Pan issue sound disappear (alas mixer)

I have a m audio fast track c400, works fine with Linux, the only issue is when panning I notice the sounds disappear when being panned and also they become lower in volume and it does to multiple tracks and individual ones, I can fix them but it messes up other tracks when I use the ALSA mixer to adjust the many outputs etc my sound card seems to have in ALSA compared to the built in sound card my laptop has, is there a way to fix this or do I have to use a Dac that doesn’t show many outputs and inputs in ALSA that can mess with the stereo imaging of tracks

Sounds like perhaps your audio from Ardour master track is not routed to the correct hardware outputs of your FastTrack device. The pictures I saw show 4 line outputs on that device, but I could not tell if they were independent, and if the headphones were driven by a mix of the 4 line outputs, just the first two line outputs, or had separate outputs for headphones.

When you open the audio routing window in Ardour what is shown in the hardware outputs tab?

In ALSA mixer you should have all outputs and inputs set to no gain change, however that is noted for this device (might be 0dB, might be 100 on a 0 to 100 scale, I cannot remember). In any event, you want ALSA mixer making no changes with all gain changes controlled by Ardour.

I can’t remember what was shown, I remember seeing a lot of outputs and inputs as well, like a lot lol. I pretty much gave up on Linux audio for that and thought maybe I need a different audio card. But I still want to try to eee if I can get it to work but it does seem so complicated with my m audio sound card

It’s a 4-in, 6-out device. How many channels do you expect to see?

I saw like rows of sliders for different things, i wish I only saw 4 and 6, would be much easy to work with lol

@mrskytown, I have another, older, M-audio multichannel usb card FTU8R. The situation you observe in alsamixer is probably the internal routing mixer (or something like that - same as in my FTU). It is quite complicated, but not necessarily a bad thing. I allows you to route any mic (line, spdif…) input to any output (so 46=24 sliders) and any output from computer to any monitor output (66=36 sliders) so you can create custom zero latency monitoring (or headphone) mixes for the people you record. So if you want to only mix your session in stereo, try mute (or turn down) all of the sliders (please press F5 - so that you can see all [Playback] and [Capture] sliders) and turn up only Din1-out1 and Din2-out2 (or 1/1 and 2/2 in the [Playback] section) and see how it goes.

I hope this helps.

“I saw like rows of sliders for different things”
@mrskytown: If you saw rows of sliders you were not looking at the audio connections window. Look through the menus for the selection labeled to show the audio connections, that should show a grid with tabs along the bottom and tabs along the left side, you have tabs for ardour tracks, ardour busses, hardware connections, and “other.” A black dot indicates where an item on the left side connects to an item at the bottom. Assuming you are working in stereo and not mono or surround sound, make sure that the connection from master bus 1 connects to the left hardware output, and master bus 1 connects to the right hardware output, and verify that the connections from your hardware outputs to speakers matches how the driver labels left and right hardware outputs (could be L and R, 1 and 2, main 1 and 2, etc.)

@ccaudle: pretty sure he was talking about alsamixer, not ardour

@paul: yes, I agree. My original guess was that somehow the routing was off so that when panning the sound shifted from one master bus channel connected to a speaker, to the second master bus channel which was connected to a physical output of the interface which was not actually connected to a speaker (or not connected to any physical output, which seems less likely if autoconnect is still enabled by default).
That could be a possible explanation for the described symptom of “notice the sounds disappear when being panned and also they become lower in volume.” The picture I found online of a C400 showed outputs 1 and 2 arranged vertically, if cables were connected side by side without noticing that would connect channels 1 and 3 to the amplifier instead of channels 1 and 2.

@ccaudle: This problem has probably nothing to do with Ardour - unless one doesn’t mess with the routing grid. The problem is with the way the system handles (or doesn’t handle) this particular audio interface - and some others by M-Audio. You see, when you assign Ardour track/bus output to “hardware” output the sound card doesn’t actually send signal to physical output directly, but creates a sort of internal software “node” (so to speak) from which you can route signal to any available hardware output (1/2, 3/4, SPDIF, non of them or all of them at the same time, or however you choose). Normally you do that with dedicated mixer program for Windows or Mac. Unfortunately there is no such program for ALSA. On the positive side all of the internal capabilities of the card are available by alsamixer. The main problem people face is the default “setting” (I hesitate to even call it a setting, it is rather a starting position): unfortunately, when you plug in the device, ALL of the available settings are set to maximum value. This means that all possible inputs are routed to all possible outputs, which means when you listen to the Master bus L channel is connected to both outputs 1 AND 2 (and 3, 4, SPDIF, all…), same with The R channel - making it sound mono and way to hot - it will clip @-6dB. The solution I propose is to lower down all slides except for [Playback]:1/1 and 2/2 (on my system: Din1-out1 and Din2-out2 - but this may vary for other cards) and save that with “sudo alsactl store hw:F8R” (or whatever designation set by arecord -l). Having set this “sane” default, one can engage other routs when needed.

This all seems complicated lol might just try get another sound card that’s more appropriate for ardour or alsa

@mrskytown: Yes, sometimes it is a little complicated to get setup right at first, mostly because the card vendors don’t make their setup tools for linux, only Windows. If you can follow what vasakq wrote, the last step, “sudo alsactl store hw:F8R” is a command to store the settings so the settings will be restored on startup. The last part, F8R, might be different, vasakq was guessing at what the card is called, check using the command aplay -l or arecord -l which has the alsa play or alsa record utility list all the devices found in your system. Use the name returned there.

Yes, hw:F8R is certainly wrong for this device, maybe better use “sudo alsactl store” without any designation (It will also store current settings of the internal laptop card - no harm there) or just turn the laptop off with the card plugged and active - the system may store its last state.
@mrskytown: it is complicated, but the original mixer program for Windows and Mac is complicated too, just prettier and more structured. I remember when I first bought M-Audio card - I was on Windows - I needed a lot of time to figure out this mixer. It was the same with older “M-Audio Audiophile 2496” . But this kind of software is designed for people who run studios and need custom monitor mixes for their clients - all that without having to buy very expensive analog console.
If you don’t record many people and just mix electronic music via plugins, something like Focusrite Solo, Focusrite 2i2 or  Presonus AudioBox USB is a safe bet.