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Tracktion Waverazor Review – What You Should Know

You probably landed on this article because you’re on the fence about adding a unique synth to your arsenal, and want to see if the Tracktion Waverazor is really worth your money.

The Waverazor is a futuristic synth that has been gaining a lot of attention for its extreme sound design capabilities.

In this Tracktion Waverazor review, we've stress-tested the plugin to find out whether it's really worth your hard-earned music bucks or not.

Tracktion Waverazor (Quick Review)

whippedcreamsounds

Oscillators and overall sound quality.
Macros and XY Pads.
Filters and FX section.
Film Scoring & Sound design capabilities.
Utility, Graphics & Ease in navigation.
Ease of use for a recent buyer.

Verdict

The Waverazor is a futuristic synth that can create tormented futuristic sounds for film scores as easily as it can produce biting leads and glitched-out basses for Dubstep. A highly attractive GUI in 21 languages with an intuitive XY pad sets this synth apart. While this synth has tremendous potential for creating one-of-a-kind sonic textures, the learning curve is quite steep.

4.8

Is The Tracktion Waverazor Worth It? (Quick Verdict)

Compatibility: Windows 7, 8, 10, 11. 32-bit and 64-bit.macOS 10.9+, 64-bit), AU, VSTVST3, AAX, 64-bit
Price:
$159

While it can be your go-to synth when you're running short of ideas, it most likely won't be your primary synth, unless you work with specific styles that use a ton of ring mod. Great at modulating over long periods of time, it will still be highly useful for sound design. At $159, it's going to be a life-changer for some, while being out of reach for others.

Pros

✅ A one-of-a-kind futuristic virtual synth.

✅ Highly innovative “splice waveforms” feature.

✅ Excellent for self-oscillating drones and soundscapes.

✅ Save time while creating complex dubstep Bass and Glitchy leads.

✅ Two XY performance pads for automating your modulations.

✅ Excellent graphics for an immersive experience.

Cons

❌ Very steep learning curve if you want to master it.

What Is The Waverazor & What Does It Do?

The Waverazor is a hard-to-tame beast that is best left free. Trying to make it sound melodic isn't the best approach due to the strong resonant timbres. While lush atmospheric soundscapes are possible, this isn't the best synth for that. Great at getting deep, dark, gnarly textures, the Waverazor is best for psytrance, industrial techno, and for film scores.

waverazor review

With a lot of presets having heavy Ring-Modulation, it's quite easy to produce biting leads for dubstep, glitched-out basses, and retro '80s-style synth snares.

But, it does take time to nail the sound you want, as the Waverazor is filled with harmonically rich and aggressive content, which doesn't exactly sound usable for a first-time user.

How Does It Sound?

The Waverazor sounds wild with most styles of MIDI playing. With more resonant treble than most FM synths, the Waverazor isn't an easy synth to tame. Most presets have extremely pronounced ring mod features, adding tenseness to your playing, even if it wasn't intended. On the flip side, it's excellent for industrial, glitched-out basses, and cinematic pads.

Drones

Creating drones on the Waverazor is extremely simple. Most presets shall give you a lush drone by just holding down chords.

In the sound example below, we modulated the FX mix with the XY pad on the right. We've automated the Step Fractals, Mutant AM, and Delay Mod. to create slow movement over time.

Drones

Arp

In this 3-voice oscillator example, the first oscillator is a square wave, with half of its splices smoothed out with the Pitch/Volume-Phase/DC control. The second oscillator is a saw wave with its splices expanded.

waverazor mok

The third oscillator, which is a closely-spaced noise wave is where the modulation occurs. The Step Size and Step Fractals are pulsating in tandem with the Arp used here, which is “1-4 Random”.

Arp

Lush Modulating Chords:

Since most of the Waverazor's preset textures don't catch quick-moving notes, the best way to start using this futuristic synth is by holding down chords and slowly tweaking your parameters till you find a texture you like.

With the two XY Pads, you can morph multiple parameters at once. Just start slowly running your fingers through the XY pads as you record automation on your DAW.

We found this necessary to mention, as you'll likely be off by the sounds if you're just browsing through them. Allowing the parameters to evolve over 8 or 16 bars is necessary for all the inherent complex modulations to surface.

Lush Modulating Chords- Example 1

Lush Modulating Chords- Example 2

Lush Pulsating Chords- Example 3

We automated the XY pad here to create the oscillating movement.

Bass

Notice the analogue grit in the bassline. We automated the XY Pad filter cut-off while playing.

Melody

Similar to the lush chords, we allowed the melody to evolve while modulating the Macros.

What Features Do I Get With The Tracktion Waverazor?

Oscilloscope:

The first thing you notice while opening the plugin is the large circular dial called the Oscilloscope. Four semi-circular arrows indicate the current frequency and amplitude, and a pause button is used to freeze.

This oscilloscope forms the central hub of the synth, displaying ongoing activities.

Pitch -DC modulation:

If you thought being able to splice waveforms was cool, wait till you see the Pitch/Volume and Phase/DC modulations! Clicking these buttons allows you to minutely control each spliced waveform, as you sculpt your individual oscillators.

If you were feeling lost about how your waves are functioning, entering this section will give you more clarity.

Going Down The Rabbit Hole!

For those brave enough to edit the parameters themselves, there are close to 100 pages of detailed information about the control window put down in painstaking detail in the manual. However, with hardly any images to break the monotony, it's a brain-numbing exercise to follow along.

If you just want to get your feet wet, you can begin by assigning a parameter to the left-side XY pad. For example, we can add a phase control to our waveform by assigning “Wav2 Phase” to the Vector X of the XY pad.

waverazor oscillator options

As seen in the GIF above, you can click on the Matrix, and follow these two steps below:

Step 1: Matrix- Add Matrix Route(1×1) – Source – Control- Vector X – Target Value.

Step 2: Matrix – Add Matrix Route(1×1) – Destination – Oscillator1 – Wav2 Phase.

What About The Technical Stuff?

How Hard is The Tracktion Waverazor on The CPU?

We stress-tested the Tracktion Waverazor on the Mac Mini M1 2020, running Big Sur 11.2.1 with 8GB RAM, an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. With 23 instances open on 23 tracks, the Waverazor performed well, but in some instances there were crashes. These were more due to sample rate clashes, along with Logic X malfunctioning, rather than the synth itself.

What Does My System Need To Run It?

Mac:

  • macOS 10.9+
  • 64-bit Intel/Apple Processor.
  • 2GB RAM (4GB Recommended).

Windows:

  • Windows 7, 8, 10, 11
  • 32-bit and 64-bit 
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz Processor 
  • 2GB RAM (4GB Recommended)

What About UI & Utility? How Easy is It To Use & Any Stand-out Features?

The Waverazor's GUI is strikingly attractive. With a plethora of languages and themes to choose from, you'll never get tired of trying to make it look cool. With options to track CPU usage and stall the processing, along with easy access to the forums and a quick guide, the designers have thought of everything.

With the changeable themes which go from a Retro '80s design to a Matrix-like CRT orange to a ninja-styled moonlight, the designers have paid great attention to the look and feel of the plugin.

Some themes might be a bit too loud for detailed tweaking. We found the pristine-white theme, 1992 (illustrated below) to be useful while entering the control section, as we're dealing with a ton of knobs and parameters.

With a wide variety of language options from Afrikaans to Japanese to Thai to Hindi to Old Norse, the plugin offers detailed terms in a variety of languages. We found this to be intuitive as a non-native English speaker might feel more comfortable going down the rabbit hole if they know what the terms meant.

waverazor interface

The image above shows the “Ancient Egyptian” language selection, with cool cryptic birds and all.

Being able to resize the keyboard and scroll across its octaves, seems to be quite handy. While a chord detector could've been more useful, given that the users are trying to mostly lay down textures. It would be good to quickly know which interval to add, or which inversion to switch to, given the minimalist nature of use.

The “question mark” on the top right has a quick start guide, along with the manual, and immediate access to the MOK support forum. A new user might find this extremely useful, given the complex nature of the synth.

It's recommended to keep an eye on the CPU usage meter and voice count at the top right corner. Pressing the Exclamation Mark (!) below it, stalls all processing. This is useful while tweaking the parameters yourself, as things can get out of hand very quickly.

What Are Others Saying About The Tracktion Waverazor?

While countless reviews across the internet praise Waverazor's unique approach to sound design, a lot of users can't find enough uses for it. While no one denies its potential, many are sceptical to invest. The XY pad is widely appreciated and everyone has opinions on how it can evolve. So, it's drawing its fair share of eyeballs.

We've listed some of the user reviews below (click to enlarge):

You're going to be disappointed if you're looking for a traditional un-complicated way to map parameters. This seems to be the biggest drawback if you wish to go beyond the presets.

The manual is 160 pages long and the learning curve is steep for going on your own.

The patented oscillator design of the synth is unique and needs you to spend time on it to generate unique textures.

The existing preset macros and daisy-chained effects that R. Devine and the other sound designers have created, do serve as a life belt till the time you learn how to navigate.

How Does The Tracktion Waverazor Stand Up To The Competition?

Other than the multi-faceted Serum, we have U-He Zebra 2Prophet V, and Rob Papen's Predator 3 which offer harmonically rich industrial sounds. They all lie within the $99-$199 range and offer unique sound design possibilities. But, innovative workflows lead to new sounds. And the Waverazor has massive potential if you stick with it.

With Predator 3, you can draw and morph your waveforms and the plugin boasts of 6500 presets.

Zebra 2, priced at $199, has a 4 voice oscillator and can do dark industrial sounds quite well.

Being used by the likes of Nine Inch Nails and countless others, the Prophet V, has long been an industrial sound design staple.

We mention Serum as there are so many users who already own one. Designing rich harmonic content is very much possible within it.

If you want the Waverazor in your palette and the price is the issue, we recommend waiting for a sale. We've seen the Waverazor priced at $95 during sales and its worth the wait.

Tracktion Waverazor (Quick Review)

whippedcreamsounds

Oscillators and overall sound quality.
Macros and XY Pads.
Filters and FX section.
Film Scoring & Sound design capabilities.
Utility, Graphics & Ease in navigation.
Ease of use for a recent buyer.

Verdict

The Waverazor is a futuristic synth that can create tormented futuristic sounds for film scores as easily as it can produce biting leads and glitched-out basses for Dubstep. A highly attractive GUI in 21 languages with an intuitive XY pad sets this synth apart. While this synth has tremendous potential for creating one-of-a-kind sonic textures, the learning curve is quite steep.

4.8

FAQ

Can I use the Waverazor to generate sounds on Miniraze? Can the sounds be swapped, since its from the same company?

No. Miniraze and Waverazor aren't interchangeable. They are different approaches to the same MOK-style synthesis. However, since the same oscillators are used in both, they sound quite similar. If you find Waverazor too hard to handle, you can try Miniraze, which has a larger sound bank. It's much easier to use.

The Waverazor won't be my go-to Synth. But its tempting to buy. Should I wait for the Waverazor to go on sale?

If you're not in a hurry, it's not a bad idea to wait, as the Waverazor does go on sale often. You can keep an eye out on forums or for Black Friday sales. We've seen the Waverazor drop to $95 during a sale.

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