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Ardour and Hydrogen Tutorial!
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BennyP
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Joined: 09 May 2003
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Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 7:47 pm    Post subject: Ardour and Hydrogen Tutorial! Reply with quote

This tut is kinda useless without the pics so http://bennyp.no-ip.org/music/ardourtut.html

There is nothing I value more than freedom, except maybe sharing, and that is why I am always looking for new ways to promote and use free software.
Today, I am writing to let you know that in the field of digital audio recording arts, there is a burgeoning Free Software movement that is churning out amazing pieces of work for us to use, share and contribute to. I have written here before about the JACK Audio Connection Kit, and the super-hot Hydrogen Drum Machine. Today I am writing about the Ardour Digital Audio Workstation for GNU/Linux and Mac OS X that ties Hydrogen and Jack together.


In this tutorial, I will show you how to record a drum pattern from Hydrogen directly into Ardour, import a melody from a soundfile to go along with the drum beat, and finally export our little song into a soundfile. I HIGHLY reccomend the use of a two-button mouse with ardour, as some features are currently inaccsessible without it.

----------------------

The first thing you will have to do is get the software. Some users will prefer to get the source for each program and all it's dependancies and compile them all "by hand". If you are one of these users, I assume you already know how to do this. Compiling the long way is super fun in its own way, but I think (or at least, I'm led to believe) that most macintosh users would rather get pre-built binary packages and use those. No problem for you, (you lucky folks, ya) because someone else has already done the work for you!!! Here are links to all the software you will need. X11 and JackOSX are installers, Hydrogen and Ardour are compressed disk images.
Apple's X11
JackOSX
Hydrogen
Ardour
Once you have the software installed, We can start playing! Start the Jack server by running the "Jackpilot" application that came with jackosx and clicking on start. It's not a bad idea to set your preferences before starting, especially if you are using an audio interface other than the on board soundcard.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/jackstart.jpg[/img:d10628101a] >> [img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/jackstarted.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Now that Jack has been started we can open up Hydrogen and start making our beat. Launch the hydrogen application. Note that all this software is still in the testing stages on Macs, so it may take a few tries before it all launches and stays running, chances for success with this beta-stage software are much better if you use the on board soundcard.
The Hydrogen UI is very intuitive and easy to use. Just click the pattern editor where you want your sounds to be played. You can download additional drumkits from the hydrogen website, or create your own layed instruments with the drumkit editor. Hydrogen is also a LADSPA effects host!

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/hydrogen.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

For this beat, I used the Techno-1 drumkit
In order to hear the sound from Hydrogen, you will have to connect it's Jack output to the main output of your soundcard. Do this by clicking the routing button in JackPilot, then double clicking the hydrogen send port, while the soundcard's recieve port is highlighted:

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/hydconnect.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Once you have your pattern laid out, It's time to record!! launch Ardour and create a new session (sessions menu > new) then set up your jack connections like so: Hydrogen > Ardour, Ardour > Main Out.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/hydardour.jpg[/img:d10628101a]
[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/ardmaster.jpg[/img:d10628101a]


Now we have to set up our Ardour session to receive hydrogen's signal. To do this, we will create a new stereo track and set it to take hydrogen's jack signal as input. Click on the Session menu and select "Add Track/Bus" (OR, if you have a two button mouse, simply right-click on the blue area of the track editor). In the dialog that pops up, set the channel configuration to Stereo. Click OK to create the track.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/addtrack.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

You will now have a track called Audio 1 in your track editor. Let's rename in to "Drums" so we know which it is: Click on the track's name in the track editor and rename it. We must now set the track to take hydrogen as input. switch to the mixer window (Windows > Mixer) and select the INPUT button for the "Drums" track. When the input menu appears, click the Edit option.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/inputmenu.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

A window will pop up with various options for the track's input. you can clear the connections that are there by default by clicking the clear connections button or by clicking on their names in the left column. Set Hydrogen as the input by clicking on the Hydrogen tab in the right column and selecting out_l then out_r.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/inputselect.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

We are almost ready to record, first we have to set the "Drums" track to record mode. Click on the "r" button in the "Drums" track tab in the editor window.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/drumsrec.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Now we can record. There is a way to use the Jack Transport to have ardour control hydrogen. In other words, when you press play in Ardour, hydrogen will start playing. Here's how: open the Ardour options window (Windows > OptionsEditor) and click the sync tab. Make sure that the Positional Sync drop down is set to sync with Jack, the Jack Time Master toggle is ON, and that Recorded Audio is generated Inside this computer, like the following screenshot illustrates. Also make sure that Jack trans is toggled ON in Hydrogen.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/jacktrans.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

If you had your hydrogen pattern at any tempo other than 120 BPM, you will have to make sure that Ardour is set to that same tempo before recording, or else your rythm will be changed to Ardour's default tempo of 120 BPM. Notice the red tempo flag positioned at the start of the sequence in the red tempo bar in the editor window. Right-Click on it and select Edit to change the tempo to suit your tune in the upcoming dialog.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/tempo.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

I should note here that you can add tempo changes to the sequence at any point by clicking in the tempo bar and creating a new tempo flag.
Now, finally, We are ready to record our Rhythm! Press the big red record button at the top of the editor window, hold your breath, and press the play button to begin recording.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/recording.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Now you have audio in your Ardour sequence! How cool is that!?!? Note that the tempo flag has been changed to 96 BPM to reflect the original tempo in Hydrogen. If your recording did not end exactly on the beat (like mine) you can fix that by opening the "Snap-to" pull down menu and setting it to bars (or whatever) and then dragging the bottom of your region (in Ardour, sound clips are called regions) to fit the bar.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/snapto.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Note that in this picture, the cursor superimposed by Apple's Grab program is not the curser you will see while drogging your region, the proper curser is a horizontal double arrow, like the one you would see when resizing a window. Also note that your position in the song is displayed next to the cursor as your resize the region.

having beats is nice, but we like it better with extra spice, so let's import a soundfile of a melody into our sequence to go along with the beat.
Add another track the same way you did before, and give it a name like "Melody" or "keokuk" or "Shasta!"
Now click on the title bar of the Regions/Name section of the editor window and select import audio. It is better to import (copy) than to link because in the process of importing your file will automatically be converted to the proper sample rate and format. A dialog will popup and you can browse for your file. Ardour also has a soundfile library for easier access to your clips. You can add files to the soundfile library by clicking the ( Windows > Audio Library ) menu then going to the Soundfile Library tab and clicking add to library.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/import.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Your soundfile will appear in the Regions list. Drag it to the new track to add it to the sequence. In the screenshot below, you can see that I have made copies of both the tracks and am playing them back to back. I did this by simply dragging them in from the Regions list once more. You could also right click on a region and use the edit menu popup to copy and paste them using the blue edit cursor.

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/2tracks.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Now you have two tracks ready for export! To accomplish this, click the Sessions > export menu, name your file, and select master out one as left and master out 2 as right, then export!

[img:d10628101a]http://bennyp.no-ip.org/images/tut/export.jpg[/img:d10628101a]

Well that's it for now. I may add more later on! Happy Hacking!

Written by Ben Powers all words and images cc by-nc-sa 2.0
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