[Ardour-Users] Noob Alert: Process Question - best practices for multiple takes

Q lists at quirq.ukfsn.org
Sun Oct 24 03:32:37 PDT 2010

Stephen Nesbitt wrote:
> All:
> I am just starting to use Ardour to regularly record my guitar efforts 
> (sometimes known as the diary of how I am or am not improving). In doing so, I 
> of course often will have numerous takes.
> My question is from a process point of view - what is a suggested 
> workflow/process? One track per take? Multiple tracks per tape? Keep recording 
> throughout? Stop and start and recording for each take? And then how to review 
> and select one of among many takes? And how to do it in a relatively seamless 
> way that doesn't get in the way of the actual recording (Put the instrument 
> down? Find mouse, click around, etc.)
> I'm hoping Ardour users will share their experience and advise not on the 
> functions of Ardour, but how best to use its function in this context.
> Thanks in advance,
> -steve
> _______________________________________________

Hi Steve

I write instrumental rock music, so this might not be particularly 
applicable to your situation, but I use one track per instrument (each 
part of the drum kit, bass, several guitar and keyboard parts etc).

I inevitably end up with multiple takes of lead instruments. On a 
particular track I use different Playlists (the P button for each track 
in the edit window) for takes, with one take per Playlist. I usually end 
up creating a final playlist where I comp (composite; by copying and 
pasting) all the best bits together.

By creating an edit group and adding several tracks to it you can create 
what Ardour calls a Take, which is basically linked Playlists for those 
tracks. This is incredibly useful for me as I tend to record guitar 
(acoustic and electric) with a couple of mics rather than one (to 
capture slightly different sounds and blend them together afterwards). I 
have a track per mic and link them as an edit group: every time I want 
to do a new Take I use the playlist button on one track and it creates a 
new playlist for each track, which minimises the amount of clicking 
between takes.

Whether I'm recording on a single track with playlists or multiple with 
takes, I find this the best workflow for me with minimal clicking: I 
just need to click on the P, select New/New Take, hit Shift R to record 
enable and finally hit the Spacebar when ready to record.

As for reviewing, I tend to do a bunch of takes, then sit down and 
listen to them all in one go afterwards, after I've put the instrument 
down, swapping between performance hat and recording hat and trying not 
to overlap different roles too much. The Take function makes it easier 
to change a bunch of related playlist takes together when auditioning -- 
you don't really want to change playlist for a different take and it 
only change one mic's recording of a performance and leave the other 
track with a different run through. It's after having listened to all 
the takes that I'll go through and select the best bits for the comp.

I do use takes for different purposes. When I'm still writing, I'll do 
takes to try out different things -- different guitar sounds, different 
improvised solos, different synth patches, different melodies or 
harmonies -- until I've firmly decided on exactly how it's all going to 
sound in the end. When it comes to the final, proper recording, the 
takes are just to capture a good performance of the same thing, or 
enough good bits that I can comp "the one" final take!

I hope this helps.


More information about the Ardour-Users mailing list