Ardour is a long running multi-track
audio workstation project by Paul Davis
Davis is also the lead developer behind
JACK, the Jack Audio Connection Kit,
which allows multiple applications to share the same sound card.
Ardour is a digital audio workstation. You can use it to record, edit and mix multi-track audio. You can produce your own CDs, mix video soundtracks, or just experiment with new ideas about music and sound.
Ardour capabilities include: multichannel recording, non-destructive editing with unlimited undo/redo, full automation support, a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, timecode synchronization, and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal. If you've been looking for a tool similar to ProTools, Nuendo, Pyramix, or Sequoia, you might have found it.
Above all, Ardour strives to meet the needs of professional users. This means implementing all the "hard stuff" that other DAWs ( even some leading commercial apps ) handle incorrectly or not at all.
Ardour can be contrasted with
Audacity, a much
simpler multi-track capable recording application that was examined
in the LWN article
Multi-track recording with Audacity.
Installation of Ardour is a complicated process. Your author decided to
take the easy path to getting the application running by installing
the current version of the
Ubuntu Studio distribution.
Ubuntu Studio comes with Ardour 2 rev 1762 and includes a Linux
kernel with real-time support, JACK, and numerous other useful audio
Ubuntu Studio is aimed at the GNU/Linux audio, video and graphic enthusiast as well as professional.
We provide a suite of the best open-source applications available for multimedia creation. Completely free to use, modify and redistribute. Your only limitation is your imagination.
A multi-track soundcard is highly recommended for getting the most out of
M-Audio Delta 44 card was selected.
The system uses an Asus A7V 333 motherboard with an Athlon
1800 CPU and 512 MB of system RAM.
The system has two hard drives, one for the operating system and
another for storing the audio data.
The system's video card is an ATI Radeon 8500.
Ardour will function with a 1024x768 resolution video display, but a
1280x1024 or higher resolution display is highly recommended so that the
main window and mixer windows can be viewed simultaneously.
An external mixing board adds a lot of flexibility to the recording
setup, a Behringer Eurorack UB1202 was connected to the Delta 44 card
to provide microphone preamplification, tone control and an effects loop.
The UB1202 only provides two outputs,
a four channel mixer would be a better choice for use with the Delta 44.
The first two channels from the Delta 44 were connected to a
stereo's aux inputs to allow high fidelity monitoring of the audio.
show the Ardour main window, mixer application and the qjackctl
GUI interface to JACK.
With this system, Ardour 2 is able to do basic sound-on-sound
recordings. Two primary tracks can be recorded, two more tracks can
be added while listening to the first tracks, and more tracks can be
The Ardour user interface is fairly intuitive, it did not take long to
figure out how to record tracks, add new tracks, extend existing
tracks and zoom in and out with the audio waveform display.
A nice feature is the automatic highlighting of clipped audio samples
with red dots on the waveform display.
Ardour takes a while to master, but that is to
be expected is an application that takes on such a complicated
list of tasks.
Ardour has a good
that is helpful for learning the application.
Initially, it seemed that
the system's hardware was not quite up to the task of running Ardour
reliably. While playing previously recorded material, moving the mouse
between windows on the screen caused small, but highly annoying
clicks in the audio stream. Moving the mouse while recording resulted
in clicks on the recorded tracks, badness 10,000.
Adding another 256MB of RAM to the system did not change the
behavior, the top utility supported this by showing 0MB
of swap in use with the 512MB memory configuration.
Switching to an Athlon 2200 processor reduced the clicking somewhat,
but the problem was still present.
After much poking and prodding, the problem was eventually traced to JACK
not being configured for realtime operation by default. The fix
was easy, it involved clicking on the qjackctl setup button, selecting
the realtime button, and restarting everything. No more obnoxious
Ardour's recorded audio quality using the Delta 44 sound card is quite
good. In boutique audio lingo, you can hear lots of subtle nuances
in the sound and the hiss is minimal.
Ardour 2 shows many improvements over earlier versions, it is truly
a nice application. Ubuntu Studio is also a huge step forward. It
is possible to go from a blank box to a system with a functioning
multi-track recorder in under an hour by answering a small number of
installation questions and waiting for the installation to complete.
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