Last updated: 19th August 2015
This FAQ attempts to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding the Tracktion Digital Audio Workstation for GNU/Linux. It is not a manual for Tracktion but rather a collection of Linux-specific information absent from the Tracktion 4 manual. It will be updated frequently, as required.
Q. Is Tracktion for Linux free?
Tracktion 4 is free of cost but you are required to register your copy to disable demo mode. Tracktion 5 and 6 licenses for Linux were issued freely whilst it was still beta software. If you obtained a free Linux license for Tracktion 5 or 6 it should continue to work on the machine you registered it on for the lifetime of the T5/6 series.
TSC now employ a dedicated Linux developer. As of v6.1 Tracktion for Linux is considered production-ready and licenses now need to be purchased for new installs. One license lets you use the Linux, OSX or Windows builds and install Tracktion on up to three machines.
Tracktion's underlying tool kit, JUCE is both free (for non-commercial use) and open source but Tracktion 5 and later is no longer available for free.
Q. What Linux distributions are supported by Tracktion?
Tracktion for Linux is currently built under and packaged for Ubuntu 12.04 amd64. Ubuntu 12.04 uses glibc 2.15 so you should be able to run Tracktion so long as you are running a 64-bit Intel/AMD Linux distribution that uses glibc 2.15 or later.
You can install Tracktion simply by clicking on its .deb package if you are running a recent 64-bit Ubuntu or Debian-based distro and you have gdebi or gdebi-kde installed. Users of rpm distros like Fedora, RHEL and OpenSUSE will need to convert the deb into an rpm package using a tool such as alien.
Arch users can install Tracktion via the AUR package.
Q. I'm not running a Debian or Ubuntu-based distro and there isn't a tool to convert .deb packages into packages for my distro. How can I install Tracktion?
You need ar installed to extract the data.tar.lzma from the Tracktion Debian package and then untar that to the root of your filesystem, like this:
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ar xv TracktionInstall_X_X_X_Linux_64Bit.deb sudo tar xvf data.tar.lzma -C /
There is no 32-bit build of Tracktion for Linux and there is unlikely to be whilst Tracktion for Linux is undergoing beta testing.
Q. I hear Tracktion now supports Melodyne. Can I use Melodyne under Linux?
As of July 2015 Celemony do not support Linux so there is no Melodyne support under Linux.
Q. What plugin formats are supported?
Tracktion 5+ supports Linux-native VST plugins as well as LADSPA plugins. Tracktion 4's LADSPA support seems to be broken under v4.5.6 and it is unlikely to be fixed because TSC no longer maintain v4.
Tracktion currently has no LV2 plugin support but the Carla v2 plugin host can be built as a Linux VST plugin which brings LV2, DSSI and Windows VST support to Tracktion. falkTX, the author of Carla, claims Carla VST should enable you to use any Windows VST with Linux Tracktion that works with Windows Tracktion running under wine.
If you just want to experiment with using Windows VSTs under Tracktion for Linux you can try using Airwave or abique's vst-bridge.
Bridged and wine-dependent plugins are frequently unstable or unusable and Tracktion doesn't sandbox plugins yet so badly behaved plugins can crash the whole DAW. Plugin sandboxing, which means crashing plugins won't also also take down Tracktion, is a planned feature for T6.
Q. What are the main differences between Tracktion for Linux and Tracktion for Windows or OSX?
In many cases where you would be required to hold the ALT key under Windows or OSX, Linux users have to instead hold down the Meta (Windows) key instead. For example, the pop-up help for a clip says you can lasso multiple clips by holding down ALT and dragging with the left mouse button but under Linux this is performed by holding the Meta key and dragging.
There are a few other areas where the Linux build of Tracktion lacks features that are present on other platforms such as the included video sync and some exporting capabilities.
Q. Is my audio hardware supported?
To verify the Linux compatibility of PCI, integrated and USB audio devices check the ALSA Hardware Matrix. For FireWire devices, consult the FFADO Device Support database. As of Linux 3.16, ALSA supports some FireWire devices.
Q. Does Tracktion support JACK Transport?
There is currently no support for syncing Tracktion with other JACK clients via JACK Transport.
Q. Are Tracktion projects portable between the Linux, Windows and OSX versions?
Yes, provided that the project only uses integrated Tracktion plugins and/or VST plugins that are available on all of the relevant platforms.
Q. I have Tracktion installed and registered... now what?
Configure Tracktion to use JACK by going to Settings -> Audio Devices. Set 'Audio Device Type' to 'JACK' and you will likely want to choose 'system' for both the input and output devices. If you have more than 2 inputs or outputs on your audio device you will want to enable those extra ports in the channels sections. If you want to use any MIDI hardware connected to your machine, you have to enable them under the MIDI devices menu before you can assign MIDI hardware to any tracks.
Next you will want to get Tracktion to scan your plugins so go to Settings -> Plugins -> Scanning and Sorting and scan for both VST and LADSPA plugins.
Q. I cannot scan my plugins! The plugin scan never completes successfuly. What can I do?
This is a known bug. The current workaround is to run Tracktion under gdb just to scan your plugins. Make sure gdb is installed then run:
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# gdb Tracktion > run
Q. My MIDI device is connected and powered on but I don't see it listed under Tracktion's MIDI devices menu. What can I do to make my MIDI hardware work?
If you are not running a distro optimized for audio then you are likely running without the ALSA MIDI module loaded. You can load it manually with:
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sudo modprobe snd_seq_midi