One Button Record

Just got back from a vocal pre-production session were I have finally put Ardour 2rc1 through a real recording scenario. Here are some observations:

  1. I could not find a way to punch-in a take using the keyboard. I may be missing something essential here, in Cubase pressing * will start recording at the playhead position.

  2. Once I selected a ranged for punch-in/out and recorded I could not revert back to recording by pressing the record button on the transport.

  3. Is it possible to have the region just recorded selected when you hit the stop button. Most times if you are recording ant the take is bad it is nice to just press stop (space bar), delete to delete the take. Pressing the space bar could put you straight back in playback or record.

  4. After over 80 takes Ardour started acting strange, the drive started trashing and eventually the program exited. No session data was lost. I restarted again and the same thing happened again soon after.

  5. I noticed that sometimes the waveform display will shift to the right by one or two pixels when shrinking a region.

  6. The only way to delete a range is through the locations window, why not have a function on the right mouse button context menu of the range on the main window. Again did I miss something here.

Overall the system worked well, however the work flow is not as fast as Cubase in some instances and there seem to be stability issues still.


  1. Shift-R enables/disenables the global record button. it does not start the transport. This allows the global record button to be used for punch in/out while the transport is rolling. Ardour does not support one-button record. It has been a debated item for rather a long time.

  2. How did you select a range for punch in/out?

  3. Ctrl-Space will stop the transport and delete the take.
    If you stopped some other way, then Edit->Delete Last Capture will do the same thing.

  4. Do NOT do 80 takes in one track. Ardour doesn’t work this way. When you stack overdubs like this, Ardour will read every single take in preparation for playback. It does not try to reason about which takes are audible, partly because we support the concept of region opacity, and partly because we just don’t like to try to be smart :slight_smile: With 80 takes in one track, you have the same disk load as 80 tracks!

If you want to make multiple takes, this is what playlists are for. Every take, or every few takes, switch to a new playlist via the playlist button § on a track. Playlists are a powerful concept that we need to make easier to use and easier to understand.

  1. This has been reported in other scenarios. I still don’t know if its a bug or a necessary consequence of the waveform being (almost) always an approximation of the data.

  2. Good point. I will try to add that soon, perhaps even pre-rc2. In the meantime, you can use the “universal delete” mouse operation, which defaults to Ctrl-right click (though you can set it from the Options window in the Kbd/Mouse tab.

We be very to hear suggestions about workflow issues, they are a major source of concern as we move post-2.0. If you had particular stability issues, we’d love to hear about them too.

Finally, if you don’t like specific keybindings, please see my response to


Thanks for your reply…

  1. What I found is that with the transport running hitting shift+R only armed the record but did not actually start recording. I need to verify this. It seemed to work just fine hitting the record button on the gui. After I did a range based punch in not even the gui worked. I could only engage recording by setting a punch in/out range.

  2. From the lane underneath the time line at the top.

  3. Didn’t know about Edit->Delete Last Capture, is it key bound… must check.

  4. In a creative scenario it is easy to loose track of things. The problem with playlists is that there is no easy way of comping up a final take built from parts of many takes and there are also extra clicks involved. Working as we were today, having the ability to try many different ideas very quickly is very important. In a sense we use the DAW as a integral part of the creative process. I am sure many work like this. Strange thing is that Ardour seems to have hit a brick wall at one point. I have now run the clean up routine. It seems to me that the basis for knowing what takes are referenced or not is already implemented, maybe Ardour could get a bit clever here. Also is it possible to disable opacity without being destructive?

  5. This will be a definite problem if you want to do some precise edits. I have not seen other daws behave like this.

I will forward any other observations as I make more use of the program. As I said today was the first real usage scenario for me and I am still finding my way around.


  1. i am really not sure what you mean here. as far as i can determine, it works exactly as i outlined here. my best guess right now is that you have engaged the punch in and/or punch out buttons, which are there for auto punching, not regular manual punches. when these are enaged, recording only takes place within the defined punch range. if there is no punch range, the entire session constitutes the punch range.

1&2. i can’t replicate this behaviour at all. i would suggest that you start up a new scratch session, document precisely the steps you take to get into this condition, so that we can investigate further.

  1. anything that is in a menu can be bound to key as outlined
    in that response i pointed you to. we don’t bind everything
    by default because there are operations that we don’t think need to be keyboard accessible.

  2. i don’t agree with your assessment here, in that 80 overdubs into a single track creates a working environment that is impossible to edit creatively (*) It is entirely possible to comp up a final take, because you can (a) switch playlists at any time (b) tracks can even share playlists © you can bounce down explicitly or re-record into a new track taking input from several others. Note that I wasn’t suggesting using playlists any time you overdub in a track, I was suggesting that you should not just keep recording over and over at the same location. If your problems came from 80 different overdubs that did not overlap, then you have a system tuning issue, not an ardour design+use one.

(*) we have a patch that will implement Cubase SX-style “vertical stacking” of overdubs. It will go in post-2.0, and does allow better working with multiple overdubs … but I don’t agree it would really help things with 80 overlapping overdubs.

  1. doing “precise edits” from a GUI that is zoomed to represent N samples per pixel where N as a large number is a bit of an illusion. but i do take your point, and there is a bug report in the bug tracker already about this.