[Ardour-Users] Expanding the manual

Thomas Vecchione seablaede at gmail.com
Mon Dec 29 05:33:47 PST 2008

Lemme see how much I can answer, I think you had one or two things even I am
not completely certain on....

On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 5:19 AM, Tanjeff-Nicolai Moos <
tanjeff at not-another-server.net> wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm quite new to ardour and want help expanding the users manual a bit
> as I learn to use the software. In my opinion a good manual has great
> impact on the usability and usefulness of a software and one of the
> main problems with open source software is bad or non-existent
> documentation. To do a good job, however, I need to understand the
> concepts I want to document. In absence of good documentation I will
> just ask this list ;-)

Thanks.  You can find the origianl source for the documentation in the
source for Ardour in SVN.  It is straight Docbook XML, and patches are
always welcomed.

Currently I'm playing around with a Behringer BCF2000 control surface
> (and MIDI in general). I learned a bit about MIDI, what Control
> Changes, MTC and MMC are and so on. Although I got the BCF2000
> basically working, some things are still unclear to me:
> Ardour always generates three midi ports (control, seq, mcu). If I
> remove one, it is recreated at next system start. What's the reason for
> that and for what are the ports indented to do with?

Going off memory I believe they get regenerated as they are defined in two
locations.  both in /etc and in your ~/.ardour2 directories in the
appropriate files.  The ports are defaults for specific things, one for
generic MIDI control, one I am not really certain on(Seq) and one for Mackie
control protocol(mcu).  MCU needs to be a RAW ALSA port in order to work
with the Logic Control Surface protocol, which I will get to in a moment,
which is used both on the Behringer and the Mackie Control Surfaces.

> In the Preferences window (Mod1-o) I can toggle "Trace Input" and
> "Trace Output" for each midi port. What does this do?

It will print each input or output of MIDI signals to the console.  Meaning
if it gets a NoteOn event, it will print that event to the console(I believe
the HEX dump of the MIDI, but can't remember off the top of my head and am
to tired to double check in Ardour.)  It is useful for troubleshooting and
ensuring that the signal you think is supposed to be getting to a port is
actually doing so, as well as for getting new signals for things like the
Mackie protocol for programming purposes(Though at this point it is more a
lack of time than lack of documented signals that prevents more things from
being implemented there).

> If I assign faders, buttons, etc. to a control surface, this assignment
> is stored in ~/.ardour2/ardour.rc. This file is not project-specific.
> However, if I start a new project, the assignment doesn't work. I can
> re-assign the controls in that project, however. Are the assignments
> saved on a per-project-basis?

I believe they are yes, but am not sure.  The best way to handle this is to
create a template with the bindings you want and use that template to create
new sessions.

> In the "Options"->"Control Surfaces" menu are some options that I don't
> understand:
> - Remote ID assigned by user/follows mixer/follows editor
>  I assume this means internal identifiers for faders/buttons etc.

It means that on surfaces that handle it, like the Mackies(Not sure how
generic MIDI handles it) that this will determine the order of tracks that
are on the surface.  This will get easier to explain in a moment.

> - Auto-Rebind controls

Don't know.  I suspect it goes with Generic MIDI.

> - Mackie
>  Are Mackie surfaces somewhat special? I don't know them.

Yes.  More correctly the Logic control protocol., which is used by the
Mackies(In Logic Mode) and by the BCFs as well I believe in a specific
mode.  Using this you don't need to bind controls, as they are already
bound, and things like bank switching will work to get new tracks on the
faders available.

So for instance, a Mackie Control Universal has 8 faders and one Master
fader.  When first starting, it will have the first 8 tracks assigned to
those faders, and if I hit next bank, it will then reassign those fader
strips to the next 8 tracks.

This is also where the Remote ID order comes in, as it will determine
whether it gets the order of tracks from the editor(Top track  is first) or
the Mixer(Farther left strip is first).

> That were my questions so far. When I understand them, I will try to
> update the manual accordingly.

Let me know if you have more.

> Happy new year for all!

Same to you.

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