personalized expeditions in music from a musician who doesn't matter

Tracker review series: The master list of reviews to expect

Posted by r on March 20, 2013

Before I can get started on the tracker review series, I need to set things up properly in a few add’l preamble posts. Let’s start with which trackers I’ll be examining.

As of right now, these are the 15 (count ’em, fifteen!) tracker apps I plan to examine / review in detail as part of the tracker review series (listed alphabetically, definitely NOT in the order I’ll be reviewing them – that order will be decided as I go along):

Buzz (aka Jeskola Buzz)
LGPT (LittleGPTracker)
LSDJ (Little Sound DJ)
Schism Tracker

The primary criterion for inclusion is that the app in question must run on at least one modern desktop platform (WinXP and later, OSX, and/or Linux). (Note: LSDJ doesn’t technically meet this criterion as a desktop-native application, and is really primarily meant for the Nintendo Gameboy family– but it does run suitably under certain GB emulators for multiple platforms, and the developer makes the emulator-ready ROM file available for direct download.)

Beyond that, these fifteen trackers made the grade on the basis of meeting at least one of the two following sub-criteria:
1) The app is at least sufficiently mature for some form of self-contained music-making at this time and is still being actively developed,
2) the app is still “popular” / in visible regular use amongst a given userbase. (“Popular” could mean as few as 10-20 active / apparent users trafficking in related forums / mailing lists, as assessed by an outside lurker i.e. me. With this particular genre of software, 10-20 fans avid enough to participate in continuing online discussion of the software suggests that the software must have some review-worthy level of merit.)

There are a couple (to-be-left-unnamed) tracker apps here that barely meet one criterion or another from where I sit, and I reserve the right to change up this list accordingly if I end up feeling that SketchyHackyTracker 0.004a isn’t keeping up with the JonesTrackers in terms of ongoing development or ongoing popularity when I finally get around to dealing with it.

I mean, seriously, to evaluate each tracker fairly and thoroughly is a lot of work– I’m currently guessing 1.5-3 weeks of fairly serious usage and learning per app. So if the devs and the users for a given app aren’t continuing to bother, I won’t either. This review series is meant to be about the future of trackers, and attracting curious new users to the genre (to say nothing of helping them sort wheat from chaff before they embark on their own journey), so picking apart executable deadwood / flogging dead binary horses is a waste of everyone’s time.

If you’re an active / avid tracker user and you would like to suggest a tracker you think I missed which meets the above criteria, please mention it in the comments. I am definitely open to amendment! (By the way, special thanks to plusminus of the Soundevotion compo/community and elsewhere for looking over my initial proposed list and throwing a few other suggestions into the mix.)

More on my actual review process in the next post.

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