Open Source Ardour DAW Gets Major Update

The open source Ardour digital audio workstation forĀ for Linux, macOS and Windows has been updated to version 6.0.

The developers say that version 6 is ‘more reliable and usable program than any previous version of the program’.

Here’s what’s new in Ardour 6.0:

Full latency compensation everywhere

Previous versions of Ardour have contained various levels and kinds of compensation for latency in the signal processing flow. Ardour 6.0 is now absolutely, fully compensated for latency along any signal pathway. Busses, tracks, plugins, sends, inserts, returns: no matter how you route signals within (and external to) Ardour, everything will be fully compensated and aligned with sample accuracy.

Global varispeed

Previous versions of Ardour implemented varispeed using specific DSP. Ardour 6.0 now contains a high quality resampling engine at its core to deal with varispeed, a design that makes the core of Ardour’s code much simpler and ensures that MIDI tracks will have their audio output (if any) handled correctly. This also lays the groundwork for a future version of Ardour to become sample-rate agnostic.

Cue Monitoring

Previous versions of Ardour allowed you to monitor the signal coming from disk, or the signal from inputs, but not both. Ardour 6.0 now provides the ability to monitor any combination, often called “cue monitoring” (you can hear existing data from disk while also listening to the input signal). This is particularly useful for MIDI tracks, where you can now hear yourself performing/adding new material to a track while listening to the playback of existing material in the track.

Wet Recording

Ardour 6.0 now allows recording from any position in a Channel’s signal flow. Although it is conventional to record “dry” signals and then add FX processing to them dynamically, sometimes you want to record an instrumental performance with some FX processing already applied to the signal. Just move the position of the “Recorder” processor, and you tap the signal anywhere in the signal chain of a track.


The “Grid” has been separated into 2 separate features: Snap and Grid. There is full description of the new design in the manual. Many interlocking changes should result in a more consistent, “what you see is what you get” operation for Grid and Snap.

MIDI handling

6.0 features some major breakthroughs and fixes for a lot of the irritating bugs that interfered with MIDI editing in earlier versions.

Plugin management

A comprehensive new “pin management” system supports arbitrary connections between plugins.

Related benefits include managing the number of instances of a plugin, splitting a signal to feed multiple inputs of a plugin, and exposing the sidechain inputs of AudioUnit plugins. Plugins can now be “tagged” with metadata, like “EQ” or “Vocal”, allowing the categorization of plugins in various plugin selector menus and dialogs. Harrison contributed a set of tags for over 2,000 plugins, so many users will find sensible categories are already provided without being required to tag their existing plugins.

The Plugin Manager dialog was overhauled with a friendlier layout and it allows more sensible searching and filtering.

See the Ardour site for more details or to download.

4 thoughts on “Open Source Ardour DAW Gets Major Update

  1. You simply pay for the pre-built installer. You can always build it from source in a few seconds. Cheers.

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