some more usability suggestions

here are some thoughts on usability that i came up with while working on a small project for a friend.

when you have the create send dialog open, it would be very useful to be able to see a fader/faders in the dialog to set the send levels without having to reopen the edit window to do so. i have another suggestion below about this, but i think the idea of setting the send up all in one step is much less clumsy than reopening the properties of a send to finish setting it up.

sends, inserts and plugins:
continuing on the previous point, there should be a button/option to activate it on creation. this is most useful when used like the above: set up a send’s ports, adjust the send level, activate and apply. the send is now fully set up in one window.
there should also be an option to set all plugin/send/insert edit windows as ‘always on top’ by default. i often ‘lose’ these windows behind the main edit window when i jump back and forth, and find it very frustrating.
this may be already implemented, but is there an easy shortcut (middle click, double click etc) to open up the edit window of a send/plugin/insert? right clicking to chose it in a menu is too slow for me. (i’m not on a pc with ardour at the moment, so i can’t check this). there should be an equivalent option for activate/deactivate as well (in logic it was ctrl-click on a plugin/send etc.

there should also be an option to have all plugin windows open on creation. when i add a plugin i usually want to edit it immediately, so i think ardour should automatically open up any edit windows appropriate to the plugins i just added.

sends on channel strips:
there should be a way of adjusting send levels (and maybe other things, like dry/wet mixes perhaps) in the channel strip itself. i think i mentioned this in another post a while ago, but i think it is important enough to mention again. i have made a mockup (not as good as thorwills’ ones are i’m afraid) :slight_smile: here:
<img src=" alt=“ardour send faders” title=“ardour send faders”>
clicking and dragging these should move the faders immediately.
this is especially important for headphone mixes, where you need to change various things fast - “can i have the guitars louder, but turn down that damn snare drum!”, but also for quick changes to reverb send levels etc.

editor window:
there should be a toolbar for functions such as ‘split’, ‘trim’, ‘join’ etc. these are used often enough to be at least an optional toolbar, and it took me a while to figure out how to do them (which makes me look bad :slight_smile:

thanks for taking the time to read my rants :slight_smile:


sorry, i stuffed up the image tag for the send levels in channel strip. here 'tis:
ardour send faders
thorwill, beat that!!! :slight_smile:

i also forgot one suggestion:
hidable channel strip elements.
i rarely use the ‘post fader’ effects area, so would prefer to use the space for other things: longer faders, larger pre fader area etc. i think each section of the channel strips should be able to be shown and hidden at will, and an option or modifier to do this for all channels (hide all post fader area things for example). this isn’t a major issue, but i think it would tidy up things a bit.


dragging in the mixer strip right now changes the order in which plugins/etc appear, which AFAIK changes the order in which they are processed… perhaps middle-click dragging to change volume?

or using the mouse wheel over the send?

mouse wheel isn’t always available though. maybe a key could be held down while dragging to enable send level change.

There could also be buttons to move up down but that’s tedious and takes up precious space.

another small request: make a second click on the stop button reset the current playback indicator to the start of the loop or the start of the song.

i used to like the speed of double clicking stop to stop and reset, then just play to play from the start of the selected loop.

ps. i know i am making heaps of requests, i am not trying to say ‘do everything the way i want it’, i am just putting the suggestions out there. i know how much work you put into this (i just became a subscriber the other day to try to help out a bit) and really appreciate the effort, regardless of whether or not all my whiny little requests make the cut :slight_smile:


I found it! This thread is hard to find.

Ok So I just made a headphone mix for my tutorial here’s how I did it.

Start by creating one new stereo bus for each musician. Make sure to label them appropriately (example "HM-Perc" for "headphone mix - percussionist"). I created 3 new busses, one for the percussionist, one for the keyboardist and one for the vocalist. Connect each bus' output to the musician's headphone connections. My 828 mk II has only one stereo headphone out, so I'll have to either use a splitter cable or an additional mixer.

Now comes the fun part. By context-clicking in the post-fader sends list, add three new sends to each track, and rename each one something short but descriptive such as “PtoK” for percussion track to keyboardist. The goal is to have one send for each track to each bus. Because we have four tracks and three musicians, we’ll end up with 12 sends in total.

Now each one of those twelve sends was manually clicked in, I had to close and reopen too many dialogs. Each send was like this:

  1. context-click
  2. new send
  3. add outputs
  4. close window
  5. context click
  6. rename
  7. close window

7 steps! Interface nightmare, and that’s not the worst. I tried to drag a send over from one to the other. I expected the send to be duplicated, with a slightly different name (append a .1 for example) and the inputs to be changed to fit the track i dropped them on. The name change was lost (ok that’s i suppose understandable and the routing was also lost. for duplicated sends, the process was like this

  1. context-click
  2. rename
  3. close window
  4. double click
  5. add 2 outputs and connect
  6. close window

all in all, not fun to do 12 times. THEN I had to double-click each one to change mix levels. I think that a script could handle creating headphone mixes, and later on a whole new dialog should be introduced to handle these busses, with its own dedicated and specialized mixer. I wish I knew enough to do it on my own, but I don’t know the code… if someone wants to teach me, though :wink:

Forgetting the interface woes, though, the headphone mixes all worked well and I’m happy to include this functionality in my tut.


real sends are on the way…

The panning / bussing / send structure is being reviewed on IRC and, once the changes are implemented, I think you’ll find you can build headphone feeds very easily.

that’s great :slight_smile:
where abouts can we look to see updates on this if we can’t often be on irc? could someone involved post updates here?