editing, or audio editing.

Its interface is not on par with Pro tools, but it still gets the job done with its simple design like any other software.


The Reaper is your typical standard digital audio workstation that can help you with video editing, audio recording, and track mixing.

The basic version of the Reaper already has many features and tools similar to having a “production assistant” with you.

The Reaper interface is not that crazy special as the development team kept the look basic to help new producers and beginners get used to using a DAW.

Here are some features of the Reaper you should keep in mind:

1) Compatibility With MIDI

If you are a big fan of MIDI then the Reaper is for you.

You will find Reaper very convenient for MIDI editing as the digital workstation greatly has multichannel support compatible with MIDI devices.

You will also have the luxury of having a full-screen MIDI editor that can help you with MIDI recording and editing on top of the hundreds of effects and built-in tools.

Having this at your disposal allows you to edit MIDI notes and unleash your inner creativity to come up with something new.

2) Customizable

You can customize Reaper of your own free will.

Do you not like the color of your dashboard? No Problem, you can change it. Your Reaper interface looks old? You can change the interface to match your style.

Other than color changes and interface changes, you can customize the Reaper toolbar to fit your editing and mixing style.

You will prefer Reaper to avoid traditional DAW interfaces with no customization options.

3) Plug-Ins

One of the biggest reasons people install Reaper is the customizable and installable plug-ins.

You can use JS plugins for those who are fond of using JavaScript.

You can download “Reaplugs,” which is a plugin VST file to add more external resources to help support you in editing your music tracks.

However, even if you can download several plugins, there is a maximum number you can use simultaneously, depending on your computer’s RAM.

What Are the Downsides of Using Reaper?

Downsides of Using Reaper

Every DAW has there weaknesses or downsides; here are a few examples:

Old School GUI

Using Reaper’s GUI isn’t the most fun or the most aesthetically beautiful out there.

Even if you can customize the GUI of your workstation, it still does not change that its user interface is old school. Other daws, such as Studio One or Waveform, offer a much more modern GUI look than the Reaper.

Reaper’s GUI can be so uninspiring that it can be quite difficult to create creative tracks when you need that.

So if you want a more modern look in your digital audio workstation, it’s better to look for other options.

Limited Use of Virtual Instruments

Every other DAW out there allows their workstation to edit and use virtual instruments to improve the song the producer is making. But not Reaper.

Limited accessibility to digital instruments hurts the popularity of this workstation compared to other DAWs.

You will have to use a plugin/s to be able to use a virtual instrument, or you have to install one through an external source. If you are a producer who is dependent on these online instruments, there is better software out there that can accommodate your goals.

Long Drop-Down Menus

Probably the most annoying feature of the Reaper. There are numerous drop-down menus when you have too many projects open where the need to install a plugin is a must.

Drop-down menus are needed in every other software, but if you have too many open and it clutters your workstation, it becomes a problem. You can customize the menu to limit the number of open drop-down menus, but most people use an external plugin cleaner to save time.

Reaper Pros

  • Plugin customization and installation
  • Customizable Interface
  • MIDI Compatibility
  • Low CPU usage

Reaper Cons

  • Potentially unattractive GUI
  • Drop-down menus
  • Not compatible with virtual instrument

Studio One Overview

Studio One Logo

“Producing Without Limits” is the tagline that PreSonus exemplifies for their digital workstation.

One of the best DAW for music production, this workstation brings out the best in your song projects.

Using Studio One is similar to using FL studio or Cubase but has a better interface and a wider array of tools for music editing.

So, if you’re still hesitant to use the workstation for your editing needs, let’s go right into its different features.


Imagine editing seamlessly without end and finishing song projects without end: no hassle, issues, and problems with every addition to an effect or track.

What if I tell you right now you can make that a reality? That’s right. Studio One can make your video editing workflow process clean without any issues.

Its interface may look like a spreadsheet, but it’s purposely done that way to help editors create music without any issues.

Here are some more features about Studio One you should keep in mind.

1) Virtual Instruments

Studio One’s strength comes from using a variety of virtual instruments and audio tracks to help you produce and create your style of music.

On top of that, you can use external plug-ins to help you edit your MIDI files or support your MIDI editor to bring out the best in your music project.

2) Integrated Mastering Environment

Another cool feature Studio One has is an integrated mastering environment.

It’s one of the advanced features the digital audio workstation has that helps producers improve the production value of their songs.

Besides the mastering environment, the program also has a smooth workflow that you can use to draft and drop any file to create catchy beats.

Moreover, its built-in retrospective record can help you use live and virtual instruments when recording and mixing music.

You can also find a song page within the software to find your virtual instruments and organize the track to make editing and composing easier.

3) Upgrading to the Professional Version

Lastly, the professional version of Studio One gives you more access to editing tools and a larger storage cloud space to help you with your creative process.

Though it is not needed to get the upgraded version, it will help aspiring music producers get their experience with multitrack recording, sound design, etc.

What Are The Downsides Of Using Studio One?

Downsides Of Using Studio One

Numerous Amount of Tools

We said that it’s the software’s strength, but it is also a weakness. Having too many tools given to you immediately can be intimidating for novice users.

Extended Release of Patch Updates and Bug Fixes

Studio One can have long cycles without a patch or update, irritating producers and artists.

This holds when there are already bugs in the program and the next patch fix is still months away.

As a result, producers resort to using other DAWs until the bugs are fixed for the latest version, or they will use plug-ins to work around the bug.

Tracking Problems

No, I don’t mean the music track where you edit, but the problem lies when you have multiple track templates or projects you want to save.

Studio One has a problem when you are saving multiple track templates at one time.

You must be creative when saving your templates so your progress won’t be lost.

Once you can find a workaround to this issue, it will be easier to save templates and projects, but if you’re a beginner, it’s best to check other DAWs.

Studio One Pros

  • Smooth Workflow
  • A wide array of editing tools
  • Multiple plug-ins can be used
  • Well designed interface

Studio One Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • It can be quite expensive
  • Rolling out new features can be slow

Differences Between Reaper vs Studio One

Differences Between Reaper vs. Studio One

Both Reaper and Studio One offer a lot to aspiring producers or veterans out there with there

Let’s see below how the Reaper compares with Studio One:

1) Accessibility

Nothing compares to the Reaper when it comes to accessibility.

The software can run in either IOS or Windows and has a free trial version for 60 days.

Studio One can offer the same or even better versions, but the price points of their Pro tools can be a barrier for some people.

2) Working on Multiple Projects

Both Reaper and Studio One have tools to allow you to work on multiple audio tracks of your projects simultaneously.

However, key differences emerge when you use both programs, such as editing audio or the different tools you will use.

For Studio One, there is a max number that you can open when editing your audio file, while Reaper doesn’t have this limit.

3) No Drag and Drop Feature

The no drag and drop feature is one of the main differences between the Reaper and Studio One.

Studio One’s drag-and-drop feature is so flawless and convenient that it feels like editing can last in one snap.

Whereas, in Reaper, you may have to upload your file manually, which can be a problem when you have a lot of files.

4) Multiple Track Editing

Studio One is rock solid on this feature.

All you need to do is enter certain key commands into the DAW, and you can easily drag and drop your sound files into the workstation.

You also have the option to create your original track or multiple versions of the same song depending on

The Reaper doesn’t have this where you can create unlimited audio projects since the DAW is more focused on single-track editing, which can be dated for some producers.

5) Technology

Studio One’s fast-working technology in music editing is far superior to the Reaper.

You can edit both live instruments and virtual instruments, and you can use volume automation when editing the sounds of your music.

Studio One can be a complex program, but once you get the hang of it, you can make music with surround sound compatibility that will blow away listeners.

Alternatives to Reaper and Studio One

You don’t feel like using either the Reaper or Studio One? Here are three alternative workstations similar to the ones we just reviewed.

1) Waveform


Like the waves, this DAW can grow or shrink depending on the intensity of your work and the quality of your production.

Like the Reaper, Waveform has a free version and customizable toolbars and interfaces that you can take advantage of.

And like Studio One, you have online instruments to help you be more creative, and you are allowed to use multiple tracks to bring out the power and feel of your music.

Moreover, as you progress as a music engineer or producer, you have the option to add more and more features that you can access for free.

Getting a MIDI editor or a ‘synth pack’ gives you more creative options in your tool belt to eventually become one of the best music producers out there.

Even the Pro version of Waveform is no slack.

Getting Waveform Pro gives you all the tools you need to make you feel like you can create music or sounds on a professional level.

It will feel like riding a giant wave on a surfboard and having the time of your life for only $99.

2) Audacity


True to its name, the DAW is one of the most audacious in terms of sophistication and user experience.

Unlike the other digital audio workstations here, the DAW is open-source software that you can download for FREE.

There is no professional version, no fees, and no additional costs. Pretty bold, right?

Audacity believes that everyone can make music at their own pace and style. Hence, their software is free to download on their website.

You can start to create and edit music to your heart’s content, as you already have most of the basic features available.

One downside you should know before getting this DAW: Its audio editor is not the best.

The software cannot do multi-audio track editing, so you may have to edit those files individually and struggle with longer-length audio files.

The reason? The open-source software lacks features for intermediate or high levels of audio editing.

The lack of sound editing features prevents this DAW from becoming a universal standard that can go toe-to-toe with industry giants.

3) Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X

The darling DAW of Apple.

Logic Pro X is your alternative DAW to Reaper or Studio One for all MAC users.

Its software for those using MAC is very easy to use, and you won’t need a lot of extensions or plugins for it to work on your Macbook Pro.

The program is also free to download, and you will already have access to audio editing and multiple-track editing, which can help make more complex songs.

Unfortunately, Logic Pro X isn’t compatible with Windows, but you can use emulators if you want to try out this DAW.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Still wondering if Reaper or Studio One is still worth the money? Here are commonly asked questions to ease your doubts.

Is Studio One or Reaper Recommended for Beginners?

Reaper vs. Studio One for the beginner use matchup, but between the two, the Reaper wins this round, hands down.

The Reaper is more beginner friendly than the Studio One as it has a more simper workstation design and already contains most tools for you to do your music production.

You can still produce music with Studio One but be prepared to go through a learning curve given its large collection of editing tools and features that you can use.

Are Paid DAWs Worth the Money?

You do not need to spend money on a DAW when you don’t need it. Most studios offer a free, fully functional DAW already.

However, if you need more features or benefits, buying a premium DAW version with pro tools will be more beneficial than using the free version.

Missing out on numerous premium tools and features that could improve your music further may set you back years when you plan to make music production a career.

You can get a low-cost commercial license from Reaper if you are on a budget or when a studio offers a discounted license.

There is no rent-to-own option, so spend your money wisely.

Do You Have to Pay For Reaper Upgrades?

Yes, you have to pay for the Reaper’s upgrades.

Reaper requires you to pay for the discounted license after you’ve finished the 60-day free trial. This is the company’s way of supporting the developers and improving the DAW further.

What Things Do I Need When Using a DAW?

You do need a lot when you are using a DAW. Here are some things you will need.

  • Hard work
  • Persistence
  • An Open-Mind
  • Accepting Failure

Wait a minute; most of these are all values. Yes, that’s right, you will need more of your values or traits that make a person successful.

It is best to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally once you start making music with a DAW because it will be a long and bumpy journey.

Once you have all these 5 things, you can master any DAW software and produce the best music of your life.

Final Thoughts

Getting the Reaper or Studio One can help you get far with your music career. It’s now a matter of what you prefer or needs to produce the best music.

Both Studio One and the Reaper will have their downsides, but their flaws are things you can provide a workaround through plugins.

So whether you choose simplicity or sophistication, know that these tools are meant to be an extension of the creative music genius inside you.

Be brave, and start mixing!

About the author


After becoming obsessed with the beats that were the soundtrack to his youth, Nick became a student of hip hop, digging for vinyl records, looking for the perfect break. Before he got his hands on an MPC sampler, he would mash these records, beats, and breaks into mixtapes and live DJ sets.