Need help with Automation

I have an understanding of automation, but am struggling to actually use it correctly. It seems like when I attempt to do any kind of automation, its affecting the entire track or it’s not playing any sound as it records.


I have 3 songs along the timeline and I want to add a plugin to a single section in a single song. Essentially, I want to add “Chorus/Phaser” to only one of the three guitar solos along the track’s timeline. Indeed, automation seems to be the route to go. But, just by adding/enabling the Chorus plugin in the mixer, it affects all solos along the track’s timeline. I only want to enable the chorus effect on one particular solo.

I’m completely aware I can drop this particular solo along another track and add the plugin, but it seems like overkill if I have to create a new track for every solo (keeping in mind that this could reach 9 songs w/ 2 solos ea.).

Assuming I can do automation, how do I do this? So far, the only thing I know how to do is add the plugin to the mixer, select the “a” button on the track and select the option I want to automate, and press record button. Then what? When I press the spacebar to begin recording, I just get a flatline across the automation component and sometimes I lose sound on that track completely.

Thanks in advance…

I often find it easiest just to draw the automation I’d like:
Choose the option and, in the new track that pops up, just click with the crosshair to set edit points and grab them to move around.
To hear them on playback change the Automation state button from Manual to Play.

To record an automation, change Manual to Write, open the effect you’ve selected to automate, press Play (spacebar), grab the selected knob and start fiddeling around with it. You don’t have to set Ardour to recording mode.

That said, I haven’t found a way to automate effect on/off either. So unless someone else has a clue you’ll have to create a separate track for each solo.
I don’t think that costs you anything other than screen estate, btw.

Thanks for the reply! You were right about the “record” button; switching to “write” is all that needs to be done. A question about using the crosshair to draw your own though. How do you click with the crosshair to set the edit points. I have the crosshair and all, but clicking gets me nowhere. I can edit the points once they’ve been created using the “write” method, but I can’t just create my own envelope line. Is there a trick to this or does it only work for certain plugins, perhaps?

Oh, you have to be in Manual mode, I guess, for clicking to work.
To remove points you Shift-RightClick on them.

I actually figured out a workaround for the on/off thing. Assuming your effect has a dry/wet setting you can

  • create a bus and add the effect to that
  • add a pre fader send from the solo track to the bus
  • set the effect to 0% dry and 100% wet
  • automate the fader of the bus
  • optionally automate the settings of the effect
  • profit!