Ardour v.s. Ableton Live

I’ve just recently discovered Ardour from reading a great article about it on
As I am an avid Ableton Live user, I was curious if any of you could give me a comparison between the 2 on the OSX platform.
(i know its great that its on Linux, but Im on OSX so please keep your comparisons with that in mind)
THanks in advance.
-VJ Anomolee

Ardour is more like Pro-tools, aimed at recording and production. No live features, no loop triggering, no tap, no warp makers but only basic time-stretching. The current release has no MIDI tracks.
In comparison with Live, it might shine regarding routing and precise editing, but I’m not sure about that.

On Linux I would always prefer Ardour plus the other Jack-apps like Specimen, Seq24, AMS etc to work with music. Even though Ardour itself has only a fraction of the features abelton has, it is a well-embedded part of the free-audio-software ecosystem on Linux that works as a whole much better for me then Ableton (wich I tested for some 4-5 houres on a Mac and was quiet disappoined to say the least).

Though on MacOS there might be some differences. Some tools that I use to have on Linux might be missing and ardour did not work very good for me on the Mac so under this circumstances Ableton could be better…

And BTW: why not use both?

nostrum fungitur

well i dont really do much recording.
Most of my compositions are MIDI or loop based. So looks like i will be sticking with Live for now.

Hmmm, a feature request is born. Might ardour support Rewire in some form? Is that something that has to be licensed? Anyways, both products are different animals. Abbleton is made with live performances in mind and so has a lot of tools to deal with such things. I have Abbleton live 6 and its great but its not something I’d trade pro tools for, which is what ardour is shooting for. It also depends on your style of working. If electronic/dance/hip-hop is what you are aiming for live might be the way to go. its possible with Ardour though. the first thing I made on ardour (using linux ofcourse. Is there any other way.) was a dirty south template beat. Basically a synth on 808 beat. It was surprisingly easy to setup and I was done in no time. Once ardour gets full midi support it will be much easier and will be on par with the likes of cakewalk. Anyways, the short of it is they are different, use both if possible.

We are NEVER going to support Rewire. There are two simple reasons:

(a) Propellerheads will not allow us to implement Rewire in an open source application.
(b) JACK allows almost everything that Rewire does.

Just run Live, JACK and Ardour, and you can do precisely what you are asking for.

fuckregister: I have some idea of what you are trying to say, but please build complete sentences so nobody has to guess.

YOU don-t reach the flow of imager giving by ableton by combine c and a big amount of python… nasa shuffle and flights projects run python too for automated systems usa. And in working with audio data and big banks and multi racks chained fluid and transparent and should I say lighter ???
thanks if on midi implement u can add python librarys and audio objects. FRee)

You can connect ANY application like Live, AULab, etc etc… that supports the jack router interface to ardour

1 : launch jackosx, in preference set the number of virtual I/O you want (i set it to 32… it’s quite enough ! )
2 : launch jack
3 : launch AUlab or Live or…
4 : select the jack router interface in the preference of Live.
5 : launch ardour
6 : make your routings in Live or AUlab, and in ardour ( inserts, sends, etc etc)
7 : Use the both !

You will have to do this in this order and launch ardour at last, so it will relink or you apps in the good way.

With this “jack router trick” I could :

  • record my Live set in ardour in multitrack, wich is FAR more simple to use than the export method in live
  • Use Live or AUlab as a FX rack for ardour, so i could use AUplugs in ardour, like reverbs, tape-delay, good comps etc etc.

Hello all, a late response.

The issue was ‘caused’ by the jack aggregate that i made some long time ago for using the internal in/out of my macbook.
after several osx updates the aggregate was not working the way it should anymore.

deleting the old aggregate and making a new aggregate was solving the issue.

best wishes from berlin, helmut.

hello everyone.

well - the above seems to be a general problem, as jack IS (in this context) like rewire.

but: i have this problem:

osx 10.6.1
ableton live 7.0.18
jack 0.9.1
jack pilot 1.6.6

and i recieve this message when trying to connect ableton live to the jack server:

live does not support 0 as a sample rate for the device ‘‘jack router (2 in, 2 out)’’

any ideas?

best wishes from berlin, helmut.

if this can help you i use now live8 and i don’t see this message anymore (i used to see it when using live7 on osx10.4 i don’t remember wich version of jack i was using)
maybe some ableton issue.
PS: now 'im using ardour as a mixer for live (every track of ableton is sent to ardour in a separate track and i mix them together using ardour/jack) and i think it sounds better. i don’t know about reliability because i started to test it 2 or 3 days ago but i will let you know.

i’m sorry for the bad english but in italy someone wants people to be ignorant.

launching jack with jackosx give me the same error
run ardour, then quit ardour then launch jack from jackosx and everything works (i should look at the console to see if different commands are used to launch ardour.


Yes the commands will be different between JackPilot(I assume this is what you mean when you say launch from JackOSX) and Ardour, but the behavior you are seeing is odd.

You can see Ardour’s command it uses by a simple command in…

cat ~/.jackdrc

JackPilot builds it’s command based on what is set in the preferences, and won’t use the above file IIRC.