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Thursday, 24 January 2008

Ardour Report

I have advice. I spent some time with the native version of ardour yesterday, and, of course, a lot of time previous to that with the X11 version. If I were on OS X 10.4, I would run the X11 version because it's very reliable and it's pretty easy to install. The only drawback is that you have to first install X11, but that's worth doing anyway.

On Intel 10.5, I'm going to run the native version. While using it, I encountered a crash bug, (which I reported). It crashed very reliably, but, unlike Audacity, crashes do not result in the loss of saved data. The way I work with audio software is that whenever I make a change to a project, I save. Record audio. Save. Adjust panning. Save. To use the native version of Ardour, you must work this way, but you should be working this way anyway. Save early and often!

(I've worked in higher education as a lab assistant and I can't tell you how many times I've comforted weeping students who've just lost hours of work. Every program crashes occasionally. My sad students were all using commercial software and lost their data. Save. And backup!)

Getting Started

First do all the configuration and whatnot in my previous post. Then

  1. Start Jack Pilot
  2. Click it's start button
  3. Start Ardour

That's either version, native or X11. (The other issue I encountered with Ardour is that I keep forgetting to turn on Jack. This is not a big deal, as the friendly GUI will altert you and you can go do it. I'm forgetful enough that I created an Automator script to do it for me. If there is demand, I will distribute some version of the script.)

After you start it, Ardour will open a dialog box in which it asks you to eiahter make a new session or open a previous one. Then, a large window opens which should look familiar to you if you've used other audio software before.

A Wee Bit More Configuration

Go to the Options menu, then go to Autoconnect. Put a checkmark next to "Auto-connect inputs to physical inputs". Then, again in Autoconnect, put a checkmark next to "Auto-connect outputs to physical outputs". Finally, still in the Options menu, go to Monitoring and select "Software Monitoring".

These options are what I think most users will need. If you have fancy hardware or whatever, you may need to do something different.

Why I Recommend Ardour

  • Quality of product - Ok, the version I'm using has a crash bug, which sucks, but it's beta. However, this is software does everything I need it to do and does so well. It might crash occasionally, but it doesn't glitch. And let's face it, protools has bugs too (what version is it where sometimes, inexplicably, it wouldn't bounce to disk?). Ardour's bugs are less annoying than the bugs I've faced with protools. And the developers tend to respond to bug reports.

  • Economic - This is a fully-featured audio workstation and it's free. The developers would like it if you donate, but if you're an impoverished student and you can't, that's ok. And if you're an impoverished non-profit/NGO and you can't, that's ok. Or if you're just impovershed and you can't, that's ok. Sliding-scale software means access for everybody. (The corollary is that if you're not impoverished, you should make a donation.)

  • Support - Help is always available via IRC or the forums on the Ardour website. Also, unlike certain other software companies (grr), the developers of Ardour aren't going to suddenly drop support for you to force you to purchase an upgrade.

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1 comment:

Polly Moller said...

If Paul is jacking into your blog from the Summerland, he's enjoying it, because he liked Ardour too and recommended it to me. Recommendations in stereo!