Tracktion is a digital audio workstation for recording and editing audio and MIDI. The software is cross-platform, running on Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.
Tracktion was originally developed by a single UK
designer/programmer, Julian Storer.
It was first released in 2002 by UK-based Raw Material Software
; US-based Mackie
, a division of LOUD Technologies
specializing in studio recording and live sound products, took over distribution of Tracktion in 2003 and continues to develop and market it. The software is sold in standalone, boxed retail versions as well as bundled with Mackie, Tapco
and Echo Audio
computer-audio interfaces and digital-capable mixing boards. Mackie began shipping the latest version, Tracktion 3.0, in April 2007.
User interface and unique features
Tracktion was designed to be as transparent and intuitive to the user as possible. Track object controls and parameters are context-sensitive; effects, MIDI instruments and other software objects can be added to tracks or even applied directly to individual audio and MIDI clips using a drag-and-drop
system of filters
. Complex chains of filters can be created, stored and recalled for later use as rack effects,
which can be thought of as analogous to a saved channel strip
setting in a traditional DAW/sequencer.
Together with Ableton Live, Tracktion represents a move away from the modal dialog boxes, multiple menus and cluttered windows common to most legacy MIDI sequencers and Digital Audio Workstations, in favour of a streamlined, single-screen approach that presents the user only with the options they need for the task they are currently doing, such as editing audio, adjusting MIDI automation parameters, effects settings, etc. Both also are notable for the use of a more abstract visual style that does not attempt to visually replicate "real world" recording equipment or effects boxes.
Features in version 1.0
No preset sample rate limits (limited only by hardware); on-the-fly sample rate conversion; internal 32-bit floating point math; DirectSound
support including multi-channel playback and recording at low latencies; WAV
audio file format support; Punch-in and input-level-triggered recording; looped MIDI recording; real-time monitoring; full parameter automation for panning, levels, and effects; support for the VST
plugin and VSTi
virtual instrument standards. QuickTime
video support is included to aid in soundtrack creation.
Enhancements in version 2.0
Version 2.0 greatly enhanced stability; this version gained an improved MIDI editor with step entry; a software sampler
virtual instrument; optional support for 64-bit math, to create greater digital headroom
in the mix summing bus and thus avoid distortion; External MIDI sync, MIDI clock and MIDI Machine Control send and receive; per-track input auto-assignment; optional fullscreen input metering; a newly scalable window; and the ability to import files from Mackie hard disk recorders
Enhancements in version 3.0
Major additions include more tools for loop-based composition, including a keyword-based loop browser, support for the popular Sony ACID Pro
, Propellerhead Software REX2 and Apple Inc.
Apple Loops file formats, and an improved timestretching
algorithm useful for beat-matching
and creating mashups
. Core technical enhancements include support for multiple CPUs
processors; and support for control surfaces including the Mackie Control Universal, Frontier AlphaTrack, Mackie C4, and Novation Digital Music Systems
ReMOTE SL series.
Bundles and Upgrade Versions
As of version 3, Tracktion is available in two upgrade and two full retail versions. All have Mackie's Mastering Tools plugins included.
- Basic Upgrade (updates the core application to T3, provides 'lite' training video; available only online from Mackie)
- Project Studio (T3 core application, IK SampleTank SE lite sound set, Amplitube Uno, TK Drumcore Diet Edition, Garritan Personal Orchestra Lite Starter Edition, LinPlug FreeAlpha synth, LinPlug RMIV Lite drum machine, LinPlug Cronox3 Lite synth, Lite T3 SonicReality loops library, Quickstart training video)
- Ultimate Bundle (T3 core application, IK SampleTank SE, Amplitube Duo, TK Drumcore 2GB Edition, Garritan Personal Orchestra Lite Full Edition, LinPlug Alpha3 synth, LinPlug RMIV Drum Addiction version, LinPlug Cronox3 full version, full T3 SonicReality loops library, 4hr Mastering Tracktion training video)
- Ultimate Bundle Upgrade from any previous or lower version
Open source libraries
The underlying C++ code that was developed to create Tracktion's graphic and audio capabilities was later split-out into an open-source library, Juce, which is still maintained and developed by Julian Storer / Raw Material Software.