Step-by-step model for a project..."regions" vs. "playlists", etc.

I’m a little confused as to how things like “regions”, “playlists”, “tracks”, etc. work, and the ardour manual is still a bit vague at this point. What I want to know is what all these things mean in the “big scheme”.

For example, let’s say I want to record a total of 8 songs. I’m assuming you do this in one “session”. Each song has 8 tracks. Each take for each track is a separate “playlist”, correct?

Assuming that’s true, what exactly is a region? Would it basically be used as a “song” division, or something else? Basically, I got the impression from what I read in the manual that somehow you can separate out parts of your recording into different songs that you want to put on a CD when you export it to burn to a CD.

Basically, my questions are what would I use a region for, vs. a playlist, and how do I make these divisions in my “session” such that I can find individual songs; essentially a time range between all the tracks that is somehow marked…

Beyond that, is there a way to rearrange these ranges to get them in the order you want them on the CD?

I guess this is just a generalized “how do I produce things on ardour” type of question, but I really can’t figure it out so far, and I don’t really have much, if any, real experience with real computer recording software to be able to make any guesses.

Thanks for any help,

You would put several songs into one session if you want to export to CD, but otherwise it’s rather 1 song per session.

A region is like a window unto a soundfile, where any number of regions can point to the same file. If you record one take on one mono track, the resulting region represents a whole soundfile. But now you can split the region, duplicate it …
Regions also carry fade in/out and a gain envelope.

I haven’t used playlists (except the 1 playlist per track given), but afaik they’re just sequences of regions. So their use is to allow alternative arrangements for tracks. You can use them for takes, but you don’t have to.

Well Ardour’s a high-level, general-purpose tool, so you’ll get lots of different answers to your question.

I see it like this:

  • A session is the thing I’m trying to make - usually 1 song, but I could imagine using Ardour to master a compilation for example, in which case it would be a longer thing (though the smaller units (see region below) would be songs rather than beats or phrases).
  • A region is a useful chunk of audio. In the context of what I do, it’s a recording of an instrument, clipped to the appropriate length etc, i.e. a beat loop or a phrase. I tend to reuse regions (tho I think technically they are all new “regions”) as I loop beats etc (cos I’m a lazy techno guy). (in the compilation cd situation, a region would be a whole song perhaps)
  • A playlist is a way of quickly swapping the contents of a track; i.e. I’ve various snippets of a vocal sample in a track, and I decide that I would like to try a completely different sample, but I want to use the same track. So new playlist, put in all the regions for the new sample. The advantage is you can switch between them quickly, and because they live on the same track you can have the same outputs, effects etc (I say this because you could achieve the same thing with a new track and alternating mute for the 2 tracks).
  • A track is for organising an instrument/performer, i.e something you’re going to want to fiddle with the fader for during playback, which will have its own effects etc.

Anyway there’s my lengthy description of what they mean to me. Have a plan and start fiddling, I was as daunted as you were a couple of weeks ago… have fun.