[ardour-users] Posative Linux story and questions

Ben Edwards funkytwig at gmail.com
Mon Nov 29 08:12:02 PST 2004

Hi everybody.  Just found out about ardour and have a couple of
questions and a little story.  First paragraph is the story (cos its
slightly interesting) and second is the questions (cos they are not
that exiting).

How Linux sound recording succeeded when windows failed
I have been helping out at a Community Centre in Bristol
(http://3ca.org.uk), I was in fact one of the original 'directors' who
persuaded Bristol City Council (England) to let us have the building
and re-open it as a Community & Arts Centre.  The building is best
described as a small cathedral.  From the beginning myself and another
have been pushing for free software to be exclusively used in the
Centre. Its been a hard struggle but currently we have around 4 modern
spec computers and 3 'Terminals' (using Linux Terminal Server
Project).  Anyway Saturday night we were putting on a benefit gig for
the Centre (Live Music and Djs) and one of the people involved said
they wanted to record the proceedings.  They had with them a Windows
XP laptop and a copy of Wavelab (not saying where they got the later
from).  We actually have a balanced feed from the auditorium to the
media room up stares which was put in to stream events over the
Internet. I have never recorded music on a computer but I figured I
would have a look round to see if I could find some free software for
this (this all started around 3 hours before the doors opened). 
Asking around I was pointed at a couple of bits of software.  Audacity
and Rezound.  (we will come to ardour later).  I started playing with
them and eventually got them working (after being pointed at
gnome-alsamixer).  Was having real problems with them initially. 
Audacity did not seem to have levels and I could not work out if the
sound was clipping.  Rezound seemed to be a bit unstable, had levels
but could not work out how to alter the input signal level.  I
basically ended up doing some test recordings in audacity and loading
them into rezound to check the levels.  It was a bit nerve racking cos
I knew there would be some heavy techno later.  Anyway while I was
fiddling about I kept on thinking, bugger, they are going to do this
with windows ;).  I got the levels what I thought were correct as the
first Djs started playing.  Then One of the people with the windows
laptop came over and said "You should start recording now".  Odd I
thought and started recording.  Turns out they could not get there
set-up working – and there were free of them – one who had previously
used the windows software.  I recorded 3.5 hours without a hitch and
the next day normalized the file and converted it into a .org.  This
is a massive testament to the power of free  software and a real "we
told you so" moment :).  My only regret is that I did not know about
ardour at the time as it looks like the perfect tool for the job.

The questions  
Firstly I noticed ardour is at a 0.9 beta.  This makes me feel it is
probably a lot more stable than windows software generally is but was
wondering how stable it is.  I would be recording sessions up to 5-6
hours and possibly multi track.

The second question is how appropriated ardour would be for what I am
eventually looking at.   Hopefully we can get funding to bring all the
lines from the stage upstares.  This will allow us to remix up stares
for streaming radio but I would also like to be able to do multi track
recording.  Their performers would then be able to get these recording
from us (at a sensible cost price).  Would ardour be good for this. 
Also has anyone done anything simeler (specifically in a community
Centre).  Trying to work out the best way of splinting the inputs (for
the auditorium/media room) and whether it would be possible to
multiplex the lines and bring them upstares over say one optic fibre. 
Any other advice such as other hardware to use for this in conjunction
with ardour would be good – and the kind of amount it may cost.  We
are talking of the stage being a couple of stories below the media


Ben Edwards - Poole, UK, England
WARNING:This email contained partisan views - dont ever accuse me of
using the veneer of objectivity
If you have a problem emailing me use
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