Reaper 2 – Basics

At this point you have started a new project, checked the correct settings and now are ready to start adding audio files for mixing.

Getting Audio Files

For the first assignment we have provided you with a set of audio files that you can use to get started. Download them here:


There are many places where you can find audio files that you can use in your projects, here are a few links with hundreds of free samples:
   YouTube Audio Library

Getting Started

Next, we will learn how to add new tracks, add audio files (Items) and how to mix them.

  1. Adding a New Track (Item)

    There are several ways to choose from in order to add a new track, find your favorite:

    From the Top Menu Bar:

    Right-click on the Track List:

    Drag and Drop an Audio File:

    If you did this correctly then you should have a new track (i.e. my audio called “Polar Wind”) and if you hit the play button (or space-bar) then you should hear that sound playing in the Mix.

    NOTE Anything you add to the Mix is called an Item in Reaper, this can be a Midi file or an Audio File.

  2. MOVE / Trim / Fade

    Once you have a track with an audio file you can move it forward or backward in the timeline by dragging the waveform area left or right like this:

    If you notice the track will move by steps on a grid. To turn this off, uncheck the magnet icon and try moving it again.

  3. Move / TRIM / Fade

    You can shorten an Audio file by moving your pointer over the left or right of the audio, bottom half. You will then see the “trim” icon and can then drag the handles to change the size.

  4. Move / Trim / FADE

    Instead of changing the volume of the track you can add Fade In’s and Out’s on each Audio file. Simply move your pointer on the left or right of the audio, top-half. You will then see the “fade” icon and can then drag a fade curve on your audio.

  5. Crossfade

    Crossfading means that two audio files will fade out and into each other. In Reaper you can do this by dragging one audio over the end of another audio file. You will then see the “fade” handles which you can tweek however you need.

  6. Time Stretching / Compressing

    You can make a sound faster or slower (without changing pitch!) very easily in Reaper. Move your pointer over the left or right of the audio file and hold the mac: option + alt /windows: alt keys then drag forward or backward to change the speed of your audio.

  7. Split an Audio file

    Sometimes you just need to split an audio file, you can do this easily by moving the timeline pointer to where you want the split to happen and then select your audio file by clicking on it and the type “s“. It will split the audio in two at that selected point.

  8. Cut

    A more specific split can be done by cutting. Drag the timeline pointer across the area you want to get rid of; you should see a whitish selection across all tracks, click on the audio file you want to cut and type mac: “cmd + shift + X” / windows: “ctl + shift + X” to cut that selection out.

    This leaves a gap in the selected audio, cutting out the area and leaving two audio items.

NOTE : all editing in Reaper is non-destructive. Meaning that the original audio files will not be changed. They stay on the hard drive as it was without any editing.