Tracktion 5 (also known as T5), a powerful digital audio workstation with VST/AU plugin support, is now completely free to download and use on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Last year’s announcement that Tracktion 4 has become a freeware DAW was one of our most popular articles in 2015. It inspired me to create a round-up of the best free digital audio workstations, which is still one of our most read articles to date.
Well, the news got even better this year. Tracktion 5, a vastly improved and polished version of the software, has now gone freeware and can be download directly from the company’s website. This is the full, unlimited version of the software that was priced at $60 when it was released back in 2014. There are no feature restrictions or other limitations in the free version of T5. The full retail version of Tracktion 5 can now be installed and activated on your computer, completely free of charge.
And wow, it’s a great piece of software! Tracktion 4 never really clicked with me because its architecture and workflow were significantly different from what I was used to seeing in other DAWs. However, I spent several hours testing Tracktion 5 today and I can’t help but say that I like it a lot. Sure, it’s still quite different from most other DAWs on the market in terms of workflow, but it’s a good kind of different that I could see myself getting used to quite easily. Drag and drop controls are all over the place, making some potentially time consuming tasks a breeze. For example, loading plugins is as easy as dragging and dropping a plugin from the browser panel onto a track (with the option of placing it directly into any spot in the signal chain). It is also possible to save plugin chains for later use, which can be a significant time saver.
The user interface looks more modern and fresh than in Tracktion 4, with a brighter color scheme and fewer on-screen controls that are now far less distracting than in the earlier versions of the software. A handy tooltip pops up whenever you hover the cursor above a certain UI component for a couple of seconds, explaining the functionality and workflow of that particular panel or button (of course, tooltips can be switched off in the “Settings” panel).
Tracktion 5 comes pre-loaded with a nice selection of virtual effects, a simple (but useful enough) sampler instrument, as well as the ability to load third party VST and AU plugins (both virtual instruments and effects are supported). Needless to say, you can also record external audio sources with Tracktion 5 and edit the recorded clips much like in any other DAW on the market. You get unlimited audio tracks, unlimited MIDI tracks, full automation support, video sync capabilities, a basic time-stretch algorithm, audio comping, track freeze, and loads of other useful features.
To download and install you free copy of Tracktion 5, simply visit the product page linked below and hit the “Get Yours Now” button. Enter you email address, set a password for your user account (make sure to remember it) and then hit the download link. Once you’ve installed the application on your computer, launch it and enter your registered email address and password. Now restart the application and you’re good to go (the registration panel will keep popping up until you restart the software).
IMPORTANT: I can’t figure out a way to automatically download the 64-bit version of the software from Tracktion’s website. I had to edit the 32-bit link manually (edit the URL to say 64-bit instead of 32-bit) in order to download the correct version for my system.
T5 is available for free download via Tracktion (6.91 MB download size, EXE/DMG installer, standalone application for Windows, Mac & Linux).