This is a case of the underdog versus the crowd favorite. FL Studio has amassed a grand following in its 14 years of existence, becoming one of the most sought out recording software available on the market, but can it stand up to its relatively unknown competitor? In this Reaper vs FL Studio article we’ll see how these two digital audio workstations fare against each other with regard to features, audio recording capabilities, interface, compatibility and pricing. If you would like to check out my main article on the top 7 DAW’s just click on the link!

Reaper vs FL Studio



Reaper is a feature-heavy application that is very light on resources but packs a powerful punch. The latest version offers nothing short of an impressive performance and bucket load of well, thought out features. You’ll be able to:

  • Mix audio, MIDI, video and still images on a single track
  • Route channel with surprising ease through the mixer
  • Easily split, glue, resize, move, trim, loop, pitch shift, time stretch, fade, cross-fade, without even switching tools
  • Side-chain any plug-in, even though that plugin might not support side-chaining
  • ReWire audio or MIDI from an external application
  • Use 64-bit plugins along with a suite of bundled devices
  • Customize anything and everything in the interface

FL Studio was once a simple loop-maker with very basic sequencing abilities, almost like a toy. But it has since broken out of its old shell and new versions have added audio recording, precision mixing, VST capabilities. The latest version though goes even further. Some of the best features in the new version include:

  • Performance mode – the ability to play loops live
  • Multi-touch support for touch screens
  • Piano roll comes with horizontal and vertical movement locking
  • Right-click data entry for controls
  • Improved tap tempo
  • New plugins: BassDrum, Effector, Groove Machine Synth, Mini Synth, and more

Check out the current pricing for FL studio on amazon!

4 out of 5 stars – Reaper

5 out of 5 stars – FL Studio

FL Studio

FL Studio

Recording & Mixing

Reaper 4 offers some decent recording functionality. The interface provides for non-destructible audio editing, as well as a powerful mixer. The mixer offers some innovative routing features. The only drawback here would be a full featured audio editing tool, leaving you no choice but to go for a third party editor.

FL Studio has an excellent recording interface complete with intelligently designed transport buttons and over-dubbing capabilities. Multi input recording can be a little tedious at times. The mixer offers good precision and excellent routing capabilities and leaves almost nothing to be desired.

4 out of 5 stars – Reaper

4.5 out of 5 stars – FL Studio


Reaper 4 comes with a rather simple interface. But don’t let the impression of simplicity fool you. There is absolutely no shortage of customizable features, including a completely skinnable look with changeable colors. Where the interface shines however, is the recording functions and the ergonomic transport buttons.

FL Studio 11 carries a beautiful interface but it’s somewhat still clogged by the heavy design that is reminds you of its older days. Sleek new features like Performance mode seem ill-fitting to its older sections.

4 out of 5 stars – Reaper

4 out of 5 stars – FL Studio


Reaper 4 provides support for VST, DX, AU, and JS format plugins, as well as their 64-bit versions. It runs on Windows, Mac and even Linux operating systems.

FL Studio 11 is not yet fully compatible with Mac. There is a Beta version available for OS X 10.8 onwards, but there are minor issues concerning stability. You can always work your way around this with Boot Camp. FL Studio 11 has been configured to work with numerous new devices and comes designed for plug-and-play functionality with MIDI controllers like Novation’s Launchpad and the Akai APC40.

4.5 out of 5 stars – Reaper

5 out of 5 stars – FL Studio


Reaper 4 comes at a ridiculously cheap $60 for a personal license. If you intend on doing commercial work like running a studio, however, it will cost you $200. You can even try out a demo version for 30 days with absolutely no feature limitations.

FL Studio 11 comes in many different editions that will suit any kind of user:

  • FL Studio Frooty Edition ($99) – includes only the very basic features minus audio recording.
  • FL Studio Producer Edition ($199) – includes a full mixer, audio tracks, ASIO recording and a WAV editor.
  • FL Studio Signature Edition ($299) – includes FL Studio Producer edition + additional plugins.
  • FL Studio + All Plugins Bundle ($910) – includes FL Studio Signature edition + all available plugins from Image Line.

Image Line offers all future upgrades for free with a purchase of any of its editions. Try the demo here.

5 out of 5 stars – Reaper

5 out of 5 stars – FL Studio

Reaper vs FL Studio Conclusion

Reaper might be close competition but the winner here is no other than FL Studio. It offers an extremely well crafted experience for all kinds of users, regardless of whether they are just starting out or have a lifetime’s worth of experience in producing sound. Before you leave you should check out some other interviews like Ableton live, Pro tools and Cubase! If you liked this head to head format make sure to check out some other articles like fl studio vs pro tools and reaper vs pro tools! No matter which of these digital audio workstations that you choose, make sure to pick up a guide to help you master the software. Here is my favorite FL studio guide as well as my favorite Reaper DAW guide! Both of these programs can be quite complicated especially for a beginner. These guides will let you focus more on your creativity and music production than all the technical issues.

4 out of 5 stars – Reaper

4.5 out of 5 stars – FL Studio

Where to Buy

If you decide FL Studio is the DAW for you, I would recommend picking it up here at They have the lowest price, free shipping(with prime items), and an interest free payment plan so you don’t have to put up the whole chunk of change all at once (which I have come to really appreciate!). If you are really considering FL studio as your digital audio workstation of choice make sure to check out all of the reviews on Amazon to hear what current users have to say. If you know of a better place, please let me know in the comment box below.