is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Support & discussion regarding DAWs and MIDI sequencers.

Moderators: khz, MattKingUSA

nigeldodd
Established Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:43 pm

is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby nigeldodd » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:53 am

I am using Ubuntu Studio 19 and fairly new to digital audio working. My question is about Ardour and Hydrogen. I have downloaded the soundfonts for the Ardour drumgizmo plugin as detailed in https://libremusicproduction.com/tutori ... zmo-ardour
However I am defeated by the need to input a drum sequence in Ardour. Hydrogen makes it easy, at least for a song with a structure like AABA which represents a lot of jazz music since you can input several beat patterns each lasting a bar and then group them together to fit the AABA structure with turnarounds, etc.. Hydrogen calls this a "song" .

I can sync Hydrogen and Ardour together with Jack. This works nicely but I can't but think its a bit messy. I can's just save one file (or session) I have to save two, remember which goes with which.

I can't output a midi file of the entire song from Hydrogen - then I could perhaps put it into Ardour if I got the midi instrument channels right. I can only output a bar from Hydrogen in midi. I can output a wav from Hydrogen which I could then import into Ardour but this is not ideal and the file would be big.

Can anyone comment on this philosophical and practical divide?

User avatar
sysrqer
Established Member
Posts: 1821
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:47 pm
Contact:

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby sysrqer » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:13 am

Is it really that much more work in ardour? Surely you can just create two midi clips, one for A and one for B, and then arrange them?

If you're happy with ardour and hydrogen together then you can use session management, this should save songs/patches and reload them and set up the routing again. Non-session-manager can do this.

User avatar
English Guy
Established Member
Posts: 467
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:28 pm
Location: England

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby English Guy » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:57 pm

There is a kit for Hydrogen (I found it on this forum) for Drumgizmo. You can set up Hydrogen to play Drumgizmo on Ardour; the best drums I have ever been able to produce. When you have finished the drum part on Hydrogen just record it as midi on Ardour, quantise in case of any drift and your whole project is now in the Ardour session.

I find Hydrogen faster and better for drum programming. The above approach gets you the best of both worlds.

User avatar
milo
Established Member
Posts: 239
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:55 am
Location: Southern Utah, USA
Contact:

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby milo » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:09 pm

I have used both workflows, and I find myself preferring to use midi drums within the DAW for programming. There are some really nice things about programming in Hydrogen, and it is a capable piece of software, but the workflow does get really messy. Setting up your initial patterns is fairly straightforward, but the problem is getting your work from Hydrogen into the DAW. That's where things always get messy. There are a couple of ways to do this with Jack transport, but I found it to be quicker and with less buttons to push if I just export a wav file from Hydrogen and import it into the DAW. If this process were a one-and-done then it wouldn't be a problem, but I invariably go back and tweak the drum patterns as the song takes shape, because I compose as I record. Then whatever method you use to transfer your work from one app to the other has to be repeated. It's annoying to go back and forth between Hydrogen and your DAW just to make one little change, like adding a single note or adjusting a single velocity.

I find it much easier to program drums in a midi track within the DAW, and I prefer this method even though midi programming in Ardour (my current DAW of choice) has real limitations in its midi editing capabilities. It is so nice to have everything "under one roof," at your fingertips within one application. It is no harder to program a drum pattern in a midi piano roll, and you can easily copy/paste sections that you wish to loop, as sysrqer suggested. I find that midi programming tends to make for more interesting and variable patterns throughout the song than I typically get from using Hydrogen, because producing the same degree of variability in Hydrogen takes extra work.

I have also found an analogous problem with projects that include LMMS audio which is later modified or added to in a DAW. The workflow of going back and forth between LMMS and the DAW to change things in the composition is just not very smooth. I much prefer to use synth plugins on midi tracks within the DAW rather than LMMS.

English Guy's suggestion of using JACK transport to transfer the midi notes from Hydrogen to the DAW would be a decent compromise. You could do the little tweaks at the later stages of composition within your DAW on the midi track instead of having to go back and forth between Hydrogen and the DAW.

ufug
Established Member
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:28 am

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby ufug » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:32 pm

I share these frustrations with workflow. Hydrogen and Ardour are individually top notch, but I agree with op that syncing them is sub-optimal. I don't want to have an elaborate set-up to get a simple thing done.

If Hydrogen would export MIDI, that would be nice. If it would work as a plugin in a DAW, that would be REALLY nice.

If writing/editing MIDI wasn't a hassle in Ardour (velocities and regions etc), that would be nice.

User avatar
sysrqer
Established Member
Posts: 1821
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:47 pm
Contact:

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby sysrqer » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:10 pm

ufug wrote:I share these frustrations with workflow. Hydrogen and Ardour are individually top notch, but I agree with op that syncing them is sub-optimal. I don't want to have an elaborate set-up to get a simple thing done.

The problem is that we're between two worlds/ages, one where jack modularity was celebrated and one with a preference of doing things monolithically.

Can you not just record the midi output from hydrogen into ardour and then edit as you like?

ufug
Established Member
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:28 am

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby ufug » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:06 pm

sysrqer wrote:The problem is that we're between two worlds/ages, one where jack modularity was celebrated and one with a preference of doing things monolithically.


Well said. There are a few other old tools like this that are stubborn. Bristol comes to mind. It's funny though, I can't think of anything more modular than plugins, if they are in a format you can use anywhere. We have lots of other softwares with the option of stand-alone or a plugin. Zyn, SetBfree, Pianoteq etc.

sysrqer wrote:Can you not just record the midi output from hydrogen into ardour and then edit as you like?


I would put this in the "workaround" category. You have to re-map all the sounds to whatever plugin you are using for sounds, and then if you do any editing, you are still faced with doing this in Ardour.

It's all certainly possible. I have tried all these approaches and there is nothing wrong with them. But I will stick with "sub-optimal". :D

nigeldodd
Established Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:43 pm

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby nigeldodd » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:22 am

Thank you, everybody, for your contributions to this. It is good to see that, as a relative novice, this is not a question with a definitive answer.

As a related issue, I was puzzled that I could not easily route, using Jack, the outputs of both Ardour and Hydrogen into Audacity to "print" the final result. I set my 12 year old son (for whom this project is really all about) onto it and he dumped both Ardour and Hydrogen's output to wav and imported those into Audacity. I am hoping to wean him off garageband onto a Linux music system. It seems to me that we need the best possible compromise between ease of use and complete flexibility if we are to gain traction and a greater following.

Thanks again.

nigeldodd
Established Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:43 pm

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby nigeldodd » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:28 am

sysrqer wrote:Can you not just record the midi output from hydrogen into ardour and then edit as you like?


As I understand it, you can only output a single bar, or pattern, from Hydrogen as midi. You can't export the whole song.

tavasti
Established Member
Posts: 820
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:56 am
Location: Kangasala, Finland
Contact:

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby tavasti » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:25 am

nigeldodd wrote:As a related issue, I was puzzled that I could not easily route, using Jack, the outputs of both Ardour and Hydrogen into Audacity to "print" the final result.

Record hydrogen output to ardour, and finalize mixing there. After your mix is perfect, export from ardour.
Linux veteran & Novice musician

Hear my music at https://audiu.net/users/tawaste

merlyn
Established Member
Posts: 479
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:13 pm

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby merlyn » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:58 am

JACK allows you to route audio and MIDI between applications. Here's an example that would work for your case:

HydrogenArdour.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

SirAmpersand
Established Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:24 pm

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby SirAmpersand » Thu Jul 04, 2019 8:49 am

Hi,
Sometimes I question myself why advanced MIDI editors can´t be used like plugins in advanced DAWs.
Eg.: Edit and store MIDI in Ardour but with the GUI of Musesore or Frescobaldi or the Piano Roll of your choice.
Same principle like text editors work in webpages. Yea, it´s a concept thing.
That would open up great ways of workflows ....

Amp.
Fender 95 Jazz Bass 5 String, TL Audio Fat2, FocusriteSaffire, LMK3+, SamsonGraphite M25,
KX STUDIO, Ardour, Musescore, Hydrogen, Qmidiarp, Seq24, Yoshimi, Qsynth, ZynaddSubFX, Frescobaldi , SuperCollider, Arduino+Mididings ... I love 2 play and learn !

lykwydchykyn
Established Member
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 2:01 pm
Location: Tennessee, USA
Contact:

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby lykwydchykyn » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:04 pm

When I've used Hydrogen, I generally set it to output separate tracks for each instrument, then record hydrogen's output directly into Ardour. That way I can take advantage of subtle variations introduced by Hydrogen's humanize and probability features. I like to get things into the audio domain as early as possible so I can just treat them like real tracks (my rather antiquated CPU likes it better too).

User avatar
Digital Larry
Established Member
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:25 am

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby Digital Larry » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:32 pm

nigeldodd wrote:As a related issue, I was puzzled that I could not easily route, using Jack, the outputs of both Ardour and Hydrogen into Audacity to "print" the final result. I set my 12 year old son (for whom this project is really all about) onto it and he dumped both Ardour and Hydrogen's output to wav and imported those into Audacity.

I think Audacity has the peculiar feature in that its JACK connections only show up when it is in the corresponding mode. For example, watch your JACK Connections mgr and start JACK playing. The outputs appear. Start JACK recording. The inputs appear. It's not very usable IMO. I use Audacity frequently on other platforms and think it's fine for most day to day things but integrating with JACK is not one of them.

Nachei
Established Member
Posts: 122
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:32 am
Contact:

Re: is Hydrogen better than Ardour for drums

Postby Nachei » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:59 pm

I can't help but mention another option, I don't know if very popular but just to put it on the table...

I used to have this kind of problems. Ardour (version 4 I think), and later Qtractor's Midi editor were both highly unstable, lacking basic functionality like reliable copy-paste (!) and sometimes even having the playhead mangling your work. Then I settled with Reaper.

Reaper has its own set of eccentricities, but it's also very powerful and its midi editor is rock solid, and also ergonomic (Hydrogen has a lot of good points, but something that drives me crazy is that at the end of the year you can measure in kilometers the amount of movement you've done just moving the mouse from A to B, without any work being done, because of the screen layout).

Unfortunately Reaper does not accept Drumgizmo as a plugin yet, so it is not an "under one roof" solution either (you have to run DG under Carla and do some rerouting at the end to print the final result...) But for me it's been by far the easiest solution, and the quantity and quality of my output have skyrocketed in relation to when I used Arduous, I mean Ardour... :P

Reaper is not free but you can try it for free, and the license is very cheap -although, like I said, maybe it's not for everybody: it is very powerful and highly customizable, but it has some weird aspects too. Just an idea...


Return to “Recorders & Sequencers”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest