basics Home Studio reaper recording The Digital Age

Home Recording Basics: 2 – Creating a project

In Home Recording Basics 1 we talked about getting your computer set up to operate as a DAW. The next step is to create your first project and get ready to record a few tracks. With REAPER and your soundcard properly configured, it is now time to take that next step.

Creating a recording project in REAPER

Open REAPER if you do not still have it open from following Part 1. There are three ways to start a new project in REAPER. Use the one you like best. You can:

  • Click on the New Project button -or-
  • Choose New Project from the File menu -or-
  • Press Ctrl+N on your keyboard

reaper-new project button

If you are presented with a dialog asking if you want to save the current project you will most likely want to answer “No” to continue with this process (unless you actually have something to save). The next thing you will see is a Save project: dialog box.

reaper-save project dialog

The default setting for Save in: at the top is the REAPER directory. This is fine unless you want to save your projects elsewhere. Type in a File name: for your project (I entered “Home Recording Basics 2” above) and turn on the Create subdirectory for project setting. This will create a directory with the same name as your project inside the REAPER directory and all your files for the project will be saved inside that directory. This makes it very convenient when you want to back up a project to CD since you can burn that directory to the disc and be sure you got everything. After clicking the Save button you will see the Project Settings screen.

reaper-project settings

The defaults for a project are very good for getting started. You do not have to change anything but feel free to browse around and see what things are available to you as you get more advanced. The main thing I like to do with all projects is change the Path to save media files setting as circled in the image above. I type in “./audio” which is techno-speak for “save all my audio files into a directory called audio that is inside my project directory.” This lets you keep your audio files separated from the project files and other technical stuff that is stored in the project directory.

Your project is now created and the only thing remaining to save it. There are three convenient ways to do this just as with creating it:

  • Click on the Save Project button -or-
  • Choose Save Project from the File menu -or-
  • Press Ctrl+S on your keyboard

With your new project created and saved, you are ready to record your first tracks! Read more about this process in Home Recording Basics: 3 – Recording tracks.