Subscriptions to Ardour

I have become very confused about how Ardour is funded/supported. Is it the case that the Ardour prgram itself is free to download and also free to use? Maybe it was in the past, but perhaps things have changed.

I downloaded a trial version, and it times out - goes slient - after a short while. I get a message that I can unlock the behaviour - presumably with some form of payment, but maybe not.

If using Ardour requires a subscription I may be prepared to pay if the fees are modest. However, I tend to be against subscription funding for software - though that does rather depend on the software and what the fees are. If there is a one off fee, then I also like to consider that as an option.

However, I am finding it difficult to figure out whether I need to pay for Ardour or not, as the whole financing does not seem transparent enough.

I already have several DAWs so don’t necessarily need a new one unless it offers features which no other does, or is significantly better in certain aspects.

So - to summarise:

Re Ardour

  1. Is Ardour free, or paid for softwre.
  2. If paid for, is there a one off payment, or a subscription?
  3. If a subscription model, what rates apply.
  4. For any paid for model, how do I get a license key.

Re Ardour forums (these pages)

  1. I am currently supporting the forums with a small monthly subscription.
  2. Is there any direct connection between belonging to these forums and being able to use Ardour?

I came to Ardour because of articles I read, and also more recently because someone gave a very quick overview of Ardour, and suggested it was free to download and use.

I feel that there is a lack of transparency which needs to be addressed.

Ardour may indeed be a good product which I would support, but the financial model needs to be much clearer and linked to whatever promotion there is of this software.

Linked to from the download page:

Short version, the software is Open Source, meaning you can ALWAYS get the source code for the software (For instance on Ardour · GitHub) but you have to compile that, which is a process in itself that takes a lot of work. As a result there are pre-compiled binaries(Which are what many people are looking for when downloading), but they are charged for to reflect that #1 it is work to compile the software, #2 that the pre-compiled binary has more support with it through the forums and IRC, and #3 to support the development of Ardour itself.

Now that that is out of the way to your specific questions:

#1, see above
#2, Either. Different options, a one time payment in general lets you download that specific version and can be as little as $1. A subscription you can keep getting versions of the binary as long as your subscription is active.
#3. Not sure I understand the question? If you are asking what is the cost of a subscription, it can be as little as $1 a month
#4 You download the binary while logged into the website (Assuming your subscription is tied to your account, which in general just means subscribing while logged in), it is a completely different binary from the demo.
#5 If you are already a subscriber, when logged in on the right hand side instead of ‘Become a Subscriber’ you should see something akin to ‘Thank you for your subscription’. If you are still seeing ‘Become a subscriber’ then chances are your paypal subscription is not tied to your account, and you will need to contact Paul at (Linked on the above page) to get that corrected.
#6 Not really in the terms of w hat you are thinking of. You can do the two completely independently, you can post and participate on the forums without using the software and vice versa. There is no payment option for the forums at all.


By the way, in terms of lack of transparency, did you read the page I linked to (Which is also linked in a banner at the top of the download process, see below)

How could this be made clearer to you if so?


Chances are, that you already subscribed to Ardour, thus you can download the binary. As far as I know, there is no monthly subscription to the forum.

Edit: on the forum right hand side, it says

Become a Subscriber
Support Ardour, get free upgrades: pay $1, $4, $10 or $50/month

This is the very Ardour subscription we are talking about, and not a forum subscription.

Maybe I fell down at step 5. I have an email which indicates I’m a subscriber - but I didn’t use Paypal directly to pay - but another credit card. I think Paypal administers collection from my credit card provider.

So I still see the message about subscribing even if I’m logged into the Forum. See .png file above - not sure if there’s an easy way to display that here. I could load to an image site, but right now I’ve just put the file here. [Actually does seem to work if just pasted in here …]

Nearly deafened myself just now why trying to configure Ardour with headphones on. Not sure what I did - probably set up an oscillation loop. It really doesn’t seem easy to get this one going.

I wonder if it’s actually easier for people running Linux. I’m running MacOS X - and it’s possible that the interface to the Apple Audio is tricksy - though I think I had it working a few days ago. Is Jadeo really necessary for MacOS?

As I’ve heard good things about Ardour I’ll carry on for a while. There seems to be a dearth of really good tutorials about audio editing, and Midi support seems limited - or at least arcane and not so easy to understand.

It is is the Video Monitor. It is only needed if you so soundtracks for a movie and want to have a video clip displayed in sync with Ardour.

In case you are not familiar with the term “Open Source” which Seablade used previously, I will just make explicit that there is no license key. You are permitted to run the software anywhere you like, and are permitted to give copies to other people (although you should make sure any recipient is aware that is the case, and that source code is available if desired).

The formal description of what is allowed is found in the COPYING file distributed with the source code, but I did not find a copy of that file with the binary distribution.
Here is the file in the source tree:
Ardour COPYING file.

(side note to Robin, should that file change from the v2 file to v3 in the pre-7.0 tree? Isn’t 7.0 going to support VST3, which is GPL 3?)

Ardour’s source code itself is licensed in terms of the GPL version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

The resulting binary (when not disabling VST3 support) is effectively GPLv3.

So see my above comment about emailing You will need your paypal info and your ardour account name. It will have to be manually linked as it doesn’t seem like you were logged in when you did so.

I suspect you meant a feedback loop, something Ardour generally stops you from being able to deafen yourself with by default but can be disabled (See the ‘FEEDBACK’ button in the UI) however you can still create an acoustic feedback loop easily outside of Ardour by telling it to use the built in microphone of your laptop for instance for input, and the speakers of your laptop for output, and telling Ardour to monitor incoming signal (Which is the default and what people generally want). All of this can be adjusted however and once set up properly would work fine (And by the way, this acoustic feedback loop would happen in most DAWs out there)

It shouldn’t be that tricky, I teach a dozen or so students to use it on Mac OS (Well probably 70/30 split Mac and Windows) annually. There isn’t a lot more difficult than I see in other DAWs for instance, but there is a steep learning curve to DAWs in general, so if you are new to DAWs (As opposed to audio editors for instance) there is a steep learning curve.

Do make sure you are telling Ardour to use the correct audio interface though.

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Thanks for the tips. Agree about the steepish learning curves for DAWs, though so far I’ve managed Garageband, Logic (which were relatively easy), Reaper and LMMS. I also tried a cutdown version of Ableton.Oddly, from where I am now I find Logic and LMMS the easiest to use.

It seems that Ardour is better equipped for audio than Midi, which is a bit of a shame as I do a lot by generating Midi files, then combining those with different sample libraries. I suppose I could get almost the same results by generating audio from the Midi files, but then it depends what tool is used to host and use the sample libraries. I often use notation software to generate the Midi files.

I am familiar with the term Open Source, but as I was downloading compiled binaries I didn’t assume that there wouldn’t be a license key arrangement for those.

I don’t really want to have to edit and compile much software from source code - though in the past I have done a lot of that.

Thanks. I have vague recollections of this for the video and movie soundtracks.
So as I don’t really need those at the moment, I can just work directly with Ardour - and not worry about linking in Jadeo. Right?

I have now sent a message to - together with an image of my receipt via Paypal.
I was hoping that this would be cleared by now, but I’m still seeing the side panel about subscriptions, and the last version of Ardour I downloaded still times out.

Does it usually take time to get this sort of thing dealt with? I really don’t want to use Paypal directly if I can avoid it.

That picture you included is the same you see if you are a subscriber.

That used to be the case, but seems to no longer be true.

When you go to the “My account” page, do you see your subscription listed?
Ardour my-account page

If you do not see your subscription listed there then you need to get your Ardour account and subscription information linked up as suggested. If your subscription is listed there, then you just need to make sure you are logged in when you download the Ardour binary package.

Thanks. I can see the account details in the forum when I’m logged in. I’m still getting the earlier sidebar about Ardour Finance - but as you suggest maybe everyone gets that now.

I deleted the couple of copies of Ardour I already had to make sure I was starting with a clean slate, and then downloaded another version and installed it. I’ve not tested for long enough now to be sure that it won’t time out - but it does appear to be behaving better, and I’ve now exported some audio.

Hopefully my version will now carry on well enough for me to test - and indeed use - it further.

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