Ardour Software Monitoring for Songwriters

I just posted this on Ubuntu’s forum and thought I’d put it here as well. This is intended for singers/songwriters and bedroom hackers who are hoping to use Ardour like they use Cubase or Tracktion.

Ardour does not behave exactly like Cubase or Tracktion, and despite the initial frustrations, that is NOT a bad thing!

Ardour’s way is a great way and totally works when you start to get it.

For software monitoring, set up stereo bus tracks for any inputs you are recording and wish to monitor. If your recording a guitar, assign the inputs directly to that bus (as well as to the guitar track of course). The guitar track itself will cut out when you hit play/record, but that bus will play just fine, along with whatever fx you put on it. Put on your amp sim (SimulAnalog are the ABSOLUTE BESTEST ; ) and whatever else you like on that send ‘guitar monitor’ track as I like to call it and record away.

If, like me, you want to have the Hydrogen drum machine kicking along in the background, do the same thing with that. Create a ‘drum monitor’ bus and route hydrogen into it (to the Ardour bus only, not to the sound card outs).

Lastly, and this is optional, go to Ardour’s Options menu and click on ‘Rec-enable Stays Engaged’. Now make sure all you record buttons are disengaged.

Now you can hit ‘play’ and jam and tweak the fx and levels on the sends (that you listening to) and hear exactly what you’re going to hear when you record. To record, just click the enable button on your guitar track (the guitar track itself, not the send track) and you’re off and running.

Once you get a take you like, listen to it and you’ll find that everything was recorded dry as a bone. Hit ‘ALT M’ to bring up the mixer and drag the fx from your guitar monitor bus channel onto the guitar channel itself. Right-click ‘activate all’ and give it a listen. Sa-wheat or what? ; ) If you’ve recorded Hydrogen as well on another track, be sure an mute Hydrogen itself at this point so you’re just hearing the recorded track without hearing Hydrogen (or just hit mute on the drum monitor bus).

Hope this helps and makes sense to anyone who might be searching or googling on this.

Ardour is a PHENOMENAL program. Stick with it, make a donation if you can and GET THOSE METERS BOUNCING!

; )


nice to see some enthusiasm :slight_smile: yeah, what you can do with this program is quite amazing. I am still learning things everyday even though I’ve been using this program since … can’t tell you … :smiley:

you’re a legend skipkent!
I’ve spent about four hours today trying to get ardour up and running, and thanks that that advice it’s finally looking good! I might just be able to dump windoze yet… :slight_smile:
this should be in the ardour manual - there’s a big gap around monitoring where it’s not really explained at all.

Hi, could someone please spell the above instructions out in newer the nemby terms. A does this. B do that. C do this.

Thanks Philip

hello Philip,

The idea is to monitor the incoming signal prior to recording it bare.
So if you create a say guitar track, you can add a send to one of the fader areas (pre or post) to a bus you have created for monitoring purpose. If you don’t have hardware monitoring or want to hear plugin effects on the incoming signal while you are playing the guitar, it is a neat trick. You can add effects to the monitoring bus so that it won’t affect the incoming signal routed to the track itself. When you record, you will be able to hear the guitar and the software effects applied to it thanks to the bus. The track where the audio will be stored will contain the bare guitar sound because all your effects are on the bus. When you are done recording, you can tweak these effects further until you reach the right sound. When your are satisfied, you can copy these tuned plugins to the track’s fader area and discard the monitor bus if no longer needed. I hope this is clear enough :slight_smile:

Try experimenting with it, it’s not difficult to grasp once you have a working setup.

Gotta set the monitoring “right” in the options (I like ardour does monitoring).