To loop individual tracks in REAPER is simple. All you will have to do is drop an audio file, drag it to your desired size, double click its edge to set the loop length, and then the item will loop as you drag it forward in the project.
Looping In REAPER
Looping is a handy tool for music producers and beatmakers. It can save you time and improve your workflow while producing.
Although every DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) will have a looping function built in that you can use, it will be different in each one.
For example, suppose you use a DAW geared towards beat-making like FL Studio. In that case, the looping function is as easy to use as clicking and dragging.
However, if we want to use looping in REAPER, a few extra steps come first.
In this step-by-step guide, I’m going to show you the ins and outs of how to loop in REAPER!
What You Will Need
To loop in REAPER, the only things you will need are:
- REAPER DAW itself
- Audio files to drop in and edit
- SWS Extension for your system
Step One – Adjusting Your Settings
Before we can start looping in REAPER, we will first have to edit some of our settings.
Start by clicking Options, then select the Preferences option. After you have preferences pulled up, select Media item defaults.
Once media item defaults open up, you will want to deselect all of the ‘Loop source’ settings. Make sure you have the ‘Trim content behind media items when editing’ box selected.
Next, go to Mouse modifiers, select the Media item edge option, and set it to Double click.
After doing this, you will want to set your default action to SWS: loop section of selected item(s).
You will have to have the SWS Extension for REAPER installed on your system to use this default action. You can download this free extension here. It has many benefits for REAPER users.
After the settings mentioned above are in place, you will be ready to start looping in REAPER!
Step Two – Dropping An Audio Or MIDI Item
Now that we have the correct settings entered into REAPER, the next step is to insert an item that we want to loop.
You can use this technique for an audio or MIDI file, but I’ll be using audio files from one of my sample packs for this example.
Step Three – Setting Loop Size
Once we have placed the item onto the track that we want to loop, we can set the item’s loop point. To do this, drag the item’s edge to our desired size and double-click on the media item’s right edge.
Step Four – Looping
We can finally loop this item with our settings entered correctly and our media item set to our desired loop size!
To do this, all you have to do is click on the media item’s edge and drag it through the project. As you do this, you will notice the item is now looping instead of just getting longer.
I’m going to show you how to build a little drum loop real quick!
Looping Playback In REAPER
Another type of looping that you can use in REAPER is playback looping.
This function will be helpful if you want to hear a selected area of your track repeatedly.
To loop playback of a specific time selection in REAPER, click the Toggle Repeat option.
Now, any selected area of your track that you highlight with your cursor will loop when you press play.
You can use this fantastic tool in any phase of the music production process, from recording to mixing and mastering.
How do you loop MIDI items in REAPER?
To loop a MIDI clip in REAPER, you can use this same quick looping strategy shown in this article.
You may notice a few slight differences between looping audio items and MIDI items in REAPER. Still, these will be things you get used to as your practice.
The technique itself is the same for both types of media items.
How can using loops save me time while producing music?
Using loops will save you time while producing music. Instead of copying and pasting individual kick drum hits, you can loop a single kick drum hit through your song.
Using loops is the most time-efficient way to program drum tracks and other repetitive elements while producing music.
What are loops in a DAW?
A loop is a media item that is repeated within a track.
Instead of just playing through once, a media item that is ‘looped’ will repeatedly play as long as you have set it to loop.
Loops are very common in music production, especially for beat making.
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.