Ardour as control surface

Hi all,

I’m a long time and very happy and grateful user of Ardour.
I often find myself thinking that the best control surface for ardour could be just… Ardour itself :slight_smile:
I mean something like A) a main Ardour instance running in a sort of server mode and doing the real job, and B) a second instance of Ardour - the “control surface” -running in client mode on a different machine that is - for instance- nearby who is playing and recording a track in a better sounding environment, with both machine on the same network and the client machine fully controlling the Ardour instance in server mode.
Maybe it is already possible achieving this kind of setup, but I didn’t find the way… Or maybe this could be an interesting feature for a future release of Ardour.

Thank you for the great job with Ardour guys!!!

PS: sorry for my poor english, hope I gave you the idea…

You are probably aware of VNC ?

On Linux you can use VNC or XForwarding:

Hi Mikael,

yes, I am aware, but even if I use linux (and xForwarding when needed) for everything, I’m not using linux at the moment for audio things, and a lot of people use Windows and Mac.
Anyway I would prefer the direct control way because I would find VNC and/or xForwarding an unnecessary and heavy over structure and I find that could be a more general solution.

Thank you!

XForwarding in particular is actually not really much overhead. In fact remote location of machines is not uncommon in professional studios for a noise standpoint, usually accomplished with cables and extenders though.

But that being said I have looked at what you are asking before. There are a couple of components, one is the audio transport, getting audio from your ‘recording/control’ machine to the server, unless you want to record on the server? There are a few ways to accomplish this, if not on Linux Dante is a fantastic way to do this, Dante Via in particular. If on Linux NetJack can accomplish this, but it may require a bit more work.

Then you have the control itself. Here is where I will come back around to the original point. Look at what would need to be controlled for a full setup, not only the Ardour UI itself but also the UI of every plugin as well which is code outside of Ardour’s control. Ways around this mean hosting the plugins on the control computer which is probably not what you want, and much more work that grows as your session grows. So really you want every aspect of the UI on the control computer… which is exactly what XForwarding in particular does pretty effectively (Little machine overhead), and VNC does in a different way(More machine overhead as the video stream is compressed and decompressed by the respective computers). For Ardour to implement this effectively means implementing the same technology for the plugin UIs as has already been done and probably done more effectively than Ardour’s team could do any time soon. Seeing as probably 90% of Ardour’s code is in the UI, that is a vast undertaking honestly.

To be honest VNC solutions are utilized in professional situations in the live sound world in particular (Where I live) which can include recording in theaters and venues for this fairly commonly as well as KVM extenders and cabling as mentioned above.

I agree with you, I know how really good is XForwarding. But I’m not sure how (simply) accomplish this with a mac or win machine and an average audio card… will try to investigate further.
By the way, trying to be more specific: what I was thinking, is a working mode in which Ardour will send to a server machine same OSC signals that otherwise would get from a very good control surface. Just a way to do simple things as start and stop play/record, maybe add/remove a track, ecc. straight recording on the server.

Thank you for your answer Seablade

If I understand correctly, this could be just around the corner for version 6:

I’m also looking forward to this!

Yes!!! Very good news!!! :slight_smile:
I’ve just tried but get 404… surely I’m missing something

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