[Ardour-Users] Ardour Monitoring

Robin Gareus robin at gareus.org
Wed Mar 29 06:56:03 PDT 2017

On 03/29/2017 12:00 PM, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
> On Wed, 29 Mar 2017 07:28:23 +0200, Gunter Königsmann wrote:
>> Is there a checkbox where it will continue to monitor even if the 
>> transport is stopped?

Various ways.

Enable Auto-Input (Session > Properties > Monitoring) and disable "Tape
Machine Mode" (Preferences > Signal Flow).

That way Ardour will monitor input when the transport is stopped.

The "Disk", "In" buttons on every track allow to select monitoring on a
per-track basis.

Preferences > Appearance > Toolbar   Show Monitoring Options provides a
global "All" switch for the Disk/In controls.

And now we're getting a bit off topic..

> I tested the Presonus 1818VSL and the Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 and then
> decided to buy the Focusrite. 

What criteria did you use to make that decision?

I prefer the 1818VSL. Compared to the 18i6, it works more reliable at
low latency on this system, has a lower noise-floor and latching gain
knobs that don't wander (I only have one of each, so I can't rule out
any manufacturing aberrance, maybe I was lucky with the 1818VSL and
unlucky with the 18i6 -- jnoisemeter is your friend). I also prefer the
Presonus pre-amps, but that's personal taste I suppose.

> However, hardware monitoring of both
> audio interfaces is _not_ supported.

The Focusrite Scarlett series has an elaborate mixer interface which
does support direct monitoring. I can't vouch for the 18i20 but it does
works fine for the 18i6 and is supported in vanilla Linux since 3.19.

try `alsamixer` (it's overwhelming, all the matrix rounting are separate
controls, there are some GUI wrappers around it though)

> The devices could be used with Linux, because they are class compliant.

not quite. The Presonus is class compliant, the Focusrite is quirky.

> You do not get latency free
> hardware monitoring for each channel, at best for channels that are
> routed by default, or if you made a connection with a Mac or Windows PC
> and the interface is able to remember it. The OP's Presonus doesn't
> provide this feature, but even if an interface does, it doesn't gain
> you very much, if the Interface stores the routing done with a Mac or
> Windows PC.

I don't think that's true for the 1818VSL. Saving settings on the device
never worked for me, but maybe I'm missing something (the first time I
connected it to OSX, the Presonus software wanted to do a firmware
update, I didn't do that. There's anecdotal evidence that newer firmware
has issues with Linux).

The Focusrite can save mixer-settings on the device for use without PC
(it's one way save, you cannot query it). The OSX and Windows software
pushes mixer-settings saved on the PC when the device is connected,
overriding data saved on the device.

The driver in vanilla Linux does not expose this features.
Since the ALSA mixer interface does not support push-buttons, the
original driver exposed it as toggle. In most GNU/Linux distros ALSA
mixer settings are restored on boot and device-connect and there was
concern that regular (accidental) saving can wear out the flash storage
in the hardware.


More information about the Ardour-Users mailing list