Reaper, by Cockos, is what I use for my digital audio workstation (DAW) every day of the world. There are so many things about it that I love, I find it hard to narrow down what makes it so awesome. But I'll try.
I think what I like the most about Reaper is how fast it allows me to work. When I think about work-flow with Reaper compared with any other method I ever used for recording and mixing audio, it makes my head spin.
Want to add a new track?. "Control-T" BAM! Done. You want to fix a buzzing guitar on one measure? No need for fancy "punch-in" techniques.
Just record that same bit of audio on another track (which you just added with a swift "ctrl-T"), peel back the buzzy bit from the original track, drag the new part from the track below into the space where the old, buzzy guitar was, and you're done.
That whole thing takes me about 90 seconds. I can use my eyes as well as ears to cross-fade the new bit of audio into the original track so nobody could ever tell it was a patch; completely seamless.
How about accidentally "cutting" a slice of audio in the wrong spot? No problem. Just drag the ends of the cut part back out to create the right section!
Every time you cut or copy a selection of audio, you're actually copying the entire recording on that track, but only showing the section you chose. I
n other words, if you highlight and cut a section of audio out, and later realize you need it back, simply grab the edge of the audio item after the void you left when cutting, and drag it over the blank space. Bingo! The original audio is back.
Basically everything is non-destructive but in an incredibly intuitive and neat way that speeds up your ability to produce your project.
As you can tell, I really like Reaper. And no, I don't have an affiliation with them. They don't really need affiliates since their product is so awesome. Oh, and did I mention their Fair Pricing scheme? There is only one version of Reaper.
In other words, there is no "trial version" that is hampered in some way. You get to pay for the license you say you qualify for. That would be either the full commercial license for $225, or the discounted license for $60. Say WHAT? Yup. You heard right.
The same software sells for either $60 or $225, though in truth it is worth FAR more than $225. It's based on the honor system. who does that? Cockos, that's who.
If you make $20K a year using Reaper, you should choose the full commercial license. If you make less than that, you're allowed to use the $60 version. And nobody is going to ask you to prove anything. There are no dongles, no fancy copyright security schemes that make other programs hard to work with. It is just pure awesomeness.
Basically, if you don't already have a DAW, you should run, not walk, to their website at http://www.cockos.com/reaper/purchase.php ASAP. BTW, I have no affiliation with them. I'm just a satisfied customer;).
Once you get your hands on Reaper, you'll want to learn to use it with our Reaper tutorial course - The Newbies Guide to Audio Recording Awesomeness 2 - Pro Recording With Reaper