Reaper Song Slow Downer - How to!

Hi Kasper,
I am wondering if Transcribe evolved out of Riffstation? At one time I know Fender gave away what I think is Riffstation for free. From there I am fuzzy on what happened or what evolved next.

All you mention is doable in Reaper. Be sure and stick with the video long enough to invoke “preserve pitch” or you will get some surprise pitch shifting going on. You can go another route in Reaper with this and set up a play rate envelope via the Master track “Trim” button. Once this is done, you can vary the Master track play rate envelope to what you need for playback. Selecting some areas for whatever speed you need and leave others at speed. You could then keep and playback in Reaper or render out to file. All very powerful, just as you say!

Key shifting is also a Reaper function. Though I was doing it via pitch shifting in Action items. Yet of late that seems inaccurate. Thus I went to what OH49 uses and that is done via Reapitch, which is a free, included Reaper plugin.

So now you have 2 tools to do these functions in. Transcribe sounds good and maybe each tool is good for differing desired outcomes?

All the best and keep rock’n in '22!

You are welcome!
Maybe Justin is not aware of Reaper’s capabilities in the area of Playback Rates? Who knows?

All the best and keep rock’n,

Hi Adi,
Yep, more than one way to this in Reaper. As I mentioned in the reply to Kasper above. I find using the Master Track play rate envelope to be more powerful and with better options than just the playrate knob. The knob is good for 1 certain area or the whole song. The method I am doing via the Master Track is good for any area or areas in a song. Very powerful indeed.

I have messed with BPM or tempo changes in Reaper prior. But I like to keep the project I am working on clean. To me the play rate adjustment is non destructive and easy to get back to full speed. But maybe that comes down to what you are comfortable with?

Even though you have other ways to get what you want in Reaper you might want to try what I am talking about here as it may be more efficient or useful to what you are doing now?

At any rate, thanks to checking in and hope to hear more from you soon!

All the best and keep on a rock’n,

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No, Transcribe! is a standalone tool that started development in 1998, more than 10 years before Riffstation appeared.

As I understand it, Justin doesn’t use Reaper. I believe he mainly uses Logic. Logic also has a speed change feature called “Varispeed”. In fact I suspect most DAWs have some way of doing this.

And he has Transcribe! which is a much better tool for this sort of thing, as it includes a bunch of analytics and other controls designed for making the workflow of transcribing easier.



Yes, it can. In fact software to change the speed of songs is “a dime a dozen”. I use Music Speed Changer on my tablet or phone, or the Backing Track player in ToneLib GFX for this, for practice purposes.

I also have some hardware devices which do this, including my Boss JS-8, BR-80, etc. and the old Tascam unit that @glpguitar now has.

Personally I wouldn’t use a DAW to do this as, IMO there are better, more convenient tools. Of course, not everyone else has these tools and may find using a DAW to be a convenient way to slow things down whether that is for transcribing or for practising.

But I can’t see anyone who has a tool like !Transcribe wanting to do it this way.



Thanks for the history scoop and other info on Transcribe… My experience has been with Riffstation and something called The Amazing Slow Downer. Both of what are not much better than Reaper in slowing down songs and for transcribing. I think if I get more into it I will look at Transcribe! But until then I will probably use Reaper as it suits my needs, which are a bit limited at this time.

I would think for other Reaper users, using Reaper to control the playback speed of songs is worth looking at. If they too find that transcribing or slowing of songs is heavy in the their future, then Transcribe would be a great tool to look into… Certainly if I have the cost right at $39 USD, it is a no brainer!

Keep rock’n,

Riffstation is still out there, you just have to hunt it down and its now free (it went up to around $25 I recall when I bought it years back, then support was pulled). :smiley:

I find it useful if I want to change the key of something and export the audio. Very quick way of transposing backing tracks, when experimenting on vox. Slow down works well also.
In addition to that I’ll use Transcribe! and Reaper if I am actually in a project but its also handy for dropping YouTube tracks in. YouTube is ok but not flexible enough in my opinion, with its fixed percentile speed changes. :sunglasses:

Probably not. After all, slowing down and looping a section of music is a bit of a trivial thing these days, which is why I said “a dime a dozen”.

But IMO, some of these other tools can be a lot more convenient, especially for those who are either unused to using a full DAW, or who may not be sitting at a PC when they transcribe or practice, or whose workflow doesn’t really suit starting up a DAW.

As I said, there’s dozens of tools out there, and a DAW is one of them. It’s great to know it’s there, but it’s not a “game changer” in any way whereas, I would say, that a tool like !Transcribe is (if you get to learn to use it properly).

For instance, one of the nice capabilities with !Transcribe is it makes it very easy to mark up the song sections, measures, and beats which is extremely useful when you start analysing individual parts and trying to decode rhythms. Yes you can place marks in a DAW, but doing so is quite clunky and time consuming and most people probably don’t bother.

I actually did a video about this a few years ago in response to a question on the SBL forums.

To me, this capability alone is worth the price of admission.



I may grab Transcribe as it is cheap and sounds good. The thing that would be useful to me is the dissection of song parts and such. Of course, the slowing of songs would be good to have around as well.

Is the “price of admission” a 1 time deal? Or do you have to pony up for each update?

A rock’n good thanks!

Thanks Toby,
I think for a while Riffstation went out of circulation. I looked all over for it about a year ago and came up empty. Thanks for the link!

All the best,

It’s a one time cost. I’ve had several updates over the years, at no additional cost.

I have another video describing my transcription process. As before this was for SBL (and for a specific challenge on their community “Campus”).



I’d agree with Keith regards the cost of Transcribe and from what I have seen all updates are free after purchase

One of the best features in addition to the easy marking function is the EQ and the selectable filters. No disrespect Keith but taking the bass player out of the equations, makes life a whole lot easier working on a guitar section. :sunglasses:


I agree, that’s a great feature, and I use it with guitar and bass.



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I guess we can call Toby the “Keith eraser”… JK, but still kind of funny.

I will probably take a hard look at Transcribe as the price is right. Yet for those on Reaper that just need a quick slowdown or two, there are decent options there…

In addition I am wondering if Transcribe can render out something like a slowed mp3 file?

Was a link for Transcribe posted yet? I have to look. But if not, maybe someone can put that up? It did not jump out at me when I tried to Google it.

Keep rock’n guys!

For anyone wanting to know more about Transcribe or D/L the 30 day trail, go here:


@LBro: I bought my Transcribe license in 2007, and it’s still good for updates. I think the guy might want to rethink his business model (although I do appreciate how it works) :slight_smile:

You can easily save out a mp3 at whatever pitch/tempo you’ve set up…

As you know I’m a huge Reaper fan and user, but for transcription and practice/learning tasks Transcribe is just easier and a more lightweight tool to use. BUT, again, it’s super useful to also be able to do it in Reaper, and for many it might be enough. Especially if they already own and know Reaper well!

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Hi Kasper,
Thanks for the feedback! :smiley:
Taking a look at Transcribe now. Good deal on the lifetime license. $39 is pretty cheap for what it does, though I am a noob at the moment in it. Yet then again, it is 2/3rds the cost of Reaper, for basically a single use type app. I think at the end of the day, any targeted use software should and likely does do a better job at something than say Reaper doing it as one of hundreds of functions it has under the hood.

I will give the trial a run and have a new Laptop due in Monday. I will probably load it up on that too at some point and buy it.

I did note kind of an echo in the song sample of my 3 file I used and Reaper did not do that. Does anyone know if that is likely the file I used or is it something Transcribe adds to the mix?

Thanks and keep rock’n!

Not sure about that echo, as Transcribe plays it straight in my experience. Got an old Ted Nugent track plugged in at the moment and it just sounds like the album track. :sunglasses:

I did not have much time to mess with it and am headed out soon. But the echo took place when I put on the speed reduction. So I tried another MP3 and it did the same thing. I pretty much have the install setup, so it is stock. I will mess with it more later and try to figure out what the deal is. Oh, prior to putting on speed reduction, the mp3 sounds fine at normal speed. But upon the reduced playback speed it seems the right side lags the left, causing a bit of delay & echo. Any thoughts on this one?

EDIT: I just put the same mp3 in Riffstation and it is fine, so not sure what the deal is at the moment. I thought it might be the bionic ears doing their thing on me… But most likely not.

Rock on,

I’ve been a long time user of Riffstation for slowing down, changing key, etc and it’s pretty good.

With it being unavailable now for the mac, I’ve also purchased a tool called Song Surgeon which does much the same as Riffstation. It also makes it easy to add blank space at the start which gives me time to get my fingers to the fretboard before the song starts.

Both of them also analyze and work out what the chords are, they are not perfect in this regard, but very good.