how do i record audio from a microphone in ardour

this seems like it should be pretty straight forward. my mic is plugged in, i can hear what i’m saying in the laptop speakers, but when i record in ardour nothing gets picked up. what am i doing wrong?

Hearing the input from the soundcard outputs does not mean the soundcard is actually capturing the stream.

Read about consumer soundcards and then try enabling the right mixer elements in any alsa mixer software.

Ardour is really meant for experienced musicians and recording engineers, and is therefore quite technical in nature. If you are simply wanting to record your voice and fiddle around with it on your laptop, you would probably find that audacity would suit you better and be easier to get your mic to record.

I don’t necessarily agree with Solv. Getting mixer settings right is the same task regardless of which software you use for recording. Audacity may be simpler but if you plan on doing anything beyond very basic editing its’ simplicity will make it more difficult to use.

Sure Sampo, but by using Alsa and Audacity, if your mic is on and selected as capture in the mixer window, which most people know how to use…Audacity will record. Ardour requires people to use JACK, and to understand about how to route audio into, around and out of it. I’m not trying to turn people off ardour, but as somebody who is an audio engineer, and somebody who spends hours helping their parents do the simplest of tasks, I have a pretty good understanding of what the average user finds too complex. I mean it took my parents two years to automatically remember to double click an icon to open it!

i opened audacity and chose “mic” as the recording thing and it recorded right away. sure would like to get the ardour thing working though… i read that page you mentioned, but its so general that it didn’t give me much… i do though know how to double click and icon to open it, so i can at least consider myself to be above an average user… =)


  1. Make sure you’ve created a track.
  2. In the ‘Window’ Menu, Choose ‘Mixer’. This will bring up the mixer window.
  3. In the mixer window, there is a ‘mixer strip’ for each track you create, plus a Master strip. Click on the button labelled ‘INPUT’ in the strip for the track you want to record to.
  4. Choose the input your mic is on.
  5. Record-enable the track by clicking on the button that says ‘RECORD’ on the mixer strip for your track.
  6. Hit the record button in Ardour’s main window, then press play. When you are done recording, press stop.

i am making a few basic assumptions, i know. there are obviously a few very basic things you’ll have needed to figure out on your own to follow the above instructions. all of those things are addressed very well in the ardour manual. for serious work, much more effort will be needed; but, the above instructions should help you record simple audio with a mic connected to your soundcard.

good instructions from niemau, but to clarify 5),
You’ve already taken all the previous steps, most importantly making your track. On the same visual level and space as the track, on the left-hand side, there are a bunch of buttons, designated by a letter.

Hit the ‘R’ button to arm the track for recording.

Thanks niemau for the intro to recording a track from microphone. I’m coming over to ardour from Sony Soundforge and Acid for XP.

Most of us just need a simple set of instructions to get started, then learn the rest as we go.

Your instruction worked perfectly and I now have both the vocal and guitar track to use for learning this software.

niemau, thank you very much, all i needed was “then press play” in step 6. sweetness, now it works. just to clarify, Solv, i didn’t need jack running to record.

seablade, yes that is apparently what happened. it never told me it was starting jack, it just does it automatically.


Believe me, you DO need Jack running. However Ardour can start Jack itself when you open Ardour(The Audio Settings Tab). This is likely what happened, and you didn’t realise Jack was running. If Jack had not been running Ardour would not have worked at all.

That being said, glad it works for you:)