Copy workflow from other daws?

Been lurking around here and checking in from time to time.
Ardour seems nice.

I can’t help but think that the developers could pretty much copy pro tools workflow/editing style (mouse click behavior, smart tool, editing style) and they would have a HUGE user base.
Tons of people (including myself) are tired of avids financial way of doing things etc.

There could even be several “modes”.
Native mode, which has the original Ardour keyboard layout/mouse click etc behavior.

Then a Pro tools mode where it comes and close as possible to using pro tools.

Then a logic mode

Etc etc

I’m pretty sure a lot of people would switch from pro tools to another daw in an instant (lots of them) if they could find a daw that pretty much copied the essential workflow.

Just a thought.

I’ve been working on a library that imports sessions from ProTools into Ardour. It was included in Ardour 5.12 while under development, but will be more feature complete in Ardour 6. This is an important way to get users on-board, being able to import existing sessions from external daws where existing sessions are already stored.

Cool. Way to go:)
About pro tools workflow (not importing sessions, even though that will be very useful as well)
If general pro tools workflow is copied and you make a single post on the DUC forum about it, i’m sure a VERY large percentage will check out Ardour, and a VERY large percentage of those people will start to become Ardour users.
I personally don’t really care for the option to be able to import old PT sessions into a new daw (even though it’s super cool that you did it!), but what would be a true dealbreaker, was if i could have surround busses etc along with pro tools style editing/workflow. Without spending a big amount of dollars on Pro tools HD/Ultimate.
There are so many people who are very annoyed with AVID and ready to jump ship.
If you scope in on that crowd, there will be many customers to be had.

I am not sure that is true. Protools is used by many studios for the same reason 96000 sample rates are used. It is a selling point to potential customers rather than being the best of the best. Those who have already paid for Protools, are unlikely to throw their investment away for something almost free and that is not that well known and may throw potential customers off. Rather Ardour will be used by those who are A) convinced that open source with Linux as an OS is the only way to go or B) looking for something they can afford because they could never afford protools even if they wanted to or C) They have heard really good reviews of Ardour somewhere (or MixBus). That being the case, they are more likely looking for a reaper clone than a protools clone. In all cases of using any DAW (including protools) there is a learning curve. In both cases A and B above the learning curve is no different learning protools or Ardour. A bit of history… the tale I heard was that protools did not have a linux version and so Ardour was started as a linux version of protools… as such Ardour actually has a workflow more similar to protools than garageband for example. Changes to the workflow that Ardour has chosen are therefore more likely to be because there was a problem with the protools workflow.

All that aside, all of Ardour’s keyboard shortcuts can be set to match whatever DAW the user desires if they have muscle memory that would benefit from that.

In general changing workflow often means rewriting the GUI. That would not be a trivial task. Writing the GUI part to go along with a new feature generally takes at least ten times as long as adding the feature. This may be why commercial projects don’t make multi-workflow applications even though they have an order of magnitude greater size development staff as a minimum. This does not include whatever underlying changes might need to be made. So with the devs available this is not likely to happen.

Certainly, as Ardour is open source and GPL licenced, anyone who wished to use the core of Ardour and slap a new workflow on it would be able to do so (or at least allowed to do so) and perhaps an easier way would be to make a remote control “surface” designed with a chosen workflow in mind using OSC… though I would guess that OSC is not quit there yet in terms of having every available function available. (it is heading that way)

The main reason why ProTools is used is because of project interchange. In particular in the broadcast industry it’s the de-facto standard for that reason.

Workflow wise Ardour isn’t that different, although Ardour lends more of its concepts and keyboard-shortcuts from Logic Pro. – Although realistically I think it’s impossible to mimic another DAW in a way that make switching trivially seamless. The concepts are already similar enough to extrapolate, however there will always be subtle, yet significant, differences.

A pertinent discussion:

All that being said, I’d welcome some specifics how to make it easier for new Ardour users to get started, but I think that it should rather consolidate different existing workflows.

Ardour has supported Ambisonics as a surround format for longer than most DAWs. The N.M formats (5.1, 10.2 etc.) are proprietary formats controlled primarily by Sony, and we cannot implement them in an open source context. If people had understood the significance of Ambisonics when it was introduced (long before N.M), as Sony probably did, and actually used it, Ardour would be at least as desirable a DAW for this work as ProTools. Alas, until things “collapsed” down to the N.M formats, nobody really bothered with surround, and so here we are.

What is proprietary about 1-to-1 delivery channel to speaker mapping?
Doesn’t the VBAP panner that ships with Ardour handle 5 and 7 speaker arrangements OK?

N.M is about more than just channel to speaker mappings. It includes details about cutoffs and relative positioning of the speakers, and there is an encoding protocol too.

As long as you have 6 discrete outputs, you can do 5.1
I have worked professionally in audio post production the past 7 years and have done tons of 5.1 mixes. Build speaker setups, set up all cabling etc.
When you deliver 5.1, you just deliver 6 discrete audio mono channels and an optional 5.1 6 channel embedded file, which is just the 6 channels merged toghether
We might be misunderstanding each other here:)

All that aside, I really thing there is a market that could be tapped into, if any DAW did a “Pro tools” mode.
Ardour could be that DAW.

If it was that simple to steal away large numbers of users from ProTools, don’t you think another DAW would have done that?

Everybody has their idea of “if only DAW X did <that>, I could use it instead of ProTools”. The problem is that <that> varies widely. Yes, for some it would just be N.M surround and the keyboard shortcuts. For others, it’s other stuff (as noted above, there are some notably different concepts between DAWs - just as one example, how crossfades work (or even what they are)).

Our (or really, Harrison Consoles’) experience with Mixbus has made us fairly certain that “chasing ProTools users” in any kind of explicit way is generally a mistake. Instead, we (and Harrison with Mixbus) try to offer a tool that offers its own distinct set of benefits. In Ardour’s case, that happens to include the ability to modify it and extend it and distribute it in any way you may wish to, but that doesn’t mean that everything a particular user or group of users may see as useful and appealing makes sense for the program as a whole.

Doing 5.1 properly and with a credible workflow involves a lot more than just 6 discrete channels. I would love to see us offer this, but it’s not feasible at this particular time, given our very very limited development resources and our other current priorities.

I def. understand that making X daw behave like Y daw, is not a black/white thing, and that for some people X is important , others Y.
Let’s say that 100 people are thinking of switching. They are contemplating switching to reaper or cubase (just to name some random daws). X percentage of them will end up switching.
If there was a DAW that was more like Pro tools, a bigger percentage would switch to Ardour.
But I understand if you dont want to chase PT users.
I just think it will be a way to “easily” get a pretty big chunk of people interested. I write “easily”, because I dont know if its worth it, when you analyse its cost/benifit. I am no programmer:)

I see what you mean, but I don’t think that is relevant at the production stage, the details about cutoff and positioning are only related to the playback system. SMPTE has some standards for large room setup, ITU for small room setup, THX has some standards for home equipment to follow and I think still has a theater certification program, all of which is related to setup of the playback equipment and not the audio source.

Encoding protocol is strictly a concern of the delivery mechanism, and just like Ardour does not (or did not, I haven’t checked the export options in the latest builds) concern itself with MP3, but just with delivering the final mix as wav files, ardour should provide the final surround mix as wav file(s) and leave the job of converting to Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital +, DTS-Master, etc. to the pre-master software making a disc image or streaming file.

I suspect there are probably people already making surround sound mixes with Ardour that just don’t talk about it much because it is relatively straight forward, since Ardour lets you create arbitrary channel count busses.

As someone who has hanged around the forums of multiple DAW’s, I can give you a small glimpse into what the developers see from a lot of users. And this is in no way an attack towards you because I know you’re just giving your ideas, but just something to consider:

With any DAW, there are always people who tell the developers: “If only you implemented X, people may finally use this DAW in large numbers. Until you implement X, no way!”. Then when developers implement X, there’s a bunch of people both saying “X makes this DAW unusable, I loved the old way”, and also a group of people saying “You made X while this DAW is still lacking Y. If you don’t implement Y, nobody will take this DAW seriously!”.

I can’t stress enough how often and for how many years I have seen this pattern. This pattern pops up especially for less expensive DAW’s, because people tend to look up to things that are more expensive, and thus if something costs more, they assume those DAW’s are doing things “the right way”.

Again, this is not really that relevant to your post as you’re actually being really nice about it, just something I wanted to get out there for others.

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Yeah I totally understand that.
I guess it would have to be an option that you could enable somewhere.
If I had the knowledge and the money, I would make a “Pro Audio Tools” app, that would lure all the AVID people over to my DAW:)

Maybe you want Ardour to behave like Pro Tools because you are hitting the learning curve ? This happened to me also.

When I first started to use Ardour I tried to change every keyboard shortcut to behave like those on Pro Tools. I had used PT for years at work and having to learn new shortcuts and workflows seemed like something I didn’t want to do. After hacking the keyboard shortcuts for a couple of months I realised that I was fighting against the natural Ardour workflows and that prevented me from learning the Ardour way of doing things. I also soon grew tired of hacking the shortcuts after every new Ardour release.

I gave in and stopped changing shortcuts and decided to make a couple of test projects to learn every workflow in Ardour that I was familiar with in PT. It took a while but it made me feel right at home in Ardour. I suggest you do the same, just make a couple of test projects just for learning every functionality you need. Then you no longer have a need for Pro Tools workflows and you will find some nice new things you don’t have in PT :slight_smile:

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