Some feedback on ALK2

I have been using ALK2 for a while now, and though it is a great and very powerful tool, there are some major flaws in it that, at least for me, make it very frustrating to use.

First of all, the program has clearly been developed with Apple computers in mind, and I don’t know how well it works on a Mac, but on Windows it’s frustrating to use and try to do things like offset, which is literally impossible and kind of necessary for a lot of arrengments. It seems to me that you would wait to have the fully featured software for Windows before launching it and charging full price for something that is unfinished. Some features like cycling through track panels would be nice to have but are not crucial, and you can still do on Windows, so why not add a way of doing offset? It doesn’t even have to be a gesture, it could be just like the pitch shift, which opens up a menu that lets you change the pitch.

Second of all, and this is what bothers me the most, the shortcuts are not intuitive at all. Like, why not stick to Ctrl+C to copy? Why make it just C? And this is just the tip of the iceberg. To add a midi track you have to type “tnm”. I understand it stands for “track new midi”, but it is useless. That is not a shortcut, if anything, it takes longer for you to type that than to make a new midi track youself. And there are shortcuts that don’t even stand for anything obvious, like “tii” shows the primary plugin UI, or “gg” toggles global loop. That doesn’t make sense. There are no programs that don’t use modificator keys (Shift, Alt, Command) for shortcuts. The fact that you have to type things instead of pressing keys for shortcuts, which is what we are all used to and what works best, is just infuriating.

Also, I would like to know if there is a way I haven’t figured out yet of pitch shifting while recording or if it just there’s not. If it is not possible, I find it stupid and confusing to have the option when you right click a Record Track.

All things aside, though, I do have to admit that I see myself using ALK2 for my arrengments and live sessions, and on the second day of my trial I had already made the switch from Ableton which I had been using for a couple of years. And that is saying a lot, for Ableton is very powerful on Live Performances.

I would like to add a couple of things I forgot and have noticed since the post. The software is very bad optimised for Windows, up to a point where I get a 70% CPU usage with just 3 tracks - and that’s when I’m not playing any audio! It is useless. The audio starts to crack and the experience is worse and worse everytime this happens. Also, automation is very frustrating and, in some cases, impossible to achieve. Being able to turn on or off an audio plugin should be easy and intuitive, yet I have not figured out an easy way to do so, which forces me to find a workaround which involves more tracks, hence more CPU usage, which leads to more cracking on the audio.

I would like to add a couple of things on the missing trackpad subject as well, and regarding track panels and the interface.

First off, the metronome needs to be easier to be turned on or off, I can’t comprehend why it is not in the toolbar. That being said, if the decision of making it its own track is intentional, it is unacceptable that every time I open a track panel and then I want to turn off the metronome - which I have had happen multiple times - I have to close said track panel and turn off the metronome because the track panel covers up everything. The same problem appears when I want to mute one track while working on the effects or volume of another one: I have to go back (by pressing the key, because I am on Windows and don’t have a trackpad) and select mute that track, then reopen the track panel. It is simply a waste of time.

Another problem I have with the track pannel is the location of the “back” button. It is way too close to the volume fader and to the Windows key. A misclick can lead to either turning the volume of that track down to 0 and not hearing it afterwards, or to opening the start menu which takes big part of the screen. It just seems unreasonable that such a crucial button is located in such a bad spot.

Another great flaw with the program is the fact that you can’t undo delete. It is just stupid that you can’t do that. I have had happen several times that I go to turn off a plugin and I missclick and delete it. And I just can’t undo that, so I have to find the plugin again and figure out what exactly I’d done two days ago. It makes this program very time-consuming and a pain to work with.

This is what I mean. I am not even playing anything, my computer hasn’t got any other app open, and I get 87% CPU. As soon as I play something, or even if my mic or bass picks up any sound, it gets up to 99% and the audio cracks.

Yet another design/interface issue I have encountered is that the name of the loop covers up the beggining of the information of that loop (waveforms or midi notes), so when you are recording you have no idea if the audio clips or if it is recording at all.