[Ardour-Dev] waveform display for master track

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Tue Nov 18 06:25:04 PST 2008

John Rigg wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 07:32:52PM +0700, Patrick Shirkey wrote:
>> John Rigg wrote:
>>> If you produce a waveform display file before you've set levels
>>> for the final mix you're also wasting disk space, not to mention
>>> processing power. Can you give a step by step explanation of the
>>> work flow that would require this?
>> Create a mix, set the levels as well as possible with your ears and the 
>> various meters and gain envelopes. Export the session.
> Thanks for the explanation. It hadn't occurred to me to work this
> way. Are you talking about exporting the whole multitrack session?
Well everything that goes through the master l/r output.

> Forgive me if this is a stupid question, it just seems an alien concept
> to me to set up a mix and not record it.
The process of exporting the mix is effectively recording it by saving 
the master wavefile to disk.

>> Done.
>> If Ardour generated a peak file for the master track then you wouldn't 
>> need to export/record the session more than once because you would be 
>> able to instantly see where the levels were out and you wouldn't need to 
>> listen to the entire mix every time you wanted to check the overall 
>> volume flow of the soundscape.
>> It would basically enable a much faster work flow. When mixing you 
>> already know what the samples sound like so it's usually just a matter 
>> of making sure the levels are correct and the fade/transitions are smooth.
>> This is a part of what a DJ does when cueing a track. By automating the 
>> process of generating the peak file we allow the producer to spend more 
>> time on the transitions and fades and less time on the overall levels of 
>> the mix.
> I'm obviously out of touch. My experience has been in traditional studio
> recording, where it's usual to rely on meters for peak levels, and
> listening for the overall sound. 

This is definitely the way I prefer to work but when there is limited 
resources and a crappy sound system it is not always possible. Also 
having an immediate visual perspective on the levels makes it easy to 
see where to take action on long sessions. It's quick and obvious when 
there is a large dip in the output by looking at the waveform display 
but it takes a while if you have to listen to a large part of the 
session to make sure your ears haven't adjusted while working on a 
smaller section of the mix.

Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd.

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