Region list bloat

Is there a way to show only one instance of a region in the region list? After a few minutes of editing and copying edits I’m drowning in duplicates.
Thanks
Alistair

Hi Alistair,

The region list doesn’t show “duplicates”, because each instance in the list can have its own start&end time, fades, and other properties.

If you’re working with a specific sample (like a kick drum hit) then you might instead be looking for the new “Source List” which has a single entry for a file, regardless of how many times that file is used in the session.

Let me know if that works for you, or if not, please explain what you were trying to accomplish with the region list.

-Ben

Thanks Ben.

What I would like to see is simply a list of all of my edited fragments to be able to choose one, and drop it into a track. And drop another 3 copies somewhere else in combination with other fragments. Split it in 2 and reverse the order of the fragments. Copy the group and reorder.

My workflow is to take source audio files (field recordings, music, found sounds, voices, foley-like sounds) then separate them into short sounds or groups of sounds, bits of texture etc., preferably naming as I go (e.g. ‘street Monday’ gets cut into ‘passing car1’ ‘horn3’ ‘siren2’ ‘siren-short’). These then become building blocks for further development, arrangement, layering, repetition… (‘horn3’ might then become ‘long drone2’ when I add reverb and stretch it)

I see how the Source list could do that but it seems I would need to bounce each region, then rename it (because they would all be named ‘(bounce)street Monday-1’ etc.).

If I was only working in a music recording environment I would be working either with samples or other sounds as ‘notes’, or with stretches of recorded performance. For that Ardour seems like a good candidate for us to adopt. But for the interdisciplinary work our students do in sound art, film sound design, theatre sound etc. the approach is more experimental. Bouncing and renaming dozens of tiny sounds seems like a lot of extra work!

Alistair

Hmm, I still think the Source list is exactly what you want. It just isn’t implemented fully/correctly yet. The Source list is a new feature in v6, and it will likely take a few iterations to complete the desired features.

It should be possible, if only a single region is selected, to create a Source from the region without actually bouncing it and taking disk space.

Instead of prepending the region name with “(bounce)”, we should be adding a “bounce” TAG, so you could still potentially sort or search for bounces without abusing the region name.

I’ll make a note to add those features if you think it will meet your needs.

-Ben

2 Likes

Thanks again. That sounds like a solution - I’ll pass the message on to colleagues who are also looking at Ardour as solution for their students. The option to simplify the list (optionally ‘switch off’ Tags, Orig Pos, Path etc.) would be nice as would the ability to control Source tab width for long file names.
Alistair

I’m a long time Pro Tools user. Its ‘clips list’ isn’t perfect but it has all source files (in bold type) and regions/clip (in ordinary type) together in one place.
Ardour seems a bit more like Reaper (which I’m not so familiar with) where the ‘Project Bay’ has tabs for Source Media like Ardour Sources, and Media Items like Ardour Regions. In Media Items for each item/region the Track & Position columns may say ‘5 instances’ and you can right-click to reveal all 5 and select. Would that approach work?

I don’t think it’s a good idea to list the 2 different object types in a single list. It creates ambiguity in actions like “sort by time” (some items aren’t yet on the timeline, so don’t have a start/length ). We had this in the past and it limited what we could do with the Regions & Sources.

It is my intent that selection should be bi-directional. Selecting a Region(s) will show the Source(s) that they use {this should already be working}. And selecting a Source will highlight all the Regions that use that Source {not sure if this is working}. That’s how you’d know how many instances of a source are being used in regions, and where they are located. The selection is is mirrored in both the timeline and the Region list, so you can reference either one.

There’s also a third tab in planning: a “Clip” or “Samples” tab (name TBD) which references files that you might want to use, but are not yet imported to the session. Kinda like the Import dialog file browser, but in a more convenient format similar to other DAWs’ Loop Browser or whatever.

I’m sorry that I haven’t yet changed the text “(bounce)” to be a TAG instead of a name-change. I’ll bump the priority of that on my ToDo list. It should be a trivial change.

-Ben

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I’m still trying to get my head around Ardour terminology and I’m trying to imagine teaching with Ardour next session.

I think I can see the rationale for the region list, but if you could fix it so that I could create a Source from a Region (as you suggest above) and rename it I would probably never need to look in the Region list.

I just realised with some horror that if I delete a sound from the timeline, it disappears from the Regions list (yup, that’s me not fully understanding the terminology here) so my carefully edited chunks are gone. Am I missing something obvious?

Another tab for sounds I have yet to import into the session wouldn’t help. If I want to import a sound I just bring it into sources, no? Why have yet another place to keep my materials?

Again, sorry if I’m missing something obvious.
Alistair

The region list is for “looking at” material that is on the timeline. Once it ends up on the timeline (as a region) it has properties that don’t apply to the “original” or “file” version (e.g. per region mute, gain, position, start offset, length and more).

The source list is for “looking at” things that are already inside the session and could be placed on the timeline. It corresponds closely to the idea of “files” (but not precisely).

The import dialog is for “looking at” things that you could bring into the session.

Thanks. Super clear. So it’s the source list I want. If there is a way of making an edited sound into a source and rename it without bouncing, that would be great. Otherwise we’ll just have to bounce. Disk space is not an issue.

Well, Ardour is a DAW and all DAWs (fairly sure of this, though the definition can be a bit tautological) are non-linear, non-destructive editors.

That is, your edits never affect the underlying audio data (when you edit in Ardour or any other DAW, you are just playing around with metadata, not changing the audio data).

If you literally want to edit audio files and save the result, you’re really looking for an audio file editor (such as Audacity, which is not a DAW - it does destructive editing).

Bouncing is precisely what you do in a DAW to take the result of metadata/non-destructive editing and create a new audio file representing those edits.

I’m not looking to do destructive editing. A typical project involves taking field recordings and extracting a bunch of sounds (bees buzzing, birds, cars, etc.), naming each one, then eventually recombining them with other sounds. Each sound may be used a few times, or not at all, but I don’t know if and when I’m going to use it until I start combining on multiple tracks, so I store it in a list, not on the timeline. As the sounds are edited non-destructively, if I decide to change the length of one instance, then the name gets -01, -02 etc. added, but if I only use the full version, the name doesn’t change and the list doesn’t get longer no matter how many times I use it. The only reason I was suggesting bouncing and renaming was because it seems the only way for Ardour to give me that list of named sounds without them hanging around on the timeline.

Right. This is intentional, to avoid a very common problem we had in the past. "Most* of the time, if you delete something (like: the bits between the sound that you actually want) then you don’t want it to stick around. Ardour can’t know the difference; only the user can. In the past, we’d end up with uncountable little regions in the Region list, most of which were just side-effects of splitting a region up into parts.

So the correct solution, as you’ve ascertained, is to explicitly tell Ardour “I don’t want this on the timeline but I might use it again someday”. I can think of 2 different solutions here.

One option is to turn it into its own “Source” in the Source list (by setting the “whole file” flag), which is a very easy change in the code, and would be “instant” with no disk space usage. The downside of that operation is that the file would only be available in “this” session.

The second action is to bounce/export the region as a wavefile, into some external folde. The benefit of this operation is that the file would be accessible in other sessions. The downside is that it is “just a file” and would lose all the region properties (like region gain).

The first item is already on my ToDo list. The second item is already possible … you just export the file to some known location so you can find it again later. But a “clip list” might keep a dedicated place for these files where they could be tagged, searched, etc.

2 Likes

Option 1 sounds really good to me. I can always export/bounce anything I want in another session later.
(Option 2 is generally fine too as any time I use a sound somewhere else I’m likely to change it’s gain depending on the new context)
I guess the only thing that remains it the ability to rename the piece of audio in option 1.

It’s really interesting to understand the rationale behind the ways different DAWs work! Thanks again Ben

Hi Alistair, I’m sorry for the late response. The Mixbus 6.1 launch kept me busy for a few weeks!

I just pushed a series of changes to ardour-master based on your suggestions.

The changes are :

  • When you Bounce a Range or Region, you will be prompted for the name of the resulting bounce.
  • The result of a Bounce will appear in the “Source List”, where you can re-use it later by dragging it into the timeline.
  • Range->“Consolidate Range” is a special case of bounce where the resulting file appears in both the Source list and the Region list (because it’s on the timeline)

After a bounce, the resulting Source file will be:

  1. tagged “bounce” (rather than have “bounce” appended to the region’s name, as it was in the past)
  2. assigned a “captured for” field, which will be the Track Name where it originated (this helps you delineate your Bounced sources in the case where you did a multiple-track-selection bounce)
  3. assigned a “Take ID” just as if it were recorded; this allows you to sort by, and group select all sources that were bounced in that operation.

A few other minor associated changes:

  • The Source and Region lists now have a channel-count column (1 for mono, 2 for stereo, etc). You can sort on this column.
  • The Source list now has a column “captured for”. For old sessions this may show some confusing text. But going forward it will show the Track Name that the region was recorded (or Bounced) from
  • The Source list now allows the name of Sources to be edited. So if you don’t like the name you used for the Bounce, you can change it.
  • Sources were not correctly sorting when you clicked the take-id header; this has been fixed.

Let me know what you think!

-Ben

6 Likes

Brilliant, thanks! (Ardour-6.2.112-x86_64). I also see that the Source tab can be made wider to see longer names. Now I’m able to organise my materials much more easily. I’ll play a bit more today and report if I run into problems. This really does make my workflow much smoother and will make the transition to Ardour easier for my students.

(An ‘Import after export’ tick box in the Export dialog would still be a lovely thing to have for mixing groups of sounds over multiple tracks, and for stems)