Ardour 4.1 released

The Ardour project is pleased to announce the release of 4.1 with a great line-up of new features such as input gain control, Save As for projects, click-free changes to processor order and meter position, relative snapping, faster waveform rendering, Hi-DPI/Retina support and more! As usual, quite a few bugs have been mercilessly slayed. Encouragingly, we also have one of our longest ever contributor lists for this release.

We had hoped to be on a roughly monthly release cycle after the release of 4.0, but collaborations with other organizations delayed 4.1 by nearly a month.


New Functionality

Input Gain Control
Ardour's mixer now includes an input gain control. In tracks, it is positioned after the signal flow to/from disk, and so affects the signal heard both when recording and during playback. It can be found in the mixer strip, near the top (honoring the top-to-bottom visual and signal flow).
Playback- or Capture-only device support for ALSA & Coreaudio
It is now possible to use Ardour's native audio/midi backends for Linux and OS X with devices that only provide playback or capture, but not both. This can be useful, for example, when editing using a pair of USB headphones, where recording is not required.
Save As

Ardour finally offers "real Save As", which will allow you to save the current session to a new location on disk. Several options are available, notably whether or not to copy all the audio/MIDI files to the new location or share them with the existing session. It is also possible to create an empty version of the current session this way. "Rename" now also works more reliably.

The operation named "Save As" in previous versions has been retitled "Snapshot (& switch to new version)". Regular snapshotting continues to be available as "Snapshot (& keep working on current version)"

Windows assembler metering support.
Metering is one of the most CPU-intensive operations done by Ardour, second only to running plugins. On Linux and OS X, this has been done using hand-written assembler code (more or less the lowest level of programming language that exists). Ardour 4.1 now has similar code for Windows, thanks to Grygorii Zharun of Waves Audio.
Click-free changes to processor order and meter position
In earlier versions of Ardour, reordering plugins or changing the metering position would often cause a click in the audio. This is no longer the case.

User Interface Changes

Waveform rendering
Waveform rendering has been dramatically sped up. In addition, the user interface no longer waits for the images of waveforms to be drawn, but can continue operations while they are generated in the background. This dramatically speeds up scrolling, both vertically and horizontally, though you may see brief intervals of time when specific regions are shown without a waveform. It will appear very quickly, normally just a fraction of a second.
Stationary playhead option
Activated via the main menu's Transport submenu..
Layering: later is higher
Ardour 2 contained several different models for layering overlapping regions, which Ardour 3 simplified down to just one, most easily termed "manual layering". Ardour 4.1 sees the return of one of the additional layering modes, "later is higher", which puts regions with later start positions higher. No layering model is perfect for every workflow, but we hope that the return of this one will be useful for many relatively common ways of working.
hi-DPI support, part one
People on all platforms with high resolution displays (e.g. Retina on OS X) will now find far fewer "ugly" icons and text in the user interface. The support will scale up to any sized display.
hi-DPI support, part two

Linux and Windows users have always been able to use the font-scaling control to scale almost a lot of the GUI to their own personal preference. This has now been extended by making many elements of the GUI size themselves using the chosen font size as a reference, rather than absolute pixels, allowing it to work as you would expect even on hi-DPI displays.

OS X users with Retina don't have this option, but the GUI will still automatically display appropriately for their hi-DPI display.

Relative snap
this makes it possible to move objects around without changing their relationship to the grid. It is activated by using a keyboard modifier while dragging, which defaults to: Linux/Windows: Alt-Window OS X: Shift-Option. The modifier can be changed in the Preferences dialog (User Interaction tab)
X-run counter in status bar
For those who don't know, "x-run" is a term that stands for "overrun or underrun", which describes a condition where the computer fails to keep up with the flow of information required by the audio interface. An overrun is where the computer fails to read incoming audio fast enough; an underrun is where the computer fails to deliver audio fast enough. You should ideally never see any x-runs on a properly configured system, but we don't all live in an ideal world.
Plugin parameter reset button
In a generic plugin GUI, Ardour now shows a button that will reset all plugin parameters back to their default value (as best as the default can be determined).
Allow deletion of MIDI Program Changes using the Delete key
Peak meters now have sample-accurate fall-off, no visual jitter
Automation-lane log-scale parameter support
New 0dBFS peak meter
The existing default peak meters in Ardour max out at +6dBFS. Ardour 4.1 contains an optional new peak meter that maxes out at 0dBFS which makes better use of screen real estate when recording live material that can never go above 0dBFS by definition.
Tap tempo
When editing or adding a tempo, the dialog now offers the chance to tap the tempo you want to use.
Remove time
This editing operation removes silence and audio from the edit point, and then moves later material earlier. It can optionally move markers, tempo and meter points etc. as well.


No more x-runs & noise on session-open/close
Note: JACK 1 users may still experience occasional noise during session open.
Fix stuck midi notes during save/auto-save
Fix stuck midi notes if loop-range is present
Various MCP improvements & tweaks
  • panner width behaviour fixed
  • Control key puts v-pot into "fine" mode
  • Clean up profile editor to remove things that don't/can't work
  • Add an option for the MCP .device file to set the master position
  • Allow the removal of key bindings in the profile editor
Properly display JACK buffersize
When jackd is already running, the Audio/Midi Setup dialog now displays the current buffersize correctly (previously it always showed 1024).
Fix importing old A2/A3 automation
Fix Non Session Manager support
VST plugins are now searched for using a case insensitive comparison of their filename extension
This matters when plugins are on filesystems that are case-sensitive
Relax gain/fader LPF to 25Hz (was 10Hz)
Gain changes now happen faster. Most people won't hear the difference, but trained audio engineers will know what to look for.
Fix monitor-section polarity invert
Fix crash when switching backends.


Robin Gareus, Paul Davis, Nick Mainsbridge, Colin Fletcher, John Emmas, Ben Loftis, Len Ovens, Tim Mayberry, David Robillard, Johannes Mueller, Grygorii Zharun, Valeriy Kamyshniy, Nils Philippsen, A. Hellquist, Nimal Ratnayake.

Czech translation update (Pavel Frich). Axiom 61 midi map (Edgar Aichinger).

Stationary Playhead selected,

Stationary Playhead selected, didn't make any difference.
I assume that means the playhead stays put and the region graphics move when playing. Or does it mean something different?
(checked: it was 4.1!)

It works here. And elsewhere.

It works here. And elsewhere. It works when I change it while playing and when stopped.

Also works here as well.

Also works here as well. Looking really good Paul. Thanks for the hard work guys.

as always: great!!!!

as always: great!!!!

Great new features and bug

Great new features and bug fixes. Thanks to all the devs. Looking forward to 4.2!

Dear Ardour-Developers, It's

Dear Ardour-Developers,
It's really great to see that Ardour is developing further. It is a wonderful DAW and I'll stay a subscriber for life if Ardour continues.
Thank you for all the good work,
Kind regards, William Visser

Wow! Actually Ardour 4.0 was


Actually Ardour 4.0 was so good that it didn't seem like 4.1 was delayed very much at all, so great to see major improvements like 'Save As' alongside really great "fit n' finish" details like the track trim pots and hi-res display improvements. I hope Paul and his fellow developers can pause long enough take a big breath and look back at what has been achieved in the past year and appreciate just how far their tireless work has brought Ardour has come in comparison to commercial DAWs on other platforms.. For years Ardour has been a great Audio DAW with great future potential for MIDI users, to me it seems there need no longer be any such prefacing disclaimers, it's just an amazing DAW bar none!! Sincere thanks for an application that is much a joy to follow and watch develop as it is to produce music with! Kudos and Congrats!!!

@anahata I had to also set

@anahata I had to also set "Follow Playhead" to make "Stationary Playhead" have any effect

Stationary Playhead is

Stationary Playhead is working here, which is really appreciated :)

The red line, and its triangle at the top, are jittering around slightly though. Is this expected behaviour?

expected is hard to define.

expected is hard to define. for now, it is what it is. You will find the extent of the variation depends on zoom level. Future versions may (or may not) fix this behaviour. It is a lot harder than you might expect.


@matthewjohnrussell: Confirmed: set "Follow Playhead" to make "Stationary Playhead" work. Thank you for solving that little mystery! One of those things that's obvious, but only after careful thought...

@Paul: Oh I don't know, I

@Paul: Oh I don't know, I suspected that would be the case, otherwise I imagine stationary playhead would've been a higher priority.

I'm very happy to see it now - thank you :)

hi all, 4.1 is crashing when

hi all, 4.1 is crashing when I try to reload projects in Ubuntu. I can start a new project, but when I attempt to load an existing project, it crashes. Weirdly, this doesn't happen with all projects. Seems to be ones that use multiple Calf plugins. Any ideas? Thanks!

EDIT: I have Linux Mint 16 installed on the same machine, so just for kicks I installed Ardour 4.1 in Mint as well, and the projects that won't load in Ubuntu (low latency version), load fine in Mint. So maybe this issue is unique to Ubuntu?

Yes, there are various issues

Yes, there are various issues with calf plugins that come with Ubuntu that cause crashes.
use calf-git (or better KXStudio).

The 4.x series continues to

The 4.x series continues to impress. Many thanks to all devs and supportive users ! I'm still trying to get my mind around how it handles MIDI note-entry and editing, but its audio capabilities are simply better than the rest, at least for my purposes. Bravo !



dave - tell us how it SHOULD

dave - tell us how it SHOULD handle MIDI note entry ....

Paul: I'm not saying that

Paul: I'm not saying that there's something wrong with it, I'm just trying to get used to it. It's rather tedious for me now because I'm still learning its basic operations. When I'm more knowledgable about A4's MIDI capabilities, I'll try a comparison composition in BW and in Ardour.


Dave - I think you

Dave - I think you misinterpreted my remark. I really want to hear detailed explanations of alternative workflows.

Hi, it do not want to install

Hi, it do not want to install on my computer :/ I have licenced Ardour 4,0 and downloaded installer for 4,1 but installer do not start. The file could not be opened.

@a-piekarczyk http://ardour.o


If that doesn't answer your question, more details would be needed, as in what exactly are you doing to launch, and what are you seeing exactly when you try to launch it.


It's working :))) Thanks a

It's working :))) Thanks a lot!!!

Looks great - love the

Looks great - love the stationary playhead - though it does seem to have low framerates when you zoom out,- it feels like the entire ardour app is being redrawn because i can see that the timer refresh only after a couple of seconds - its very smooth when you zoom in - no skips in audio however so dont really care that much!

One funny quirk that i noticed - i am running a project on 48000hz/128 frames on a steinberg ur44 with all the plugins enabled I can see that compared to Ardour3, the DSP utilisation is much lower (60% to ardour3's 99%) despite all the various plugins being enabled. However after a few minutes of play it starts throwing up a bunch of xruns even though dsp util is still only 60%. I have set my cpu scaling to 'performance'.

Then i randomly discovered that when i started ardour from the terminal, it would NOT xrun at all. I first thought i was hitting a false postive, but tried it a few times until i settled to simply changing the shortcut to start with a terminal session - and voila so far no xruns at all. I can't figure out a reason why this would happen though - i had run a few nightly builds but would always start them from the terminal so had never noticed xruns at all previously.

I also have ardour3 and tried to check on that if that was the same, but the dsp util at 48/128 was way too high (99%) so it would xrun in any case so couldn't really compare - but in any case its incredible how i can now run an entire project at just 2 secs latency with all the plugins enabled - ardour 4.1 is bluntly a marvel of engineering

FYI, Ubuntu 12.04 complains

FYI, Ubuntu 12.04 complains about "errno" being undefined in libs/ardour/ and "CAIRO_ANTIALIAS_BEST" being undefined in gtk2_ardour/ so I had to remove "<< strerror(errno)" from the former and replace BEST with DEFAULT in the latter to make it compile.

gcc = v4.6.3 and Cairo = v0.26

Cairo's current release is

Cairo's current release is 1.14.2. We pay (almost) no attention to distro-specific build issues, sorry.

peder: libcairo < 1.12.10 is

peder: libcairo < 1.12.10 is not thread-safe, if you use plugins with external GUIs, you'll be in for a few surprise crashes (mainly related to font caching). You may even experience those with just Ardour. Though since they're race conditions it's hard to say.

Binaries from include a recent libcairo that does not have this issue and also works on Ub 12.04.

A few incidental remarks re:

A few incidental remarks re: A4. Overall it's wonderful (I'm building from git, btw). GUI performance is improved with ARDOUR_IMAGE_SURFACE=1, my video card has an old nVidia 7600GS chipset. I'm coming to terms with Ardour's MIDI methods, but I have a question or two before venturing an opinion. For instance, I'm entering notes manually, with mouse clicks. No problem with that, but I'd like to set the note duration to something other than the quarter note. Also, can events be autoquantized, i.e. quantized on entry with the mouse ? Those two concerns hang up my workflow, I'd be happy to learn that I'm just ignorant, so if there's a way to resolve them, please advise. Btw, the MIDI step-entry mode is very well designed, though not quite how I normally work with MIDI. Working with it some more might change my habits. I'm getting there. :) Again, great praise to all devs !

@DavePhillips - MIDI note

@DavePhillips - MIDI note duration can be changed via snap/grid units.

I don't believe notes can currently be quantized on the fly.

@DavePhillips in the grid

in the grid controls change edit mode to magnetic or grid and change note duration to whatever you like

I've been having problems

I've been having problems using Ardour 4.1 with Calf Plugin suite. I'm using Fedora Core 22 and it crashes everytime I add a Calf Plugin.

Do you have any suggestion?


Fedora 22 still ships Calf

Fedora 22 still ships Calf version 0.0.19, which uses the FFTW library, which is not thread safe ( You should upgrade CALF, you need at least version 0.0.60, but Fedora doesn't ship it, maybe because it dropped support for LADSPA and DSSI.