The Render and Consolidate/Export Tracks Dialogs

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This tutorial goes through the Render, and the Consolidate/Export tracks dialogs. You can bring up the Render dialog through the File menu or by pressing Control+Alt+R (Win), Command+Option+R (Mac), and access the consolidate dialog through the File menu. I also introduce the shortcuts to fade in or out an item.

Rendering Projects and Tracks

There are a number of parameters that can be set within the Render dialog which include:

  • File Name
  • Sample rate
  • Location for the file
  • File Type to be Rendered
  • Parameters that pertain to the selected file type
  • Resample mode. If you have components of your project at various different sample rates, when they are rendered to the new file, this option lets you set the quality of this resampling.
  • The boundaries of what is to be rendered. In the Bounce option, you can choose from the entire Project, which is the default. A time selection, so make a time selection in the project and than choose this option to have only that portion rendered out. There are also options for Project regions and the ability to define a custom time range from within the render dialog.
  • Master, or selected tracks. . The Source pop up lets you set what is rendered. You can choose from a number of options. By default the master track is rendered, so the mix down of all your tracks that are sent through the master, what you actually hear by default when you play your project. It also gives you the option to choose only specific tracks and render them out as separate files, known as stems. To do this, select the tracks within your project you want to have as stems. Then open the render dialog and under Source, pick, Stems -selected tracks. This will create separate files for each track you selected. Note these are stems and as such will include the result of any track effects that have been applied.

Once you’ve set the render options to your liking, you can render out the project, or add the render to a queue for later rendering.

Consolidate/Export tracks

The Consolidate/Export tracks dialog, Within the File menu is another option that gives much of the same functionality however it is designed to consolidate or export out the individual tracks rather than the master mix. As noted above in the render section, you can render stems through the render dialog with track effects included. Many of the options for picking what is to be exported are the same in the Consolidate/Export Tracks dialog. You can pick the whole project, or a part/time selection as well as which tracks to consolidate. However the track effects, and track Volumes, etc, are not included. It will create single files for each track that are copies of the source media for the track, or the active take.
There is also an option to have silent sections on tracks ignored. So if you have a track that has two sections with audio, and a period of silence in between, a separate file will be created for each part of the track with audio, rather than one single file that includes the silence. This is suitable if your using the files within the existing project, however may not be the best solution if you’re sharing the files.

The dialog is very useful for cleaning up a project. It allows you to update the files referenced by your project with the newly created files. If you have a track with various file types and names, you can consolidate this to a single file for each track. This is however a destructive process.

Relevant Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Cmd+Opt+R File: Render project to disk…
  • Opt+R File: Render project, using the most recent render settings, with a new target file name…
  • Cmd+Opt+Shift+A File: Add project to render queue, using the most recent render settings
  • Cmd+Opt+Q File: Open render queue
  • Cmd+Opt+I Item: Fade items in to cursor
  • Cmd+Opt+O Item: Fade items out from cursor

Side Chain Compression, Ducking for Voice Overs in Reaper –

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Setting up a side chain in reaper is relatively straight forward. First what is a side chain? There’s many situations in which a side chain could be useful, and I will show one example today. In essence, a side chain is where you use the output of one track to control the effects on another track.
The example I’ll go through is where you want to have your background music on one track automatically lowered in volume, or ducked, when there is speech on another track. So for example your podcast intro music is ducked when you start speaking.
As usual I’ll demo this on the Mac, however you can follow the same process on windows.
Before we start there’s a couple of other concepts to cover, and the first part of the tutorial is some revision of concepts already covered in this series. This includes a little on recording, editing with items, and the impact of your ripple setting.
The tutorial also briefly introduces a couple of the available ways to normalise audio within reaper.

So let’s look at the basic way audio flows through reaper in a simple default setup. Whether the source is your Microphone or a file you’ve inserted on a track, the source will have an inherent volume as it comes in and goes on to the track. You can adjust the volume of the file or add input effects as it comes in and goes on the track. Once it hits the track you can also add effects and adjust the volume/pan of the track. The audio is then routed on to the Master track along with other tracks in the project. Once again you can adjust volume/pan, and add effects at this stage. It is the output of the master track that you then hear through your hardware outputs and what is printed to any file that your render.
You can set up sends or receives which are basically just sending the audio from one track to another track before it reaches the master track. So for example, audio from a number of vocal tracks could be sent to a track that has a reverb instantiated on it. In this way, rather than setting up multiple copies of a reverb on multiple tracks, one copy of the reverb can be set up and the audio of a number of tracks can be affected by it. The audio that is on the original track can be optionally sent to the master track or not, depending on the specific requirements.

In the side chain we will be setting up in this tutorial, we will be sending the audio from our vocal track to the music track. We will still want the vocal track to go straight to the master track so we can hear it. The copy that is sent to the music track will not be heard in the master however it will be used to compress the volume of the music, or in other words, to duck the music.
We have a track with music, and a track with a voice over. To set up the side chain, go to the music track and press “I”. This will bring up the routing for the track. First step is to change the music track from a standard 2 channel stereo track to a 4 channel track. Next setup a receive from the vocal track to the music track. Next, set the destination of the send from the vocal track to the third and fourth tracks of the music tracks. You will then have a copy of the audio from the vocal track being sent to the music track, however instead of being mixed with the first and second channels, it will be received on the third and fourth channels, and won’t be actually heard in the output of the track. In this way it can influence effects that are applied to the music track even though it won’t be heard there.

Now, we can add a compressor to our music track. In this tutorial, we are using the included compressor, Reacomp. Set the detector input of Reacomp to aux 3/4. This means that it will compress the audio on the music track, but instead of being triggered by the music, it will be triggered by the audio on the aux channels, that is the vocal we sent to channels three and four.

Finally, we need to set up the compressor suitably to compress the music enough to hear the voice over. Set the ratio to a suitable value, at least 4/1 or higher, in the demo I set it to 6/1. You can use the precomp and attack parameters to affect how quickly the audio is ducked and the release parameter to affect how quickly the audio returns to it’s original volume once the voice over stops. The lower you set the threshold, the quieter the music will be while it is being compressed.
We have now set up a side chain to duck our music while speaking. This may seem fairly complex at first, however understanding the concepts covered will help with lots of task you might want to undertake in Reaper, or any professional DAW

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Shift+PageUp/PageDown SWS: Nudge active take volume up/Down
  • Shift+N Item properties: Normalize multiple items to common gain
  • Command+Shift+N Item properties: Normalize items
  • I Track: View I/O for current track

Adding Effects in Reaper

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This tutorial looks at adding effects to tracks or items. It briefly covers the very capable EQ and Compressor included with Reaper.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • F Track: View FX chain for current track
  • Shift+F Track: View FX chain for master track
  • Shift+E Item: Show FX chain for item take
  • B Track: Toggle FX bypass for current track
  • Command+Option+M View: Toggle master track visible

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Reaper’s Project Settings and Save Dialog

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In this episode I take a look into some of the project settings and the save dialog. I show how to set a project such that when you move by bar, or measure, you will move by a minute, and when you move by beat, you’ll move by a given number of seconds. This is a useful way of navigating projects which are not musical in nature, since there is no native keystrokes for this.

If you set the tempo to 60, and the time signature to 60/4, each measure will be a minute long, and each beat will be a second. If you keep the tempo at the same value as the first number in the time signature, you will move by a minute each measure. Reducing these two numbers will increase the length of a beat. So 30, 30/4 will give 1 min per measure and 2 seconds per beat, and 15, 15/4 will give 4 seconds per beat and keep the bar at a minute. Changing the ratio of the tempo to the first number of the time signature will adjust the length of a measure. 60, 30/4 will give 30 second measures and 1 second beats. Once you understand the maths, you will be able to set this up however you like, or just have a play and find something that works for you.

I also show how to set up your project so that any files recorded into the project are conveniently placed into a sub folder in the project folder. This is done by accessing the media tab and providing a folder name in the path to save media files.

Within the project settings, you can also set the default recording format for files recorded into that project.

Prior to looking at the save dialog, I show how to optionally import a collection of files either consecutively on one track or such that the files all start at the same time on individual tracks.

Also covered briefly is the process of rearranging the order of your tracks within a project.

Looking at the save dialog, along with the standard settings of location and name, I cover the options that specify the creation of a sub folder, and the options available for moving the actual files associated with a project into that folder. On Windows, you will need to use your screen reader’s, screen review mode to make these selections. On the Mac, the check boxes are presented to VoiceOver.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Option+Enter File: Project settings…
  • Command+S File: Save project
  • Command+Option+S File: Save project as…

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Picking a Source and Recording in Reaper

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This Reaper Tutorial looks at picking the default recording input from your interface. How to select a different input, and of course how to record.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • F7 Track: Toggle record arming for current (last touched) track
  • F8 Track: Cycle track record monitor
  • R Transport: Record

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Item and Ripple Editing in Reaper

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In this episode I cover the basics of editing using items, and the three different ripple modes. A number of other actions are briefly covered as well, such as cut copy and paste, adjusting track pan, soloing a track, and duplicating a track.

Keystrokes

  • A Custom: Select and split item under edit or play cursor
  • Command+C Edit: Copy items/tracks/envelope points (depending on * focus) ignoring time selection
  • Command+X Edit: Cut items/tracks/envelope points (depending on focus) ignoring time selection
  • Command+V Item: Paste items/tracks
  • D Track: Duplicate tracks
  • Option+Left or Right Arrows Track: Nudge track pan left or right
  • F6 Track: Solo/unsolo tracks
  • F5 Track: Mute/unmute tracks
  • Option+P Options: Cycle ripple editing mode
  • Option+Shift+P OSARA: Report ripple editing mode

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Audio Editing with Time Selections in Reaper

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if you’re following these tutorials along on the Mac, make sure you get the latest build of OSARA and update your key map.

In this third of a series of beginner tutorials, we finally get a bit of editing done using time selections. The context sensitive nature of Reaper is discussed along with some further navigational and editing techniques. These include selecting and moving between items, scrubbing, moving by beats or measures, making and refining time selections, previewing your edit and the implications of your zoom factor.

Keyboard Shortcuts Mentioned

  • Left Arrow View: Move cursor left one pixel
  • Right Arrow View: Move cursor right one pixel
  • Command+Left Arrow Item navigation: Select and move to previous item
  • Command+Right Arrow Item navigation: Select and move to next item
  • Page Up Move edit cursor back one measure
  • Page Down Move edit cursor forward one measure
  • Command+Page Up Move edit cursor back one beat
  • Command+Page Down Move edit cursor forward one beat
  • Delete OSARA: Remove items/tracks/contents of time selection/markers/envelope points (depending on focus)
  • [ Time selection: Set start point
  • ] Time selection: Set end point
  • Option+[ Time selection: Nudge left edge left
  • Option+] Time selection: Nudge left edge right
  • Command+[ Time selection: Nudge right edge left
  • Command+] Time selection: Nudge right edge right
  • Option+Space Transport: Play (skip time selection)
  • Shift+Home Custom: Select from cursor to start of project
  • Shift+End Custom: Select from cursor to end of project
  • Option+Shift+- or NumPad- View: Zoom out horizontal
  • Option+Shift+= or NumPad +View: Zoom in horizontal

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Reaper Basics, Tracks, Media and OSARA Configuration

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This tutorial gives a basic overview of the conversion between the windows key map and the Mac key map. It covers the hierarchy of a Reaper project. How to add a track, and insert an audio file on it. There’s also a quick run down of the OSARA configuration dialog. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions for things to cover in future tutorials.

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Keyboard Shortcuts

  • CmD+Opt+Shift+P or Cmd+F12 Open OSARA Preferences
  • CMD+T insert and name track
  • Cmd+I Insert media files…
  • Space Play/Stop
  • Ctrl+Space Play/Pause
  • Cmd+Shift+J Report edit/play cursor position Measures and Beats
  • Cmd+Shift+J, J Report edit/play cursor position Time
  • Cmd+Home Go to start of project
  • Cmd+End Go to end of project

Installing Reaper with OSARA and SWS on the Mac

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In this Episode I’d like to give you a very brief introduction to the DAW, Reaper. It is an extremely powerful multi track audio editor that is cross platform, working on Mac and Windows. I will be concentrating on the Mac version however most of what is covered is also applicable to Windows.
You can find download links at the end of this post for Reaper and OSARA. Reaper is the application and OSARA is a plugin created by NVAccess which makes it more accessible – OSARA: Open Source Accessibility for the REAPER Application. I would also recommend installing an additional plugin called SWS which expands the functionality and usability of Reaper, link also below.

Whether you are on Windows or Mac, you will want to install all three, Reaper, OSARA, and SWS. To quickly check you have OSARA installed, hit the up or down arrow once you’ve opened Reaper, if VO reports “No Tracks” then your good to go.

Okay, so all installed? Cool, lets go. You can use VoiceOver to explore the interface, however almost everything you’ll need is available with keyboard shortcuts.

When you start Reaper for the first time, it will prompt you to set an audio device, go ahead and do this. If you don’t do this initially, you can access the preferences by pressing Cmd+P, and going to Devices in the tree view. Whilst in Preferences, I’d recommend going into Paths and setting a location for peak files to be saved.

Shortcut Help

F12 will toggle on and off keyboard shortcut help. This is an invaluable tool both when your new to Reaper or even when you’ve been using it for a while. When toggled on, Voice Over will report the action that is bound to whatever key/s you press. I recommend making liberal use of it.

The Actions List

Pressing F4 will bring up the Actions List. You’ll be placed into a search field that lets you filter the thousands of actions down to the one you’re looking for. Once you’ve done this, you can see the shortcut, or shortcuts that are assigned to it. If there’s not currently an action assigned, you can also add the shortcut from this dialog. The Import/Export button will allow you to import a another key map over your existing one, or save your own key map for a back up, or to share with others.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Command+P Preferences
F12 Shortcut Help
F4 Show Action List
Shift+F1 Help: Mouse modifier keys and action shortcuts

Downloads

Reaper

NVAccess OSARA

SWS Extension

CAVI Training

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