First "killer application" - Ardour
What if? I welcome you to multitrack recording!
Ardour is a good candidate to be a "killer application" for linux. It has it all: although it is a beta it is quite stable, it supports all of the standards in the digital audio, it is more and more simple and effective to use, it follows an open development and on the Mailing Lists every input or advise from the beta testers is always welcomed. Ardour is obviously free software, therefore GPL, therefore it can be freely extended and modified by anyone.
The "definition" of ardour is: Audio Digital Workstation. Ardour is closely related to the development of jack, if we consider that the main developer of the two projects is the same brilliant and somewhat visionary Mr Paul B. Davis, "former employee n.2 at amazon.com".
Ardour is a multitrack recorder with audio editing ability, support for plugins, unlimited undo/redo /redo, full automation support, mixing console with possibility to add a number of tracks/busses virtually limited only by the hardware available.
Let's go back to the example proposed before in order to introduce a tipical ardour session. For this test I want to record an example song. The structure should be simple: drums, bass, two guitars and voice.
First hting to do is to launch the sound server Jack:
$: jackd - R - d alsa - d opl3sa2 - r 44100as root, or
$: jackstart - R - d alsa - d opl3sa2 - r 44100as simple user (in a kernel patched for "capabilities"). Note those commands make sense just in the case you have defined "opl3sa2" as your sound-card, anyway, like I said, I always use qjackct.
Now my machine is ready for being used like a small recording studio. I set up the samplerate at 44100 because my audio card and my PC in general truly suck, but jack, ardour and any other jack enabled applications support until 96KHz of sample rate, that is the audio quality found on dvd's. Now let's start ardour:
Without entering in the detail of ardour's configuration and personalization, it is easy and intuitive enough to set up a session in a rational way. I generally begin with putting together a drums part with hydrogen.
Once it is ready, leaving hydrogen in execution, I launch ardour, create a new session with the appropriate menu. This will create a folder with the name I decide to give the session. Inside that directory ardour will put all the recorded data, together to the metadata it needs. Again from the session menu, I click on "add tracks" and I add the following 5:
- Drums - stereo
- Bass - mono
- Guitar1 - mono
- Guitar2 - mono
- Voice - mono
While there are I also add another stereo track and I call it MIX, see below. One thing I generally do is to save one "session" like this as a Model for future sessions. This is done saving as Model from the Session menu. Subsequently I can create other similar sessions using the saved model, as it can be seen in the image above.
Now to record hydrogen's output, that is the drums part, directly into ardour, in the track purposely created. Remember of the"Transport"? Well, in order to make this, ardour must be configured as transport "master" and hydrogen like "slave".
Recording the first track
- 1 click on the Input button in the appropriate strip, and from tab Ardour add hydrogen_L and hydrogen_R respectively to the channel L and R of the trace
- (optional) 1 click on the Output button to add/modify the track's output to be able to listen to the trace while it is recorded
- 1 click on the R button in the appropriate strip
- 1 click up on the appropriate and inequivocabile red button
And finally one click on the Play button, I am recording! If not, there must be some misconfiguration: one have to make sure to correctly set up the transport master/slave parameters and those related to Input and Output. Once hydrogen has finished playng the drums part, I stop the recording. Deselecting the R button I can listen to the drums take.
Applying an example LADSPA plugin
Let's try to add a light reverber on drums. From the routing prefences dialog under the Window menu, or right-clicking in the appropriate dark area in the mixer strip, I can assign plugins, inserts and sends, let's try with FreeVerb, listen again to the track, better. I can always change the plugin's parameters at any time.