Mackie`s Tracktion 3 and AlphaTrack

Mackie`s Tracktion 3 and AlphaTrack
Mackie’s Tracktion 3 and AlphaTrack
This document assumes you have already installed the AlphaTrack drivers, and have the AlphaTrack ready
for operation. (If not, see the AlphaTrack User’s Guide or Quick Start Guide for installation details.) It is
based on using Tracktion, but may apply to later versions of Tracktion as well.
Before starting Tracktion, open the AlphaTrack Manager or right-click on the AlphaTrack applet in your
taskbar, and set the control mode to “Native Mode.” For more information about control modes, see the
AlphaTrack User’s Guide.
Open Tracktion, go to the MIDI tab of the Settings panel, and enable AlphaTrack for MIDI Input and
Output. Go to the Control Surfaces tab and highlight “Frontier Design Group AlphaTrack.” At the bottom
of the page, set the Input and Output device to AlphaTrack. That’s it, you’re ready to go. AlphaTrack’s
LCD display should reflect the currently selected track and other project information.
AlphaTrack features a high-resolution, 100mm, touch-sensitive, motorized fader with channel dependent
backlit Record, Solo, and Mute buttons, 3 touch-sensitive encoders, 5 mode select buttons, 8 function
buttons, 5 standard transport buttons, SHIFT key, touch-sensitive scroll strip, a 32-character LCD display,
and 17 LED indicators. Silk-screened labels indicate the basic functions of the buttons. On the back panel,
next to the USB connection, is a ¼" jack for a standard momentary footswitch. The footswitch is userprogrammable, as described below.
Pressing AlphaTrack’s Play button begins playback just as if you had clicked the play button in Tracktion.
Similarly, many AlphaTrack controls function just like their on-screen equivalents. While AlphaTrack
includes many advanced features, it is designed for ease of use right out of the box.
Tracktion 3 and AlphaTrack
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Fader Section
AlphaTrack’s high-resolution, 100mm motorized fader is also touch-sensitive to provide smooth level
control. When the fader is touched, the LCD automatically updates to show the numeric value of the
current track’s volume level.
There are also illuminated buttons next to the fader for setting the current track’s solo, mute and record arm
status. The Any Solo LED alerts you if any track in the entire project is soloed. Pressing the SHIFT button
together with these buttons lets you clear all mutes, solos, or record-enabled tracks (so you don’t have to
navigate through all of your projects tracks to find one muted track, for example).
Transport Controls
The five standard transport buttons (Rewind, Fast-Forward, Stop, Play, and Record) are located just above
AlphaTrack’s touch strip at the bottom. Pressing the SHIFT button together with a transport button changes
its function to Go to Start, Go to End, Escape, Enter, and Select Record Mode. For example, press SHIFT +
FFWD to go to the end of your project.
The SHIFT button allows some of AlphaTrack’s other buttons to perform more then one function,
expanding the range of control that AlphaTrack has over Tracktion. Note that with Tracktion, SHIFT is a
“sticky” function, meaning that it remains enabled until you press it a second time to release it, which
simplifies one-handed operation. Press and release SHIFT to lock it in the enabled position. The SHIFT
button’s red LED will light to indicate that SHIFT is enabled. Press SHIFT again at any time to disable it.
Touch Strip
AlphaTrack includes an innovative touch-sensitive strip, located near the bottom edge of the unit. The
touch strip is similar to a ribbon controller and can be used in several ways.
Moving one fingertip along the strip in either direction lets you scroll through the project timeline in the
same direction. This makes a fast and convenient way to locate anywhere within your project.
Tapping your finger on either end of the touch strip moves the timeline to the next marker in that direction,
providing quick access to previously-defined points such as a verse or chorus.
Encoders, Mode Buttons and the LCD
When you first open a Tracktion 3 project, the PAN light will be lit and the AlphaTrack LCD will display
the currently selected track name on the top line, and its pan position on the left side of the lower line,
above the left encoder. ‘Mar’ is displayed on the lower line above the right encoder. You can turn the left
encoder to adjust the current track’s pan position, and you can press the right encoder to insert a Marker at
the current timeline position.
If you press any of the five mode buttons below the AlphaTrack display (PAN, SEND, EQ, PLUG-IN,
AUTO), AlphaTrack’s encoders and display change to focus on the selected mode, with labels showing
specific parameters above each encoder. In many cases, touching any of the encoders immediately
refreshes the LCD display with more information about the current value or the encoder’s function. This
cooperative behavior between the touch-sensitive encoders and LCD are an important part of AlphaTrack’s
overall design. The following chart lists all of the functions available in each of the encoder modes.
Tracktion 3 and AlphaTrack
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Encoder Modes
Encoder 1
Track Pan
Encoder 2
no function
Encoder 3
Press to add marker
First Send level
Second Send level
Third Send level
EQ Band Frequency
EQ Band Gain
EQ band ‘Q’
Press to select plug-in.
Press/Turn to edit
Press to select plug-in.
Press/Turn to edit
Press to select plug-in.
Press/Turn to edit
Press to enable Read
no function
Press to enable Write
(see notes below)
(see notes below)
Special notes:
SEND – The LCD display and encoders let you adjust the levels of up to 3 sends per track.
EQ – Press the EQ mode button to display the EQ filter if inserted. Press the EQ mode button repeatedly to
select an EQ band to edit. Then use the encoders to adjust the frequency, gain, and Q for the selected EQ
PLUG-IN – existing plug-in filters are displayed on the LCD. Press an encoder to select a Plug-In to edit.
Parameters appear in the display above each encoder. Press or turn an encoder to edit a parameter. Press the
PLUG-IN mode button to display the next page of parameters. Repeatedly press the PLUG-IN mode button
to display additional pages of parameters.
Function Buttons
Eight function buttons with discrete LEDs occupy the center portion of AlphaTrack. The bottom row is
labeled TRACK DOWN, TRACK UP, LOOP and FLIP. The Track buttons behave just as they are labeled.
In PAN mode you can use either the Track buttons, or the left encoder, to select tracks. Pressing the LOOP
button toggles Loop mode on/off. Pressing the FLIP button assigns to the fader whatever parameter is
currently assigned to the left encoder. The FLIP function is particularly useful where more accurate
adjustments are required, such as adjusting an EQ frequency. When SHIFT is enabled, the button functions
change to Set In, Set Out, Enable Punch, and Show/Hide Inputs, Filters and Controls, as shown in the chart
The other function buttons are labeled F1 – F4, and when SHIFT is enabled, F5 – F8 respectively. By
default F1 – F4 are programmed as Split, Cut , Copy and Paste. However, you can program the F1 – F8
buttons as shortcut keys, as described in User-Progammable Buttons below.
Tracktion 3 and AlphaTrack
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AlphaTrack Button Functions
The following chart lists the normal and shifted functions of each button. The file called “Tracktion 3
Layout_v1.1.pdf” on the AlphaTrack downloads page also provides a quick visual guide for these
AlphaTrack functions. You may want to print out that document for quick reference.
Button label
Normal Function
Fast Forward
With SHIFT Enabled
Go to Start
Go To End
Move 1 Track Up
Move 1 Track Down
Toggle Loop Mode
Move Encoder 1 parameter
to fader
Set In
Set Out
Toggle Punch Mode
Show/Hide inputs, filters,
and controls on display
F1 – user-programmable
see below
F5 – user-programmable
see below
Toggle Track’s Record Arm
Toggle Track’s Solo On/off
Toggle Track’s Mute On/off
Clear all Armed Tracks
Clear all Solos
Clear all Mutes
Not used
User-programmable buttons
Each of the F1 – F8 function buttons and the footswitch can be programmed to perform shortcuts from a
list of available commands in the Tracktion ‘key-mappings’ menu. F1 – F4 are pre-programmed as Split,
Cut, Copy and Paste, but they can be changed to any command.
To assign commands to F1 through F8 and the footswitch:
1. Open the Settings window and select the ‘key-mappings’ tab.
2. Find the command that you want to assign in the list and click on the “+” symbol to its right. (If there is
no “+” symbol shown then that command already has the maximum of 3 key assignments. You must
right-click on one of the existing assignments and select the option to change it, or select a different
3. Press the button (for F1 – F4), or SHIFT+button (for F5 – F8), or the footswitch and click ‘OK’.
4. Repeat step 2 and 3 to program other buttons. Then return to your project window when complete.
Tracktion 3 and AlphaTrack
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