They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, well yesterday Waves announced the arrival of their multitrack recorder ‘Tracks Live’ at the grand price of zero, zilch, zip, gratis… free. Of course if you want to shell out the bank breaking (satire) $99 then you get Premium Service and a copy of their Multirack software (normal price $600).
So is this free multitrack recorder any good or is it something you should not even waste hard drive space on. Well we’ve been playing with it since yesterday lunch time and we have to say it has some very good things that native Pro Tools users might find attractive.
Here are our top 5 reasons for taking a look at it.
256 Record Tracks
If there’s anything that gets up the nose of native Pro Tools users it is the track limitation, with Waves Tracks Live you get up to 256.
Yep, Waves Tracks Live (a free recorder) features input monitoring on a track by track basis… need we say more.
Interface Set-Up Is A Doddle
Another thing that can get up the nose of a Pro Tools users, newbie or veteran alike, is having to set-up the I/O if you’ve forgotten to set the defaults when you open a session. If you want to simply record some tracks then the constant sorting out of the I/O before being able to record anything is tiresome. Waves Tracks Live sets up the I/O automatically and correctly when you chose your interface. You can even flip the interface mid session and it still works. We even tested to see if Waves Tracks Live would play nice with the Apollo Console software and it does, you can use the Apollo Console and chose to track with or without effects - the Apollo, Console and Waves Tracks Live is a very flexible recording option.
Robust Live Recording
If you are rocording live events you want to know that the software isn’t going to throw a wobbly mid gig or suddenly stop when you inadvertantly hit a key on your keyboard in error. Having spoken to many Pro Tools owners they have a certain amount of concern when tracking in Pro Tools live.
Waves Tracks Live is a recorder not a fully blown DAW and it’s for this reason it offers a more robust live tracking environment. There’s also a lock option which means if you hit a key when it is recording it won’t stop recording.
Export To Pro Tools Is Easy
Waves Tracks Live features a comprehensive audio export option (see above), you can choose which files, how long and what format you want to export them in. It includes an option to Normalize and also an option to chose a number of Dither options.
If you want to just work with the raw audio then you can simply navigate to the audio files folder and drag those into Pro Tools to mix.
Waves Tracks Live Summary
No one in their right mind would suggest that Waves Tracks Live is a replacement for Pro Tools, but for those of us who use native versions of Pro Tools as a digital tape machine then Waves Tracks Live may be something to consider when tracking for the reasons outlined above. Large track counts, input monitoring, flexible interface set-up, robust and idiot proof recording and best of all flexible export so you can mix in Pro Tools.
No such thing as a free lunch? Well you ain’t going to starve with this freebie. Check it out!