Mixing In Reaper Archives - Recording Studio Rockstars

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RSR033 – Jon Tidey – Reaper Blog

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RSR007 - David Glenn - The Mix Academy

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RSR033 - Jon Tidey - Reaper Blog

My guest today is Jon Tidey, a home studio engineer, blogger, podcaster, and audio jack-of-all-trades from Vancouver British Columbia. Jon has quite a few things going on: epicsounds.ca, audiogeekzine.com, reaperblog.net and homerecordingshow.com

He is a self described mix guy and mic slinger who selected Reaper as his DAW of choice.

In 2010 Jon started ReaperBlog.net where you can find over 100 free videos teaching you how to use Reaper for your home studio. The aim of Reaper Blog is to be an indispensable resource for the REAPER user community, providing news, reviews, tips & tricks, and detailed tutorials on music production using the REAPER software.

And now he has launched an in depth course called Mixing In Reaper volumes 1&2 to show you exactly how he mixes a song from organization through mastering. So if you are ready to truly learn how to use Reaper for your recordings then you have come to the right place.

If you don’t already know about Reaper it is a super powerful DAW that also happens to be super affordable and flexible. For me it was a little intimidating when I first tried it out. So it is awesome to have an expert like Jon here on the show to tell us more about it.


Why did you switch from ProTool to Reaper?

It opens so fast, so if I just wanted to play guitar real quick it would launch in 5 seconds and I was recording in another 5 seconds, so it was a big change in ProTools which would take several minutes. There’s no copy protection (keylock) for Reaper. Just a little license file that gets emailed to you, and you can authorize it for multiple computers.

“The program is so efficient I can run twice as many tracks with twice as many plugins and I had a wider variety of plugins available.” @reaperblog

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What can Reaper do that is unique?

The appeal, at least for me, is the customizability. If you come from Cubase or ProTools or Logic, you are used to the way the mouse works when you move it over an item or how it scrolls through certain keys. All of that can be changed in Reaper. It's completely open to a larger degree than any other program. You can assign a key to an action, but also create your own actions, so you can chain multiple actions together.

Is it expensive?

Super Affordable! You get 60 days for free. After that they ask $60 for someone with a small business license and you get 2 versions. You can upgrade after that.

Check Out -  Mixing in Reaper Volumes 1 & 2

These videos are a look at how Jon mixes a song in Reaper. Throughout, there are tons of:
- Mixing Tips 
- Production Tips
- Reaper Specific Tips for Optimizing Workflow. 

Use Code:
For 25% OFF!! 

Jam Session 

Q - What was holding you back at the start?
A - It was lack of knowledge. My first recording experiences were with my high school band and we had no idea how to use the equipment. We didn’t have anyone we could ask and there was hardly had any internet. I ended up having to go to audio school to figure it out, MetalWorks Institute. I took a one year audio production course. It was a great school, well balanced curriculum. We got to mix on SSL’s and a Digidesign Icon console. There were three different mixing rooms. I learned a lot and it took probably a year and a half of doing stuff on my own for that knowledge to actually click.

Q- What was some of the best advice you got early on?

A- Using analog style gain staging. Keeping your levels lower the way that your equipment is designed to be handled. What I mean by that is not hitting inputs as hard as possible just before clipping. You want like -18 DAW meters as the ideal signal level. That actually makes mixing easier. I can mix with my meters around unity rather than down at -30. Making sure the input of the plugin is the same as the output in terms of volume. That really affects your perception of how things are sounding. Equal loudness.

“First you listen, second you react”’ @reaperblog

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Q- Share with us a recording tip, hack, or secret sauce.

A - Here is a tip that I have for making your headphones more comfortable. So the foam padding around headphones gets squished and sometimes the actual driver is sitting on your ear. I would take a short piece of tubing or a dead guitar cable and i would cut that out into a 7” length and tuck it under the foam in your headphones so it spaces it by a quarter inch and that little change makes every pair of headphones I’ve tried on more comfortable.

Q - Share a favorite hardware tool for the studio
A- I do love my Space Echo, but it’s very rarely used. It's a great piece of hardware, but it's a specific sound that's so dark sounding or using that on a snare drum makes it instantly dubby. I never work on that style of music and I never get to use it, but I love it!!!

“I’ve got a nostalgia thing for 80’s sounding music” @reaperblog

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Q - Share a favorite software tool for the studio

A - Besides Reaper, Izotope RX is indispensable. It can declip things, depop things, decrackle and dehum and clean up your noise floor better than your gate can. I do a lot of podcast and dialog editing for my videos and I can’t work without it. But also in music projects, you know sometimes the overheads will have a loud ticking sound from the stick on the ride cymbal, sometimes it's a really nasty, short click. You run Isotope’s declicker on the track and you won’t even hear it anymore. Ever since version 2, I’ve been convinced this software is magic, it works too good.

“I’m easy to get ahold of and happy to talk Reaper Stuff” @reaperblog

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Q - Share with us a tip for the business side of the recording studio

A -  I’ve stopped sending invoices. I do a lot of work for clients internationally and in the states, mostly remote work. Now I use paypal.me and add in how much they owe me and they pay it. Maybe it's a little less good for my paperwork, but it's amazing to not log into paypal to send someone an invoice, you can just type in a URL.

Q - If you had to start over what gear would you need? How would you find people to record? And how would you make ends meet while you got started?

A - I would start off with having recording be your hobby until you can spend more time on it or until you can afford the equipment that really benefits you. But you can do a lot with a simple setup with a Macbook Pro and a two-channel interface and one or two mics. You can get a lot done with just that.

“I think it's really encouraging just putting in half hour effort once a week to making music” @reaperblog

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Q - What is the single most important thing a listener can do to become a rockstar of the recording studio?

A - The single most important thing that you can do is realize that you suck today and you’ll be a little bit better tomorrow. Keep at it. There's a steep learning curve. If you look back at 60 days of sucky recordings, you’re better today than you were 60 days ago. 

Big Thanks to Kevin Freund & Merissa Marx for this week's episode!!