Listen and record on same track

Okay so I revived this old thread which wasn’t really received well:

But after reading the manuals and trying out stuff for myself I’m still facing the same problem.

I have a Midi Track with, let’s say a drum plugin. I also have an idea for a groove I know I can’t play all at once. So I go on to record, say, the HiHat Pattern first. Everything works as expected. Then I toggle on the “Non-Layered” button. Now comes the problem: I can always only hear the playback or what’s recorded by it’s own. What I would like is to hear what I’m playing live AND what is already recorded at the same time. So I can “jam” a little and/or train an idea and hear what it would sound like together. Also recording without hearing the rest of the track is really awkward (or even worse without hearing what I’m doing).

I am able to work around that by doubling the track, choosing the same input and then setting the original track to “In” while the copied track is on “Disk” and copying the notes over. But that is extremely tedious and really breaks my workflow to a point were I just give up. Also then I have to start all plugins twice (for each channel). Is there an easy way to setup my Sessions, so tracks play their input AND the recorded contents by default?

With Ardour 5.x, you cannot do this. Ardour will deliver either the existing data for the track or the input signal to the track, but not both.

This will change in Ardour 6.0.

Update: I am really trying to by respectful, but this is really important to me. I love this project, I am a monthly backer.

But this feature is really unintuitive. (I realize what follows is a feature request). I tried a proprietary competitor (don’t wanna plug anything) and they separated the functionality of “am I monitoring this track?” and “is this track armed for recording?”. It’s two buttons next to each other, directly in the track list to the left. (Of course there’s a mute button as well, like in Ardour) By default, if you press the “arm” button it also activates the “monitor” button. Switching between tracks is the most common thing I do, so this really frustrates the hell outta me.

Wow, thanks for the immediate reply! Great to hear this get’s tackled in Ardour 6. If that is the case, I’ll gladly wait for it.


For the record you linked the wrong thread I think above, I can fix it if you really want but not sure it adds much.

That being said, thank you for creating a new thread and explaining it like this, as it is now clear you find the existing workflow available insufficient, as opposed to the other thread where it read more like you didn’t even know the workflow was available at all. The other option by the way is to use a bus instead of a track for monitoring the input at all times, but I don’t think this would quite work for what you describe above as you would still only play one region at a time on a given track.

At any rate as Paul mentioned they are planning on addressing this in A6 as well I believe so it is possible that might work better for you.

Also, for the record: this is already implemented and functioning. But 6.0 is months away from release.

Oh dang it. Yeah I had the wrong link in the clipboard. Sorry for that and if I came off harsh for that as well. Don’t bother with the link. For anyone really interested, it was:

Thank you both for answering so quickly.

It is also good you clarified you meant MIDI input. For the equivalent workflow with audio input, the way to do what you want most easily would be with external audio routing (setting your audio interface to monitor input, or using an external mixer). The Ardour monitor control might be able to do it as well, I’m not sure since I typically use an analog mixer for monitoring control rather than the Ardour monitor control.

That said, MIDI is really a different kind of data flow, because you aren’t actually monitoring the input, you are monitoring the result of the input MIDI data being sent to a plugin which generates audio data, and you listen to the plugin output, not directly to the orignal input data.

I don’t recall if you stated what platform you are on, but perhaps using a dedicated MIDI sequencing application for noodling around with your MIDI arrangement, then either exporting audio as files or as jack connections to Ardour for audio recording would fit your needs better. Or even export the MIDI data to Ardour after you have the arrangement you want.

When you build something from wood you can do almost everything with a router, but it is a lot less effort if you use a table saw for some cuts, a drill press for holes, and a router for edges. This urge to force all tasks of music composition, arranging, and recording into a single application sometimes strikes me as trying to cut straight lines in plywood with a router. Yes, you can do it, but it just isn’t necessarily the lowest effort or best way to get to the end result.