Export wishes and sticking tracks together

The new features in Ardour are excellent, but I wanted to make 2 suggestions for extensions. For this I have to describe my way of working:

Once a year we make an audio book including a performance of a theatrical text. We rehearse one week, then there is the dress rehearsal, where we repeat if mistakes occur. I listen to everything in the night. Then there are correction recordings before the performance and then the performance. The whole thing is recorded by an OB truck with Mac and I think ProTools.

I get all the tracks and I import them into Ardour, cut them and then export them back to the studio for mastering. In the current project I have 3 x 13 tracks (3h - 1.day, 80 min - performance, 30 min - corrections).

1st wish export

It would be very helpful if I could export all 39 tracks as mono files with one click. It works now too, but very complicated. I export only 2 tracks at a time, give one to the left and the other to the right and select the mono option.

  1. wish to glue tracks together so that they cannot be moved against each other

I often cut on the way, on the train, in theatre breaks, etc. and it happens to me again and again that one of the 13 tracks slips against another track without me noticing it, although I am extremely careful that this doesn’t happen. Once it was only a tenth of a second and I destroyed 4 days of work. Everything else should be possible of course, deleting single parts of tracks, moving them in the timeline etc. etc.

I hope I have described it clearly and also I hope that it does not already exist and I am too stupid to understand it…

1 Like

You can already export multiple tracks as mono, or just export them as stereo and batch split them with SoX afterwards.

You can link tracks together by grouping them. - https://manual.ardour.org/working-with-tracks/track-and-bus-groups/


sorry you are right for the export - I tried to export yesterday 5 tracks and there where all empty - I have no idea why - I tried it 2 times???

With groups, I know how to work, but this does not help me. I just can show you a simple part where I use just 2 mics

, how it looks like, because I am just on the beginning - I always start with the simple parts, to train myself, but I have parts with 15 tracks scattered all over the the 39, which you cannot overlook .
I have to cut first the text, then the music, and again sometimes some text, because its all the time a challenge to fit everything on the CD. So at the end I have to move all those parts around, which are not fitting on the screen. If you make just one single error, you do not check, especially in this last part of the process you are lost.
In the meantime I make daily snapshots, to avoid bigger troubles, but I think this case would not be a problem, if they will glue together from the beginning, because the tracks never in the whole project get moved against each-other.

I am not a professional cutter - so if nobody needs a feature like this, no problem, I just thought it could also be useful for others. And I have no idea, if this could be technically realized.

I would also find this very useful when the stems are going to be transferred to another mono channel.

You can split to mono from the Master export, but not in the stem export dialog. When you stem export mono channels you get stereo files.

It would be nice to have a checkbox in the stem export dialog for mono output. Of course the panner would be bypassed, but if you need a mono export you already want that.

I invested yesterday the whole day to find out, when in my working process this shift of tracks happens. I cannot work only with groups - a noise, a crackl is often only on 1 track - and It happens only, when I select a single track with the mouse - not with the trackpad - when you click the button and move in the same moment the mouse very little. I changed the surfaces, it still happened, I glued pieces of felt to the bottom of the mouse, but then moving tracks around was a pain. And I don’t want to work like a lame duck, because I would need 2 month and not 1 month.
So for me now the solution is to split my workflow - all the group work, I do with the mouse and when I work on a single track, I unplug the mouse and do this with the trackpad.
Another technical solution, than glueing tracks together would be, to split selecting and moving tracks. I never select a track and move it at the same time - I select it and then take it and move it. If it would not possible, to move a track, when I select it, it would not happen.

I would like to take this opportunity to describe a few things that are not very well solved for my workflow. I would say 70% of my work is cutting and moving arround files.

I dont understand, that, when I switch from the hand to the scissor, the selected files are unselected, I have to select the tracks in the left window again and just the I can cut them - I dont understand the advantage of this behavior and and even if this process is already relatively automated in the meantime, every time the thought comes up why?

The next case is to copy and paste multiple files on not following tracks. I have 3 x 9 tracks. For one part of the play I copy files from track 1, 4 and 7 from the corrections and want to paste them to same part of the performance. OK I put the mouse on the first track on the position, where I want the files and press strg V and it pasts, but in track1,2,3 - still here the question why? for what this could be used for?
I mean its possible - you have to select track 1,4,7 on the left track window, put the mouse on the 1 track on the position and then it pastes correct. I think, it also interrupts the workflow.

and last case I think, is a bug. Until now in my plays, I had maximum 3 x 9 tracks and I left the parts in tracks, where they origin from - so I always know, this part is from dress-rehearsal etc. just in case on the end I have to change something. 27 tracks on a full hdmi screen are able to handl. 39, I think not. So I created an empty track under reach track of the perfomance, where I copy the files of the other parts - so it will be 26 tracks on the end.

So I have 4 groups - 2 groups for the actors and 2 for the music, but it is not 9+9+4+4 its 1,2,1,2 and so on. I select one track in group 1 and do something, evrything ok, the same with group 2, but when I select both groups, I can select all files from the first group, but only the first file from the second group - all other files from the group stay unselected.

And this is not a bug, just a wish - it would be cool to make a super group - like 1+3 together as group 5 and 2+4 as group 6

Hi kultex,

Regarding your question about “exporting all 39 tracks to mono files”. You should first select all your tracks (Ctrl+T {Cmd+T on mac} is a shortcut for that) use Session->Export->Stem Export. That will export the selected tracks and time range(s) as individual wavefiles.

Regarding your comment about slipping the tracks accidentally: you should enable the “Lock” mode in the upper-left corner of the editor. That prevents regions from slipping left and right on the timeline. You can still cut, trim, and fade the regions but they won’t move out of place.

Regarding your comment “I destroyed 4 days of work” … you’ll find a backup snapshot in the “backups” subfolder. In these cases you can sometimes find the last-known-good snapshot and start from there. But if you’ve continued 4 days without noticing … yes that is a big problem. Depending on the makeup of your session, you -might- be able to use the “region->natural position” to recover from this.

In general, it sounds like you are doing a lot of region object edits (using scissor tool, etc) when you might find it better to use the Range tool. For example you can use the Range tool to select a range of time and tracks, and delete it. This accomplishes a task that would require a lot of separate region splits and selections, in one swipe.

I hope these comments help!
-Ben at Harrison

Hi Ben,

thanks a lot for your help - the Stem Export I will definite try.

I know the “Lock” mode, in the first phase, no way - I select, cut, move, listen, cut move, listen etc. etc. Maby for the now second phase, it might be a possibility, there I remove crackles from single tracks - then I could do this with the mouse. But often, when I remove a crackl, I have to copy in a breathing from nearby and this I have to move until it fits - so I dont think, I will use the lock mode.

And I use the range mode for cutting out the crackles, but for the beginning when I listen and reaarange the regiones, maybe the pause between two words is to long, so I cut it exactly where I want, move it over and and overlap it and it often fits - or the pause is to short, I cut it in the middle, open the gap and trimm both ends a little bit and often its ok - I am used to it and it was just to mention…

thx Thomas

I forgot one I think important thing, when you are working with copy & paste of multiple tracks. After you select the tracks, where you want to paste the regions and you forget to put the mouse into the regions window, you will not see any pasted regions.

But dont think, the pasted regions disappear - you will find them all in the first minutes of your project. Therefor I all the time leave some 5 minutes empty on the start, when I cut, because I always find some lost childs there…