Why don't more people use Tracktion Waveform?

Plug-in hosts and other software applications discussion
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KVRAF
6522 posts since 13 Jan, 2003 from Darkest Kent, UK

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:15 am

I was there at Tracktion v1 and it was a game changer for me but it seemed they never got on top of the little things, missing first midi note, random crashes, plugin scans that took an age etc.

So, I approached the relaunch with some enthusiasm but found it hadn't really changed under the hood. Lots of talk of rewrites but it still crashed for me a lot (Windows), I didn't like some of the GUI choices, audio editing was still primitive... At this point I had Reaper and Live which are much more efficient and stable, I feel both offer what Waveform promises but go a lot deeper, I don't need the added midi tools/step sequencer etc all feel a bit toy-like to me. <shrug>
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NAD
KVRian
1308 posts since 28 Jan, 2004

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:26 am

antic604 wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:17 am
NAD wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:49 am
Honestly I think they were just late to the game in an over-saturated market. There were already plenty of great options before they came on the scene so I reckon many were already happy with the DAW they were using.
They're at v11. Didn't Studio One or Bitwig appear much later and somehow managed to be more succesful?
Yeah, I should have clarified that I was referring to the current incarnation (post Mackie).
Image

KVRAF
2347 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:52 am

I've been using it over the last year, after not making any music for 15 years. I was also a V1 user back in 2002/3 or thereabouts, and still feel a sort of bond with it. My personal history is entangled with Tracktion, it occupies a special place for me.

The most recent rewriting of the audio engine seems to have corrected a lot of issues, but has also introduced quirks which I haven't figured out yet, and unfortunately increased CPU load significantly. The old engine was messed up but forgiving on the system.

Since I'm on a Mac I'll probably go with Logic for a while... I've been demoing it for a few weeks and in some respects the more traditional layout is preferable, but in other respects the easy drag and drop versatility of Waveform still wins out. Assuming sales / revenue are OK and that development continues, I think it will do well going forward so long as they continue the recent trend of improving stability.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRAF
2347 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:04 am

Just to add to that, since I'm on a budget a large factor in using Logic for the immediate future is that the included effects and instruments cover most grounds, whereas Waveform would require update costs plus a fair amount more for sample libraries etc.. I already have enough good synths but if e.g. I need a string patch or drum kit it's probably catered for within Logic. I may well find myself torn between the convenience of that and my preference for the general workflow of Waveform.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

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KVRAF
6522 posts since 13 Jan, 2003 from Darkest Kent, UK

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:00 am

@chagzuki - I remember you posting way back then, simpler times, bending Jules ear... :)
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KVRist
468 posts since 23 Jan, 2008 from Hamburg, Germany

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:01 am

I play with Waveform from time to time and it's a refreshing experience. There are a lot of great ideas in there.

I think the main problem why it was not more popular in the past is it's history of bugs. There were a lot and they were never fixed while Tracktion released major version after major version with great new features (and new issues) instead. If you search for Tracktion or Waveform then you'll find bug reports from users and reviewers all over the place while nobody talks about the features. This doesn't help to create confidence.

But it looks like that there has been a change in direction since V11. Usually we would have seen v12 a while ago but instead they've invested a lot of time and effort into the current version to get it as stable as possible and to iron out the bugs. And it helped a lot. There are still a few rough edges here and there but overall it is really stable now (I'm usually on Linux when using Waveform).

I have the full version but the free version seems to be a great start and it's definitely worth a try.

KVRAF
21102 posts since 12 Jul, 2003 from West Caprazumia

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:14 am

antic604 wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:25 pm


Other than that, I really dislike the GUI - huge single-colour, flat surfaces vs. small, anonymous rows & columns of buttons all look confused and very unprofessional:

Image
Tracktion had a fantastic GUI once - it was first Mackie and then especially the current owners (at least partly ex-Mackies) who messed it up - almost beyond recongition. It's unbelievable how thoroughly they managed to destroy it...

Image

I bet they pat each other on the back on how greatly they improved it. :bang:

KVRian

Topic Starter

650 posts since 17 Oct, 2018

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:05 am

jens wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:14 am
antic604 wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:25 pm


Other than that, I really dislike the GUI - huge single-colour, flat surfaces vs. small, anonymous rows & columns of buttons all look confused and very unprofessional:

Image
Tracktion had a fantastic GUI once - it was first Mackie and then especially the current owners (at least partly ex-Mackies) who messed it up - almost beyond recongition. It's unbelievable how thoroughly they managed to destroy it...

Image

I bet they pat each other on the back on how greatly they improved it. :bang:
The old GUI is not exactly good either imo, but I see your point. The new one is very text box heavy and it's all packed together. I can see that being a bit much especially for a new user.
Studio One 5.2 // Bitwig 3.3.4 // Logic Pro X 10.6 // Ableton 11 // Reason 11 // MPC // Force // Maschine

KVRAF
21102 posts since 12 Jul, 2003 from West Caprazumia

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:12 am

The old one is very easy on the eyes and is very balanced overall... it's a modern, well-made and highly useable interface.

Most of everything else is a matter of taste, I would say (don't get me wrong - I not claiming it couldn't be improved, but they made it so much worse).


By the way: it's almost twenty years old by now, so of course this colour-scheme is everything but en vogue.

KVRAF
7694 posts since 2 Dec, 2004 from North Wales

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:18 am

It's all catch 22 anyway- people use what is already popular (or bundled with hardware) as that is what they have heard of and where the majority of resources and learning tools will be. The smaller DAWS are not even known about much outside of KVR!
PC, Studio One, BWS, Live, FL Studio, Renoise, Reason, X32 Desk, Hardware Synths, Drum Machines + Eurorack, TD27 V Drums, Guitars & Basses

KVRAF
2347 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:37 am

GaryG wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:00 am
@chagzuki - I remember you posting way back then, simpler times, bending Jules ear... :)
:D
Hey, yeah, the community vibe was great. I did go to what I imagine was the one and only Tracktionfest meet-up in London, met Jules etc.. In fact, Jules wrote a script for me to patch Windows XP so that it allowed 3GB RAM access instead of 2! Crazy to think how crap the hardware was that we managed to get to work... barely.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRAF
2347 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:41 am

The original GUI was very smart in terms of how colour was used in a functional way, to direct attention and reduce cognitive load. It was indeed ruined soon after, but I think that now it's come all the way back to being good.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRian

Topic Starter

650 posts since 17 Oct, 2018

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:46 am

jens wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:12 am
The old one is very easy on the eyes and is very balanced overall... it's a modern, well-made and highly useable interface.

Most of everything else is a matter of taste, I would say (don't get me wrong - I not claiming it couldn't be improved, but they made it so much worse).


By the way: it's almost twenty years old by now, so of course this colour-scheme is everything but en vogue.
One thing I like I the flow of the DAW. I find it interesting how some DAWs choose to interpret the same thing.

In Waveforms case I like the input > track view > plugins/track header approach. I also like how easy it is to visualize and execute pre fader vs post fader effects. Just drag after the fader. Pretty cool.

I downloaded the Free version to play around with. The UI is a bit much, but not impossible to get into. Plugin scanning took forever though. I don't think I've had a plugin scan go that slow before in any of my DAWs.

Here are a few things I think they need to address about the UI since it looks a bit messy.

1. Way too many tiny UI elements that are hard to read. If you use the UI scaling it makes everything else too big while not really addressing the super tiny buttons.

2. Popup Help is a bit aggressive. I know you can delay the popup or turn it off but they should take a page from Ableton and Logic and put all that into a corner somewhere or like S1 just an unobtrusive bar with the relevant information.

3. The Actions pane is cool but most of that seems like it would work best in a right-click menu to be honest. Not sure why it needs a dedicated pane.

4. I don't mind the inspector being on the bottom but it does take up a lot of space for very little benefit. The only real benefit I see is the pattern generator maybe. But you have text buttons taking up a lot of space. Why not move that whole panel to the where the Actions pane is currently. I know there is a legacy reason but they are wasting valuable space imo. They've tried to address it by making the inspector a popup menu by default but its still a clunky workflow imo.

6. The UI seems have to have weird issues with fonts disappearing (I'm on a Mac).
Studio One 5.2 // Bitwig 3.3.4 // Logic Pro X 10.6 // Ableton 11 // Reason 11 // MPC // Force // Maschine

bk
KVRAF
1530 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from Indianapolis

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 6:29 pm

Nice to see some other old timers on here from the early days of the Tracktion forum.
That community was fantastic. So many helpful people on there.
I remember posting bug reports, and downloading a new version the next day that fixed the problem. Or discussing with Jules the best way to implement a new feature request. Those were exciting times. You really felt like you had a hand in the development.

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KVRian
1077 posts since 23 Jun, 2007

Post Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:59 pm

I used to be a Tracktion user from 1 to 7 until I got fed up with crashes on OSX.
Since then I tried some Waveform releases 58 to 10) and it was stil crashing.
I even got an kernel panic reboot on my mac, first time I got than since I switched to OSX 15 years ago.
I did not know it was possible on OSX !

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