[Ardour-Users] a few thoughts

Thomas Vecchione seablaede at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 14:01:14 PST 2012

On Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 4:51 PM, Adriano Petrosillo
<ampetrosillo at gmail.com>wrote:

> Why is it that having graphical control means risking not having
> numerical, precise control?
> You can have both, most (well thought-out) plugins with this kind of
> graphical interface, ie. with potentiometers, have also a box underneath
> each pot with the numerical value, and double-clicking on the pot generally
> allows you to input the desired value as a number (but if you want sliders,
> they're fine too! It's just that on a channel strip, knobs are more
> convenient).
Perfect example of UI design vs programming.  This type of widget takes up
more space, sometimes aroudn twice as much space because the text needs to
be readable.  Vs doing a widget where the text is not always readable but
is available in other methods, or like Ardour does in overlaying the two as
in the LADSPA controls, or like Blender does in a slightly different but
similar manner.

> Just an (OT) thought.
> Just to be the devil's advocate, here... if you're supposed to mix with
> your ears, not your eyes, couldn't it actually be better not to have a
> numerical value for the settings you're going to tweak, simply going with
> what you hear? Too many people obsess over boosting or cutting as little as
> possible, being influenced by that dB value they see next to the slider,
> and taking even +3dB boosts as excessive, when maybe they should forget
> about numbers and mix with their ears? If +12dB sounds good, why shouldn't
> you do it? Mixing isn't about dogmas, but about results, and too many audio
> engineers stick to the book too much, when the listener doesn't really care
> if you distorted that kick drum to pieces, if it really works.
For the record, that is how some of us work;)  More correctly I have basic
starting points and then tweak with the ears without looking at teh
numerical readout at all.  Mixbus is great for this in fact, I very rarely
look at the numerical readouts compared to what I adjust.

Also for the record I am not against having GUIs in plugins, I feel it is a
benefit, and your basic idea isn't necessarily horrible to me, but you have
several assumptions I have just disagreed with or tried to correct in my
post and I am not yet convinced you have researched what you have slammed
as being 'inadaquete'.

I don't agree, in general, and the process sounds dubious to me (why not
> clip it in software then? They say that "those" converters clip gracefully
> and add a bit of analog saturation before clipping, but I'm not convinced),
> especially as it is a "mastering" process which should try to preserve
> sound quality as much as possible, while making everything louder, and not
> degrade it deliberately for the sake of making everything as loud as
> possible (take Californication, for example, a prime example of HEAVY
> clipping).
Actually there is a difference in physics between digital distortion and
analog.  Analog distortion tends to add odd harmonics to the signal, vs
digital which tends to add even harmonics.  As humans we tend to prefer the
former vs the latter, which is why digital distortion sounds so bad to us
so quick.

Oh, and a last thing: if you bundle (or have the plugins as an optional
> package) plugins with Ardour, I assume that you can't break dependancies
> and package maintainers have a duty to make sure that nothing breaks during
> updates and upgrades, so it is a moot point. It is much worse when you have
> them free-floating around the web, and having to compile them too, perhaps,
> as some distros, for example, don't really like it when you do it (the
> Ubuntu guidelines explicitly advise AGAINST compiling your own stuff).
This on the other hand is a different topic that deals with arguments for
and against the linux way of doing things in repositories, etc.  This was
also a very common topic, particularly with Ardour, for a while as Ardour
does distribute it's own binary which does things many people would
consider wrong because it ships with it's own version of libs int he bundle
rather than using syslibs.

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