50 Things you did not know you could do with Ardour

Recently at the Ubuntu Summit. 50 mins 50 features. Enjoy!

PS. I should have taken a leaf out of Paul Simon’s book and ran with only 5 :slight_smile:

Slides are available from Ubuntu Summit 2023 (3-5 November 2023): 50 things you did not know you could do with Ardour · Canonical / Ubuntu Events (Indico)


How many of the 50 presented features did you already know about?

  • One, and it’s all I ever needed
  • 10% - I’m the average Ardour user
  • This one goes to 11
  • Half the tricks were new to me
  • I’ve used more than 32 of these features in the past
  • I knew at least 42
  • Cowboy Neal showed me all those before

0 voters

What’s your favorite Ardour feature?


Heh could vary depending on how many of them I have FORGOTTEN I can do in Ardour… heck I think I am the impetus for at least one of them I haven’t used in some time and just haven’t thought about so I forgot about.

Also did you actually get to 50? I didn’t really count.


51 with the bonus item at the end, you can see a count top-left on each slide (starting at 4:20)

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Great talk, learned a few things. Felt rather confident until you showed the media and library parts. whoa. :smiley:

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Awesome. Thanks! What struck me most was the fact you can copy the state of a plugin by dragging it over the same plugin in a different track or bus. All the time I had been either creating presets or deleting and copying plugins :see_no_evil: (and that while you can also drag the plugin to the Favorite Plugins window)

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Disagree! You skipped Rhythm Ferret!

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This was in Riga?! -And just last month!? :slightly_frowning_face:

Dammit… :expressionless:
I literally live nearby.
I would have gone, would I have known!

Anyway, thanks, @x42, for your presentation and upload!

Robin, I barely watched it and see that there’s lots of useful information to parse. You are genius brilliant. I wish I could be a quarter as smart as you are. One day I might actually use Ardour to record audio as part of making videos. My most comfortable window is the Editor, which I’d rather use for recording than the Recording window, but of course that must be wrong. Excessive CPU demand being one issue I suppose. The ACE Expander looks really useful. I am not sure why it works better in the recording chain if it’s all software working with digital data, but you must have a good reason. I noticed that you set session input to 32-bit float and chose FLAC and the 32-bit changed to 24-bit integer (@6:15). Studying this video is on my list of things to do. Thank you for sharing.


He put the gate infront of the recorder to complement the ability of flac to optimize silence away for (storage) compression. If he would put it later into the chain, Ardour would still record low level noise, which in turn would bloat the flac file, because it is inaudible, but technically not silent. The io insert prevents this.
The other advantage is that when you play the recording back, the effect will not be applied a second time, because the effect is only applied before recording.
Very flexible feature, very cool.


Selecting multiple strips then dragging a plugin from the Favorites creates it on all selected strips. Either I had forgotten that or never knew. Nice.


Thank you for the job done.
I noticed the prefader mute option which will
allow me to check the wet signal of plug-ins on busses.

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@GenGen, that is a great explanation about the gate in the recording chain. It’s not a technically superior quality of recording but an optimized workflow. Very interesting. My only concern would be to have compression baked into the recording after the hardware enforces a volume limit with remedial clipping. The noise gate part I like with no qualms. I’m going by the second slope being flatter than the first in the ACE Extender plugin’s interface, which I suppose is compression.

An expander is the opposite of compression.

The idea is to leave the main signal (above threshold) as-is, and increase the dynamic-range of low volume signals (attenuate low volume signals even further). Then eventually cut anything below a certain level (gate).

This is pretty much how all noise gates work: expander/gate.

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Great explanation, @Robin. I realize now that I could have just searched online for a description of an expander. I used a Tascam 4 track in the early 1990s. I had never heard of an expander before your video, but I had heard of a noise gate. I think I rented a hardware noise gate and played electric guitar not very well in the closet.

Good stuff! To my surprise, I use most of them, but some of them very seldom. I primarily use Mixbus32C so no I/O plugins atm, which I probably have wanted only a handful of times in the last 10 years, I think I have routed Jack for this purpose earlier.

In general, I guess that normally using 10% of the functions also applies to me, but when needed, they can be a lifesaver.

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PS. For a 3 min song, I’d probably not wet-record a gated signal (and not record to FLAC either). Disk space is cheap.

However when you do a 3 hour podcast with multiple guests, and some of the participants are silent for longer periods of time, it will be significant. You can save a couple of GB that would otherwise just contain some low level noise.


I once recorded 14 channels of a 2 hour live band set with Ardour on a fairly low-end laptop…

I would not use FLAC for that either; there wasn’t enough silence to make it worthwhile, and I had adequate disk space.



This is great, thank you. Well paced, well explained.

It would be nice to have a complete series of such videos explaining all features. Maybe 10-20 hours. Maybe also compile a one-hour or half-hour quick course, really just showing quickly what is possible. New users could then spend that half hour to quickly learn what is available in Ardour, and then can look things up in the longer course or in the manual, instead of asking questions in the forum – or worse: never knowing how much more they could do with Ardour.


My gawd - I had no idea!

I’m currently finishing an album in Samplitude (user since 1996 or so). Will start a new project in Ardour ASAP after that.

Many thanks,