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Tracktion Waveform 9.1 The streamlined DAW gets even more features and improvements, GEORGE SHILLING delves in

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ast year the Tracktion Corp renamed their DAW formerly known as Tracktion. As we noted at the time, Waveform was effectively the eighth version of the Tracktion software, so rather than calling this first major update version 2, it becomes Waveform 9. To recap slightly, Waveform signalled something of a departure from the single-window Tracktion philosophy, with new MIDI and Mixer pages making a welcome appearance. Waveform is more colourful and modern looking than the Tracktion of old, but with the vision still firmly set on it being a recording system for musicians, rather than experienced and technical recording professionals. This refreshing approach is appealing to anyone making music in a studio and trying to get the job done, whether amateur or professional. Improvements in version 9 start with some sorting-out of the Settings tab. There are new icons for each section so it looks smarter — these are logical and familiar with symbols like a spanner icon for Maintenance, a folder icon for File Locations, and a 5-pin DIN icon for MIDI Devices. This list of tabs down the left panel is now more sensibly in alphabetical order. An Appearance tab siphons off a few things from the previous General Behaviour tab which had become a bit crowded. Here you have groovy new colour sliders for MIDI note colours, and you can do things like linking the Clip and Track colours. A new Chords tab builds custom chord formulas, useful for the new Chord Track (see below) and the helpful new MIDI Chord Player. Downloads, previously in the Help section, is also now here as a tab. From the File Locations tab you can click a link to open the settings folder 28 / Digital • April 2018

(which on a Mac is in the Application Support folder) to save you digging around your computer. Keyboard Shortcuts has been completely reorganised, with many functions renamed to make more sense, a few of the defaults changed, and you can search for a function by keyword or by pressing a shortcut to see what it is mapped to. Most of the original or previous shortcuts are still there and function as expected, but the renaming makes things a bit more sensible and logical. New functions have been added; for example Zoom Fast jumps in and out by bigger increments. There is also now a shortcut to merge clips in one go. F11 now shrinks the controls panel to the useful compact toolbar (which includes transport, counters, bpm display and other essentials) rather than hiding the panel altogether. A long-requested function was solo clear and this has been added as Reset Solos/Mutes, although as you might have spotted it simultaneously clears Mutes, which may not be quite so desirable. RTZ now jumps straight to the beginning (instead of going first to the In marker). One huge improvement in Waveform 9 is the way it deals with multiple output virtual

instruments. This is great for drum instruments or multi-channel sampler plug-ins. Wrapping the plug-in in a ‘Rack’ plug-in and then placing the instrument onto multiple tracks, there are new functions for clearing routing (or ‘wiring’) and automatically routing outputs sequentially. You can then save the setup to bring the instrument into other songs. There are six new Modifiers comprising LFO, Break Point, Step, Envelope Follower, Random and MIDI Tracker. You can assign these to all kinds of plug-in parameters.

Create your own plug-in interface

The new Faceplates feature now allows anyone to modify and create their own plug-in interfaces, adding or removing controls as desired, and the new Stack Editor view makes a complex Rack environment a little easier to understand. Waveform’s new Multisampler makes sample management and editing easy, with the ability to drag audio files from the Finder. Instant Recyclelike functionality is great for slicing things up. The new Chord Track is a great compositional tool for setting up a song. You can then experiment with substituting different chords or transposing, working particularly well with the Pattern Generator — you can make that follow the Chord Track while auditioning different patterns and arpeggios. A new Macro tab appears when you select a plug-in. You can quickly create new macros, and of course you can then assign them to your new custom Faceplate. Trackloops are introduced with this version of Waveform, these can be manipulated along similar lines to Apple Loops, and the provided loops can also be exported as WAVs onto audio tracks. Version 9.1 fixed the illogical behaviour of submix soloing in 9.0. The new Modifiers are now available on each track in the main window and the mixer for dragging to plug-in parameters. You can also now add plug-ins in the Mixer by dragging the icon, just like in the Track view. There is now a button at the bottom right of the Track view window to toggle waveform zoom, another new feature to help make editing easier. A new Recent plug-ins folder appears at the top of the plug-ins list. Tracktion Waveform is ever more endearing, and it moves forward again with a host of useful improvements in this latest version.

VERDICT

/ Creating a processing chain for the sampler

PROS

Vastly improved menus for settings and particularly keyboard shortcuts, new multi-output instrument functions, and loads of other useful new features like Faceplates and a great Multisampler.

CONS

More features to learn for new users, but you can ease yourself into them slowly.

www.tracktion.com

Resolution v17-D Digital April 2018  

Audio for broadcast, post, recording and media production

Resolution v17-D Digital April 2018  

Audio for broadcast, post, recording and media production