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Horizontal tracks

Stevethefiddle
Just a thought experiment:

Why do tracks always go horizontally?
In every DAW / audio editor I've seen, tracks run left to right.

There's an obvious analogy to reading text (hence occasional requests
for right to left recording), and an analogy with tape transport, but
in terms of coding the interface there's probably no necessity for to
right. So why not vertically?

For multi-track projects with a large number of tracks, scrolling
through vertical tracks may be easier, especially for users that are
familiar with mixing desks. With sufficient flexibility regarding
which elements are shown, which are not, size and placement of
elements, the "mixer view" would simply be a modified layout of the
track panel rather than a different thing.

Steve

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Re: Horizontal tracks

Darrell Walisser
On Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 5:36 AM, Steve the Fiddle <[hidden email]> wrote:
Just a thought experiment:

Why do tracks always go horizontally?
In every DAW / audio editor I've seen, tracks run left to right.


​Makes sense to me. Since displays are generally rectangular, in horizontal layout, you get more time with fewer tracks. Vertical, you get more tracks but less time. If the toolbars can also change orientation then each mode can get a little more space for tracks/time respectively.

To accomplish the same end as a vertical layout (except for the right to left aspect), you could rotate the display and desktop.


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Re: Horizontal tracks

Federico Miyara
In reply to this post by Stevethefiddle

Steve,

I would call it the "Matrix-style skin"!

I think there are several further reasons for the classic layout:
- The oscilloscope (from which the horizontal layout is inherited) is horizontally-
oriented,
- Most often in Physics time is on the horizontal axis,
- Most moving things in daily life do so horizontally,
and
- The eye moves easier and covering a wider angle horizontally than vertically.

However, for rapid inspection, it is true that being the screen wider than it is tall you could accommodate more channels and that would make a difference even if less time detail could be shown for the very same reason.

Regards,

Federico

 

On 28/03/2017 6:36, Steve the Fiddle wrote:
Just a thought experiment:

Why do tracks always go horizontally?
In every DAW / audio editor I've seen, tracks run left to right.

There's an obvious analogy to reading text (hence occasional requests
for right to left recording), and an analogy with tape transport, but
in terms of coding the interface there's probably no necessity for to
right. So why not vertically?

For multi-track projects with a large number of tracks, scrolling
through vertical tracks may be easier, especially for users that are
familiar with mixing desks. With sufficient flexibility regarding
which elements are shown, which are not, size and placement of
elements, the "mixer view" would simply be a modified layout of the
track panel rather than a different thing.

Steve


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Re: Horizontal tracks

Peter Sampson-2
I just tried a brief experiment with a few tracks, pressing Play with
normal zoom level and then turrning my laptop on my desk through
90 degrees clockwise.

My first impressin is that it look extremely odd and unsettling with the
default un-pinned playhead.

Pinning the payhead certainly improved the visual appearance, but still
looked a little odd (but then I am very used to L-R horizontal waveforms).

One thing I note that if we did this is that the Timeline and the Scrub Bar
would both also have to become vertical.  Would you place these on the
left or on the right of the waveform(s)?  Maybe both sides?

I can see that this might become a popular choice for multi-trackers, but for
most other folk I'm thinking their choice would be to remain with horizontal
waveforms (which leads us into considering the ROI of such a change).

Just my 2c worth

Peter

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Re: Horizontal tracks

Stevethefiddle
To be honest, for editing purposes I don't think vertical waveforms
would be popular with anyone, but practicality is not the main
objective of a "thought experiment".

I liked Federico's points about oscilloscopes (obvious once said, but
I'd not thought of that), and "time" commonly being the horizontal
axis in mathematics / physics.

The case for horizontal waveform (horizontal time axis) is
overwhelming in the West.
* Ask someone to draw a time-line of their life, and virtually
everyone will draw a horizontal line (though I'd be interested to know
what Chinese people would do).
* "Selecting" with a mouse is considerably easier horizontally than
vertically as the forearm can pivot around the elbow.
* Whether reading text, a musical score, data tables or just about
anything else, we (in the West) have developed a familiarity with
reading and visually scanning left to right. It's such a deeply
ingrained behaviour that it's hard to get away from.

On the other hand, I do see benefits of a vertical waveform for
"metering" on a virtual (software) mixer. Conventional meters show the
current (peak) level, and perhaps an indication of recent past peak
level, but a vertical waveform ("pinned" play position) can show that,
plus, on playback, you can see what's coming up next, which could be
very handy when mixing down a recording.

My main take-away from this experiment was to think about how the
screen would be laid out. As I tried to indicate in the mock-up image,
there could be many optional settings, controls, configurations per
channel, which could be visible or hidden according to need. I think
it would be essential for the track panel to be very flexible so that
the user could quickly and easily access relevant widgets, so for
example, all widgets except the waveform could be collapsed / hidden
so as to maximise the available area for waveform selection, then a
"routing" panel could be clicked open to allow channel mapping, or an
"audio" panel to allow adjusting track gain, pan, and perhaps simple
EQ for that channel. Collapsible / expandable / pop-out / hide panels,
is of course something that could also be done with a conventional
horizontal track layout.

Steve


On 29 March 2017 at 10:49, Peter Sampson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I just tried a brief experiment with a few tracks, pressing Play with
> normal zoom level and then turrning my laptop on my desk through
> 90 degrees clockwise.
>
> My first impressin is that it look extremely odd and unsettling with the
> default un-pinned playhead.
>
> Pinning the payhead certainly improved the visual appearance, but still
> looked a little odd (but then I am very used to L-R horizontal waveforms).
>
> One thing I note that if we did this is that the Timeline and the Scrub Bar
> would both also have to become vertical.  Would you place these on the
> left or on the right of the waveform(s)?  Maybe both sides?
>
> I can see that this might become a popular choice for multi-trackers, but
> for
> most other folk I'm thinking their choice would be to remain with horizontal
> waveforms (which leads us into considering the ROI of such a change).
>
> Just my 2c worth
>
> Peter
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Check out the vibrant tech community on one of the world's most
> engaging tech sites, Slashdot.org! http://sdm.link/slashdot
> _______________________________________________
> audacity-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/audacity-devel
>

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Re: Horizontal tracks

Robert Hänggi
2017-03-29 13:05 GMT+02:00, Steve the Fiddle <[hidden email]>:

> To be honest, for editing purposes I don't think vertical waveforms
> would be popular with anyone, but practicality is not the main
> objective of a "thought experiment".
>
> I liked Federico's points about oscilloscopes (obvious once said, but
> I'd not thought of that), and "time" commonly being the horizontal
> axis in mathematics / physics.
>
> The case for horizontal waveform (horizontal time axis) is
> overwhelming in the West.
> * Ask someone to draw a time-line of their life, and virtually
> everyone will draw a horizontal line (though I'd be interested to know
> what Chinese people would do).
> * "Selecting" with a mouse is considerably easier horizontally than
> vertically as the forearm can pivot around the elbow.
> * Whether reading text, a musical score, data tables or just about
> anything else, we (in the West) have developed a familiarity with
> reading and visually scanning left to right. It's such a deeply
> ingrained behaviour that it's hard to get away from.


Which is in fact not effective when one thinks about it.
The old Babylonians and Egyptians had apart from left to right (or top
to bottom) and vice-versa a third "Plough" system which allowed
continuous reading of e.g. temple inscriptions without abrupt turning
of the head. The advantage is evident for long lines: You never have
to search where the next line begins since it is always very near.

>
> On the other hand, I do see benefits of a vertical waveform for
> "metering" on a virtual (software) mixer. Conventional meters show the
> current (peak) level, and perhaps an indication of recent past peak
> level, but a vertical waveform ("pinned" play position) can show that,
> plus, on playback, you can see what's coming up next, which could be
> very handy when mixing down a recording.


The effect is less confusing if you add perspective, i.e. if the wave
form disappears into eternity. At the bottom, you'll have all
amplitude information while you'll see more distant events with
increasing height. Most interesting for a scalable spectrogram.
The frequencies are left to right while time is on the y axis
(virtually speeding up) At the bottom, you can focus on a single
frequency range while higher up the frequencies come together by and
by.
Or you can display the waveform (again in 3-D) from above, as if it
were a wavy surface.
Fascinating

Robert

>
> My main take-away from this experiment was to think about how the
> screen would be laid out. As I tried to indicate in the mock-up image,
> there could be many optional settings, controls, configurations per
> channel, which could be visible or hidden according to need. I think
> it would be essential for the track panel to be very flexible so that
> the user could quickly and easily access relevant widgets, so for
> example, all widgets except the waveform could be collapsed / hidden
> so as to maximise the available area for waveform selection, then a
> "routing" panel could be clicked open to allow channel mapping, or an
> "audio" panel to allow adjusting track gain, pan, and perhaps simple
> EQ for that channel. Collapsible / expandable / pop-out / hide panels,
> is of course something that could also be done with a conventional
> horizontal track layout.
>
> Steve
>
>
> On 29 March 2017 at 10:49, Peter Sampson <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>> I just tried a brief experiment with a few tracks, pressing Play with
>> normal zoom level and then turrning my laptop on my desk through
>> 90 degrees clockwise.
>>
>> My first impressin is that it look extremely odd and unsettling with the
>> default un-pinned playhead.
>>
>> Pinning the payhead certainly improved the visual appearance, but still
>> looked a little odd (but then I am very used to L-R horizontal
>> waveforms).
>>
>> One thing I note that if we did this is that the Timeline and the Scrub
>> Bar
>> would both also have to become vertical.  Would you place these on the
>> left or on the right of the waveform(s)?  Maybe both sides?
>>
>> I can see that this might become a popular choice for multi-trackers, but
>> for
>> most other folk I'm thinking their choice would be to remain with
>> horizontal
>> waveforms (which leads us into considering the ROI of such a change).
>>
>> Just my 2c worth
>>
>> Peter
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Check out the vibrant tech community on one of the world's most
>> engaging tech sites, Slashdot.org! http://sdm.link/slashdot
>> _______________________________________________
>> audacity-devel mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/audacity-devel
>>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Check out the vibrant tech community on one of the world's most
> engaging tech sites, Slashdot.org! http://sdm.link/slashdot
> _______________________________________________
> audacity-devel mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/audacity-devel
>

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