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Ardour 3 running under Linux
|Original author(s)||Paul Davis|
|Developer(s)||David Robillard, Robin Gareus, Nick Mainsbridge, Colin Fletcher, Ben Loftis, Tim Mayberry, et al.|
|Initial release||23 September 2005[nb 1]|
|Stable release||5.12 (September 15, 2017)|
|Written in||C++ (GTK+)|
|Operating system||FreeBSD, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows|
|Type||Digital audio workstation|
Ardour is a hard disk recorder and digital audio workstation application. It runs on Linux, macOS,FreeBSD and Microsoft Windows. 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. Users who download from the project's website 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 demo binary which ceases playback after various time periods. Several Linux distributions also provide prebuilt binaries, free of any software restrictions, as part of their repositories.
Ardour major version 5.0, with improvements including support for a new tabbed interface, Lua scripting, VCAs, plugin pin management and many other new features, was released in August, 2016. Version 5.12, released in October 2017 is the last release for the 5.x branch and work has begun on Ardour 6 which is likely to enable a number of features already in the code, but currently deactivated in the git repository.
The feature list below is an overview of Ardour's features including the most essential ones. 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 dependent on sound card support), monitoring with Ardour itself, 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, although with some unavoidable, yet ideally unnoticeable, amount of latency. Using the audio server JACK, Ardour can record both from the audio card and JACK-compatible software concurrently.
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 included. Ardour can also export TOC and CUE files, which allows for the creation of audio CDs.
Ardour has been tested and runs on GNU/Linux, on the x86-64, x86, PowerPC and ARM (for at least version 3) architectures, Solaris, macOS on Intel and PowerPC, Windows on Intel architectures 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 macOS, however.
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 macOS. Calf Studio Gear can be used through LV2. 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.
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.
SAE Institute provided corporate support for Ardour up until February 2009. The aim of the initiative was to provide a more integrated experience on Mac OS X and the development of a version tailored towards beginner students.
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.
As of July 2014 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., the Ardour project is almost fully reliant on donations and contributions from users while those from companies are only a small portion.