[ardour-users] to ardour or not to ardour, that's the question

roger Depreeuw rogdepre at skynet.be
Tue Apr 6 05:40:06 PDT 2004

Hello all ardour users and potential ones.
 I write this message because I'm a happy owner of a professional 
recording/mixing/mastering platform that still impresses me and others.
On my system I have 3 pieces of software running simultaniously and 
seamlessly interconnected through the jack daemon.
There is first of all ardour  which takes a central place in the 
recording/mixing/mastering process.
Ardour at it's one is used to take care of the recording.
Once recorded you have the individual tracks nicely displayed in the 
editor window, ready to start a musical adventure.
Each track (instrument) individually is checked, edited and improved 
with some plugins, when needed.
During the mixing process I use ardours'digital mixer in combination 
with my external analogue mixer .
The final stage in the mix is done by recording it into a stereo track 
in ardour (This step is not necessary but usefull when stepping back to 
change/improve the sound and as I write this it comes to my mind that a 
snapshot would do the trick as well) .
The output of this stereo mix is sent to the master jack  and  that is 
where I usually add some plugins  like reverb... The output of the 
master jack is sent to "JAMIN" (A nice and powerfull premastering tool). 
With this tool you can make the sound richer by playing with the boost, 
3 band compressors and other limiters. The output of jamin is sent back 
to and recorded by another stereo track in ardour. It is this track or 
region I export to a WAV file. This file is then opened by the 3th tool 
"REZOUND" for final mastering like denoising,normalizing and eventually 
adding again  a LADSPA plugin. The final stage is to resample the files 
for CD burning.
 I know that rezound can open the wav files straigth from ardour ( and 
therefore there would be no need to export the track/region first), but 
I'm not shure yet what the implications are when you change the files 
from within rezound.
But then again, I still know collegues who have to transfer their mix to 
a DAT tape and physically have to go to another location/machine for the 
mastering process.

And as I have convinced the potencial users by now I want to share my 
experience  on how to install ardour.
I started from scratch, meaning that I reinstalled linux (RedHat 8.0).
I always create a partition in ext2fs on the IDE harddisk (My experience 
is that ext3fs results in xruns due to the overhead and that is  the 
last thing you want).
 Although the rest of the story is most related to a RedHat release it 
may be usefull for others as well.

Now make shure in this stage that you check for the latest drivers, if 
you have specific HW.  In my case , the adaptec SCSI driver v2.0 is 
required. (The standard aic79xx in RedHat 8.0 is version 1).
Next thing to work on is the low latency patch and preemptable kernel patch
A good place to look at is:
Again it is RedHat related but it is an excellant library for most if 
not all of the source software that is discussed here.
Here one remark I have is that the kernel binaries don'twork for all HW. 
I ended up with an unstable kernel, and again it took me some time to 
find out.
So the safe thing to do is to start from source and compile  a kernel 
for your own machine.
(I haven't done this yet, so I'm still running the standard kernel 
2.4.18-14. I have no problems with xruns, but I must admit I use a 
system with dual CPU and a SCSI disk).
A good guideline I use for the rest of the installation process is :
Compile from source, cause certain options are important.
Look at each install to the different options available  

> ./configure --help

I use --prefix=/usr for most of the libraries, alsa and jack install 
(for ardour,jamin,rezound I use the default /usr/local).
I use --enable-optimize whenever available.

Installing ALSA as described in the guideline (except for certain options)
Reboot the system to check if the configuration is setup correctly and 
that alsa is running.
check that the modules for your soundcard are ale installed : >lsmod
look at the file /etc/modules.conf
try to restart alsa.

Installing prerequisites as described look at the "www.ardour.org" for 
the versions required.
Installing LADSPA as described but look at ccrma site for a more 
complete list of plugins.
Installing JACK as described .
try to run jack with a simple command: jackd -d alsa
Install "xmms" and "xmms jack" from ccrma .
run JACK properly : >jackd -R -d alsa  -d ice1712 -H -r 48000&  (in my case)
Put a favorit CD in your CD writer and start xmms select the "jack 
output plugin" in options preferences


If you enjoyed it, most likely alsa and jackd are running smoothly.
Check the terminal display you started jackd from for any "xruns".

Now it's time to compile ardour,jamin,rezound...

PS: Hope it helps. At least it will save me some time when I do another 

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