Ardour 2.X already had two different recording modes:
- Normal mode: overdubs write to new files, new regions are layered on top of existing regions (with or without crossfades)
- Tape mode: overdubs destructively write to an existing file, single region per track (fixed crossfades at every punch)
There was nothing particularly wrong with the export process in Ardour 2.X, but it did have a few important limitations. The two most significant ones have been fixed in Ardour 3.0: multichannel export (more than 2 channels) and the ability to simultaneously export to multiple formats. This second feature means you can create an compressed and uncompressed version of the same export in a single pass, or DVD and CD compatible formats in a single pass, or all 4 at once, or many other possibilities. Here's the basic version of the new export dialog:
The dialog used in Ardour 2.X for routing/patching was often a source of confusion to new users. Although it was really very efficient to use, it wasn't at all obvious how to use it or what the underlying model was.
Ardour 3.0 contains an editing operation that will detect silence (based on a user-chosen threshold in dBFS), split a region based on the boundaries of the silent segments, and remove the silence. You can also specify a minimum length for silence, which can useful when editing very percussive material and just needing to automatically trim the ends of a region. The dialog looks like this:
It was relatively easy to get Ardour 2.X "bogged down" when working on a large session with many regions and lots of edits. This was normally the result of the undo/redo history becoming too big, which wasn't hard because in Ardour 2.X, it stored too much information.
Ardour 2.X used a single configuration parameter to determine how much audio was buffered ("cached") from disk during playback. You could change this parameter only by editing your ~/.ardour2/ardour.rc file in a text editor.
Ardour 3.0 has a dynamically controlled buffer size for disk I/O:
Historically, Ardour has always stored the names of the audio files in one of two ways. One would indicate that the file lived inside the session, and the other indicated that it lived outside, somewhere else in your computer's filesystem. This meant that if you ever moved the location of the external files, Ardour wouldn't be able to find them at startup, and if you wanted the session to work, you'd need to hand edit the session file.
In Ardour 2.X, turning on chase-timecode was done by choosing a timecode source or switching back to "Internal timecode". This meant that switching between chasing and not chasing external timecode was more cumbersome than it should have been.
Ardour 3.0 puts the choice of positional synchronization ("timecode") source (MTC, JACK, MIDI Clock etc) in the
Session->Properties dialog. This means that the actual timecode button in the transport bar can be used to just turn chasing on and off, without losing the currently chosen timecode source.
The biggest single change in Ardour 3.0 over previous versions of the program is its ability to function as a fully-featured MIDI sequencer. Over the last several years, a variety of developers have worked hard to create a model for handling MIDI that is as integrated with Ardour's existing audio handling facilities and uses the same general workflow as much as possible.