Tracktion Releases Waveform Free 2021

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Tracktion Corporation has upgraded Waveform Free, its award-winning free DAW.

Waveform Free was released in early 2020, and it somewhat changed the rules on what to expect from a free DAW. So much so that we chose to list it as the best free DAW available.

If you aren’t already familiar with Waveform Free, it’s a cross-platform, unlimited track DAW based on Waveform Pro 11. A streamlined version, something like Garageband is to Logic Pro X, or MPC Essentials/Beats is to MPC 2.0. You miss out on some more advanced features, but it does the basics very well and supports 3rd party plugins.

The appeal of Waveform Free isn’t just the price; it’s how simple and intuitive it is. Tracktion Corporation put extra focus on creating an efficient workflow, and it seems like that has remained a top priority for the upgrade.

Waveform Free 2021 will feature a brand new welcome screen with some quick-start options. The welcome screen will allow you to set some project preferences and choose a genre/style template, including singer/songwriter, house of worship, and EDM. It also provides some training/tutorial material.

A big part of Waveform Free’s efficient workflow is the drag and drop approach it takes to certain elements. One of the most creative upgrades in that area is the new Step Clip Editor. Using a step sequencer is a quick way to build a project’s foundations, whether it’s a beat or a chord progression. Tracktion’s new editor makes it easy to drag multiple clips onto a track, each with full step-editing capabilities. It’s a very flexible way to work.

There are some smaller but handy new features like Range Selection and Ripple Delete in the latest upgrade. Ripple Delete is an excellent example of a very basic function that saves you a few seconds each time you use it. Another time-saver is the new action panel that lets you save your most-used actions, create custom actions, and recall them instantly. It might seem like simple stuff, but you get more done if you work faster, and productivity is vital for any producer.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how powerful an app or plugin is; if it’s horrible to use, it’s just not worth it; no such problem here. Waveform Free is particularly useful for beatmakers and EDM producers, even beginners.

Waveform Free is a 64-bit standalone application for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu, 32-bit for Rasberry Pi. Sign up for a Tracktion user account to download your free copy (valid email address required).

More info: Waveform Free (Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi)

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About Author

James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.

13 Comments

  1. Still so underrated, that many plugin company employees still haven’t heard about it (they didn’t know what “Tracktion/Waveform” was while i corresponded with their support). I have no idea why, as i too believe it is the best free DAW available.

      • I can’t comment much on Cakewalk’s features as i haven’t used it much, I just found Tracktion/Waveform’s UI/interface much easier/quicker to get into (but still containing sufficient deep/advanced features) as someone from the digital generation without a background in analogue music equipment. One example of this, I find having tons of analogue-looking knobs convoluted, but that’s just me.

  2. Thanks James & BPB, i didn’t know about this DAW, but your description of it in your write up & in the youtube video which i watched about it, it looks pretty good, its handy to know 😊👍

  3. I’m not sure if it’s stable enough for release yet, crashed a number of times simply changing presets in Pigments and the audio reset was flaky too. Said I was out of resources yet I run an i7 with 16gb ram off fast SSD, not running anything else. Anyone else had similar experiences?

    • Yes, but with Steinberg Retrologue. Changing presets causes CPU consumption according to Waveform to rise (other monitoring programs don’t show that) and then sandbox resets everything. It has something to do with new audio engine, when working with that disabled, the problem shows, when starting Waveform with new audio engine ON, don’t have problems with new edits, but have problems when loading old edits.

    • Are you running with sandbox on? I recommend running the new engine with sandbox off. I’ve found performance is better with no sandboxing.

  4. I wanted to try it, but it just keeps asking me to unlock it (yes, the FREE version!) with an annoying and loud voice audio clip. I’ve filled in the required fields several times, and I got a confirmation message every time, but the damn thing just doesn’t care.

    I’m back to REAPER, thanks.

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