Position Markers causing stutters

Hey all, I recently installed Ardour on Ubuntu and although it looks like a perfectly good program I’ve not been able to get to use it for any actual work. This is because when I try to record a track there will be split second stutters of silence. After recording when I look back at the position markers there will be a row of yellow arrows pointing to each point of silence or glitch. What is the meaning of the yellow arrows? Are the stutters being caused by the yellow arrows being put in place or are the yellow arrows pointing out glitches in the track? I’ve been reading about and can’t seem to find anyone with the same problem I’m having.

Cheers, Dan

Are the stutters being caused by the yellow arrows being put in place or are the yellow arrows pointing out glitches in the track?

The latter, and this can be controlled in the Options menu.

You are having xrun problems, most likely your computer is not set up for realtime operation correctly. Some googling should provide answers to this, it is a common problem, and Ubuntu is particularly bad about it.


Oh, I was hoping for someone to say something like “Your yellow arrow glitch switch is toggled to on.” What operating system do you suggest I use?

Thanks for the reply.

Sorry was both very tired and may have been responding on cell phone at that time. While I am no longer on a cell phone I am still very tired so someone better come behind me and make sure what I type is accurate and makes the least bit of sense.

You can certainly use Linux, and if you are used to Ubuntu you can still use that distribution, but it will require some system administration to set up correctly. If you want to start with a different distribution of Linux, then I would suggest taking a look at AVLinux and see how well that works for you.


With Ubuntu I suggest you try adding the kxstudio repositories to get a realtime kernel and up-to-date audio software versions. A lot of people seem to have good success with that (though I must admit I use AVLinux)

The stock Ubuntu has been quite good - I’m using 10.04 LTS for testing plugins etc, although our linuxDSP development machines run Mandriva.

10.04 LTS required no special tweaks and has been very usable and stable. I’m not convinced that a realtime kernel is mandatory for audio (I’ve never needed to use one, and for every report I see about how stable a particular combination of (realtime) kernel, distro and hardware is there are normally equal numbers of users who find the same combination causes all kinds of problems for audio). The reality is there are just too many variables to be able to say "this combination is good’ ‘that combination is bad’

All that said, I’ve been trying very hard to like Ubuntu 11.10, but personally I can’t recommend it for anything (not just audio). The list of utterly frustrating things that have been broken or rendered practically unusable in the name of ‘progress’ grows longer every day (I’m not against change, It’s just change should move things in a generally positive direction…)

I would however certainly recommend a dedicated audio distro as a good starting point, and A/V linux is definitely worth trying.

A realtime kernel is not needed for most purposes related to audio no. It is only eneded if you actually MUST have the lowest latencies stably, and many people that think they need this really don’t need this.


It turns out I just needed to switch of the xrun marker in the options menu. Problem solved.

That will just hide the symptom, not fix the problem, unless you have now set up your system for proper realtime operation. All those markers did was marked where a problem occurred. Now you have no visual indication of where problems occur, but they are almost certainly still occurring.


Aye but beforehand there a silence or shudder where there was a marker. Now the music continues on smoothly as though nothing is wrong. Everything continues in sync with each other and you can’t audibly perceive there is a problem. I don’t even know if that counts as a problem anymore.

It means you are getting lucky most likely. The markers didn’t cause the stutter, they only marked where it was, that was all that option did. You are likely getting lucky now if you haven’t done what I said early on and set up your system for proper audio performance and not getting as many xruns, but the only way to know that would be to look at QJackCTL’s display and see what it is telling you. I would certainly still consider it a problem, because it means your system could cause a dropout for reasons unrelated to your audio because it doesn’t have proper realtime permissions, and this will likely happen at the worst possible moment courtesy of our friend Murphy.