"Record, edit and mix multi-track audio."
Ever wanted your own audio workstation? Ardour is an open source digital audio workstation with features that match some of the high priced audio editors on the market today. It is an excellent utility that allows you to create your own CDs, as you will be able to use it for recording, editing and mixing multi-track audios. It boasts a wide range of features that help you in this process, such as multichannel recording, sample accurate automation, timecode synchronization, and a lot more. Whether you are using it just to have some fun and experiment with new ideas and sounds, or you are a professional user, Ardour strives to meet everyone’s needs. Let’s analyze the features of this digital audio workstation in this quick article.
Keep in mind the fact that Ardour doesn’t provide Windows support. As a result, in order to install Ardour on your computer, you will need Mac OS or Linux. With a setup kit of just 25 MB, Ardour is a pretty lightweight tool, especially considering the functionality it provides. After a quick download, you will then proceed through a fast and simple installation process that will not pose you any problems.
For Ardour to start up, it is imperative that you have JACK, the professional system that handles real-time, low latency audio and MIDI. By using the JACK audio connection kit, a number of different applications can be connected to an audio device. What is more, they will be able to share audio between themselves. A wide range of input and output options are allowed within Ardour through JACK, the underlying audio layer of this digital audio workstation.
For a novice user who hasn’t worked with similar tools in the past, the interface of Ardour may be a little daunting. It would have been pretty hard to make all these features intuitive and easy to reach. As a result, users that are new to audio production will find out that Ardour can have a bit of a learning curve. Even the average recordist can be overwhelmed by the numerous features of Ardour. As for the look and design of the interface, you should be happy to find out that gray, black and white shades of the interface give it a very serious and professional look.
Nowadays, the stars of the majority of digital workstations are the plugins. Out of the box, Ardour lacks their implementation, but don’t worry because there are literally hundreds of open-source free plugins both in the LADSPA and LV2 formats. Moreover, Apple fans are in for a treat as they are able to use the AU plugin format. A truly unique feature of Ardour is the way that you can place your plugins as the standard pre-fader position or post-fader position.
Ardour is a free DAW made for serious studio use so it provides the common feature you would expect from such a tool: sync and interface through common standards, time stretch/shrink, panning and automation of volume. Keep in mind the fact that, for example, the time stretch/shrink feature through which an audio region’s BPM can be increased or decreased without changing the key is usually seen in costly DAWs. What is more, the ability to use sends is nowhere to be found in the same high dollar DAWs on the market.
Maybe video sound track editing is your thing. In this case, you should be happy to find out that Ardour doesn’t disappoint in this regard either and offers you Xjadeo, a JACK enabled video player that is able to sync internally with a clock source. Thus, you can edit the audio of your finished movies by making Ardour your clock source and syncing out to Xjadeo. It works great and the editing is performed with relative ease.
In the end, the community and hands-on support of the developer and the development team is the most amazing feature of Ardour. You can pop by IRC and ask a question and you will surely get the support and answers you need to point you in the right direction.
The only problem with Ardour is that novice users will surely be intimidated by the extremely feature-rich interface.
Alternatives to Ardour include: Audacity, Pro Tools, Rosegarden and more.
All in all, Ardour is the perfect example of a free and open source piece of software that is able to outperform many of its commercial adversaries. It is feature rich and the ability to edit the source code and truly make Ardour your own makes it a highly recommended tool for anyone who is interested in audio production.