Track Hacker

Hack a track in Track Hacker. Wheee! Ahem.

(69 Votes)
1.0 (Updated 15 years ago)
April 14, 2005
Reaktor 5 or lower


PLEASE READ THIS: This ensemble is NOT an instant gratification ensemble. You can NOT just open it, hit a button and off you go. Just so you know, and I don't get slammed for not telling you. There is a 9-page PDF tutorial included with this ensemble. An important file called Readme_FIRST.txt is also included with this ensemble.
You need three things before you can use Track Hacker:
1) You need an audio track in a file format that can be opened in the Reaktor Tapedeck (.wav or .aif). It could be tracks in your sequencer that you've bounced to a file. It could be a ripped CD-track from your sister's or brother's or other's collection of over-compressed POP albums, or from one of your own CDs. Be aware that "quantised" music is what Track Hacker thrives on.
2) The track has to be prepared in a sample edior, because it has to start right at the beginning of a bar.
3) You have to know the tempo (BPM value) of the track, since this has to be entered in Track Hacker. It has to be very exact.

The first part of tutorial shows you how to prepare a track in Sound Forge 6, and hopefully you will be able to do similar things in your sample editor. The second part shows you the basics of Track Hacker. The final page in the tutorial may be of interest to builders, as I say a few words about a few of the macros.
But what the hell is this thing!?!?! It is not so easy to explain what Track Hacker does as I thought it would be. First a general and vague ball park description: Track Hacker is primarily meant to be an entertaining toy to entertain friends and/or yourself with! Track Hacker wants to ask you: why be a disc jockey when you can be a track hacker! But when you have used it for a while, I'm sure you can think of other uses, like "rethinking" a track, to put it rather vague.
Here is what happens: When you load a prepared track in Track Hacker and start it, one of the two hacking buffers (audio tables) is filled with the first bar of the track, and you won't hear anything since it is the first bar and the buffers are empty. Then, when the buffer is full, it is played back in slices of 1/8 of a bar by the very flexible Hackvenser. WHILE this buffer is being played back, the next bar is written into the other buffer. When this is full, it is being played back by the Hackvenser. And again, while this buffer is being played back, the following bar is written into the other buffer. And round and round it goes. Now, this is an entirely smooth operation. The whole track is written and read in the buffers in delayed real-time (delayed by one/two bar(s)), and while the whole track is played back, you can use the Hackvenser in all manner of ways to reshuffle, reverse, and silence beats on a per bar basis, all while the track is being played. You can also record the result. I should add that I have ripped and prepared tracks by Aphex Twin, Alva Noto, Boards of Canada, DJ Vadim, Herbaliser, Klute, Pan Sonic, Murcof, Teebee, Snd, and Spice Girls (haha). It's just so much fun, but then again, maybe I'm just easily amused... :)

The MP3 is from a track used in the tutorial. The first 4 bars you hear, are played normally. The rest is messed up with Hackvenser. But everything you hear is audio tables being played.

SESSION USERS: You must be able to open the Properties for the audio tables by right-clicking or Ctrl-clicking the table view (you don't have to open any structures), and I don't know whether you can do this, just so you know. It is not absolutely necessary, but it is very helpful if you can do this.


chris scott
8 years ago
Banged my own version of the Hawaii 5 O theme tune in and was won over in about 20 seconds. It is stunning. Thanks.
14 years ago
heard the mp3 after i read the above, seems to be what i thought, AND DOH! WHAT I VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!!! excellent. skills...
Christine Webster
14 years ago
Excellent ! Thank for sharing this work.
Mathew James
15 years ago
Well, I havn't opened it yet but it sounds cool... Someone said planet-mu (mU Kru unite)... errr yeah - Mattrock Innit Clart
Jo Oheim
15 years ago
You've done it again, boywonder!
Oliver Greschke
15 years ago
Great ! I've always looked for an instrument like that. Also your manual is excellent. All instruments should have manuals like that. What would be a dream: Do the same with audio input ... with some kind of delay-structure ... somebody able to do this ?
Robert Croft
15 years ago
this is exellent Kristian - your tutorial was certianly vital to understanding how to use this. great work!
Kristian Thom
15 years ago
I actually got rather worried, and at the same time very curious, about what people would think of this. I was thinking "Is it too much to read?", "Will they become ill when they see the horrible layout of the tutorial?", "Will they read all the material only to find out that they have have wasted an hour on something rather uninteresting?" and particularly "Am I alone in thinking this is great fun?". Well, I do believe it is not interesting for everyone. I hope the above description and the mp3 file is enough for people to determine whether it is of interest to them. Anyway, Paul, I'm glad you see some potential in it :-)
Al Watson
15 years ago
man! i wasnt expecting much but this is pretty good actually! just for coming up with loops, or an instant planet mu style remix without having to part with loads of cash!! this might be getting more use than i ioriginally thought. cool! nice for recycling old drum tracks too. thanx! :-)