The struggle to make an all-in-one computer production tool that’s different continues.

Tracktion, a lesser-known “indie” DAW that has seen a rapid resurgence in recent builds, is now back in a new generation version dubbed Waveform. As usual, the challenge is to make something that kind of does everything, and necessarily needs to do all the things the competition does, while still being somehow different from that competition.

Waveform’s answer is to build on Tracktion’s clean UI by making it yet more refined. It builds on its open workflow by adding modular mixing and enhanced “racks” for processing. And it runs on Linux – including Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04, the Mate desktop environment, and ultra-cheap Raspberry Pi hardware.

waveform-screen-modular-mix

For producers, there’s also some sweeteners added. There’s an integrated synth/sampler called Collective. And you get a whole bunch of MIDI generators, interestingly – atop a step sequencer already included with Tracktion, there are new pattern and chord generators. That’s interesting, in that it moves the DAW into the territory of things like FL Studio – or at the very least assumes you may want to use this environment to construct your ideas.

waveform-screen-composition-tools

waveform-screen-collective-hd

Oh yeah, and there’s a cute logo that looks, let’s be honest here, very reminiscent of something that rhymes with Bro Drools. (sorry)

Obligatory promo vid:

It looks attractive, certainly, and seems to go up against the likes of Studio One for clean-and-fresh DAW (plus standbys like Reaper). But this is a crowded field, full of people who don’t necessarily have time to switch from one tool to another. Pricing runs $99-200 for the full version depending on bundled features, and upgrades are $50 or free for Tracktion users — meaning they’ll be happy, I suspect.

If you’re up for reviewing this, let us know.

https://www.tracktion.com/products/waveform

  • Ashley Scott

    I’d like to love this – esp. since I’ve been using Tracktion for everything since 2008. I’m a bit scared of change though.

  • lrlarson

    The headline on this app, for those who have no tracktion background at all, is an innovate way to create harmonic structure, basslines and “melody.” They seem to have addressed the problem of how to facilitate the creation of actual musical content (not loops thrown together) by people who do not know what basic chord progressions are, and/or have no keyboard experience. The interface is clever. If you are an actual composer, this will not interest you, but could appeal to a market that like to string loops in garageband but would like to create music per se. It is a clever solution to one use case that clearly is outside the Logic paradigm.

  • peterjan

    I’m into testing out this. I’d been looking for a super low-cost, light-weight DAW solution that either runs on Pi or the Pine64 board. Maybe this is it!

  • Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte

    This looks amazing to me, and I’d really like to try making some music with it. I think that the step sequencer clips, LFO generator, automation patterns, linked clips, and the new pattern generators together might add up to a really unique and fast workflow. Step sequencer clips are something I wish was in every DAW – I especially love the idea of being able to edit step sequences for multiple tracks right next to each other on the timeline. It would allow for thinking about and composing rhythm across multiple instruments in a different way. A lot of those other things are the kind of thing I often use MaxforLive for. Things that I’d like to see in the mix that I’m not sure it has are an arpeggiator and probabilistic sequencing. I’m also interested in learning more about what’s possible to do with the scripting.

  • papernoise

    I’d be interested in seeing how this performs on the PI3, maybe with a proper Audio/MIDI I/O card like this one: http://blokas.io/ (though that’s still a proto at this moment).

  • Graham Metcalfe

    At $200 for the top end version, it’s hard to pick this over Logic for a first time buyer. However, I’ve always appreciated the different approach to the DAW interface.

    • Will

      It’s a fair point but probably worth considering: history says the next version of waveform would set you back between $0-$50. The next version of Logic will set you back $200. So ~$300 for this version + two more vs $600 for the current version of Logic + two more.

      • Graham Metcalfe

        True re pricing. For me though, I don’t regularly upgrade my DAW software except maybe every 3-4 years so I don’t worry too much about paid upgrades very often. For instance, I just upgraded to Logic Pro X only a couple of months ago (mainly because support for OS X Mavericks was no longer going to be supported and I wanted to get on it before I was unable to get on board).

  • Tom

    full featured DAW for RasPi? Will definitely give this a try.

  • mckenic

    Bought the 1st version of Tracktion back in the day – good times!
    The take away from their announcing this at NAMM for me was the integrated hardware interfaces they said were coming – looking forward to watching the vids and seeing where this goes. This and PD on a Pi… portable deram team IMHO.