N-Track to others

What is the comparison

I have been reading a lot of the posts and getting a feel that lots of people are using N-track. But I continuously hear about Reason, Cubase, Cakewalk, Protools, etc… I see that these cost a lot more than N-track. I have not seen any reviews of N-track (except here) and wonder if this has everything, why more are not jumping on it for its price. Is there a big functionality difference? Are there limitations? I am just wondering what the comparison is and where I can read about it more. Thanks

There was a thread recently that referred to a comparision chart… that might help. Try a search?

But in short, n-track competes very well with the others. Sure some trackers have features that n-Track doesn’t have (like audio scrub… I want audio scrub!!!), but the opposite is also true.

You’ve got 10 posts on the forum - You’re already an n-track user, yes?

n-Track has the benefit of direct support from the developer, Flavio, (some would say that is a necessity given some of the stability issues that some have had - but not here though).

I think n-Track’s workflow is easy to grasp when starting out as it’s so “familiar”. I’ve also got a copy of Tracktion and I’m forever scratching my head to work out how to do things.

Having this forum is also a big plus for n-Track IMO.

Obviously you’re likely to get pro-n-track comments here. Afterall we’re all fanboys.

If you have a feature that is not in n-track, open a discussion here and you’ll likely get a workaround or maybe Flavio will include the feature.

I think one difference between n-Track and the others is that n’s interface is a lot rougher. Don’t get me wrong, it totally works! It’s just less “professional” looking and I’d say less consistent. It feels more down to the wire than other software that I’ve tried. That’s the flip side, though; the benefit is that it runs just about anywhere. I don’t know how much I can emphasize this: my computer is 200MHz! 200! That’s 0.2GHz, easily 1/10th of modern processors these days. I can run upwards of 8 tracks with no effects, and I can even use multiple effects on lower track counts. It takes some learning, but what doesn’t? And the reason this is so great is that I can’t even -use- most other applications. ProTools Free was too slow to even investigate. Tracktion seemed promising at first but turned out to be too demanding as well. I can use Cakewalk Music Creator 2002, but it’s less responsive. So that’s one big difference there. If it weren’t for n-Track I would be a lot more limited in my recording options, and for that I’m a fanboy too :)


See, and I absolutely hate the interfaces on other programs even though they have nice gradients all over. I like the simplicity of N. Everything is within easy reach versus 10 menus deep. My suggestion, download the demo and give it a whirl.

Thanks. I am in an audio recording class (beginners) and there are a lot of 20 somethings that are going to record themselves. I have tried to tell the about N-Track, but they think for the price, something must be wrong… They of course want the Cubase, Pro Tools ( and not pay for it)… So I was looking for something to pass on to show them that they can get a good peice of software. I am not a user of other software and getting to understand N-Tracks, but the younger ones are stuck to “name brands” I quess.

So any more feedback I can pass on to the class from you long time recorders!!


So any more feedback I can pass on to the class from you long time recorders!!

YES! Tell 'em it ain’t the software that makes a good recording. At the end of the day do you think Joe Public is riding down the road, radio blaring and going… “Geez I wonder what software they used to record that song?” NOPE.

You can have a multi-million dollar studio and still sound like s#$t if you don’t know what you are doing… The name that splashes up when you double-click the icon is not going make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

Teach 'em to make good recordings with a thirty buck cassette player… then move 'em up to a multi-track something or other… Walk before you run kinda thang. Knowhuttamean? :)

n-Track is extremely capable AND easy to use. For the price, it can’t be beat IMO. I tried to find an old post I made about different packages I have or have used (Cubase VST5.1 Cubase LE, Sonar 3, Sonar LE(4), Magix Audio Studio 10, Tracktion…) but I can’t seem to locate it. The main point was that I always kept coming back to n-Track. I liked some of the others OK but not enough to drop five or six hundred bucks for the full versions! (or more)…


Well Said Dio :D


yep we’ve all heard this before
you mentioned reason in your original post. reason is a completly different piece of kit in that you CANNOT RECORD ANY AUDIO in reason
it contains “software synthisisers” and drum machines loop players samplers etc. its a GREAT piece of software. i;m a guitar and drums man myself so i didnt seem like an obvious investment but its so much fun and any time you spend with it is going to be worth it. it works in paralell with n track as a rewire device, meaning you can route the audio outputs of reason into mixer channels of ntrack (not physically of course but via “rewire” software). i’ve never got n track to work very well as a host for reason or as a midi sequencer but i havnt been using n regularly since v3.3.
otherwise n works very well. i was using sonar 3 producer edition because of its stability with rewire but for some reason the latency absolutly sucks with sonar. i have to have it almost 150ms compared to about 10ms with n, which is why i’m thinking of moving back to n.
anyway. like someone said earlier it is a teeny bit less stable than alternatives (in my experience). but its still THE VERY BEST VALUE of any rec software i’ve ever had.

So these beginners can listen to a piece of music and tell which software was used to mix and master it? Thats pretty impressive.
I tried other software, but had the same experience as others (too complicated, too many frills, CPU intense, mem hog, non-support, etc.) So…
For me it was the low $$ investment…and with all of the available free plug-ins, vst’s, etc…I end up with pretty much the same result as my student son who uses PT, Reason, Digital Performer et al. at the university he attends…
Of, course that really isn’t fair either. After all, two people can be in the same place…one got there in a private jet, the other drove a 66 Volkswagen.

Totally satisfied customer,



There are a few here who have had “issues” with N-Track being “unstable”. I am not one of them. I am a long time fan of N-Track. Just so we are clear, I have tried just about every piece of audio software for the PC. I personally have spent over $1600 on Cakewalk versions alone. Just like many of the posters above, I found most software too complex to be creative with or just too unstable to be able to rely on. N-Track does exactly what I need it to do; it records and mixes multiple tracks clean and easy. So tell your friends to throw away their money on audio bloatware; I always go for the best bang for the buck.

Here you go:

Thread where this got discussed before

Lookout for the link in the first post that gives a link to a comparison table of many programs.


IMHO - I gave up on N-Track awhile ago. I love N-Track and for the price, it can’t be beat but it is horrible for any kind of heavy midi work.

I would easily come back if N-Track would be more MIDI friendly.

I have tried all of the so-called “pro” multitracking programs and I found that it’s like pulling teeth to get even a basic, clean track recorded in any of them without having to dig through menus (main and context) and settings and so on and so forth.

n-Track is awesome simply because you can install it, plug in a mic or an insturment and go. The learning curve to get a basic tune recorded is prectically nil.

My personal test of a good program (audio or otherwise) is this: once installed, if I can’t get anything basic done (be it a simple song, or a graphic) within an hour, then it’s not worth it.

If I can get something done, then it’s a keeper and I start digging into the more advanced workings.

Unless I’ve missed it, there one important thing not mentioned here, and thats the ‘Candy Factor’.

I started out with N in '01 or '02 and have kept up with the updates, although I seldom use it now. I bought Cubase in '03 because I got tired of having to defend my software choice to otherwise intelligent but excessively brand-concious musicians.

Of course, that didn’t help much because it wasn’t PT.

Perhaps the recent growth of FL and Garage Band will help to break down some of this stupidity.

BTW, at a workshop here last year, a local mastering engineer was asked how to make a great analog recording.

Answer: Make the best digital recording you can, and tell 'em it’s analog! Hmmm.

There’s a ton of good science in recording. Too bad it lives in a house full of smoke and mirrors.


Quote (SampleSmith @ Feb. 12 2006,10:56)
BTW, at a workshop here last year, a local mastering engineer was asked how to make a great analog recording.

Answer: Make the best digital recording you can, and tell 'em it's analog! Hmmm.

There's a ton of good science in recording. Too bad it lives in a house full of smoke and mirrors.

The best way to make a good analog recording is through a lot of blood sweat and tears.

Since digital is has computers thrown into the mix, add an excessive use of cursing and swearing to that list.


Being frugal for it’s own sake is as much of a mistake as being a Big-spender going after the slick brand-name thing. Don’t cheat yourself or your listeners because you don’t want to hold out for what you really need. But n-Track is a great program in that it’s got a lot of very useful features for doing audio-based work. This is a fundamental as far as I’m concerned. MIDI too, I guess, but I don’t mess with it…

The technology is getting more accessible and cheaper, therefore there’s less reason to go spending your bread on glitz which doesn’t improve your sounds. We got 32-bit floating math, 24-bit resolution, good-sounding plug-ins, a very easy to use interface, specs and features comparable to any of the bigger pop-culture Giants like Cakewalk or Cubase. The whole envelope is improving across the board, and n-Track is the proof of it.

But if you have the bread to burn, and you think it’s worth doing, go get Samplitude!

Ana DaSilva of the Raincoats put out a new album recently, and she did the whole thing with one or two mics and a Yamaha All-in-One DAW. Good interview in last month’s Tape-Op mag. Find out what you need to do, and get your gear. But if you can do it for $75 instead of $300, well… now you can buy mics…

I’ve been using N-track since version 2 (I started in 1997), it’s come along way. Right now, n is suffering some growing pains. I recently went from v 3.3 to 4.1.5 - Some things have changed, other things did get broken in the process, but Flavio is very responsive to the user community.

I’ve tried Pro Fools Free - it’s useless, and without a massive investment (about $10K to get started), you ain’t getting into a protools rig any time soon.

Cubase (I tried it for two months), although very fully featured, the cost was astronomical, and the complexity level, absurd. In the end, the product wasn’t any better than I’m getting with n. I also spent more time tweaking it, and a lot less time recording.

N-Tracks GUI isn’t all eye-candy - it’s simple, clean, direct and everything is close at hand. I’ve always been able to dial in n-track within 10-15 minutes. I’m currently working on a project with 41 tracks and (about) 25-30 plugins running on a P4 3.4 and it hits 60% CPU occasionally.

It simply works, it also works simply.

I deal with ProTools fallout all the time, band wants to record, goes to big shiny expensive studio, records on ProTools, spends mucho $$, and can’t afford to mix. Well, if you start with protools - your sort of stuck with it, unless you pay big shiney studio to bust out the protools stuff to .wav (that everyone else uses).

Actually, now I think of it - I get a lot of business as a result of ProFools - Thanks DigiDesign!

There does seem to be some level of stigma attached to what you record with. Although at the end of the day, as Phoo once said “It ain’t the gear, it’s the ear”.

I don’t know if I should attribute that quote to Phoo, but that’s where I first heard it, and it’s been my mantra for a while.