Basic Automation with Reaper and OSARA – RT16

This session steps through doing basic automation of track volume, pan and effect parameters in Reaper with OSARA.

There are a number of different ways of writing automation in Reaper and if you have a Control Surface, this will open up more.

This episode shows how to manually write in automation points, and we start with the Volume Envelope, no control surface necessary.

In case you’re not too sure what automation is, in the context of a DAW, it allows you to control a particular parameter such as the volume of a track, so that it is at different levels at different parts of the timeline. For example, if you have some music on one track, and a voice over on another track, you might wish to decrease the volume of the music whilst the voice is speaking and than raise it up again. To do this, you can write in some automation for the track volume envelope.

  1. Select the track to automate.
  2. Toggle the Volume envelope visible, with Control+Alt+V. There is no OSARA feedback for this action.
  3. Select the Vol Envelope with Control+L. If you have multiple envelopes enable for a track, this will cycle through the visible envelopes. You add the Shift key to cycle through the envelopes in reverse.
  4. Move to the point at which you wish to start adjusting the track volume and add a point with Shift+E – Insert point at current position. This will insert a point at the current edit cursor position and at the current envelope value. So in our case, since we’ve not yet adjusted the volume, the envelope value will be 0db. This is the point at which we want to start the fade of the music for our voice over. When the first point is inserted, Reaper will automatically insert another point at the very beginning of the track, so our point will actually be point two.
  5. Given we are wanting to have the Vol fade down before the voice over starts, move forward to the point just before speech starts. As we are going to want to adjust the value of this point, use the command ?Edit envelope point at cursor" bound to Alt+Shift+E. If our cursor isn’t on an envelope point, this command will first add one and than bring up a dialog to adjust it. Put in the amount by which you wish to drop the Vol, for example, negative 15db, and press enter.

You have now faded the volume of your music track. If you make no other changes, the volume will stay where you last set it until the end of the project. In the case of a voice over, you are probably going to want to raise the volume of the music track back up. So repeat these basic steps. Add another point at minus 15db, at the end of the vocals. This will hold the volume at this level until this point on the timeline, in other words you are setting the location at which you want the fade up to start. Move forward the length of the desired fade and add another point, editing it and setting the value back to 0db.

Within the dialog for an envelope point, there are a number of other values you can adjust. These include the position, and the shape of the envelope. The shape determines how the envelope will change between the selected point and the next point.

The principles above can be applied to any envelope you add to a track or item. To add a parameter of an effect, access the effect and click the Param button. This will bring up a menu, select the FX parameter list submenu and than Show track envelope, and find the parameter you want to add as an envelope.

If you have been adjusting a specific parameter of an effect and decide you want to add it as an envelope for the track, you can use the command “Show/hide track envelope for last touched FX parameter” which is mapped to Control+Alt+L.

Once you have envelopes added, use the OSARA commands, move to next or previous point below, to select and adjust or delete. Multiple points can also be selected. See the commands listed below.

The NumPad 8 and 2, can be used to adjust the value of a selected point and NumPad 4 or 6 along with the comma and period, can be used to adjust the position.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Control+Alt+V Track: Toggle track volume envelope visible
  • Control+Alt+P Track: Toggle track pan envelope visible
  • Control+L OSARA: Select next track/take envelope (depending on focus)
  • Control+Shift+L OSARA: Select previous track/take envelope (depending on focus)
  • Alt+J OSARA: Move to previous envelope point
  • Alt+K OSARA: Move to next envelope point
  • Alt+Shift+J OSARA: Move to previous envelope point (leaving other points selected)
  • Alt+Shift+K OSARA: Move to next envelope point (leaving other points selected)
  • Shift+E Envelope: Insert new point at current position
  • Alt+Shift+E Envelope: Edit envelope point value at cursor
  • , or NumPad4 Item edit: Move items/envelope points left
  • . or NumPad6 Item edit: Move items/envelope points right
  • NumPad8 Item edit: Move items/envelope points up one track/a bit
  • NumPad2 Item edit: Move items/envelope points down one track/a bit

Picking a Source and Recording in Reaper – RT05

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

Item & Ripple Editing in Reaper – RT04

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.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • 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

Audio Editing with Time Selections in Reaper with OSARA – RT03

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

  • 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

Reaper Basics, Tracks, Media & OSARA Configuration – RT02

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.

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 & SWS – RT01

In this Episode I’d like to give you a 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



OSARA Download

Reaper Accessibility Wiki

SWS Extension

CAVI Training