Import From Session

Ardour's ability to import external media files remains essentially unchanged in version 3.0, but thanks to work by Sakari Bergen, an entirely new kind of import is now possible: importing specific material from another session.

Accessed via Session->Import From Session ..., this process is driven via a dialog that allows to select an existing session file or snapshot (basically any file ending in ".ardour"). It then presents a list of elements that can be imported: Regions, Tracks, Playlists, Locations, and the tempo map.

Option to move automation with regions

One long-standing complaint from users in Ardour 2.X was the impossibility of moving track automation data when dragging regions. This behaviour came from a very early assessment of workflow when Ardour was first being developed, and I freely admit that I was wrong about this design.

Extended Region List

The Region List in the right hand side tabbed notebook of the editor window has been expanded in Ardour 3.0 to contain a lot more information about each region.

the region list

You will note that there are lot of displays of various kinds of time in the expanded region list. The type of time display used here, as elsewhere in Ardour, follows the display mode of the secondary clock. Switch that to "Samples" and all time displays in the region list will switch to the same mode.

New "Non-Layered" Recording mode

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)
Thanks to the work of Lincoln Spiteri, Ardour 3.0 adds a new recording mode: Non-layered.

New Export Dialog, Multi-format export

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:

Matrix Routing & Patching

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.

Strip Silence

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:

strip silence dialog

Undo system redesigned (internally)

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.

Dynamically resizable disk I/O buffering

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:

disk buffering controls

Media Search Path

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.