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12.1 Cockos Reaper DAW

Reaper is a reliable and highly customisable digital audio workstation. It is available to evaluate freely from https://www.reaper.fm/. Many composers and designers working in spatial audio use Reaper because it is very good at handling multichannel interleaved audio (up to 64 channel WAV) and has a straightforward approach to routing. It also features a great automation system which is important for precise composition in Spat and has native OSC support for navigation, transport and more.

Reaper seems to integrate well with the Spat Plug-ins and the Local Audio Path workflow described in section 10.1. If you are using the Local Audio Path, it is also important to taking a look at Appendix B of this guide.

Setting Up Sync in Reaper

As described in section 7.4, when you are using the Local Audio path, the buffer size and sample rate must be matched in both Spat Revolution and Reaper. In Spat you set this in the preferences and in Reaper in the Audio Device preferences. If they don’t match at first, you may need write the correct settings to the preferences by quitting and restarting both applications to get the correct green sync status between the apps.

Setting Up Tracks in Reaper

It is a good idea to work with Track Folder structures in your Arrange.

In the screenshot above, the B-Format Master has been set to be a Folder Parent with 4 Track Channels. Reaper channel routing is set on a track by track basis, using the TrackIO Route button of each Track. All the Child tracks that route to the Parent can be assigned to one of the four receiving channels on the Parent track. In this example, the W is assigned to Track 1 by setting the track Pan to the left and routing to Parent Channels 1-2. Similarly the X to Track 2 ( setting the track Pan to the right ). The Y Track is assigned to Parent Channels 3-4 and hard panned left and so on.

Alternatively, an interleaved four channel audio file (B-Format audio in this example) can be placed on one Child Track, which has been specified to have 4 channels.

Now different interleaved files in the same format can overlap and be composed on the same Track, and they will be summed to the Folder track, and therefore to same Virtual Source in Spat. All automation for that source should happen in the Envelope Lanes of the Parent Folder track.

Setting Up Spat SEND in Reaper

Put the Spat SEND on the Parent Track. This means that as the composition grows, you may have multiple Child tracks sending different audio material to the same virtual source in Spat, through one SEND plug-in on the Parent Folder Track.

This is the least complicated way to build up a large project because then the automation for the spatialisation is managed in one place even though source material may be different at different stages of the composition. Maybe it is not always necessary to have a different virtual Send for every single audio file. The source automation can change in the envelope lanes of the Parent Folder, making it so that one Spat SEND is shared by child tracks with the same format. This will make more sense in practice.

Check the number of channels streamed between plug-in and Spat. Press on the little COG wheel icon at the top corner of the SEND plug-in to open the plug-in setup menu. The Spat IO Config should have inherited the Channel count of the Track, which you have specified in the TrackIO of the Reaper Track.

If all is well, then you will see the Send appear as an input at the top of the signal graph in your Spat project. If you do not see it, then try clicking on Get send/return to force Spat to look for virtual IO.

In the screenshot above, the Orange ‘ BFormat ‘ Send input is the one being routed by the SEND plug on the Parent Track we have set up. At first it will appear in Spat as a Channel Based input by default - in this case it appeared as a 4.0 QUAD. The B-Format Input Stream Type was assigned manually (see section 6.4).

There are a couple of things to watch out for which cause inconsistent behaviour;

!> Full Plug-in State Save is set in Plug-in Compatibility Preferences

!> “Prevent Anticipative FX” should be enabled on tracks where SEND / RETURN are inserted

Spat Source Automation in Reaper

Now it is simply a case of adding some Envelope lanes for parameters you wish to automate from the DAW timeline. Here the B-Format source is being introduced from a distance automating Aperture, Warmth and Distance.

In the Spat HOA Room, we see the B-Format source (transcoded into an Auro3D virtual speaker configuration in this example) fly gradually into the scene with the whole sound field transforming slowly as it comes over.

Setting Up Controllers in Reaper

In Reaper it is easy to map any MIDI controllers (including 14-bit) to a Plug-In parameter. This is a great way to control source properties like Azimuth or Yaw using external MIDI controllers, so you could control some of the sources live by hand during a performance.

In the Automation parameter list for Spat SEND just click on the LEARN… button to manually assign an external controller that you have set up in the Reaper Controller preferences. Also from this page by clicking on the MOD… button of an automatable parameter it is possible to animate sources with independent LFOs that run all the time in the background, quick and dirty way to spatialise live inputs sources with autopan type effects for example.

Setting up Spat Return in Reaper

Now we want to render that scene from the Room to disk as an interleaved 3rd Order HOA, for example. From the formula in section 6.45, we can calculate that 3HOA3D needs 16 channels.

First of all set up a Track in Reaper that can handle 16 channels at once. Then add a Spat RETURN plug-in on that track. It should automatically inherit the channel count, if not do it manually using the IO config of the plug-in, available from the little cog wheel in the top corner of Spat RETURN.

Enable the Local Audio Path and you should see a Return output module appear in the Spat signal graph. Connect it to the 3HOA3D stream output from the Room (or Rooms in a mixer/transcoder) and it should inherit the format.

Now it is necessary to make Reaper record the software OUTPUT of the audio track

Arm the track to record, press play and render the scene to a 3HOA3D interleaved 16 channel WAV file (avoid using FLAC for higher than 8 channels)

The same process can be followed to render any Channel Based or other stream type from Spat to disk for further composition, mastering or final delivery.