[Ardour-Users] a few thoughts

Joe Hartley jh at brainiac.com
Tue Dec 4 11:45:12 PST 2012

On Tue, 04 Dec 2012 13:33:03 -0500
Al Thompson <althompson58 at gmail.com> wrote:
> The thing that Adriano doesn't understand is that forcing his concept on
> everyone else would make the software a LOT less attractive to everyone
> but him.  For instance, his idea of having a "built-in" 3 band, fixed
> freq EQ on each channel would be HORRIBLE for people like me. 

Indeed.  This is where it gets ironic to me.  Pre-set plugins on a channel
strip is a throwback to hardware consoles, where it was useful to have some
basic EQ and/or compression available, because patching in an outboard
unit was non-trivial and limited by the amount of outboard gear you had.
Yet Adriano seems unhappy with a workflow he felt was tied to the old
ways of doing things.

Regarding a "starter set" of plugins for an Ardour session:
Many, if not most of the people using Ardour under Linux are using a
distribution that includes some sort of meta-package for music production,
which includes JACK, Ardour, a number of plugin packages and other things.
They're all available for use as soon as a session is created, and there 
are a lot of them!
The plugins aren't automatically added to a track when you open a new
session, nor should they be.  If a user finds the number of choices
available in the plugin manager too daunting, tough noogies.  Do what the
rest of us did - listen to them and evaluate which one works for the 
particular track or bus.  Yes, it's time consuming, but we did it that way
with outboard analog gear, and if my skills are up to the level of what the
software allows, there's simply no substitute.  I NEED no know what a 
recirculating delay reverb sounds like as compared to a convolution 
reverb sounds like.  I NEED to know what compressor sounds like as opposed
to compressor bar.  Without that knowledge, what basis do I have to choose
an effect?  Having one pre-selected for me is the same as choosing one at

Now that I have some of that knowledge, I've got a chosen set of favorites
that are quickly chosen, as well as a handful of session templates that I
can choose from when creating a new session that has the routing and layout
as I need it to be.

> He seems to rail against being forced to use someone else's concept of
> an "ideal" mixer, but then wants even worse limitations imposed on
> others so that it meets his concept of an "ideal" mixer.

I wouldn't presume that my session templates are useful to anyone but
me and the way I work, and the hardware that I have.  I wouldn't assume
that anyone else's templates would be useful to me, either.  I sure don't
want to have to go and undo an imposed configuration if I feel it's not
what I need.

> I kind of understand his frustration.  I started mixing in the late
> 1970s, and my first several exposures to DAWs was frustrating, until
> someone pointed out that I shouldn't expect a computer to act, feel, and
> look like the analog stuff I grew up with.

To quote the kids these days, THIS.  (Or, QFT.)  I'm old, and go back to the
days where the very idea of a computer in a studio was practically scifi.
Some of the earliest software I worked with either tried to emulate an
analog environment too closely, or decided to move away from it as much
as they could.  As Paul mentioned before, in the early days he felt he 
could move away completely from some of the old ways, only to find that
they'd come to be that way for very useful reasons.

The most important thing I had to learn about learning DAWs is that I 
can't assume anything, I have to approach each one as a new thing, not as
some old thing that now runs on a computer.  (Though that is apparently
how one can be granted US patents these days.)

(Attribution lost here, I believe it's Adriano:)
> >     I'm not talking about track templates which adapt to ANY plugin of
> >     a certain type, I'm talking about track templates which use
> >     SPECIFIC plugins (which then goes well together with having a
> >     range of bundled plugins in the DAW).

This sort of "training wheel" seems more suited to GarageBand, which is
a good tool a lot of people use to create good music, but its limitations
will make some people use a different tool, like ProTools, for their
work.  Almost anyone can start recording in GarageBand within 5 minutes, 
but ProTools has a much steeper learning curve.  So it is with Ardour -
it's a tool that requires more up front from the user than other tools,
because it is so highly flexible.

As for the eye candy and chrome, I once groused about how ugly the
LADSPA plugins are in Ardour, but the functionality is very good.  I
absolutely hate the implementation of knobs in a GUI - I never seem to 
get how to twiddle it the first time.  The ugly LADSPA plugins use sliders,
and I can even enter a numerical value which has come in handy for recreating
settings where I can't find a saved parameter file from another session
easily, but because I've written the settings in my session log, I've got
the sound I want quickly.  I'll take ugly and functional over pretty and
clumsy every time.

Cripes, I went on forever here, and there was more I was going to add
but I'll stop here!

       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh at brainiac.com
 Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

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