[ardour-users] software monitoring

Phil Frost indigo at bitglue.com
Fri Jan 20 06:42:01 PST 2006

On Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 07:53:29AM -0500, Paul Davis wrote:
> On Fri, 2006-01-20 at 07:15 -0500, Phil Frost wrote:
> > This is one of my gripes with ardour, too. At the top of the window, in
> > the transport bar, there is a button labeled "auto input". The status of
> > rec-enable, global rec-enable, transport rolling or stopped, and that
> > "auto input" button determine if a track is being monitored. For me,
> > "auto input" off seems to do what I want more often. Really either way
> > never does what I want all the time, so I wish monitoring was more
> > configurable.
> how do you think monitoring should behave? 
> auto-input is modelled on the features of several digital tape and HD
> recording systems. it interacts with your choice of h/w or s/w
> monitoring too, which makes it more complex. for any given class of
> users, there is one particular combination that seems like "obviously
> the right thing to do", but that combination varies depenending on
> people's h/w setup (particularly signal routing).

My monitoring needs almost always vary on a per-track basis. At any
given time, I have a keyboard running softsynths, an acoustic guitar,
and an electric bass guitar.

The keyboard makes 0 noise when it's not being played, so there no
problem if it is always monitored. I could do this by connecting the
synth's outputs to ardour and pcm_out if there were a way to tell ardour
to never monitor that, or just to ardour and have it always monitor.
However, there seems to be no way to do either currently. I end up
turning auto input off, and using "rec enable" to also mean "monitor".

The acoustic is usable with no monitoring at all, but it's nice to have
sometimes. Other times it's not, for feedback reasons. It depends on if
I feel like wearing headphones at the moment or not.

The electric bass is much like the keyboard, except it makes some hiss
when I'm not playing it, so often I want to mute it just to cut down on

Also, I often find myself wanting to hear both what i've recorded, and
what I'm playing now. I tend to make songs as I go, so I like to jam
with what I've done.

I'd be satisified with just a "monitor enable" button per track. I could
accomplish this by disabling all monitoring in ardour and controlling it
with another program, were it not that I like to run my monitoring
signals through effects I've added to tracks in ardour. What I usually
do now is disable "auto input" and treat the rec enable as "monitor
enable". This mutes the recorded audio though, which often I don't want.
It also means I have to hit buttons each time I switch instruments.

There are various other behaivours which I can think of being useful in
different circumstances. For example, have "monitor enable" alone
control monitoring, except when global record is on and the transport is
rolling, in which case only tracks with rec enable on are monitored.

However, these change based on personal preference, the instruments
being played, and the number of people involved. Somewhere in the
manual, I remember seeing a table describing the differences between
"auto input" on and off. It's something like a matrix of the
combinations of transport rolling, global rec enable, and per track rec
enable. Instead of providing two markings of this matrix, it could be in
the preferences, and each cell could have the values of "always",
"never", or "what the monitor button says".

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