Loudness Meters, Vertical track zooming and more ....
Workin' around I came to some ideas on ardour that could greatly improve the usefulness of this great program:
- Loudness Meters
- All bargraph meters on ardour seem to be of the PPM (Peak Program Meters) type, that is show at any time the instantaneous level of the signal. That is enough for many purposes, but kind of rough as measuring means for others.
Some mastering prosumer equipment use a combined meter display, where you can look BOTH PPM and RMS measurings of the signal on the same BAR, something like:
Where X is a color painting RMS values and O is another color painting PPM values over the RMS value.
It's true that an RMS value measuring dBFS doesn't exactly mean loudness, but if you want to calibrate a mastering/monitoring system (say it for surround processing using SMPTE RP 200 level reference) with a sound pressure level meter in hand, using a fixed gain, the RMS value measured on dBFS on ardour outputs is linear on the RMS SPL at a fixed listening position, I mean dB(SPL)=k+dBFS where k is a constant depending on the gain chain and the position of the listener.
- Track Waveform Vertical Zoom Factor
- Ever tried to work on a signal recorded so softly that parts of it dont' show on the waveform? not even in the largest height view? You could say "well pal, go on, apply 12dB of gain on it, bounce and forget" ... But isn't ardour 'bout NON DESTRUCTIVE editing? Why should I need to alter anyway some original recorded track just to find that exact point where I want to cut a region or that spot that just works for doing a crossfade? Or what 'bout if I simply can't apply that gain cause dynamic range is too high and I'll end up clipping? The same way there is horizontal zooming, there should be track based Vertical zooming, this way you could zoom out vertically a track to work on soft passages on your tracks.
- Track Waveform scale grid
- When editing you often need to know what is the Peak/RMS value of pieces you're glueing together ... or perhaps have a global view on the peaks of a track without having to listen to the whole (what was it the peak level on that take 21.345 seconds ago?!?!?!?).
Solutions for this could be:
- Vertical Grid scale: One nice/simple approach on this would be to add a vertical grid with a level scale on the track waveform view.
- Coloring Waveform\: another alternative approach (more complicated I guess) on the track waveform issue would be for instance to color the waveform based on intensity and add a color scale label somewhere ...
- FFT Track View
- Yeah, really, not kidding :) , I know this can be really hard to implement but would be marvelous. If you want/need/get curious 'bout the FFT view of your tracks you got to use external programs ... well, that could be ok if you need an FFT view of the master bus, what 'bout if you need FFT views of single tracks, just to know what spectra needs smoothing? where would be a nice place to apply a parametric EQ? You still could get on by attachin the track outputs to JACK app that provides the view you need ... ok, you're working with one track, that's ok ... what 'bout if you're working on the final mix of a 64track film soundtrack and you are in need of a spectral view of your tracks ("Oh bloody hell, where does that 13000hz .5 seconds long peak come from...")???
Spectral views are not a final solution for any problem, but give useful starting points to work them out, if you can take a look globally to the spectral contents of a track in one sight that could give you an idea of what to do with it to get your desired results.
... well, this are just some meditations on ardour and they don't come from a sleepless boredom nite, this are issues that come from actually working with ardour.
keep the good work pals!
... it's not about recording ... it's about freezing time!