If you like to make music on Linux then you’ve no doubt heard about Tracktion T7 DAW, considered one of the best free digital audio workstations around.
But that’s changing. A new, free replacement for Traction T7 DAW has been announced — and it looks mighty impressive!
First a bit of background. New versions of Tracktion for Windows, macOS and Linux are typically released as paid, closed source software.
But every few years the company behind the pro audio tool releases an older version entirely for free (as in beer), with no functional limitations at all.
The “catch” is that while it’s free to download it is not not open source software. And you don’t get access to email support (thankfully there’s a great community forum that stands in for that).
The most recent “free” version is Tracktion 7. This is an incredibly powerful music production platform that gives all the tools you need to record and produce music on Linux, complete with support for third-party virtual effects and instruments (VSTs).
Whether you want to create and edit podcasts, record, edit and mix band recordings, create electronic music using plugins, VSTs and other audio processing effects, or process audio for use in a video — this tool is up to the job.
But in a break with expectation the next free version of the software won’t be Tracktion T8 (or even Tracktion 10) as expected.
Instead, it’ll be a brand new version: Tracktion Waveform.
Tracktion Waveform Free
In an unusual (but hey: not complaining) move Tracktion has decided to release a free version of their latest software, Waveform 11.
Waveform 11 Free is pitched as the free (as in beer) replacement for T7 DAW. Indeed, links to download Tracktion T7 now redirect to the Waveform landing page.
This switch means audio enthusiasts no longer need to wait for an ‘older’ release to be gifted as the current version (with improved UI, better performance, multi-monitor support, new samplers and tools, and even a VST sandbox – no more crashing the entire app when an instrument goes rogue) is available gratis.
“Waveform Free […] has more capabilities than most enthusiast producers will ever need. There are no restrictions whatsoever – unlimited track count, add popular plugins and enjoy the deeply capable feature set,” reads the official blurb.
But naturally there is a catch.
Tracktion Waveform Free Has Limitations
A raft of functionality is clipped in the free version — enough to clip the creative capabilities that might otherwise be available.
For instance, there’s no Track Editor; no Arranger Track; no quick actions; and no layout customisations permitted.
Mastering is less viable as the powerful Master Mix DSP is kept firmly behind the paid-only curtain, as are a bunch of other useful DSTs, samplers, and drum machines.
The upside is that you might not miss this functionality unless you’re tackling advanced tasks or a professional editor. There is an in-app option in Waveform Free to pay $69 to unlock the features should you really need them.
Download Tracktion Waveform Free for Linux
Overall this is an interesting new approach for what is a well regarded piece software. It’s especially nice that a Linux version of both free and pro builds will continue to be made available.
You can download Waveform Free for Windows, macOS and Linux directly from the Tracktion website:
I also found that trying to download the app kept resulting in a server error. A workaround is create an account here, log in, then access the download page. Enter all your details and bam: access.
The Linux build is provided as a 64-bit
.deb installer roughly 50MB in size.
While I don’t use digital audio workstation (DAW) software myself (thus I can’t offer too much insight into whether this switch will a bad thing per se) I have to say: a newer code base, with better OS support, improved UI and performance, PLUS a tonne of new tools and features …all for free… doesn’t sound too bad, does it?