Tracktion sometimes seem to move under the radar. We heard a little bit about their Retromod range of sample-based software recreations from NAMM in January. And then they disappeared. Now, without any fanfare or press release they have quietly become available. And they deserve a bit of attention I think.
There are a lot of sampled instruments out there, so why should we take any notice of yet another bunch? Good question and there’s never any right answer to it. However, this is something new from Tracktion and given the excellence of both BioTek and Waverazor it’s worth giving it a go. And there’s a free trial. What they have attempted to do is “capture the soul of classic hardware synthesizers and add something new – a contemporary twist”. That sounds to me like it could be quite interesting.
I also like the choice of instruments.
We’ve all got Moog imitations and recreations coming out of our ears, but rather than opting for the Model D, they’ve taken a more contemporary route. The list contains the Little Phatty and Sub Phatty, the Sub 37, Voyager and Minitaur. That’s quite an unusual selection. It comes with 422 presets and 23,000 samples in a 6.9GB download.
Why have all the Rolands when you can focus on the Juno, which is probably my favourite era of Roland synthesis. The 106 contains the Juno 106 and also the Juno 60 and Alpha Juno 2. You’ll get 291 presets 15,000 samples and a 4.5GB download.
Never really saw the Nord Lead as a classic instrument, but I guess as time rolls on it has to be up there as something of a milestone. LEAD contains 6 instruments from Clavia including the Nord Lead 1, 2, 3 and A1, the Nord Modular G1 and the Nord Drum. This is the big one with 413 presets 30,000 samples and a 9.8GB download.
What perhaps makes these special is how they’ve combined the sample sets and morphed the instruments into each other to produce previously unheard of combinations. Mixing your Nord Leads, layering up your Junos or running raw waveforms from one Moog through the filters of another. Tracktion have gone to great lengths to produce an interesting collection of sounds with a load of sound shaping and modulating possibilities.
The GUIs for the instruments are simple and uncluttered. Quite reminiscent of the IK Multimedia Syntronik synthesizer library. You get controls over the oscillators, VCF and VCA and an XY trackpad modulation interface that can be mapped to parameters such as Ring Mod, FM and the filter.
A potentially interesting library of sounds I think, especially the Nord stuff as I’ve never seen that available in any other form like this. You can’t beat a bit of Juno and some versatile Moog sounds might be just the ticket. All three are available separately for MacOS, Windows and Linux for $79 or $149 for a bundle deal. That sounds pretty reasonable. I’m looking forward to seeing some videos and hearing what people think of them and I’ll be downloading the trials as soon as I’ve posted this article.
- Tracktion Retromod FAT: Tracktion
- Tracktion Retromod 106: Tracktion
- Tracktion Retromod LEAD: Tracktion