Review of Waveform 8, from a Tracktion 6 user's perspective

 Waveform 8 (which was supposed to be T8 before the name change) is the latest version of Tracktion which is my DAW of choice. I downloaded a 30 days trail of latest version (8.2.7) to test it and here is my review.

First Impressions

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Waveforms UI looks familiar to anyone who has used Tracktion before, the first time i opened it, it detected all my tracktion projects,my plugins with ease. Waveform retains the same layout and controls as previous versions of Tracktion which is a good thing if you are a tracktion user. The UI is a huge improvement from Tracktion 6 and looks pleasent. It does however add few new elements such as a seperate view for Piano Roll, LFO Modulators, MIDI randomizer and a mixer view.

Built-in Plugins

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Buit-in plugins include all the old Tracktion effects, native sampler but it also comes with few extra instruments and effects such as Collective,Micro synth pack and master mix.FM synth is based on MDA DX10 which is a great synth to start learning FM. It also Comes with master mix which is a Mastering suite which is a great addition to Tracktion's effect arsenal.
Collective is a hybrid sampler-synthesizer which is the biggest difference which sets waveform apart from older versions of tracktion. Tracktion lacked a powerful built in instrument and had to rely on vst instruments to do any MIDI related projects. Collective comes with lots of presets to help you get kickstarted with projects immediately which is in my opinion, is the biggest change.

It comes with a lot of new MIDI related features which is great if you produce electronic music like me. MIDI Chord player is a bread and butter chorder which works great if you want a quick chorder. The Pattern generator is interesting and good for inspiration when you are on a writer's block. Seperate piano roll is a good addition even though i am perfectly happy with T6's piano roll.

Improvements

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Waveform has some great additions in the built in plugins and MIDI features. It also has a better support for jbridge which for some reason, refuses to work in T6. Mixer view is certainly a great addition as well. The projects tab has some interesting improvements and has a lot of minor improvements as well.

What i will miss about T6 if i upgrade

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There's very much to gain by upgrading to Waveform 8 but one thing i certainly miss is the custom colour schemes. The built in UI of waveform is great but the option of having your own colour scheme was a great feature.

Things i'd like to see

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A built in 32 bit to 64 bit bridge would be great and will force me to upgrade. Audio and MIDI routing to other applications and back would be awesome. If tracktion can act as rewire slave it'd be great.

Should i upgrade?

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Currently T6 does all the work i need and i'd say while its tempting to upgrade, few speculate that waveform 9 is around the corner, so an upgade to W9 seems more obvious unless you are seriously in need for the features. Tracktion offers generous upgrade paths so if you can afford both the cost of waveform 8 (which is affordably priced at $99) and upgrade which ranges between $30 to $50 usually,you can upgrade to W8. Waveform 8 is hell of a DAW and can compete with big guns and i must give credits to tracktion for that. I must also give credits for TSC for making oldest of 3 version free. I never knew Tracktion was this awesome before i switched to it (that was when T4 was made free).




If you are a 32-bit user, W9 will be 64-bit only according to TSC KVR Mods.

Highlights

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Pros: More plugins,Collective,Pattern Generator,Mixer view,Improved Modulation,Automation and an affordable price.
Cons: No custom skins.

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