Exported track quieter than track played on ardour

Hi, I hope this is the correct section.

I just exported a track I recorded and mixed on ardour and I noticed that the track I hear on my players (clementine, mpv media player ecc…) is quieter than the track I hear when I play it on ardour itself and I can’t manage to understand why.
I also checked that I wasn’t specifying “normalize” in the exporting dialog box; since - AFAIK - when you tell ardour to normalize your track, it can cut your volume down removing peaks or trying to fit your track into a LUFS threshold which you specify.

Could you help me understand this behaviour?

Thanks in advance

Ardour uses exclusive access to the audio device, so the signal level at the outputs is controlled just by Ardour. Most other applications would be using something like PulseAudio so that multiple applications can share the audio, so the final signal level is a combination of any level settings in the application, and the per-application volume controls and the final system volume control.

Normalize is a process that will simply modify the gain of the entire file. By default it will not match LUFS levels, but rather peak levels, and chances are would be a good idea in your case, making the peak level as loud as possible without clipping.

And as @ccaudle mentioned, there are multiple reasons why you might get differing sound levels. One basic reason, if you have the monitor section active especially, is to check to make sure you do not have DIM engaged, or the monitor volume adjusted.


Hi and thanks for answering to you both!

this is a screenshot of my mixer window with the monitor strip opened on the right. As can be seen, DIM shouldn’t be engaged, at least AFAIK…

Concerning the exclusive access to the audio device: when I export the track, I hear it on the clementine audio player, in which I set Jack sink as the output device; as I’m using Jack to manage audio. Also, I specify that clementine volume is set to 100%

Your monitor level (The knob near the bottom on the right) is set to +6. This is why your are hearing a much stronger signal in Ardour than elsewhere.


Thank you for the insight!
Could you please explain me what is happening in more detail? Why does Ardour make the signal stronger when the monitor knob is turned up? I guess the monitor knob is used to manage monitors in some way, and - thus - the knob simply controls the monitors volume, is that right? It would be great if could describe me a simple scenario in which we use this feature and how, this would clarify a lot!

Thanks a lot anyway for the help!

You have the gist of it. The monitor section is about controlling your monitors, it allows you to adjust the perceived volume while you mix, without actually adjusting what would be the level of the outputted mix when exported. This becomes very important as depending on what you are mixing, and how compressed it is, or even what stage you are mixing at, you may want to have a particular volume level to hear by (In fact there are standard for this in studio usage, but that is a more detailed topic). This knob allows you to adjust how loud you hear the mix, without actually adjusting the mix itself, allowing you to listen to quiet portions of your mix louder, and louder portions of your mix quieter as the need arises.

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