Moving Projects between Ardour for MAC and MAC

Sorry - new to all this so please excuse the idiot question. I subscribed for the MAC version and have V6 running quite happily producing my first multitrack recording for our community choir. I now want to do some editing when I am mobile on my Microsoft Surface 3 with Windows 10. I tried to copy one of my projects from the MAC to the Surface but it wouldn’t load correctly.

Is it possible to share projects between the three different platforms and if so how?

Thanks - Bob

What is the actual error when trying to load the session?

Yes, except for plugin (which may not be available or a different format AU vs VST) sessions are portable.

One explanation why this failed may be if you copied the session to a thumb-drive or USB disk with a file-system that is not case-sensitive, or cannot handle some long filenames.

To move sessions, best zip them up and then unzip them on the target system.
Or let Ardour do that for you: use Menu > Session > Archive, you can then later Session > Open (.ardour-session-archive).

Thanks Robin, - Actually, I dont get any error message - Ardour just disappears. I created an archive file as suggested on the mac and then tried that but I got the same problem - Ardour just disappears and never starts when trying to load the archive. Interestingly, the same thing happened on the mac when I trield to load the archive there.

I then went into a very frustrating loop trying to compress the folder on the mac and read it on the PC - the inbuilt compression is unreadable on the PC so will try another compression tool on the MAC tomorrow.

You did unzip the archive on Windows before trying to open the .ardour file within correct?

That doesn’t sound right, if you compress a folder on mac it should create a ZIP which can be opened by any number of tools on Windows but I think the OS supports it natively now. This suggests a corrupted ZIP file, especially as you can’t open it on the mac either.


I think he meant the ardour-archive, which is tar.xz (lzma) - modern macs can handle this, default windows doesn’t.

Ahh ok, yea Windows won’t handle that.


You can compress the entire Ardour folder on the Mac in Finder and move the Zip file over. Provided that you have imported (As opposed to embedded) or recorded all your audio on Ardour, that will likely work except possibly plugin issues.


It’s only manual extraction that is tricky.

The files can be loaded using Ardour on Windows. Support for this is built-into Ardour, archives are extracted into the default project folder and then loaded.

I hoped that some error message would be displayed, but Ardour simply terminating is strange.

@SingBentleyHeath Can you create new session using Ardour/Windows?

Just a quick update - I think a lot of my issues were to do with the memory stick I ws using which seems to corrupt zip files in some way so that they are unreadable again on both the MAC and PC. Using a different memory stick, I was able to transfer a compressed version of the project folder to my Surface Pro where I was then able to unzip the folder and Ardour found all the files it needed. I haven’t had time to check the archive option but I will do and post back with the results. In the meantime, thank you all for your help and advice, Knowing how it should work was what I desperately needed to know so thanks for that.

I have also tried going back the other way from my surface Pro to the imac. I am pleased to report that the archive function seems to work as we would expect this way round and a new folder is created on the imac with the name of the archive file and everything appears to work OK. It’s a shame the Archive operation doesnt seem to work going the other way but at least I have a work around for now.

Thank you everyone for your assistance.

One way to sidestep problems created by incompatible disk formats is to just zip the session folder and upload it to Dropbox, Google Drive, etc and download it again on another OS. This works for me and my friend as we exchange sessions all the time between Linux and windows.

If you must use a memory stick or removable hard disk then format the disk to exFat, it is now the most compatible format across Linux, macOs and windows, all of these os’s will read exFat disks. If you use exFat you won’t need to compress the session, you should just be able to copy the session folder over.