Reaping in the Dark – Part 1.1: Introduction and Preparations

Welcome to Reaping in the Dark, a fully accessible course for the Reaper digital audio workstation written with the blind and visually impaired in mind. Read on to find out more about this course and what you will need to practice and apply what you learn.

About This Course

This course aims not only to walk you through the use of the Reaper digital audio workstation, but to also provide an overview of the most common aspects of music production. Each part will begin by introducing terminology, technique, and explanations of concepts related to the topic of that part, followed by an explanation of how what you learned applies to Reaper, and finally a practical portion in which you will apply what you learned in exercises that present situations you may commonly come across as a music producer. Concepts will be introduced in a way that will build on what you have learned, and the practical portions of the course will include professionally produced audio files with which you can practice and experiment.

About Reaper

Reaper is a fully functional digital audio workstation that provides many of the features of more expensive alternatives at a very affordable price. It allows for the recording, editing, and mixing of multitrack audio, made possible by a full suite of high quality audio processing plugins and editing tools. With a track limit only placed by the limits of your computer’s processing power, incredibly flexible editing and processing options, and other features rarely seen in software at its price point, Reaper is a solid introduction to computer-based music production that is considered good enough to be used by countless professional producers.

Operating Systems

This course will primarily be written for use with Reaper on Windows. The Osara Reaper extension listed below has an experimental Mac build which is available, but not all aspects will carry over exactly as written here, if at all. To learn more about how to best adapt this course for use on a Mac, read the sections on troubleshooting and problem solving in Part 1.2.

What You Will Need

Reaper can be downloaded and installed as a 60 day trial version, and a full Reaper license can be purchased for only $60 US.
Click Here to Visit the Reaper Website
To best take advantage of Reaper’s features, download and install NV Access’s NVDA screen reader. Other screen readers may work, but the software used in this course that makes Reaper accessible was specifically designed for NVDA and will provide best results with NVDA. The screen reader is provided free, but donations to NV Access to support the development of the software is highly encouraged.
Click Here to Visit the NVDA Download Page
Osara is an extension for Reaper which makes Reaper accessible. It allows access to many of Reaper’s functions by the use of keyboard shortcuts and other features which allow screen readers to interact properly with the software. Installation instructions can be found on the page below.
Click Here to Visit the Osara Page
The SWS extension for Reaper is not necessary, but is highly recommended. It creates many more keyboard shortcuts for tasks which are not provided by Osara alone.
Click Here to Visit the SWS Site
Finally, purchasing an audio interface is necessary if you wish to apply what you learn to your own work. Audio interfaces will be explained later in the series, but if you are familiar enough to purchase one, it is recommended to select a model that provides as many physical controls as possible, or at the very least can offer basic controls such as volume on individual channels without the use of software. Some models are controlled digitally by software which is not guaranteed to be accessible.

Support This Series

This course is provided free of charge, and is supported by contributions from readers. If you have benefited from this course and would like to give back to support future content for the course and others like it, please consider making a contribution in any amount by buying me a coffee through Ko-fi.

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