Some thoughts out loud.
Reaper is great. Amazingly it’s a kind of DAW that allows you first to imagine your workflow and then choose how to achieve it. In this process Reaper goes further than any DAW I know, but this comes at a price.
A generic GUI (probably in order to remain flexible) without some conveniences like a track inspector with multiple tabs (which can be mimicked in a few ways to a certain extent and is balanced by clever docker tabs ), the lack of dedicated tools incorporated into the GUI, which dictates learning lots of key commands (which on the other hand can speed up your workflow together with macros), the lack of MIDI tools and functions incorporated into the key editor (which on the other hand is balanced by about a hundred of JS MIDI plugins which allow you to do almost anything Cubase MIDI plugins do and maybe more), no score editor, no vst expression (which can be somehow helped by the ability to name the graphical keys in the key editor) etc. You see? Almost anything can be worked around in Reaper.
On the other hand there are huge advantages like flexible routing, screen sets, macros, actions, mixer snap shots, and above all stability and reliability (vsty plugin bridging anyone?). Do the advantages overweigh the disadvantages? This is what everyone decides for himself.
I check Reaper regularly to see what’s new, but those tens of changes that come with every new version seem to be so minuscule that I don’t always understand what they are and what they are for. Experience shows you can wait for a new feature to be implemented in Reaper as long or even longer than in Cubase.
I think Cubase is as convenient to use as it is inflexible in choosing the workflow. On the other hand it’s well designed. So far it suits me much better than Reaper. What I like about Cubase is that you don’t have to be a hacker to achieve something. It’s there, it’s convenient and it’s well thought out. Cubase’s audio and MIDI finesse is probably unsurpassed and it’s going to get even better with new versions. Can you remember how you edited vst articulations before vst expression came out? Arranger track, Transpose track, VST Instrument track, VariAudio, Time Warp, Audio Warp - aren’t they ingenious and innovative?
Do you think Reaper will come up with anything like this? I think It’ll rather offer you a piece of code to change in order to suit your workflow instead, which for me is not an option so far.