Let me say that I’m all for making mixer elements in a modern DAW GUI easier to locate, because first and foremost, it’s not a hardware situation constrained by the limitations of the manufacturing process.
If you had a physical mixing board in front of you, it’s quite easy to locate the controls you need to get at quickly. It’s all there, right in front of you, within easy reach.
Not so in a DAW where functions like Sends, EQs, Dynamics, Track assignments…etc. eventually become so populated within limited screen space that the DAW designer has no choice but to tab, folderize, scrollbar or contextually menu-ize functionality to keep the GUI manageable and controllable.
Suggesting that I look at ProTools or Logic as an example of how a DAW’s GUI should be laid out, I’m compelled to point out that these layouts are also based on a hardware paradigm created long before DAWs. Nothing wrong with that except for the differences in the presentation placed before you.
Because it’s software, something can be done to shift the paradigm to fit and work efficiently within the constraints of the medium….to present the ability to see as much information necessary within the confines of those restraints….as the user see fit. That’s what customization preferences are all about. It’s software.
The OP of this thread made the premise that it’s tough to tell what track is what in the mixer view and suggested that an easier way to quickly identify track “classes” would be to permit the user to color tint individual mixer strips.
On the face of it, as an identification utility, it’s not the worst idea in the world. On a aesthetical level, it could be argued that it would make the mixer look like a clown car…particularly for those who prefer a more conservative and traditional hardware-based look. I couldn’t care less, because by design, I could use the function or not.
My suggestion (prompted by another user who posted a pic of something I proposed a couple of years ago) is to use an already established Steinberg GUI modification method (i.e.: rearranging the Menubar, Inspector, Tracklist tools…etc) to provide a mechanism that would shift some of the channel strip’s elements up or down. Nothing earthshaking. It doesn’t seem unreasonable as an organizational methodology for presenting mixer information in a manner that makes sense to some users dealing with a densely packed visual environment.
Centralizing the track Naming area closer to the middle of the screen simply makes it easier to scan across the mixer and identify what the name of the track is in a sea of vertical strips. And again, by design (a preset preference), it can be used or not. It’s not going to break anything you already have. And it’s certainly not a programming issue that’s going to introduce a ton of bugs. They already know how to program this mechanism.
If you want to criticize the idea, then present a reasonable argument. Don’t simply point to the competition and say: look….they don’t do it either. Steinberg and its competition are presently following a constrained layout paradigm based historically on hardware….something a software layout, with it’s own significant constraints, doesn’t necessarily need to adhere to these days.