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Automation of a group of tracks

My basic problem is that I know a hell of a lot about music, and next to nothing about electronic audio processing. So please forgive my occasional queries about what are possibly very elementary things.

I have been using automation of volume in a few places on individual midi tracks, and this works well. But in the latest piece I am putting into qtractor, I would like to automate the volume of the whole ensemble.

I think this can probably be done, but for all my reading of the qtractor manuals and experimenting with buses and aux sends, I can't get anything to work.

My current setup is simple: I use a midi keyboard to record material on to each of 4 tracks (different instruments). The output from these goes to the Master Midi output, and then by some mysterious process seems to get converted into audio to go through the Master Audio output. I have a TAP plugin on this last stage to give some reverb.

What I would like is for the output from the 4 tracks to go to another track (midi or audio? I don't know) to which I could then add volume automation. This would then go to the Master output(s).

Is this possible? And if so, how do I set it up?

rncbc's picture

simply put: nope.

automation is only applicable to tracks and just individually as such.

so, there is no automation for buses, neither existing nor planned, ever at all.

sorry for turning you down on this, but what you ask isn't possible atm. and probably won't in any near future, so sorry again:).

as a rule, tracks are the only conveyors of time-series data content, nothing else.


Thanks for your quick and clear response. It's very helpful, because now I can stop wasting my time trying to do the impossible.

With this piece it will probably be fairly easy to do level adjustments manually in real time, either when transferring the piece from midi to audio or working on the combined audio recording once everything else is completed.

There are ways to achieve this.
Use a track as if it were a bus, and instead of AuxSend use Inserts.
There is a "but": It must be with PipeWire, the inserts can cause problems in real Jack.

You cannot automate the Bus, but you can automate the AuxSend from the track.
I know this is tedious if there are several AuxSend to a bus. Although there is also a solution for this:
An automation is a .mid file. From your operating system's file manager, duplicate the automation as many times as there are tracks you want to apply them to. Rename the files so that they match the names of the track automation where you want to apply it.

It would be easier if Qtracktor could export and import automations and edit it directly with the midi editor.

(EDITED: It doesn't work, but I leave it as an idea to experiment. )
By Midi: It's the craziest of all. I haven't tried it, but it should work.

Create a new "FX" midi bus and assign a midi track to it.
Record on that midi track, with a channel that you are not going to use, the changes that you want to automate (volume, panning...).

Connect the midi output of the "FX" midi bus to the Master midi bus input.

Assign MidiLearn (in Qtractor called just Controller Midi) to the elements you want to automate.

It's an ugly hack but I managed to automate a bus' fader, see the AUDIO output bus named "Middle". Its fader moves when playing the loop.

What's strange: CC 10 (Pan) is periodically sent although there is no pan automation, even when the playhead stops, can be seen with aseqdump on the MIDI output bus named "Middle".

On my system I have no problem with automation on busses, or even plugins inserted on busses can be automated. What I do is create a midi "automation" track which sends controller data ( several ctrl numbers ) via the tracks midi out to Qtractors CONTROL in, normally used for remote hardware controllers.

First we have to activate the dedicated MIDI control input/output via Qtractors > options > midi tab. Secondly, open Qtractors connections window > midi tab and connect the midi output of the in step 1 created midi track with the CONTROL input.

Summing up :

  1. create a midi track, and record or add with the pencil the desired controller data ( in the lane under the piano roll ).
  2. go to the audio or midi buss, right click on the slider > MIDI-Controller and add your controller number matching the ctrl number in step 1.
  3. for plugins in the buss, right-click on the plugin > properties > right-click on the slider and add your controller number, which is send by the midi track.

Be sure midi channels of the sender ( miditrack ) and receiver ( buss sliders / plugins ) are the same ! This way you also can send midi-track controller data to a stand alone Carla application, but that's something for advanced users ;-)

If you want to use the tracks automation button, then you have to use a midi plugin capable of sending cc data. -> Still, would be nice if there was an option to display item's controller data into the tracks automation lanes !

Just try it out, Qtractor = fantastic !

See Rui's comment here above : Rui says : simply put: nope, We know , yes it's possible :-)


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Thank you!!!
In my head I knew it was possible but I couldn't find the key.

What was wrong for me, I used predefined CCs like 7-Volume etc., and the undefined ones should be used.

I was trying to do it through the midi buses, I didn't remember that midi outputs could be assigned to the tracks.

I think Rui doesn't know the scope of doing things so well.
Qtractor offers you all the starting tools so you can get anything done. Of course, you have to create the way to achieve it, it is not predefined.
I love that approach that gives creativity to the user.

If you wish, share your example in the topic I created:

__Note for those who do not have an external midi controller to simplify automations and more:

I think I'm going to revive an old iPad Air with a damaged battery to use it as a versatile midi controller with curved sensitivity and multi-touch. When connected via USB it is powered by the computer, and battery failure is no longer a problem.

This allows you to manage the faders of several tracks at the same time or to be able to play virtual instruments with sensitivity in the speed of the notes without the space problems of a traditional controller. You can also add or remove slider knobs, keyboards as you like, it does not have the restrictions of a physical hardware configuration.

The price of such a device is free, or almost. It is easy to get one for less than 10 euros, or as a gift from someone you know who cannot use them due to the battery or the obsolescence of the apps.

The only drawback is that dedicated hardware is always nicer to the touch :-).

Dear G3N-es,

I did share the buss automation workflow on your TEMPLATES AND EXAMPLES
By the way, your manual/tutorial with the pictures about qtractors signalpath at Sourceforge is very helpfull !
Thank you.


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