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Mixing MIDI

If you're using any VST, LV2 or DSSI instrument plugins under qtractor it is not currently possible to export the audio from these tracks without mixing their content down to audio tracks first. I wouldn't have a prob with this if qtractor would help automate this process as I find it tedious - which is a shame as I really enjoy qtractor otherwise.

As I understand it, here are the steps required to mix a MIDI tracks with instrument plugins down to audio tracks:

1 - Create a new audio track for each of your MIDI plugin tracks. qtractor has no way to batch create new tracks so this must be done one at a time.

2 - Enable dedicated JACK audio outputs for each plugin used. This has to be done manually for each plugin by selecting 'Dedicated' from the Audio submenu of the plugins context menu. I've just requested this be automated when you add a plugin to a track.

3 - Create a new mono or stereo input bus for every audio track to be used to mix down to. qtractor has no way to batch create buses so each one must be done individually.

4 - The next step is to pair each new input bus with its associated audio track by editing each tracks bus input setting

5 - Individually connect the dedicated JACK audio outputs of your MIDI tracks to their corresponding audio tracks (input buses)

I had to do this for 15+ MIDI tracks the other day - it took a good 30m or so of focused, repetitive clicking, creating tracks, buses and connecting them all up when I see no reason why this whole process couldn't be automated and done almost instantly. qtractor would greatly benefit from a feature that would auto-create the audio tracks, their input buses, assign the input buses to the audio tracks and make the relevant JACK connections for any number of selected MIDI plugin tracks. It would be useful to have the option of auto-creating mono or stereo tracks and buses for each selected MIDI track.

Thanks for doing what you can to make this less of a chore Rui!

rncbc's picture

you could save your final session as a template (.qtt) and make it the default new one (View/Options../General/New session template). that way you'll get it all your setup ready when starting a new session from scratch (File/New)

it's not what you ask but it's the qtractor way to deal with most complicated setups like you wish--i mean, you just have to do the boiler place job once.

however, i'll think and be glad to hear for some concrete ideas to ease the pain, unless it adds too much clutter to an increasingly bloated user-interface ;)


Hi Rui!

I don't see templates as the proper solution to this as I never know in advance how many tracks and of what type I'll need in a session so I can't make a 'one size fits all' template. We will still have to jump through those many hoops when we inevitably have to create or add extra tracks to a template.

I do have some more concrete ideas on how you can fix most of this problem so I'll add them to the tracker now.

qtractors interface is the least bloated of all the current (Linux or otherwise) DAWs that I've used. I can assure you your bloat worries are totally unwarranted! :)

rncbc's picture

so, the tickets are there:

ppl. consider to participate in the UI design proper: what and how you would like to see and behave in a (new?) track/bus properties dialog? that might or should be a good start. consider some mockups, hand drawings, whatever :) should it be a brand new formula?

take ones personal note before you start arguing: "wizards" are out of the question. period. please. let's not be too paternalist to n00b users. this is niche software and my stance is: the user is in power of the software. not the other way around. yeah. we've all been n00bs once i know, but then, keyword is once. and then, about twice, you get over it, you start doing things your own way, isn't that so? and that's awesome. you just don't need a "wizard" to remind you when you were (once) on the verge of a clueless stupidity state, do you? :)

nuff said. let the ideas flow


NP Rui - will return with a mockup asap!



I've updated both tickets with more details on how I'd like Add Tracks to look/work.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my suggestions Rui!

I'm hoping I can take your lack of response as silent agreement and I that you'll get this done when you get a chance?

Hopefully thats the case because if my latest suggestions (auto creation of input buses for new tracks) were to be implemented I think I'll stand a good chance of being able to convince my band to switch from Ardour to qtractor which has been my silent agenda for a while now.

How old is Bugas now? Is he having music or coding lessons yet? What distro does he run? ;)

rncbc's picture

yes, you have my general agreement but chances are it will be thought out only after next dot release (0.5.6) which is anyway due in a few couple of weeks or even less (must send some heads-up call to translators first)

that means that's in feature freeze atm.

re. bugas the kid, 11yo and no, no music nor code lessons yet. he's doing fine with soccer lessons instead. having ubuntu pre-installed in his laptop, adds to another diversion from his direct ancestor ;)


That's great to hear Rui as I think this will work wonders for my (and other users) qtractor workflow - I did notice it was about time for another dot release as they've come about every 3 months the last year or two.

Worraboot the bug I'm seeing with MIDI plugin tracks JACK ports not appearing ( )? Have you confirmed that yet as I'd like to see that fixed in this next dot release please!

Good to hear Bugas is doing well in soccer - there's likely a lot more money as a pro-footballer versus musician or programmer although theres more realistic chance of making it as a programmer but I wouldn't have recommended Bugas as a choice name for a young coder! :)

Nice to hear you're getting him off on the right foot with his computing - I'd have expected no less for the Capela kid!

rncbc's picture

re. ticket #6 auto enable JACK outputs for all MIDI tracks w/ plugins

the dedicated audio outputs setting for instrument plugins was not really in effect as default, now fixed on svn trunk.3008+ (qtractor



I no longer have to manually enable the JACK out for every MIDI track after the latest commit so thats half of my qtr port woes fixed right there.

Thanks RNCBC!

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