Anyone using Ardour for Education?

Hello everyone. My apologies if this is the wrong place to post this, but there didn’t seem to be a place for asking general questions of the community, and this seems like the board which would be visted by the most appropriate users for my request. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know.

I work for OSS Watch, an open source advisory service for UK education based at the University of Oxford.

We’re currently compiling a list of Open Source Options for Education - open source options for educational establishments where proprietary software might otherwise be considered.

Ardour is on our list, but as part of the list we’d like to include examples of real-world usage where possible.

If you’re currently using Ardour in an educational context and are happy for us to use you as an example, please send a reply to this email letting me know where you’re from with any information you’re willing to provide about your Ardour usage (or a link to some information online if any exists) and we’ll mention it in the final document.

Many Thanks

I am using Mixbus in an educational context, and give my students the option to use Ardour as well. I am on the other side of the pond from you however.

However since you mention replying to the email, and this isn’t an email, I am curious as to what exactly you are looking for for a response.


Ok, primarily I wanted to make sure you were actually monitoring the thread rather than just mass spamming. To answer your question I teach as an adjunct faculty in a US University in the theater department. I usually only teach one class a semester as there is no full ‘sound’ program in this department so I rotate between three different classes.

Mixbus, as Leatus pointed out, is a bit more than simply Ardour with branding, as it includes a lot of DSP built in from Harrison Consoles. So each channel is a full ‘channel strip’ with EQ and compression, along with 8 mixbusses with their own tone/eq, tape saturation, and compressor, and finally a master bus with it’s own tone/eq, compression, and tape saturation. It is developed in parallel to Ardour and many changes/improvements are brought back into Ardour, however it is not completely open source in that the DSP from Harrison is not open source, but the rest of the software is and can be seen in Ardour’s SVN in fact.

I use this because it reflects an analog console style workflow very well, so I use this to teach my students the basics of how to mix before moving them to mixing in a live context with a console, which is my primary emphasis when teaching. Since it reflects the analog console, that transition is a bit smoother than if i tried to use Ardour itself or ProTools, or one of many of the ‘popular’ DAWs(Though not all, a few now are adopting this more analog console style workflow, I found Mixbus the best fit, and since i was already familiar with Ardour it worked well)

Depending on which class I teach, I am teaching a very brief and basic introduction to a variety of software. I use Audacity to teach destructive file editing, and do a basic introduction to Reaper and ProTools as well, all in my introduction to sound technology class. During this class I also give a brief overview of Ardour and give my students the option to complete any of their projects in a DAW of their choice, including Ardour which some students do use, with the exception of the project I give them to learn destructive file editing which obviously has to be done in Audacity or another destructive file editor.

In my mixing class I use Mixbus primarily for the reasons stated above. Students mix primarily existing sessions that are freely available on the internet from places like Mike Senior’s ‘Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio’ resource site, and WeatherVane Music. For my introduction to theater sound design they can use any program they feel confident with, as of right now I don’t teach much about how to do assignments in that class, the prerequisite is that they have already taken my intro to sound technology class at that point. Mixing projects in this class and my intro to sound technology vary, ranging from storytelling through SFX, to creating their own sound effects, to mixing together a full session on occasion.

Has this road been without problems? Not at all. But overall it has been a good things and I find what frustrates my students most has been more learning how to operate in a DAW more than anything, something they would run into in any DAW, open or closed source. The few problems they have had directly related to Mixbus or Ardour I am personally skilled enough to fix fairly fast, but especially with Mixbus Harrison is also very responsive to support as well. Otherwise Ardour’s support does exist, but may be difficult to ascertain for anyone from the outside looking in as it follows the typical open source support channels of IRC and Mailing Lists more than anything.


Doh, you caught me out :slight_smile:
I’m currently trying to find examples like this for lots of pieces of software, so I’m posting a similar message out to lots of communities. The original message was posted to mailing lists rather than forums, I obviously forgot to edit it before posting here. Please read “email” as “thread”!

I wasn’t aware of Mixbus, my quick googling suggests that it’s essentially a branded version of Ardour that’s sold commercially. Is that a fair assessment, or is there more to it than that? Would you mind letting me know what type of institution you work in, and what work your students use it for?

Thanks seablade, that’s a very useful account.

Well, I never use it. By after reading your post, I think its quit helpful.