[ardour-users] An alternate representation of the mixer

. intent at netpratique.fr
Mon Dec 5 16:01:05 PST 2005


I have in fact 2 ideas about Ardour. I know that the developpers are into a 
major shift toward the new libgtk2 but i can't resist to share them as they 
are fresh.

One important usability concern right now, and i think that other people may 
feel the same, is that it's hard to "fine tune" your mix. 

First, it is hard to see the plugins settings, you are a little blind. It the 
same for input/output and insert/send routes. You have to manually open and 
close them just to see the informations, and it happens you don't remember to 
wich track a plugin or send belongs (tired of thoses little windows easy to 
jump under the windows ?).

I have imagined 2 solutions for this (in fact very intuitivly).

The first idea is more a quick-fix, but i think it had the potential to sell 
well :) It could be easy to implement (probably a few line of 
codes ?). Here it is: when the cursor is over a plugin or an insert/send in 
the mixer, a dedicated key makes the plugin or route to appear only during the 
keypress. It means that as long as the key is pressed you can see the 
settings and, why not, make some fine tunings. As soon as you drop the key 
the window is closed. You see that it make easy to have a quick glance at the 
so hiden settings (and in the same turn you can make some adjustements).    
The second idea is more ambitious but i do think it shouldn't be too 
hard to implement since it would re-use the existing visual elements, it is 
just another representation of the mixer. Right now the mixer mimics visually 
an hardware mixer and it's quite good to represent volumes and main settings 
of all the tracks at once. But on the other hand, it "hides" the settings of 
the plugins and the routings, their levels, etc. The proposed improvement 
would be to borrow to the "Tabbed trend" the concept of easy switching 
between pages. Here, the tab are for all the existing tracks/bus. Imagine a 
row of tabs, one for each track or bus. As soon you click on a tab you access 
the inner settings that belong to this track or bus. So, what informations ? 
To sum up, i click on a track, i now immediatly see :
-the input(s) 
-the "pre" plugins and pre insert/send
-the volume slider
-the post plugins and post insert/send 
-the output(s)
-the comments

This allow to have in one glance all the inner componants of a track and their 
associated settings. What you see will be the same screens that you get 
individually when you edit an input or a LADSPA plugin or the insert/send or 
the output, but in one block. So this mean that you can not only see but 
change every parameters on one screen, and quickly reach any track or bus you 
want with its tab.

Since it is the same visual screens but presented differently i guess that 
this is not too unrealistic. Albeit this is just an informal proposal 
probably asking again much work to be precised, i submit it.  :)



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