The Ardour Manual

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The Recorder

The Recorder window
The Recorder window. (full-size image)

Although all the process of recording an audio or MIDI performance can be done in any mode, the Recorder provides a synoptic view of most parameters and actions related to capturing this performance, hence giving more confidence in the final result.

The Recorder is another view on settings, parameters, and actions that can be set or called in other modes. Any change done in the Recorder is instantly reflected in e.g. the Editor, and vice versa.

The Recorder, being a mode, sports the same main menu, status bar, and toolbar as the Editor and Mixer. It adds a secondary toolbar, a simplified session view, reminiscent of the Editor, and a global input panel.

The Secondary Toolbar

The subsections below describe the secondary toolbar from left to right.

Last Take Manager

The Last Take Manager
The Last Take Manager

This manager displays information about the last (or current) take :

This last button cannot be used while recording, the transport must be stopped. It also has no concept of history, and repeatedly clicking it wont discard previous takes from last to first, in order to prevent destroying good takes. Lastly, it does not reset the playhead position, as the Transport > Stop and Forget Capture menu would.

Global Arm

The Global Arm options
The Global Arm options

Like the Monitor Options below, these buttons apply to all the tracks at once.

It is a convenient shortcut to arm (All)/disarm (None) all the tracks for recording.

Monitoring Options

The Monitoring options
The Monitoring options

These buttons allow switching the monitoring mode globally, for all the tracks at once. The monitoring mode allows to decide what the user wants to be listening to, between:

The Auto Input switch allows Ardour to auto-select what is played, which is:

If Auto Input is disabled, then you will hear the Input being monitored whenever a track is armed, even if you aren't actually recording. If Auto Input is _enabled_, then you will hear playback when the transport is rolling, and the tracks will only switch to Input when the master-record arm is engaged (so you are actually recording).

'New Playlist' buttons

The 'New Playlist' buttons
The 'New Playlist' buttons

Recording multiple takes can easily be done in Ardour by using playlists, as a track can have multiple playlists and it is easy to switch from one to another.

The two buttons create new, "blank", playlists to record on:

Creating new playlists is both cheap in terms of CPU and memory, and easy to revert by changing the track's playlist back to its previous one. Playlists on different tracks can also share the same name, allowing for a better workflow when recording: Ardour suggests Take.#n as the name for each playlist, so that they stay somewhat correlated.

Disk space and Reset Peaks

Disk space & Reset Peaks
Disk space & Reset Peaks


The Simplified Session View is a view of the session, specifically tailored for the purpose of recording, that is similar to the Editor (or the Summary) with notable differences, among which:

All those differences are consequences of the aim of this view, which is to keep thing not too busy and clear in a recording context. The most important settings related to the recording process are easily available and to facilitate the work of the operator.

Simplified Session View

A track in the Recorder
A track in the Recorder

Each lane is made of (from left to right):

Like in the Editor or Mixer, a new track, bus or VCA can be created by either double or right-clicking on an empty place in the track list.

The Global Input Panel

This panel lists all the audio and MIDI system inputs.

An audio input
An audio input

The inputs are displayed either vertically or horizontally based on the Preferences.

If an input is used by a track that is armed for recording, it sports a red frame.

The controls on each input are:

The right hand side of the input depends on the kind of input, either audio or MIDI. For an audio track:

For an MIDI track: