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Qtractor 0.4.8 - The Fiery Demigoddess released!

So I lied, bluffed all the way, so what? What you'd expect from this one self-called über-procrastinator ? And then there's hope. Alas, not the messiah, rather my development drive at my own pace. Believe it or not, it is on-going and it will sure happen real soon ;)

No sweat. The whole automation prophecy will be realized and delivered. Yes, TYOQA (The Year Of Qtractor Automation:) just failed, slipped a bit. It doesn't mean it was abandoned or, uh, procrastinated... well, it's only a Happy New Year after all :)

The road to automation is already being paved and walked although, I must say, it is no yellow-bricked one. The drive has begun. Definitely, 2011 will be TYOQA (aha, read that again with a bold tee:)! More than automation, which infrastructure is already lurking in there, trust me, all work is being carried out at the backyard for the time being.
Blossoms might just pop out this Spring ;)

One thing I may wish to leave sound and clear: it is very likely that, in the very near future, that there will be some dot-release before the all-mighty-one release, whatever. Now that the surprise-effect is gone, the long overdue and hailed beta release cycle that will present you and carve its deeds on stone with the dynamic-curves and automation features et al., will be nothing less nor before the coming version numbered as the 0.5.x scheme. Then, and only then, the current alpha-cycle will be concluded. Of course, that will be also the time for translations to be called in. Just be a little more patient :)

And then I lied a second time, when said those parodied F&D release code-names were exhausted. Thanks to a lengthy but intermittent Fall/Winter-of-coding period, I had the chance to wake up one morning with the imagination score in its lowest end and roar an inner WTH! As they say around here, there's no second without a third. So another lie is there waiting to be told. Or is it not? There, one would say: time will tell...

Nuff said.

Qtractor 0.4.8 (fiery demigoddess) released!

Release highlights:

  • Archive/Zip session file bundle (save as... .qtz suffix) (NEW)
  • Mixer MIDI controller mapping/learn (NEW)
  • LV2 GTK UI support (NEW)
  • LV2 Persist extension support (NEW)
  • MIDI Tools on main track/clips view(NEW)
  • Floating tool-tips while dragging/moving/pasting (NEW)
  • Rescale and Timeshift MIDI tools (NEW)
  • MIDI Quantize percentage (NEW)
  • Track range selection (NEW)
  • Audio insert send, wet/dry controls (NEW)
  • Audio clip pitch-shifting (FIX)
  • Metronome dedicated outputs related crash (FIX)
  • Stop transport tool/button action (NEW)
  • Mouse-wheel zooming (NEW)

and a few more assorted features and fixes--see below the complete (boring) change-log for gruesome details.

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Project page:


  • source tarball:
  • source package (openSUSE 11.3):
  • binary packages (openSUSE 11.3):
  • user manual (archeologically dated):
  • Weblog (upstream support):


    Qtractor is free, open-source software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.


    • MIDI controller mapping/learn is now possible on all mixer controls (monitor, gain, panning, record, mute, solo).
    • An internal rewrite (aka. refactoring) have been carried out, making sure that all track state action buttons (R, M, S) are now all under the observer pattern umbrella.
    • Single track range selection is now available on main menu (Edit/Select/Track Range; default keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+R); additionally to vertical range and horizontal track actions (Edit/Select/Range, Track) all these operations can now toggle over the previous selection.
    • Direct clip selection from Files list item has been brute-forcefully implemented (after being challenged by Jiri Prochaszka aka Anchakor:).
    • Files tree widget sticky "New Group" item fixed.
    • A new menu option has been added (View/Tool Tips) to show/hide a floating tool-tip while dragging, moving, resizing or pasting selected clips or events over the main tracks view and MIDI clip editor (piano-roll) respectively, displaying current target position and status.
    • Attempt to reset audio/MIDI time drift compensator on every engine start and loop turnaround.
    • Moving the punch-out marker over the main track time ruler was failing to shrink the punch-in/out range, now it does (not).
    • MIDI clip tools (quantize, transpose, normalize, randomize, resize, rescale and the new timeshift) are now all accessible from the main tracks view (Edit/Clip/Tools menu) and apply to all events on current selected clip(s).
    • LV2 Persist extension support is being introduced.
    • A new timeshift MIDI tool has been added, after an awesome patch by Jiri Prochaszka aka Anchakor; applies to selected events between edit markers, distorting their time and duration (optionally), either slowing down and accelerating, based on a given parameter P value.
    • Audio clip/buffer pitch-shifting fixes with regard to latency correction due on the RubberBand library one-pass (real-time) processing mode.
    • New Send Gain and Dry/Wet control parameters have been implemented for audio Inserts pseudo-plugins.
    • MIDI channel/master volume enqueued events are now affected by the current track/bus volume (0-100%).
    • Prevent old rounding error when resetting to plugin parameter default value with the mouse middle-button click while hovering a slider widget (observer).
    • A quantize percentage has been added to MIDI clip editor quantize tool (Tool/Quantize...) for time and duration quantization (0% for none; 100% for full regular quantization).
    • Metronome bus/ports are now created at engine start and not when user switches it on anymore.
    • Make sure all audio clip buffers are in sync upon smooth-ramping going off and playback is rolling.
    • Copy-pasting across controller event types is now possible on the MIDI clip editor (aka piano-roll).
    • Finally indulged, the genuine transport stop button makes its appearance on main toolbar and menu.
    • Main tracks grid visibility option (View/Snap/Grid).
    • Yet another off-by-one (frame) audio buffer bug got squashed away: rare symptom was that some audio clips were being left dead silent right after playback of their first looping period.
    • Plugin parameter name/label now a proper attribute of its respective MIDI Controller observer instance, allowing to be shown on dialog title (MIDI learn).
    • Default session file format saved on JACK session demand is now the bundle archive/zip one (.qtz).
    • Plugin selection dialog now shows whether a plugin features its own editor (GUI) and/or external state configuration (EXT).
    • Help/Shortcuts... window positioning and sizing are now preserved.
    • All plugin chain changes over the track properties dialog now sure counts as a dirty action (possibly fixing bug #3104129).
    • Newly extracted archive/zip session directories are now removed automatically from the file-system on session close, prompting the user for confirmation (cf. View/Options.../Display/Confirm Removals).
    • Ctrl+mouse-wheel is now set for zooming in/out, on main track-view and all applicable MIDI clip editor views (piano-roll), according to current zoom mode (see View/Zoom Horizontal, Vertical or All for both ways simultaneously).
    • New MIDI clip editor (piano-roll) mouse hovering effect (eye-candy++).
    • After too many a user request, a brand new session archive file type is being introduced (.qtz) which tries to bundle in one single zip archive all the media and contents of a session.
    • Add that to eye-candy: either loop or punch-in/out outer ranges are now shaded on the main track-view, thumb-view and MIDI clip editor (piano-roll) views.
    • LV2 GTK UI plug-in hosting is now roaring its ugly head (EXPERIMENTAL).
    • Ignore all initial and decremental notifications of audio engine's buffer-size changes.
    • Internal audio buffer loop points were not being set properly for non-zero clip offsets, leaving some as severely out-of-sync while rolling over loop turns. Now fixed again, hopefully.
    • Avoid audio peak file clashing when deriving from audio sample files with distinct absolute paths but the very same file (base)name.
    • A new MIDI editor (piano-roll) tool has been added: Rescale event times, durations and/or values by a percentage between 1 and 1000% (adapted thanks to patch #3081954, by Jesse Lucas).
    • Attempt to mitigate audio clip sequencing glitches on single-core/single-thread machines.

    Cheers && Enjoy (be happy!)


AutoStatic's picture

Thanks again for this release! I've already enjoyed some of the improvements and added functionality by regularly checking out the svn tree and I am taken full advantage of the MIDI mapping/learning functionality. That feature makes it easy for me to forgive and forget that TYOQA didn't happen last year.



PS. Ubuntu packages for 10.04 are available here:

rncbc's picture

holy thanks!

yet, the new year hasn't got its turn for the chinese, jewish, nor even the muslim (respectively, next february, september or november?) -- yeah, as infamous as the linux-desktop-year parabole is, it got never framed to a particular calendar, but i would be tempted to follow suit ;)

but no, the prophecy has been spoken and it will be experienced before all middle-east calendars get their turn :)


This is great Rui, I will get it right now, I've been kind of far from the music world this last couple of months but this is the best news I could get. Thanks for the great work man! I agree with jeremy about the MIDI learn function, it's glorious, I've been waiting for it. Also thanks Jeremy for the PPA! Cheers to both

rncbc's picture


take note the MIDI mapping/learn function was already there since the previous release, for plugin control parameters.

this new one applies to all mixer controls (gain/volume and pan sliders, monitor, record, mute and solo buttons).

in fact this new mapping stacks up to even older generic/parametric one, as provided under View/Controllers... configuration which is application global setting--it lives across session and application program cycles. the new mapping however is local and assigned on a per object and session basis.


Yeah, I was using the midi learn for plugins, but it's awesome to have it for the mixer, it's really handy. I wasn't aware that is only local and assigned on a per object and session basis, I will take that into account.

Qtractor is really awesome, and it's also awesome to watch it grow.

cheers Rui

It's great to see a new "alpha" (this is your idea of a joke, right? :) version of QTractor rolling out - thanks ever so much for all your great efforts.

And now I hear you are going into Beta mode? Wow - with the stability and ergonomics you've already achieved, I can't imagine how incredible your DAW will be when it finally goes into fully-fledged Version 1.0 - Reaper, move over...? ;-)

Inevitable request dept: Option to lock range markers regardless of mouse actions and/or provide more markers? And +1 to pneuman's request and your rapid provision of variable track gains to sends - yay!

Very best wishes,


ps: I didn't contact you again about looping seizing up as it's so random I haven't pinned down any particular cause yet. Put it down to user error - I would, knowing me ;-)

pps: And Kudos to AutoStatic for getting the update so rapidly into a PPA for us Ubuntu users - it doesn't get better than this for us non-computerates ;-)

rncbc's picture

one thing i consider being still "alpha" is that the offspring is not quite off-the-spring yet :) so, what i am really trying to tell, is that moving to beta is about something i keep beyond the horizon--yes, it's not going to happen during this winter at least ;)

cheers && thanks

LOL. Whatever you produce will always be greeted very warmly around our studio.

It's just that I still remember from years back certain 'other' DAW software at version 3.x and beyond that was not nearly as bug free as your 'alpha' offerings - and in those days there was no other option than to pay heavily for bug fixes! ;-)

Very best wishes, Rui,


rncbc's picture

aha. i have to tell you the real truth about software development which gets down to the following:

a software project never reaches a state one can call it's finished--software is always in a state between of being more or less broken.


I will try this out as soon as I have some free time on my hands!

I'm a little bit curious about the development environment you're using for building qtractor. Yes, QT4 creator for design. But what are you using for editing/debugging? I haven't done any QT development, and I would like to have a starting point so I can maybe help out with these projects. :-)

Best regards

rncbc's picture


in a word: QtCreator

hands down, obviously :)


Ok, then I'll have to check that out. :-) Thanks for the quick response.

Another thing, I tried to get Hypercyclic to work in Qtractor, but I couldn't get any midi into it. I think I setup the buses right, but I'm not really sure if I got everything right. What's the proper way to use plugins in Qtractor? My google-fu failed me on that one. :-(


rncbc's picture

bad news:

Hypercyclic is a MIDI arpeggiator, which means it's kind of a MIDI_fx plugin (midi_in -> midi_out)--MIDI_fx plugins are not supported in Qtractor atm.

Qtractor only supports audio_fx (audio_in -> audio_out) and MIDI_instrument (midi_in -> audio_out) plugin types; audio_fx plugins may be inserted in any track or bus chain. however, MIDI_instrument plugins only make sense if are first inserted on a MIDI track or output bus.

Maybe you can run it stand-alone or you can get Hypercyclic loaded on another host, like JOST, and then connect its output to a Qtractor MIDI input. I haven't tried any of that so it may be just a bogus idea :)


Ah, that's too bad. Hmm, how difficult would it be to implement midi out support for plugins? Maybe you can give me some pointers and I could try to start looking into that as a hobby project. :-)

I'll try to see if I can get the standalone version working + with JOST also. Hmm, I should really write down what I'm doing and how (if I get things working) on a blog or something...

I haven't made any music in a while, and I'm making a fresh start with OSS, hoping QTractor will be the heart of my studio. My previous setup was Tracktion on Windows, and I loved the way Tracktion did things, so as far as I'm concerned, the more you can copy from it the better.

In general, QTractor is great, but there are a few things that I'm finding frustrating:

  • A bug that I've raised on the Sourceforge page, that it locks up when I resize the track info column.
  • Editing multiple tracks - is there a way to split / stretch / fade more than one track at a time?
  • When I take a shortened clip and speed it up, the audio seems to be anchored at the start of the file, not at the start of the clip, so the content of the clip changes to some from later in the file. Am I doing it wrong?
  • When this has happened, I can't find a tool to move the audio relative to the clip boundaries (alt-drag in Tracktion, IIRC). Can it be done?
  • Your screenshots show nice colourful record / mute / solo buttons, but mine are grey, and it's hard to see which are pressed at a glance. Do I need to change something in Gnome or QT settings?

Then a few features that would be useful, but I can get around:

  • Autosave. It's alpha software, I expect the occasional crash, but still I forget to save often enough.
  • I want to dock the mixer window at the bottom, where the messages window is. (Or even better, put the basic mixer controls in the left column, like Tracktion.)
  • Bookmarks, so I can jump to defined positions in the project.
  • Mount drives containing project audio automatically. Since I have the audio files on a different drive, the project loads up with empty clips.
  • Multiple workspaces within the app. I don't know if any sequencer does this, so maybe you could be first. I'm working on a remix, and I'd love to have one workspace for the original tracks, one for my version, and one to use as a scratchpad. Or this could be used for different edits of the same material, or even different tunes entirely. So it's like having multiple projects loaded at once, with easy switching / copying / cloning between them. Like worksheets in an Excel spreadsheet, if you want a boring example.

I'd love to contribute in code, but all I know is C# and .net, so I'd have a lot to learn. I might have a look some time.

rncbc's picture

hi, welcome

  • A bug that I've raised on the Sourceforge page, that it locks up when I resize the track info column.
    - I fail to reproduce this one... what exactly do you mean with resizing the info column? is that click and dragging the vertical separator (splitter) btween the left and central main panes? to which size does it lock it up?
  • Editing multiple tracks - is there a way to split / stretch / fade more than one track at a time?
    - Mute and Solo may be toggled on all/multiple tracks if you press the Shift or Ctrl keys while you click on one button (S or M); most other operations are done on a per clip basis, except when selecting multiple/group clips (also with help of Shift or Ctrl key modifiers while you click and drag).
  • When I take a shortened clip and speed it up, the audio seems to be anchored at the start of the file, not at the start of the clip, so the content of the clip changes to some from later in the file. Am I doing it wrong?
    - Look after the Offset clip property while on the Edit/Clip/Edit... dialog.
  • When this has happened, I can't find a tool to move the audio relative to the clip boundaries (alt-drag in Tracktion, IIRC). Can it be done?
    - You can also play with click-and-drag the clip edges, specially the left-edge one ;)
  • Your screenshots show nice colourful record / mute / solo buttons, but mine are grey, and it's hard to see which are pressed at a glance. Do I need to change something in Gnome or QT settings?
    - You're probably using the GTK theme-style which fail to show those nice and colorful feedback. You can try with some other style (or skin) if you prefer, by giving its name on the command line, like this example of mine `qtractor -style plastique` and see if things look better. Mind that it's all a matter of taste :) ps. you can also use the qtconfig utility program but take care that will affect ALL Qt4 applications, not only the ones you wish :)

anyway, you didn't say which version or distro are you into... yes it's still alpha software and I'll appreciate if you get the the latest and greatest from the SVN trunk, 'coz there's where the good (and bad) things lie ATM :)

Thanks for asking

Forgot to say here (though I did on the bug report): I'm on Ubuntu 10.10 and this happens with QTractor 0.4.6 (current repository version) and with 0.4.8 (using the package AutoStatic kindly provided above). Yes, dragging the vertical separator. It goes wrong in various places over the MIDI-related columns, I can scrub it back and forth over the number, track name and bus columns without incident. It's OK with empty tracks, but as soon as I put an audio clip in, it's no longer possible to resize over these columns.

The offset thing... it's useful, but I have to use a calculator to multiply the offset by the timestretch percentage, and I have a feeling this ought to be done automatically. E.g. I have a clip with offset 20s and length 10s, I speed it up with a 60% timestretch, then I have to set the offset to 12s and the length to 6s myself.

Thanks for the tips. Switching theme gets me the coloured buttons (but tooltips are now white-on-white). I'll try the latest when I get time.

rncbc's picture

ok, on svn trunk it might -- yes, might, no guarantees ;) -- solve the vertical splitter issue. as said i failed to reproduce the lockups you report but was getting some 'painter not active or already in use' on the console standard output, so it might -- once again -- be related somehow.

please, try && tell

ps. svn trunk is versioned as qtractor attotw--latest snapshots always found here.

I installed the latest, and the issue is gone. Thanks!

Thanks for that great release! You're awesome!

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