This is not specifically an idea for Ardour. I just want to vent this in the community because it’s been on my mind lately.
The way we interface with the digital mixer has always seemed a bit strange to me. In every case i’ve seen (software and hardware), the interface is a sort of emulation of the traditional analog mixer we’re used to. Don’t get me wrong, I like traditional mixers and never mix ITB, but while there’s an underlying technological reason why an analog mixer is laid out the way it is… Well… That just doesn’t seem to be the case in the digital realm.
This is probably why I don’t mix ITB. The interface doesn’t make any sense and I end up with a shitty mix.
Here comes an idea of mine (I don’t know anything about the mathematics of this, so please excuse any incorrect, or unintelligible, terminology).
Instead of adding channels together in an absolute way, how about they were mixed according to ratios between them. “relative” mixing… maybe?.. What I mean is that, in a simple mixer with two channels and one bus, both channels would typically start out on 50%, filling half the bus each with their bits. If one channel is increased to 75%, the other is at 25%. If one channel is at 100%, the other is at 0% and the bus is just a bit-for-bit copy of the former. If there are more than two channels, changing the level of one channel can’t destroy the ratios between the others. If we, for example, have three channels, One channel at 75%, one at 50% and one at 25%, and decrease channel one to 50%, channel two would be at 75% and channel three at 50%.
To me, this approach makes a lot of sense in relation to what I’m trying to do when mixing. When I say I want more snare, I don’t mean “more snare and less headroom.” I mean “more snare IN the mix.”
I can’t think of a lot of problems with this idea, except that it might seem strange that adding channels to a mixer lowers the volume of all the others.
A gain stage might also be needed, but that is easily resolved with plugins.
Well, those are my thoughts. Sorry for the off-topic wall of text. Anyone else ever think about this, have, or have seen, different ideas or like my take on the interface?