I am a little at stray on the plans of implementing ,… more comprehensive panning.", (see the ardour development list)

I am aware that I opened a feature Request for multichannel panning with a ridiculously low sponsorship. It’s embarassing yes… . Nevertheless, I would like to know from a developers point of view on how much time and money it would take to implement it.
Numbers would be great.

Furthermore, I am curious on how the rest of the community thinks about it, because no one seems to mind. Are you all mostly involved in mono and stereo production? Or is there some trend I do not know of?

thanks for your time,


Stereo only here, but interested to see how people are working multi-channel.

I find it hard enough setting up a half decent stereo monitoring environment.


Heh I am generally stereo, though do multichannel on occasion. I usually end up working around things with bus routing etc, a pain but possible. I tend to be a thorn in Paul’s side on IRC on occasion about multichannel, I think he implemented the VBAP panner just to shut me up:)


Only stereo: i do multitrack live recording (34 tracks max until i can get more microphones) for some bands, so i don’t need 5.1 or similar.
I like use buses for “instrumental” selection (usually one for flutes, one for clarinets, etc…), every track is routed to proper bus (example: 1st, 2nd, etc clarinet to clarinet bus) and every bus to master.

I have two suggestions to improve Ardour:

One suggestion is to add an “switch” for select different output presets: in my case i have an (old) analog mixer with 2 audio cards (one motu828 mk1 and one 828 mk2, old but works fine); sometimes i want to listen without connecting my laptop to studio, so i need to re-route everything in Ardour (ok, busses help me, but if i want to switch between one instrument per mixer channel to one group per channel i need to re-route everything, which is very annoying if you are in short of time).

Second suggestion is create project branches to help people work to an copy of the project without needing clone everything (my projects are 20-30GB, branching can help create different versions of the project without need do waste disk space, precious if you are using, like me, an small SSD).

We already have “project branches”. They are called snapshots. You can even manage these in a revision control system such as git if you wanted, but this isn’t part of how they actually work.

You can also “Save As” with the “copy media” option turned off, which will create a new session folder that references the existing data files, without copying.

The vast majority of the Ardour multi-channel minority are using Ambisonics. Mix once, fold it down to whatever speaker-system you have or need.

@x42: I feel you are mixing up cause and effect.
Just because 3 people bothered to respond, doesn’t show that multichannel mixing is something for exotic birds. There are so many DAW options out there. People who want to distribute a sound source freely within a horizontal sound field, just don’t use Ardour (currently). The vbap in ardour is currently mostly a form of an image spreading tool. I can assure you that there a tons of sounddesigners and music engineers out there who mix and produce ads, trailers, and films for festivals which are most often targeted for public screening, such as cinema. Also, many of the higher quality short films, or even longer ones like documenaries you see on Vimeo have been mixed for Festivals in 5.1 to begin with. What you see there is basically their after life in a stereo downmix after their festival period.
By the way I like the idea of ambisonics, it’s good for positioning i guess. But I think, it also has drawbacks in some cases, if all the Speakers are liked to one virtual space. I would have problems discreetly treating every speaker as a individual sound source, e.g defining specific rooms in back, front and side.
But still, this wasn’t the actual topic. I saw the idea for more comprehensive panning on the development list, and was only asking what your plans on that are and what resouces are actually needed.
If there were some sort of hint on what to do, like we need xyz to do hire abc, or whatever I would be very grateful. Diverting answers like the one you gave, or even no response at all, see Paul, gives me the feelig im talking to some church. It’s strange to say the least.
(Nevertheless, I responded this wordily, because I value this project and your work a lot.)

@t0bY: (1) x42’s point was that because Ardour does not support anything except ambisonics in any real way, Ardour users doing multichannel stuff are largely using ambisonics.

(2) We have no plans to support N.M (5.1, 10.2 etc) in the foreseeable future. We have no way to estimate the work involved in a feature such as that. N.M formats are largely inferior and in some cases subject to technology licensing requirements. If you read up on the history of surround mixing, you may (or may not) agree with my assessment that the ONLY reason N.M formats were created was to generate a licensing revenue stream, which was not possible ambisonics were already effectively public domain.

(3) My response above was to @marcopete87’s mostly off-topic comment, not your original post.

(4) My guess is that adding N.M panning fully to Ardour is about a weeks worth of DSP/backend coding and likely 1-2 months or more of GUI coding. But as I noted above, this is a total guess - nobody can give a real number for this until they are in the middle of the work.