[ardour-users] Plugin automation

Neil Nelson xxx at mphmedia.net
Fri Jun 16 07:46:37 PDT 2006

Alex Polite,

The Ardour automation page is


Every slider control of every plugin can be automated using the
information from the above page.

The information gathered by the automation process is maintained in a
file in the automation folder using the name of the Ardour control or a
'redirect' code for the plugin. To see how this works, record automation
for a slider control and for a plugin control.

The plugin automation file is coded with 'redirect' and then a long
number. The plugin name and code association is in the
sessionName.ardour file in the sessionName folder where 'sessionName' is
the name of your session. Edit sessionName.ardour, an xml file, and
search for the line beginning with

<IO name="BusName"

Substitute your bus name for 'BusName'.

The plugins for that bus will be listed below with the name of the
plugin in a line beginning as follows

<Insert type="ladspa" id="PluginName"

Substituted your plugin name for 'PluginName'. Two lines following will
be a line beginning with

<IO name="PluginName" id="18446744072267885690"

(The number you see will be different.) Below that will be a line


The path value is the name of the automation file for that plugin
slider. This description may not be exact but it should get you close to
where you need to be.

Edit both of the automation files: one for the Ardour control and one
for the plugin control.

The formats for those files are very similar except that the Ardour
control file has a lead-in line and the single character codes in the
left columns of both files are different the center column is the
distance from the left of the transport area in the editor screen. I
expect the numbers are sample numbers but I am not sure. The Ardour
control uses integers for the center column while the plugin control
uses floats. For the plugin I am looking at the slider values in the
right column appear to be numbers used for direct multiplication while
the Ardour gain control is using DB values. That conversion is in a
prior post.

The automation values can be edited in arder directly using a mouse by
going to the Editor screen, clicking on the lower case 'a' under the bus
name and showing the automation for all or the plugin. You can cut,
paste and redraw the control lines for the plugin and the Ardour fader
there. Of course you can always adjust the control from the plugin
screen while it is being recorded for automation.

Having the automation file format you can write a program that creates
an automation file and substitute it in for the one there. I have done
this to combine automated fader and amp controls into the fader only.


Find the automation files for those controls and edit them. I commonly
use gedit. The format

>On 6/16/06, Paul Davis <paul at linuxaudiosystems.com> wrote:
>>On Fri, 2006-06-16 at 13:35 +0200, Alex Polite wrote:
>>>Is it possible to automate (ie automate the extent to which a effect
>>>plugin is applied) effect plugins in ardour?
>Cool. Is it also possible to have a gain effect work on the gain
>envelope rather than on the energy itself, so that I can later hand
>tune the result of the effect without losing any signal quality?

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