My Ardour MIDI rant

I’ve sat down to write a script for a comprehensive Ardour MIDI tutorial, but I’ve soon realized I have something else in my system that won’t fit in that video, so I’ve quickly made a rant video instead, and I’ll follow up with a tutorial soon :smiley:

Please don’t draw conclusions before you watch until the end.


I’d rather have hoped for some more constructive criticism.

I’m not sure what do you mean. Are you commenting on the whole video? Have you watched it yet?

I admit I had trouble tracking down the release date of Ardour 3.0. Yesterday when I’ve written and recorded the video all I could find pointed to 2010, and today when I was editing it I’ve stumbled upon evidence it was released in 2011. So I’ve pasted text corrections over my recorded lines.

I meant that the information you provide is sadly not very helpful for users nor developers to improve the situation.

Also at 5:27 (or 6:31) about “making notes shorter” is no longer correct. Sequential notes have not been a problem since quite a while (@rghvdberg helped track this down around Ardour 4.2ish). Notes at region boundaries or overlapping notes in layers are still an issue, and likely will be until Ardour 7.0 gets an update as outlined in BTW, Ardour does not think either. It’s a dumb program unable to do so :slight_smile:

Anyway, you’re free to rant as much as you like and it’s fun to do that. The problem is that I spent 11 mins and learned nothing. – If you could share some sessions that have some of the issues, it would be great if you could upload them to the tracker, or provide a recipe. That’d be a lot more helpful. Many of your prior bug reports have already been very helpful. Keep them coming!


It was Sun Mar 10 16:17:36 2013 (UTC)

It see. Though please note that I’ve filed many bug reports on these issues before, and the point of this video wasn’t proposing fixes, rather expressing my frustration and maybe warning users of possible problems they might encounter. Any by reading the comments under it - it seems many people impatiently wait for MIDI improvements just like I do.

Hmm, I’d need to thoroughly test this then, maybe I’m so used to this being broken, that I mistake some other problem for it, but I am pretty sure I’ve had this happen to me in recent weeks a few times.


Well, you knew all that already, but some of the viewers might not. Also - the point of the video wasn’t educating in this case. I’ve decided to split if off, to make the the MIDI tutorial focused on education, not ranting about bugs - as I was afraid I won’t be able to keep myself away from mentioning if I don’t find a different outlet for that.

Regarding sharing my session that express the problems - I don’t think there’s any specific pattern to them, I see the same issues in pretty much all session I work in.

The two issues I see most frequently nowadays are:

1 Missing first note in a MIDI region (revealed after dragging the the region start to the left)
2. Empty MIDI regions after session reload

Also one I’ve experienced on today’s livestream:
3. MIDI CC automation point disappearing in duplicates when placed on the right boundary of a MIDI region

There’s probably more I don’t remember now.

If any of that sounds new, I’ll file proper reports in Mantis.

Argh! Now I’m off by another two years!
This makes me want to re-upload the video with proper corrections in place.
How could I have not found this?!


BTW, @x42 - one thing that is making editing MIDI (and audio too) really hard is a change in how Ardour draws the time grid:

This really makes me want to go back to Ardour 5 at times (though the fixed crash recovery in Ardour 6 is keeping me there - thank you!)

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Click on the link (to github) that I’ve included in the message just below the date.
Alternatively git show 3.0 in Ardour’s git source-tree.

I had high hopes for midi in Ardour 6. Unfortunately I will only use it for audio recording


This was added by popular request from users who complained that “Ardour timeline items snap to places that do not have a corresponding visible grid line”. So the grid and snap locations are thinned out depending on zoom factor.

One step forward one step back :frowning: tricky to make everyone happy at the same time. Perhaps this calls for some preference?


I’ve commented about this in #8217.

It can be avoided (“worked around”) by not mixing snapped and unsnapped eding (for example, creating Regions without snap mode enabled, and then later trimming regions with snap mode enabled).

It can’t be fixed until we do the time representation changes that will be in 7.0. It is caused by tiny rounding errors. In the test case I used to track it down, for example, the region start was at beat 2.24192 and the note start was at 2.2398.

This does not happen if you avoid mixing snapped and unsnapped editing.

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Is there a bug report filed for this? This is not widely reported behavior … we would not have released 6.0 if it was.


I can’t say that I disagree with your complaints I also am somewhat disillusioned with MIDI in Ardour (I personally still use EnergyXT for MIDI work and then import the MIDI files into Ardour). I do think that Paul was pretty open with the fact that the A6 cycle would be focused on the Audio engine rewrite and not be involving detailed work on MIDI improvements so I was expecting very little, as far as the velocity drawing I couldn’t agree more, I’ve discussed on IRC several times and put several notes in a Mantis report about it showing how (almost all) other DAWs implement vertical lines, so much so that I think you could call it an industry standard but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in doing that, to me the horizontal velocity indicator lines simply look like a band-aid solution for now…

I will disagree with a few things about what “kids are doing”… Whether kids play guitars or keyboard controllers doesn’t really matter because kids are still doing both and Ardour MIDI needs to improve because Ardour calls itself a MIDI and Audio DAW so for that reason alone it should do MIDI to a similar gold standard it does Audio to whether a kid or an old guy (like me) is using it. Secondly less and less kids are making music on traditional desktop and laptop computers which is all that Ardour (currently) runs smoothly and efficiently on, they are using their phones and tablets and will be using more and more embedded type of devices as they get more powerful… I have a kid producing music on the daily with Ardour and he doesn’t even know there are MIDI tracks in there to be used! (Of course he may be the exception to your rule) In my experience kids have grown up with so much ready to use technology that instead of having facility with things like installing a different DAW program or a software driver for an Audio device many of them have no clue how to do even the most basic things with a computer (let alone install a whole different Operating System and figure out how to execute an Ardour “.run” file…) Anyway to summarize Ardour needs better MIDI for everyone!

I love Ardour, I support Ardour and I hold all of the people involved in very high esteem but now that v6 is out I very much agree it’s time to either delete the MIDI part and call it an Audio DAW or get the MIDI side up to speed and in the same neighborhood as the excellent Audio features, I’m also tiring of having to avoid using MIDI in my favourite DAW…


You mentioned Ardour 1.0. I seem to recall that there never was an Ardour version 1.0. Version 0.99 was followed by version 2.0.

I agree completely. Having moved entirely to Ardour and Mixbus I can say from experience with many different proprietary DAWs that I trust my audio in Ardour far more than I ever did in something like Samplitude/Sequoia, Reaper etc. It’s the things like CD tracks auto-conforming to frames, the high-quality resampling built-in, the export and analysis tools (allowing for pinpoint LUFS or true peak value export). It’s just amazing. I’ve put in a few feature requests but I’m not quite sure how Mantis works and whether I need to flag my feature requests differently than I did.

As for MIDI, I don’t use it. I am recording my MIDI synths directly to audio now (thanks @x42) because I can’t manipulate the MIDI in the same way I could in Samplitude and Reaper (both allowing for MIDI ripple editing for those of us who don’t make music to click tracks). It’s probably a good thing for the way I do things but I feel others’ pain. I don’t think I’d ever dream of doing an orchestral mock-up in Ardour as things stand right now.

To be clear: I think Ardour for audio needs is exceptional. Truly, the work under the hood for version 6 is very much appreciated. I just agree with @GMaq that now feels like the right time to re-focus on MIDI and get Ardour competing with other DAWs that include “industry standard” MIDI workflows. Certainly don’t take it out! I’ve no doubt that Ardour’s MIDI will eventually surpass the rest…


I think can be convinced to agree with you that MIDI editing should be removed as core feature. It doesn’t fit the non destructive workflow of a DAW to begin with.

MIDI recording and playback however is just fine, and perhaps some sequencer plugins can fill the void for those who can’t or won’t use expressive instruments.

I respect your point of view but I personally think that if MIDI was able/allowed to be on a par with the audio side of things and comparable to other “complete” DAWs like the ones we all know and have love/hate relationships with, it could only be a good thing. Rightly or wrongly, whenever I hear “DAW” I automatically assume audio and MIDI capabilities to the extent that they are both core features and being worked on to achieve the bulk of mainstream needs. It seems I’m mistaken about this if you are saying it shouldn’t be considered a core feature moving forward :frowning:


I suspect this disappointment might have been caused by the false expectation that the midi rewrite was now ready (is that so unfa ?) But Paul said on this forum of the 6.0 release that midi rewrite was more work than expected and was postponed to the 7.x series. After reading that I knew midi on 6 is mostly the same as in the 5 series.

The other thing that might have contributed to the disappointment was using a x.0 release for serious work. This is a major no no. You will be burned by every bug that is still lurking in the codebase. I learned that the hard way when using new releases of Pro Tools. If you want to be able to concentrate on your work and not fight bugs all the time then use the last release of the previous major version until the bugs have been ironed out.

I’m still a satisfied Ardour customer as I’m one of those users who does 95 % of stuff in the audio editor. Midi only drives my drums in a-fluidsynth plugin and that works fine.

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I would say that being just over a month past the Ardour 6 release I feel a surprinsingly bitter tone in the whole thread. I would say MIDI capabilities are better today than yesterday, and it’s going to get even better. I am not sure stating the urgency of having MIDI the way we want in these terms can help it’s actual development. Until now the team has followed a methodic work, addressing the bug tracker, the feature requests, and everything goes forward, I am in no doubt that Ardour team works everyday for this program to be better, so I would say ok we can ask for things following the usual channels, but also it’s been a month since the last release, I am still enjoying and discovering the things it brought, and specifically the grid thing is one of them as now cutting on the transient detected spot works like a charm. So let’s not dispair this fast please. Also I think I saw some post of somebody asking when the next release is coming out? seriously?