imports from other Daws

I’m a semi-pro recording engineer thinking about adding Ardour to my equipment list. I often get asked to mix projects that bands have recorded themselves on the mainstream DAWs like Nuendo and Pro Tools. Can Ardour import projects from these systems? I saw OMF and AAF on the wish list but are they available yet?

Hi David. AAF import is available via a (paid-for) plugin but it needs some (minor) patches to Ardour’s source code.

If you’re a Debian user, I’m told there’s a binary build available somewhere (i.e. a package build of Ardour, with AAF import enabled). Unfortunately, I don’t know where to get it… :frowning:

If I find anything out, I’ll let you know. OMF isn’t under development AFAIK.

OMF will likely never be available. It is a proprietary standard, there is no public documentation for it, and unless someone pays us for rather a lot of work, we’re not going to reverse engineer it.

The best way to move projects between any two random DAWs at present is to create BWF stems of each track. You can do bulk-import of these files into Ardour via drag-n-drop or via the Import dialog. This is also the simplest way to get audio from Ardour into other DAWs as well.

This does lose plugin information, but you likely couldn’t move that between DAWs usefully anyway.

Hi John & Paul - will AAF be available for the Mac version any time soon?

The solution by Indamixx utilizes the official SDK for AAF, which is incompatible for the GPL. John, the author of the AAF solution for Indamix, has said that if enough people pledge funding for it in Ardour’s Mantis tracker, he will develop anopen source solution.

Now how that will work, and whether it will be part of Ardour if it does happen I do not know. But as of right now there is noone working on a solution for inclusion in A3.


Is there any more news about the AAF situation? Indamixx has been offering
AAF since 2008, even though it’s still not officially available in Ardour.
Are there any plans to include it in Ardour3?

Would it be an easier solution for him to do a plugin for Ardour that can be bought? I would certainly buy such a plugin if that meant I could do import and export of AAF to and from MediaComposer!

I appreciate that some want to have everything available for free, but until it is, I don’t mind paying for it :slight_smile:

The reason why John Emmas’ AAF handler has not been included, or referenced, in regular Ardour is that John chose to write the program as a Windows executable, thinking that having users run it on Linux (and only Linux) via Wine was acceptable. As the lead author of a DAW written that runs on many platforms but not Windows, I found this to be really unacceptable as a solution for our users. Obviously, some people’s mileage may vary on this issue. John has expressed an interest in writing a native Linux version if there is enough money to pay him to do so, and if and when this emerges, I’ll be happy to get it well integrated into Ardour3.

Paul - your comments might be true today but you cannot judge the past in the context of the present. You have to evaluate the past in the context of the past.

When I wrote the AAF importer there was no OS-X version of Ardour (not even under consideration AFAIK). Back then, Ardour was available for Linux and a Win32 version was supposedly also under development. Because of that (and the lengthy problems I had finding a stable Linux distro) we agreed that I should start by writing an executable to run under Wine. Your only request was that I should avoid using Microsoft specific code in the functionality (naturally, the GUI would be MS specific but the intention was always to remove the GUI at a later stage and transfer the functionality to Ardour).

By the time I’d completed the import stage you’d changed your mind and had dropped the Win32 port in favour of OS-X. Only then did you tell me that a Wine based solution was no longer acceptable. After a long standoff, one of the other Ardour devs intervened to try and find a compromise. I spent a further 5 weeks revamping the code, only to find that the goalposts had been moved again. Throughout this ridiculous pantomime I’ve been chasing a constantly moving target. The truth is that I’ve simply had enough. and am no longer willing to fulfill this commitment unless somebody pays me for my time.

If I open Ardour’s ‘About’ dialog I see a long list of developers; the vast majority of whom seem to be no longer involved in Ardour. If they all received the same treatment that I’ve received it’s no surprise to me that so many programmers have pulled out of Ardour - as have so many prominent sponsors, such as SSL and SAE. With all due respect Paul, if I were in your position I think I might be wondering if in fact it was me who was out of line - not everybody else.

I do appreciate that it’s in the nature of open source software to be fluid but as an experienced developer yourself you must surely understand that no programmer likes to work for a team leader who is forever moving the goalposts. Flexibility is a two way street, obligating the chief as well as the indians.

John, if that is your understanding of the history, then I fully understand your position.

Obviously, I don’t share that understanding of the history of this issue. The first release of Ardour for OS X happened in the spring of 2006, around the time we began applying to Google for a Summer of Code project to do a win32 port. Tim Mayberry’s port was never released in part because it was never really finished.

When I agreed that it would be good if you started work on your AAF handling code in the context of a windows program, it was because (a) it seemed like a way around the uncommonly endless series of problems you encountered trying to get a linux development system running (b) because we also agreed that (and I quote): “the GUI would be MS specific but the intention was always to remove the GUI at a later stage and transfer the functionality to Ardour”. If not Ardour, then at least a tool written in a cross-platform way that doesn’t involve using a system emulator like Wine in order to run. It was not my understanding that the windows version of your code would ever be “the” AAF tool, and I believed that you thought this too. Apparently, we did not share this understanding either.

As for your general comments on Ardour’s development process: the vast majority of the programmers listed in the “About” box are people who submitted small fixes and patches, and to the best of my knowledge, most of them continue to use Ardour. The 2 most prominent contributors who have “moved on” are Jesse and Taybin, and did so for reasons related to their paying jobs and other life choices, though Taybin remains on IRC and continues to do occasional work on the website. And even Jesse showed up again last week for various reasons. Among the others in the “Credits” page at (who are generally more substantive contributors) there are none who have not remained connected to the project and still occasionally contribute patches (except for Gerard, who sadly died several years ago). SSL moved on because (a) they had cash flow issues and (b) they bought another workstation as a side-effect on buying Sydec. SAE moved on because they considered the project they were paying for to be complete.

I have attempted to avoid making any comments here that could be taken as personal criticisms or commentary on personality issues. If you believe that these are really at the heart of what has taken place here, then we should probably conduct future exchanges about this in a different context.

Yes, I agree Paul. There’s obviously been a fundamental misunderstanding over this feature - and not all of it due to me or you. I’ll email you privately as soon as I can find some free time.