Reflections on "Intuitive"

People sometimes criticize a piece of software as being "unintuitive". In fact, its one of the most common complaints you'll hear whenever anyone starts using a new piece of software. Its often entirely justified too - its rare that a complex application manages to be obvious to every new user, or even most new users. Some software developers have a good track record here, Apple in particular, whose rules and guidelines for how to design user interfaces keeps on manage to churn out remarkably intuitive software. Well, it does as long the application is fairly simple and its scope is well defined. By the time you get to applications such as Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro, it would be hard to find anyone who found them "intuitive" in the same way that, say, iTunes or even Garageband is. Read more below ...

Ardour 2.8.6 released

Ardour 2.8.6 is released. There is only one one difference to 2.8.5 - VST-enabled builds for Linux are possible. There are no functional changes, and absolutely no changes for OS X, so I am leaving the current version for OS X at 2.8.5. The release was done mostly for the sake of those Linux distributions which provide a VST enabled build and don't like to work directly from SVN.

Ardour 2.8.5 released

Ardour 2.8.5 has been released. Although I had hoped that the next release would be an alpha version of 3.0, we have accumulated too many critical bug fixes and a few nice to have features to let 2.8.5 wait any longer. OS X users of Ardour are STRONGLY recommended to immediately upgrade to fix a number of nasty problems that should now be gone. Similarly, anyone using MIDI control surfaces with a "Stop" transport button should upgrade NOW to avoid data loss when recording and using that button. Read more below for detailed release notes ...

New Ardour user manual (from FLOSS Manuals)

There is a new manual for Ardour available from FLOSS Manuals, a primarily volunteer organization dedicated to providing documentation for FLOSS ("Free Libre Open Source Software"). In this case, long time Ardour user and advocate Derek Holzer organized a week long effort to get the basics of the manual in place, with great results. At this point, there are more than a dozen contributors who have helped the documentation effort. The contents continue to expand and improve - you can volunteer to help out too if you wish. Read what Derek had to say about this on the Ardour forums.

Ardour Setup Images

Lets collect some photographs of Ardour setups, perhaps with info on the other gear you're using it with. It doesn't have to be fancy - anything that might help convince others that Ardour might be a useful tool for them. You can include a link to a small photo in an <img> tag, and then include the text of the full link - I or someone will convert into a proper link later. First up, Niels Ott in Tübingen, Germany

Niels Ott's Ardour setup

10th anniversary, part one

Ardour started life 10 years ago this week. I had received an RME Hammerfall "digi9652" in early December, and spent the first few weeks of the month getting an ALSA driver working. After a wonderful but unusual Christmas, the first since separating from my first wife, I was faced with the realization that there wasn't any software on Linux that could use the 26in+26out hardware I now had working. After Christmas, with my daughter away with her mother's family, I sat down in my basement and started writing the project that has consumed the last 10 years of my life. The initial goal was simply to replicate the functionality of a dedicated hard disk recorder, which turned out to be quite easy to do. Soon after that, Taybin Rutkin showed up, and we decided that it was all pretty useless without the ability to edit. "How hard could it be to write an editor?" ... 10 years later, I'm in a somewhat nicer work space, we have an editor, and Ableton Live, which started at about the same time, is among the most successful audio applications ever. More importantly, though - a community of users has made it possible for me to work on a piece of software that I love as a way to make a (modest) living, and as a result, we are on the verge of the release of alpha versions of Ardour3. (Click on the screenshot to see what Ardour looked like in 2001, roughly a year after the start)

Intro To Mixbus Video (very useful for new Ardour users too)

There is now an excellent "Intro to Mixbus" video available for $19.99 from Harrison Consoles. Although it obviously covers some Mixbus specific techniques, a lot of its 2 hour length is completely applicable to users of Ardour.

The video CAN be played successfully on Linux although you may have issues depending on which video playback software you use, and which video codecs you have installed. Successful playback has been noted using VLC and MPlayer. A more portable transcoded version might be available in the future.

Produced by Nathan “Adan” Adam of and, this HD video download features in-depth overviews of the Edit and Mixing system, Power-user tricks, Keyboard shortcuts, Compression settings, Recording and Automation.

Other Topics Include: Playback & Editing Options, Right Click Tricks, Plugins, Inserts & Sends, Tape Saturation & Mix Busses, Punch Ins & Outs, Nudging, Splitting, Meters, Tempos, Snapshots, Solos, Crossfades, Ranges, Gain Automation, Duplicating, Muting, Exporting, Filling, Spliting, Arming, Routing and so much more...

If there is enough demand, there may be future videos from Adan specifically targetting Ardour.

New book on open source creative tools

There's a new book out on using open source/free tools like Ardour, GIMP, Blender, Audacity and more. I haven't seen the book, but its author Daniel James is one of the people behind the 64studio "creative-centric" distribution of Linux. It could be an interesting read for those new to these tools, although its not by any means a manual on Ardour (coming soon!).

LinuxDSP plugins now available in LV2 format

I wanted to alert Ardour users to the arrival of a couple of interesting new plugins in LV2/Linux format. LinuxDSP has been producing several JACK clients that implement rather good traditional DSP processing, and have recently started implementing some of them as LV2 plugins for easier integration into a DAW like Ardour. At present the MX-EQ1 (a parametric equaliser) and MX-DYN1 (dynamics processing) are available as free (mono-only) versions or as paid-for stereo ones.

Ardour 2.8.4 released

Ardour 2.8.4 is here! It has been a month of mostly bug fixing activity, but some nice fixes they certainly are and we've included a couple of new features just to keep you all interested and paying attention. If you use BWF files for anything, this update is critical, because we have fixed a very serious error in the way we generate the header for such files. As of this writing, this is planned to be the last release of Ardour 2.X before 3.0alpha is announced (unless there are any critical breakages in this release). Read more details below ...