New Export Dialog, Multi-format export

There was nothing particularly wrong with the export process in Ardour 2.X, but it did have a few important limitations. The two most significant ones have been fixed in Ardour 3.0: multichannel export (more than 2 channels) and the ability to simultaneously export to multiple formats. This second feature means you can create an compressed and uncompressed version of the same export in a single pass, or DVD and CD compatible formats in a single pass, or all 4 at once, or many other possibilities. Here's the basic version of the new export dialog:

basic export dialog

Export: basic concepts

The two important basic ideas that the new export dialog requires you to keep in mind are "Format" and "Location".


The format of an export describes:

  • its sample rate (e.g. 44.1kHz, 96kHz etc)
  • sample bit size (16 bit, 24bit, etc)
  • the type of container file used (e.g. WAV, AIFF, BWF, CAF etc)
  • the type of audio compression used (e.g. none, Ogg/Vorbis, FLAC)
  • whether the audio is normalized
Any export must involve at least one format, but can include any number larger than that, as you wish. In the screenshot below, there is only a single format (called "CD") chosen.

By default, Ardour comes with 4 builtin formats:

  • CD compatible (stereo, normalized, 16bit, 44.1kHz, WAV)
  • DVD compatible (stereo, normalized, 24 bit, 48kHz, WAV)
  • Ogg/Vorbis (master channel count, not normalized, 24 bit, session sample rate, Ogg)
  • FLAC (master channel count, not normalized, 24 bit, session sample rate, FLAC)
You can edit these formats, create new ones, delete existing formats using the format buttons marked "Edit", "Remove", "New". There is a description of the format editing dialog below.


In addition to specifying the kind of format(s) you want for an export, each chosen format needs to have a location where the file will be written. This consists of two parts: the name of the file and the folder/directory where it will live. The filename is built from a series of possible components: a label which you can enter, and then optionally the session name, the date, the time and a revision number (which you can choose). The simplest operation here just involves typing the file name into the "Label" box and doing nothing else. The filename suffix (e.g. .wav, .ogg) will be chosen automatically by Ardour based on the format.

Below the label options is a standard directory chooser to allow you to specify where you want the file produced by this format to be stored. The default is to export into a directory called "export" that is within the session folder.

Note that each format that you are going to export to requires its own location, because each format will create its own file.


A given set of format and location settings can be gathered together as a preset and used over and over. So, if you generally want to export a CD-compatible and Ogg/Vorbis file at the same time, and use the session name plus a date in the filename, you can just set up those two formats, save it as a new preset and then use that in the future without needing to set it up again. You can have as many presets as you like, though its unlikely that most users will very many.

The preset selector is visible at the top of the export dialog, because after you've set up your first preset, its probably all you need to do before clicking the "Export" button at the lower right.

Advanced Export Options

Sometimes you need a little more control over what you're exporting, and for that, you'll need to click the "Advanced Options" expander toward the bottom of the basic dialog shown above. This will expand the window into the state shown below:

basic export dialog


The default export is of the entire session, from the start marker to the end marker. However, you may wish to export just a particular range (defined in the range marker bar) instead. The first part of the advanced options block allows you to select which ranges should be exported.


By default, an export is made by using data read from the outputs of the master bus, and so the number of channels is set to the number of outputs of the master bus.

You may have other needs, like a per-track export, or export of just a selection of tracks. You may want to map different tracks to different chanels. The second part of the advanced options section gives you complete control over which bus or track outputs are used and how they are assigned to the channels in the export file. Click on the checkbox to the left to include a track's or bus' outputs in the export. The default output->channel assignments will then show up on the right - you can click on each one to change it to a different output or disable it. It is possible to do some very complex setups this way, although the vast majority of users will likely not need to use this feature.

The number of channels is controllable here too. Most users will want stereo exports, but Ardour 3.0 can export to files with any number of channels.

"Split to Mono"

By default, Ardour's export process will produce a single audio file per format, with as many channels in that file as were specified. If you enable the "split to mono" option, you will instead get 1 mono file per channel per format. Ardour will take care of naming each file appropriately.

This does not (yet) enable simple stem exporting, but we plan to add this is a future release of Ardour 3.