Improved Send Control

Although it was entirely possible to control sends in Ardour 2.X, the process of doing so was a bit cumbersome. In Ardour 3, we've done three notable things to make using sends a breeze.

Inline send level controls in the redirect list

This can be seen in this image of the new redirect list, which includes a send level control inline. It is controllable in exactly the same way as other faders in Ardour (including being MIDI-learnable if you wish).

Unified & Improved Redirect List

In existing versions of Ardour there are two "redirect lists" - places where you can add plugins, sends and returns to the signal flow (we call them "redirects" because they all "redirect" the signal flow from what it would otherwise be). Ardour 2.X shows one before/above the fader and one after/below it.

Track/Bus Templates

For many years, Ardour has allowed you to save the current state of a session (basically, all settings but without any actual content) for use as a template to be used when creating a new session.

Extended Track/Bus Groups

Ardour has always included edit and mix groups, similar to those found in ProTools (and elsewhere). In release 3.0, we have unified and extended the basic ideas of grouping into a more flexible system.

Rather than use separate edit/mix groups, 3.0 now features groups whose properties are entirely configurable by the user. These properties can be seen in the edit dialog and the group tab of the editor window behind it:

group editor dialog

Internal Sends and "real" Aux Busses

One of Ardour's unique features is its use of an external routing system (JACK) to handle all signal routing within the program. This is incredibly flexible because it allows anything to be connected to anything else in completely arbitrary ways. However, in sessions involving the use of many sends, the resulting visible connection situation in JACK can get rather complex, and its easy to become confused about what is connected to what.

Two new features in Ardour 3.0 help to improve this situation: explicit aux busses, and internal aux sends.

Monitor Section

Ardour has long had the option to use a "Control Outs" bus, but this design was never very well thought out, nor really adequate for professional use. In Ardour 3.0, we have added a new "Monitor Section" that is modelled on the similarly-named component of many large-format mixing consoles. This provides an additional output pathway for use in situations where the main outs of Ardour do not connect to the monitors used for mixing, and also offers many useful features for this type of configuration:

DSP Parallelization

Although Ardour has always used multiple processors, until release 3.0 it has only ever used a single processor to run the DSP of all tracks and busses. Starting with this release, Ardour will utilize any number of processors to process track/bus DSP. The number used is configurable via the following preferences setting:

preferences dialog for processor setting

New features coming in Ardour 3.0

Ardour 3.0 is nearing its first alpha release. As usual, it has been available via SVN for those who want to build it from source during the entire development process, but we are now approaching the point where more user feedback will be useful in finalizing 3.0 before an official release. Below is a (growing) list of new features in 3.0, with links to individual pages that discuss them in more detail.

Ardour 2.8.11 is released

Ardour 2.8.11 is now available. It contains only 1 change from 2.8.10, but its an important one:

  • Do not prevent transport operations after an export (and potentially at other times)

All users are strongly recommended to upgrade. Remember that if you have a subscription or paid for an earlier 2.8 version, and were logged into at that time, upgrades are free!

Ardour 2.8.10 is released

Ardour 2.8.10 is released into the wild today, primarily to fix an annoying regression in 2.8.9:
  • keyboard presses and releases are now correctly sent to Ardour created plugin GUIs (e.g. for LADSPA plugins), making it possible to use the keyboard to set parameter values and define preset names.
In addition, Ardour will no longer abort if your home directory is not writable, but exits cleanly with a (hopefully) clear error message. This bug really only affects first time users who have been playing around with their system in an unwise fashion.