If you're looking for the Ultimate List of Best Reaper Themes, then you've come to the right place!
Deciding upon a new theme that ticks all the right boxes isn't easy. You might be blown away by the visuals for example, only to find that the theme design gets in the way of your productivity and slows down your workflow.
So, to help you decide which theme is right for you I've road-tested the best Reaper themes available today. If you're considering switching away from the default theme, then this article should help you make the right choice.
Table of Contents
What is a Reaper Theme?
Reaper themes allow you to change how you view and interact with your DAW. However, as they alter only the appearance of Reaper they can easily be installed and swapped out without messing up the DAW's functionality. This makes it simple to try out a theme and then remove if it doesn't suit, with no negative consequences.
Reaper gives you the ability to create your very own customised themes or modify an existing one. This means you could take a downloaded theme, improve upon it, and then re-share it with the Reaper community.
Where to find Reaper Themes
As a starting point I suggest visiting the Reaper forum, as here you can read through the community comments for a particular theme, and even interact with the theme creator.
How to Add a Theme to Reaper
Reaper themes come in the format '.ReaperThemeZip'. Installing them is in most cases an absolute breeze. Simply double click or drag and drop the zip file into the Reaper interface. And that's it!
Note that in some cases you may have to install other components such as customised fonts etc, however its usually straightforward if you make sure to follow the developer's instructions.
Once installed, if you subsequently want to change to another Reaper theme, simply go to Options->Themes, and choose from the list of all installed themes. If you wish to revert back to the default theme, then just select Default.
Reaper themes are stored within your application data directory:
C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Roaming\REAPER\ColorThemes (Windows)
/Users/<your username>/Library/Application Support/REAPER/ColorThemes (Mac)
To uninstall a Reaper theme simply navigate to the application data directory and delete the corresponding ReaperThemeZip file.
Best Reaper Themes
There are so many great Reaper themes to choose from that it can quickly become overwhelming. I've spent some time researching and trying out the most popular themes and narrowed down the list to what I think are the 5 best themes available.
So here we go then...my view on the very best Reaper themes:
Imperial Theme by White Tie
The Imperial Theme by White Tie changes the appearance of Reaper to look like a cool retro analogue console. It's primarily designed for a high-resolution dual monitor setup, allowing you for example to split the mixer away from the main arrangement view to view on separate displays. You can still use it with a single monitor; however, you'll have to toggle between screens which can become a bit tiresome.
The theme contains various alternate layouts which enable you to display everything you need for a specific workflow stage. This is a great design decision, allowing you to fully focus in on the task in-hand.
Although the analogue styled interface may not be for everyone, I really liked it. It should be noted however that White Tie recommend a specific set of Reaper user preferences that must be selected outside of the theme for everything to look its best. See their website for more details.
In summary, the Imperial Theme is probably not your best option for a single display, however, if you do have the screen real estate then this theme is unsurpassed.
Smooth 6 V3 by bOse
As the name suggests, the Smooth 6 theme by bOse is simply gorgeous to look at. Minimalist in design, it looks both sleek and modern.
Note that this theme is slightly more complicated to install than just dragging it into Reaper, however it shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes to figure out. You'll find the instructions in the link above.
I found this theme to be one of the best in this list. The changes aren't too radical, so you still feel right at home using it, but it does improve on the default theme in a number of nice ways.
Although the theme is free (as are all the themes in this list), the developer has obviously put a great deal of time and effort into making this. If you choose to, you can support him by giving a small donation.
ProTools 12.5 by revsfmc
If you're coming to Reaper from ProTools, then you'll feel right at home with the ProTool 12.5 theme by revsfmc.
This theme is based upon the original Albert-C Pro X Tools theme but has been updated to look more like Pro Tools 12.5.
Note that the theme was created on a monitor with a screen resolution of 1920x1080, and that the developer also recommends the use of a dual-monitor setup.
This isn't the only ProTools Reaper theme available, however having checked-out a fair a few of them this was the best of the bunch.
rLive by Odys
rLive by Odys is a stunning looking Ableton Live based theme. At the time of writing it's still in Beta but is already showing great promise.
If you are coming to Reaper from Ableton then you need to bear in mind that some things in Reaper work very differently than Ableton Live. So even though the interface may look similar, you'll still need to get your head around the many differences in workflow. With this in mind you may be better off choosing a different theme to help you let go of your Ableton muscle memory.
Having said this, the look of the theme is very clean and its extremely useable, and so its still a great choice regardless of whether or not you're a fan of Live.
Rado V4 by Nick Moritz
The Rado theme by Nick Moritz has been around awhile but remains a community favourite. This popular theme provides a great user interface with ergonomically placed controls that are not too dissimilar to the default theme in terms of placement, so this will help you navigate around from the outset.
It's worth noting that there are many more recent themes based upon this classic Rado theme. I won't list them here however it's well worth exploring the Reaper forums if you're interested.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Reaper Free?
Reaper is not free. It costs $60 for a discounted licence for non-commercial use, or for commercial use with a yearly income of less than $20k. You are able to evaluate the full software for free for 60 days, however the length of this evaluation period is not enforced.
Is Reaper Any Good?
Reaper is renowned for its value for money, its stability, and it's incredible customisation options. If you're looking for a cheap, reliable DAW with a ton of cool features, then Reaper could well be the best option for you.
Is Reaper a Good DAW for Beginners?
Due to its low price point, small storage footprint, and intuitive feel, Reaper is considered one of the best DAWs for beginner producers.
I hope you've found this article useful. If you know of a great theme that I've missed, then leave a comment below and I'll add it to the list.
Similarly, if you're a theme developer and want me to try out your latest creation then get in touch.
Have a great day.