Yes, REAPER comes with a complete collection of stock plugins that you can use for various audio production purposes. This collection includes your standard mixing and mastering plugins such as compression, EQ, pitch correction, reverb, etc., as well as quite a few more unique effects plugins.
Why Do You Need REAPER Plugins?
Having quality plugins to use is essential if you are trying to produce professional and polished music.
Plugins allow you to shape and enhance your track and the different instruments within it.
Without a set of decent plugins and the knowledge of how to use them, you will always struggle with audio production. Every great music producer knows the importance of having reliable plugins as part of their toolkit.
In this in-depth article, I will show you some of REAPER’s best stock plugins!
Where To Find REAPER Plugins
Before we get started, I want to show you how to access the complete list of REAPER plugins.
Start by inserting a new track and clicking the ‘Show Track FX Window’ button.
Once you have done this, the plugin window for that track will open up, and you will be able to see all of your plugins in one place.
You can find the REAPER plugins under the ‘Cockos’ tab and the ‘JS’ tab.
Now that you know where to find your REAPER plugins, let’s check some of them out!
Top Cockos REAPER Plugins
ReaEQ – Graphic Equalizer
The first plugin that I want to show you is ReaEQ. ReaEQ is a graphic equalizer plugin that will allow you to sculpt and shape the different elements of your mix.
With ReaEQ, you can insert and adjust as many different bands as you need to control your mix.
Although ReaEQ is not as visually attractive as some third-party plugins, it is still a very functional and easy-to-use EQ plugin.
ReaComp – Compressor Plugin
The following plugin that I want to show you is ReaComp. ReaComp is REAPER’s stock compressor plugin.
You can use ReaComp for sidechain compression and more conventional compression techniques.
Here is an article on how to sidechain in REAPER using ReaComp.
ReaComp’s display might be a bit dull, but the plugin itself does not lack at all in functionality and performance.
JS: Saturation – Saturation Plugin
Saturation is a tool you can use to add warmth and color to certain parts of your mix. JS: Saturation is REAPER’s stock saturation plugin.
My favorite thing about JS: Saturation is its barebones design. It features only one knob that you can control, making it very simple to use.
ReaVerb – Reverb Plugin
Reverb is a type of audio processing that can add space and dimension to certain sounds. Thankfully, REAPER comes with a free reverb plugin called ReaVerb.
ReaVerb features a few presets that you can use and the option to program your own settings.
ReaVerb is not necessarily the best reverb plugin on the market. Still, if you want to save some money on expensive third-party plugins, you can use ReaVerb to add space and dimension to your tracks.
ReaTune – Pitch Correction Plugin
Pitch correction is a necessary part of mixing vocals, and thankfully, REAPER comes with ReaTune, a free pitch correction plugin.
In ReaTune, you can automatically correct an instrument’s pitch based on a musical scale or manually change notes. It also features a tuner.
Although some other pitch correction plugins have a more attractive design and more advanced settings, ReaTune is an excellent option for REAPER users looking to save money.
ReaDelay – Delay Plugin
ReaDelay is REAPER’s basic delay plugin. ReaDelay features several presets and the option to tune the various settings yourself.
You can change the delay time in ReaDelay either musically or based on time.
One downside to ReaDelay is how basic it is. I have definitely used several other third-party delay plugins that I prefer just because they sound better or more enjoyable than ReaDelay.
Nevertheless, ReaDelay is a solid delay plugin.
JS: Huge Booty Bass Enhancer – Low-End Enhancer Plugin
One of my favorite REAPER plugins is JS: Huge Booty Bass Enhancer. This plugin adds some serious low-end fatness to any track that you insert it on.
JS: Huge Booty Bass Enhancer can be great on certain things like kick drums, bass guitars, etc.
What is great about this plugin is how simple it is to use. It only has three knobs, making it a quick way to add low end in your mix.
JS: RBJ 1073 EQ – Neve EQ Emulator Plugin
This next REAPER plugin is a personal favorite of mine. The JS: RBJ 1073 EQ is an emulator of the classic Neve EQ, and it sounds incredible!
Not only is this plugin simple and easy to use, but it is also a great way to add some analog color to your tracks.
JS: Master Limiter – Master BUS Limiter Plugin
The JS: Master Limiter is a limiter plugin that I use constantly. This plugin has a straightforward design, making it great to work with.
Not only that, but it sounds great also! I always find myself using this plugin on my master BUS to add some serious power and loudness to my mixes.
The JS: Master Limiter is an easy-to-use and awesome-sounding limiter plugin for REAPER.
The final VST plugin I want to show you is JS: Distortion. Distortion is a great way to add some bite or edge to certain parts of your mix.
The only downside to JS: Distortion is its boring and dull design. Other than that, it sounds fantastic and is very easy to work with!
Give JS: Distortion a try on your mix next time you need to make something sound mean and in your face.
Does REAPER come with Virtual Instruments?
Although REAPER does come with a complete collection of stock plugins, the only VST instrument that REAPER comes with is a weak and low-quality synth called ‘ReaSynth.’
Other than ReaSynth, REAPER does not include any other virtual instrument.
Why Would You Pick REAPER Over Other DAWs?
You would pick REAPER over another DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) because it is highly customizable, very affordable, and arguably just as powerful as other DAWs.
Although REAPER is not as common as other DAWs, it is still an excellent option for audio production, especially for someone on a budget.
Do You Need a MIDI Keyboard for Producing Music?
The short answer is no. You do not need a MIDI keyboard to produce music. There are other ways to record MIDI in REAPER, such as the virtual MIDI keyboard and the MIDI editor window.
However, I highly recommend investing in a MIDI keyboard if you can afford one. It will make producing music much easier for you.
Click here to read our full article on producing music without a MIDI keyboard.
What Are the Best Plugins for REAPER?
In my opinion, some of the best REAPER plugins are ReaEQ, ReaComp, ReaVerb, ReaDelay, and JS: Saturation.
These stock plugins feature a simple design and are effective and easy to use. However, there are a ton of other great REAPER plugins.
As you can see from this article, not only does REAPER include your more standard mixing and mastering plugins, but it also features some more interesting effects plugins that you can use to alter a sound’s character.
In the world of audio production, you will not get very far without having reliable plugins that you can count on.
After reading this article, I hope you better understand the different stock REAPER plugins and how you can use them in your tracks.
Click here to read more about Virtual Instruments In REAPER.
about the author
I’m Jack Oberkirsch, a film and media composer residing in Denver, Colorado. I play in several local bands and have been touring the country for nearly a decade.
Since 2016 I’ve been focusing on studio work and production and have moved into the realm of film and media composition.
I like to combine and implement many different musical instruments and styles to convey the director’s vision on any given project.
I also enjoy writing material for music libraries and sync placements.