[Ardour-Users] Hm...

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Tue Aug 31 13:13:06 PDT 2010

On Tuesday, August 31, 2010 05:49:51 am David Kastrup wrote:
> Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu> writes:

[snip items about emacs online info stuff; it takes time and effort to do this, and no one has yet stepped up to the plate to sink that much time into it for Ardour.  It would be nice, but I'd rather the core developers do code work; if someone wanted to fund a developer to do this, or dig in themselves and do it, I'm sure it would be appreciated. Embedded help, using an up to date FLOSS source, as well as the daisy-based reference manual that's also being worked on, would be marvelous, but it takes precious developer resources.  And, honestly, such help integration hasn't yet been high on the priority list; getting 3.0 into a beta form is, IMO at least, much more important.]

> >> > You need to drag the start marker
> >> What start marker?
> > See http://en.flossmanuals.net/Ardour/ExportSession (it's yellow,
> > labeled start, and is on the Location Markers ruler.)
> Once you export.  That implies that the export is not tantamount to a
> representation of the completed work.

I pointed to that page because it has a graphic showing the start and end markers; they are there well before you export.  But export is the end result of the session, and really should be planned for from the beginning, when using a DAW (just like when using tape, you're always planning ahead).  Ardour is not a destructive audio editor, and never will be (at least that's always been the stated position).

> You give me a reasonably workable way of solving my current toy problem.
> Thanks for that, it will help me.  But it does not scale well to non-toy
> problems, and it is not particularly discoverable if you don't know the
> solution yet, because you will not tend to try exporting until you have
> the feeling you have reached your target.

I've scaled Ardour to sessions involving dozens of tracks, hundreds of regions, and ten to twenty DSP plugins; works great.  I also produce a fairly simple 30 minute radio show each week that involves typically anywhere from 15 to 150 edits in a single track, with complex crossfades at each edit point.  It rarely takes me more than an hour to do even up to 150 edits in a 30 minute track; use range cursor mode to select the cut section, delete that section, then slide regions around, adjust the crossfades, and print (export) it; since I use Mixbus, I have presets already made to level the track nicely, since Mixbus includes channel, bus, and master compressor/leveler/limiters.

> >> What fadeout handle?
> > Please see the section headed "Creating Fades in Regions" at
> > http://en.flossmanuals.net/Ardour/WorkingWithRegions (it's square,
> > filled in, and located in the upper right hand corner of every region;
> > the fade in is in the upper left hand corner)
> When I drag that, it fades from the start of the recording/region,
> judging from the display.  I found no obvious way to limit the fade to
> just a limited amount of time.  I am sure I will eventually, but the
> "obvious" GUI elements give no clue.

Try dragging in the colored bar the edge of the region in "Select/move object" cursor mode.  Edit/Undo is also your friend.  And I specifically mentioned the upper right hand corner, and you are now talking about the upper left hand corner.  Read through the whole tutorial.

> Again, implying the knowledge that "export" involves not just exporting,
> but also the part of the editing I wanted to do.  

Again, I used that link to give a graphic showing what the marker looked like; it just so happened that clear graphic is on the export page.  The markers are there and can be moved anytime prior to export, but your final result will have to be exported.  This works in much the same way as working with hardware multitrack; you set up the automation for the console and any DSP, get all your edits done, and then record to another track (bounce) or another deck (export).  This is the normal, natural, workflow when working with hardware multitrack; Ardour is no different, and really follows that paradigm very closely.

> Cutting away parts of
> the region completely (rather than fading) is something I discovered how
> to do, but it is more mode-dependent than desirable

This assumes modes are undesireable.  Being a long-time vi user, the concept and execution in Ardour simply makes sense to me. YMMV.  I've tried a modeless audio editor, and due to the complexity of the gestures found it far more difficult to use.  Since in Ardour the modes are very clearly marked by the different cursor shapes, it really isn't hard.  I like modes; they help me keep my edit process more organized.

But this does accurately reflect how multitrack is done in hardware, since hardware is definitely mode-driven. 

> Why are there no hyperlinks to the lucid explanation on the buttons, or
> the toolbar they are situated on?  Where is the point in funneling that
> off to the web where it might be unavailable due to connectivity, and
> not corresponding with the currently running version of Ardour?

I don't know of any DAW that has hyperlinks in the tooltips.  Also, you can download the whole FLOSS manual as PDF, and print it if so desired.

> How do you ensure integrity between documentation and installed version
> if the documentation is offline and not synchronized to the installed
> version?

You have someone do it, either as a paid technical writer or as a volunteer.  Typically that someone can't be one of the core developers; they're too close to the code to document it, really.  And in a project where development funds (much less documentation funds) aren't large, it's great that the documentation that is out there is as good and up to date as it is.

> > Ardour is, at least in my experience, the most intuitive professional
> > level DAW out there.
> Just because others are worse does not mean one should not strive to be
> as good as possible.

If Paul thought Ardour 2.x were perfect, there wouldn't be a ardour 3 development branch, nor would there be more developers than just Paul.  I track the svn; there are lots of commits for others.  And I never said the other tools were worse; I simply said that Ardour met me particular needs better than others; your mileage may vary since your needs are different.

> But after a few years of finally caving in, you have
> to admit that part of what makes your application so great and popular
> is giving in to all those stupid, annoying and unknowledgeable people
> rather than explaining to them why they are stupid, annoying and
> unknowledgeable.

Paul hasn't 'given in' to all suggestions, as far as I can tell, and is pretty good at reining in feeping creaturitis.  Ardour, IMO, is a joy to use, at least for me.

> >> If Ardour offers me to quit without saving changes, it _is_ wrong if
> >> it does not quit without saving changes.
> > That I would agree with; especially since some changes cannot be
> > undone. 
> That's dandy.  "You are an idiot if you expected otherwise, since DAWs
> are complex things" isn't.

In the multitrack hardware world there is no 'quit without saving' either.  Import of a track to do a crop and fade requires initial recording on tape, and then a playback through the console with a record to another deck or another track while either setting fader automation or just doing it by hand during playback.  This is exactly how Ardour works; export is a free-wheeling (JACK mode) playback that goes to a file instead of actual audio output, which lets various and sundry DSP processes (including fade automation) do their thing during export.  Cleanup for a 'quit without saving' in the tape world involves bulk erasure, very similar to an rm -rf or GUI equivalent.  So in this aspect Ardour is much like the hardware world.

> > And it's not hard to delete a whole
> > directory tree in virtually any Linux dist; just treat the whole tree
> > as if it were one file (much like .app directory trees are treated on
> > Mac OS X).
> Huh?  "rm" does not delete non-empty directories without further
> options.  Sure, if you are using Emacs as your directory manager...

I use KDE; in Dolphin or Konqueror a 'shift-Delete' (or, if you have it enabled, right-click then click Delete) while a directory is highlighted in the right pane will blow out the whole directory, empty subdirs included.  No need to go command line and rm -rf things; and I didn't mention rm anyway.  Likewise in OS X, just using a different keystroke/mouse action in Finder.

> Sanitizing the GUI does not typically involve changes in the
> architecture.

As I'm not a GTK expert, I can't really comment much on that; however, it would seem to me that it wouldn't be trivial.  And I rather prefer the current GUI, to be honest.  And I'm efficient in the existing GUI and wouldn't want it to change a great deal anyway; I'd stick to the older version first.....

> An "idiot" is an old Greek term meaning "acting as a private person"
> rather than in an official function.

Not to be patronizing, but Ardour is intended for professionals who pretty much already know how a ProTools-type DAW works, and want to be productive with an open source tool; it really isn't meant for idiotes (in the literal Greek sense).

Some might consider this to be a disadvantage; other might consider it a distinct advantage; I'm in the latter camp, as I like professional tools (in any of my trades, whether it be IT, locksmithy, gunsmithy, or radio engineering; I don't need mollycoddling). 

And, again, I'm not trying to be patronizing at all; there are tools that do more hand-holding than ardour does, and do things differently, and that's ok: while I'm not likely to use them or find them necessary, someone else might.  Traverso has been mentioned, and Qtractor is another.  

Audacity is always an option for crop and fade (I used to do my 30 minute radio show in Audacity, but have moved to Mixbus for the superior audio processing, and, while it's a different editing paradigm, it doesn't take long to adjust from the destructive-edit mentality to the completely and stubbornly nondestructive mode Ardour uses (and I now prefer)).    I think you would probably be happier doing crop and fade in Audacity; if you want to do DAW stuff in Ardour and are wanting to use crop and fade to get your feet wet, well, that's ok, but realize Ardour does things the way it does things for a reason, and by design (for the most part).  The documentation and help could stand improvement, but I think the GUI is pretty good, given the limits of GTK.

I've never used Audacity's multitrack mode, but have done my multitrack work in Ardour ever since I tossed Adobe Audition (and Windows, since Audition was the only thing holding me to Windows) off my hard drive several years ago.

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