TL;DR at bottom
Background storySo last Saturday during my (now online) Audio Engineering course we did a little comparison of some well-known DAW's to see how they handle things differently. The task at hand was: how to align (or "quantize") a drum track to a grid / tempo map. Think of equivalent workflows to PT's Beat Detective.
Our session had several drum tracks recorded using a click track (kick in/out; 3 toms, top/bottom snares, hi-hat and left-center-right overheads).
Granted, we didn’t compare Ardour per se but rather Mixbus 32c v6, but the Rhythm Ferret module is exactly the same in Ardour AFAIK. I tested the workflow on my own system - with Ardour & MB latest versions - and experienced the same results.
- Course PC spec: Mac OS 10.13.6 | Intel Xeon 6-core 3.46GHz | 64GiB RAM
- My PC spec: openSUSE Leap 15.2 kernel 5.3.18-preempt | AMD FX-6300 6-core 3.2GHz | 8 GiB RAM | AMD Radeon RX 550
AnalyzeWe selected Percussive mode, set Sensitivity to ~70 and Cut Pos Threshold -40dB or so, and pressed "Analyze"...Which. Took. Ages...There's no real progress indicator, but eventually we got a result which was sub-par at best (lots of misses in the beginning, too many hits at the end). After a few more (frustrating) tries we just hit "Apply" and... MB promptly crashed.
I recreated this scenario on my home setup with Ardour and got the same problems except for the crash. But the whole Rhythm Ferret “Analyze” was rather slow, and even with an analyzed audio track played on click it still can be difficult to get a workable result out of it.
ApplyI did manage to get my regions split up into 100s of small little regions, but now the whole session is just unusable. I can barely get it to open and render, and actions like zooming, selecting regions etc... is a real drag now. I tried combining the regions again but I constantly run out of patience :smiley: It doesn't seem to me that analyzing the audio first (for transients) improves the process, although I always do just in case.
- Rhythm Ferret can be a lot of “hit 'n miss” to get it right, fair enough. But since analyzing can take a very long time and there’s no real progress indicator if the process hangs or not. This is purely a visual thing. Is it feasable to display a warning message that the process can take a while; or actually show a progress bar ? Anything that warns the user so he can cancel out ?
- When you end up with lots of small regions, the whole session can be unusable (open, zoom, edit, selecting regions… all very slow). Since you don’t get an indication if this outcome is possible, when you get this far it’s already too late. Is this hardware related ? Can Ardour internals be improved or is it a combination of both ?
I’d love to hear some feedback on how to improve our workflow, speed up the process, suggestions, experiences…?