Ardour 3.5 released

Another month, another Ardour update release. 3.5 doesn't include any major new features, but does come with a major architectural change and improvements in two significant aspects of workflow. As usual you can download it from the usual place, and as usual subscribers get this update without cost.

Ardour is now (theoretically) no longer dependent on JACK. The functionality provided by JACK has been abstracted to allow 3rd parties to provide implementations that directly use various platform native audio and MIDI APIs (such as CoreAudio on OS X or ASIO on Windows).

Of course, Ardour can still be run with JACK, and this option is not going away. We hope to see these other "backends" emerge over the next few months. For now, users should not experience any functional changes when using Ardour.

This has led to many improvements in the Ardour source code and some visible changes as the program starts up. Read more below for some details.

Is Ardour3 released for OS X yet?

As usual, OS X users are stuck with a beta demo release though unlike previous releases this is for 64 bit OS X 10.7 and later only. It will not run on early systems. We hope to have some resources to put into OS X after 3.7 is released.

What's up next?

The next major release 3.6 will feature an entirely new "canvas" for drawing and managing the editor window's main track display. Release 3.7 will be focused on significant fixes and improvements for MIDI workflows.


  • audio and midi I/O has been moved out of the core of Ardour into module(s) that are loaded dynamically
    • the JACK menu item in the main menu bar has been removed
        <li> a new window, the audio/MIDI Setup dialog can be accessed from the Windows menu</li>
        <li>the audio/MIDI setup dialog allows precise calibration
          of I/O latency. It does the same job as <code>jack_iodelay</code>, but is fully
          integrated into Ardour itself. </li>
        <li>the audio/MIDI setup dialog can also be used to change everything
          about JACK's configuration IF it used to start JACK. This
          means that if you do use it to start JACK, you can dynamically
          change sample rate, the device in use, etc.</li>
        <li>possible to specify the use of the new-ish JACK2 "alsarawmidi" slave
          driver, and the not-yet-released JACK1 "alsa_midi" slave driver. These
          both provide better timing and lower latency for MIDI routing to/from
          hardware than either of the two legacy options. Similar options exist for
          OS X (or will when we do an official release).</li>
        <li>if you start JACK outside of Ardour (e.g. via qjackctl or JackPilot) than
          the audio/MIDI setup dialog can still be used to dynamically 
          change the buffer size and reconnect to JACK if necessary (this
          replaces the old menu functionality).</li>
    <li> startup, session loading
        <li> there is a new session loading dialog. Choose whether to 
          create a new session, open a recent session or browse for
          less-recent sessions, all in the same window/page.</li>
        <li> see the sample rate and audio data format of a session before
          opening it.</li>
        <li>internal code design has been radically overhauled to make 
          reasoning about session loading possible.</li>
        <li>if you allow Ardour to start JACK, and the session sample rate
          does not match the current JACK sample rate, it will be changed
          dynamically to match.</li>
    <li>Video range export. It is now possible to export (to video) just a given
      range within the session. Accessible from both the range context menu and
      the main Export menu.</li>

Fixes and Improvements

  • improvements in performance of MTC and MIDI Clock sync (it was already good, now it is even better)
  • don't display metrics for invisible tracks in meterbridge
  • make narrow mixer meters slightly wider, hide metrics instead
  • new MIDI binding map for Novation Impulse 61
  • fix compilation for ARM systems
  • fix crash loading 2.x sessions with incorrect options in ardour.rc or session file
  • plugin GUIs made visible via the editor mixer strip remain visible when the currently selected track(s) change
  • The Mackie Control editor/GUI now has a sane height and width
  • Updates to the software libraries used by Ardour, including:
    • GTK+ (used for the GUI of Ardour, now at version 2.24.23 with patches)
    • Pango (used for drawing text, now at version 1.36.0)
    • Cairo (used for drawing everything, now at version 1.12.16)
    • Fontconfig (used for managing fonts on Linux, now at version 2.11.0)


Paul Davis, Tim Mayberry, Robin Gareus, Alexandre Prokoudine, Nils Philippsen


Thanks as usual to all the Ardour users on the #ardour IRC channel and elsewhere who have been testing the substantial changes that led to 3.5 as they happened. Particular thanks to Chris Goddard, Axel Müller for their intensive involvement in this process.

Translation Updates

  • Russian translation updated (Alexandre Prokoudine)
  • German translation updated (Edgar Aichinger)

Older News

@Paul: Great and thanks. I am downloading it… These JACK integration and backend/audio-workflow changes are interesting… BTW, the MAC version can be used for raw multi-track recordings? i think the mixing/usage of plugins is the limitation right?

The only builtin-limitation for the OS X version is that it will not save or restore plugin settings. You can use them, but their settings will go away each time you close the session. I am still doing this as a demo version because there are still many areas of OS X support that are definitely not release standard, and I don’t want to charge for it.

@Paul: Thanks for that clarification… I am gonna use it soon on my new, yet to arrive Mac-Mini…

Thanks Paul and to all , helping making this possible…

some notes in

As always, happy to see progress and some of these changes I am very intrigued about how it will affect things as the building blocks for more work.


Hey reading through your bug report, did you get Miroslav Philharmonik working on Linux I take it? I have a copy of that laying around I picked up at in insanely cheap price on sale but I haven’t had time to ever see if I could get it running on LInux.

Sorry, did not try.

I see that the bug i reported has not been fixed. ardour crashes when loading gui of certain plugins in kx studio. KX studios build of ardour 3.4 works fine, but ardours prebuild binariers do not

@veda_sticks: What bug report number?

thanks again Paul
what a great feeling to play the piano(teq) with 2,7 ms !

The title of the bug report says tal plugins crash ardour, but ive recently discovered its not limited to just tall… other plugins crash ardour,

suil error: Unable to open wrap module /opt/kxstudio/lib/suil-0:/opt/Ardour-3.4-dbg/lib/

kx studio sets the suil directory and ardour seems to add to it instead of replacing it. Kx Studio has 3.5 in the repos now which works fine with plugins that make use of that module.

I tried 3.5 but it didn’t work for me. I installed it without any problems, but when i start it and choose a session in the new session dialog, It tries to load it and then just dissappears.
Is there a Md5 somewhere so I can check my download (I’ve downgraded for now, 3.4 still performs great).

I have a question about the new Mac OSX version. Will 10.6.8 be unsupported from now on or you plan to readd support for it on future versions?


I continue to build beta/demo versions for 64 bit 10.7 and above. Once I release a version for OS X, I will provide a version that will run on 32 bit 10.4 to 10.7.