So, I finally installed Reaper this morning, and figured I'd screw around with it a bit to get a feel for the program. So this is sort of a combined "new song"/"Reaper first impressions" thread.
First, the track - it started off as that opening riff (sort of a H.I.M ripoff, actually ), and then just sort of went from there. It's actually mostly improvised - I originally had intended to just do a 1:30 or so sketch, with a verse and a chorus section to work out melodic ideas, but after I finished the first chorus I just sort of kept going...The lead, I had a chorus melody more-or-less worked out, but nothing too firm for the verses, so I just decided to wing it, hit record and cut the entire lead/melody part as a single take. There's a few awful notes (3:13-14 makes me flinch, lol), but whatever, it's sort of a proof of concept.
Next, Reaper... Obviously I've got to spend some more time to get the hang of it, but my first impressions are good. It boots up incredibly quickly, and just feels very "efficient" somehow - the workflow feels very natural.
It's going to take me a while to really get the hang of the routing options (could someone explain that "1/2, 1, or 2" thing to me, when you route one channel into another? Also, it took me a bit of poking to figure out how to use a track as a "bus" without it playing back through the original track as well as the bus. Also, the channel sliders felt a little jumpy, and I felt like I was having trouble making subtle changes. Finally, I find myself missing the built-in 4-band EQ in each Sonar channel.
However, I really dug the interface for lating out wavefiles and whatnot - that you could "lock" waves in place, and that splitting tracks and punshing parts in (I had to clean up the bass track in two places" was very natural and, again, efficient. And I kind of dig the GUI - it's not super complex, but attractive in a sleek, practical sort of way.
So, the jury's still out, but so far I'm impressed...
EDIT - added a fresh mix, 9:30PM on 11/24. It still isn't spectacular - really, I need to retrack the rhythm guitars, and do some more in-depth drum programming/mixing - but it's a bit better.
1/2, 1, 2 refers to the physical outputs on your soundcard. 1 being left, 2 being right. 1/2 being stereo.
The easiest way to 'buss' tracks is to make a Folder. In the Waveform view (not sure the exact name...) if a track is placed above others, it can act as a buss for all tracks below it. Just click the Folder icon thingy. It gets a bit hairy if you're bussing a lot of tracks to different busses, but it works for basic stuff.
Fine tuning parameters, like channel faders, just use Ctrl+click. Not sure the key on a Mac if that's your OS. 'Option' maybe?
The Cockos plugin suite is actually very nice, and although there's no built-in channel EQ's on the mixer. I just make a read-only session template with all the tracks and plugins I typically use.