[Ardour-Users] a few thoughts

Al Thompson althompson58 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 11:00:49 PST 2012

On 12/04/2012 12:31 PM, Gordon JC Pearce wrote:
> On 04/12/12 15:28, Paul Davis wrote: 

>     idea of a console.
>> its not harrison's idea of a console. its a workflow that has worked for
>> hundreds or thousands of highly skilled audio engineers for years, and
>> you display an incredible level of arrogance in casually dismissing it.
>> in fact, it is the same level of arrogance that i did when i started
>> working on ardour and thought "oh, all that silly mixer design ... its
>> all just h/w limitations and we should just ignore it".
> In a similar way to how Bob Moog was absolutely cock on with the
> Minimoog - by being prepatched it was more limiting, allowing players
> to concentrate on actually making musically useful sounds!

EXACTLY!!!  That same concept can be seen in the ARP Odyssey (and 2600),
and the Electrocomps of the period too.  And they weren't "pretty," even
though, being physical hardware, being "pretty" wouldn't have degraded
their performance.

> I ran into this arrogance and learned the same lesson close to twenty
> years ago when I started working on software synthesis - "oh, why only
> six operators in FM, why not eight?  Why not make them all be able to
> modulate all the others, then the 'standard' algorithms are just a
> particular configuration with many more available.  Why not give them
> *all* feedback inputs, it's just the same as any other modulation input?"
> I'll tell you why.  It sounds crap, and it's impossible to program.
> No-one in their right mind would use that pile of nonsense.
> This doesn't discount the remote possibility that the grandparent
> poster has come across a whole new way of mixing, that uses more than
> eight busses, and that blows away everything that has gone before.
> I bet you haven't, though.

BINGO!  I think a lot of people come into the DAW world, or the
soft-synth world, and wonder why programs are written with "workflow
structures" that resemble hardware, and why programs aren't written to
be "pretty."  It take them a couple of years to realize that it is
because heavy users who just want to produce music don't care about it
looking like a piece of hardware gear, and that the workflow is laid out
the way it is on virtually every piece of hardware because that's what

Yes, it's possible to write software which doesn't act like a real-world
synth or a real-world console, but it's going to be virtually useless in
most cases.  As I said before, some "experimental" music may be served
by different configurations, just as John Cage was best served by
pennies and paper stuck in his piano, and the "open source" nature of
hardware makes it possible for the John Cages of the world to stick
things in their piano strings, but I don't want Bosendorfer forcing
those on me as 'standard options,' even though they wouldn't be using up
CPU cycles or RAM.

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My blog, with commentary on a variety of things, including audio,
mixing, equipment, etc, is at:
Staat heißt das kälteste aller kalten Ungeheuer.  Kalt lügt es auch;
und diese Lüge kriecht aus seinem Munde: 'Ich, der Staat, bin das Volk.'
                                                - [Friedrich Nietzsche]

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