Ardour (software)

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Ardour3 Screenshot.png
Ardour 3 running under Linux
Developer(s) The Ardour Community
Initial release 23 September 2005 (2005-09-23)[1][nb 1]
Stable release 4.6 (January 11, 2016; 28 days ago (2016-01-11)) [±]
Written in C++ (GTK+)
Operating system FreeBSD, Linux, OS X, Windows
Available in English[3]
Type Digital audio workstation
License GPLv2+[4]

Ardour is a hard disk recorder and digital audio workstation application. It runs on Linux, OS X[5] and FreeBSD.[6] Its primary author is Paul Davis, who is also responsible for the JACK Audio Connection Kit. Ardour is intended to be digital audio workstation software suitable for professional use.

Released under the terms of the GNU General Public License (version two or any later version), Ardour is free software.[4] Users who download from are asked to pay at least $1 for downloading prebuilt binaries of Ardour; those users then have the right to obtain minor updates until the next major release. Another option is to subscribe, paying $1, $4 or $10 per month. Subscribers can download prebuilt binaries of all updates during the subscription period. (This makes Ardour an example of commercial free-libre software.) Without paying, users can download the full source code for all platforms, or a prebuilt OS X binary which lacks the ability to load or save AU plug-in settings. As of June 2013 the OS X binary is an older version without MIDI sequencing abilities.[7]

Ardour 3.0, with support for MIDI and many other significant new abilities, was released in March, 2013.[8]


The feature list below is an overview of Ardour's features including the most essential features. Covering all features is beyond the scope of this article.


Ardour's recording abilities are limited by only the hardware it is run on. There are no built in limits in the software. When recording on top of existing material Ardour can do latency compensation, positioning the recorded material where it was intended to be when recording it. Monitoring options include monitoring with external hardware (a feature supported by some sound cards), monitoring with Ardour and monitoring with JACK Audio Connection Kit (JACK). Monitoring with Ardour makes it possible to apply plug-in effects to the signal while it is recorded in real-time. Using the audio server JACK, Ardour can record both from the audio card and JACK-compatible Software concurrently.

New versions of JACK also support transporting audio over a generic IP network.[9] This makes it possible to run Ardour on hardware separate from the one that actually contains the audio interface.


Ardour supports an arbitrary number of tracks and buses through an "anything to anywhere" routing system. All gain, panning and plug-in parameters can be automated. All sample data is mixed and maintained internally in 32-bit floating point format.


Ardour supports dragging, trimming, splitting and timestretching recorded regions with sample-level resolution and has a possibility to layer regions. It includes a crossfade editor and beat detection. Ardour has unlimited undo/redo and a snapshot feature for storing the current state of a session to a file for future reference.


Ardour can be used as an audio mastering environment. Its integration with JACK makes it possible to use mastering tools such as JAMin to process the audio data. The output of Ardour's mixer can be sent to JAMin and/or any other JACK-aware audio-processing software, and the output processed by these programmes can be recorded using recording software. Ardour can also export TOC and CUE files, which allows for the creation of audio CDs.


Ardour attempts to adhere to industry standards, such as SMPTE/MTC, Broadcast Wave Format, MIDI Machine Control and XML.[10]

Ardour has been tested and runs on GNU/Linux, on the x86-64, x86, and PowerPC architectures, Solaris, OS X on Intel and PowerPC, and FreeBSD. It takes advantage of multiprocessor and multicore SMP and real-time features of these operating systems. Support is limited on operating systems other than Linux and OS X, however.[11]

Attempts have been made, and continue to be made,[12] to port to Windows, although Ardour's lead developer has expressed reluctance to encourage those efforts.[13][14] As of April 2015, Ardour 4.0 is compatible with Windows XP and above,[15] however there is no official support for this version.


Ardour relies on plug-ins to enable many features from audio effects processing to dynamic control. It supports the LADSPA and LV2 plug-in architectures on Linux and additionally Audio Units on OS X. Calf Studio Gear can be used through LV2.[16] Using Steinberg's VST plug-ins with Ardour on Linux and FreeBSD is possible if Ardour is compiled by the user or packager/distributor to include VST support. As of version 2.8, VST support no longer requires use of the VST SDK from Steinberg.[17]

Import and Export[edit]

Ardour supports exporting whole sessions or parts of sessions, and importing audio clips into sessions from more than 30 different audio file formats. This can be done using Ardour's built-in audio file database manager or directly from an ordinary file browser.

Supporting companies and future[edit]

SAE Institute provided corporate support for Ardour up until February 2009. The aim of the initiative was to provide a more integrated experience on OS X and the development of a version tailored towards beginner students.[18]

Solid State Logic employed Paul Davis to work full-time on Ardour during the development of the version 2. This support lasted through to the end of 2006.[19]

Harrison Audio Consoles has been a supporter of the Ardour project since early 2005. Harrison's destructive film dubber, the Xdubber, is based on Ardour. The Xdubber also serves as a customizable platform for enterprise-class digital audio workstation (DAW) users.[20]

As of July 2014, the Ardour project is almost fully reliant on donations and contributions from users while those from companies are only a small portion.[21] In July 2014, Paul Davis, in a forum post, lamented on the project's financial sustainability with a statement that he might take employment in a company interested in commercializing Ardour if donations don't increase.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The first development series of Ardour was finalized with 0.99; there was no 1.0 release, and all features which had been planned for 1.0 were deferred to the 2.0 series.[2]


  1. ^ Davis, Paul (2005-09-23). "ardour 0.99 released". ardour-dev (Mailing list). Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  2. ^ Davis, Paul (2005-09-23). "post 0.99". ardour-dev (Mailing list) ( Archived from the original on 2005-11-03. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  3. ^ "Other Languages and Translation "team"". 
  4. ^ a b "A licence notice example on top an Ardour source code file". Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  5. ^ "Ardour - System Requirements". Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  6. ^ "audio/ardour". Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  7. ^ "Download". Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  8. ^ "Ardour, For the Rest of Us: Free DAW Gets Plug-ins, MIDI, More as 3.0 Arrives". 
  9. ^ "NetJack - Jack Over The Net". 
  10. ^ "Ardour Key Features". Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  11. ^ "Solaris discussion". Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  12. ^ "Setting a font for the verbose cursor(s)". 2011-01-30. 
  13. ^ "Windows?". Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  14. ^ "Why Ardour don't work in windows?". Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  15. ^ "Ardour on Windows (Spring 2015)". Retrieved 2015-04-19. 
  16. ^ "Calf Studio Gear supports LV2". 
  17. ^ "Ardour 2.8 Released". Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  18. ^ "SAE Institute Sponsors Ardour Open Source DAW Project". Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  19. ^ "Ardour Seeks New Sponsorship". Archived from the original on 20 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  20. ^ "Harrison Debuts Xrouter, Xdubber". 
  21. ^ "Paul Davis comments to article "Ardour and money"". 
  22. ^ "Ardour and money, July 2014". 


External links[edit]