Fader Automations

If i want to draw some automation points on the fader automation track, it sets the level of the fader to the first point i draw on the aut.-track. How can i find the default original gain level as the starting point on the fader aut.-track, not being on the same level as my first drawn point on the automation?

Draw your first point to the level you want it? I am not sure if I understand what you are asking honestly. It sounds like you are trying to get the first point to be equal to your current fader level, which the answer would be to draw the first point at that level and then draw the second point at the new level where you want it. ou can do this by either clicking in the automation track, or switching to write mode temporarily so that it writes the fader location to the automation track, just don’t forget to swap back out to TOUCH or PLAY mode as needed so you don’t overwrite any automation you do draw in.


Now i found what i wanted!
I am sorry if for my unclear explantation. What i am trying to do is to make the gain stying in the green range (as said i am new to DSP, is this a correct choice to edit the gain in order to bring it in the green range, in order to have a better audio quality?), and i am doing this on the fader automation-track by hand, selecting as the midlle value 0,0 dB, and where it goes yellow drawing it to a lower dB value. Is this attitude all in all donating to a better sound quality if i am for example bringing it on cd later?
Many thanks

The audio quality is no worse when it goes in to the yellow or red - in fact those colours mean nothing as they depend on which type of meter you have selected. If you are using Ardour’s default of floating point processing, the levels can even go over the top of the meter scale without distortion. The only place where quality suffers is when your master bus is converted to linear PCM for monitoring or export: then it will clip if it tries to go over 0dBFs, and you should certainly avoid that in general.

What you are doing (attentuating the peaks dynamically) is far more easily done with a compressor or limiter.

Is this attitude all in all donating to a better sound quality
Let your ears be the judge of that, whether you do it by tweaking the automation or with a compressor.

Another question about automation. AFAICT it’s the only thing that irritates me in Ardour and I’m not sure if I’m able to tweak it or just to turn it off. I often set manually different parameters on tracks: effects, EQ, faders and so on and then I’m deciding to use automation and when I pick the ‘Touch’ mode on a parameter, it jumps to a default value. Is there any way to do the same whit the parameter staying on the level set before? Ofc I could just pay attention to the number and then move the dot or given fader manually, but still it takes time and The Flow fades away :slight_smile:

Many thanks!

  • 1 for ototto’s complaint

“touch” means “play back existing automation data unless the control is being touched, in which case overwrite existing automation data”.

Given this definition, when you enter touch mode, the value necessarily needs to move the level determined by existing automation data (which may mean the default value if there is no automation data at that point on the timeline).

Well, I think that you’re right, well, let’s say, formally. But in my humble opinion there is no good at all when the fader jumps like this, whether it’s ‘Touch’ or ‘Write’ mode and the only difference between them should be the fader’s behaviour after you stop holding it in position with your mouse. Yet again, I understand your argument and thank you for the clarification.
As I checked literally a while ago, the ‘Write’ mode doesn’t behave like this. So to overcome this, hm, functionality, you can pick ‘Write’ mode and then, while you don’t have to hold the fader, pick ‘Touch’ mode during the playback and everything’s fine then.

@ototto: let’s say we did things as you want. What would happen when you enter touch mode at point on the timeline where there is existing automation data? What is the value of the control as playback starts? A single roll of the transport in touch mode with no actual touching of the controllers should be identical to being in “Play” mode. How could this be possible if we don’t set the control(s) to the right value before starting playback?

@ototto: For what it’s worth, the way you want it to work is actually very close to the way it works on real consoles. (disclaimer: I used to be a design engineer with SSL, the company who virtually defined studio / console automation systems).
If my recollection is correct, on the consoles I was familiar with, there was the concept of a ‘mix’ which was basically all the automation data between a start and end point in time.
When you enabled automation, if no ‘mix’ data existed, the current state of the controls would be written as the initial ‘mix’, precisely because you didn’t want the desk to do what Ardour does and jump back to some default value of its own when you enabled automation after having setup the console.
Then, when you rollback and replay the mix, any new moves are written in addition / or inplace of this mix data according to the automation mode. With that concept as a starting point, just about all the other (complex) implementation details of automation follow naturally from it (and seems to have worked quite adequately for most studio / mix engineers for the last 30+ years or more)

this isn’t about enabling automation. ardour does what you describe in write mode. the issue under discussion is for “touch”.

@Paul: You’re missing the point of my reply entirely, I haven’t misunderstood what you are discussing - I’m telling you how this problem was solved for real consoles, its not about enabling or disabling automation (or even touch or other modes) specifically - that’s an implementation detail of the hardware, which I have direct experience of - I’m just showing you how, if you take my example as a very basic starting point, eveything else about making automation work properly falls into place. How you implement that in Ardour is up to you, but you haven’t done it correctly at the moment. Ardour is not unique in this aspect, but if you are making a DAW which is more closely linked to a console / multi-track paradigm you need to look at how the real hardware works. Once you do that, everything else which a DAW can add (that you couldn’t do with the old hardware) follows naturally from it, in a way which is intuitive and usable. There is a right way to do this, it already exists, and Ardour does not do it correctly at the moment.

I see it this way: We’re in the ‘Manual’ and if there is no automation data, after hitting ‘Touch’ the given fader stays at the same value, as it was before the hit. If there is such data, the fader jumps to the current value of the curve. And no matter if the transport is rolling or is stopped. Could you please give me an example, where this wouldn’t work?

@paul, I hope you undarstand that for me the whole subject is just a minor irritating thing :slight_smile: And now, while we’re having this discussion, I’m trying out different ways of doing this, and I think it’s just a matter of changing my habits. And certainly: since Ardour 3 all the bugs and imperfections (such as looping the atomation curve along with the looped playback, that was something ;P) you’ve made such progress, that there is pretty much nothing to complain about.

Well, I’m gonna get irritating to you maybe, but I’ll ask anyway - about automation, ofc. In Samplitude 10 (I’m not even sure what version is released now) there was another automation mode, ‘Latch’ mode as I remember. You could program some automation (no matter what parameter), then change from ‘Write’ or ‘Touch’ to ‘Latch’ and then, with the knob or fader,move the whole curve up or down. I.e.: automated fader follows the key points and when you move the fader on the channel strip or wherever by +1dB, every single point in track goes up +1dB. Did you see such functionality in any DAW? Whaddya say? :slight_smile:

@mike has named it clearly: ‘manual’ should set the initial point of the potential automation data, if such doesn’t exist yet.

we don’t have latch mode, but it is nominally in the to-do list.

That’s cool, thanks, @paul :slight_smile:

+1 it will be nice to move all the automation points up or down in one “shot”.

Have found “simple amplifier” to do the same job on fader…

@stratojaune - that’s simple amp’s gonna be useful, thanks :slight_smile:

Definitely listen to mike here. I’ve always previously agreed with Paul’s viewpoint here, the automation works, it is logical, any issues are user error. Unfortunately I’ve not really had time to sit down and learn the automation system and I have found it intuitive, so I was always a user making errors.

But Mike’s comment reminded me of how good automation used to be in the good old days of big consoles. In my opinion, fader automation on SSL consoles is an absolute dream. It always seemed to “just do the right thing” and very rarely was it possible to lose a carefully selected created mix by changing automation mode. If the automation system is getting an overhaul anytime, definitely speak to Mike.

While we’re discussing automation features, something else that’s not been mentioned in this thread is a trim/relative mode. This was great for building up a final mix in lots of automation passes, refining as you go. It is subtly different to just updating via touch mode in that the faders were set to about half way and changes were made relative to the previous automation pass.

Oh, and being able to copy automation between tracks would be lovely too!

automation copying between tracks already works.

one thing that i have realized from trying to reply to mike’s comments is that there is a simple basic change we can make that will address these issues. right now, if there is no automation data at some point on the timeline, the “value” of the automation curve at that point is defined to be the default value of whatever parameter/control is involved. we can make this instead be the current value of that parameter, and then i think almost everyone will be happy.