If you’ve been to my site before, it’s no secret I am a big REAPER user. While I find myself using them in the default host, the ReaPlugs suite of plugins is available for free download, and works in whichever Windows DAW you happen to use! For the sake of native REAPER users, and those looking to try the plugin suite alike, I’ll be doing an introduction to some of the handy plugins that I’ve come to take as a given.
The main draw to the ReaPlugs is simple. Low CPU draw, and full control over parameters. There is no extra color, flavor, or bulky extra GUI, just tools meant to do the job. If you are looking for transparent sounding, functional, uncompromising plugins, this may be your lucky find.
- Support for Windows 98/ME/2K/XP/Vista/W7, WINE
- Fast, usable UIs with good metering
- Low CPU and RAM use
- Highly configurable
- No copy protection
- Portable (copy installed files and run)
- Freely usable
(list from Cockos download page)
We’ve all got a couple of EQ choices around, but this one is by FAR my favorite. Unlike the native EQ to Protools, you can add/remove bands to your liking, with no limit. That, in hand with the sharp, detailed waveform visual and low CPU draw would make this my go-to EQ even if I was outside of REAPER.
All the benefits you would find in the ReaEQ, but in a compressor! Ideal visual representation, full control over parameters, and low CPU draw. Chop off exactly as many DB as you meant to, and increase your “wet” knob to match the volume reduction displayed on your fader. It can be dangerous to mix with your eyes, but the information is always at asset. Also noteworthy, is that the plugin comes sidechain capable.
Like the ReaComp plugin? How about that as a multiband compressor! As stated on the REAPER website, it is an “Unlimited Band Compressor”. That just sounds handy! As can be said about the whole plugin suite, the CPU draw is minimal.
Handy little utility tool. Can be used to adjust MIDI output, and automated to add an extra layer of parameter control to a midi channel. I find it most handy to set a velocity adjustment in the middle of a software drum trigger chain, but that is only the surface of MIDI control this software allows.
In truth, I’m not a fan of the initial reverb sounds in this plugin. That being said, it is a quick fix as an Impulse Loader. If you like to have a library of IRs for your reverb sounds as opposed to a selection of dedicated VSTs, your loader is right here! While other plugins like “SIR” will let you shape the ADSR curve of the file loaded, this one does not come with that feature.
Similar to ReaVerb, but loaded with a single algorithm for Room Emulation. Definitely has a digital sound to it, but could find its place as a bit of a modulated verb on synths, voice or strings.
A little more than just a plugin, this one can be run in DAW, or in a client of its own. Built for around-the-world jamming, this nifty piece of software allows you to jam with other people over the internet. Since the latency would be too much to jam in real time, even over the fastest networks, this software locks the performers to a click, and delays the playback by a full bar. While it takes a little getting used to, once you lock into the groove, jams that would once be impossible start coming to life.
At a first glance, it just looks like a tuner with a primitive GUI. It is the second and third tab, that this plugin starts to get interesting. The “Correction” tab allows simple lock-to-scale pitch correction with variable attack time and algorithm. The “Manual Correction” tab allows full on Melodyne-style pitch correction to grid. It’s not too often this kind of processing is put out on the market for free.
Back to the realm of go-to utility plugins, I find no reason to use any other plugin to gate with. Fully adjustable, low CPU usage, it does its job and does it well. Like many of the ReaPlugs, sidechain capability is built in.
Transmit or receive audio in your DAW! While anyone needing this capability likely has other software for the job, if you’re looking to affect your incoming/outgoing audio in the box, this could simplify your workflow.
The entertainingly named sample loader in the ReaSuite is not nearly as frivolous as it may sound. Load in your sound, and plug in your keyboard. This software doesn’t just play back the sample, but also includes pitch shifting to key, and ADSR controls.
Nothing fancy when it comes to sound, I’d only tend to find myself using this for the technical utility side of signal generation, less so in a musical sense.
50 Hz Kicker
Punches up the 50hz, exists for the sole purpose of adding low frequency impact to the kick track. While it is called the 50 Hz kicker, the frequency being accentuated is adjustable.
A similar function to the 50 Hz Kicker, a quick little tool to add some meat to a kickdrum.
If we’re working with vocals, we are always going to need one. Brings down the volume of “essess” and undesirable vocal sounds by attenuating a volume when a particular band/above a certain frequency has passed its set threshold.
With the JS suite on top of the basic ReaPlugs, this is only scratching the surface of the number of plugins included in this lightweight workhorse of software. To Reaper users and outsiders alike, the ReaPlugs are a worthwhile addition to your plugin library at the reasonable cost of free.