External signal processing

Hello there!

I mainly use Ardour as an arranger because of a comfortable workflow. I don’t use it for DSP though because what I do (sound for picture) doesn’t really require real time processing so I don’t see it necessary to download LV2 plugins. And a big project with at least few effects on several dozen tracks each would be really resource intensive. So in my case I rather prefer to process a file once using command-line programs like SoX and then leave it be.

What I have in mind is a feature that could export a region, open it in a external application and then replace the same region with an edited/processed one. This could either work with CLI tools like SoX or even more advanced utilities like Audacity for more advanced audio editing (I’ve seen few posts here suggesting more advanced editor within Ardour - maybe this isn’t really a solution but it could be at least more convenient for those people as well). Traverso-DAW has a feature like this and I think it works really nice so I’d really love to see it in Ardour.

Add it to the tracker
Feature requests tend to get lost here on the forums

There are already a couple of requests for this feature, some older than 10 years:

It has not (yet) been implemented for various reasons.

So while the rest of your post is a bit separate, I will say this depends on the effects and your session. My sessions can go into the hundreds of tracks sometimes, and I can still run it on my new M1 Mac Mini without breaking to much of a sweat. So my advice is not to assume you can’t do it.

All that being said it doesn’t negate your feature request either, for instance being able to bring into Izotope to restore audio and take it back into Ardour would be fantastic. But see @x42’s post for more info on that.


You can bounce a region with processing, which will make a new source file with the processing applied. You can then replace the original region and remove the processors which is effectively the same thing, but using plugins instead of an external program.

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