Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

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braintree12
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Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:58 pm

I'm trying out Tracktion T7 on Ubuntu Studio 16.04 and am making some notes. I'll probably post some version of these to the KVR Tracktion-on-Linux forum, as well.

I use looping MIDI files quite a bit to write tunes -- that is, listening to a note sequence over and over as I write the next part that plays in harmony or counterpoint to that. Then, mixing parts down to audio, adding effects, looping that, writing more MIDI parts, etc, until a composition gradually takes shape. If I have to keep adjusting the *%$$!! loop markers to keep notes from disappearing -- as happens constantly with Ardour, I get frustrated.

I found Tracktion-on-Linux incredibly stable for long term editing work with MIDI and audio. It's superior to Cubase and Ableton in its ability to render loops on the fly and place them in the timeline as you are working. It also has a better browser that allows you to quickly find and move samples from your PC into an open project window, or individual sample players. I am really impressed by how well all this is integrated into the Linux environment (with only a few minor glitches in interacting with the Thunar file system, resizing windows, etc -- more on this later).

The bad news, on Linux at least, is T7 doesn't handle third party plugins well. They tend to crash, or not have save-able presets. (LV2s as well as VSTs/LXVSTs.) This nudges you into using Tracktion plugins -- which are perfectly fine for most effects such as delay, reverb, compressor, or limiter, but somewhat lacking for software synthesizer choices. Tracktion has a ROMpler-type sampler, which you can arrange in racks of multiple samplers, but it's really bare bones (Kontakt this ain't).

Carla was mentioned in the KVR forums as a way to load non-Tracktion plugins but the newest beta doesn't work for me at all. The Carla patchbay and rack show as loaded VST plugins but they freeze when opened. I asked about this on the KXStudio forum and didn't get an answer. I gather the developer isn't interested in Tracktion integration issues. I can understand why that might not be a priority.

Below is a screenshot from Tracktion's plugin scan. Am not sure if this has any relevance to the patchbay freezing:

tracktion_failed_vst_plugins.png


The synths I got working as VST plugins were Helm and ZynAddSubFX but neither will save presets (Tracktion remembers settings, however, within a project). Loomer Aspect, which works flawlessly for me as a preset in Ardour, loads in Tracktion and can even be used for a while, but then it crashes.

For the time being, at least, I'm treating Tracktion as a self-contained instrument sitting on the PC -- like a virtual Elektron Octatrack where I can make tunes with samples -- until I get a better handle on the "plugin situation."
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sysrqer
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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby sysrqer » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:38 pm

Interesting to hear that, it's been a while since I tried Tracktion. Version 7 seems pretty good overall, definitely a big improvement.
I did experience some strange problems with carla, it loaded and allowed me to see the GUI of the plugins but it stopped working and carla's GUI started glitching and redrawing.
Most of the plugins I have were scanned and seem to work, tried amsynth, zynaddsubfx, tunefish, obxd, dexed, oxevst. Why were you not able to save presets with zynaddsubfx? I could do it but the browser doesn't work very well, I had to type the location and use tab to autocomplete and add / at the end to move in to the directory.

You should definitely post the bug reports to Tracktion though.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:19 pm

I tried again with ZynAddSubFX -- I can save an instrument as an .xiz file to a folder I created. The UI is very sluggish though, and sometimes requires opening and closing the save dialog a few times.
I'll try some of the plugins on your list. So far everything 3rd Party that I've used feels fragile, in a way that T7 (or its DAW Essentials plugins) don't.
Once I have my bug list together I plan to post it on the Tracktion-on-Linux KVR forum, and then send that link to the company.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby eric71 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:04 pm

I've been playing with T7 for the first time in maybe 6 months tonight. Carla-vst loads up and seems to work for loading lv2, sf2 and sfz's I tried with either patchbay or rack (didn't try any windows stuff). This is on Kubuntu 16.04.2 with up to date KXStudio repos (including GCC5). T7 is a really nice program. I don't work with loops (which Tracktion seems to be catering more and more to) and have a long history with REAPER, so I'm leaning that way as the Linux version develops, but I'm also excited about trying Waveform when it is released later this month.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:36 pm

I installed the KXStudio repos and GCC5 prior to installing the Carla beta ( http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/News/?ac ... a5-is-here ). Carla seems to work OK as a standalone and as an LV2 in Ardour, the only issue I'm having with it is the VST version in Tracktion T7.
Possibly there is something with Ubuntu Studio throwing it off.
As for ZynSubAddFX, I tried out the 3.01 version. Much better than the Version 2 I was using, as far as saving/loading presets and general interaction. However, with 3.01 I am getting crackles when the UI is open. It sounds good otherwise. This same behavior (xruns or whatever) happens with the LV2 in Ardour, so it's not a Tracktion issue.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby rhydermike » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:44 am

I use T7 under Ubuntu (Xubuntu 16.04, in my case) too. I make a mental note of plugins that crash and then try them under Carla. If this works, I save that as a preset and then deactivate the plugin in the Trackton settings.

As for the sampler. I needed a more comprehensive one, so I broke down and shelled out for Redux, which works well under T7, although I have to run the 32 bit version.

Looking forward to the next version which is due out this month. There should be an upgrade price for existing users and it looks like it has usability improvements to the MIDI editor. It also promises to offer an upgraded sampler.

braintree12
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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:29 am

I didn't know about the upgrade plans, thanks. An improved sampler would help -- at the very least better start/end controls, maybe some envelopes. Real pie-in-the-sky would be looping and/or slicing so that single-cycle waves could be used as an oscillator.

braintree12
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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:51 pm

Am just seeing this post by falkTX on the Developers' forum:
https://linuxmusicians.com/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=15852
btw, juce developers don't really give support for Linux.
The Linux part is "community maintained". If you have a patch for them to fix something, they'll apply it.

It's great that Tracktion runs on Linux machines at all, but Tracktion (which uses JUCE) isn't getting into the gritty details of integrating with Linux, such as plugin support. Sort of a "use at own risk," "whatever you can get to work"-type proposition. I watched a NAMM video where a Tracktion rep talked about "giving back to the Linux community" by offering Linux versions, but there's a limit to that generosity. Probably understandable from an economic viewpoint. Just thinking out loud here.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby antiesen » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:18 pm

I don´t want to make promotion for tracktion, but I´m working with it since it was released for linux.
Yes I also beleave that in the past falktx did much work to bring Juce in the "right" (linux) direction.
Meanwhile, at least tracktion has a Linux programmer.
I don´t have any bigger problems with 3rd party plugins.
According to your picture from plugin scanning:
Yes at the moment lsp-plugins and tracktion don´t work together as they should, but it´s getting better.
For libcarla-interposer X11, libcarla interposer safe libcarla-utils, carlastyle: these are no vst-plugins, but carla-vst needs this files to run.
You have also addressed lv2, tracktion doesn´t support it.
So what 3rd party plugins doesn´t work for you? Maybe we can fix it.

braintree12
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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:49 pm

Thanks for replying, antiesin. I'm still getting started with Tracktion and want to try out a few more things before I make any "official" requests. Where would be the best place? Here? The KVR forum? Or through Tracktion support?

ubuntuuser
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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby ubuntuuser » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:06 am

I've had the Carla vst freeze as well.

I think I got around it by compiling the Carla vst on my system for my system.

It seems that the Carla binaries (from the kxstudio website) might have some problems with some distro's maybe due to some libraries or whatever.

For a user with limited compiling experience it might not be that easy.

Development libraries probably need to be installed and maybe even g++ as well and then the make vst option probably needs to be enabled in the Makefile configuration options.

--------

A trick for earlier versions of Tracktion having problems with the plugin scan was to run Tracktion with the gdb debugger and then do the vst and plugin scan

"gdb Tracktion"

and then

"run"

and to exit

"quit"
Last edited by ubuntuuser on Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

braintree12
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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:05 pm

Thanks, this will be helpful when I start digging deeper into the plugin issues. I'm still checking out things like how well Tracktion works with sending "MIDI out" to my hardware and recording audio at the same time (so far, so good).
I mentioned crackles when ZynSubAddFX's GUI window was opened (3.01 version). I dealt with that by increasing the buffer in JACK -- 256 was too small.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby Luc » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:26 pm

I have T6 and a similar experience to yours. No problems with Carla, but I use it quite rarely. For the rest, yes, plugins make it crash all the time, as many as 20 to 30 times in an hour. I just keep saving the damn project every few seconds so at least I can resume it when restarting the whole thing. It's very frustrating. It would be a great DAW without that one terrible showstopper.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby ubuntuuser » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:07 am

Whether they implemented plugin sandboxing with Linux Tracktion T6, I don't know.

https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopi ... 2&t=420917

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.

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Re: Tracktion-on-Linux - jotting some notes down

Postby braintree12 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:01 pm

In T7, the plugins that crash usually don't crash T7. Loomer Aspect is the only plugin I tried that froze the T7 interface -- others just didn't work. (Some do work -- I'm still putting my list together.) As I said, T7 has mostly been very stable for me. I don't know if that means that T7 has sandboxing.


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