[ardour-dev] issues with plugin in/out counts

Josh Karnes jkarnes1 at austin.rr.com
Wed Nov 24 08:12:42 PST 2004

Paul Winkler wrote:
> If the mixer strip is for a mono channel, 
> AFAIK the insert is *always* 1-in/1-out. Nothing else makes any sense.
> Likewise for stereo channels, the only plugins that make sense are
> 2-in/2-out.
> I'm now wondering if all this do-what-i-mean architecture/code isn't
> biting off a bit much.  


Most people using Ardour today probably match many of these criteria:

- are used to using a regular hardware mixer
- are working in stereo with stereo sources and mono sources combined

This is why this whole thing is confusing to many users, imho, because it
doesn't work like we're used to working (whether those limitations are
valuable or not is another point).  So even though it's more flexible, it's
a hinderance to productivity if it requires a steep learning curve.

A regular mixing desk usually has mono inserts (and if you have "stereo"
channels, it's a pair of mono channels each with a mono insert), the panner
is the final piece after the bus assign switch.

The big thing Ardour is obviously missing is a channel send.  I know it
*can* be done but it's not intuitive and doesn't work like we're used to

If I could have my way and redesign Ardour, it would have mono-only inserts
(any x-in y-out plugins will be summed/copied input/output so they behave as
1-in/1-out when inserted into the pre-pan/pre-fader insert).  It would have
a fixed number (like 8) of pre-fader/post-pan sends (this would be 2-out), a
fixed number (like 4) of post-fader/post-pan sends (again 2-out).  All of
these sends have to have a level control.  It would have a
post-pan/pre-fader insert point, and a post-pan/post-fader insert point, and
only 2-in/2-out plugins are allowed in the post-fader inserts, all plugins
are made to behave as 2-in/2-out by summing and copying when inserted after
the panner.  AND...  a stereo track is just simply regarded as two coupled
mono tracks.  Make a stereo track and it just bonds together two mono
channel strips and gangs everything but the panners (plugins, sends, etc)
and the whole thing is 2-in/2-out.

Additionally, to handle the sends, we'd have to have a mixer strip to act as
a bus for each of the sends...  where we can put plugins in or connect the
sends to jack writable clients (like for a headphone mix for example).

While this lacks some of the flexibility that we've been discussing, it does
behave in the way I think most users are accustomed to working, so it's
quick and easy to work with.  It's also a lot more full-featured than a
regular mixer.

Now, regarding not-2-channel implementation, I think there are many other
ways to get at this...  and traditionally you'd do it with sends or multiple
assignments anyway.  If you have post-fader sends called "center",
"front_L+R", "rear_L+R" and "LFE" then you are doing 5.1-channel mix on the
send knobs...  Makes sense and is intuitive/easy to use.

Just offering a user perspective.

And by the way, I do agree, the panning state changes when you change
plugins is my #1 gripe with Ardour.  I love Ardour, a lot!  It's a great
program.  But this panner thing is a real irritant, and the lack of
well-laid-out sends is also a real irritant.

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