Nightly builds are now for TESTING only

The master development branch of Ardour has recently been merged with two major development branches. These bring major new functionality to Ardour (tempo ramps and VCA masters, among other things), but the result is a new version of Ardour. This version is sufficiently different that it could alter/damage your Ardour configuration files and may not correctly work with existing sessions. We have therefore tagged it “5.0-pre0” so that it will create new configuration folders and not interact with your settings and preferences for older versions of Ardour.

For the time being, the nightly builds should be considered for use ONLY on throw-away material, and should NOT be used to work on existing sessions unless they have been backed up and you are interested in helping us debug issues with the new features (which of course is most welcome).

Tempo maps I remember being discussed. What is the highly abbreviated version of the purpose of the VCA branch?

If I use Ardour 4.7.0 “Cluster and Eno” from KXStudio (wich is working rather stable for me), can I install such new version of Ardour in parallel with my working version? Must I have some programming knowledge (I mean compiling etc…), or I just need to run some installation file? I’d like to use Ardour 4.7.0 and test the 5.0 in one computer.


A VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) is a term from analog consoles, in the digital world they are often referred to as DCA (Digitally controlled Amplifier) as there is no voltage. Effectively they act as remote controls, you assign a strip to them and bring the VCA down, it would be the same as bringing the strip’s fader down by that exact same amount. This allows subgroups to be used for grouped processing, and VCAs to be used for the actual mixing.

An advantage of this, in the live world at least, is that all post fader sends are also affected by bringing the fader down (And thus by the DCA being lowered) whereas a group will only affect what is sent to it. So for reverb especially, it can result in a natural sounding trailing off effect. It can also be used to create an effect similar to mix groups in Ardour, but makes it easier to control the balance across the group, with automation on the fader being completely independant of the VCA, but the VCA still affecting the overall level. At least that would be my assumption, though I haven’t played with Ardour’s implementation yet.


@cooltehno: you can ALWAYS install multiple versions of Ardour obtained from I deliberately bumped the version at this point so that you would also end up with two preferences/config folders (~/.config/ardour4 and ~/.config/ardour5 on Linux) so that each version did not interfere with the other. But you should not use the 5.0-pre0 version with sessions from 4.x that are of any importance.

@ccaudle; for a real world example… imagine recording a band with 8 mics on the drumkit (including one above and one below the snare), 4 more on various percussion, 2 background vocal tracks, 3 keyboard tracks, a main vocal track, and a bass track. You group the two snare mics together, using a VCA to set their level together, while still be able to adjust their individual levels within the group. Then you put all the drum mics (including the snares) into a second VCA group, alllowing you to bring all the drums up and down, at the same time as adjusting their individual levels within that submix. Then do the same for the drums, percussion and bass, to create a rhythm section VCA. One fader brings the entire rhythm section up and down, but you
can continue to adjust the relative gain of, say, the timbales within that submix.

The basic idea is to create single faders (and solo + mute controls) that allow you to change the gain structure for a group of tracks while still being able to individually adjust the members of that group. In addition, Ardour’s implementation combines both the Solid State Logic and the Harrison approaches to VCAs, in that you can both (a) nest VCAs (i.e. have one VCA controlled by another, ad infinitum) or (b) chain them (i.e. have a given track (or VCA) controlled by multiple VCAs).

@paul: thanks! I can create a folder for my experiments not touching my important projects))

One more question. I read on nightly download page:

GCC-5 versions need a recent (2016) platform GNU/Linux with (glibc ≥ 3.4.21)

Does that mean I can’t use my KXstudio14.04 (Linux 3.13.0-58-lowlatency) for Ardour 5 ?

@paul - Sounds like a couple of great new features! I’m familiar with VCA’s/DCA’s on consoles, and have at times wished for something similar in Ardour.

Quick question: Is there a post-4.7 commit that you consider stable/useful enough to either release as a 4.8, or perhaps just a nightly build from before the merge that could be available for a while, for people who might like to test some issue they have with 4.7 ? Like say 4.7-1111-g94187e66 ? I don’t have an immediate need personally, but I thought others might.

I guess commit bd74d7fb answers part of my question: “there won’t be an Ardour 4.8 release” :slight_smile:

@don3: no, we’re not going to do a 4.8 release. And we’re not sanctioning any of the intermediates between 4.7 and 5.0-pre0 as release worthy.

@cooltehno: gcc 5 and ardour 5 are not related to each other.

Some very exciting features and updates here. Looking forward to it. Thanks everybody

When you say to back up the existing session, is it necessary to back up the entire project folder or just the .ardour file as the program already does when you open an old session?

Tempo ramps!? :slight_smile: As a person who mainly works with real musicians but often adds synths, samples and drums by MIDI-sequencing. This is really, really great news, thanks! :slight_smile:

Ardour (and Mixbus) will now be even better as a creative tool, just imagine when things go slower at the end of a song and finishes with the last smash. This is really an hour saver!

@CraigPid: ardour will make a copy of the session file itself anyway. But there are no guarantees of what the current state of the master branch (i.e. a nightly build) will do just yet, and so you should make a copy of the entire session folder and better still, don’t use it on an existing session.

The VCA feature sounds like what I had expected groups to do in the current 4.x branch. I couldn’t get groups to do what I expected, so I gave up and just added additional busses for group control. If I understand correctly it sounds like additional busses will not be needed (although in Ardour I expect the additional busses are mathematically transparent, and adding busses is easy, so it’s not quite like the equivalent on an analog console where the number of busses was fixed, and each additional layer of analog routing added a small amount of additional noise and distortion).

@ccaudle: correct, no new busses required

Would it be possible to use a nightly version in the AppImage format?
For example I use stable version of Musescore 2.0.2 which is installed in the system
and Nightly version 2.1. in the AppImage format?

I have no idea what “AppImage” format is.

We release Ardour as a self-contained bundle, that both installs and runs on almost every Linux distribution in existence. We have no plans to offer any other formats.

Having read up on AppImage very briefly, I can tell you that our existing bundles fulfill all the goals of AppImage (and more). When you install any build from, you get a completely self-contained package that can be uninstalled by just removing the folder from the installation directory. We have no reason to switch to a 3rd party version of this idea.

I’ve created an AppImage of Ardour in the past (Dec’15 or so). It is pretty much equivalent to the current bundle/installer. AppImage needs a few more quirks (e.g libjack must be external) and there’s no real benefit to the user.

On our side: building the app-image is more complicated compared to the current bundle-script since we do not use any distro-provided libraries (some of them are patched, customized and specifically pinned to given versions)