Tracktion have released their new and updated DAW. There have been some big changes, the biggest of all being the name change. Before it used to be Tracktion T4, Tracktion T6, and so on. Now they have dropped the T numbering and instead have called it a whole new name, Waveform. Very cool name. Surprised no one else grabbed that name before. It really sums up a DAW. There’s also a new look and a bunch of new features. I’ll only be covering the new features, if you want to read up about what else Tracktion can do, you can check my previous reviews on versions 5, 6, and 7.
Let’s jump in and see what’s new in Tracktion Waveform.
One of my favorite new features is the pattern generator that works with MIDI clips. In its most basic form it’s a tool that can help beginners quickly put together MIDI notes. You can choose to use it to build up chord progressions, bass parts and melodies. And you can even let the parts play out specific rhythms which have been created in the presets. So if you’re new to music production this is a great tool to see how specific chord progressions work. It also provides suggestions. So if you put in chord I, and IV, it will give you suggestions on what the next chord in the progression can be.
But it doesn’t have to be a beginner's tool, I thought it worked really well as a tool to use to help get ideas down and try different variations on your chord progressions and melodies even if you’re an advanced producer.
Using different modifier keys, you can very easily shift chords to different inversions and octaves. Plus, you can use the generator to try out different chords within the key. For example, let’s say you’re playing a I-V-IV-IV progression and instead want to play a I-ii-IV-VI one, it’s very easy to change this out and test it. Then you can easily take this progression and convert it to a bass part. Using this part of the generator it takes the lower notes of the chords and removes the rest giving you a quick composed bass part.
What’s more impressive is the melody generator. It takes the chords used and rhythm, and generates muted MIDI notes that can be possible melody candidates for the part. Then you use the new paint tool to draw over and unmute notes to create the melody.
So you can very easily and quickly come up with a chord progression, bass part and melody where all the notes relate using this feature.
Micro MIDI Editor
Also what’s pretty neat is the new Micro Editor. Instead of viewing the MIDI notes in the inline editor, you can open up this part in its own dedicated window. The beauty of this is that you can now move this window onto a separate display so that you have a bigger view of your MIDI information. I always found it a bit tricky editing your MIDI in the inline editor if you had a small computer display. But now they’ve solved this, especially if you’ve got a multi-display setup.
New Mixer View
The new mixer view really brings this up to par with other new DAWs. In previous versions it was a bit different to how the standard mixer view was laid out. The channel strip for each track was on the right next to the track, and if you were used to traditional mixer views then this was a bit strange. But now there is a new dedicated mixer view. It looks nice, slick and modern. Plus, it's adaptive, so when you increase the size the rest of the tracks adapt to the size.
Or you can detach it so that it resides in its own window, giving you the added benefit of moving it across to a second display. You can choose to minimize the track widths if you have a very big project. Plus, you can choose to show or hide other elements like the outputs and inputs if you have a small display.
The New Collective Sampler
Another great inclusion is their new bundled sampler synth called Collective. It’s got a nice easy interface to follow. When you launch it, it shows the browser so you can navigate to the included presets.
And you can switch across to the editor view, which has:
- 4 x Oscillators
- Filters and Amp Section
- Effects Sections
- 4 x assignable LFO’s
- 4 x assignable Envelopes
So you can combine the included samples with the synthesis of the sampler engine to create some very cool sounding patches. Or you can even pull in your own samples into the engine and build up your own unique patches. I did find that the patches are quite synthetic sounding, so if that’s what you’re looking for it’s a great sampler. But if you’re looking for more acoustic sounding instruments like acoustic basses and strings, I found that it sounded like these sounds were more synthetic than organic. It still worked great depending on the type of production you’re using the patch in.
Overall I think Tracktion have done a great job with the new Waveform DAW. The new features really help improve workflow, plus you can now more easily navigate the software than before. The Collective sampler is a great addition where you can combine samples with synthesis, plus pull in your own samples and build up your own patches.
Price: There are a couple of different price points, so see which one suits you:
- Waveform Upgrade – Waveform, Collection and Master Mix - $50
- Waveform Basic – Waveform, Collection and Master Mix - $99
- Waveform+ Pack – Waveform, Collective, DAW Essentials and Master Mix - $150
- Waveform Ultimate Pack – Waveform, Collective, BioTek, DAW Essentials and Master Mix - $200
- The new Pattern generator feature is super helpful and can really help speed up music creation ideas even if you’re a novice or advanced music producer.
- The new Mixer view is much improved and is a much better way of analyzing your song from a distance with the new view.
- I still find it a bit clunky inserting effects. It seems fine in the Mixer window, but when you’re in the Arrange area it takes a few steps to add an effects compared to the mixer.
- Collective’s patches sound a bit synthetic. Not enough real, organic sounding patches.