New file(s) on the fly

Is there a single button that will simultaneously end one take and start another across all armed tracks?

I often like to just leave everything recording for fairly long periods of time (disk space is cheap, right?) and maybe throw in a location marker now and then. This allows me as an engineer to remain fairly transparent and really keeps the musicians relaxed and able to work at their own pace. Sometimes they even forget the “tape” is rolling, which nearly always gets better performances from them.

The problem is the huge files it generates. I just have the feeling that a few smaller files would be more managable for the system for disk access, redraws (!?), etc. I especially wonder what happens when these huge files are defragmented.

And what about defragmentation of multi-track audio? I seem to remember reading somewhere that it’s actually counter productive and ideally one would actually want somewhat regularly fragmented files to reduce thrashing, but how is one to control such a thing, especially with regard to backups?

For my imediate problem, I suppose I could just hit record twice, but I’d like a solution that won’t leave any gaps.

As usual, any help would be greatly appreciated.



All tracks are “armed” when you click on the arm button (“r” or “record”) on a track while holding down ctrl-shift.

You can also control this by creating mix groups. When you arm a track in an active mix group, all tracks in the mix group will be armed.

Disk fragmentation is rarely an issue with modern, sane filesystems. (i.e. not VFAT) Using small files vs big files does not affect fragmentation at all - the file system stores data someplace on the partition no matter whether the data is part of a “big” file or a “small” file.

Regarding splitting recording into multiple files by disengaging and engaging recording one the fly: it doesn’t work. All recording on one track done in one “go” (=meaning the time from when the transport is started to when it’s stopped) is always recorded into one file, regardless of how many times you punch in or out.

That is done because creating a file is far from a realtime-safe operation. Ardour needs a place to pump in the captured data when recording and it can’t stop and wait for a filesystem to create a new file. Creating new files can be (depends on the filesystem) a lot slower than writing megabytes of data into an existing one!

Defragmenting is rarely needed on a sane filesystem. Also you are right in the sense that it can be counterproductive to do that. Imagine you are recording four tracks at the same time. “Ideally” the data would get aligned on the disk so:

1234123412341234 …

When you play back, the data required to play a certain timeline of the session are close together. If you defragment it, it will become something like this:


or even:

4444 … (other files) … 3333 … … 1111 … (your mp3’s) … 2222

But in the real world the last case is usually closer to the truth, but with proper filesystems residing on modern disks ran by proper kernels … it makes little difference. It would only make a difference if you started pushing your system to it’s limits but for 99% of the people using Ardour the conventional limits are way more than what they ever require. I can record 64 tracks at the same time on my laptop no sweat.