Download and install the latest version of Tracktion from the downloads section of the user account area, once you are logged in.
Any given version of Tracktion comes in two versions, 32-bit and 64-bit:
- Run the 32-bit version of Tracktion if you want to use 3rd party plugins that only are available in 32-bit versions
- Run the 64-bit version of Tracktion if all 3rd party plug-ins you wish to use are available in a more up-to-date 64-bit version
Open Tracktion, click the “settings” tab, and then the “Plug-Ins” tab
Click on “scanning and sorting” and then “scan for new or updated VST plugins”
You now have to specify the locations Tracktion should look for VST plugins.
On Windows, plug-in manufacturers install these to a number of different locations, so you will have to check with your plug-in manufacturer to see where exactly this is. Some common locations include:
- C:\Program Files\VstPlugins
- C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins
- C:\Program Files\Common Files\East West\Vstplugins
- C:\Program Files\Arturia\Analog Factory
- C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Tracktion 3\VST Plugins (Windows XP)
- C:\ProgramData\Tracktion 3\VST Plugins (Windows 7)
Once you have added the required locations, press the “Scan” button and Tracktion will attempt to load all potential plugins.
Note that it is an extremely bad idea to simply set Tracktion to scan your entire C: drive. VST plugins have a .dll extension, but so do many Windows system libraries, of which there are thousands on your computer. Restricting the scan to locations you know only contain VST plugins will help you identify problem ones, as well as speed up the scan.
Once the scan completes, Tracktion should successfully have found all of the plugins in the locations specified, and they should appear in the plugin list.
Any plugins that crashed while loading will appear in red. This is most likely a problem with that plugin; in this event try contacting the manufacturer to find out if any other users have reported problems.
To rescan these plugin you will have to manually click on them in the list and press delete. During the next plugin scan the files will be re-scanned.
Open an edit and drag the “new filter” icon in the top right onto the filter area of a track and the plugins should appear, sorted by folder location.
Some important things to note:
Beginning with Windows Vista, Microsoft increased their security features. This means that applications can only write to folders from their installed location or the current user’s homespace e.g. “C:\My Documents”.
Some plugins, however, require writing of files to disk in order operate, and thus need to be run with administrator privileges. The only way to run plugins with administrator privileges is to run Tracktion itself with administrator privileges.
Note that this is NOT the same as just having an administrator account; you have to manually elevate the privileges of Tracktion specifically. The simplest method to do this permanently is as follows:
- Right click on the Tracktion icon from the start menu
- Click “Properties” from the pop-up that appears, then open the “Compatibility” tab
- Near the bottom click “Run this program as an administrator” then apply
- Now when you open Tracktion you will get a “User Account Control” pop-up which you can click “Yes” on
- Tracktion should now be able to open certain plugins that need admin rights, you might have to do a fresh plug-in scan for these plugins to be recognized
- Among the known plugins that need admin rights are all IKMultimedia plugins, any plugin made with SynthEdit and Fretted Synth plugins. There are likely to be more as well, so please try this approach first before reporting problems.
- T6 and T7 support VST2.4 and VST 3 plugins on Windows and OS X, as well as Audio Units on OSX. RTAS, DXi etc. are not currently supported. Note that the current free version of Tracktion (T5) only supports VST 2.4 plugins, and does not support VST3 plugins like the newer versions.
- You can scan individual plugins by dropping their “.dll” files on the Tracktion plugin scan window. This approach can help narrow down problem plugins.
- Tracktion will only load plugins of the same architecture i.e. 32-bit plugins in “Tracktion (32-bit)” and 64-bit plugins in “Tracktion (64-bit)”.
If you end up with a lot of “appeared to be plugins but failed to load” messages after a scan these are likely to be plugins of the different architecture type.
Most plugin manufacturers that supply 64-bit versions also supply 32-bit versions, so you might be better off sticking to the 32-bit version for the time being while 64-bit is still being adopted.
The only advantage to using the 64-bit version of Tracktion and 64-bit plugins is that they can utilize more than 4GB of memory. This is useful if you have plugins with large sample banks or huge edits with many plugins, but you will need to make sure there are 64-bit versions of the plugins you are using available. You will also need to do a fresh scan for both the 32 and 64-bit versions of Tracktion.
Before reporting a problem with a plugin, please make sure you have the latest version of the plugin from the manufacturer’s website and the latest version of Tracktion. Software companies release updates all the time so it pays to be up to date.
If you do still have problems and need to report a problem, make sure you include your most recent Tracktion log file, as it will tell us important information about your operating system type, Tracktion version and problem plugins.
Try and be as descriptive as possible when reporting problems. Saying simply “XXX plugin doesn’t work” isn’t particularly helpful. Make sure to include information such as:
- How far it gets, does it scan, etc.
- Does it appear in the plugin list?
- Will it load on a track?
- Does it crash Tracktion?
The more information and the specific steps required to reproduce the problem the faster we can do so and hopefully come up with a fix.