Mackie Tracktion 3
The Mackie Tracktion 3 Ultimate Bundle is for you if you prefer user-friendly music production software that doesn't make you sift through endless menus and windows to create your music. Tracktion 3 is based on a simple, single-screen interface. Tracktion music software is fast, powerful, and includes everything you need to turn your ideas into finished songs. And unlike the competition, Tracktion 3 comes with all the power and plug-ins you'll ever need. So if you want to keep your music... Read more
Part Number: 0020631-00
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Mackie Tracktion 3
User reviews and opinions
|moudy||7:43pm on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010|
|As soon as I recieved this, I simply loaded the drivers, plugged it in, and it worked PERFECTLY. Pretty durable, too...|
|andywebsdale||8:40pm on Sunday, October 24th, 2010|
|Awesome! Awesome unit, great, rock solid software. It is a bit fragile though. Torq Conectiv with Vinyl I just got the Torq software with control vinyl and all i can say is WOW.|
|bamaman66||4:14pm on Saturday, September 11th, 2010|
|Worked OK for me Installing to a Windows 7 (32 bit) PC - so I ignored the product CD and downloaded the beta Win 7 drivers.|
|jsoons||1:11pm on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010|
|clarinet stand A well designed, well engineered product at a good price. Very stable, easy to fold and portable. Good quality but... For a cheap desk top/piano top mic stand, this is great. The quality of construction is very sturdy and solid.|
|Kym||10:29am on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010|
|Fast Track Pro has all the resources and mobility of the Fast Track USB recording and even more capacity.|
|miki||11:02am on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010|
|Set up is easy, be sure to check the m-audio website for the current drivers. IMPORTANT!|
|bnoll||1:58pm on Monday, March 22nd, 2010|
|Had to return this product Firstly, you must have access to the internet to unlock this item and you have to be computer competant to install.|
|mechno||7:29am on Monday, March 22nd, 2010|
|I received this multi-tool for free through a promotion, and I can say that it has exceeded my expectations for a free tool.|
Comments posted on www.ps2netdrivers.net are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.
HIDDEN TREASURE > This directory of audio, MIDI files and loops collapses when you dont need it to free up more space in Tracktion 3s one-window GUI.
POP-UP AUDIO > Built-in audio editing is just one of the many functions and tools that appear along the bottom when you click on elements in the main workspace above it.
MACKIE TRACKTION 3 ULTIMATE BUNDLE
BY PETER WETHERBEE
UNDERDOG DAW CONTINUES ITS CINDERELLA STORY
Although it may sport a distinctly unsexy and disarmingly simple interface, Mackie Tracktion 3 Ultimate Bundle is an elegant, powerful and comprehensive production suite for creating fresh beat-based recordings. Proudly remaining the most streamlinedyet increasingly feature-richdigital audio workstation (DAW) software on the market, Tracktion 3 introduces a full set of tools for loop-based composition. Augmented with samplers, drum machines, a high-quality set of plug-in effects, a couple of monstrous synths, and extensive sample and loop collections, the Tracktion 3 Ultimate Bundle will appeal to DJs, composers and producers who have grown restless with the limitations of Reason, Live and Acid. With unlimited track count and plug-in instantiations, the ability to connect as many audio interfaces (thereby setting no I/O limitations) as your system can handle and the ascetically streamlined interface, Tracktion 3 will get way more out of your dual-processor Mac or PC than most other full-featured apps. Still, Tracktion 3 happily works at a maximum of 192 kHz sampling rates and actually defaults to 32-bit files for its freezing function, which most apps couldnt do even if they wanted to. Under the hood, Tracktion 3s high-definition, 64-bit mix engine sounds amazing, easily silencing critics of mixing in the box. Mackie cites a minimum system requirement of a 1 GHz Mac G4 or G5, Pentium or Athlon processor with a half-gig of RAM, and it was ripping on a 1.6 GHz single-processor Pentium 4 laptop using a Digidesign MBox, M-Audio MobilePre and the built-in laptop I/O for a 6-in, 6-out configuration. The two DVDsabout 10 GB worthof sample libraries, plug-ins and virtual synths/samplers/drum machines take a while to install, but once youre finished you have a ridiculous amount of stuff to play with.
Tracktion 3 ULTIMATE BUNDLE > $319.99 ($129.99 for the Project Bundle)
Pros: One-window interface puts a dazzling array of tools in front of you without disrupting the creative workflow. Impressive set of signal-processing plug-ins. 10 GB of loops and instrument samples. High-quality audio engine. Cons: Basic visual design lacks appeal. Contact: www.mackie.com
Mac: G4, G5 or Intel/1 GHz; 512 MB RAM; OS 10.4.8 or later; 10 GB free disk space PC: Pentium or Athlon/1 GHz; 512 MB RAM; Windows XP; 10 GB free disk space
ROLL WITH THE NEW
Remix reviewed Tracktion 2 in September 2005, so this review deals mostly with the new features. Tracktion 3s magic lies in its dedication to the flow of your creativity, and its engineering team stayed true to the original design and intent, providing clever and immediate access to the tools you need at all times. Tracktion 3 also quietly implements sophisticated behind-the-screen elements such as automatic latency control for all audio and MIDI processing, but at the same
76 REMIX august 2007
time, it refuses to make anything on the GUI look attractive in any way. You will not find a texture, graphic button or faux 3-D element anywhere in the application, and compared with nice third-party plug-ins, Tracktion looks stark and sparse. However, there are nice touches everywhere, such as snap wave resolution that gets finer the more you zoom in; Fast-Forward and Rewind buttons that change to Abort and Abort and Restart buttons while recording; the ability to insert extra faders wherever and whenever you want within a channel; the ability to drop an insert effect onto a selected bit of a track without effecting the entire track (which means the effect uses CPU only while playing the selected bit); the freedom to import files of any bit or sampling rate without being sidetracked by converting and saving them elsewhere; and smooth insertion of loops, regardless of pitch or tempo. Tracktion 3 spoils you with those and many other clever, transparent and useful features. Tracktions most radical element is still the fact that everything occurs on a single session page; the other two tabbed pages are for settings and creating or opening another project. The main page has a collapsible menu in the upper-left corner from which to pull audio, MIDI files or loops into your project, and a key new Loops section wrangles in Acid, Apple Loops and REX (ReCycle) formatson Mac or PCwith aplomb. Loops are listed as four overlapping types with subcategories: Instruments (bass, percussion, drums, etc.), Genres (jazz, hip-hop, reggae, etc.), Descriptors (dry, distorted, dark, etc.) and Key (major, minor, etc.). You can select any number of the subcategories to drill down on what you are looking for, and clicking on a file that appears in the resulting filtered list lets you audition the loop. This is a great way to start a piece of music, with a sort of abstract approach to composing that gets the wheels turning and the juices flowing: Drag a loop onto a track, and it automatically conforms to your projects current tempo and root pitchin the blink of an eye. The Ultimate Bundle comes stocked with 2 GB of loops from Sonic Reality. You can do that pull-it-in-and-see-ifits-workin thing really quick until you do find what you need, and then its on to the next bitstart with drums, throw in the bass and lay on some pads, strings and a little chukka chikka to add some funk. You can also create loops from within a session and export them with a full set of data embedded for future searching. Audio editing is also a breeze. Simply click on an audio clip, and all the tools that you need to trim, split, fade and even time-stretch are at your fingertips. Click on the various shapes that appear along the top edge of the audio file youre looking at, and youll be slicin and dicin like a sushi chef. Like everything in Tracktions one-page-does-it-all setup, you get a full selection of more tools, functions, information and possibilities laid out for you in the little window at the bottom of the page that appears whenever you select a clip of any kind. For example, a full array of fun drum n bass snare smears and the like can be created using the adjustable transient finder and split functions.
easy-to-digest way that I rarely had to consult the extensive reference manual. The movie is split into 18 sections, the last six of which are devoted to the incredible dynamics, EQ and mastering plug-ins Mackie contributed from its digital mixers. Programmable hot keysaka key commandsare another way that Tracktion gives the user the smoothest possible workflow, and if you dont like the presets or you want to add a key command for your favorite moves, you can program them yourself. A lazy old dog resistant to new tricks such as yours truly
WHATS THE HOLDUP? > A device test wizard under the Settings tab will measure an audio interfaces latency.
RACK EM > Racks group plug-ins and complex routings as self-contained units that can appear on multiple tracks.
youre doing on a piece of music, you never have to leave the piece of audio or MIDI data, plug-in, automation curve or anything else for even a second to change a setting or change tools. You stay right where the rubber hits the roadproducing tracks instead of tweaking parameters in far-off parts of the program whose locations you cant quite remember. Tracktion makes it a lot harder to get distracted and lose track of what youre doing. The more than 3 GB of bundled, ready-to-use sample collections include the very fine Garritan Personal Orchestra (powered by Native Instruments Kontakt 2 player), a huge set of drum sounds and loops that come with Submersible Musics DrumCore TK software and a workman-like but always handy IK Multimedia Sampletank 2 SE set. In spite of its lingering status as new kid on the block, Tracktion 3 is a completely mature application for MIDI tweakheads. MIDI editing tools are comprehensive and immediately available in a handy toolbar that can be set to appear when you click on a MIDI clip. (A piano roll can be set to appear when the user zooms in enough on the clip.) Automation for audio and MIDI is similarly sophisticated, configurable and immediately accessible without leaving the audio clip at hand. The ability to switch between different automation streams on a given track is simply a right-click away, and tools for drawing, dragging and editing automation curves are right there when you need them. Tracktion 3 deals with learning and mapping to external hardware controllers particularly wellno doubt a fringe benefit of Mackies experience in manufacturing and writing software for a variety of sophisticated controllers over the years. Vaguely reminiscent of Reason, Tracktion 3s racks are also essential. A rack can be anything from a chain of effects or a simple mult to a wrapper, which helps to tame a multi-output filter such as a virtual synth or drum machine into bite-size stereo chunks to make mixing easier. The rack idea allows for just about anything you can imagine to be routed, including combinations of MIDI and audio paths. A set of rack presets, which allow you to pimp out your own customized racks, lays the foundation for possibilities limited only by CPU power and your imagination. How about stacking all of your synths into an infinitely textural stew or running one of every compressor, reverb and modulation effect in your arsenal in series or in parallel as an insert on an untamable vocal track?
DITHER DOWN FROM DAY ONE
ILL EFFECTS > Following the DAW standard, Tracktion 3 includes a full suite of plug-ins, like this reverb and EQ.
ALL THAT AND A BAG O TRICKS
A four-hour QuickTime tutorial movie guides you through Tracktion in such an incredibly straightforward and remixmag.com
was able to effectively program all of my favorite hot-key functions from Pro Tools to function virtually identically in Tracktion. User settings, which include hot-key mappings and your favorite plug-in and rack filter presets, can be exported and brought with you into a new installation of Tracktion on another machine. The methods for working with MIDI and audio files are not only seamless, but remarkably similar throughout. I stopped really thinking of audio and MIDI as different pretty quickly, which is the idea: The less youre thinking about technical details, the more youre thinking about what youre trying to achieve and create musically. Whatever
Tracktion export can finish a mix in a variety of formats, ranging from MP3 to 32-bit files, which is much more forgiving than 16- or 24-bit files in terms of headroom. Tracktions mastering dither features auto-black for a smooth transition from fade to silence. The master section can also analyze and calculate normalization settings to either peak or adjustable RMS scans, and its possible to render each track individually, with time-stamped broadcast WAV files as an optional format. That would allow you to then take your files into Pro Tools, for example, with the time-stamping employed to make sure each track ends up in the right place on the new timeline. The funny thing, however, is that this die-hard Pro Tools fan of more than a decade is suddenly not as eager to go back to my old standard once I got to know Tracktion 3.
august 2007 REMIX 77
Follow the links to download the keyfile. You will need to transfer this keyfile to the computer upon which you have installed Tracktion. Floppy disks, writeable CDs, or USB JumpDrives are good ways to transfer files between computers. Once the keyfile has been moved to the computer that Tracktion is installed on, you can use it to unlock your Tracktion software. Open Tracktion as normal, click the about button, and click the unlock button at the bottom of the about dialogue-box. A second window will be shown. On the new window, click the unlock from keyfile button. A window will be displayed, from which you can navigate to the location where you saved the keyfile. Select the keyfile and click OK. Tracktion will now be registered. If you have not yet purchased Tracktion, there is a button in the about dialogue box to purchase the software.
1.5 : The Clipboard Panel
The clipboard panel (Fig. 1.5.1) shows the current contents of Tracktions clipboard. Whenever copy or cut operations are performed on items within Tracktion, they will be added to, or replace the existing contents of the clipboard. Tracktions clipboard can contain multiple items. This means that in addition to the standard editing options typically associated with clipboards, such as copy, cut, and paste, you can use the clipboard to efficiently move large amounts of content between projects, and as a way of rapidly constructing basic frameworks for songs. A standard copy or cut operation will always replace the contents of the clipboard with the selected item. If you wish to add multiple items to the clipboard, you should instead drag them in to the clipboard panel.
Note: When the edit page is selected, you can view the clipboard contents by clicking the clipboard button, and selecting the show clipboard contents option. The contents of the clipboard will be shown in the quick find panel on the left side of the screen. You can also use the keyboard shortcut: CTRL + ALT + C (CMD + CTRL + C for Mac users).
If you right-click on an item in the clipboard panel, you will be presented with a pop-up menu (Fig. 1.5.2) containing the following options: Remove Item From Clipboard: Use this option to remove a single item from the list. Clear Clipboard: All clipboard contents will be cleared.
1.6 : The Search Tool
The search tool (Fig. 1.6.1) allows you to quickly find content in your open projects. Searching is simply a case of: Click the select projects button, and untick any projects you do not Figure 1.6.1 wish to include in the search. Enter some search keywords in the text box. If, for example you are looking for a guitar part, and you are fairly sure that either the recordings name, or description, contains the word slide, you could try entering that in the search keywords box. Click search. Once Tracktion has finished searching, all media that matches your search keywords will be shown in the items list.
The Basic Editing Options
Selecting the basic editing options menu-item from the edit audio file button menu causes a dialogue-box (Fig. 1.9.4) to be shown. From this dialogue-box, you can access a number of useful tools for working with audio files. Be aware that these operations are all destructive, so be sure that you wish to make permanent changes to your source audio file! The operation type field shows a drop-down menu when selected. From this menu you can select from a number of different operations. The options available below this field will change depending on the operation selected. Figure 1.9.4
Trim silence: Use this option to remove audio that is below a given threshold from either end of the audio file. When this operation type is selected, the following options are available (Fig. 1.9.4): Threshold: Any audio below this threshold will be trimmed. Trim start: When this option is selected, audio below the threshold level at the start of the wave file will be trimmed. Trim end: When this option is selected, audio below the threshold level at the end of the wave file will be trimmed. Normalise: Use this option to adjust the level of the audio such that the peak level of the wave file reaches the desired normalise level. Typically, normalisation would be used to make an audio file as loud as possible without introducing any digital distortion, or clipping. There is only one option available for normalise, peak level, and it is this level to which the file will be normalised (Fig. 1.9.5). Make mono: Use this option to convert a stereo audio file into a mono file. You can opt to merge the two stereo channels together, or to disregard either the left or right channels. This option is not available when working with mono files (Fig. 1.9.6). Change sample rate: If you wish to have Tracktion convert the sample rate of an audio file to a different rate, you can use this option (Fig. 1.9.7). Change bit depth: This option allows you to alter the bit depth of the audio file (Fig. 1.9.8). Reverse: This option can be used to reverse the audio file. Reversed audio files are literally played backwards. There are no options available for this operation (Fig. 1.9.9). Figure 1.9.5
Reset to defaults: This button provides the option for setting the key-mappings back to the factory default, clearing all key-mapping, or switching to key-mapping presets that match other common programs. This last option is useful if you are already familiar with another application and would like to continue using its keymappings. View as HTML.: This button opens a web-browser, and displays the current key-map. You can use this to obtain a printout of the key-mappings. Save/load key-mappings.: These buttons allow you to save and recall key-maps. In addition, Tracktion ships with key-maps that match those used by other sequencers, so if you are familiar with a set of keyboard shortcuts, you may find one of these key-maps more comfortable to work with. Clicking either of these buttons will display a browse for file dialogue box.
2.8 : Control Surfaces
Installing Control Surfaces Into Tracktion
External control surfaces, such as the Mackie Control Universal, and the Novation ReMOTE series, can be managed from the control surfaces group on the settings page (Fig. 2.8.1).
Figure 2.8.1 Tracktion can support external control surfaces such as Mackies Control Universal, and Control C4, devices. Many users find devices such as these are greatly faster to work with than a mouse, as they place the most commonly accessed Tracktion features right at your finger-tips, and provide a familiar, tactile, environment for mixing and editing. The list shows the control surfaces natively supported by your version of Tracktion. If you own one or more of these devices, simply select it from the list, and select the MIDI input and output devices to which your control surface is connected (Fig. 2.8.2).
If your controller is not shown in the list, you should check whether it can emulate any of the listed devices. The Mackie Control Universal is widely featured as an emulation mode for many controllers, so there is a fair chance that your device can emulate it. If your controller can emulate a natively supported device, simply set it to emulation mode, and configure Tracktion as though you have the supported device connected. An external controller may require a MIDI input and output pair to itself, and in such cases, MIDI leads should be connected directly from your MIDI device to the external controller. Once the input and output devices have been chosen, the controller will be ready the moment you switch to the edit page. This section provides only a brief overview of installing and configuring control surfaces. For detailed information, please consult Chapter Seven.
Custom Control Surface Specific Properties
When a custom control surface entry is selected in the list, the properties panel will display options specific to custom controllers (Fig. 2.8.6). These options are in addition to the common properties described previously in this section.
Figure 2.8.6 Hide MIDI input device: For dedicated control surfaces, there is no reason to have the input device be available as a recordable input. If your custom controller is purely a control surface device, and there are no other MIDI devices sharing the input with the surface, then you can use this option to hide the input from the available input list. If you controller is part of a controller keyboard, then you might still wish to be able to record MIDI notes, and as such you would want to leave this option unchecked. Channels: This option specifies how many tracks your device is capable of mixing at one time, and is used to define how many tracks will be highlighted if the colour selection option is enabled. If you are not using your controller as a mixer device, i.e., you are using it only to control the transport functions, or VST plug-ins, then you may want to set this value to zero. Parameters: This option specifies how many plug-in parameters can be manipulated at one time on your controller. If you have eight unused rotary controls on your device, for example, you could set this value to eight. Edit control mappings: This option displays a control mapping screen, where you can link the sliders, buttons, and rotary controls on your device, to functions within Tracktion. The mapping screen is described on the next page. Import/Export settings: You can import and export custom controller configurations, either to share with others, or to make copies for safe keeping when doing backups.
The Edit Control Mappings Window
Figure 2.8.7 shows the controller mappings window. The mapping editor is made up of two columns. The left-hand column shows mapped MIDI controllers, and the right-hand column shows the function currently mapped to the controller. To create a new mapping, click the box labelled click here to choose controller in the controller column. You will be prompted to move the controller you wish to map. Adjust the controller and Tracktion will detect it. Once the controller is chosen, Tracktion will create a new entry in the list. Now you can click the parameter box and choose a parameter from the pop-up menu. Chapter 7.4 describes creating custom control surfaces mappings in detail.
Chapter 3: The Edit Page
Chapter Contents 3.1 : An Overview 3.2 : The Quick Find Panel An Overview The Browser Mode The Loops Mode The Markers Mode The Clipboard Mode 3.3 : Working With Tracks A Quick Overview of Tracks And Clips Manipulating Tracks Folder Tracks Navigating Around In The Arrangement Area The Track Properties Multiple Selected Track Properties Folder Track Properties 3.4 : The Filter Section A Brief Overview Of Filters And The Filter Section Adding, Copying, Moving, And Deleting Filters The Right-Click Options The Mute / Solo Buttons The Volume / Pan Filter The Level Meter Filter The 4-Band Equaliser The Tracktion Sampler The Aux Send / Return Filters The ReWire Filter 3.5 : The Control Section 3.6 : The Transport Section The Main Transport Section Controls The Master Filter Section
3.1 : An Overview
The edit page is where you compose, arrange, and mix your songs. Before we look too hard at any specific parts of the edit page, lets take a moment to get acquainted with the basic layout of this page. Figure 3.1.1 shows the edit page, almost as it might appear when you first enter an empty edit.
Figure 3.1.1 To help you identify the various components that go to make up the edit page, each will be introduced below. At the very top left of the edit page, directly under the projects tab, there is a show/hide control (Fig. 3.1.2) for the quick find panel. When this button is enabled, the quick find panel will be visible on the left hand side of the edit page. In addition, a small drop down selector box will be visible to the immediate right of the show/hide button. Try toggling this button; note how the left panel is alternately hidden, and exposed, when you do so. The quick find panel provides rapid access to a number of useful tools, such as a file browser, the clipboard, and a powerful loop browser. With the quick find panel visible, try selecting the various options in the drop down selector box. As you do so, the appearance of the quick find panel will change. We will look at the quick find panel, and these various modes in more detail later in this chapter.
To the right of the quick find panel, you will see a vertical strip that contains the names of tracks, as well as a collection of arrow shaped icons (Fig. 3.1.3). This section is called the input section. From this section you can select and manage tracks. In addition, you can assign inputs to them ready for recording. You will learn about working with the track name aspect of the input section in Section Three of this chapter. The recording inputs are discussed in Chapter Five, which details recording with Tracktion. You can temporarily hide the input icons when not in use, for example during mixing. We will look at the component that allows you to show, or hide, user interface elements next. Directly below the minimize/maximise/close buttons at the top-right corner of the Tracktion window, you will see a cluster of toggle buttons (Fig. 3.1.4). These buttons comprise the show / hide section, and they provide an easy way to hide areas of the Tracktion display that you are not currently using. Temporarily hiding areas allows you to maximize the amount of screen space available to you for mixing and arranging. Figure 3.1.3
Delete marked region: Clicking this button displays a pop-up menu (Fig. 3.3.11) with options for removing material from the track. Clear marked region of selected tracks: This option deletes any clips contained within the region defined by the in and out markers on the selected track. Subsequent clips are not affected by this action. Clear marked region of all tracks: This option deletes any clips contained within the region defined by the in and out markers on all tracks. Subsequent clips are not affected by this action. Delete marked region of selected tracks and close the gaps: This option deletes any clips contained within the region defined by the in and out markers on the selected track. Subsequent clips and automation points are moved to the left by an amount equal to the current loop size. Delete marked region of all tracks and close the gaps: This option deletes any clips contained within the region defined by the in and out markers on all tracks. Subsequent clips and automation points are moved to the left by an amount equal to the current loop size.
Figure 3.3.11 Destination output for this track: By default all tracks send their output to the default audio device. If you wish to have audio sent to an alternate audio device, or have the MIDI data from a track sent to external MIDI gear, just select the desired output. You can also send the output of a track, or even a number of tracks, to another track.
Multiple Selected Track Properties
When many tracks are selected at the same time, the properties displayed (Fig. 3.3.12) differs slightly from those of a single track. Tip: To select more than one track, hold down the CTRL key (CMD for Mac users) while clicking on the track names. When the SHIFT key is held down, selecting two tracks will also automatically select all tracks between them.
Figure 3.3.12 As you can see, the majority of the settings are consistent, however, a few settings that do not make sense in the context of multiple track selections are missing, and one new button is available: Create folder containing: This option will take a number of existing tracks and wrap them into a new folder track.
Auto show MIDI editor toolbar: When this option is disabled, the MIDI editor toolbar will not be shown when editing MIDI clips. Figure 3.5.2 shows a MIDI clip with the MIDI toolbar visible, and Figure 3.5.3 shows the same clip with the toolbar hidden. When the MIDI toolbar is hidden, most of the tools can be accessed through keyboard shortcuts. In addition, it is possible to set a keyboard shortcut that can be used to view or dismiss the toolbar regardless of this setting. The MIDI toolbar is discussed in Chapter 4.4. The keyboard shortcut mappings and editor are discussed in Chapter 2.7.
Use safe record mode: Safe record mode requires that recording be stopped by use of a special key combination. This protects you from bringing a recording to an unintended halt by hitting the stop button, or similar. When record mode is active, and this option is selected, a message will be shown on screen with the key combination needed to stop recording. Preview volume: When importing samples into the Tracktion sampler, or into audio clips, audio files can be quickly auditioned by simply clicking on the filename. This option allows you to set a volume level to be used when Tracktion previews audio files. Automation: This button displays a pop-up menu with options relating to automation. Automation is covered in detail in Chapter Seven. Movies: This button displays a pop-up menu with options relating to video synchronisation. Chapter 6.7 discusses working with movies in Tracktion. Show QuickTime movie window: This option toggles whether the QuickTime window is visible. Keyboard shortcut: ALT + M (CTRL + M for Mac users). Set QuickTime movie file. : Select this option to choose a video file to display. Change video start time offset: Use this option to set the time at which the video playback should begin.If for example, the movie file has a few minutes of material before the section you are interested in, you can set the offset to a negative value. Conversely, if you want the movie to start at some point during your edit, you can set the offset to a positive value. You will be prompted to enter an offset using which ever time-line mode you are currently using. For example, if your time-line is in beats and bars, the offset value will be given in beats and bars. If you wish to set the offset using a time code different than the current, you can temporarily change the mode from the timecode button. The various timecode options are described in Chapter Six. Help: Click this button to the access help on using Tracktion. Show Tracktion help pages: This option displays the Tracktion documentation. Keyboard shortcut: F12. Turn on pop-up help: When this option is enabled, hovering the mouse pointer over a control will cause Tracktion to display a pop-up help balloon describing the control. This can be handy when you are first finding your way around Tracktion. Keyboard shortcut: F11. A useful alternate to having pop-up help active all of the time is to use the F10 key. This key provides a manual method of launching a balloon help prompt for the current control or component. Use longer delay before pop-up help appears: When this option is activated, Tracktion will wait a few moments before displaying the pop-up help. This setting will have no effect unless the pop-up help is enabled.
3.6 : The Transport Section
The Main Transport Section Controls
The horizontal bar that runs across the top of the transport section (Fig. 3.6.1) is called the tempo and timecode bar. The top-left-hand corner of the transport section contains the ext mtc button. When this button is activated, Tracktion will begin chasing MIDI Timecode from an external MIDI device. Timecode chasing is detailed in Chapter Six. To the right of the ext mtc button, you will see the current tempo, time signature, key, and finally, the play-head cursor position. You can manually alter the play-head cursor position by editing these values.
Clicking on the tempo, time signature, or key will display its properties in the properties panel. These functions are described in Chapter Six. The two A buttons below the tempo, toggle automation read mode and automation record mode respectively. Automation is detailed in Chapter Seven. Automation read: When this button is active, Tracktion will play automation curves, otherwise they will be ignored. Keyboard shortcut: H. Automation record: When this button is active, any changes made to automatable parameters while playback is active will be recorded. Keyboard shortcut: Y. The next five buttons provide standard tape-deck style play, record, rewind, backward, and forward functions. Play: This buttons toggles whether playback is active. Keyboard shortcut: SPACE. Record: This button starts recording from all armed input devices. Keyboard shortcut: R. Rewind to zero: This button moves the play-cursor back to the start of the selected clip, or the start of the edit (whichever comes first). Keyboard shortcut: HOME. Rewind/fast-forward: These two buttons move the play-head cursor backwards or forwards through the edit. A single click moves the play-head to the next snapping location. Holding either of these buttons down causes Tracktion to scroll through the edit until the button is released. The next series of buttons control various aspects related to playback and record: Loop: When this option is active, playback will cycle through the region set by the in and out markers. If loop mode is active when recording, the record behaviour be dependent on the current recording mode. Chapter 5.3 discusses the recording modes, including looped recording mode. Keyboard shortcut: L. Punch: When in punch mode, recording is only active during the time that the play-head cursor is between the in and out markers. Note, punch mode cannot be used at the same time as loop mode. Chapter 5.3 discusses the recording modes, including punched recording mode. Keyboard shortcut: P.
Auto lock: When this option is active, moving, or copying a clip on a track will automatically move, or copy, any automation points that exist within the clips boundaries. Note that the automation does not follow the clip if it is moved to another track that does not contain the same filter. Automation and the auto lock button are described in detail in Chapter 7.3. Keyboard shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + A (CMD + SHIFT + A for Mac users) Snap: This option toggles whether snap-to-grid is active. When snap to grid is active editing operations will snap to the nearest current grid line. Keyboard shortcut: Q. E-to-E: This option toggles whether end-to-end mode is enabled. When enabled, Tracktion will send data to the output devices even if playback is stopped. Conversely, when it is disabled, all filters and inputs are effectively disabled. A typical example of where e-to-to should be enabled is if you are trying to use Tracktion as an effects processor for a guitar, or hardware MIDI instrument. In this scenario, you may not want playback or record modes active, and as such you would to enable end-to-end to keep Tracktions audio engine running. Because end-to-end mode leaves all filters active when playback is stopped, it also means that they are using processor resources during that time. If you edit uses a large amount of CPU power, you may find that editing becomes sluggish at tines. This can happen because the filters are stealing all of the available processing power, leaving little for Tracktion itself to work with. By disabling end-to-end in this circumstance, all of your computers processing power but be available to Tracktion for editing operations when playback stops. The keyboard shortcut SHIFT + E can be used to toggle e-to-e mode on and off. Scroll: This option toggles whether the edit will scroll when the play-head cursor reaches the edge of the visible area. Disabling this option can be useful when editing MIDI parts while playback is active. Keyboard shortcut: SHIFT + S. At the bottom of the transport section there is a CPU usage meter. Use this to monitor how much of your available computing power is being used by the current edit. As CPU usage increases, audio stability can be compromised, and pops and clicks may occur in recordings, and during playback. In addition, the user-interface may become sluggish and user interface updates may be noticeably slower. You may sometimes see a small exclamation mark (!) appear on the usage bar. This notifies you that an edit required more data to be read from your hard-drive than could physically be achieved. If you find this happening in one of your edits, you can freeze a number of the audio tracks. Chapter 8.4 discusses rendering and freezing tracks, both of which can provide methods to play edits that are either too computationally, or drivethroughput intensive.
file. What does that mean? Well, picture a piece of cardboard with a square cut out of it. If you lay that piece of card on a page of text you will only be able to see the text that is exposed by the hole, and as such, you will only be able to see a small region of the page at any one time. Here the hole can be seen to be a window, and the text you can see through it is determined entirely by the position and size of that window. Now consider the clip to be a window, just like the piece of card. Just as the visible region of text is not part of the card, equally the audio shown in a clip is not part of the clip; it is just an individual file that the clip is acting as a window onto. By changing the size of a clip, you can show or hide as much of an audio file as you want. Figure 4.1.1 shows an audio clip displaying just the middle section of an audio file. By adjusting the offset of the clip in relation to the audio file, you can control which part of the audio is showing through the clip window. A single audio file may be used by many different clips in a single edit, and each clip may not only be showing different sections of the file, but even applying unique processes to it.
Figure 4.1.1 What non-destructive editing basically means then, is that splitting, trimming, and resizing clips, does not affect the underlying audio file, or MIDI data, in any way. If you shorten a clip, some of its contents may appear to be lost, but if you then set it back to its original size, the contents will still be there. In short, any changes you make to a clips size are only as permanent as you want them to be. Not only does this provide for an extraordinarily flexible way of working, it can also bring great peace of mind when making experimental edits to audio and MIDI clips.
The Clip Tools
When a clip is selected, the title-bar at the top of the clip displays a collection of tools (Fig. 4.1.2). These tools provide powerful editing features that make trimming, sizing, and scaling clips a simple and efficient process. With the exception of the fade tool, these title-bar tool are common to both audio and MIDI clips. They are how you define the size of the clip, and the region of the source material that the clip is displaying.
To assign a track: Select the track you wish to use as a MIDI track. The properties panel will display the track properties. In the destination output for this track list (Fig. 4.3.1), select the MIDI output to which your device is connected.
Figure 4.3.1 If you have some MIDI clips ready to try out, you can test your MIDI device right now. If you dont have an MIDI clips ready at this time, dont worry, well be looking at the MIDI editor in just a few sections time. Once youve seen how the MIDI editor works, youll be able to edit recorded performances, and create new MIDI performances by hand. What if you try it though and you cant hear anything? If this happens to you, most likely you simply need to change the MIDI channel that your clip is sending on. Your MIDI hardware may be configured to listen to only one MIDI channel, and if your clip is set to transmit on a different channel, the MIDI device will simply ignore it. The documentation for your MIDI equipment will tell you how to check, or alter, the channel that the device listens on; with only 16 possible channels, however, trial and error can often be just as efficient a solution. To set the MIDI channel that a MIDI clip transmits on: Select the clip(s). The properties for the clip(s) will be shown in the properties panel. Set the channel parameter (Fig. 4.3.2) to the desired channel number. Tip: Many different tracks can send to one MIDI output device, so you can assign a track to each MIDI channel for multi-timbral synthesizers.
Note: Take care that there are no unnecessary filters on tracks used for external MIDI, as many filters do not pass MIDI data.
Once you have your MIDI device responding to Tracktion, you will probably want to set up an easy way of recalling the various presets, or programs that your instrument offers. To do this: Switch to the settings page. Select the MIDI options group. Find, and click on the MIDI output your hardware is connected to in the list of MIDI devices. The properties panel will show the properties for the output. Click the add button (Fig. 4.3.3). A dialogue window will be appear (Fig. 4.3.4), from which you can select from a large collection of builtin preset banks, or create your own custom bank(s).
Figure 4.3.3 To select an existing preset bank, simply click the preset combo-box, and search for the device in the list. The name field will be automatically filled in when you select an option. To create a new bank: Enter a name in the name field. Select <none> from the combo-box options. Click OK the dialogue window. Follow the instructions below for editing program names. You can make changes at any time to the program names that are contained in your bank(s). To edit the preset names in bank: Find, and click on the MIDI output your hardware is conFigure 4.3.4 nected to in the list of MIDI devices on the MIDI group page. Click the edit button. A dialogue window will be appear (Fig. 4.3.5). Set the bank name parameter to the bank that you wish to edit (you can also rename the bank if you want). Select the patch that you wish to rename, and enter a new name for it. If your MIDI device counts presets from zero, rather than one, you may wish to click on the options button and select the use zero based numbering option.
Figure 4.3.5 Once you have configured the patch names for your hardware device, you can enter MIDI program changes into your edit by name. Simply select the clip where the program change should occur, click the insert program change option, and select your program from the list.
Working With Software Instruments
So now weve looked at using external MIDI instruments with Tracktion, but there is another type of MIDI instrument available to you: software instruments, or as they are commonly known, VSTis. In Chapter Three we discussed the filter section, and how to add new filters to a track. If you havent read that chapter yet, or you think you may need a quick refresher, you may want to review Chapter 3.4 in particular, as software instruments are just another kind of filter. Because signals flow from left to right, you should place your software synthesiser before any effect filters on the track. In general, the only time you would have a filter in front of the synthesiser filter is if you are using a MIDI filter to process MIDI notes before they reach the instrument. Such MIDI filters may take the form of arpeggiators, or transposition filters. For example, Tracktions pitch shifter filter can be used to transpose MIDI notes as well as process audio. As a rule of thumb though, a software instrument should be the very first filter in the sequence. Unlike for external MIDI equipment, there is no need to change the track destination from default audio when working with software synthesisers. In addition, only a few software synthesisers take any notice of the MIDI channel, so unless you are working with a multi-timbral VSTi, you can usually ignore that setting also. Another big difference between software and hardware instruments is that all kinds of controls on virtual instruments can be automated using Tracktions powerful automation system. We will come to look at automation in Chapter Seven. If you want to experiment with virtual instruments, Tracktion ships with a built in sampler. Chapter 3.4 explains how to use this sampler filter. In summary, to use a virtual instrument, just add it to a track in the same way that you would an effect filter. Thats really all there is to it!
Auto tempo: Use this to set the tempo of the edit to match the clip. Clicking this button will display a pop-up menu (Fig. 4.6.3) with two options:
Figure 4.6.3 Set the edit tempo based on this clips length: Select this option to calculate a tempo for the edit from the length of the clip. When this option is chosen, a further menu is shown from which you can select how many beats this clip contains. Set the edit tempo based on the marked region: Select this option to calculate the tempo from the distance between the in and out markers. When this option is chosen, a further menu is show from which you can select how many beats the loop region contains. Split clips: This option splits the selected clip(s) into two parts. Clicking this button will display a pop-up menu (Fig. 4.6.4) with three options: Split clips at cursor position: Figure 4.6.4 Any selected clip(s) that straddle the current play-head cursor position will be split into two parts. Keyboard shortcut: /. Split clips at mark-in point: Any selected clip(s) that straddle the loop-begin marker will be split into two parts. Split clips at mark-out point: Any selected clip(s) that straddle the loop-end marker will be split into two parts. Copy marked section: This option takes the section of the clip between the loop markers, and copies it to the clipboard. Move clip: This option provides tools for moving the clip(s). Clicking this button will display a pop-up menu (Fig. 4.6.5) with four options: Move the selected clips earlier to meet the end of the previous clip: The selected clip is pushed up against the end of the preceding clip in its track. Move the selected clips later to meet the start of the next clip: The selected clip is pushed up against the start of the next clip in its track. Move the start of the selected clips to the cursor position: The selected clip will be moved to the current play-head cursor position. Keyboard shortcut: J. Move the end of the selected clips to the cursor position: The clip to be located before the current play-head cursor position, with its end located at the cursor position. Keyboard shortcut: K.
Adjust markers: Audio clips can have markers associated with them., which can be useful for marking points of interest. Markers are discussed in Chapter 1.9. Note that markers are a property of the underlying audio item, Figure 4.6.6 not the clip. As such, editing markers in one clip will impact all clips that share the same source audio file in this project. Clicking this button displays a pop-up menu (Fig. 4.6.6) with three options: Add a marker at the cursor position: Use this option to add a new marker to the audio file. The position of the marker will be determined by the position of the play-head cursor. Move the nearest marker to the cursor position: Use this option to adjust the position of a marker. The marker that is nearest the position of the play-head cursor will snap to the current cursor location. Delete the marker nearest to the cursor position: Use the option to remove a marker. The marker that is located nearest to the play-head cursor will be removed. Delete region: Clicking this button displays a pop-up menu (Fig. 4.6.7) with five options for deleting regions from clips. All of these options are non-destructive.
6.4 : The Timecode Button Options
The timecode button (Fig. 6.4.1) displays the following options: Show beats and bars: This option sets the time-line to show bar and beat divisions. When this option is selected, clips will show their position and size in beats and bar metrics when viewing their properties. Additionally, the position of the play-head cursor in the transport section will be shown in beats and bars. Keyboard shortcut: T. Show seconds/millisecs: This option sets the time-line to show divisions based on seconds and milliseconds. When this option is selected, clips will show their position and size in seconds and millisecond metrics when viewing their properties. Additionally, the position of the play-head cursor in the transport section will be shown in seconds and milliseconds. Keyboard shortcut: T.
Show seconds/frames: This option shows the time in terms of seconds and frames for video synchronisation. When this option is selected, clips will show their position and size in seconds and frame metrics when viewing their properties. Additionally, the position of the play-head cursor in the transport section will be shown in seconds and frames. Keyboard shortcut: T. 24/25/30 fps: When the time-line is set to show time in seconds and frames, this control selects how many frame divisions exist for each second. MIDI timecode is also sent to external MIDI outputs at this frame rate (see Section 6.6). Ignore hours from incoming timecode: When this option is selected and Tracktion is chasing external timecode, the hours value of the timecode stream will be ignored. The timecode will instead be indexed with the same hours as the edit. Change timecode offset: This option allows you to add an offset to the incoming timecode time. MIDI timecode input device: This option allows you to select which MIDI input should be receiving timecode when chasing is active. Respond to midi machine control from device: If you want to have Tracktion receive MIDI machine control (MMC) messages, use this option to select which input will be used to receive them. Only one MIDI input device can be assigned to listen for MMC messages. Send MIDI machine control to device: If you want to have Tracktion transmit MIDI machine control (MMC) messages, use this option to select the output on which they will be broadcast. Only one MIDI output device can be designated as a MMC output device. Insert tempo change at cursor: Select this option to insert a new tempo at the current play-head cursor position. Keyboard shortcut: CTRL + E (CMD + E for Mac). Default remapping options: This option displays a sub-menu from which you can set whether audio clips, auto tempo enabled audio clips, and MIDI clips, should be remapped on tempo changes. When remapping is enabled, by default the position and length of the clip will be updated to keep its beats and bars fixed in relation with the timeline. When disabled, no remapping will take place, which would keep the clip fixed in relation to the absolute timecode timeline. Tip: Right-clicking on the time-line bar will display the pop-up menu available from the timecode button.
The Mackie Tracktion 3 Ultimate Bundle is for you if you prefer user-friendly music production software that doesn't make you sift through endless menus and windows to create your music. Tracktion 3 is based on a simple, single-screen interface. Tracktion music software is fast, powerful, and includes everything you need to turn your ideas into finished songs. And unlike the competition, Tracktion 3 comes with all the power and plug-ins you'll ever need. So if you want to keep your music flowing - not locked in menus or limitations - Mackie Tracktion has what you need. - Composition is the first part of the music-making process, and it's also the most important. If you're like many musicians, you don't want your audio software to simply document your performances; you also want it to inspire them. So Tracktion 3 music software serves up everything you need to get your creative juices flowing, right at your fingertips. - You'll realize how different Tracktion 3 is from other music software when it's time to dig in and actually record something. If you've never recorded audio into your computer, you'll be amazed at how quickly Mackie Tracktion 3 gets you going - creating real music within minutes. That's because unlike most other music production software - that is designed around analog mixer concepts and routing - Mackie Tracktion 3 is truly different. It uses a simple, single-screen interface for all basic recording and editing operations - with a property panel that follows your every move, providing pertinent information for the task at hand. - Once tracks have been recorded, it's time to see if they cut the mustard. Thankfully, Tracktion 3 has some of the best mustard-cutting technology out there. As with most non-destructive editing software, Tracktion's editing allows you to undo and redo your edits to your heart's content - so there's never any fear of messing up your song. - A new Marker Track displays all your markers in the edit. But Tracktion's markers are special in that you can treat them as clips, much like audio and MIDI. So you can move markers around, split, stretch, and edit them. Name and color them as needed to identify different sections of your song, and store and recall them using lightning-fast key commands. - Mixing, of course, is the art of leveling, panning, EQing, adding effects, and otherwise accentuating individual sounds and instruments to get your song to sound just right. Most audio software accomplishes this through the use of a dedicated "mixer" screen, which mirrors the faders and knobs of a traditional analog mixer. This is really the genius of Tracktion, and one we'll explore a bit here. - Once you've recorded and mixed your music, you'll want to master it to give it that polished, radio-ready sound. Or you may want to send it to a trusted musician or producer friend for a second, or third, opinion. Thankfully, Mackie Tracktion 3 easily does both. Tracktion's built-in archiving capabilities let you save and send your music project to other Tracktion users so they can listen, collaborate, and edit. Of course you can easily export from Tracktion to a variety of audio formats such as . wav, . aif, and . mp3 to share your tunes with those who are not yet part of the Tracktion Collective. And because Tracktion 3 comes bundled with Mackie's acclaimed Mixing and Mastering Tools, you can rest assured that the final music will rock as hard - or as soft - as you like.
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