Yes, although REAPER may not be as polished as other DAWs such as Logic, Pro Tools, FL Studio, etc., it is still good for MIDI. REAPER allows you to easily use your MIDI keyboard or any other MIDI device and edit MIDI data in the MIDI editor.
MIDI In REAPER
In the world of modern music production, being able to use MIDI is becoming more and more important.
MIDI allows you to play virtual instruments and puts you on the same level as other music producers.
If your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) does not allow you to easily plugin and use a MIDI keyboard/MIDI controller and edit MIDI data, you will be at a massive disadvantage over other music producers.
This in-depth guide will look at REAPER and see if it’s good for MIDI, along with a few MIDI how-to guides.
Is REAPER Good For MIDI
In my opinion, REAPER is an excellent DAW for MIDI.
As long as you know what you’re doing, you can use REAPER to record virtual instruments with a MIDI keyboard, edit MIDI data in the MIDI editor, and even program different parameters using a MIDI controller.
Although REAPER might not be the best DAW for modern music production, it is still perfect for MIDI.
Let’s move on and take a closer look at why REAPER is good for MIDI.
Can You Edit MIDI In REAPER?
Yes, you can edit MIDI in REAPER using the MIDI editor window, also known as the piano roll.
The MIDI editor allows you to insert, move, stretch, change the velocity, and split MIDI notes.
You can edit individual MIDI notes or entire sections in the MIDI editor by highlighting the desired notes.
How Do You Make A MIDI Clip In REAPER?
To make a MIDI clip in REAPER:
- Arm a MIDI track to record
- Record a blank clip
- Then move/stretch it to your desired location and size.
Once you have your MIDI clip made, you can double-click it to open the MIDI editor/piano roll, where you can then create and edit your MIDI part.
Can You Use A MIDI Keyboard In REAPER?
Yes, you can use a MIDI keyboard or any other MIDI device in REAPER.
To use your MIDI keyboard in REAPER, download any required drivers for your device, and connect the device to your computer using a USB MIDI cable. Then, configure the device settings by clicking Options>Preferences>MIDI Devices.
Take a more in-depth look at using a MIDI keyboard in REAPER.
Is There A Piano Roll In REAPER?
Yes, there is a piano roll, but it’s called the MIDI editor in REAPER. You can use the MIDI editor to create and edit MIDI data.
Check out this other article to learn more about the piano roll in REAPER and some of its features.
How Do You Move MIDI Notes In REAPER?
To move MIDI notes in REAPER, open up the MIDI editor by double-clicking a MIDI clip and dragging the individual MIDI notes using your mouse.
You can also move groups of MIDI notes at a time by highlighting the desired section and then dragging the whole thing.
How Do You Split MIDI Data In REAPER?
To split MIDI data in REAPER, start by double-clicking a MIDI clip to open up the MIDI editor.
Once you have the MIDI editor open, place your cursor where you want to split your MIDI and press the ‘s’ key on your computer keyboard.
You can also split entire groups of MIDI notes at a time by highlighting the section of MIDI notes and pressing ‘s.’
Do I Need a MIDI Keyboard For REAPER?
The short answer is no. You do not need a MIDI keyboard to use REAPER.
However, having a MIDI keyboard gives you a considerable advantage over music producers who do not.
A MIDI keyboard lets you play and record with virtual instruments, which is far easier than creating parts using the piano roll.
While it is unnecessary to have a MIDI keyboard to produce music in REAPER, it is definitely helpful.
Here is a more in-depth look into whether or not you need a MIDI keyboard to produce music.
How Do You Edit MIDI Drums In REAPER?
Like any other MIDI item in REAPER, you can edit MIDI drums using the MIDI editor/piano roll feature.
Double-click your MIDI drum track to use this feature, and it will open up.
You can use the MIDI editor to move, stretch, and change the velocity of MIDI drum notes.
How Do You Open A MIDI Roll In REAPER?
You can open up the MIDI roll for any individual MIDI item in REAPER by double-clicking said MIDI item.
Double-clicking a MIDI item in REAPER opens up the MIDI/piano roll. [9.OpenMIDI]
Is REAPER Good For Making Beats?
In my opinion, REAPER is not the best DAW for making beats. This is because REAPER does not come with audio samples, loops, or virtual instruments such as other DAWs like FL Studio, Studio One, Logic, etc.
However, if you have your own library of samples, loops, and plugins, you can make great beats in REAPER. Take a look at this article for a closer look at creating a beat in REAPER.
Having a healthy collection of samples and virtual instruments is essential for making quality beats. Therefore REAPER is not a great DAW for beat making.
Is REAPER Good For Recording?
Yes, REAPER is an incredible DAW for recording! Even REAPER’s name implies so (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording).
Cockos developed REAPER with recording and engineering in mind, and it definitely shows.
You can use REAPER to record tracks in your bedroom one instrument at a time, or you can use it to record larger ensembles and full-band sessions.
Another thing that I love about recording in REAPER is how easy it is to ‘BUS’ or group different tracks together to help you organize your mix. Here’s what I mean!
REAPER is a very easy-to-use DAW, especially when it comes to recording.
Using a MIDI Keyboard/Controller In REAPER
Before we go any further, let’s take a quick look at using a MIDI keyboard within REAPER.
Step One: Connect Your Device
The first step for using a MIDI keyboard in REAPER is connecting the device to your computer using a USB MIDI cable.
To do this, plug one end of a USB MIDI cable into your MIDI device, and plug the other end into your computer or laptop.
If your MIDI device is old school, it might have a five-pin MIDI connection instead of the USB type.
If this is the case, you will need an audio interface with five-pin MIDI inputs to connect your device.
Step Two – Download Applicable Audio Drivers
The next step for using a MIDI keyboard in REAPER is to download any drivers your MIDI device might need.
If your device does need an audio driver, the manufacturer will provide it to you.
If you lose the download link for your device’s audio driver, a google search or two will usually help you find what you need.
Step Three – Changing Your Settings
Once you have your MIDI device connected and have the proper audio drivers installed on your computer, you need to change a few settings around in REAPER.
To do this, select Options>Preferences>MIDI Devices to open the MIDI devices settings menu.
Once this window is open, find your MIDI device from the menu and enable the input.
Step Four – Insert A Track And Record
The final step for using a MIDI keyboard in REAPER is inserting a new track and arming it to record.
Start by double-clicking on the tracklist to the left to insert a new track.
Next, select the input from the dropdown menu to match your MIDI device. You can choose either your specific MIDI device or the ‘All MIDI Inputs>All Channels’ option.
I use this option because I have multiple MIDI keyboards.
Finally, arm the track to record by pressing the button on the track.
As you can see, setting up a MIDI keyboard in REAPER is quick and easy.
Sometimes, with newer MIDI keyboards, all you will have to do is plug it in, and REAPER will automatically recognize it.
Does Reaper Have a Virtual MIDI Keyboard?
Yes, REAPER does have a virtual MIDI keyboard. The virtual MIDI keyboard function turns your regular computer keyboard into a MIDI keyboard.
You can open the virtual MIDI keyboard by clicking View>Virtual MIDI Keyboard. The next step to using the virtual MIDI keyboard is inserting a track, setting its input to the virtual MIDI keyboard, and arming the track to record.
The virtual MIDI keyboard is an excellent solution for any music producer without a proper MIDI keyboard.
What Accessories Do I Need with A MIDI Keyboard?
In my opinion, the only accessory that you need in combination with a MIDI keyboard is an electric keyboard sustain pedal.
An electric keyboard sustain pedal mimics an actual piano’s sustain pedal and is essential for playing specific virtual instruments.
How Can You Insert Additional MIDI Notes Into a Recorded MIDI Item?
Simply open up the MIDI editor by double-clicking the MIDI item to insert additional MIDI notes into a recorded MIDI item.
Once the MIDI editor is open, you can insert additional notes by double-clicking where you want them to be.
What Are Some Free Solutions for Recording MIDI in REAPER?
The best ways to lay down MIDI parts in REAPER without spending any money on a MIDI keyboard are by using the virtual MIDI keyboard or using the MIDI editor to create a MIDI part.
The virtual MIDI keyboard is a function in REAPER that turns your computer keyboard into a MIDI keyboard. Open up the virtual MIDI keyboard by clicking View>Virtual MIDI Keyboard.
To use the MIDI editor window, create a blank MIDI clip and double-click it. Once you have the MIDI editor opened up, you can double-click to add a new MIDI note and then move it, stretch it, etc., to build a MIDI part note by note.
Can You Make Money Producing in REAPER Without A License?
No, REAPER is not free software, and it is illegal to make money using it unless you have the full license.
If you intend to make money producing on REAPER, just buy the license! It was only sixty dollars anyway.
What Are Some Things to Consider when Looking for A MIDI Keyboard?
The main things to keep in mind when looking for a good MIDI keyboard are the number of keys it has and whether it has weighted keys. Also, whether it has pitch/modulation wheels and what other extra functions it has.
If you’re a beginner in music production, it is advisable to choose a simple MIDI keyboard that is low in cost. You won’t be needing any advanced or extra features just yet, so get a cheap MIDI keyboard and put the savings towards other music production gear.
However, if you have been producing music for a long time and have saved some extra money, having a MIDI keyboard with all the bells and whistles can be a nice addition to your home studio.
Is Cubase or REAPER a Better DAW for Composing?
Although I love REAPER, I must say that Cubase is a better and more used DAW for composing.
Aside from myself, I don’t know many other composers that use REAPER, and Cubase is actually a pretty popular DAW for composing.
For example, the Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer uses Cubase.
As I have shown you in this article, REAPER is an outstanding DAW for MIDI.
REAPER is compatible with all of your MIDI keyboards and other MIDI devices. It also has features that allow you to edit and quantize MIDI data that you have recorded.
Additionally, REAPER users can save money on a MIDI keyboard by using the virtual MIDI keyboard feature.
In my five years of producing music with REAPER, I have had nothing but pleasant experiences trying to work with MIDI.
Click here to find out if REAPER is good for EDM.
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.