Should you use 32 or 64-bit REAPER?

You’ve probably noticed that there are a few versions of REAPER on the download page. 32-bit or 64-bit. This is a big source of confusion for new users.

I heard that 64-bits sounds better or something. LOL
OK, the first thing to understand is that this has nothing to do with how REAPER sounds. You see these numbers used a lot with digital audio, for the operating system, file types, program coding, and mixing bit-depth. In this particular case it makes no difference to the sound quality.

Which one should you use?
If you run a 32-bit operating system, such as Windows XP, your choice is simple. 32-bit. [editor’s note – XP is 11 years old and was officially non-supported in 2009. UPGRADE NOW!]

Windows 7 is available in 32 or 64 bit (64 is recommended) versions, and OSX 10.7 Lion is 64-bit. With a 64-bit operating system you can use either REAPER 32-bit or 64-bit.

I still don’t get it
The real difference is a matter of two factors.

  1. How much RAM do you need?
  2. Are all your plugins 64-bit?

With the 32-bit version of REAPER running on a 64-bit system, there is a limit to how much RAM can be used at once. You will see a warning when you exceed 1800 MB, stability will be very questionable past that even if your computer has 4GB or more. The 32-bit version doesn’t seem like a good choice now.

The 64-bit version of REAPER running on a 64-bit system has access to every last bit of available RAM in the system. 64-bit is generally the better option, but maybe not, see the next point.

The Bridge
Reaper Bridge 32This part is all down to how your plugins are coded. When you run the 64-bit version and not all your plugins are coded in 64-bits, you have to deal with the bridge. The bridge allows you to run 32-bit plugins in the 64-bit environment.

The issue with the bridge is that those 32-bit plugins are now a separate program and often get hidden by the main REAPER window instead of floating on top. Also your key commands like starting/stopping playback don’t work while these floating windows are active. This takes some getting used to and if you have a lot of 32-bit only plugins it can get annoying very quickly.

There is also a 64-bit bridge for when you want to run a 64-bit only plugin in 32-bit REAPER, but that’s pretty rare.

Seriously,Β  just tell me whichΒ  one to download!
To summarize: 64-bit version has access to way more RAM than the 32-bit version but the bridge can get annoying if you have a lot of plugins. The 32-bit version is limited to a relatively low amount of RAM but since there are very few 64-bit only plugins, you don’t deal with the bridge unless you want to.

We here at the REAPER Blog recommend the 32-bit version and run your RAM hungry plugins (usually just samplers or sample-based instruments) as either separate or dedicated processes. The relatively low RAM limit doesn’t matter this way because the RAM hungry stuff is outside of REAPER. We’ve found this to be the best solution.
In the years since this article was first written things have changed somewhat. The vast majority of plugins are 64-bit today and unless you have a very old computer that can’t be upgraded past 4GB of RAM, you should be using the 64-bit version of REAPER.




  1. Makes good sense. I’ve had problems with 64-bit Reaper and some plugins, almost all of them ampsims, to the point where if i’m tracking, I do it in 32-bit.

  2. Thanks for the post. I’ve been running the 64-bit version since I started Reaper. Most of my plugins are 32-bit and I always thought the annoyance of the window placements were normal…going to 32-bit now.

  3. I would like to use, and I could of course more than 4 gig of rams… but unfortunately, the plugins I need to use frequently don’t even bridge in x64 Reaper (when I load the project file, they’re locked – x64 Reaper cannot find them) I Never felt restricted with the x32 version, for it runs flawlessly, though I am on 64 bit win 7… But you have to make compromises. I advise that to save more rams, you can apply those fxes to the take/takes in Reaper that you think you would never come back to modify, and it is finalized (a distortion on a clean guitar via plugin for example). Great post! Cheers!

  4. Hi Jon,

    a helpful article indeed. Thank you. πŸ™‚
    One question about your recommendation: “run your RAM hungry plugins (usually just samplers or sample-based instruments) as either separate or dedicated processes”
    Is there a way to have standard plugins execute as separate processes? I know that some plugins like Battery or Kontakt provide that option, but what about all others not designed in that way?

    Thanx & keep on posting. πŸ˜‰


  5. Hi guys, any update on this view since Feb 2012? I imagine most plugins are 64 bit now? What are the standard ones in Reaper?

    1. It’s getting better but there are some stragglers still. Going with all 64-bit now means you lose a few commercial plugins and some free ones. Gotta move on at some point though. Reaper plugins are all 64-bit.

    1. Go for it. I’ve been on 64-bit version for a few months, most of my plugins are 64-bit now. You can have both versions installed at the same time, or make one a portable install. Pretty quick to test and find out if your favorite plugins are working.

  6. Excellent article and REALLY helped me in realizing I wasn’t insane whenever I tried 64 bit Reaper. I had given up on the 64 bit version out of necessity . As I have tons of 64 bit and 32 bit plugins. The 32 bit version is very stable with my Win 7 setup. Just wish I knew sooner to save a lot of time.

  7. I have 64-bit Windows 7 on a Dell with 6 GB of RAM. I am very new to this and don’t have any plug-ins at all – and honestly I don’t see myself purchasing any (except what comes from Reaper) in a long while. I don’t see any reason why I should not get the 64-bit version, but it seems that the 32-bit version is still the safer bet. Any advice?
    (This will be my first DAW.)

    1. I think in your situation you won’t see much if any difference between the two versions. Go for 64 and get started today.

      1. I have a 64-bit OS with only 4GB of ram. A lot of the plugins I use are available for 32 and 64 bit DAW, but there are a fair few that remain on 32-bit and would need briding. Any real benefit for me using the 64-bit in view of the total RAM available to me anyway?

        1. Benefit, no. Use the 32-bit version. But you should look into doubling or tripling your RAM, it may only be $25-50 and you’ll see an improvement in performance not just in REAPER.

          If you go totally 64-bit and have the RAM to take advantage of it, consider just not installing anything that hasn’t been updated to 64-bit. That’s my view on it today

          1. I am testing Reaper right now. I think I loaded the 64 bit for my Windows Professional 7 with 24 gigs of ram. I then after purchasing EMU vst was advised I needed to use the 32 bit version in order to used the 7500 sounds. So I am sacrificing 20 gb of ram vs 7500 sounds. Being a beginner should I do the 32 bit or tell me more about the bridge.

  8. Reaper x64 in Windows 10 was very, VERY shoddy for me, to the point where I just about gave up on Reaper. No mix of audio drivers mattered; within a few seconds to minutes of recording, everything would start getting garbled and usually the program crashed; if I was lucky I could just open Preferences–>Audio Device and reselect and be cool.. for the next couple minutes. I figured I might as well give the 32 bit a go before giving up, and sure enough, I haven’t had one interruption yet (granted, it’s only been 15 minutes, but this is still infinitely better). If it does the same thing I’ll be back to rant πŸ™‚

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