Why Use Ardour?

Maybve this won’t help since Ardour is only the second DAW I’ve used (not counting Audacity). My first USB interface came with a DAW released by Steinberg called Sequel. Think Garageband with a Cubase engine. I found it limited after a year or so and, being a FOSS/Linux person, I checked out what was available in that area. Ardour just did what I wanted, first time and continues to do so as I learn/want to do more.

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Ardour is phenomenal value. Pay whatever price and/or subscribe and you’ve got immensely powerful DRM-free software that’s yours to keep and mess with.

It’s logical and well thought out. You can just click things out of curiosity and easily get a handle on stuff without having to watch annoying YouTube tutorials etc. I find it easy to quickly figure out things in Ardour.

Adding to the above - the documentation / user manual is actually really good.

I really like the cut of Paul and Robin’s jib (and everyone else involved in development). There’s a level of transparency and downright honesty that you don’t get from other developers/companies that have to constantly be mindful of marketing, PR, shareholders’ interests, share price, and so on. It’s very refreshing and very much appreciated.

I’ve used Reaper since v2 and even though it works better on my laptop and I’m a lot more familiar with it, I actually prefer Ardour and have really enjoyed spending time this last year exploring functionality and reading these forums and testing things and messing with test projects. However I recently moved to Poland and started a new job and am frantically trying to finish renovating our new house before it’s time to switch the heating on thus I don’t have time for music at the mo :upside_down_face:


Mainly because of Paul’s no-nonsense attitude and because he wore a suit for that one talk.

Kidding aside, because it’s FLOSS, incredibly stable, and featureful.


Thanks for the link, I hadn’t seen that video before.

I’ve been using it since version 2.x, don’t remember exactly.
I use Ardour because I like it. Sometimes I look around for a different DAW but at the end of a day I always come back to Ardour.

@runiq @paul

That was an excellent talk, I had missed it, thanks for sharing!

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@DHealey you know we have step input, and have had it for years, right? Ours is very very closely modelled on Logic Pro’s implementation.

@martz zero crossings do not exist, anywhere.

The chance that there is a sample value of zero at a crossing is essentially … zero. So “jump to zero crossing” really means “jump to one of two samples that have opposite sign”, which is of little value (there’s no reason why the values have to small).

I don’t know where this fiction comes from, but it truly is a fiction.

In Ardour you can cut anywhere you want. A small fade is applied either side of the cut to remove clicks, unless you specifically disable that.


Yeah I love the step input in Ardour. It is the main reason I use Ardour over qtractor for MIDI stuff. But now qtractor has step input and Ardour has improved velocity editing so the feature sets of each are getting closer together, which is great!

Yeah, @paul – I’ve been reading some discussions on zero crossings these days. Possible paradigm shift happening over here – thanks for taking the time to explain this (again).

It is curios, though, that even some very-very good, highly experienced radio editors still rely on zero crossings. E.g. when I handed over a Reaper-made session with tiny crossfades (like in Ardour), our studio editor promptly said, “I’m going to remove all the fades anyhow”. And she is a person with 30+ years of high-level experience. Interesting.

I mean, there is an increase in the probability that the two samples adjacent to a sign change will be small, versus picking a sample at random. But it’s only a probabilistic thing, not guaranteed at all (and very frequency dependent). So you’re going to do better picking such a location if you’re trying to reduce clicks, but it cannot offer a guarantee unless the software also alters the first sample to zero.

But … it’s worse than this: there’s potentially a lot of energy associated with the section right after the cut, and so even if you get the first sample to zero, this by itself doesn’t guarantee that you do not get a “pop” from the speakers. There are discontinuities and there are discontinuities - zero crossings, even if they existed and were usable, only deal with one kind.

There are things I have more than 30 years of experience with and I’m still wrong about them :slight_smile:


True, but it does help deal with the most common cause of this honestly, especially when dealing with loop creation etc. So while it isn’t the ‘Be all end all’ answer for every situation, it is an answer that does result in improvements in the majority of cases in real life usage.

For the record, I have a student focused on mixing and composition in Logic currently that just a week or two ago I had to explain ‘cutting on the zero’ to, because she ran into this very situation when looping a section of a track. I am so used to Ardour’s solution which means i don’t think about it much anymore.


Hi Scacinto,
I use Ardour because:

  • it’s a native debian package - so it’s “fully” FLOSS and simple to get it
  • audio tracks made with Ardour can be at professional level
  • I love understanding and discovering what I try in mixing, even if it takes time to understand :sweat_smile:
  • Ardour’s community is helpful and open minded, and I love the idea of mixing computer scientists and musician artists discussions, it’s so “order and chaos” fashioned :grinning:

Thanks for the “rendering” I to know what Mepis was and have some tome to write regards to being beaten about the head by the proprietary business model. If the lead developers of ardour comes back from an Ayahuasca trip with a new “paradigm” we would be safe. Enough developers use ardour so that a last good version could keep up with the linux kernel until the drugs wore off. Daft ides occurs even among software developers, the gnome 2 developers imagined that they could leverage the user base to kick of their new paradigm and f to that said many and the only usable GUI (no xfce do not qualify as a GUI) was transmuted into the live and kicking Mate project, my muscle memory still being exercised. I was quite desperate at some stage and tried hard to become a Reaper user but when Ardour with midi was announced it was a no brainer. It has taken a long time, my version 5 projects are clumsy, but I am getting faster everyday as I do not have to think of how to enact technical steps, they present themselves in the background as artistic options. Reaper has the best stewardship of all the proprietary DAWs out there but it is guarded as an “asset” and financial needs and change of ownership is inevitable, It might not happen in your lifetime, there is a reason it is “closed source” but why gamble with your muscle memory when you do not have to, Long live Ardour. by the way the blond kick is the beez neez. thanks

I think this is actually wrong. Justin Frankel, the original and lead developer of Reaper, was already incredibly wealthy from selling WinAmp. Cockos is a privately held “corporation”, there’s no venture capital, no reason to sell.

If you listen to the whole 3.5hr conversation Justin and I had, he almost seems wistful for the idea of one day ceasing work on Reaper (which I don’t think he has to do for financial reasons) and then just open sourcing it. He also explains that the main reason Reaper is closed source is that he just couldn’t really deal with what he imagined the open source “process” to be …



Yeah he responded the same way on his ask JF site. He thinks he’ll have to review and pull in changes and manage all the community contributions. But that’s just one model for an open source project. If I was him I’d put the source code out there but not accept any contributions, other people can fork it to make contributions and pull in the upstream to their fork.

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I want to tidy up my earlier comments, saying that https://www.xfce.org/ is not a GUI @GMaq was an attempt at humor (it was late in the day). This forum is where i search for information about Ardours capabilities and get good information. I do not want to give rise to confusion or misunderstandings. As an illustration of how important it can be that your tool is under a software freedom license I use the example of Gnome 2, its abandonment by the Gnome foundation and its eventual resurrection as https://mate-desktop.org/

It is personal to me, I depend on the functionality in Gnome2/Mate as much as some developers depend on Vim. There are no alternatives and Xfce and all the other “traditional desktops” do not have the feature set i need. I have workflows that are ingrained and use the flexibility of Mate in numerous ways. There is hesitancy expressed whenever google release an app because the investment users make in learning them is never respected.

The lead developers of Ardour have not promoted the use of any mind altering substances and the reference to Ayahuasca - Wikipedia was meant as a funny way of suggesting that developers are human and can remove functionality they believed was unnecessary. There is no evidence that functionality that users depend on was ever removed from the Ardour DAW. The graphical user interface of Ardour is well designed and anybody who wish to invest in learning it should go ahead, your investment will be respected.

As Ardour users we have the added safety that our tool is embedded in numerous GNU/Linux distributions installer CDs so holding on to an older version, whatever your reasons might be is not difficult. Being an established software freedom licensed project there are many experts who have had a go at becoming familiar with the code who can compile it and make adjustments if necessary.

I started out with Cubase moved to Logic and spent time learning Reason. Ardour has none of the angst inducing, time demanding administrative overhead that the proprietary solutions have. I want to spend my time engaging with music not with ranges of digital restrictions contraptions.

I began learning Reaper and would have ended up there if midi was not added to Ardour. None of my computers get to “retire” They move on to becoming GNU/Linux machines and they all have Ardour on them, the DAW is usable with very old CPU systems and if the impulse comes I can tinker with a tune on any of the computers.

The Lua scripting capabilities of Ardour means that I now have a reason to learn to code and I have searched the source code of Ardour for clues as part of the learning process. This feature is not available in Protools or any of the other main propitiatory DAWs.

I can pretend that where I ended up was because I wanted to use energy helping the world switch to software freedom licensed application but my moves have been made for purely selfish reasons. I benefit from the funding invention Ardour created and participate not for concerns about others well-being but to receive further benefits.

The latest version has added the ability to make a complete prints of all tracks which reduces the usually work intensive task of archiving to one click. I include the latest “AV Linux MX Edition – bandshed.net live CD with every block of archived projects so every archive has both the data and the data player, again not on offer by proprietary solutions.

Ardour 8 is awash with new benefits and everyone owes themselves a try.

( @paul I am a podcast ‘subscriber’ and look forward to the next installments, Justin Frankel is an honorable man )


Hi, great post, I need to say, I use Ardour because is the only 99.7 usable and stable DAW in linux, I had purchased many DAWs in the past but had many security issues on Windows then I completely moved to Linux, I’ve tried other DAWs that supports Linux but there’s always an issue, some doesn’t support LV2 at all, others crash a lot, another work laggy even on good hardware, at the end, I cannot trust my musical product on it but with Ardour.
Ardour is always improving, has a great community and you can report a bug via Mantis and they fix it.


I just started with Ardour, and for me the main reason is the better plugin support compared to LMMS.

I do also prefer opensource software, so I try to stay away from proprietary software as much as I can.

Although I love LMMS, the lack of LV2 support and some more Linux stuff, made me try Ardour.
I am a bit fed up waiting for stuff, Ardour already can do for years now.

Digging up an old discussion. Just for reference (might be interesting to folks around here), I stumbled upon an incredibly detailed article about fading, zero crossing etc. Just, wow.

The Art of Looping, by Chris Meyer and Bill Aspromonte. In: Music Technology, December 1987: