What's the expectation for Track Folders

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deeplink
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Track Folders is a common request seen on this forum, but I'm sure there are many views on how it can be implemented.

I'm not familiar with other DAWs - are there some that do it better than others?

Is the expectation to be able to group, collapse and expand and set of tracks in the Sequencer?

Or does it go further in terms of Auto-Bussing the channels - e.g drag n drop a track in the sequencer into the group and it will auto route to that bus, auto adjust the track colour, mute/solo the group/folder ?

DaveyG
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Post 16 Jun 2021

I just posted some related stuff here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7523137&start=1025

It's mostly about reducing the number of tracks visible in the sequencer and optionally (in Studio One) doing the same in the mixer. Grouping and bussing are different but you can have your (eg) drums in a group and sent to an aux bus and in a track folder all at the same time.
The simplest track folder implementation in Reason would be a "container" track. Select two or more tracks, right-click "add to folder" and you get a thin header above those tracks with the same down triangle that tracks have. Maybe the contained tracks are indented slightly. The folder can be named and when you click the triangle it minimises to just the folder name and the contained tracks are hidden. Click it again and they come back.

Reason already has note lanes for instrument tracks that goes part of the way to addressing the issue but, frustratingly, not for audio tracks. Note lanes are good for drums but not good for, say, strings where each lane would need to drive a different instrument.

Track folders come in to their own when you have more tracks than will comfortably fit on your screen, or where you have loads of alternative takes that you want to keep in the project but muted and tucked away out of sight. It's exactly like organising your files on a disk or organising your emails.

Many of the things we ask for are not trivial from a technical point of view. For example I imagine adding support for VSTs that generate MIDI could cause some real routing headaches for the devs. But track folders are pretty much just a UI/UX thing so I would expect them to be fairly straightforward to implement.

I think the core problem is that the decision makers at RS just don't use their own and competing products enough and the RRP means that customers are encouraged to explore other DAWS, which inevitably leads to more comments of "Hey, this feature is great. Why can't Reason do that?" And that's a very valid question.

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Loque
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Since i dont have experience from other DAWs, i just want something to organize my tracks. But i can easily see more things/features needed. Here are just a few shots coming into my mind
* Grouping in general
* Input/output control/routings for CV, audio and MIDI
* Kind of mixing bus with all its features
* Load/Save and all the edit functions including bouncing
* ...

As i said, i am mainly interested in the grouping function. And i can see easily things getting complicated with
* Ghost viewing other tracks
* Different connections in the rack compared to the sequencer group (you already can now route everything in and out of a Combinator, which gets lost on save/load)
* Different routings in the Mixer
* Multi-selection
* Probably a big bunch of stuff i did not yet considered which may be hard to implement, hard to understand and hard to deal with as a user
:reason: 11, Win10 64Bit.

deeplink
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Further to the above, it would be another quality of life addition if effect or player devices connected to an instrument track are visually represented.

OverneathTheSkyBridg
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Post 16 Jun 2021

deeplink wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Further to the above, it would be another quality of life addition if effect or player devices connected to an instrument track are visually represented.
Yes! It would be great to have all of those effect devices in the sequencer being "children" of their parent instrument / track, rather than being their own tracks that I you have to keep track of when moving stuff around.

elMisse
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Post 16 Jun 2021

OverneathTheSkyBridg wrote:
16 Jun 2021

Yes! It would be great to have all of those effect devices in the sequencer being "children" of their parent instrument / track, rather than being their own tracks that I you have to keep track of when moving stuff around.

:thumbup:

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Loque
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Post 16 Jun 2021

deeplink wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Further to the above, it would be another quality of life addition if effect or player devices connected to an instrument track are visually represented.
Hum...yea, would help to keep things organized.

But whatabout a fx or synth reveiving signals (aduio or CV) from several different sources or sending out to different targets? Where does this belong to?
:reason: 11, Win10 64Bit.

deeplink
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Loque wrote:
16 Jun 2021
deeplink wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Further to the above, it would be another quality of life addition if effect or player devices connected to an instrument track are visually represented.
Hum...yea, would help to keep things organized.

But whatabout a fx or synth reveiving signals (aduio or CV) from several different sources or sending out to different targets? Where does this belong to?
Ya when I imagine these things the spider audio units, CV, parrell channels, external routings and combinators tend to disagree and throw a spanner into the works.

Damn Reason for being so modular :P

DaveyG
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Post 16 Jun 2021

deeplink wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Loque wrote:
16 Jun 2021


Hum...yea, would help to keep things organized.

But whatabout a fx or synth reveiving signals (aduio or CV) from several different sources or sending out to different targets? Where does this belong to?
Ya when I imagine these things the spider audio units, CV, parrell channels, external routings and combinators tend to disagree and throw a spanner into the works.

Damn Reason for being so modular :P
That's why you just need to keep it simple. Any track in the sequencer can be placed in a track folder. No other interdependencies needed. :thumbup:

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Loque
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Post 16 Jun 2021

DaveyG wrote:
16 Jun 2021
deeplink wrote:
16 Jun 2021


Ya when I imagine these things the spider audio units, CV, parrell channels, external routings and combinators tend to disagree and throw a spanner into the works.

Damn Reason for being so modular :P
That's why you just need to keep it simple. Any track in the sequencer can be placed in a track folder. No other interdependencies needed. :thumbup:
Agree for the first step. But i already can hear all the whining when it will be "just" a track folder...
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orthodox
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Loque wrote:
16 Jun 2021
DaveyG wrote:
16 Jun 2021
That's why you just need to keep it simple. Any track in the sequencer can be placed in a track folder. No other interdependencies needed. :thumbup:
Agree for the first step. But i already can hear all the whining when it will be "just" a track folder...
Whining has some unique tonality, which can be filtered out with a band stop filter.

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zoidkirb
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Being Reason, with its rack-centric approach I can imagine folders in the sequencer being tied to and containing whatever devices reside in each combinator 2.0.

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orthodox
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Post 16 Jun 2021

zoidkirb wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Being Reason, with its rack-centric approach I can imagine folders in the sequencer being tied to and containing whatever devices reside in each combinator 2.0.
It's a rare case when I need tracks for devices inside a combi. And I see the Reason approach in maintaining the three tiers (Sequencer/Rack/Mixer) independent from each other.

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mcatalao
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Post 16 Jun 2021

The way that reason works, with the mixer and rack separated, integrating the folder structure into racks and mixer would, imho make the feature too complicated. I don't mind having everything in the mixer, and I can live with removing channels for tracks that I don't use in the sequencer, so if they do nothing about the mixer, I just toss unused tracks to the end or delete the mixer channel. I mean if reason bussed the tracks automatically that would be great but imho it is a step that might be harder to accomplish at least in the initial iteration.

TBH, i just want a way to organize the sequencer tracks, specially for bigger projects. I really hope to see this sooner than later, but as things are, I'm at the point I'm starting to wink my eye at other DAWs, most probably cubase where i have lots of previous experience with it. It's a shame, I really like reason's workflow, the way all things glue together is great, and the fact that the whole daw is decluttered compared to others.

I'd really like to see Track folders, Complete track freezing (the bounce in place approach is very very short imho) and Auto Punch In in some iteration of R12. And please no lame (yeah, double meaning) unimportant, limited and badly thought features like mp3 in R11.x.
Last edited by mcatalao on 16 Jun 2021, edited 1 time in total.

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adfielding
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Post 16 Jun 2021

I'm fine with Reason adopting its own particular way of handling track folders - I think the key areas to look at are how it works in the mixer, how it works in the sequencer, and how it works when you're exporting stuff.

I sort of feel like a neat, Reason-y way to handle it (i.e. without making things more cluttered) would be to forego track folders as a separate feature entirely (hear me out) and just implement the functionality provided by track folders in the existing group bus functionality. Pop a button on the mixer to hide all mix channels that are routed to a group bus, and whenever a group bus is created it could automatically create a "folder" sequencer lane that automatically groups everything contained within that bus, and that can be folded/unfolded by the user.

That way you'd get a lot of the functionality of folder tracks with the only additional clutter being a single button on mixer group channels and a sort-of sequencer lane whenever you create a group bus. I feel like you could get most of the functionality of folder tracks and keep that nice integration between sequencer/mixer by extending group bus behaviour rather than adding an entirely new set of tools. On the export side, just nest all of the mix channels that are grouped together so you'd get something like this:

Mix Channel 1
Mix Channel 2
Group Bus
|------> Group Bus Channel 1
|------> Group Bus Channel 2
Mix Channel 3
etc.

tl;dr: extend group bus functionality. I'd take a nice extension of an existing feature that doesn't overcomplicate things over an entirely separate feature any day.

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mcatalao
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Post 16 Jun 2021

adfielding wrote:
16 Jun 2021


I sort of feel like a neat, Reason-y way to handle it (i.e. without making things more cluttered) would be to forego track folders as a separate feature entirely (hear me out) and just implement the functionality provided by track folders in the existing group bus functionality. Pop a button on the mixer to hide all mix channels that are routed to a group bus, and whenever a group bus is created it could automatically create a "folder" sequencer lane that automatically groups everything contained within that bus, and that can be folded/unfolded by the user.
This could work. Though groups are not created now at the sequencer level, having them created at that point would also solve remote issues with group automations because the group is not created at the sequencer by default. It would also glue more the integration between the mixer and the sequencer.

On that matter (sequencer mixer integration)... Something that always got me with Reason, is that when you hit mute and solo on the mixer, the same does not happen on the sequencer and vice versa. Quite bummer to have all the mixer channels playing and then you see you missed one solo on the sequencer. This is one of the things that make me think there's a bit of work to be done on the integration of the sequencer and mixer. It seems that the sequencer has data/audio streams to the mixer channels ad the mixer takes care of this oblivious of the sequencer. It's like if you were in the studio and you have a DAT or tape recorder and that is the sequencer, and the mixer is a completely separated entity. So that's why I say that some more integration between these two would be great because this separation doesn't make much sense since Record, imho. With this "limitation" in mind, I'll be quite happy if Reason could have track folders just in the sequencer.

But I digress.

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mcatalao
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Post 16 Jun 2021

PS.: On a second thought, grouping in the mixer, has a totally different aim, and it bothers me if I wanted to create groups of groups, and get a cascade of folders in the sequencer. So if the group and folder tracks are really integrated, there must be a way to create mixer groups without creating and grouping folders automatically and rout stuff automatically in the mixer.

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challism
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Post 16 Jun 2021

I'm hoping that Reason 13 will have a lot of the sequencer updates we've been wanting. Lucky 13, right?
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Loque
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Post 16 Jun 2021

orthodox wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Loque wrote:
16 Jun 2021

Agree for the first step. But i already can hear all the whining when it will be "just" a track folder...
Whining has some unique tonality, which can be filtered out with a band stop filter.
I dont think there is one available in Reason or am i wrong?
:reason: 11, Win10 64Bit.

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zoidkirb
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Post 16 Jun 2021

orthodox wrote:
16 Jun 2021
zoidkirb wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Being Reason, with its rack-centric approach I can imagine folders in the sequencer being tied to and containing whatever devices reside in each combinator 2.0.
It's a rare case when I need tracks for devices inside a combi. And I see the Reason approach in maintaining the three tiers (Sequencer/Rack/Mixer) independent from each other.
Some people end up with a lot of tracks all in linked to a Combinator though. Lots of automation lanes, multiple Midi lanes for an instrument and sometimes Midi lanes for FX devices that can accept Midi for control.
Maybe not the perfect solution for everybody but it's better than the current solution of....nothing.

Or they could just go and copy the whole Cubase approach to folders/hiding automation , and track visibility toggles but something tells me they will not want to give a whole lot of options for whatever approach they take.

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Billy+
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Post 16 Jun 2021

As I'm not using a DAW with folders I'm not sure how this works but I think it's more about organising the sequencer area.

As things stand when you have a device you get a lane
when you add a player you get a lane
when you add an fx you get a lane
when you want to automate you get a lane

With every lane being added to the sequencer in some random location which makes working in the sequencer a matter of hunting them down and moving them back into a preferred position (this should be automatically done)

Then when you're after getting a bit of real estate back you have to collapse all the devices (which is a pain)

So I would guess that Reason track folders should simply allow you to add the sequencer lanes to it so you can collapse or expand as needed with a simple one button click.

I don't think it needs to change any routing or make any busses / mixer groups but it should be able to have any amount of devices added to it and you should be able to mute / solo everything that's in the folder.

Now track freeze should definitely free up cpu usage of the device chain, currently Reason holds cpu so bounce doesn't really give you the cpu back even if the device is off and I'm guessing that's exactly what freeze does in other DAW's?
VST 2.4 MIDI It's definitely on the list of todos
What MIDI tools are you itching to use

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Loque
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Billy+ wrote:
16 Jun 2021
...
Then when you're after getting a bit of real estate back you have to collapse all the devices (which is a pain)
...
Its just one click. I think ctrl+click, or alt+click? cannot remember atm.
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Billy+
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Loque wrote:
16 Jun 2021
Billy+ wrote:
16 Jun 2021
...
Then when you're after getting a bit of real estate back you have to collapse all the devices (which is a pain)
...
Its just one click. I think ctrl+click, or alt+click? cannot remember atm.
Doesn't that collapse everything?
VST 2.4 MIDI It's definitely on the list of todos
What MIDI tools are you itching to use

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deeplink
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Post 16 Jun 2021

Perhaps another thing to tackle would be the collapsing/minimising of a track the way it is currently implemented.

All the controls - like mute and solo - dissapear and the clips in that track become a thin line which is impossible to select and move around.

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bxbrkrz
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Post 16 Jun 2021

I don't want track folders. I want Track Combinators.
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