[ardour-users] Potential user Ardour questions

Josh Karnes jkarnes1 at austin.rr.com
Fri Mar 19 12:41:07 PST 2004

Hello all-

Hopefully I'm not barking up the wrong tree here.  I just subscribed to this 
list today, but I've been considering converting to Ardour for over a year.

Here's my current setup:
Athlon 1.4GHz w/ 256M and a coupla HD's
M-Audio Delta 1010, may add on another 1010 or a Delta 44.

I generally do basic tracks at once (up to 8 channels, eventually more), and 
then overdub 2-4 tracks at a time until I get track count in the 30's, all at 
24/44.1.  I am addicted to VST effects Blockfish & Freeverb, but also I use EQ 
(Nuendo EQ) and delay frequently.

I am considering moving to Ardour on Fedora Core distro with gnome, and using 
the Wine/VST server thing to get at my VST plugins.  I have some questions that 
I can't find answers to, maybe someone here can help.

First, exactly how doable, reliable is the Wine/VST server?  Does this _really_ 

Secondly, what's the performance comparison?  Am I going to be able to do with 
Ardour what I am doing with Nuendo with similar performance?

What's the latency like with this kind of hardware?

Those were the easy questions :)  Now for the kicker.

I am making an effort to stop using an outboard mixing console.  I can see that 
functionally Ardour seems to support what I am trying to do, but much depends on 
the ALSA driver for the Delta 1010 and Jack.  Documentation on that stuff is 
pretty thin.

So, this is about signal routing.  Here's what I'm trying to do, and see if 
anyone can comment on the feasibility of doing it under Linux/Ardour/ALSA/Jack:

Say there is a session with 8 tracks recorded, and I am adding 8 tracks.  I want 
to be able to mix down the 8 incoming tracks (monitoring) and the 8 existing 
tracks to a common output group (pair, whatever) that I can use for monitoring. 
  Seems simple enough, right?  The catch is, I need to be able to do this with 
relatively zero latency.  Delta 1010 under Windows can do this, essentially, 
with the "Monitor Mixer" feature.  It also supports near-zero latency with the 
"Direct Monitoring", which routes the input on any given channel to that 
channel's output (making it impossible to do what I am trying to do).  Problem 
is, with Win98SE and Nuendo, I cannot both operate my mix/master bus AND the 
"Monitor Mixer" concurrently...  So I can monitor what I'm playing (live 
incoming tracks), OR I can hear the playback, but not both.  It all works great 
if I use the "direct monitoring" in Nuendo and do not use whichever channels I 
am using for output bus (say it's 1&2) for input, so that limits me to 6 in / 2 out.

In the end I think I can end up doing what I want to do with Nuendo and Win98SE, 
but frankly I'd really LIKE to move to Linux.  However, it's a big undertaking 
to switch over my system to Linux, and I'd like to be SURE I can do what I need 
to do before taking the plunge.  Anyone have any comment?

[of course all this may become moot if I get too hooked on HALion and that 
incredible White Grand piano patch!!  I wonder if that'll run under Wine?]


Josh Karnes


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