Sunday, April 19, 2015

First Look At Ardour 4.0

[Updated April 22, 2015]

Ardour 4.0 was released yesterday (Sat., 4-18-2015).  The official announcement is here,

The what's-new list is quite impressive.  The biggest news is the return of full Macintosh support and and addition of a Windows version.  Historically, Ardour has been a Linux and Macintosh application[1].  Sadly, Ardour 3 for Macintosh never worked reliably enough to get out of beta, leaving Mac users who didn't like surprises to continue using Ardour 2.x.  With Ardour 4.0 full Mac support is back and, for the first time, there is a real, if not yet fully supported Windows version.  Now Windows users can take advantage of this powerful free software DAW on a familiar operating system[2].  It is my opinion that the massive install base of Windows almost ensures the success of Ardour on that platform and full support within a year.

I have not really used it yet, but I have installed it an imported a simple project into it.  Here are some screen shots.  The first two are just wide shots of the main windows.  Scroll down for smaller shots of specific elements of Ardour 4.0.

Ardour's relationship to the JACK audio server has changed.  You are no longer required to you use it.  There are still good reasons to use JACK on Linux[3] but choice is a good thing.  For non-Linux users JACK becoming optional removes another significant barrier to adoption.
Ardour 4.0 using JACK but not controlling it.

Ardour 4.0 using ALSA directly, without JACK.
Ardour 4.0 using and controlling JACK.

Simplified tools and edit modes: You can now do a wider variety of editing without "shifting gears."

You can make the vertical lines that extend down from selected location markers remain visible.  This feature is also in Ardour 3 (and maybe earlier--I don't know) but I never noticed it before.

1. There were also BSD ports and a few individuals compiling it for Windows with limited success, but the project itself was not involved in these efforts.
2. "Here are the reasons you should switch DAWs, oh and you also need to switch operating systems" and the reverse are both hard sells.
3. ...and probably elsewhere.

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