[Ardour-Users] Recording to Midi accompaniment

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Thu Feb 15 10:06:59 PST 2018

"Chris Caudle" <chris at chriscaudle.org> writes:

> On Wed, February 14, 2018 2:12 pm, David Kastrup wrote:
>> So I'm trying to figure out the best option for my talk that will
>> [make] Ardour look good.  Part of the incentive to go to such talks,
>> after all, is the hope to be saving time by doing things "as
>> intended", go with the flow.
> Ardour typically has several different ways to get things done. I
> think the intent is to support multiple different work styles, so
> there is probably more than one way to get to your end result
> (although MIDI handling is probably still weaker in Ardour than some
> other packages that are more MIDI or electronic music focused).

Ok, I now got it.  First you "nudge" the Midi to the right and let it
align on the next beat.  That gives you the leeway to record "before

Then you use _both_ a count-in _and_ a preroll.  Of course, the
Transport menu only offers either one or the other (frankly, a count-in
without a preroll is pretty useless since the whole point of a count-in
is being able to come in on point and when that's where recording
starts, you are certain _not_ to have a smooth start).

So you use the Session/Properties/Misc menu in order to set the
"Metronome/Always count-in when recording" tick mark.  And then you use
the Transport/Record w/Preroll menu entry instead of the
Transport/Record w/Count-In meny entry to start recording and the result
is a recorded track where you can move the left edge further left to
expose pre-beat content.

In short: you must not fall for the obvious trap in the "Transport" menu
but rather set the Count-In in a separate, utterly obscure menu
elsewhere in order to actually use it in a sensible way.

Great user interface design.

>> If I use "record with count-in", recording starts on the beat
> Why use record with count-in?

Because I want to record with a Count-In?

> If you have moved the MIDI over one or two bars already, just put the
> playhead at the beginning, arm the track and start recording.  So you
> have two bars of unneeded audio recorded, it takes at most a few
> seconds to grab the region end and pull the fade-in over to just
> before where you need it.

Sure, but I'll still need to get the Metronome beat to where I want it.
The easiest way is to just use the functionality intended for that.  Too
bad that this requires working with two different menus and ignoring the
most obvious contender for doing this.

Personally, I think it is utterly pointless _not_ to record w/Preroll
when doing a Count-In.  The worse that may happen is that you have a few
seconds of material you'll never pull into your session.

> What will be the starting point?  A completely blank session, or you
> can set the session up before the demo starts?

Blank session is the fair thing to do.

> Did you ever record on an analog tape recorder?  Ardour works
> perfectly well as a multi-track tape recorder, hit record and go.

It should be better than that.

> I haven't really tried importing a MIDI track into Ardour before, maybe I
> should try that tonight first before I go off on some incorrect
> assumptions.  Do you have that MIDI track or some other example track
> available I could use to try out what you are trying to do?
> Also noticed this on the YouTube link you referenced earlier:
>> The bad news is that Ardour really wants to work with Jack
> That hasn't been true for a couple of major versions now, Ardour will
> happily take exclusive control of your ALSA device.

"Really wants to work with Jack" is not the same as "can only work with
Jack".  Letting Jack deal with the realtime problems of Audio is the
sane thing to do.

>> vokoscreen only supports ALSA or Pulseaudio.
> If you use ALSA how does vokoscreen connect to the ALSA device?

You connect to the output monitor.

> By connect I mean, if you have a microphone connected to the input of
> your ALSA device, if vokoscreen records the that input then the
> screencast would have only the microphone, not the rest of the Ardour
> tracks (and in that case Ardour would not have the audio recorded from
> the microphone, only vokoscreen would, so I think that is not what you
> want).

Connecting to the Pulseaudio Jack Sink explicitly (as done in the video)
makes more sense anyway.

> You would need some way to do the equivalent no matter what.
> Screencasting a live recording can get really tricky.  Are you
> monitoring the output of the microphone, or just listening to the MIDI
> track playback and the acoustic output of your voice, and trusting
> that everything gets together in the end?  I don't quite follow the
> routing connections, is the microphone input being connected directly
> to the master bus while recording so that while recording you hear the
> output of the MIDI track, and also your voice from the microphone
> through a round trip of input-ardour-output?

It depends on what you want to do.

>> Another problem is that when exporting, Ardour routes all of the output
>> through the Jack graph
> I think that may be a consequence of having pulse connected.  If you
> disconnect the pulse-sink then Ardour should be able to freewheel
> while exporting, which means no audio output, it just crunches through
> the files as fast as it can.

Funny thing is that various audio players freeze in various manners
while playing back the whole export (which is captured in a .mkv file
for the screencast) while the Youtube player fast forwards through the
passage.  I like the Youtube approach to the .mkv file better, but I
only got to see it after uploading.

David Kastrup

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