A novel approach to effects.

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Resublimation
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I've often had the thought that the Jack paradigm of working with audio suggests a rack-based interface for dealing with effects and synthesizers. Software like Propellerhead's Reason and Arturia's line of soft synths have already used this approach to great effect: individual software synthesizers, meters, and effects can be represented as actual, patchable devices.
An application would represent that rack space, and users would be able to instantiate rack devices (reverb, compression, etc.) to place in the rack, and then be able to patch using virtual cables. The benefit of this is that there is a consistent yet differentiated interface for dealing with effects/synths/meters, and that they have a more substantial presence for the user. The motif of using the rack metaphor would be a convention set forth by the plugin protocol.
I know Jack Rack has already started this idea, but a more graphical approach would, I think, be a great attention-grabber for people interested but non-committal on Linux as an audio platform: many enjoy the substantial feel of software like Reason. The workflow of having one machine running Ardour and another running a virtual graphical rack, with graphical cables connecting the devices over a network is a very exciting prospect, already available from Jack.

Reuben
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The graphic eye candy for said systems, does little for improving the sound quality or work flow. Most of it is to catch people's eye and hence boost sales. I don't know how many plugins I've seen that have really cool interfaces and sound like crap. Plus, they generally turn into major screen real-estate hogs.

What's going to be added to Ardour that will help work flow is a node based plugins system to replace the current linear system.

Resublimation
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The graphic eye candy for said systems, does little for improving the sound quality or work flow.
It does nothing to improve sound quality, but I argue that there are tangible benefits for the workflow. On the one hand, it provides a spatial sense for the processing of the sound. On the programming front, it forces plugin designers to at least consider the interface; and, further, it encourages plugin designers to not just create a by-the-algorithm effect, but to create a device with its own idiosyncrasies, its own timbre, its own 'personality'.
Both Reason and Native Instruments's Guitar Rig are leading products in the field because they appeal to people who see effects such as delay or compression as a holistic device instead of an algorithm. After speaking to many individuals about their fervent passion for particular plugins/pedals/equipment, I would say musicians and producers particularly refer to devices in this way: the sum of the parts is much, much greater than the parts alone.

Most of it is to catch people’s eye and hence boost sales.
Perhaps, but that's not entirely a disparaging retort, especially in a project that needs more people to sustain/further itself. I believe it extends above that, however.

I don’t know how many plugins I’ve seen that have really cool interfaces and sound like crap.
Several, I would bet. I would say that I've seen many more plugins with hideous interfaces that reflect less-than-adequate behind-the-scenes workings than plugins that look great but leave the quality of the sound to be desired. Again the benefit is the perception of a software product, instead of just code.

Plus, they generally turn into major screen real-estate hogs.
Agreed, but a system of pages/tabs/a neat interface can at least help with this. Furthermore, a rack actually helps situate the masses of plugins one might use during a session by keeping them in one place.

What’s going to be added to Ardour that will help work flow is a node based plugins system to replace the current linear system.
Something that both Blender and GIMP have implemented. Whilst this is excellent for the design of the plugins and effects (see Max/MSP, Reaktor, or SynthEdit), 80-90% the end user won't have to play with this if a satisfactory interface is available. As I said, this is a way to provide a miscellany of plugins in an intuitive, enticing, and substantial interface.
It need not be instead of a more basic approach, but to supplement the existing software.
By the way, I should say I don't post this in the Ardour forums to imply that the onus is on any of the developers here to create this, but merely to gauge the reaction to whether this is a worthwhile idea or not.

ilostmyfiles
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I've been thinking about the same... Something like this might be best as a frontend to LASH. It would be interesting to see someone even take that on very soon... I certainly don't have the skill, and the skilled seem to share a desire to get the engine done before the paint goes on. Take LMMS for comparison, which uses JACK and has a pretty sweet interface-- and last time I compiled it, was awful crashy. It's quite a bit younger, and seems to have potential... but the good looks can't really make up for its behavior. Also, that leaves sound quality out completely-- since I couldn't do very much testing.

SK
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What’s going to be added to Ardour that will help work flow is a node based plugins system to replace the current linear system.

I agree with that. The first thing to do is to provide a good base. The eye candy can follow and it will follow, but not before the real work is done.

Gamegrene
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What's going to be added to Ardour that will help work flow is a node based plugins system to replace the current linear system.
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