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Using Ardour the Sound editor

Updated on January 23, 2010

Professional Quality Recording

It doesn't get much better.

Ardour is a free open-source program written chiefly for Gnu_Linux based operating systems, but it does work on Apple's Macintosh operating system as well. As a musician of 25 years who has been digitally recorded for 14 years now, I must say It has everything the big proprietary programs have. All of the bells and whistles either come with it or are easily obtained. In this hub I will go through what it takes to not only get Ardour but also use it.

Where does it come from?

It is a collaborative effort of many programmers. You see open source software has it's code kept open so that anyone with a firm grasp of the programming language (in this case C++) can open it in a text editor, and either tweek the code, or add to it. Massive projects can be done very swiftly this way because like in the case of Ardour probably over 100 people put code in there for it. They deserve all of the praise I can give them. The quality I've gotten from this program is matched only by very, very expensive programs.

How do I get it?

Many Linux distributions are shipped (downloaded) with Ardour installed along with it by default. You'd have to go to the thousands of Distribution's webpages to find out. Some safe bets are 64Studio and Ubuntu Studio edition. Most package managers will have it listed. If not it's a fairly easy compile. Literally 3 or 4 commands will do it once the required packages or dependancies are met. It runs on the Jack sound server platform. You'll need that package. If you don't want to install Linux, just get the Ubuntu Studio Cd. It will run as a live CD and won't touch your hard drive. I will post all of the links you need to get it at or near the bottom of this hub so don't worry.

On Macintosh operating systems that come with MacBook, Imac and the like, you just download the precomiled archive unzip and run. I'ts that simple. I will point out the link I post that will have the Mac file in there too.

Ardour's Elegant Interface

The Full View
The Full View
The Mixer
The Mixer

Bells and Whistles

Starting the Program

I click on the program from the menu list. You can also open it in a terminal by typing:


Ardour will pormpt you to open a program or create a new one, fairly simple.

You then must open the Jack interface and connect it from the input to the Ardour program. Then if you want to listen to your recordings, you have to connect it to the output of speakers or headphone jack.


you then click on "track" on the top menu list. Click "add track or bus." After that the new track shows up down below. You click the red button on the track. This is the record enabler toggle. Then you click the red button on the top play/record controller. Your ready to roll. Click the play arrow. Your are now recording high quality .wav sound! For each track, just add a new one. and repeat the steps above. I think you can use as many tracks as your RAM card will allow. I've had over 50 going at one time! The system bogged down and crashed on me though at that level of memory usage. I only have 2 gigs of RAM. I'm sure with 4 you'd be fine to do 75 or even maybe 100 tracks in a 3 minute song. I don't have 4 gigs so don't quote me on that.

Now that you have material to work with, it's time for plugins! The plugins I use are LADSPA plugins. I also use some LV2 as well. In the  2nd photo on the far left, you can see a black area. This is where they show up. Save the file with [ctrl+s] or in the session menu. You can select sections or regions and export them. If you have Lame mp3 encoder installed mp3 will be an option they give you. You should know something about recording for the rest. I'm not giving all of my secrets away. I'll leave you to play with it. Experiment. You can't break it.


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