FL Studio vs. Reaper: What you need to know

dj music
Photo Credit: arty_k/Adobe Stock

When choosing the right DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for your music productions, there are many factors to consider. For example, are you primarily a recording artist, or do you implement production techniques in your music? If you use synthesizers, are you mainly using analog, digital, or software instruments to compose your tracks? Certain DAWs will be geared towards a heavier electronic production audience and have robust tools for writing and editing tracks and adding effects and editing multiple channels in an extensive session.

Today, we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of FL Studio vs Reaper. This software has been around since the turn of the century and have a robust fanbase of professional and amateur. And while both are geared towards electronic music production, each has its quirks and specifications that make or break the programs for certain users.

FL Studio: Pros

A Modular UI

FL Studio has a smooth interface that allows for independent control of each aspect of your session. A lot of DAWs host effects and plugins visually on tracks, but with separate windows, you can easily see what is going on in your session without having to change screen views or layouts to do so. FL Studio looks clean and is easy to navigate.

Onboard synths and plugins

A significant attractor for any DAW is the plugins and digital instruments the program comes with. These ultimately define the energy for each unique piece of software, and these tools are an essential detail to consider. FL Studio comes with several onboard synths and plugins, including equalizers, compressors, limiters, delays, and much more. It’s a powerhouse DAW right out of the box for any EDM, Hip Hop, House, or Techno producer.

MIDI editing

The MIDI editing in FL Studio’s piano roll is something that ties the entire software together. The piano roll allows you to draw in and edit notes on any digital instrument, and FL has many tools to make your parts more exciting and human-sounding. These include the arpeggiator, note editors, velocity control, and even an automatic melody generator to inspire new ideas.

FL Studio: Cons


The timeline in FL Studio is a drawback. It’s unstructured and unclear, making it challenging to lay parts down once you’ve established what you want. It’s ultimately a learning curve for using the program, but it affects its overall effectiveness as software for beginners or users changing programs.

Cluttered interface

While the modular interface is attractive, it creates a slightly chaotic workflow compared to other DAWs. For example, when you open an effect, plugin or instrument, it opens a new window on the screen.

CPU overload

Because of its interface issues described above, FL Studio uses a lot of computer power and crashes on a sub-par machine. This is something to keep in mind if you are running on a small computer.

Reaper: Pros


The prices for a license of Reaper range from $0-225, making it one of the most affordable DAWs on the market. Period. FL Studio starts at $99, and other DAWs are priced at much higher starting prices. Reaper is a fantastic choice for beginning producers and explorative ones looking for something new.

Customizable interface

There is almost no part of the Reaper interface that is not customizable to the user. You can compile precisely the tools you need to be readily available as you are working. This is one of the biggest pros about Reaper and one of the things that makes it so distinctly unique from not just FL but every other DAW on the market.


Reaper also has its own set of robust plugins and instruments. While any producer should look into external VSTs for high-quality results, Reaper and FL both have a great starting set of plugins for any producer.

Reaper: Cons


Because Reaper is a more open-source program than most, it doesn’t get updated and maintained as often as something like FL Studio or its other competitors. This makes for a slightly less maintained piece of software, albeit a powerful one nonetheless.

Not so clean interface

The customization makes it a wonderfully open-source system, it doesn’t have the clean and attractive quality that other DAWs with more robust corporate infrastructures have. In addition, the user interface isn’t the most desirable when it comes to aesthetics.

MIDI editor

Reaper doesn’t quite match its competitors when it comes to MIDI editing and the piano roll. Compared to FL, it’s clunky, slow, and offers little in advancing or complicating ideas.


Your preference is what matters when choosing a DAW. Most are available to try with a free trial, so give FL Studio and Reaper a whirl to see which one you like best.

augusta free press news