I’m running a guitar into an audio track and the level maxes out at ~-15db. But when I arm the track, it rockets into the orange up to ~0db. The level doesn’t change in my headphones (i.e. it sounds the same to me).
I’m sure this is something simple, but I have no idea how to search for a solution or understand what I’m seeing. Any help would be appreciated.
When rec-arming a track, by default Ardour changes the meter-point to show the "In"put (what is going to be recorded) vs. normal “Post” (after fader, after FX) signal-levels.
You can manually change this, see #11 “Meter point” at http://manual.ardour.org/ardours-interface/audio-midi-mixer-strips/
Note that Ardour records the raw input as-is (Ardour 5 doesn’t allow wet recording).
From http://manual.ardour.org/signal-routing/signal-flow/ :
Ardour changes the meter-point to show the "In"put (what is going to be recorded) vs. normal “Post” (after fader, after FX) signal-levels.
Simplified: “FX only affect meters when a track is rec-armed”
This is not what I see. With all tracks disarmed, I have a guitar running into an instrument input set at a certain level. Then I use plugins like gxAmplifier-x to add character and volume to that signal. If I turn the gain or cabinet output knobs on that plugin (which I assume is a form of “FX”), then meters are affected. Again, all while DIS-armed.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding the definition of “FX”?
If I understand it well, it is not about FX, it is about metering. With rec-armed, the meter shows the input volume. Without it shows the volume after the fader (and any FX). So, if you pull down the fader, it will affect the meter when not rec-armed, but when you rec-arm the track, it will go back to the input level.
In your case, it seems, your input level is ~0db, but your fader and FX brings down the output to ~-15db.