Celemony Releases ARA SDK Under Open Source License

Celemony Software has announced that it has released the ARA (Audio Random Access) audio interface under open source license. In addition, it has released a comprehensive software development kit via github, to make ARA integration easier for DAW and plug-in manufacturers.

Developed by Celemony in cooperation with Presonus Software, ARA was conceived as a new standard to complement existing plug-in interfaces, such as VST and Audio Unit. The objective was to make it possible for DAWs and plug-ins to exchange information of a musical nature, regarding such things as notes, chords and tempos. The protocol was also intended to afford access to the audio files used in the project.

ARA support is found in Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Studio One, Cakewalk, Nuendo, Samplitude, Sequoia, Mixcraft, Reaper, Sound Forge, Acid, Waveform and other audio software.

The ARA Audio Random Access Software Development Kit is available under the Apache 2.0 license, which makes integration into projects with open-source licenses such as GNU GPLv3 possible. Interested developers can take advantage – free from licensing costs – of the full range of the ARA specification 2.0, which also covers more recent ARA features such as chord tracks, expanded copy & paste support, optimized routing and improved comping and editing.

Developers can see the repo on github for details.

6 thoughts on “Celemony Releases ARA SDK Under Open Source License

  1. huh,, can someone please explain like im five?? this seems like it has a lot of potential, but i dont really understand it.

    1. Audio plugins only listen to the current stream of audio which is fed to them by the DAW. Their ability to know about wider context is super narrow.

      You have to hit play before any samples on the track are sent to the plugin, which dutifully processes the output and sends on so the DAW can forward it to the next plugin, bus or master, etc.

      So (non ARA) plugins only get an instantaneous view of the audio. Their world is in many ways a mirror of an old style hardware outboard unit that gets a few feeds of audio (from the current DAW track only), midi, the samplerate, the current playback position and pretty much nothing else.

      ARA allows plugins to request all the audio on the current track before the user presses play. This is important for Melodyne to be of maximum use which is why Celemony are championing it.

      For ARA to be useful it needs to have widespread adoption, it’s no good me making an ARA plugin if only 50% of DAWs use it and DAWs wont support it if it’s either hard to do or seldom used. Thus Celemony have taken the admirable step of making their work available for all to use and learn from.

      Also, the ARA implementations that I have seen only really work when the ARA plugin is the first plugin on a track. I’d love to make a mastering plug that can listen to the whole mix first before setting the perfect levels. But it seems that either ARA or the DAW implementations I’ve used don’t permit that.

    2. If I understand rightly, it’s a programming protocol for DAW plugins that edit audio content. If you’re not a programmer, it doesn’t affect you now. But maybe you’ll soon see more DAW plugins along the lines of melodyne.

      (Abstractly, it’s great news that companies are working together and developing common protocols.)

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