Reaper Preferences General

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Below are some of the options in the preferences dialogue (control + P) which are commonly changed from their default values. Useful to review when learning Reaper or after a reset to factory defaults.

Note that changes to preferences are sticky from one load of Reaper to another. There are other options in Reaper, such as metronome settings, which are part of the default project settings and only persist once the Save As Default button is used in project settings (alt _+ enter).

  • General
    • There are tick boxes for what creates an undo item. Untick to shorten the undo history.
    • Option to preserve undo history when saving a project.
    • Several options on how Reaper behaves when starting up such as load last project, start a new project or prompt. Also can check for new versions of Reaper and an option to allow multiple instances of Reaper to be run.
  • Paths
    • Option to set a specific folder to store peak files (reapeaks). Can then clear this folder out from time to time.
  • Keyboard / multitouch
    • Recommend ticking Allow space key to be used for navigation in various windows
  • Projects
    • Option to define a default project template
    • Prompt to save on new project. Tick this if you want to be forced to define a path for all your projects which means you know where your media is going.
    • Options to autosave project backups into a defined subfolder. Suggestion is to store to a subfolder called Backups every 10 or 15 minutes. Backup files are generally small.
    • Option to save the undo history.
  • Media Item defaults
    • Default fade in and fade out time is 10ms. Can reduce to 3ms to be less obtrusive. Is If looping and splitting samples may want to reduce this to zero to avoid dips in volume between samples. Alternatively, can raise these values to get modulation effects when splitting an item at grid lines.
  • Audio
    • Recommended to turn off tiny fade in and fade out on start and stop.
  • Devices and MIDI
    • Fundamental section specific to equipment set up for input and output of audio and MIDI
  • Buffering
    • Can reduce Default Media Buffer size from 1200 to around 100 for more responsivness on playback.
  • Playback
    • Recommend ticking Stop playback at end of loop if repeat is disabled. This links with other settings in Edditing.
  • Recording
    • Recommend disabling Show preview of recording items while recording
    • Options to prompt to save or discard newly recorded material on stop. Often easier to disable this and use control + Z to undo recorded media if new material isn't wanted.
    • Option to define the name given to newly recorded items
  • Rendering
    • Option to override the default buffer size when rendering which can speed up render times e.g. Can set to 1024.
    • Options to set a tail duration and when it is applied to capture effects like reverb.
  • Editting
    • Can set Move edit cursor to start of time selection on time selection change. So when ending a time selection with right bracket edit cursor moves to the start of the time selection.
    • Option to set moving edit cursor to end of item when pasting. Useful if pasting multiple copies of an item one after another. Can also cause confusion though as means have to rewind to hear newly pasted content.
    • Link loop points to time selection. Set this to on so that option in Playback section works effectively. Can unlink loop points and time selection in the options menu if needed for a particular workflow.
  • Envelope display
    • Options here to change the range of volume and pitch envelopes.
  • Media
    • Option on copying media to project directory
    • Options for rendering tails on item FX. Defaults are quite short. Values of 5000 to 10,000 more useful.
    • Can untick Show status window when generating peaks as this is just annoying.
  • MIDI
    • Some default options for how to treat MIDI files being imported
  • Plugins
    • Numerous options on how to display FX windows. Typically do want to auto-resize, uncheck auto-float newly created windows, don't want to dock, and tick display only one window at a time but this last doesn't really work very well.
  • Compatibility
    • Options in here on how to treat 32-bit plugins by default but can also do this each plugin at a time using the context menu when highlighting a plugin in the FX search dialogue.
  • VST
    • Fundamental option to define the paths that Reaper uses when searching for and loading VST's.
  • External editors
    • Define the path of external editors