How to do vertical zoom

How can I do a vertical zoom into a wave form.
I found years old topics in the forum, stating its not possible. But this is such a basic indispensable function, if not existing I would have to wait till it exists, to actually use ardour for production work.
Hint: Dynamics in classical music or field recordings exceed 40 dB! And have to be edited, not changed…

Stefan Tj Shredder

I often find vertical zoom very helpful, if i have a very dynamic signal and want to edit it for a silent listening environment (hint hint). Also for Sounddesigners this comes in very handy when working with room ambiences, dialogue and foleys in one session.

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It still is not possible. I seriously dispute its “indispensabillity”. Some people think it is, others do not. There are a variety of approaches to dealing with the same workflow in its absence, which have some benefits and some disadvantages. The obvious one is to blow up the track height and work with the signal as-is. There’s also the question of precisely how you would plan to deal with “editing” the dynamics, and just how that would benefit from a simple vertical zoom scaling.

If this isn’t adequate for you, then yes, for now you will have to use something other than Ardour.

Switching to logarithmic scale will also show up the lower level sounds much better. (it’s linear by default)
Edit->preferences->Editor->Waveform Scale…

The indispensability is even indisputable for people who want to edit classical, contemporary in general non-Pop/Rock/Mainstream. All others can happily think its not indispensable, they simply never came across such a task and lack experience in that field, though they might belong to the majority of users…
In addition you will get very little feedback from those other users, as they are only potential users because Ardour would be simply useless for those…
A logarithmic scale would help for sure, though you might need to relearn the look and meaning of a waveform…:wink:
But I could not find that menu entry, I am on a German system and running version 4.7.13. on OS X. The global preferences window does not open at all, that seems to be a bug (maybe it opens on a not connected other monitor?) and it is not under the edit menu either…

The issue with the preferences under non-English locales (specifically German) on OS X was fixed a month or so ago; it has been in the nightly builds ever since and will be in the next release.

The workaround for now is to switch your system to English, run Ardour and in Preferences > User Interaction change “Use Translations …” to be disabled. Then flip your system back to German. The problem was caused by some illegal character that crept into the German translation. We have been doing major development work since, and did not want to make a hotfix release for this issue.

Regarding your comments on indispensability: I have been working on Ardour for 16 years. During that time, I’ve met audio engineers from all over the world, ranging from 20th Century Fox post-production studios, to high end studios across the US and Europe, to home studio owners, to the owners and developers of many other audio technology companies. No matter what your particular experience of the need for vertical zoom is, I can absolutely assure you that your view is not shared by everyone who does audio engineering. I understand that you feel an absolute need for it, and I respect that. I get to see a much broader selection of DAW users than most DAW users themselves do, and I have a different perspective on its criticality.

I’m not saying that it would not be nice to have for various reasons.

Using the “F” shortcut puts the selected track in full screen inside Ardour. On a decent screen, it should allow a lot of finesse imho.

@paul: I don’t understand the difference between “real zoom” and “make it bigger”, would you please explain? Bad results like track disappears cause too small to be seen I guess?

real zoom means you can make the entire vertical height of the track correspond to just N dB (so, if you have a track that peaks at -10dB, you can blow it up so that the -10dB peaks are near the top/bottom of the track).

“make it bigger” means using more (vertical) pixels to show the full dB range.

@tjshredder: you can expand the height of the track with a click and drag between 2 tracks (where the A-M-S buttons are) just move your mouse in that zone, and when you see as pointer a double vertical arrow that’s when you can do that click & drag. Or you can select the track and tell Ardour to display only selected tracks. Please let me know if you find it useful, HTH

@paul: some version(s?) ago, it was done with Alt-scroll when mouse over the wave zone, but it doesn’t work anymore and I can’t find the shortkey in the list for “track height”. Am not editing classical music, but this feature is very nice to get any attack really quickly, when you have those old eyes… :wink:

I am fairly sure that the OP wants real zoom, not just “make it bigger” …

@stratojaune: we remove the mouse track height stuff because it was way too easy to accidentally use it, with very undesirable results that were hard to back out of.

thanks for the accuracy paul :slight_smile:

Just jumped into Ardour again, now Version 5.5. This feels now just right, the logarithmic waveform view does give me what I need.
Problem solved unexpectedly…:wink: I am keen to learn the rest of the application. Definitely good bye to Logic Audio…

(Sorry for reviving this old thread (and there are much older ones for the same issue) - it seems to stay an important thing for many users…?)

After a handful of professional projects done with Ardour now, I also feel the strong wish of being able to zoom the displayed waveforms! Yes, I understand logarithmic vs. linear display, but that doesn’t fulfill my dreams…

Example: Just finishing the mix of a live recording of a very quiet and meditative soundscape-like concert. It is so hard to navigate trough the quiet passages when you need to see multiple tracks at once (so track height is limited) and all the waveforms are more or less flat lines…

Any other DAW I’ve been using in the past 20 years (as far as I remember) was able to zoom into the displayed waveforms and I obviously used that feature a lot, and for me it was very very helpful very often.

@paul I read your point, Paul, but - with all due respect - maybe you could reconsider taking this feature on the long list…?

Thanks a lot!

It’s true. There are many different situations for each person for say that simply it’s not important.

For example. Classical or some jazz music. If we normalize the peak to 0 db there will be still some places with -35, -40db that are impossible to see for small corrections or for tell the important points without have to listen before every time.
For change te height, if you’re in a netbook or a tablet that will be useless with the mini display. And if you want to line up 2 or more tracks (exp: for add a inverted phase), well, purchase a bigger screen.

But it’s ok there are ways to bypass the problem.
-(real zoom i think) Waveform clip level in preferences->appearance->editor. Doesn’t make the peaks near from the top/bottom of the track.
-Wave height. (make the track bigger) Only works for those with a laaarge display, or those with don’t have to compare 2 or more tracks.
-Normalize (actually the real zoom). That’s it! The only problem is that it’s a very tedious work. We have to normalize the quietter section and add an amplifier plugin equal to the normalization (that consumes processing power) for have the same volume. So we have to do that for each small part between dynamic changes but it’s the only way that seems to work.

And well… that’s all. Thank you developers for this 20 years of amazing work.

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I just began using mixbus 32c, thank god i didn’t buy it. The fact I cant expand a waveform vertically just screwed up my whole workflow. One point I’d like to make about this is the fact that signals work best entering processors waaaay low, around -18db. If this is not visible with any form of display it just seems counter productive and stupid of them not to give this feature which just about every DAW does. FL Studio is maybe the only other I can think of.

Very disappointing and bizarre considering how long Ardour has been around. As open source too, no one wanted to implement this??

If you read this entire thread, you will see that this is a deliberate choice, not just a wierd omission.

That’s not to say we would not necessarily accept a patch to implement it. Waves Tracks Live (a live/PA-centric “DAW” based on Ardour) had this implemented, but I wasn’t happy with the structure of the way it was done.

I read this entire thread. Jump on reaper, hold SHIFT and use the up and down cursor keys. That’s how it has to be. You’re not doing anyone any favours without it. I just looked at the website for tracks live. Nothing awe inspiring happening there. Ardour is the future and I wont dispute this. I’m just absolutely amazed that you disregarded all these excellent points made over the years. I appreciate your reply but it really adds nothing to the argument.

Waves Tracks Live is a dead project. It was moderately successful when it came out, in the niche that it was targetting (front of house live recording). It had quite a few very innovative features, and it is shame that it got cancelled as part of another round of financial issues at Waves.

I’m quite familiar with the feature and how it is accessed in other DAWs. It doesn’t help progress things by telling me or other developers that we’re obviously wrong. This is a matter on which there is a disagreement about both the significance and desirability of a feature, and in an open source, under-resourced project, code wins, not argument-by-counter-example.

I will end up back on Reaper then. Because you are DEAD wrong and carry a defeatist and ignorant attitude. I’m really sorry to hear that this project is under resourced, that’s a shame. I’m not going to code this feature, I’m an audio engineer not a computer programmer. If your attitude here is to tell me to “do it myself” I really am using the wrong software.

The next thing you will be replying to others is that “Ardour is a dead project. It was moderately successful when it came out, in the niche that it was targeting (people who don’t like giving money to Avid). It had quite a few very innovative features, and it is shame that it got cancelled because it was an under-resourced, open source project.”