Mixing With Gain Automation


I’m trying to figure out how to automate fading, ducking, and boosting while keeping the fader available for mixing.

For example: let’s say that I record an audio track that’s got some unwanted noises at the beginning and end. So, I draw an automation curve that drops the fader to -inf db while the noise is happening and returns it to 0 db for the rest of the track. Then I record a few more tracks and want to get them mixed together. For the track with the automation, I have to edit the automation curve to adjust the level. This is too tedious.

In other environments, I’ve used a gain plugin for the automation. Then the fader effectively scales whatever the gain plugin is doing. Having tested various LV2 and LADSPA amplifier plugins, I find that they don’t respond well to steep automation curves and tend to produce noise when used this way. Ideally, I could just use ardour’s fader algorithm as another plugin in the signal chain, but this doesn’t appear possible.

Any ideas? Is there an amplifier plugin out there that will behave well when used this way? Is there another workflow that will accomplish this?


For trimming the noises at the beginning and end, use the built in region fades at start and end (or trim the region to cut the noise completely). You can also split the region to make extra fadeout-fadein events midway if needed.
For other gain changes you want to automate, try using the gain automation (press G or use the button to select it); this is applied at the input to the channel processing and is different from the fader gain.

I appreciate for the tips.

It turns out that drawing the automation directly onto the waveform does what I was looking for. Actually it’s better, since it applies to layers individually and allows for addressing things that differ between takes. I’m not sure if this is what you meant by ‘gain automation’. For me, pressing G engages grab mode, which is where region fades can be applied. Pressing E or D allows me to edit the region gain automation.

Hmmm, this doesn’t quite actually work like I expected. Certain features of the normal automation lanes don’t work on the region gain. Namely, click/drag to select multiple points and copy/paste. I can’t imagine any reason for the discrepancy in these otherwise identical interfaces.

Just noticed that ardour 5 is out, while I’m still on 4. Maybe there are changes that pertain to this?

I suppose you could always create a new audio bus, map the output for your audio track (with the automated gain applied) to that bus, and use the fader on the bus when mixing. Wouldn’t that accomplish what you are trying to do?

So do you realize you were responding to a thread that was 6 years old?

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