Are Trackers making a comeback? Wrote an article for discussion

I feel this might be a good area to post this. I just wanted to articulate some points I like about the tracker workflow in contemporary music making. also I wanted to see what others feel about all the new happenings (including Polyend people) in the music tracker space.


Great read that encapsulates all that i love about trackers. :clap: :heart:
Granted, it was easy to win me over, as an old Demoscener back in the days. :laughing:

So my thoughts have to be preambled with a bit of background, so strap in :laughing::

I grew up on the Amiga and Protracker. Visited Scene Events, took part in Compo’s (Competitions). Made friends a long the way and learned a ton of things. It really was a great community.

At first i was intimidated by the interface, but i quickly learned that it’s not so scary after all.

I stopped making music in my early twenties - life had its twists and turns and i was focused on my career as a developer. And back then, i just didn’t mesh well with the emergence of the DAWs and the new workflows, but i was envious of the possibilities.

But music always stayed in the back of my mind. I knew eventually the drive for it would re-emerge. So when the pandemic hit, i was determined to finally tackle the beasts that were the DAWs :laughing:. Also Softsynths had come such a long way, from back in the early days.

I figured i’d get into Ableton. Not long after though, Polyend announced the Tracker. So all that determination kinda got thrown out the window :joy:. I had to have it!

As someone who was used to 4 Channels in Protracker (2 Left and 2 Right), the Polyend Tracker was everything an old trackerhead like me could hope for!

I was hooked! Found like-minded people, made friends for life. I finally settled for a DAW that i feel comfortable with (Bitwig), but my primary place for composition is and will remain the tracker.

The workflow i was used to? Still there! But vastly enhanced:

  • No longer do i just have to use the computer keyboard for note entry
  • MIDI in/out vastly expanded the capabilities and thereby my creative ideas
  • Expressivity was easy to achieve thanks to micro-movements and velocity/volume control and the use of a midi controller.
  • I can perform and record with that expressivity immediately, but refine if i need to.

If i am happy with something, i can commit it to the DAW and refine it even further, if i need to. I can add additional voices/tracks, if i feel like it, because the DAW doesn’t limit me to 8 tracks.


…it is exactly these limitations and that spreadsheet-like focus that a tracker gives you, that i appreciate so much. DAW’s can become overwhelming quickly. The sheer number of possibilities and the near endless freedom is apparently too much for my little brain. :laughing:

The same is true in modular. While i appreciate the freedom in my rack, i also appreciate the granular/fine control that the Nerdseq gives me over all my modules.

The core strength of trackers - in my humble opinion - is the focus, that a tracker can give you and why i think that trackers are not a thing of the past.

Yes - i’m sure the retro nostalgia helped trackers to find a second lease on life. But i am also pretty certain that people will learn to appreciate trackers for the same reasons why i love them.

Even if they look intimidating at first :laughing:


i had never heard of tracker software until the PT came out. for about a year i was mad af that i hadn’t known how fun and creative the system is. i’m almost glad i didn’t start with LSDJ though as that is tough to learn and has defeated me.

as far as a comeback, let’s hope so. the more sampling and sequencing techniques the better.

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