What are some favorite features (big or small) in Ardour you'd like to highlight?

Ardour is increasingly packed with features, tools and abilities, making it an exciting and dense landscape for creative music production. However, due to this depth of its capability, many features (-sometimes even “basic” ones) seem to get ‘lost’ amongst the rest…

So, to expand my own knowledge of the program, and for which I hope others can as well, I ask the community:

  • What individual features/tools do you like most in Ardour?
  • What things are often overlooked, yet incredibly useful in certain contexts?
    (-v6, 7, or 8; -suggestions don’t have to be exclusive to Ardour, or of an “advanced” kind (-but can be), etc…)

Here’s a very modest example of a little feature I use all the time that I love:

Position / Region Lock:
A simple, handy tool to ensure that no unnoticed mis-clicks will disturb any carefully placed or synced regions. (I’ve set mine to toggle on/off by pressing alt-L) :

Thanks for any comments,


Personnaly i use ardour for live shows and one thing i like is that with some midi-tracks aligned with a clic, i can send control change messages to my pedals, this way my effects automaticaly change right on time i can be focus on my instrument.
You can send midi messages to dmx light controler too, so Ardour is very usefull for a complete programmed live show.


I like how Ardour treats mono plugins on a stereo channel. This is something you can easily ignore or never even think how this differs from other DAWs.
An example: I like to use “Barry’s Satan Maximizer” on drum VST with mulitichannel output.

In Tracktion Waveform: I was suprised - if I put this plugin the audio output was mono and sound was centered. WTF?

I compared this to Ardour and… Ardour runs two instances of this plugin, one instance for each channel. It was done completely under the hood, automatically, I didn’t even noticed this and actually I never think why I put mono plugin on stereo track and it just works.



Yeah I really like Ardour plugin routing system too.

The ability to merge multiple audio files into a single track on import is a wonderful feature I use for editing multi-mic recordings and keeping everything in sync.


I’m excited about “Internal Edit Mode” InternalEditMode

where volume differences in the same track can be compensated without affecting the fader.


Yeah, that’s a pretty damn good one. -Simple, effective, and just plain smart. (So I guess if you applied a mono-track compressor (-I don’t even think I have one), would it also apply two instances of it, and thus result in a “dual-mono”-type compressor?)

I’m not so sure what you mean. Is this merging ability only available on Ardour 7 or 8? I guess this is a good segue ((… -just learned it’s not spelled “segway” :thinking: )) into another feature I was going to share…

All I’m aware of is grouping tracks/buses into Groups, which has many helpful options you can enable/disable:

Screen shot 2023-11-14 at 8.20.56 PM

:point_up: As shown above, I’ve currently got only the share Active state turned on for all my groups, meaning that when I deactive only one of the tracks in a group (via the Editor List), Ardour deactivates the others in that group as well. This is a decent means to quickly eliminate plugin CPU load if your computer is running too hot and you’re currently not working with plugin-rich tracks of a particular group.

Beyond that, grouping and having group tabs colored (-left side-) makes navigating large projects so much easier. I was really happy when I learned about this:

-An absolutely essential feature in my mind. But your comment got me looking into the manual’s part on it

To someone who might know, what’s really the point of having both the Draw Mode and the Internal Edit Mode? I feel like they could be combined into the same tool, but there’s probably something I’m missing here. :question:

Thanks for all your comments!
I love learning more about this program! :grin:

There needs to be a way to differentiate “this mouse drag is a rubber band select of existing data” and “this mouse drag is creating new data”.

There’s a philosophical UX choice here: you can use modifiers to differentiate, or you can use modes. The former makes more sense if you believe that a user is going to be constantly, rapidly going from one operation to the other. The latter makes more sense if you think that the user will do one thing for a while, then the other. We chose the latter.

Where possible, we have tried to allow bits of draw & internal edit modes to “leak” into the other.


Well, given just the standard keyboard shortcuts you’ve got for them (D and E), you’ve kind of satisfied both user options. -Not hard to switch modes. :ok_hand:

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That would be my position, but I know that some users disagree …

Been there since at least Ardour 5, probably earlier. It’s within the media import window

Hmm… Interesting.
But I have no such function (-running Ardour 6.9.0 (-on Mac 10.6.8 (-old))):

Maybe there’s a specific file size/type/length/etc. needed to expose that option?

I can also see there that you have the option “all files in one track”, where I have “one track per channel”. My guess is this is all just a difference of Ardour versions.

The files have to have identical length.


I just thought of another one, support for VAMP plugins through the scripting API. This has been very useful to me.


One of my favorite features about Garageband is it gives you access to 1000s loops for free. I was overjoyed when I found out you could download loops through Ardour either through the Library Downloader or by going to File then import and searching for them through Freesound.

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If you’ve installed Garageband on a macOS system, and then start up Ardour, you’ll find that Ardour automatically gives you access to all those same loops, builtin.


Yeah too bad I can’t use those Apple Loops on my Linux box… at least not legally :wink:

I am not aware of a license that prevents you from copying them to your Linux machine.


Gotta explore that, thanks for pointing it out :+1:

Iirc they are free to use the Apple Loops however you want, just not redistribute them.
Be aware though, as with any popular loop library, you will inevitably run into issues once you publish on platforms who think automatic copyright detection is a good idea (YouTube in particular). Apple Loops were used for anything imaginable in the last 20 years. Even Mercedes Benz ads.
They are still useful as placeholder in unfinished tracks, for fun, as sounddesign start point (as long as the end result is sufficiently altered) or for practicing instruments along quickly whipped up arrangements.