Pro Tools 8 and Ardour on ubuntu comparison / differences

I am trying to compile this information to determine the ability of Ardour as a viable alternative to Pro Tools. I tried searching this information on the forum to see if there has been a detailed comparison between latest Ardor and latest Pro tools.

I was wondering if anyone has compiled such information. Or may be someone has used both and can comment on the differences in feature as well as performance. Any information or comment is welcomed. Thank you.


Pro Tools Does Not Work In Linux.

I use PT 8 as well as Ardour-OSX.

Before this I used Ardour Linux exclusively.

  1. MIDI_______________________________ PT8 =Yes Ardour=Not stable yet but is being worked on.
  2. Score Editor_________________________ PT8=Yes Ardour=No
  3. Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)_____PT8=No Ardour=Yes
  4. Unlimited Tracks______________________PT8=No Ardour=Yes
  5. Unlimited Buses______________________PT8=No Ardour=Yes

This just off the top of my head.

Ardour and Pro Tools are surprisingly similar on one hand and very different on the other hand.

One is not better than the other.

Think of it like your tool box is full of tools. Each tool does a specific job for a task. That is the way to look at DAW’s.
You may need different screw drivers for different applications of use. They are still screw divers at the end of the day and one was not less important than the other. In fact you would not have been able to complete the task at hand without taking advantage of the unique differences of each one.

The Linux vs Windows vs OSX “Fan Boy Wars” are futile and destructive in the realm of creativity.

Do not get caught up in this Prejudistic Feud.

It Is a “SUCK HOLE” and destroys creative collaboration between artists.

Fill your box with as many tools as you can.

Ardour doesn’t appear in most of the DAW comparison charts that I see around. The one that appears relentlessly if you do a search is . It’s a sham as it’s a personal opinion and not a feature list. That’s because the guy writing it sells books & tutorials on the s/w he reviews and he doesn’t do Ardour.

There are plenty of comparisons around for eg CMS, web server s/w and most desktop software genres. They really help people make a choice and are the first thing I turn to when I need to implement something new.

There’s definitely a gap here that needs filling. It’d be great for Ardour advocacy to see someone try a comprehensive overview, esp if such a chart shows PT 8 line up against Ardour 3. Even a simple overview would be better than nothing.

@ pleasebus

yeah, but PT is a quasi standard nowadays. at least for the people i talk to. logic and cubase are used for arranging songs/ideas rather then recording in the studio. it’s just a tendence not an absolute. also, most of the projects i have been involved with, use at least two studios, one for recording and one for mixing and mastering. but maybe that’s just switzerland :slight_smile:

a little off-topic but, imho you can’t compare desktop software in general with a daw. the main “problem” for most people is, that anybody else uses PT. so if you record in one studio and mix in another, you end up with a harddrive containing PT sessions. why would you want to use ardour then? i don’t like this situation, since i use ardour, but that’s the main issue for people i try to convince to switch. they like the software, they can’t believe it’s donation-based…but they don’t use it, because they’re bound to PT

Actually, I’ve found at least sthg on Wikipedia:

@lokki: There are other heavily used DAW solutions out there; Logic, Cubase, Digital Performer, Sonar.

If you have a habit of using multiple studios then there seems little option but to use PT. But if you’re focused on one studio or have your own, then it really isn’t an issue.

recently i composed a music score (for this movie:, facebook pages:, where i had to deal exactly with this problem.

i did most of the work in my linux ardour/renoise driven environment, then i had to record something in a tv studio running pt, then i had to put it somehow together, do some editing/processing/additional recording back in my home studio and finally transport the results to a mixing/post-production pt studio. i used the export-single-tracks-to-wav way. it was far from a painless process but i can confirm it is definitely doable. next time it’ll take me half the time and hassle.

something from what i’ve learned:

  1. some fxs are more part of the composition (music/artist view), some are more part of mix (sound/technician view). which are which is a good thing to figure out

  2. nice external hdd is a must

  3. consolidate function is your friend

  4. don’t be afraid to export some silence, pt can autocrop

  5. it’s good to export click-track as audio too, but don’t call that track in ardour “click”, otherwise it’s gonna get confused with the default click bus and the session can become unusable

  6. the real professionals are not the big-mouth ones who spend lot of time using words like “impossible”, “unprofessional”, “can’t do that without (add_your_favorite_expensive_hw_or_sw)” etc. luckily i had the pleasure to work with the other ones, who dedicate the time and skills rather to help solving all issues to make it just sound good.

that being said, i can’t deny that omf would make all sooo much esier! (not only related to pt, but also to all that video stuff, avid etc) – i realized some promissing news about that - i hope these are no rumors :slight_smile: -

cheers, t.

@ tomas cool, omf sounds great. I hope PT plays fair with that (in the cad world, for years Autodesk keep messing up dxf compatibility with Autocad dwg). Wouldn’t be surprised if they try and cripple some aspect in the conversion process from their native format.

@tomas vtipil Great post thanks for sharing your experiences. Nice tip on to export click track as audio.

Well in terms of compatibility with PT sessions there is,


currently only available with the indamixx machines. I do not know how to get it otherwise.

But thank you guys, your input was valuable. I am going to take your input and make a comparison and post it here soon. any other comments are always welcome.

I have a document started with about 100 features compared among several workstations. But it needs a LOT more collaboration and work to be finished. It would be unfair to post if the info is wrong or out-of-date. But determining this for sure requires a lot of research on each workstation in the list.

Half the battle is choosing which items to compare. They all have “play” buttons, but how is pre-roll supported? Stuff like that. My original document marked the workstation with the best-of-breed implementation of a specific feature. Ardour is lacking many features but it had a lot of BoB marks in it. Of course this is subjective, but in many cases it was pretty easily defended. Persistent undo, for example.

I’d love to see this list posted on Wikipedia and finished up, if anyone has the time and resources. Look me up on the Ardour IRC chat channel, #ardour


@BenLoftis Allowing collaboration is definitely the best way to get completion. I don’t know if there’s some sort of wiki or other version controlled doc environment around where ppl from here can gradually add to your baseline work.

and It wouldn’t be unfair if you just say the software’s versions. i will post in that wiki :).
but wouldnt that project became something farter than just trying to “advertise” ardour?

Presumably the comparison would make a distinction between Pro Tools HD and the relatively restricted (some would say crippled) LE and M-powered versions.

ArdourXchange appears on 64studio repos, i don’t have a link, please comment your experiences.