[Ardour-Users] Hm...

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Mon Aug 30 08:43:07 PDT 2010

On Monday, August 30, 2010 10:19:36 am David Kastrup wrote:
> I wish I had made a desktop recording of the last three hours or so.  I
> am a new user to ardour2.

Ardour is at least as complicated a program as emacs, and can take some time to learn properly for a user that is completely new to it.  I mean, how many users new to emacs get confused by all the keyboard bindings and modes of that program (mode being dependent upon what modules and addons you have loaded, and what LISP stuff might be running)?

> Task: take a recorded WAV file, crop a piece away from the beginning,
> pick a point of time where one starts fading out, pick a point of time
> where the fade out is complete (alternatively, just pick the point of
> time where the fadeout starts and specify a fadeout length).

> Save the result from the chosen start position to the end of the
> fadeout.

That shouldn't take more than five minutes, depending upon the size of the file and how fast your computer is.  You need to drag the start marker to the desired crop point, drag the fadeout handle at the end of the track to the desired fadeout begin point, and drag the end marker to the actual end of the fadeout.  Export the results to the desired format, and you're done. 

But you do need to learn how to use the tool you've decided to use (or use a different, more appropriate tool).  The fadein/fadeout handles are clearly marked on the track, and you can drag things to your heart's content.  You just need to be in the right edit mode, and know what you're looking at.  This is fully documented in the FLOSS manual you've already been pointed to.

> It is, in general, impossible to click on any graphical element with the
> intent to change/move/whatever it.  You first, if at all, have to change
> some internal ardour modes around (with obscurely named mode switcher
> buttons or menu entries elsewhere) to facilitate the desired operation.

Ardour is more like vi in this respect than like emacs.

> I had to restart jack+ardour even in order to manipulate a 44.1kHz file
> when jack happened to run at 48kHz sampling frequency.

Then start JACK at 44.1.  Now, I've used Ardour for a long time, and every time I've imported a file at a different sample rate Ardour has offered to sample rate convert for me, and does a good job of it.  I have one recording box that will not record at anything but 48K, and I target all my stuff to CD's, so I run at 44.1K or 88.2K (depending upon the project).  Ardour imports it and resamples to 44.1K as it does so.

If you want something more like emacs try snd.  It's learning curve is steeper than Ardour's is, though.

But do realize that Ardour is not a soundfile editor; it is a DAW, and is much much more complex than a soundfile editor would be.  You can do what you've described with Audacity easily enough, or ReZound or Sweep (all of which have been mentioned), and you would have a better experience doing this particular task unless you have other more advanced needs (which is where Ardour is targeted; crop and fade is something any competent soundfile editor should be able to do with aplomb).

Using a text editor analogy, Audacity (or other soundfile editor) is to Ardour as emacs is to Scribus (or InDesign).  You're wanting to edit a text file and export a text file (continuing the analogy); the tool you've chosen is a full bore layout system and far more powerful than you need.  And may not be able to export the plain text file anyway.

Due to its "many file project" design, yes, Ardour creates lots of files before you save anything; this is somewhat unexpected, true enough, but it is the way it works.  Programs like Audacity do the same thing, they just do it in a temporary area and only move it to the project target area on a save, deleting the temp files on close without save. Ardour assumes that if you import a file you intend to save it, and it puts it where the project lives.  That is different from others, but not wrong. 

Ardour assumes a user that knows what he or she is doing, and doesn't provide much of a safety net for many user mistakes; this is ok (at least in my opinion) given Ardour's target user base (the ProTools-using market, for the most part).  What may look like a mistake may be exactly the intended effect, at least for this user base.  I don't want my DAW second-guessing me, in other words.  To protect myself from mistakes I keep backups and snapshots.

But that has been something I've learned the hard way, as I have been burned by the lack of a mistake safety net a few times.  But it was my fault for making the mistake, not Ardour's fault for assuming I knew what I wanted to do.

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