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

Paul Davis paul at linuxaudiosystems.com
Wed Nov 24 08:44:22 PST 2004


thanks for your feedback. Even if I appear to be a little, ahem,
aggressive in my response, its very valuable having the type of
feedback you're offering, so please keep it up.

>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

could you be more specific about how you think it should work?

>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

how can you turn an x-in/y-out plugin into a 1in/1out? the other way
around is doable via the "multi-mono" approach that we do right
now. but i can't see how to do this the other way. 

>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.

this all seems impossibly limited to me. you're basing everything on
the notion of only mono or stereo tracks. the challenge is to make it
easy to work with such tracks, since they are overwhelming the common
case, but to make it also possible to work other configurations for
experimental music, sound installations etc.

as for ganging to get stereo - this isn't an effective design at all
unless you use explicit cabling (like you have to on a physical
mixer). a stereo track is a different entity entirely from a pair of
ganged mono tracks. in the signal domain they may be equivalent, but
from the time domain (i.e. editing) perspective, they are very

>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).

you want sends to appear in the mixer? thats not that hard to do ...

>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.

i think the panner issue is caused by people not understanding how
panning works because they haven't used ProTools ;)

as someone else noted, if you put a 1in/2out plugin into a protools
mono track, you convert it into a stereo track which means it has
*two* panners. putting such a plugin into a mono track is a
*deliberate* act - the problem is that we have to make it obvious that
you are doing something significant when you do this (e.g. check via a
dialog that you understand the consequence of adding or removing it).

if you only ever insert 1in/1out plugins on a 1in/n-out track, and
2in/2out plugins on a 2in/2out track, which many people would accept
as "normal", you'd never see the panner change state. the state change
occurs because we *allow* you to change the effective type of track
(just like PT does) by inserting 1-in/!1-out plugins. if we deny that,
then the panner will never change state.


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