I also didn’t get on with Reaper when I tried it, and went back to Ardour.
That’s not that Reaper is worse than Ardour, it mainly because it didn’t do anything for me that Ardour couldn’t. And I have been using Ardour on and off since around V2 or 3 (and it’s now up to v8.1).
In my view, a huge amount is about familiarity and, although most DAWs work vaguely the same way, and have the same core set of features, they often have different workflows, and the way the gui is laid out is different from other DAWs.
A great example of this is Ardour (fully Open Source) versus Mixbus 32C (closed source, commercial product, but highly based on Ardour code with a bunch of proprietary capabilities added).
Now Ardour and Mixbus look very similar and, because the baseline gui is the same, it’s mostly very easy to move between the two. However, the workflow is quite different.
Mixbus is designed around the workflow, control, and audio characteristics of the renowned Harrison 32C analogue console, used by Michael Jackson, Abba, Queen, and many others.
One of the primary characteristics of Mixbus is that it emulates analogue mixing systems to give you a sound closer to classic analogue studios.
Interestingly, Harrison have just released a new physical 32C analogue console which is designed to maintain that workflow and analogue feel whilst integrating into a modern DAW environment. If you have a spare $90,000 and a high-end studio to fit it into, that is.
But I digress…
Back to DAWs, Ardour 8.1 was released recently and features improved tempo mapping which is really great for aligning the grid to performances which aren’t recorded to a click-track, and also some nice section editing capabilities.
It also has some Ableton-inspired clip launching capabilities which are great for building background tracks (it comes with a large library of drum parts and beats, as well as chord sequences and basslines) as well as cues that let you integrate clips into a conventional recording timeline.