Export tracks rather than stems, preserving the mono/stereo property

Hello Ardour community,

I’m looking for a way to exchange data between Ardour and other DAWs. I have a session with a number of tracks. Some tracks are stereo and some are mono. I used the stem export function, which resulted in all exported tracks converted into stereo.

This is not a major problem of course, but if it’s something you do frequently, as I do, it starts weighing on, because you have two options:

  1. Send your collaborators needless stereo tracks, e.g. “stereo kick drum”. They ask you the question, “why are you sending me a stereo kick drum? Was this really recorded in stereo?” and so you look ignorant / unprofessional.
  2. Manually convert stereo .WAV files into mono .WAV files each time you export. This is prone to human error, because you have to remember which track is supposed to be mono and which is supposed to be stereo. In time it starts weighing on you, because it’s a mind numbing repetitive busywork.

I can imagine a few possibilities to solve it, but ideally there would be a way to do it in Ardour.

Has anyone solved this?

Two different stem export passes, but my answer would generally be, I did it because my DAW does stereo stem exports, just drop one half of the file if needed. I don’t know many professionals that would really balk at that honestly, but hey, maybe my experience has been different.


Stem export has an option

 [x] include track/bus processing

When enabled, the output includes the panning (usually stereo), when disabled you get the raw audio (usually mono).

Or use Harrison Mixbus (blatant plug, sorry).

Mixbus preserves the inherent mono- or stereo- ness of your tracks during stem-export, because the panner is not inline with the main signal flow, but rather part of the mixbus summing.

Mixbus can open your Ardour sessions directly, no conversion step is required.

-Ben at Harrison

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Thank you everyone for your answers!

Just to confirm - deselecting [ ] include track/bus processing gives me mono tracks where appropriate. Thank you Robin!

I’ll experiment with Harrison Mixbus, haven’t checked it out yet.

Could we have Ardour do the same? Quite a few times I’d like a stem export of mono tracks with some processing, like a compressor, to still be mono. How do I best achieve that?

Long distance bass player here! I would love mono export with processing. Many of my collaborators are not at all professional so I like to make it as easy as possible for them This means an extra step to chop off the right channel. Maybe in the “channels” tab of the export dialogue you could have checkboxes for Stereo, L and R. This would allow you to produce up to 3 files per track in one export, The standard stereo file, and/or a mono file containing just the left or right channel.

I’ve just realised that ardour allows me to run a script after export so I’ll write a convert it to mono script that right away! I’d still like to be able to select individual channels in the channels tab though.

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