Import Mixer Strip, Mixer Screenshot, Stem Export Select

Hi everybody,

I just finished a quite big project (8 songs with ~ 50 tracks+). All the recordings were similar and recorded into different Ardour projects. Once the first song was mixed, I needed to get the same mix on the other songs as a starting point (this just make sense since a lot of instruments and processings were similar). So I thought about a couple of nice-to-have features, which could save a lot of work:

  1. Import Mixer Strip from another project.
    In the context menu of a track, “import mixer strip”, choose an Ardour project file, choose a track of this project. All processings, FXs and their settings, fader and panning, (maybe also sends) are inserted into the track. Best of the best: prompt the user if he wants the processings to be replaced or added to the track. This is in my point of view the most important feature of these 3.
    I wrote an .ardour file parser in Python to get a list of all tracks and processing settings, but it is not so handy as I thought, so I started with the following workaround, which could also be a nice feature :

  2. Full Mixer View Screenshots.
    Since I could’t import the mixer strips, I started making screenshots of the mixer view, then applying the settings from one project track to the other project track (very feasible since all the nice Ardour and x42 plugins have in-strip-graphics). This just takes a lot of time. Also very annoying if the songs has a lot of tracks and they all not fit on the screen, then you must deal with different screenshots of different mixer views, this can be quite complicated and confusing (I had to gimp all my screenshots together!). Maybe even thinking further and take a screenshot automatically when a project is closed, so it is really easy to have a look to the mixer and its actual mix without opening Ardour? Or make an automatic screenshot on each export (as well as the export analysis)? The benefit could also be to give this file to the next engineer as information or as a personal archive.

  3. Stem Export Select Visible/Soloed/Unmuted etc.
    When finished, I wanted to make a stem export (I wanted to try the summing of Mixbus), but I was not possible because I just had too many tracks, also a lot of tracks not playing in the mix (muted and not visible/active, old midi tracks, old versions, etc…). New feature idea for the Stem Export Dialog: “Select Visible only”, “Select Soloed only”, “Select Unmuted only”, “Select Active only”, etc etc

So that was it! I hope I could bring some new ideas. By the way, the project I worked on was the newest Album of Superdirt² (www.superdirt.net) which will be released in september 2019 on CD and Vinyl. I attache a gimped mixer screenshot I used to apply mixer strip settings, because it just looks amazing! :wink:

All the best!

Vince

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There’s /opt/Ardour-5.12.0/bin/ardour5-copy-mixer (Linux, similar path on other OS) to copy
mixer-settings from one session to another. Tracks and busses are matched by name.

It’s mainly intended to be used after a Session > Save-as & exclude media files - ie after creating a new session using the current one as template.

Nik (from Harrison) is working on a set of Lua scripts to make mixer-snapshots that are more fine-gained. Some of those are already available with recent Mixbus releases

That’s a fun idea!

Another good suggestion.

It is highly workflow dependent, given the complexity of track/bus/send solo-logic, a stem-export of direct-out of only soloed tracks doesn’t make much sense to me. In particular if you use AFL/PFL. Is that something you would do commonly?

Skipping muted tracks is a great idea though, they’re silent anyway; likewise disabled tracks. Allowing visibility as criteria is also reasonable. Thanks for these suggestions!

Good luck with the album release!

Hi Robin,
thank you for your quick answer!

  1. really nice to know about the copy-script and the work Nik is doing! I’ll definitely have a look :slight_smile: The only different thing, my use case was really to pick up one or more mixer strip settings from a project to the other (In my case the violoncelli was all the same, recorded at the same place, but other instruments were completely different in each project). So a complete “mixer-copy” would not be the solution. Also the track names were different (and had to be because of different reasons). So my use case was more: “I want to import this cello track settings from this song because it was so nice and see if it is a good starting point. If not try to import another cello track settings, etc”. More the idea of cherry-picking good mixer strips from different projects. Is this the work Nik is doing? Or maybe is this a new interesting feature?

  2. Nice you like it! I especially like the ability to have a quick look on a mixer window and have another project open. I also like the idea of “mixer view” of each export, visually reflecting the changes made on the export (audio).

  3. I think this feature would be really nice. I didn’t think too much about AFL/PFL etc. The Idea with “soloed” was more “I just want to do a stem export of all track I listen right now”. My main idea was to export all “working” tracks to import them in Mixbus to try the mixdown. (I also tried to open an ardour file in mixbus, which works great! - except the pannings as far as I could see - but re-adjusting all the pannings would have been to risky for me in that end stage of the album, so I wanted to just export the stems in ardour and re-export them in mixbus. Then I figured out, I just have to many (non visible, muted, etc) tracks to do this quickly and without getting crazy, so I gave up. If could have say “select all unmuted tracks and all visible tracks only”, this would have been the way to do it easily. Maybe even some other criteria could be interesting? (select mono or stereo tracks only, select midi/audio tracks only, etc etc)

Anyways, thank you for all you efforts and this amazing pieces of software!
Best regards,

Vince

If the track does not yet exit in the new session, you can use track-templates.
Otherwise you could ‘hack’ your way around: Create a new track from the template, then use the playlist of the original track.

Yes, have a look at:

You can select which settings to copy and you can map source/destination tracks.
Under the hood it’s a Lua script (scripts/store_recall_mixer.lua in ardour’s git). For cross-session exchange you still have to first export the settings from the other session first.

Hi Robin,

I’ll try this, it sounds interesting, I didn’t it is possible to use a playlist of another track :slight_smile: thanks!

This is exactly what I was looking for. Amazing!
Will they also be shipped with Ardour one day?

Best,

Vince

  1. Full Mixer View Screenshots: I second this suggestion, because I’ve found myself using precisely the same procedure to align similarly produced project tracks with one another.

Already done yesterday :slight_smile:

and a few additional commits after that. There is no direct workflow integration yet, but you can trigger it manually or after export (using a Lua script).

For vertical alignment reasons it doesn’t show group-tabs, but group info is available at the bottom of each strip and color-coding. Example (48 track session, 8 busses, 4 VCAs). first 8 tracks are grouped:

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Hi Robin, this is absolutely amazing, thank you!!
How to trigger it manually? Or is there already a lua script as trigger?

You’ll need ardour6-git which isn’t released yet, and also does not have stable session-file format at this point in time. Use it only for throwaway test sessions.

You can trigger it using ArdourUI.mixer_screenshot ("/tmp/mixer.png") in Window > Scripting.
You could also copy/edit https://github.com/Ardour/ardour/blob/master/scripts/post_export_save_hook.lua to automatically save it after export.

Eventually this should be directly available, probably along with Preferences > Metering > Post Export Analysis> Save loudness analysis as image file. – Final integration always takes most time and thought.

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