I have found this software to be so unstable it's unusable.

Hi. I have gotten very excited about Ardour over the past 24 hours because it appears to be a phenomenal solution. However, despite some super-powerful features. I have found the most basic features to be so buggy that the overall software is unusable. For example:

Undo + Redo: This works correctly for only a few copies after a fresh restart of the system. Then it becomes so glitchy that it literally destroys my session, moving pieces all over the place seemingly at random whether I’m pressing Undo OR Redo, and then if I’m lucky I can re-open my session from the last save point.

Export: After putting a significant amount of time into my first Ardour project, I spent two hours banging my head against the wall trying to solve a bug that occurs after I seemingly successfully export a file, breaking the thread and destroying the new file.

Is this pretty standard Ardour behavior or what?

I just read Paul’s post about money, and (being a software engineer myself) I felt compelled to update this.

Maintaining a core application this complicated is incredibly difficult. I’m absolute amazed that Paul has been able to get it this far on his own. The fact is, this software is worth paying for. Paul! For the sake of this awesome product, please just start a business and charge whatever reasonable amount you need to charge for this product!

One of the realities of linux is there is both extremely flexible and on the flipside can be a bit of a chore to configure. It is very relevant information what Ardour version you are using and what linux distro you are running. Personally, I have had best success with Ardour running it on music-oriented distros AVinux and kxstudio which take care of a lot of the optimizations for music which helps so you can spend more of you time on music-making. Ardour certainly does have bugs and if you can reproduce an error (and are using the most recent Ardour) it is useful to make a bug report on mantis: http://tracker.ardour.org/my_view_page.php

outrightmental: are/were you doing mostly audio stuff or mostly MIDI stuff or a mixture of both?

outrightmental: Not standard behavior at all. I’ve been using the latest release and especially undo/redo with no problems here. Exporting for me has always been great. What system/distro are you running on?

I dont tend to use undo for any more than a few operations, its usually only if i accidentaly do something like move a region by accident or accidentally delete a region. But its always worked as expected.

Also exporting has only failed me on a few occasions and that was way back in earlier versions.

You may find it helpfull to get onto the ardour IRC and chat there with people that will be able to help you debug.

Ardour is certinaly not so unstable its unusable, i use it daily with very few problems with simple projects with only a few tracks to more complex upto 16 tracks with lots of plugins and editing with very few problems.

Its not just ardour that people have problems, if you look on avids forums there are plenty of people who have had issues with protools software.

Its more likely that your particularly system and how its configured could be causing issues, maybe some librarary incompatiblity.

Definitely haven’t had problems like this myself after nearly a year of regular Ardour 3 use — I certainly run into bugs, but nothing like this.

Some things to consider:

  • Which version are you using? Compiled from SVN? or what exact version number? (the number will look something like 3.5.380).
  • What sort of system are you running Ardour on? As in, Linux or Mac — CPU, motherboard, amount of RAM, type of soundcard might all be useful information.
  • If Linux, what distribution are you running Ardour on top of? (e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, Fedora etc.)

To me it sounds like there could be a library incompatibility somewhere, as a previous poster mentioned. Some people do prefer Linux distributions specifically optimized for audio, though I have had no huge issues doing audio work on standard Ubuntu overlaid with the KXStudio repositories.

Of course, hardware can be a problem too. I happen to be running on an Intel CPU on an Intel motherboard, which wasn’t intentional but I do seem to have ended up with hardware that plays nicely together (at least, judging by the horror stories I’ve heard from some other people, many of them on proprietary setups as well, not just Linux/Ardour). Sometimes, firmware settings (EFI/BIOS/whatever) can have drastic impacts on both stability and performance. For instance, after disabling PCI-E bus frequency scaling and deep CPU sleep states, as recommended by the JACK developers (e.g. https://github.com/jackaudio/jackaudio.github.com/wiki/FAQ_and_Myths), my DSP load dropped by half and crashiness by a lot more than that.

I know it sounds a bit ‘pass the buck’ to say that Ardour probably isn’t the problem here, but it does mean that the problems you’re having don’t represent standard behaviour and might be more easily solvable.

Hi, I am new to Ardour, but unfortunately I also must report problems. I am trying to move all the work I can from Mac to Linux, and hoped that Ardour could replace ProTools. However, there is a myriad of problems, and I didn’t even get to accomplishing some serious tasks. Ardour crashes, loses sound, freezes etc. All that on the most stable OS I have ever had - Ubuntu 16.04. If there are some settings that might alleviate the problem, I would appreciate if these could be shared. THX!

The big word is plugins. There are some plugin sets that are just known for causing trouble. Ubuntu 16.04 did have trouble with some of the ladspa plugins being installed or not if there were lv2 versions of the same plugin. the csladspa package probably needs to be removed for example.
I have been running Ardour on ubuntustudio since at least 2015 and not had too much in the way of trouble. Also, if you are using the Ardour from the ubuntu repo for 16.04 it will be ardour4.6 which is wildly out of date and know to cause problems. There is ardour5.0 at https://launchpad.net/~ubuntustudio-dev/+archive/ubuntu/dev-testing, but even that is long time ago now. The current version of Ardour is 5.12. I would suggest downloading this from ardour.org to take advantage of all the 1000s of bugfixes as well as the many new features added since 4.6. Or you could upgrade to the current ubuntu LTS 18.04 which does have 5.12 available already.

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Hi Len and thx for the quick response! I didn’t get to plugins as of yet, and do have Ardour 5.12, so there must be something else. Good to know, however, that there are users who don’t have problems. I would consider it a sort of defeat learning that there is no pro audio app for Linux, so I hope Ardour would work. Are you aware of some studios using it in production of acoustic music?

I can tell you a lot of pros are using Harrison Mixbus which is built on Ardour. I use Ardour 5.12 as well as Mixbus on Ubuntu Studio 15.10 and I don’t have any problems to speak of. In fact, until Robin chewed me out a few months ago, I was still using Ardour 4.something.
Everyone here is more than willing to help you troubleshoot problems, but it would definitely help to provide specifics as to when it is crashing, losing sound, freezing, etc. Even better if you can launch from the terminal so we can see what output Ardour is giving when these troubles arise. You can also start with letting us know what soundcard you are using.

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Also make sure you are using the version from this website if possible, especially while troubleshooting issues. Distribution provided builds often use a different build environment and settings that can cause issues (Ubuntu is notable for being av source of issues in this regard). Even confirming any issues in the free version from this site will be a first step.

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Well technically there were studios producing recorded tracks on it back before 0.9x existed IIRC.

So depending on what you mean by ‘acoustic’ the short answer is yes. If by ‘acoustic’ you mean recording instruments as opposed to generating sounds in the machine, there are a lot of people out there putting out sound like that. If by acoustic you mean a specific genre of music, then probably but you have to be a bit more specific I think.

For the record I regularly use Ardour and it’s derivatives to record 40+ tracks of live concerts.


Thanks for the input Seablade and Saam! My colleagues are all into PT, Cubase/Nuendo, or LogicPro, so I really don’t have any opinion of Ardour from my peers. I was not aware of Harrison Mixbus, which looks exciting, I’ll check it out. Currently I am running Ardour on an i5 laptop, just to listen to some tracks, and get familiar to the app. I was thinking that a regular middle of the road laptop with Ubuntu 16.04 would easily be meeting minimal requirements just for exploring.

BTW - I am unable to fire up Ardour from the Terminal. Ardour doesn’t work, Ardour-5.12.0 neither.

So what happens when you try to start Ardour from the terminal? What do you see?


Ardour: command not found
Ardour-5.12.0: command not found

Ardour from ardour.org/download can be started with Ardour5 - distro packages usually use a lower-case ‘a’: ardour5.

In a terminal you can type “ard” and press <Tab> to auto-complete or twice <Tab> to show possible completions.

I have had less problems with crashing today. Prior to using Ardour, I rebooted the laptop, then started JACK, then set up Input/Output in Sound, and then started Ardour.
However, bouncing to disk, i.e. Exporting selection was always yielding only one channel (out of 2 in a stereo mix). No idea if I am such a noob, or it is a bug.
I will be receiving some new gear in a day or two, and then see if I proceed with PT, or embrace Ardour. How are the plugins for mastering with Ardour like? Is there in every segment of postproduction something on par with the mainstream?

Here’s a mastering example using Calf and EQU10Q plugins.

The x42 plugins are probably useful as well, Fons Adriaensen’s Kokkini Zita page has some good ones and if you don’t mind paying for it I hear lots of praises for the OverToneDSP ones.