Considering tracktion

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by wags, Jan 12, 2006.

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  1. wags

    wags Guest

    Hi everybody. I am considering purchasing Tracktion. I've downloaded the demo and I have a few questions. I am currently using Cubase LE which came with my Firebox, but I am finding it a little complex. Tracktion touts itself as being simple but I find that the graphics look "toyish"(I know that's not important but I'm wondering if that reflects on the overall quality of the program). The question I have is, what would I be missing by going with Tracktion as opposed to one of the big boys(Cubase,Sonar)? What do the others offer that tracktion leaves out to reach a certain price point? Do they others just sound better?

    Thanks for any info
  2. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Hi wags, I have both Sonar and Tracktion. I use Tracktion as an editing and rendering platform for tracks recorded on a Mackie SDR. The biggest difference between Tracktion and Sonar (or other high end sequencer) is that you can't do "on the fly" seamless punches in Tracktion, you have to enter timeline points for punching in & out. In Sonar, I just use the mouse and it's always as right as my finger is. Also, it only supports VST plugins. Sonar supports DirectX, and has a very good VST wrapper, so VST plugins can be used. I do find many basic editing moves ie: cut/copy/paste moves easier in Tracktion. I can't offer any real insight into mixing with it, but there's a Tracktion forum over at k-v-r that's worth a peek:

    link removed

    It has a lot going for it when you consider the price, like 64 bit float audio processing, supposedly some very nice bundled plugins I've never even looked at (ashamed), and track freezing, etc......I think it's a fine program for the hobbyist or struggling musician on a real tight budget, but if you can spring for a few extra hundred, you'll have way more flexibility. My 2cents!
  3. wags

    wags Guest

    Thanks for the reply jonyoung. It's more of a simplicity issue than a price issue at this point. I would be willing to upgrade my cubase to SE or even SL and wouldn't cost much more than a new copy of Tracktion. I'm getting a little "learning curve" fatigue with cubase right now and was hoping for something to be a little easier. Maybe I should take off the Pampers and suck it up and learn the darn program :eek:

    Thanks Again
  4. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Portland, Or
    Sorry to move in on your thread, but it seems like a kind of appropriate place to ask this.

    I too, am considering picking up Traktion. Currently, I use Audition for everything, but I would like to get into VST instruments and/or midi a little bit...just to add a few instruments to my arsenal and Audition doesn't support VSTi. Nothing complex. Would traktion be a good way to do this or is there a cheaper/simpler solution? I have a full size keyboard at my disposal to use as a controller, and it seems there must be some cheap and/or freeware programs that would perhaps handle this for me.
  5. roguescout

    roguescout Guest

    As an FYI, I have never heard many positive things about Tracktion.

    The worst thing is that it does not work in Windows. As in it works on top of Windows and doesn't have any standard Windows menus available like every other audio app out there.

    I would recommend going with something more mainstream. Tracktion is just weird.

    If you want something cheap and easy, try this:

    or this:
  6. Spy

    Spy Guest

    Personally, I've only heard positive things about Traktion from its users.

    I tried the demo once myself (version 1) and I didn't like it but I think that's because I'm used to the 'old school' paradigm as used in the more 'traditional' applications such as Cubase. However, I'd recommend you download the demo (assuming they still provide one) for yourself and see how you get on with it.

  7. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Tracktion is absolutely superb, and I wouldn't swap my license for anything else I have tried.

    It takes a little getting used to if you come from a traditional DAW (I migrated from Cubase) but it has the shallowest learning curve of any of the serious software IMO, mainly because it has internal consistency: it sets up simple but flexible conventions which it then sticks to, so you don't waste time trawling through menus looking for obscurely named functions, you just select the relevant "object" and look in the usual place.

    The audio quality is equal to or better than all its rivals, and as far as "flexibility" is concerned; if I switched to any of the alternatives I would waste hours figuring out how to translate my favorite rack filter configurations to their more rigid architectures.. people who call Tracktion "simple" generally haven't realised its potential IMO. I prefer the word "elegant"

  8. mdemeyer

    mdemeyer Active Member

    Dec 22, 2004
    Dublin, CA USA
    Not surprising that Tracktion would be a "love it or hate it" thing. Personally I find the totally non-standard UI to be very, very confusing. I tried it and gave up. I don't see how something that fails to follow any established UI conventions can be called easy-to-learn.

    Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  9. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    If the established UI conventions made sense I would agree with you!

    IMO most traditional sequencers are designed to emulate the analog hardware equivalents, rather than to make the most efficient use of the interface. Whats the point of a dedicated "mixer" page if you can only adjust one parameter at a time with the mouse? Why do you need metering on every channel when the mix bus uses 32 bit floating point resolution or better? Why restrict yourself to a fixed number of subgroups / sends / plug-ins per track, with a rigid architecture?

    Mixing from the arrange page is liberating IMO: it encourages you to mix with your ears not your eyes!
  10. axel

    axel Guest

    IIrs wrote:

    very nice and indeed VERY valued point!!! :D
    something far to many people do!!! just seeing the amount of threads being concerned about meter values and dbs and blah, bla - yeah nice theory, but just mix and do what sounds right... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    i also think that traktion is a rather good apps, i haven't used it very intensively yet, but it has a fresh aproach just like ableton, which i fall more and more in love with...

    considering the price i recomend it defenitely more than any steinberg stuff (ok, i hate steinberg sooo... much that i am not very obejective about it, based on my over years and years personel disapointment with all subjects steinberg, like functions, support, quality, stability... the list of failure is endless, i was never lucky nor happy with any of there products...)

    nevertheless one important factor is that an apps does not at all have to have a "classic" approach at all to be good or to be very easy to learn... an good example is ableton, they have a totally progressive aproach... nothing like a traditional audio apps, and you get your head around it in a few hours without any form of manual... it's simply follows common sense logic...

    long live progression...
  11. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Here's a promo video, made by an enthusiastic user:

  12. GregP

    GregP Guest

    In addition to what IIRs has already stated, I'd like to chime in merely on the UI of it:

    When you record audio, you plug into your device, a clip gets recorded in the sequencer, and THEN (no matter what your eyes would lead you to believe) you can do further processing. Tracktion just represents the truth of the situation: You get your input devices on the left, point them at the track you want to record on, and press "record". The clip gets saved in the middle (with a view that looks like any other sequencer), and then on the right you can put your effects (and switch the order around by dragging and dropping, unlike many hosts!) which then affect the signal that passes through them. Graphically:


    Your input devices are on the left-- in this case (resized so that it would fit without fuss into the forum, sorry for any unclear text, but it's clear at 100% size!) an audio device pointed at a track, and a MIDI device that's not pointed at any particular track right now. When you drag the MIDI device to a track, it arms itself to that track. In the screenshot, I have 2 wave files overlapping and then I pressed the "auto crossfade" button; that's what the white lines are. Then on the right you can see I have 2 effects, a volume/pan adjuster, a level meter (which I usually ignore but don't bother deleting), and my mute/solo.

    If I arm my "track 5" (the blank one in the screen shot) with my MIDI device, that's all I need to have a MIDI track, which is unlike some sequenceres, still. I just press "record" and it's automatically recording a MIDI clip. If I want to compare MIDI notes to audio notes to check and adjust timing, both kinds of clips can be in the same track, which is also something not all hosts will let you do.

    I can understand being thrown by the lack of menus. People with vast experience in other DAWs might start thinking, "Dammit, how do I set up a MIDI track???" and get flustered when the truth is that they're just thinking too hard. ;) Many settings and adjustments (not all, as the program gets more complex and deep, more get moved to the actuall "settings" page) are made right in this screen. Instead of using the Windows-Style navigation and looking for "File->Preferences", all you need to do is click the icon for that WAV device and you can make certain adjustments.

    To me, though, the ditching of the standard "Windows" environment is a plus rather than a detriment. By the time you've finished your very first song, you're already accustomed to the context-sensitive methodology.


    And this is the point I actually came in to make, so I almost wish I hadn't gone on for so long... the "toy-like" graphics are vector-drawn, meaning that every element of it is scalable vertically and horizontally. A casual observer won't necessarily appreciate the brilliance of this approach, but to me it's the way forward.

    I just wanted to mention that the vector approach does not demonstrate the "cheapness" of the program. It's the opposite-- it was more difficult to come up with an entire interface library (Raw Material Software's JUCE platform, which is an entire new library) than to simply use Photoshopped bitmaps. To me, it's actually the opposite of "toylike", and seems the more "mature" approach to a user interface than the still-common "fake brushed aluminum" and "fake glowing LEDs" that many other programs still use.


    [EDIT: PS, the GUI can have whatever colour scheme you select... I love the one in my example as it's absolutely the best one on my eyes that I've ever found; however, semi-pastel-like colours won't be to everyone's likings, so there are more typical and/or bold schemes to be had!]
  13. wags

    wags Guest

    Thanks for the help, fortunately I'm new to all this so I'm not used to any one paradigm. The price is definitely right on Tracktion and it comes with some cool plugs.
  14. GregP

    GregP Guest

    Well if you're not already set on having a "hardware-alike" mixer in your host (which you're not, since it's new to you), I can't recommend Tracktion enough. ;)

    It's very very easy for the beginner to get into, but has sufficient depth that some of the professionals I know from the RMS forum have switched from Cubase/Nuendo/PT either in their studios or at least for their own personal projects (which is still saying something... even in cases that they can't break away from PT in the studio because of inter-studio compatibility, they're still choosing it for their own use).


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