strange behaviour of saving snapshots

I am cutting a radio-play with ardour on my Portege R100 (Ardour 2.8.2 / puredyne). After 40 minutes ardour started to behave strange, crashed… so I saved the file as snapshot with the name file2 (I removed the first 30 minutes) - the first was file1. So the project was split into two files and I could continue working without any troubles.

Yesterday I added the music to both parts and exported both parts the first time - everything was ok - both parts was fine with music (last saving of both parts).

Today I wanted to start with the corrections, but very starnge, file1 and file2 only contained the second part - file1 without the music - file2 with music. Thanks god I had a backup.

Does anybody know, what happend?

I verified in the meantime, what is happening:

when you crate a snapshot and you decide to continue working with this snapshot, it overwrites all the time the original file.

In my case the snapshot file 2 overwrites the original file1 all the time. I had to reload file 1 all the time from backup.

So I created from the backup of file 1 another snapshot with the name part 1 and now part 1 is overwriting all the time file 1 - file 2 does not touch file 1 any more and does not touch part1

very strange behavior - I had no time to verify this with a new project, but in my case it is like this

EDIT: I was working hard on file2 yesterday and when I checked in the night file 1 was overwritten by file2.

I think what you are running into is a misunderstanding of how snapshots work, and what gets saved or not saved when you switch between snapshots.

When you take a snapshot, it gets saved under the Snapshots menu with whatever name you give it. You can now switch between the original session and the snapshot and edit them independently from each other. Here’s where the confusion may start. It can be easy to think of a snapshot as an entirely independent session, but it is not. You must think of the original session and all the snapshots as one big session. Ardour does not drop the changes you make on a particular snapshot if you switch to another snapshot without hitting “Save”. Those changes are still there. Crucially, when you do hit Save, Ardour will save the current state of all the snapshots. So, from the time you open the session up to the time you hit save, anything you have done to any snapshot will get saved unless you expressly Undo those changes before hitting saved.

Here’s how this applies to your problem. If you are working on file1 and get to a point where you like it, you might save a snapshot called file2. What needs to be understood is that, at this point in time, both file1 and file2 are exactly the same. If you then immediately switch to file2, file1 does not revert to its original state when you first started working on the session. It’s still sitting there, looking exactly like file 2. If at this point you hit Save, Ardour saves all the snapshots, in this case resulting in file1 and file2 being exactly the same. If you are under the impression that Snapshots behave as entirely independent sessions, this may trick you into thinking that file2 has overwritten file1.

That was long-winded, but I hope it helps.


Sorry but you are mistaken. I haven’t had time to get back to this post and the OP for a while, but I need to clarify this…

Snapshots ARE independent sessions. In all honesty a snapshot is a complete session file in itself.

Where the confusion I suspect is happening, is that when you create a snapshot file, it does not automatically switch to that snapshot, anything you save will continue to be saved in the original, UNTIL you EXPLICITLY open the snapshot file. At which point if you have unsaved changes you will be asked if you want to save them or not. All of this I just doubly confirmed a moment ago.

I other words, if you create a session, named SESSION. Then you work on this session and create a snapshot of the session, named SNAPSHOT. If you then continue working, and press SAVE you will save over the SESSION file, NOT the SNAPSHOT file.

If you do some changes to SESSION, and then try to open SNAPSHOT, you will be asked if you want to save your changes to SESSION first, as otherwise your changes will be lost.

If you open SNAPSHOT and then do some work and press save, you will save over SNAPSHOT. SESSION on the other hand will be untouched.

The only time I can think of that this is not strictly true is when dealing with embedded files that are not copied to the session, as updating those files will update across the board as the file itself has changed on disc, and session files only point to the source files with regions. However most people are importing the files(Copying the files to the session) and this is not an issue for them.



Hmm your first post there is very odd indeed. It doesn’t sound like you removed the first portion of the file in either session, so I can’t think of a reason it would be gone, unless maybe you just didn’t see it as you moved the start marker or something of that nature. I still don’t have time to look in depth into this yet, but I will try to come back to this in a few days when hopefully I get some sleep again.

I will say however, that as long as I explicitly open the snapshot, the original session remains unchanged, and I confirmed this as well before posting.


I must disagree, Seablade. Please follow these instructions to see if you can duplicate my experience.

To start off, I am running Ubuntu, using Ardour 2.8.11.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open Ardour. Start a new session called “Snapshots”.

  2. Save the session.

  3. Immediately create a new snapshot called “Snapshot 2” (or whatever you like).

  4. Open Hydrogen and load up a demo. Create a new track in the original session snapshot (Which you should still be editing. It will be called “Snapshot” if you have followed these instructions). Route Hydrogen into that track, hit play on Hydrogen, and record a few seconds of drums in Ardour.

  5. After you are done recording, immediately switch to “Snapshot 2”. In my experience, Ardour will not ask you to save any changes. It will simply switch to “Snapshot 2” and that will be that. “Snapshot 2” will be a raw session, with no tracks added.

  6. Record some Hydrogen beats into “Snapshot 2” .

  7. Switch back to “Snapshot 1”. Ardour will still not ask you to save anything.

  8. Now, hit save.

If you close and re-open this session, you should find that “Snapshot 1” and “Snapshot 2” will be in the same state as when you last edited them, each with independent recordings. I have repeated this experiment several times on my system, the results are always the same. Ardour never asks to save when I switch between snapshots.

I’ve done some more experiments.

It appears that Ardour will not ask you to save if you are just doing any strict recording.

However, if you do any editing (i.e. adding plug-ins, or adjust fader levels) then Ardour will suggest that you save a snapshot. If you want to reproduce my original experiment, it is crucial that you not do any mixing whatsoever. Just do recording.

What you are experiencing is something different, namely an aspect of Ardour that ensures you don’t lose audio recorded. Try editing the session (Split or duplicate ranges) and switching between snapshots, you will see what I am referring to.

If you record new audio, Ardour writes that directly to disk and into the session file as well I believe. This way even if Ardour crashes, you don’t lose any audio.

If however you do edits between sessions by importing audio, or splitting regions, moving them, etc. You will see the difference.


Yea you typed faster than I did;) What you are seeing I believe is intentional, and results in the behavior you saw, but is not reflective of snapshots, but rather Ardour recording management in general.

Snapshots etc. work as I described above, or should anyways to the best of my knowledge.


Okay, after messing around with this a bit, I’d like to shoot this up to Paul if he’s watching this thread. Why is that Ardour will prompt a user to save any editing (as in, fader changes or added plug-ins) on a snapshot, but will not prompt a user to save any recording? Or, I should say, it will automatically save any straight recording without prompting the user. This has caused me a lot of confusion.

....but will not prompt a user to save any recording?

See my post above;)


Heh, having you respond so quickly is a bit weird, Seablade.

I think I see what you mean, overall. I will just say that this behavior (i.e. Ardour treating the recording of a session slightly different than the editing of session) has caused me a lot of heartache. As an end-user, I am inclined to view recording and editing as basically the same type of function. I think I now understand why it is done this way, but it still has caused me problems.

I am currently puling an all nighter to get caught up at work, so I am doing a fair amount of watching progress bars;)


Alright, this is my last post on this, I promise. :slight_smile:

The reason why this issue has frustrated me in the past is because, for instance, if you remove a track, Ardour will not prompt you to save a session if you switch to a new snapshot. I have several times removed a track, and then decided to switch to a different snapshot with the expectation that Ardour would either ask me to save the changes are not save them at all.

So I guess this amounts to a new suggestion. Can Ardour in the future prompt the user to save if there are any changes in the snapshot at all, regardless of what kind of change it may be? Recording, editing or otherwise. Basically, if the user does anything at all, can Ardour just ask if they want those changes to be saved?

Well two things here…

One removing a track you should be presented with a dialog to tell you this change is immediate and irreversable IIRC(Can’t confirm at the moment). That change gets saved the moment you do it. Now whether this is the right action or not I am not trying to address here, just that you do get told it the moment you do it. Now personally I can see making this act more like any other editing action, but I am fairly certain there are technical reasons it doesn’t at this time. Not that it can’t in the future though if enough effort was put into it.

Two, if you are forcing people to save in order to remember recordings, it means that a crash or other incident(Power Failure, etc.) will result in effectively lost recordings, or what would appear to be. This is a very bad thing in my opinion. I completely agree with what Ardour does on this front. Nothing should ever result in lost recordings, Ardour should do all it can to make sure that never happens.