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REAPER Audio System (A Close Look)

To change the audio system you use in REAPER, click Options>Preferences>Device and select the audio system you want to use from the audio system dropdown menu. The audio system dropdown menu will show any audio device or driver your computer recognizes.

Selecting An Audio System In REAPER

Not knowing how to designate an audio system/audio device in REAPER DAW will prohibit you from getting the most out of your music production setup.

Learning to adjust your audio settings in REAPER properly will save you time in the studio and increase your computer’s performance.

Taking the time to figure out how to control my audio settings in REAPER has made all the difference for my music production workflow.

In this article, I will show you how to change your audio system in REAPER and adjust your audio settings!

Step One – Open Your Settings

The first step for selecting your REAPER audio system is opening up your settings menu by clicking Options>Preferences>Device

Open Settings

Once you have successfully opened this menu up, you are ready for the next step.

Step Two – Select Your Audio Device

The next step is to select your desired audio system from the dropdown menu. 

Simply open the ‘Audio system’ dropdown menu and select your audio device from the list. 

Select Your Audio Device

Now that you have selected your audio device, click ‘ok,’ and you should be good to go! 

Selecting an audio system in REAPER is quick and easy.

Where Is My Audio Device?

Suppose you follow these steps and do not see your audio device under the ‘Audio system‘ dropdown menu. In that case, chances are you need to install a driver for your audio device/audio interface.

This should be pretty simple as long as you go about it the right way.

To find the correct audio driver for your audio device, go to the manufacturer’s website and try to find a download page. 

From here, you should be able to find the correct audio driver to download and install on your system. 

If not, try Googling your specific audio interface’s audio driver.

This will always be your best course of action if you are an Apple user. 

However, if you are a Windows user, you also can use the ASIO4All audio driver

ASIO4All is a free and fantastic audio driver available for Windows users.

When I first got into music production, I was a Windows user. I had issues with audio latency and getting my audio interface to connect to my computer. Using ASIO4All fixed these issues immediately and once and for all!

Keep in mind that if you are an Apple user, there is no need to search for a third-party audio driver. The included audio driver in Mac os computers seems to work fine for me.

Increasing Performance Using REAPER Audio System Settings

While you still have the ‘Device‘ settings menu opened up, let’s take a second to see how we can use these settings to optimize REAPER performance.

Try increasing your buffer size (block size); if you are experiencing lag or other REAPER performance issues while recording or monitoring, try increasing your buffer size (block size). 

To do this, enter your desired block size in the ‘Request block size‘ box. 

If you want to try this, I recommend starting at 256 and then going up to 512 and then 1024

1024 block size is pretty large and should help you improve REAPER’s performance. 

Block Size Settings

If you want more helpful tips for improving REAPER’s performance, look at this article on the REAPER Performance Meter, where I cut my CPU load by 40%. Or check the video below.

Which Audio System Should I Use For REAPER?

This depends on whether you have an audio interface and what operating system you are using.

For example, if you are not using an audio interface and are just producing music on a laptop, you will want to select either ‘System Audio.’ ‘DirectSound,’ ‘WaveOut,’ ‘WASAPI,’ etc., (it will say something different depending on your computer).

However, if you are using an audio interface, install the audio driver included with it and use this as your REAPER audio system.

If you are a Windows user, you can also use the free ASIO4All driver I mentioned earlier.

How Do I Select An Audio Device In REAPER?

Thankfully, selecting an audio device in REAPER is pretty simple.

Select an audio device in REAPER, click Options>Preferences>Device and choose your audio device from the ‘Audio system‘ dropdown menu. 

How To Select An Audio Device In REAPER

REAPER Audio System Settings

Click Options> Preferences> Device to adjust your REAPER audio system settings. 

Here is a list of the audio system settings that you can change in REAPER:

  • Sample rate
  • Block size (buffer size)
  • Input and output configuration
  • Audio thread priority 
  • Bit depth (depending on your device)

How To Record System Audio In REAPER

To record system audio in REAPER on a Windows machine, start by changing your audio system to WASAPI by clicking Options>Preferences>Device and selecting WASAPI from the ‘Audio system‘ dropdown menu. 

Before closing this menu, set your ‘Mode‘ to ‘Shared Loopback Mode (CAUTION!)‘. 

Next, insert a trackopen the track’s routing menuuncheck the box for ‘Master send,’ set the track’s input to stereo, and arm the track to record

Prepare Track

If you followed these steps correctly, you will be recording your system audio when you press record now.

To record system audio using REAPER on a Mac, follow this link and the instructions to download and install Soundflower

Once you have Soundflower installed, go to your Mac’s system preferences and open the sound settings

From here, select Soundflower for your designated audio interface. 

Mac Sound Settings For Soundflower

Next, open the ‘Audio MIDI Setup‘ utility, press the ‘+‘ at the bottom, and select ‘Create Aggregate Device.’ 

To create your aggregate device, check the box for your audio interface and Soundflower. 

Now you can use both audio devices simultaneously. 

Aggregate Device

From here, open REAPER’s audio system settings by clicking Options>Preferences>Device and select the aggregate device as your REAPER audio system. 

Select Aggregate Device As Your Audio System

Now, insert a new track, set its input to the ‘Stereo: Soundflower‘ option, and arm the track to record

Just like that, you’re recording system audio using REAPER on your Mac! 

Recording System Audio Using REAPER

REAPER Recording Software System Requirements

Here are the supported operating systems for REAPER:

  • Windows: XP/Vista/7/8/10/11 (32 or 64-bit only, Intel only)
  • macOS: 10.5 – 12.x
  • Linux: Requires GTK+3 and ALSA, supports x86_64, i686, armv71, aarch64

On top of these system requirements, I recommend having AT LEAST 8GB of RAM (Random Access Memory) for your music production computer.

How To Use REAPER Audio

REAPER is a very adaptable DAW that you can use for many things in audio/music production. 

Here is a list of things that you can use REAPER for:

  • Audio editing
  • Audio recording
  • Music production (of any genre)
  • Music composition (of any genre)
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Metering
  • Sound design

REAPER Audio Output Not Working

Here are a few things to look into if you’re having issues with REAPER audio output:

  • Make sure you have your headphones/studio monitors plugged in correctly with working cables
  • Make sure you have your audio device designated as the REAPER audio system under Options>Preferences>Device
  • Make sure you don’t have the volume turned all the way down anywhere in your audio signal chain
  • Make sure it isn’t an issue with your audio interface, headphones, or studio monitors
  • Try restarting REAPER after you have looked into these things
  • If all else fails, try re-downloading or updating REAPER

Related Questions

Do You Recommend Using ASIO?

Yes, in my opinion, ASIO is the best audio driver you can use if you are a Windows user. Here is a link for my go-to ASIO driver.
Unfortunately, Apple users cannot use ASIO. However, the standard Apple audio driver is very solid, and I have never had issues with it.

Does REAPER Have Built-In Instruments?

REAPER’s only virtual instrument is a low-quality synthesizer plugin called ‘ReaSynth.’ 
However, I do not recommend using ReaSynth. It is a pretty useless instrument, in my opinion.

Can You Make Beats On REAPER?

Although REAPER does not come with any virtual instruments, samples, or audio loops, you can still use it to make beats if you have your own VST instruments, sample packs, etc.

Besides the lack of beat-making resources, I think REAPER is an excellent digital audio workstation for producing any genre because of its incredible organization and workflow.

Check out this article on using drum samples in REAPER.

If you’d like to learn more, we have a video on fixing latency in REAPER.

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