Some usability thoughts

Hi !

I tried Ardour 4 years ago and now I trying it out once more. I must say you are doing a pretty good work and that I’m glad I can finally mix songs on linux.

I just found some usability issues in my opinion, I hope you find them useful for future development. Just to give you some context of what type of user I am, I’m mixing my band’s tracks, we play alt rock

  1. I couldn’t find a quick way to change the volume or pan or mute to multiple tracks at once. I know I can make groups, but making a different group everytime I want to mute multiple tracks (for example) sounds dumb. I come from Cakewalk Sonar where you can select multiple tracks and while pressing the ctrl key you can relatively adjust gain, or change mute, pan, and solo settings.

  2. I can’t find a way to zoom out and see the whole project at once, like a fit in screen type of zoom. There is a button for this but it doesn’t change track heights, so only the horizontal zoom is changed.

  3. Having the busses and the tracks all in the same place is confusing, I like quick access to the busses, having to find a bus between all the tracks feels like a waste of time… i think user created busses should appear next to the Master Bus in the Mixer window and in the Composition window they should be separated from the other tracks

  4. When drawing an automation pressing alt will give you more precission. I think it should be the same key (alt for instance) when changing a fader. Also pressing shift should draw an straight line. The first point when creating an automation should be the current value, for example when creating a volume automation it should start with the current volume value, not 0db.

I think these are just small changes that will greatly improve the daily use of the software imho.

Really appreaciate your hard work, cheers

I would certainly like an easier automation drawing interface. For some reason I find it very hard work. I have given up on trying to set automation by moving faders, because the resulting shower of automation points is impossible to edit afterwards. (I may be using it wrong, of course…)

I like the idea of “instant temporary groups” for moving faders together.

Thanks Leatus Penguin for your tips, I will check them out.

About 3, I tried making groups in order to toggle visibility of them, for example I made a group called “busses” but when I uncheck “- all -” and only keep “busses” checked, the mixer will show the group “busses” AND all ungrouped tracks… I think unchecking “-all-” should cause all ungrouped tracks to be invisible don’t you think ?