Playtime is different from the VST plugins you know. It makes heavy use of the REAPER extension API. The result: Playtime feels like it is integrated into REAPER. There's no workflow interruption as you might experience it by combining REAPER with other audio software using ReWire.
Relies on REAPER features
Instead of reinventing the wheel, Playtime merely leverages REAPER features (such as time stretching and pooled MIDI items) for all of its playback and recording functionality. That means you automatically get top-notch REAPER audio quality plus it doesn't consume much resources.
Works with controllers
Playtime is a MIDI-controllable VST instrument. You can trigger clips using your MIDI keyboard. It also has been tested successfully with grid controllers such as Launchpad and APC40 MK2 - including visual feedback.
Sensitive default settings
Playtime is easy to start with. After all, bringing back the fun into loop-based music production is what it is all about. By default, it automatically starts clips tempo-matched on the next measure as one would expect it.
Despite its simple default settings, Playtime's behavior can be tremendously changed. Trigger a specific clip immediately or on the next beat instead of the next measure. Apply this setting to all clips at once. Use one shots instead of loops.
Most of Playtime's functionality is automatable. That means you can change various settings over time by drawing an automation envelope in REAPER. Or you can change them using control surfaces or MIDI control devices.
Playtime has been designed to give you immediate access to frequently used actions. Enjoy drag'n'drop, context menus and colored slots!
Trigger videos or images instead of sounds. Use several instances of Playtime. Control one Playtime instance with another one. Sketch your arrangement using the piano roll. Clip names can be displayed right on the piano roll bars.
Once you have sketched your arrangement with Playtime, you don't need it anymore to play your project. All the items are readily positioned on the REAPER timeline. That might turn out useful if you want to pass the project to your friend who doesn't have Playtime.
Play your timeline
What is Playtime?
And how does it compare to other projects?
Playtime is a VST instrument for the Digital Audio Workstation REAPER and works in REAPER only. It is designed to make loop-based music production in REAPER easier and much more fun. In particular, it offers a Session View loosely inspired by the one in Ableton Live. That means it enables you to play loops in a very intuitive way - just by triggering them using your MIDI controller or the graphical user interface.
This playful way of handling loops can be useful in many ways. For example, you can use it as a live performance instrument or for sketching your arrangement. Playtime integrates with REAPER by leveraging its unique extension API and thereby aims at a better user experience than combining REAPER with standalone software using ReWire. It essentially works by positioning items on tracks in realtime.
Download and installation
You may evaluate Playtime for free within the scope of our evaluation license. In that case, saving and loading of the project state is disabled and clips can't be triggered anymore 30 minutes after each start.
Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10, 32-bit or 64-bit
REAPER >= v5.40, 32-bit or 64-bit
Internet Explorer or Edge might show the warning The signature of playtime-v1.15.0-pre2-installer.exe is corrupt or invalid. This is most likely a false alarm. In that case, just click "View downloads", right click on the file and choose "Run anyway".
On Windows 8 and 10, the SmartScreen filter might also complain when you try to start the installer: Windows protected your PC. In that case, just click "More info" and then "Run anyway".
The installer doesn't support portable REAPER installations. If you want to add Playtime to a portable REAPER installation, download one of the following ZIP files and extract the contents of the REAPER directory within the ZIP file into the REAPER directory of your portable REAPER installation. The ZIP file must match the architecture of your portable REAPER installation (32-bit or 64-bit).
On Mac OS X >= 10.8, Gatekeeper might refuse to start the installer: playtime-v1.15.0-pre2-installer.pkg can't be opened because it is from an unidentified developer. In that case, just locate the downloaded installer in Finder, right- or CTRL-click it and choose "Open" from the context menu. When the warning appears, click the "Open" button to confirm that you wish to use the installer.
The installer doesn't support portable REAPER installations. If you want to add Playtime to a portable REAPER installation, download the following ZIP file and extract the contents of the REAPER directory within the ZIP file into the REAPER directory of your portable REAPER installation:
#329 Added custom undo system within Playtime in order to support undo/redo without playback interruption and clip chaos (see the new undo/redo buttons in the toolbar)
#305 Added support for more Launchpad Pro buttons: record arm, track select, mute, solo, stop clip, duplicate, double, quantize, undo/redo (double, quantize and undo/redo are also available within the Playtime UI)
#325 Improved clip recording by omitting number suffix from first recorded clip
#327 Improved usability by automatically zooming MIDI editor to content when opening MIDI clip (known issue: if there are only notes of one pitch in the clip it doesn't work, seems to be a bug in the REAPER action 40466)
#326 Improved usability by automatically stowing away clips on load (that makes pressing the 'Leave edit mode' button unnecessary after opening a project which has been saved while clips where still playing)
#324 Improved usability by automatically hiding MIDI triggers when selecting a grid controller (something like the Launchpad)
#287 Improved audio performance by reducing mutex locking
#321 Improved UI performance by reducing main thread load
#320 Fixed serious REAPER UI slowdown on big projects if Playtime is among the last tracks
#319 Fixed recording on tracks containing special characters such as '<'
#330 Fixed crash when deleting group or scene while docked
#303 Added option 'Move items between tracks' in settings (when this is on, items will be moved to the corresponding group track when moving/copying clips)
#305 Improved Launchpad Pro support by making buttons Record, Delete and Click work (without visual feedback so far)
#315 Fixed incorrect item cut when filling slot with an item that already has an audio section
#314 Fixed potentially non-working OS X installation by using different installer flags and automatically removing old Playtime plugin in user-specific directory
Plugin location change on Windows: The new installer puts Playtime DLLs into 'C:\Program Files\Playtime\VstPlugins' (64-bit) respectively 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Playtime\VstPlugins' (32-bit). The REAPER VST paths are adjusted accordingly. Playtime DLLs in your common VST directory are now obsolete and will be ignored. You can safely delete them (manually or by uninstalling Playtime before installing Playtime 1.14.0).
Resource file location change: The new installer installs controller files, templates and user guide to the common app data directory (usually 'C:\Users\All Users\Playtime' on Windows and '/Library/Application Support/Playtime' on OS X). No worries, your own controller files will still be picked up and added to the list of controllers (but remember they must have a different file name). Whenever the Playtime VSTi is scanned or opened, it automatically copies the track and project templates to the REAPER resources directory if necessary.
User data location change: Playtime user preferences, registration info (both saved in 'settings.ini') and controllers added by user are now ideally placed in the Playtime directory below the REAPER resources directory (usually 'C:\Users\USER\AppData\Roaming\REAPER\Playtime' on Windows and '/Users/USER/Library/Application Support/REAPER/Playtime' on OS X). But don't worry, it will also look in the old location.
#132 Added full screen mode (also useful for touchscreens, cell size can be adjusted arbitrarily!)
#19 Added option to hide MIDI triggers in order to have more screen space available for slot main area (new option is in background context menu)
#301 Added many alternative automation parameters that are easy to use with buttons/pads/switches (they work with REAPER's built-in MIDI learn in absolute mode, no ReaLearn necessary, see ticket for details)
#282 Added possibility to record audio output of VST instruments (recording track audio output was possible before but it was not practical because recording while the first clip was still playing would result in the first clip being recorded again)
#119 Added very basic but effective possibility to fill multiple selected items into slots (column-wise)
#182 Added zip file downloads to website to be used for portable REAPER installations
#306 Improved user guide by documenting recommended modes (toggle, absolute etc.) for each global automation parameter
#195 Improved controller scrolling by syncing GUI scroll position with controller scroll position and highlighting the controlled area in the GUI
#26 Improved MIDI editing experience by making sure that cursor within MIDI editor loops instead of advancing further and further (by automatically setting piano roll timebase to 'Source beats')
#285 Improved naming of recorded clips by making it more terse (just track name and an auto-incrementing number)
#281 Improved default settings by making 'Auto-play recorded clips' and 'Play clips with arrangement' the default (makes more sense especially since auto-play has good timing now)
#302 Improved visibility of currently selected cell by making it stand out more
#309 Improved behavior when loading/dropping a file into an already filled slot: The existing item now gets deleted
#310 Improved Playtime behavior when opened in portable REAPER installations (looks for reaper.ini and Playtime app data directory first in REAPER executable directory)
#313 Improved Windows installer by making it more predictable and easier to use (user doesn't have to choose the VST directory anymore, Playtime will always be installed into a fixed dedicated VST directory, REAPER VST scanning path will be modified if necessary so the Playtime VstPlugins directory is the last one ... last one has highest priority, so old installed versions are just ignored)
#295 Fixed bug that caused recorded audio clips to have wrong length and let them drift off / go out of sync over time (should only have happened when using non-ideal combinations of tempo and sample rate, now sections are created if necessary to remedy this)
#287 Fixed bug that often caused audible clicking whenever an undo point was created
#288 Fixed bug when stopping recording via MIDI controller that caused the group to be stopped as well
#291 Fixed occasional crash after recording clip when fades are enabled (reproduced only when recording via automation parameter 'Record selected slot', but possibly also in other situations)
#293 Fixed misbehavior of automation parameter 'Record selected slot' (it needed more taps than necessary)
#296 Fixed misbehavior of automation parameters 'Trigger selected cell' and 'Record selected slot' (many things, see ticket for details)
#299 Fixed misbehavior of automation parameter 'Tempo detection mode' (it sometimes needed more taps than necessary)
#297 Fixed possible crash when deleting a slot item while it's being recorded (this is now prevented)
#252 Fixed crash when track removed while recording a clip on that track
#298 Fixed missing peaks after recording audio clips
#275 Added support for controller Launchpad Mini (very similar to Launchpad mode but upper buttons are used as group stop buttons - can also be used as alternate mode for Launchpad)
#268 Added support for surround recordings (maximum 16 channels, recording track input and output supported)
#228 Improved support for controller APC40 by using bank select buttons for scrolling
#271 Fixed non-working note-off messages when triggering from MIDI channels > 1
#270 Fixed non-working 'Play clips with arrangement' if REAPER option 'VST > Don't flush synthesizer plug-ins on stop/reset' enabled
#265 Fixed bug that caused Playtime to record audio clip instead of MIDI clip if the very first MIDI input was chosen
#259 Fixed bug that caused Playtime to not find the Playtime Worker plugin (necessary for recording) if REAPER preference 'Get VST names/types when scanning' disabled
#264 Fixed crash when attempting to record slot if project not saved and default recording path defined but not existing
#258 Fixed freeze in tempo detection mode when using auto-play and triggering recording via automation parameter
Compatibility change: Latest Playtime now needs REAPER >= 5.16, REAPER 4 is not supported anymore
#214 Added sample-accurate, zero-latency auto-play of recorded audio clips (there was a small but annoying delay in previous versions; the complete recording logic has been rewritten for this feature; instead of using REAPER's built-in recording feature, Playtime now adds lightweight 'Playtime Worker' plugins to tracks, they are responsible for recording)
#210 Added sample-accurate, zero-latency auto-play of recorded MIDI clips
#226 Added support for recording multiple slots concurrently (must be different tracks though)
#234 Added support for automatically looping take envelopes (this is only done whenever the corresponding envelope doesn't exceed the take length)
#212 Added option to automatically add fades to recorded clips in order to prevent clicks between loops (see setting 'Default loop fade time', default fade length for new projects is 10ms, uses the take volume envelope - so it's non-destructive and you can customize the fades afterwards to allow for more seamless looping, thanks to #234 take volume envelopes are automatically looped)
#251 Added possibility to glue clips (also if they don't have a section)
#250 Added possibility to reset Launchpad lights by clicking on brush button while it's not lighted up
#221 Improved usability by automatically zooming back when leaving edit mode (to zoom level as it was before entering edit mode)
#218 Improved usability by automatically switching off the metronome when starting tempo detection (just makes sense)
#220 Improved behavior when stopping a clip recording prematurely by deleting the left-over clip
#217 Improved clip naming by not adding '-glued' suffix after glueing
#165 Improved group and scene naming behavior by only memorizing custom names if they differ from the default name
#229 Improved usability by automatically selecting target cell after doing drag'n'drop (in previous versions, the source cell stayed selected and that felt weird)
#231 Improved usability by deleting left-over item when recording over an existing clip
#250 Improved Launchpad support by more reliably resetting all Launchpad lights (and possibly those of other controllers) on load
#247 Improved MIDI recording by including notes that have been played but not released before the recording
#208 Fixed too late auto-play after recording clip (resulting in wrong timing)
#211 Fixed crazy behavior when using envelopes for some trigger-like Playtime automation parameters (added a flooding protection)
#209 Fixed potential crash caused by race conditions
#209 Fixed crash that sometimes occurred after recording and aligning items vertically
#222 Fixed Playtime docking bug in recent REAPER versions that caused Playtime to not show up in docked mode when pressing the FX button
#223 Fixed Playtime show/hide action when repeatedly invoking the action using a keyboard shortcut (focus was lost and shortcut didn't work anymore)
#224 Fixed possible crash when deleting track after recording but before stopping
#225 Fixed bug that caused a recorded clip to be too long when untriggering the recording shortly after measure start within the sluggishness tolerance (as of this version, sluggishness tolerance is only used for playing clips, not for recording them)
#219 Fixed non-working retriggering of once played one-shot via automation
#230 Fixed missing controller light updates when swapping or copying slots
#239 Fixed bug in show/hide action and docking when the Playtime FX instance is renamed
#183 Fixed crash when trying to fill slot with empty item (filling it with an empty item is now prevented)
#253 Fixed weird behavior when pressing REAPER play button and triggering clips at exactly the same time (usually happens only when using Playtime as arranger, that is triggering Playtime clips using MIDI items)
#3 Added anacrusis support! That means you can now configure clips to start playing before the beginning of the measure. You basically define the portion of the clip that comes before the first downbeat, virtually a bridge. A small but very effective feature to make your loop-based music sound less rigid and more musical. See new context menu entry 'Anacrusis length'.
#5 Added easy clip cropping by offering context menu entries 'Section start position' and 'Section length' on clips which have timebase 'Beats (position, length, rate)'. Note that REAPER's source section feature is used in order to support real non-destructive cropping (default audio section fades are adjustable). It's even used for MIDI items although REAPER officially supports it for audio items only. It works quite nicely but there are some side effects: 1. Double clicking the item on the REAPER timeline doesn't open the MIDI editor (it does in Playtime though) 2. A cropped clip is still always displayed full-length in the MIDI editor so the MIDI editor cursor doesn't reflect the current playing position 3. MIDI notes in the cropped clip might not be visible in the arrange view
#5 Improved easy clip cropping by also offering automation parameters 'Selected slot section start position / length'. You can map these to endless rotary decoders, absolute knobs or buttons for example. If the clip timebase is not 'Beats (position, length, rate)', the resolution is milliseconds instead of beats.
#5 Improved easy clip/item cropping by also offering REAPER actions 'Playtime: In/decrease section start position / length of selected item' (for buttons and keyboard shortcuts, for example in combination with 'Auto-select mode')
#5 Improved easy clip cropping by offering context menu entries 'Apply section (glue)' and 'Remove section'
#185 Improved usability by using source sections instead of glue to preserve audio item cut on fill whenever possible (optionally also for MIDI items)
#193 Improved usability of recording by recording clip on first armed track even if no group track is set
#180 Improved user interface by disabling unsupported actions during MIDI overdub
#189 Improved performance by improving scheduling strategy
#194 Improved usability by making auto-select the default (both for new instances and in track/project templates)
#178 Fixed wrong source length after MIDI overdub by glueing MIDI item afterwards if necessary (workaround for REAPER bug)
#184 Fixed superfluous undo points written on loading
#186 Fixed slot offset modes 'Continue', 'Absolute gate' and 'Relative gate' for playrates <> 1
#188 Fixed conversion to one shot or loop by not messing with the playrate anymore when doing it
#167 Fixed very slow docking after invoking undo and when loading project
#192 Fixed FX chain window flickering by preventing it from popping up when opening docked Playtime via REAPER action
#176 Added slot context menu entry 'MIDI overdub' and automation parameter 'MIDI overdub selected slot' to iteratively overdub MIDI clips
#160 Added trigger action 'Record (!) -> Play -> Stop' to enable a 'Record -> Play -> Stop -> Record -> Play -> Stop -> ...' workflow for each slot. In this mode, a stopped non-empty slot will be overwritten with a new recording as soon as it is triggered! This mode temporarily turns 'Auto-play recorded clips' on and 'Exclusive mode' off.
#43 Added settings option 'Pool-MIDI-on-write mode' to decide if items written to the timeline are pooled or unpooled copies of the original clips (by default pooled)
#43 Added possibility to decide whether to make pooled or unpooled copies of MIDI clips by adopting REAPER's own settings. Copy and paste behavior without drag'n'drop is decided by REAPER option 'Pool MIDI source data when pasting or duplicating media items' whereas drag'n'drop behavior is decided by REAPER mouse modifiers. Breaking changes: If you go with REAPER's default mouse modifiers, you now need to hold down Shift+Ctrl+Alt while dragging the clip if you want pooled copies! Plus, if you go with REAPER's default value for 'Pool Midi source data when pasting or duplicating media items', unpooled copies are created when copying without drag'n'drop.
#98 Added settings options 'Record start time' and 'Record stop time' (aka trigger/untrigger mode for recording)
#98 Improved settings structure by renaming 'Trigger mode' to 'Play start time' and 'Untrigger mode' to 'Play stop time'
#160 Improved settings structure by renaming 'Record-if-slot-empty mode' = 'Off' to 'Trigger action' = 'Play -> Stop/retrigger' and renaming 'Record-if-slot-empty mode' = 'On' to 'Trigger action' = 'Record/play -> Stop/retrigger'
#177 Fixed crash when loading project which has > 8x8 slots and viewport was scrolled on last save
#161 Improved visual appearance of Playtime in docked mode by adapting its background colors to the currently activated REAPER theme (no white border anymore, looks more integrated into REAPER, especially with the REAPER 5 default theme)
#159 Improved layout of currently playing items on same track by realigning overlapping items when triggering clips and thereby making use of all the available vertical track space (no more ultra-thin items if track height permits it)
#164 Improved support for controllers without group stop button if MIDI toggle mode, record-if-slot-empty mode and exclusive mode is enabled (pressing a pad of a playing clip would retrigger the clip in previous versions, now it stops it - because otherwise there would be no way to stop an already playing clip)
#166 Improved usability by automatically clearing memorized slots when stopping REAPER transport while Write mode active if 'Play clips with arrangement' enabled (in order to prevent already written items and Playtime clips to be played simultaneously when playing the project again)
#170 Improved usability by scrolling to MIDI item when double clicking MIDI clip and positioning the cursor in fron of it (in addition to opening the MIDI editor)
#175 Fixed missing countdown GUI updates (and possibly other ones) of slots and scenes that are visible only after scrolling right or down
#174 Fixed incorrect display of slot area after project load if project was saved with scrolled slot area
#173 Fixed too long clips when time selection was active while recording or filling the slot
#171 Fixed bug that caused Playtime not to pick up item after recording when MIDI overdub record mode was activated (now it automatically switches to normal record mode and after recording back to your original setting)
#154 Added auto-select mode for automatically selecting REAPER clips/tracks when selecting Playtime slots/groups (e.g. nice for quickly applying REAPER actions to the selected clip)
#93 Added automation parameters 'Selected cell horizontal' and 'Selected cell vertical' for left/right/up/down navigation
#52 Improved track list dropdown by adding track numbers and using indentation for tracks in folders
#153 Fixed possible crashes and memory leaks when resizing Playtime
#139 Added useful indication of clip playing progress. Playtime feels more "alive" now.
#32 Added creation of empty MIDI clip when double clicking empty slot
#133 Added basic Ableton Push controller template with support for clip triggering and visual feedback. Requirements: Push must be in User Mode and the software PXT-General is necessary. Thanks to Guod3 for this contribution!
#141 Improved GUI design by using rounded corners for clips as well
#137 Improved feedback to user by displaying a message if recording doesn't work because group track not set
#138 Improved consistency by triggering memorized clips also when recording
#143 Improved consistency by discarding recorded clip when pressing stop while still counting down
#147 Improved consistency by broadening automation parameter 'Trigger selected slot' to 'Trigger selected cell'
#125 Improved error message if Playtime fails to startup
#125 Improved usability by automatically forcing Playtime to run in native mode next time after startup has failed because Playtime was run in separate process due to REAPER preferences
#142 Fixed truncation of long automation parameter names
#140 Fixed automation parameters 'Record selected slot and go right/down' sometimes going right/down although not currently recording
#136 Fixed unexpected auto-playing when pressing stop
#134 Fixed too late auto-playing of recorded clips
#135 Fixed occasional crash when enabling/disabling GUI parts
#144 Fixed incomplete GUI refresh if starting to record while transport running
#146 Fixed bug that caused live-only automation parameters to be restored on project load
#148 Fixed bug that caused slot recording when triggering a scene in 'record-if-slot-empty mode'
#149 Fixed automation parameter 'Trigger selected slot' causing retriggering instead of stop in one situation
#152 Fixed incomplete restore of MIDI triggers on controller change
#151 Fixed non-appearing message boxes in docked mode
#124 Added support for changing the controlled slot area via Launchpad arrow pads. This has been solved in a very generic way by allowing controllers to control all global automation parameters. It's not necessary anymore to use the REAPER automation window for that (which is a bit limited because it doesn't follow the 'Connected controller' option in Playtime and uses the MIDI control path instead of the more flexible current track MIDI path). The mapping is defined in the controller file itself.
#122 Fixed crash when clicking into empty docker area while context menu open
#22 Added support for unlimited scenes, groups and slots including scrolling, a bird's-eye view and a resizable user interface (add/remove groups or scenes via context menu)
#34 Added options to hide toolbar and/or detail view (right click on background)
#110 Added option to dock Playtime (right click on background)
#38 Added possibility to copy and paste or cut and paste (actually swap) with keyboard shortcuts or context menu
#120 Fixed crash when scanning for VST plugins in other hosts
#103 Added action to show/hide Playtime (only available if Playtime is loaded)
#92 Added option 'Keyboard control' in preferences to allow controlling Playtime via computer keyboard (cursor keys, Shift+Return)
#116 Added support for pressing delete key to clear slot and delete item
#28 Added option 'Connected controller' in settings: Provides better support for Launchpad-like controllers (fixed MIDI triggers, controller-specific lights, controller configuration files, defaults to generic controller without visual feedback, currently configuration files exist for Launchpad, Orbit and APC 40 contributions are welcome)
#77 Added support for tempo markers (adjusts audio playrate accordingly)
#66 Added project template (with preassigned audio group tracks)
#53 Added group context menu entry 'Use selected track as group track'
#97 Added slot context menu entry 'Scroll to item'
#60 Added option 'Preserve item cut on import' in preferences, by default switched on (glues an item when filling it into a slot if necessary)
#64 Added link to online user guide in about section
#86 Added selection of group track when double clicking group
#40 Improved REAPER repeat mode tolerance (by switching off repeat mode only if recording)
#96 Improved handling of preference changes with multiple open Playtime instances (changes are now immediately propagated to other instances)
#58, #83, #74 Improved editing of clips, especially audio clips (not all clips are stowed away anymore when pressing REAPER stop button, for example double-clicking a slot makes its clip remain on the timeline, 'left-over' clips indicated by lighting up broom button can be stowed away manually by pressing this very button, seeking doesn't stow away clips anymore, seeking to future extends playing clips immediately, no special handling anymore if MIDI editor open, other small improvements)
#104 Improved behavior when converting to loop or one shot during playing
#91 Fixed non-playing memorized slots if transport already running
#99 Fixed premature recording stop when using automation parameter 'Record Active Slot'
#102 Fixed MIDI trigger swapping when doing slot drag'n'drop