First Finalized Recording using Ardour

Nov. 26, 2012, 6:37 a.m.

I just got my first opportunity to record, mix and "master" (quick finishing eq touches and limiting, not technically a real master) a full song  on my new linux audio setup.  My wife was needing a short beat/orchestral song for the background music of play introductions for the Kentucky Xtreme Arena Football Team (you can see one of the intros below).

The Ardour workflow was pretty simple, I imported some loops for the beats, changed the tempo to match the loops and arranged them to fit the time limit with some simple drops.  I then used my Korg Triton LE to add some simple pads, pianos and orchestral parts in layers.  Tracking was very simple, and the only real issue I had was not being able to figure out how to do pre-roll for recording, so I just left 1 bar of blank space before the loops and removed it at the end. Mixing was straightforward as well, and the Ubuntu Studio distribution I'm using came with a lot of great plugins pre-installed.  I had a few issues: mainly figuring out the routing for a group reverb aux send and track automation to fade out the master track.

Ardour is more than capable of these things, but in the middle of a recording, I didn't have the time to look up all the details and went with whatever solution I figure out the fastest. After I had a mix I was happy with, I decided to try out JAMIN for mastering.  This is where the workflow gets a little trickier.  I used Patchage to disconnect the main Ardour L-R outs from my interface (Presonus Audiobox 22vsl) and run them into the JAMIN inputs.  I was then able to apply some gentle master EQ curves and simple limiting to get the volume up a bit and avoid clipping.  Once I had a sound I was happy with, I recorded the output of JAMIN back into an empty track in Ardour, solo'd the track and then exported.

Overall I'm very happy with how easy most things were to figure out based on my previous experience without bothering with a manual or forum.  I look forward to learning more of the features I missed out and improving the workflow with JAMIN (possibly using the Ardour Plugin to control JAMIN so that parameters can be automated throughout the mix and the bounce down process is smoother).