Basic definition of software suggested.

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dirkmitt
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It's possible that businesspeople have badgered programmers for too long, never to define what a program does in the programmer' terms. But to the contrary, I feel that this is one aspect of Ardour, which could be corrected. We need to define what our programs do, so that other people than our managers will know whether they need the software or not.

I don't mean for this to be short in any way, but even though I have Ardour 2 compiled and installed, I still don't know what it does. The Web site declares that it's a DAW, but a DAW needs to have some functions which Ardour doesn't have (according to the same Web site). According to what the Web site describes, Ardour is just a multitracker. The fact that it has no sequencer prevents it from being a DAW.

I've had musicians ask me, "Dirk, you have Ardour. What does it do?"

And I've honestly had to tell them "I have no idea!"

Given that Ardour 2 has no sequencing capability, nor MIDI tracks, nor loops, what then is the purpose of connecting a MIDI controller to a multitracker? And if there is a purpose, this purpose needs to be explained on the Web site somewhere. We have a goal in mind, before we start thinking about how to connect our boxes.

For example, one question which people commonly have would be, 'I have a MIDI controller keyboard, which my computer recognizes. How can I use it to play a melody?'

One possible answer which I could try to guess at, could be, 'When you send your MIDI controller's note sequence to the MIDI remote control channel of an Ardour wave track, Ardour will pitch-bend the sound of the sample on that track, so that playing middle C will preserve the original pitch of the sound.'

But this type of an answer would be sheer guesswork on my part, I don't answer people with guesses, and it's exactly this sort of answer which IT managers hate, and which would need to go on your Web site. What do the MIDI controller surfaces do, with Ardour? Do I need to climb and take the MIDI controller keyboard out of my other room and carry it over here, before I can know whether the potential ever existed, to do what I wanted to do?

Dirk

kimvarde
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Ardour 3 is on its way with Midi support: http://ardour.org/a3_features_midi

You can read more about Ardour 3`s new features on the news page.

anahata
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Ardour is not a MIDI sequencer and does not (intentionally) generate sounds at all. It's for recording and mixing music or sound made by musical instruments, which may or may not be electronic.

In old fashioned studio terms, it replaces the mixing desk and the multitrack tape machine, but it doesn't replace the instruments on the other side of the control room window.

I think you are getting confused because Ardour can connect to MIDI control surfaces. These have the same controls as a mixing desk, and are connected to Ardour which does that processing. The control surface is not a music keyboard; it has faders and switches so the commands sent over MIDI are things like "move channel 3 fader to position x" or "mute channel 14", not "play this note", enabling you to use traditional controls instead of the mouse to do that job. They happen to use MIDI cables and signals, but they aren't musical instruments, or if they have a keyboard on them (which some do) that part doesn't send any useful information to Ardour.

You seem to be the sort of musician who mostly uses MIDI sequencers, keyboards and synthesisers to make music; Ardour 2 is not a complete solution for you (but Ardour 3 might be).

For me, Ardour 2 is also not a complete solution either, but is complemented by 8 channels of audio I/O hardware, microphone preamplifiers, microphones and musical instruments.

Looking at Wikipedia for an acceptable definition of a DAW, I guess Ardour 2 isn't a DAW because it doesn't have MIDI sound generation and sequencing. It looks like DAW's are descended from electronic keyboard instruments. As you can tell I'm not a DAW user in that sense. Call me old-fashioned but I've never used MIDI.

dirkmitt
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I suppose you have me figured out correctly: My experience in music is extremely limited, for which reason my usage would tend to favor MIDI sequencers, and programs which come with (predefined) loops. And I also understand, that if somebody needs that kind of support in 'creating' music, we should expect to pay a real price for the work of the other person.

I suppose that I should also admit, given the reality of what your free software does, I shouldn't get too disappointed with it.

But I also think, that there will be some limitation to how many people can fully appreciate Ardour 2, due to the fact that most computers today have very poor sound cards. And so this one musician I know already answers, that for him to use the computer as a mixer and effects box, would not make sense, because he can already afford dedicated hardware for that.

This morning, I was just hoping to find, that Ardour might play an arbitrary sound sample from a MIDI keyboard. Which I had no right to expect.

Also, one drawback for me, against being able to try out Ardour 3 when it does come out, will probably be the tendency developers have to depend on high library versions. I'm still based on Debian/Lenny, and don't know that Ardour 3 will compile against libjack0.100.0 and so on...

But I'm still thankful that a software base exists, which supports poor users like me in one way or another. And I think that 'poor' is really the correct word. :)

dirkmitt
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I apologize for seeming to talk to myself partially, by posting twice in a row. But I felt that I should give you guys a good subject for a belly-laugh, in revealing to you the extent of my music experience.

I played the clarinet in High-School, and have made some efforts to teach myself keyboard, by buying piano lesson books, and buying myself an "Oxygen 61" MIDI controller keyboard, which has a number of sliders and knobs that might be considered our "control surface". And then, some software on my computers does act as my instruments.

But what I really aim at more, is to generate amateur 3D games for computers. I have in fact created such a 3D game quite a few years ago by now, and am really more visually, spatially oriented than musically oriented.

But even if a person is just building a simple graphics game, that game needs to have some background music. And so what I actually did at one time, was to use a ~quasi-fractal music composer~ , to fill in for the lack of any musician. And I'm not talking about "FractMus2000"; I was using the older "QFC" that preceded that one. {:0}

So I realize that I'm the sort of person who real musicians sometimes respect the least. But one fact in life is that people like me exist anyway.

And in truth at least I do listen to real music from time to time, such as Beethoven and Bach etc.. So it's not for lack of wanting to better myself. But my interest in music software basically approaches it as a possible toy, which I don't have big money to spend on.

Anyhow as it takes all sorts, know that I also respect the musical types. :)

interferon
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I think you should document better about how you can make music with a computer only.

Sadly, most of the software on Mac and Windows, even the professional ones, seem to tell you: "Hey, put two loops (made by someone else) together and you become a music star!".

Moreover, there is no way to play a sound sample from a MIDI keyboard with any existing software on any platform, unless you link a loop you found elsewhere with a MIDI message sent by your keyboard.

Anyway, Ardour 2 is a multitrack recorder, Ardour 3 will be a fully featured sequencer, too. I really can't see where is the trouble in defining it.

seablade
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On my cell right now so pardon the brief response...

Where exactly on Ardour.org does it say a DAW has to have abilities that Ardour does not?

the basic premise of your post seems to be based off the assumption that a DAW HAS to have MIDI sequencing, but I would disagree with that sentiment. In fact if you ask google to define a digital audio workstation, neither of the definitions returned mention MIDI at all and merely talk about manipulating digital audio. In fact wikipedia for whatever that is worth mentions that DAWs evolved from digital multitracks.

I would also mention that Ardour does MUCH more than a simple multitracker. It started at that point in its very early life, but quickly developed much beyond that. If you want an example of what a digital multitracker is, think of the Mackie HDRs or Alesis ADAT machines and how limited they are in that regards compared to Ardour.

so my point is that what you define as a needed characteristic to be called a DAW isnt really needed IMO. It certainly can be, but isnt a necessity to match the definition.

zettberlin
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Ardour allows you to record music on several tracks, to edit and arrange these tracks non-destructive and to play these tracks while you can controll gain and pan with a mixer. You may also import soundfiles and load plugin-software into mixer-channels to controll dynamics, eq or add filters, reverb and other effects. All of these actions work with near-zero latency, given you run a system properly set up for such tasks.

The mixer and the play-controlls can be handeled in 3 ways:

1.) with mouse and keyboard
2.) with automatisation-curves
3.) with a compatible controller-surface

the latter can be any MIDI-keyboard with controller-knobs, that needs to be attached to Ardours MIDI-port (use qjackctl's Connections-window for that). If you leftklick+CTRL on any fader or knob in the mixer, Ardour will ask you to trigger a controller you wish to assign to that fader. If you turn a knob on your MIDI-device then, this knob will control the given fader.

This alone is about 10 times as much as I would expect from a mere multitracker.

And there is much more such as: import single drumsamples and draw them to a track. Just above the editor-area you can find dropdown-lists that allow you to set a grid to the timing of musical notes according to the bpm you can set and change to any place of the timeline. The samples will snap to that grid and thus being played as if they where quantized MIDI-notes in a MIDI-sequencer.

There is no reason why one would absolutely need any other application to produce any type and league of music. Only if you want to compose music by writing notes to be played by synths you may want to consider Rosegarden or Qtractor under Linux and Logic or Cubase in MacOSX.

dirkmitt
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I have no doubt really, that Ardour is very powerful. But one important measure of how a musician will like the software, is in how it will be useful to him. I've never really looked at the different Web -based definitions of "DAW" or "multitracker". I do know that a musician friend of mine uses his software in ways which might be different from any of you.

What this friend of mine does, whose name is Danny, is that he accepts the sound quality of his sound card, as being a preview quality. Then, he takes advantage of the fact that his software will allow him to export his music into high-quality sound files, so that he can record the music at a much higher quality, using dedicated boxes. I do understand that Ardour will also allow him to do that. Also, Danny experiments with different ideas on his Mac, before actually playing those ideas with his own hands. This latter part is something which I may never be able to do.

But when Danny asked me the other day, what exactly Ardour is, because he saw Ardour listed in a Web page, I needed to give him an answer which was both honest and quick. And so at that moment I do have to know, how to explain to him, whether and why he can use Ardour for what he wants to do. And so I told him, that it's not really a DAW as such, but rather 'more like a multitracker'. I did know that if I had told him, that this was a DAW, Danny would have expected to be able to use it much as he uses "Garage Band Pro", which means with the computer as a comprehensive platform to experiment with.

Now, if I had asked Danny to indulge me, I might have tried explaining to him that on some computers, it's possible to have a system such as "JACK", and that the outputs from "Hydrogen" could be redirected into 'Ardour', for example. But Danny is also a person without the attention span needed to understand JACK, and needed to know how to redirect a significant number of inputs and outputs using JACK. His expectations are a WYSIWYG-type of approach. So I also don't get to define my words any way I like them, myself.

It's true that my own expectation is for a DAW to be very self-contained. This doesn't mean that any of my own programs need to be, because my own needs are again different from Danny's. I have more than one Linux computer set up with many sound and music programs, and I distinguish between sound and music editors in ways which I think make sense. But because I'm a visual person, I can keep track of JACK connections, I tend to think of LASH as a potential annoyance myself, because it adds another layer of indirection. And I'd say that maybe Hydrogen is closer to being a 'classic DAW' than Ardour is.

This doesn't in any way mean that Hydrogen is better than Ardour. It just means, that Hydrogen is expected to fulfill a different need. And of course, the fact that I can trace many connections on a logical level, isn't musical in its nature, and makes me a bit special in the world of musicians which I'm used to seeing. The fact that you guys do make use of Ardour, is typical on this bulletin board, but not in the social milieu I live.

And so one thing which I have already achieved, is that people on this one thread are discussing possible ways of defining terms, which I think is still healthy. Because as soon as one person can understand our words to mean something different from what we're trying to say, we have a problem.

Danny has told me in person, that his sound card, on his Mac at home, is crap. And so he understood me, about where I was going with Ardour. He also understood the screenshots already, to imply that Ardour can apply effects. I plan to go back to Danny soon, and to emphasize the fact again, that Ardour will apply many effects. What I expect him to answer, in his own logic, is 'What good will that do me, if I can't play them?'

And I'm thankful for your tip, to just (Ctrl)+(Left-Click) on an Ardour control, in order to assign which MIDI controller number to it.

I think that what the WiKi stated about MIDI controllers the last time I read it, was in there existing "major controllers" and "minor controllers". According to the WiKi, the major controllers include the actual keyboard, and have at least 16 bits of precision, so that a trombone slide won't sound like a fretted guitar. And WiKi defined the kind of item you call a control surface as a "minor MIDI controller" that last time I checked, stating that it only has 8 bits of precision.

I needed to make the connection first of all, to see that your "control surface" corresponded to a MIDI minor controller, according to what I last read. But I think that I already last read this in 2009. By 2010, the WiKi itself might have been updated somewhat, by people who also care about how to define things.

Dirk

seablade
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Hmm you seem to be very confused on MIDI, I don't think I have ever heard such a description of MIDI controllers.

You may be thinking of 14-bit NPRNs and likewise, which do in fact have much more precision than the 8-Bit standard CC messages in MIDI. Of course most MIDI faders only have about 10-Bit precision on average for the better surfaces, but that is a different topic. This has nothing to do with the presence or lack of a keyboard in the MIDI controller however.

In as far as how to describe it to your friend, how I describe it to the people that ask me is: "It is a non-destructive digital audio workstation that works exclusively with audio files(Either recording or importing) and does not have and MIDI sequencing capabilities in its currently released version, though those are in development."

Seablade

paul
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@dirkmitt: you and your friend(s) are deeply confused. The original digital audio workstations were dedicated hardware systems that had more or less no knowledge of MIDI whatsoever. During the same period that they were developing, a separate class of program, called a "sequencer" (somewhat irritatingly for those people who were familiar with the term being used to refer to analog (CV) pattern sequencers as found on Moog modular units and other early analog synthesizers) were also being developed and were actually more widely used than DAWs because of the computer power needed for the latter. "Sequencers" traditionally had NO ability to record, edit or playback audio at all - they deal exclusively with MIDI data.

At some point in the mid-1990's, these two classes of programs began to merge together, and for the past 10 years, most DAWs have also been sequencers and vice versa. But this is not universally true - there are still systems such as Pyramix which continue to be audio-only, and they have their dedicated and enthusiastic users who do not share Danny's inclinations to want to use software synthesis and so forth.

Ardour has until recently been in the Pyramix camp, focused on providing outstanding performance and features for people interested in recording and manipulating audio, which as often as not means people playing acoustic and electric instruments and/or singing. Version 3.0 of Ardour will add a huge raft of functionality for people who want to use instrument plugins as Danny does. But keep in mind that Danny is still very, very much in a minority at present - the overwhelming majority of musicians who record their work play guitar, not virtual instruments (though clear, this is changing).

As for our use of the term "DAW", we use it in the original and continual sense that it was originally created: a hardware platform and/or software system allowing the recording, editing, manipulation and playback for AUDIO. I'm sorry if you and your friend Danny consider such a definition useless or out of date, but that's what the term meant in the beginning and what it continues to mean for variety of professional, high end proprietary systems.

If you want Ardour to be useful for Danny and his/her software synthesis efforts, then please wait until Ardour 3.0 is released.

paul
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@dirkmitt: oh, and to amplify what seablade said about your comments on MIDI controllers: yeah, this is just all wrong. The terms "major" and "minor" have never appeared in any of the official MIDI documentation that I use, and there is no such thing as a MIDI controller with 16 bits of precision. There are 7 bit controller messages (delivered by the vast majority of MIDI hardware), and 14 bit controller messages (delivered by some MIDI hardware, but unfortunately the MIDI specification makes the the correct handling of these messages quite complex). Whether a given piece of hardware sends 7 bit messages when you twiddle a knob, or 14 bit, is up to (a) the manufacturer (b) the user (c) both, depending on the particular unit in question (for example, i have a completely programmable MIDI device in which each fader can send 7 bit or 14 bit messages, depending on how it is programmed). by contrast, there are devices, like those that use the Mackie HUI or MCP protocols, which send "control messages" that are not standard MIDI at all, but require an entirely separate device specification that is technically proprietary to Mackie (but through various mistakes by various people and organizations, accessible and implementable by us).

Overall, I have to note that so far your posts in this forum thread suggest that you don't have a great deal of depth of knowledge about the stuff you're writing about, and it might be more helpful to ask questions ("Can Ardour use virtual instruments?" "How do I edit MIDI?" etc.) than offer us lengthy polemics about what Ardour does or not do, or should or should not do. It often takes less time to answer the practical questions than to deal with the (often misinformed) polemics.

fanch
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hello,

by my side, If I remember, at the beginning ;-)
Notator (Logic Audio) or Pro24 (Cubase) were named sequencers (& score) programs,
they did not have some audio tracks, only midi control

thereafter, Audio was managed and we began to speak about DAW
for these pieces of software and it was really a revolution in home studio (1992-1993?)

zettberlin
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> But Danny is also a person without the attention span needed to understand JACK

As I saw Jack running the first time, I was puzzeled the most, how such complex things could be handeled as easily and logical as Jack allows them to be handeled.
If you consider your friend incapable of understanding things as easy as "This thing makes sounds, you may connect its output to wherever you wish." or "I want to record this software-instrument (H2, guitarix, whatever) to this track in Ardour. So I open the connections-window and connect the output to the tracks inputs."...
Well then I wonder how your friend manages to do things as complex as composing music.

> His expectations are a WYSIWYG-type of approach.

And that is exactly what you get if you run Ardour, Qjackctl and other Jack-aware software. You see virtual soundmachines on the screen and if you connect virtual cables, you have them connected. Anybody, who is capable to connect a tapedeck to a stereo will understand this system at first sight.

>emphasize the fact again, that Ardour will apply many effects. What I expect him to answer, in his own logic, is 'What good will that do me, if I can't play them?'

??
You mean "play" in the sense of playing notes on a keyboard?

> and have at least 16 bits of precision, so that a trombone slide won't sound like a fretted guitar.

Well 8 bits would mean a Guitar with about 255 Frets...
Plus the fact, that everybody uses controllers as "minor" as that, should point you to the fact, that this is considered perfectly enough for most people actually working with MIDI-controllers...

dirkmitt
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Well, the way I understand the term "polemic", is to mean, that a person actually criticizes or complains about something or someone, based on unsuitable logic, or with a lack of logic. But the fact is that I haven't even criticized Ardour. I've only criticized its (former) categorization. And this is the second paragraph which the WiKi writes about the "Digital Audio Workstations":

>>
Following the extinction and replacement of the early DAWs with much cheaper keyboard workstations the term DAW evolved and now refers to a virtual studio computer system such as Pro Tools, generally consisting of a combination of audio multitrack and MIDI software, host computer and audio interface hardware.
<<

When the word "general" is used in a definition, it doesn't refer to a feature which is completely optional. It means, that a DAW can exist, which does not have this feature, as long as the person who's using the term specifies that his DAW doesn't have the feature, or as soon as the absence of this feature is clear from the context.

And about the MIDI controllers, I just went back to the WiKi, and see that they've changed their definitions (since 2009). Thus, I should also drop the use of the words 'major" and "minor".

What Paul has written though, is that "unfortunately the MIDI specification makes the the correct handling of these (14-bit) messages quite complex." Well in computing software, as soon as the handling of data changes, this creates a new class of data. I do understand programming very well, thank you. So the difference between 7-bit and 14-bit controllers does not simply lie in the number of bits.

Further, if you were to use a 7-bit controller to define the pitch of a keyboard, then this would not simply correspond to a 127-fret guitar. And the reason for this is the fact that in such a case, the 127 possible MIDI-values would be spread across the entire available range of octaves. So if my "Oxygen 61" keyboard only covers 5 octaves, and already uses up 61 steps, and if a guitar has six strings, with so many frets each, then there could hardly be more 7-bit MIDI pitch values than there are notes on the chromatic scale.

Then, if a trombone slide was specified, indeed there would be audible steps in the pitch.

But it's not really any intention of mine, to suggest that you guys have done anything wrong whatsoever. Only, by saying that 'Ardour 2' is a DAW that doesn't happen to have sequencing capabilities yet, at the introduction, you'd be staying within the parameters of the definitions of DAW, and you'd be avoiding that any of your users have any disappointments with the product.

As I look at your home page right now, it doesn't say 'DAW' at all. Which is terrific. But what I actually saw written in the Web descriptions only days ago, is that "Ardour is a complete DAW for all your needs." The fact that it isn't, hasn't stopped me from appreciating that it is powerful software. It would disappoint Danny though, who by the way, is not confused.

And as long as the rule of thumb on your forum has been, not to talk about 'Ardour 3' until Ardour 3 is released (at least as a beta, not an alpha), you'd always have the ability to edit back in to your Web site that the product is "a full DAW for all your needs, with sequencing and full MIDI input", as soon as Ardour 3 has in fact come out.

But where's the polemic in all this?

Dirk

zettberlin
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>Then, if a trombone slide was specified, indeed there would be audible steps in the pitch.

Each Controller-Knob is capable to send a single message in 7 or 8bit steps. So I dare to doubt, that any audible steps will occur - least I never heared such steps whenever I used such a knob to sweep...

btw.: No MIDI-Controller will ever match the powers of direct, physical control a conventional instrument has to offer. MIDI-controllers do not very well in the field of imitation physical instruments, they have their own turf: doing things, that cannot be done with physical instruments at all.

Speaking of Definitions and how to say, what kind of beast Ardour may be: I use to call it a Harddisk Recoding Suite. This is lesser than what it is in fact but a little understatement often helps to avoid fruitless discussions...

dirkmitt
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It seems clear to me, that the actual 7-bit MIDI values are stored in 8-bit bytes on the computer, while the 14-bit MIDI values are stored in 16-bit words. And this type of fact can confuse me, because I tend to think about programming and data norms, before I think about music.

I suspect that when you use your pitch-bend wheel, or other 7-bit controllers in order to sweep a pitch, those values are only modifying a 16-bit, or a 14-bit base value somewhere. If not a 24-bit or a 32-bit value in software. Presumably, your pitch-bend wheel or knob, won't cover the full range of the instrument in octaves.

However, MIDI files can be programmed to do just that: To cover all the available octaves as part of one sweep. But then the real limitation of MIDI comes, in how many signals or stored messages this will take, and how many kilobytes this amounts to, in order to arrive at some still-limited resolution in pitch. And so I have to agree with you (without really knowing anything about music), in that when the MIDI standards were first set, they did create a limitation in comparison with real instruments.

Some of those limitations have partially been made up for though, by the fact that modern software can throw huge amounts of memory and bandwidth at any problem these days. And the distinction between hardware and software has also been blurred, in that many boxes you will use, actually contain dedicated computers of sorts. This may not be good, but it's a reality.

Also, it's possible that at the other end, some software might interpolate, when it sees a change in a 7-bit controller value. Yet, such a value just doesn't have the resolution required from the keyboard itself. Which was one reason to define two types of controllers. And one should not presume such interpolation from software, unless we have an actual example of it in front of us. Such interpolation would mainly mean, that the software uses more CPU cycles...

Anyhow, I don't see this discussion as completely fruitless, because I, myself am at least learning things from it. :)

Dirk

seablade
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Ok by "The WiKi" you are referring to Wikipedia, that clarifies a few things.

One: Wikipedia is far from an official source on anything. As someone that teaches on the side at a university(Audio Engineering is my profession I make money from) I can tell you that Wikipedia is NOT the place to go for the final answer. It is a good resource to start your journey from and to look for places to start researching, but it is not suitable at all for depending on for official and stable information by its nature. (NOTE: This doesn't mean I believe Wikipedia to be any worse than many other sources, but that it can't always be trusted to be as accurate as professional sources on topics, such as this one in fact).

When the word "general" is used in a definition, it doesn't refer to a feature which is completely optional. It means, that a DAW can exist, which does not have this feature, as long as the person who's using the term specifies that his DAW doesn't have the feature, or as soon as the absence of this feature is clear from the context.

By your own words you have said it doesn't need to necessarily be implemented to fit that definition, and if you look at the first paragraph you will see exactly the origin of the term that we were referring to. I would say that paragraph is poorly written at best to be honest and shoud be modified, again see above as to why you should START at Wikipedia to begin research, not end there.

And about the MIDI controllers, I just went back to the WiKi, and see that they've changed their definitions (since 2009). Thus, I should also drop the use of the words 'major" and "minor".

And this is a perfect example of WHY I say the above about Wikipedia. It is a strong resource, but it is not a final resource to use. What Paul and I refer to is the official MIDI spec which there are misconceptions about more often than not. Many people get the basic idea, but screw up the actual technical details if they are trying to describe how it work. When providing definitions you need to be accurate on all levels.

What Paul has written though, is that "unfortunately the MIDI specification makes the the correct handling of these (14-bit) messages quite complex." Well in computing software, as soon as the handling of data changes, this creates a new class of data. I do understand programming very well, thank you. So the difference between 7-bit and 14-bit controllers does not simply lie in the number of bits.

You misunderstand what Paul was saying. Interpreting 14 Bit data is not complex, determining if the data is 14 bit or not IS complex on the technical implementation side when nothing is known about the controller other than it sends MIDI. This is due to something in particular about the technical spec of MIDI, a choice that was made in it that in hindsight probably wasn't the best choice.

Or differentiating that vs understanding the completely proprietary protocols, as Paul mentioned the Logic(Mackie) protocol. This uses MIDI physical implementation to transmit, but the protocol itself used is very different and would only be understood by code written specifically to do so(This is what the Mackie code does for us). How do you determine whether it is a controller conforming to the Logic, Mackie, or HUI protocols, all of which are very similar, vs a generic MIDI controller is also complex and requires UI interaction as a result, but the fader messages are not compatible at all with general MIDI.

Further, if you were to use a 7-bit controller to define the pitch of a keyboard, then this would not simply correspond to a 127-fret guitar. And the reason for this is the fact that in such a case, the 127 possible MIDI-values would be spread across the entire available range of octaves. So if my "Oxygen 61" keyboard only covers 5 octaves, and already uses up 61 steps, and if a guitar has six strings, with so many frets each, then there could hardly be more 7-bit MIDI pitch values than there are notes on the chromatic scale.

Getting off topic here, but this is why most MIDI controllers allow you to specify what the octave range the physical controls cover. You can shift many keyboards, including I would bet your Oxygen61 to cover a variety of octave ranges. Where you will run into problems is when dealing with non-western(Not 12 semitone) scales. I have to look up how and if that would be covered by the general MIDI spec as it isn't something I have ever used.

Well, the way I understand the term "polemic", is to mean, that a person actually criticizes or complains about something or someone, based on unsuitable logic, or with a lack of logic. But the fact is that I haven't even criticized Ardour. I've only criticized its (former) categorization......
But where's the polemic in all this?

Heh I had to look up a new word today;)

For the record Merriam Webster provides this for the definition:

a : an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another b : the art or practice of disputation or controversy —usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

I believe the polemic in this case is your aggressive attack on the use of the term DAW to describe Ardour(The categorization as you put it). It doesn't necessarily need faulty logic by the definition, however if you would like to know what I consider faulty, in case it wasn't obvious from the above, it is the dependence on Wikipedia for the end source of all your research on this topic. Start there and pull information from elsewhere rather than from Wikipedia itself. In this case it wouldn't be difficult to find others making the same mistake I imagine, but that is one good thing about the internet, we can correct those mistakes of the term in conversation;)

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On the topic of MIDI, it is fairly capable when you get into the full spec for what it is used for, however I will agree that with age it is starting to show its limitations more now than ever. That being said its limitations are minor enough in the grand scheme of things it is still used for 95% of music compositional and control work as it can do the job with proper software and/or hardware.

However that being said, there is a replacement for MIDI that is much less structurally defined for Music composition which can be a good thing and a bad thing in this case. For replacing MIDI, in its barest form for musical control, it is not likely anytime soon as it is not defined in the same depth and structure as generic MIDI is, but it is far more flexible as a generic control protocol not limited to just musical control. This protocol is of course OSC.

I would say that most software synths and many other virtual instruments, should be able to handle basic interpolation of values, and modification of values such as pitch bend modulations, etc. to handle more complex imitation of some instruments. This comes down to the implementation, be it hardware or software, allowing for such given the standard midi protocol. Mind you not all do, but most should:) This however is out of the area of responsibility for the host and should be handled by the plugin(Or standalong software synth/sampler/etc.) when dealing with software.

Seablade

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@zettberlin : I think "hard disk recording and editing suite covers it better". I have a Yamaha AWG16 beginning to gather dust in my studio now, and the main reason why I wanted to switch to Ardour was for the vastly superior editing capability.

@dirk : it doesn't matter how many bits you use to control the position of a synthesised trombone slide - it will not sound the same as a real trombone for other reasons!

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I'm learning things from this conversation as I go, and I never saw any reason to attack anybody. And it's also possible, that I might need to correct my own definition of what a 'DAW' really is.

But at this point, I feel that I should ask two questions, rather than stating an opinion. These questions are based on the fact, that I've never actually read the MIDI specification:

I assume that the keyboard's transmitted controller values are on a logarithmic scale. But one idea which I don't know the truth of, is whether Western semitones actually produce integer values, spaced by an interval of 1, from the controller. I thought that I had seen somewhere, that people can code a MIDI file to start a note at 450Hz, if one wants, which is not an exact semitone. Is this true? This strikes me as more nearly attainable if the logarithm of the frequency is given in 14-bit resolution, than it would be in7-bit.

But the fact is that I don't know. I can deduce that with 7-bit values, only the Western semitones would make sensible norms.

Also, while it's true that I can shift the octaves of my "Oxygen 61", there is something which I found more remarkable for the moment: The pitch-bend wheel seems to work, even if it's not being recognized by any software which I happen to be using. Now the Wikipedia tries to explain this, just by suggesting that the pitch-bend wheel is a "special controller". But even I can see the limitation of the WiKi in this detail.

In order for the pitch-bend wheel to work, even though no additional MIDI controllers are recognized by the software, this would require that the keyboard itself is applying this controller, before it generates its messages to be sent to the synth. Which in turn would say something about the resolution of the messages.

Does most of the software have a hidden MIDI controller input, which I'm not aware of, for the pitch-bend wheel to work in fact, or is it the keyboard applying this pitch-bend wheel, and is the actual controller number for the pitch-bend wheel (labeled C18 on mine) just an additional, potential use for it by the software/synth?

Also: Does the pitch-bend wheel always have the same controller number, from one keyboard to the next, always #18 for the software to listen for?

Dirk

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@dirk:
As I look at your home page right now, it doesn't say 'DAW' at all. Which is terrific. But what I actually saw written in the Web descriptions only days ago, is that "Ardour is a complete DAW for all your needs."
I'm afraid that you're mistaken. Ardour's home page has not been edited and never contained the line you're quoting. I suspect you are remembering the post about Artdour3 from Create Digital Music (which has been reposted in its entirety in a few other places too. That post is at http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/12/ardour-3-free-daw-is-nearly-done-a... and contains not only a title that matches your memory but also this line: Ardour 3 is not only nearly here, but it could be substantial enough to become your primary music workstation.. I didn't write the article or provide it with a title.
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I assume that the keyboard's transmitted controller values are on a logarithmic scale. But one idea which I don't know the truth of, is whether Western semitones actually produce integer values, spaced by an interval of 1, from the controller. I thought that I had seen somewhere, that people can code a MIDI file to start a note at 450Hz, if one wants, which is not an exact semitone. Is this true? This strikes me as more nearly attainable if the logarithm of the frequency is given in 14-bit resolution, than it would be in7-bit.

Your initial assumption is incorrect. In addition, the use of MIDI for anything but western major and minor scales is an area in which you can become quite an expert after only quite a lot of study, and its certainly far more complex than you are guessing. And for reference, MIDI note values are not given as frequencies at all, just numbers between 0 and 127. Their meaning is arbitrary, but conventions exist. Work on MIDI "tuning" has gone on mostly outside the realm of MMA, the organization that owns and defines MIDI.

Also, while it's true that I can shift the octaves of my "Oxygen 61", there is something which I found more remarkable for the moment: The pitch-bend wheel seems to work, even if it's not being recognized by any software which I happen to be using. Now the Wikipedia tries to explain this, just by suggesting that the pitch-bend wheel is a "special controller". But even I can see the limitation of the WiKi in this detail.

Pitchbend is indeed a specially defined controller message that always has 14 bits and always uses the same controller number. Software is free to use the value for whatever it wants, but it would be conventional to use it to control pitch in some way.

As for wikipedia as a reference source for the MIDI spec, let me offer a hint: the official MIDI spec is about 75 pages long. That doesn't cover MIDI Timecode, MIDI Show Control, MIDI Machine Control or Standard MIDI File format, which are separate specifications each weighing in at many, many pages (MMC is larger than the base MIDI spec, for example).

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My deepest apologies! You're right; it must have been the article about Ardour 3 which I was quoting (unknowingly). And that description would fit Ardour 3 perfectly... {:-|} Sorry!