Reaper FX Chain Tutorial for Beginners

In audio mixing using Reaper Digital audio workstation; one of the most effective techniques that you should know is how to use the Reaper FX Chain. This would let you apply effects quickly and efficiently without going through the entire process of resetting and re-assigning settings for each of your track.

Let’s illustrate how to do this with your Reaper DAW.

Load your Mix

The first step is to open your mixing session in Reaper. It is assumed you have not yet applied any effects on your mix. Supposing you have three tracks on it, one instrumentation and two lead vocal tracks (screenshot):

Reaper mix without any effects

Reaper mix without any effects

Since you have two lead vocal tracks, you would most likely applying the same effects on them; so Lead vocal 1 and Lead vocal 2 will have to use the same vocal effects.

Using Reaper FX chain technique, you will formulate the effects first on the first lead vocal track, and then test it. If it sounds good; you can then save it as an effects chain and use it on your second vocal track without the need to define the settings again. This saves time and improves efficiency in your Reaper audio mixing process.

Creating Sample Reaper Vocal FX Chain

To create an FX chain, follow the steps below:

1.) You will need to formulate the FX chain on the first lead vocal track. Click FX button.
2.) Let’s start by adding an EQ effect, on the plug-ins select “VST: ReaEQ (Cockos)”.
Set the parametric EQ as follows:

Low shelf (1-Enabled)
Frequency: 50Hz
Gain: -6dB
Bandwidth: 2.0

Band (2-Enabled)
Frequency: 2000Hz
Gain: +3dB
Bandwidth: 3

Band (3-Enabled)
Frequency: 15000Hz
Gain: +2dB
Bandwidth: 0.8

Band (4-Disabled/Unchecked)

This is how your Reaper Parametric EQ would look like after implementing the above settings:

Reaper parametric EQ

Reaper parametric EQ

The purpose of the EQ is cut the bass parts of the vocals (not needed) and then boosts the mid-frequency presence to improve lyrics clarity. A slight high-end frequency boost is to improve the vocal ambiance and presence.

For other instruments (guitars, bass, drums), you can refer to this guide on the complete EQ settings to start when doing audio mixing.

3.) The next effect on the chain would be a compressor. Simply “Add” to add another effect on the chain. Screenshot:

adding effects

adding effects