Ardour

Ardour, the free, open-source audio workstation for Mac and Linux, received a major 2.0 release on April 30. Now, this is the point where you’d normally expect to see the same, boring list of feature improvements that commercial manufacturers release as bullets in each release. But when I asked the Ardour project lead Paul Davis to say something about the new version, he responded with something — well, unorthodox:

Audio on Linux sucks, you can’t make music on it, there are no soft synths, my plug-ins don’t run, nobody can configure Linux, my hardware doesn’t work on Linux, it can’t open Pro Tools sessions, it doesn’t do MIDI sequencing which makes it about 10 years behind the curve, Reaper is better and changing faster, it doesn’t run on Windows, why bother?

Sorry to disappoint those of you ready to troll in comments; Paul just took your ammunition.
Ardour 2.0 Release

Whew! I’m glad we got that out of the way. Now, having dispensed with the typical PR hype (yeah, that should silence any comment trolls), the 2.0 “bullet points” actually do look quite nice:

  1. New UI, with better design, more accessible menus, and instant accelerator key assignments right in the menu.
  2. Destructive recording (“dubbing”) a la X-Dubber. (See an in-depth GearSlutz thread for more.)
  3. Undo/redo throughout the program from startup to shutdown.
  4. Improved VST support.
  5. New control surface support, including Frontier Design’s Tranzport and Mackie Control-compatible devices.
  6. Lots o’ other stuff (countless smaller improvements).

Ardour

Let’s get right down to it: can you actually use Ardour to make, you know, music? In the case of the commercial DAWs, odds are you already know someone making mixes with Cubase, SONAR, DP, Logic, Live, and whatnot. And if you ever listen to music period, you’ve heard something made in Pro Tools. Paul dug up some examples of different mixes from the Ardour user base. Ardour can be a great choice on the Mac, and I know people using it on Mac OS. In this case, though, we have music not only made with Ardour, but on Linux.

None of these musical samples are necessarily my kind of music, but they demonstrate the potential range possible with Ardour, as with any tool of a certain sophistication level. The difference here is that the tools are open source. From Spain, Carlos Pino uses Ardour along with guitar recordings, the Hydrogen drum app, and various soft synths — all open software:

http://ardour.org/files/after_the_pain.mp3
http://ardour.org/files/open_horizon.mp3

And in entirely different directions:

Some glitchy minimalism for Thorsten Wilms:
http://www.archive.org/download/the_sample/thorwil__sample.mp3

And acoustic guitar improvisation from Linux audio guru Dave Phillips:
http://linux-sound.org/meditation-improv.mp3

It’s my general feeling that software tools are often unfairly associated with certain kinds of music. Even if you hate everything you’ve just heard (or love each), you have to concede, you can make any kind of music you want.

I’m especially surprised that Ardour hasn’t received wider adoption in cash-strapped institutions and schools. You’ll often see people installing the open source audio editor Audacity, but Audacity is an extremely limited application for many audio editing purposes, particularly when it comes to multitracking. Ardour is a full-blown DAW by any measure; there’s simply no comparison. I think, ironically, it’s Ardour’s advanced feature set that may have earned it less publicity — most of the general computing public doesn’t touch DAWs in the first place, though a simple wave editor like Audacity might be accessible.

Elsewhere:
Ardour 2 on O’Reilly Digital Media, by Brad Fuller, who knows more about Linux audio than I do

And other uses of Ardour: Anton Marini, who has recently begun writing for us over on Create Digital Motion, uses standardized Ardour templates to record the weekly laptop jam Share here in New York.

  • http://blog.whats-your.name carmen

    i wonder if it can play back a variety of nasty source files (mp3, flac, varying samplerates) in a single project without preconversion on disk yet – thats sort of the hallmark of 'i'll give it a shot', samplitude had it in 1991 or something on Amiga, LIVE got it a decade later on windows, afaik linux is still waiting..

    congrats on 2.0, altho i dont use ardour myself (more into sequencing and composition, i dont need a tape deck) i hope paul and the team benefits from the continuung momentum so they can afford the time to do all the things im not goign to even mention cuz they clearly have their heads screwed on well enough to know already..

  • http://www.protoolerblog.com stiff

    I've kept an eye on Ardour for years now just waiting for it to grow strong enough. Of course you can make good music on it, you can make good music with an acoustic guitar, a mic and a tape recorder… But I would really like to see pro audio on a Linux system, unfortunately it isn't there yet. I hope that in time Ardour can change this. Best of luck to Paul Davis and the others.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Stiff, what would "pro audio" mean to you, then? It's telling that, for instance, in the 3D animation world many have gone to Linux pipelines. I'm not saying that the rules are at all the same for audio — not remotely, actually — or even that Linux is a better option. The lesson that you can learn, though, is that ultimately platform doesn't matter if you can get a project done.

  • bliss

    OS Platform may not matter but DAW platform choice does when it comes to a pro's clientele. Some producers will not look your way if you're not using ProTools. Example, there are plenty independent filmmakers who insist that their composer of choice use ProTools, even though Digital Performer is the platform of choice for many film composers. The work around is to use both. Load up a project in progress to ProTools LE when the client visits, and work in Digital Performer when the client is away. Ardour is not likely to function as a selling point on a composer's kit list, though it may be sufficient for many types of pro audio gigs.

  • robbneu

    I tried Ardour about a year ago. I think my biggest issue with it is that it requires Jack, and I'm not a fan of software that requires you to install other software. What I saw I liked, but something in the installation (probably Jack) borked my sound drivers and none of my other apps would work. I'll chalk it all up to user error, but I've been a bit gunshy of it ever since.

  • bliss

    It doesn't appear that Ardour 2 uses Mac OS X CoreAudio. That's a drawback for me. I use JackOSX from time to time, because I think it's a bit messy I like to avoid it when I can.

  • anon

    LOL That's the best PR hype ever! :D

    I must admit that I was really hoping that part of this article would mention the inclusion of midi sequencing in the new version… Obviously I should stop holding my breath :)

  • anon

    Whoops, a few new replies there… Note to self: Refresh page before commenting.

    Just a couple of quick thoughts for you bliss… First, "Pro" doesn't necessarily mean you have clientele aside from yourself :)

    "Load up a project in progress to ProTools LE when the client visits, and work in Digital Performer when the client is away"

    That's wack man. That's exactly WHY people won't take anything but PT, they are under the false impression that it's the best thing there is, because nobody will set them straight. If you don't say something, you're responsible for causing the problem you're complaining about.

    Just tell them that although you understand why they're asking for PT, it's generally considered inferior in your opinion and in the opinion of many other audio pros. If they respect your work enough to have you do their mix/master/whatever, they ought to respect that your skill and knowledge also extends to knowing the best tool to produce the best result for them. Worst thing that can happen is that they'll say no, and insist that you use PT.

    You said yourself that "OS Platform may not matter" and yet you'll be fully aware that some clientele are still mac-biased… For the same reason. Of course, it's not as bad as it used to be, but there's no reason to drag these misconceptions along.

    Besides, lies are ill, and if you give them the impression that you're using PT and then switching to DP after they leave, that's exactly what you're doing. Stand by your beliefs man, everyone wins.

    Ralph Wiggum is stuck in my head now: "Lies make baby Jesus cry." LOL

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Hang about … I can see a client insisting on a file format for interchange, but telling you what software to use beyond that is a bit extreme. Bad client, bad! (I didn't say I was *surprised*, mind you …)

    Plenty of people doing film scoring use DP, Logic, etc. Stewart Copeland's a DP guy. Steve Horelick, who just got an Emmy nomination for his long-time work on Reading Raindow, is a Logic person (and does Logic trainings on the side, no less). Ardour may or may not be the right tool for you, but it's a possibility, as well, especially with VST support.

    There *are* a lot of cases where people wind up using Pro Tools for file interchange, so I get that. But beyond that, I would hope the composer gets to use the tool that's best for the job, whether that's PT or something else.

  • bliss

    The composer does get to choose, but Digital Performer has the ability to behave as a front-end for Digidesign's hardware for a reason. MOTU implements that capability precisely because of ProTools ubiquitous stature in the music industry. Hopes aside, I'm talking about reality. Especially, in Los Angeles. You would think that it's okay because of MOTU's marketing that film composer's rely solely on DP, but it isn't true. I can speak for myself that when I lived in L.A. my services as a film composer where rejected explicitly because I did not have a ProTools rig of some sort. One can scout Craigslist for film scoring and sound design gigs and without a doubt you will see filmmakers demanding ProTools. I use and continue to use Digital Performer almost exclusively for composition. I do not own ProTools but I have I have been hired to use it on sessions other than my own. And even for R&B and Hip Hop gigs, people want to hear "Logic" or "ProTools". Lately ProTools with Reason carries a good message for those types of music. Mention Digital Performer to a rap producers and see what happens. What happens is they don't hear you. Provide CD of your music? Next question will be, "What do you use?" This is all related to my experiences being a DP user, and being around working professionals in their studios; L.A., Boston, Philadelphia, NYC, and little old, moldy, post-industiral and redlined Trenton, NJ.

    I'm responding specifically to the question of, "What does pro audio mean to you?" For me, though not asked directly, that question relates to being in the position to offer a marketable service. I do not see Ardour as being in the same category of the other DAWs mentioned. I would not rely on it in critical situations, nor promote it where appropriate professional appearance is necessary. And it is this kind of reasoning that producers prefer to hear "ProTools" more than anything else. The reputation is there regardless of any perception of hype. After you've established yourself you can use what you want, certain kinds of questions will not be asked, but when you starting out and building a list of clients the reality is very different.

    Now what I do on my own time is my business, so Ardour could be worth a look. It could be worth recommending it to noobs, but even Paul Davis seems to see more value in Reaper than he does Ardour. What does that say? I use a lot of free plugins for sound design and personal projects on regular basis. I use free stuff on paid gigs. Film composers can talk shop with other film composers, and MOTU can join in on the conversation. But the language changes when it comes to communicating success to those that would pay your rent for the next couple of months. When I lived and worked in L.A this is what I had to deal with regularly: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/crg/32318954

  • bliss

    @ anon

    I'm not talking about a beliefs or values, I'm talking about a tangible difference between getting the gig or not, getting paid or not. I'm talking about a business that's set up as a game where one is a player or not. And I did appeal to one filmmaker, who was on a tight deadline, and he did not waste any time telling me to get lost. After my conversation with him over the phone, he actually went and changed his Cragslist listing to state that he would not waste time talking to anybody about any alternatives to ProTools. This guy was ridiculous that he even demanded that one work in Mac OS 9! Btw, it's not a lie to say that you use ProTools if you demonstrate that you use it. My personal choice was to not invest in ProTools, but there is a price to be paid for not being flexible.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, if a filmmaker is stupid enough to want to hire based on someone's software, that's their prerogative. I can then go and see if they used Avid or Final Cut or Premiere on their production, as if that matters. But, in all seriousness, yes, I hear what you're saying, frustrating as it is. So if that's what the client wants, by all means, give it to them. (I don't think the Pro Tools front-end feature in DP / Logic is about that, though; surely the DAE support is about leveraging your investment in Digi's hardware and plug-ins.)

    I DO think, though, that this is changing. The Avid example is telling — it wasn't so long ago that you had to use Avid to be taken seriously. Now there are still cases where Avid is dominant, absolutely, but I don't think you'll get laughed at for using Final Cut. You'll get taken seriously or not based on whether you can edit. And, indeed, knowing *both* Final Cut and Avid is likely to land you more jobs.

    That said, bliss, I think you're asking some very good questions about Ardour — whether it will hold up in a high-pressure, pro environment. I'm not really in the position of turning around lots of music jobs fast — well, as you see, I'm spending too much time here working on CDM. But I do know where a lot of people are at now is just turning around sound that works, often so quickly no one would even have time to ask what they're using. So I'd ask about how the system performs, how it is to work with, how Linux is to maintain, etc. We know it saves money, but what about time?

    I'm not advocating any one system here, or even saying don't use Pro Tools. But we can say pretty definitively that a lot of work is going into Ardour, and there are some interesting developments that make it worth looking at. I have no problem paying for software, especially if it gets you paid. But that's all the more reason to look at both open source and commercial software and ask, what has value in your own work? Maybe the answer is Pro Tools. Maybe it's SONAR. Maybe it's Live. Maybe it's Ardour.

    Oh, and I think you missed Paul's point — he was being more than a little ironic with those comments. I don't think he prefers REAPER to his own software. ;)

  • bliss

    Peter the point I made about DP's compatibility with ProTools means exactly what you said, "increased leverage of investment." M-Powered hardware notwithstanding, ProTools software remains incompatible with MOTU hardware.

    You're right about the changing for audio professionals, but there still are enough baby boomers around in enough critical positions, in education and both the film/video and music industries, who are generally influencing a resistance to new techniques and new technology. Fortunately most of them will be in retirement soon. I had the impression that the filmmakers I encountered were quoting their film school experience to me, but that didn't make it easier to deal with them, though. It was also revealing that some of the filmmakers I encountered didn't have a good sense of how they wanted to use sound and music in their pictures. They're standing there over your shoulder wanting you to create Hitchcock and Hermann… The best work with the best. Always more people to meet, more to learn, and more work to do.

    Yeah, I guess I did miss Paul's point. I did think that it was funny, but I couldn't tell if he were serious or not. Guess you had to be there.

  • bliss

    (Hint: I really wish I had an edit button.)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Paul's sardonic wit is a rare quality in music developers.

    Edit button … yes, we hear you. We've got a big pipeline of planned improvements. Hoping for the summer.

  • Lost

    Don't use Pro-Tools. Don't work. Don't pay rent. hXc punk hax0r for life.

  • anon

    @bliss: You're talking to me like I don't understand.

    What you don't seem to understand, is that it is possible to suggest DP instead of PT, without getting people off side and losing the job. Perhaps your communications skills are letting you down.

    "And I did appeal to one filmmaker…This guy was ridiculous that he even demanded that one work in Mac OS 9!"

    Clearly a total … I don't think I can say that word here ;) Regardless, if you have PT and OS9, there's no reason to lose that job, even if you do suggest DP and OSX. Again, it requires solid communication skill, because no matter how right you are, some people will always be… yeh, that word…

    "Btw, it’s not a lie to say that you use ProTools if you demonstrate that you use it."

    So, they know that you switch platforms after they leave? Yes? then it's not a lie. No? Then it is. If I've understood you correctly, you're giving your clientele the impression that you use PT and then using something else. Deception, or a lie by omission, is still a lie… And if you get caught, that's going to stick, 'cause if there's one thing clientele won't stand for, it's being led down the garden path.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Lost: awesome.

    @anon: Hey, let's keep chill here … I certainly tend to agree on principle, but if bliss has had the client from hell and been traumatized, so be it. I'm not sure it's a good reason for everyone to have to use Pro Tools, but no need to launch a debate over this. We were originally talking about Ardour.

    Also, generally speaking, what's up with these anonymous postings? Made up names are fine; it's just hard to know who's who if your assumed identity is null. Weirdly, we've had a lot of very intelligent postings from people staying anonymous. Maybe Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would suit you?

  • bliss

    @ anon

    You don't understand. Maybe you understand in concept, but you do not understand the practice. You're not going to sell a Mazda Miata to someone who wants a Porsche 911 Cabriolet. Maybe you can get them to drive away with a BMW M3 or M5, but if the customer's perception is that anything other than another model Porsche is a substitute you're going to have to sell the customer a Porsche, or risk losing the customer and potential referrals. When I used to sell records I could have sold yet even more copies of Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, but when a customer wants Duke Ellington's Indigos, then that's what she wants and nothing else will do. The GRP Big Band doesn't stand a chance––neither does Enoch Light. Maybe I could convince her to buy a copy of Charles Mingus's Mingus Ah Um, but if her mind is stuck on wanting Indigo's because she heard it at a cocktail party the night before, then I have to expedite her wish fulfillment. If it's out of stock I need to find another store in the chain that has it, special order it, or refer her to a competitor. Preferably I would call the competitor to make sure that they have the title in stock before sending her there. Any of those moves would make the customer happy and more likely to visit again. If a customer is on the fence, then you sell as hard as your instincts and intuition allow you to. If the customer is firm, then you accept that he knows what it is that he wants. You honor the customer by accepting his refusal for substitution. But if you want to smooth talk them, cajole them, show them how smart you are and how stupid they are by highlighting your muse and giving them all the grubby details about that which they desire –– well, then, you will lose their respect for yourself and your establishment, and they will never forget you and the business you are associated with.

    As for the matter of lying: If you can point out to me where I stated that film composers tell their clients that they use ProTools exclusively, then I'd like to see that reference. I stated a workaround. I did not advocate lying. But you're naïve to think that there's not room to stretch truths in the music industry, or any business relationship. You're also naïve to think that someone in a position to make life easier for you wouldn't admire your ability to stretch truths were appropriate. There's no point in deceiving yourself about the nature of some aspects of doing business. Yes, lying can be lethal, but stretching the truth? Advertisers stretch the truth selling to customers all day long, every day, and the customers thank them for it. Those techniques work for freelancers and other types of salesmen as well.

    And your garden path analogy doesn't hold water. Promise roses and deliver roses. That's what matters.

  • Chris Shaw

    I fooled around with this for a while and for a free, open source program it rocks. I wouldn’t replace my protools rig with it on my next Bob Dylan gig but for an open source program this is nothing short of a godsend for musicians on a tight budget

  • http://www.milezero.org Thomas

    If it ran on Windows, I might be more interested.

    Last time I tried to set up a Linux workstation for music, I tried to find a Jack install for Ubuntu, got confused, installed the wrong one, uninstalled it, and that took the entire rest of the sound subsystem with it.

    It's not that Ardour's not interesting. To me, Linux just still isn't something that I want to deal with on the desktop–there's only so many hours in the day. If they want to put Ardour on Windows, I'd be more than happy to take a look.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I hear you, Thomas. For various reasons, Windows looks impractical. That gets at another problem, which is it'd be really great for open source and commercial software alike if there were more of a standard audio system that crossed all three platforms.

  • http://myles.debastion.com Myles

    It's just a matter of time and growing interest in Linux as a viable audio production platform.

    It's exciting as some of my favorite audio apps are getting the Linux treatment (energyXT/Reaper). In fact there are now ASIO drivers for Linux in the form of Wineasio, not only this but it is possible to install Linux on the same partition as a Windows partition (UbuntuStudio & Wubi), so no reason why you can't get stuck in.

    http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=177

  • Gil

    I think everyone is missing the point going into the impracticality of using Ardour instead of DP, Logic, PT, etc…

    Ardour, and the OS to run it costs $0 and you'd be hard pressed to find something this capable for free. When i can go download a Linux Distro like UbuStu (Ubuntu Studio), install it and have myself a damn decent daw for pretty much free i find it extremely difficult to nit pick about anything.

  • Dailan

    Hi, it's my first time leaving a comment here but I visit the page very often for news and good reviews.

    I think open source software is a grate thing sometimes I use audacity and other freeware, Ardour seems to be very interesting, the point that I don't understand is why this discussions end up banging ProTools for the wrong reasons.

    For a beginner or home use you can pay 250 and get and mbox mini AND PTLE plus a package of usefull software (I make a lot of demos on Live Lite), this is VERY cheap for legal software, the closest is Logic Express for 300 without any interface and much less friendly to learn.

    I've been working in postproduction audio for the last 12 years using several PT versions and I assure I hate Digi from a customer point of view but there are piles of reasons to use PT on postproduction and , in a way, I understand why some musicians are asked to use PT (I admit PT was not very friendly for music until version 7), the reason is compatibility with major sound studios not hype (maybe a bit), but I ended up using PTLE at home just for that.

    I know I'll be seriously flamed for this but it's my opinion from a user point of view.

    That said, it's always good to remember that in present days good music can be recorded with ANY softaware and cheap interfaces and get extremely good results, democracy has made it's way into the recording world!

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Dailan, I think that's fair. Look, I think these are all mature choices, which is why it's worth weighing the advantages of each — Pro Tools included. If you look at the successes of open software, as well, they've *all* been in relatively mature areas or built on mature platforms. Linux itself was influenced by years of experience with UNIX and how to build operating systems in general (and Linux has some advantages because in many ways it's the youngest of the major OSes). Firefox entered a relatively mature browser market, with years of experience (including many mistakes) from the Netscape side. This very website benefits from mature software built on years and years of experience, as well: Apache, MySQL, WordPress, etc. (and, in turn, runs on Ubuntu). And there are commercial options in all of these cases that can be wise choices — I know people very happy running Mac OS X as a server OS, Opera as a browser, etc. So it only makes sense that we should expect advanced, workable software on both the commercial and open source side.

    And I don't think this is even an either-or choice in the big picture, even if you may want to commit in your own personal work. The commercial software world may ultimately benefit from having an open source code base, particularly as commercial software can built on top of technologies like JACK. And if we expect the audio production world to grow, it could be tremendously useful to be able to point to a variety of commercial and open source models.

    There was a time when Digidesign was a small start-up, not a powerhouse, struggling to advocate the very idea of computer-based audio production (alongside other key developers, including Emagic, Opcode, Cakewalk, and Steinberg). And the early versions of their tools were quite primitive in many ways. So, I think what we're debating really stems from the fact that there are now multiple, robust options — even if that's all the more reason to say that DP, Logic, Cubase, and even Ardour can get jobs done, as well, and not just PT.

    The only real dark side I see is that as these programs grow, there's a potential for new complexity, which is why tools like Ableton Live have become more important. And that's where I haven't yet seen a Linux or open source app that for me is a killer app, one that provides a new way of working. If someone can point to one, please do. It's not an easy challenge in music software, as it's one commercial developers have struggled with, too; I'm willing to wait.

    But, you know, I think that will happen if we take a rational look at both commercial and open source efforts, not just spend unnecessary energy trying to argue one or the other isn't valid. (And open source advocates are sometimes guilty of doing that to commercial software efforts, which is silly; it's a business model that's supported a LOT of people.) I don't want to sound Polyanna-ish, I just think that both open source and commercial efforts are likely to remain essential to the market.

  • anon

    @Peter:

    Sorry Peter it wasn't meant to be inflammatory… I'm trying to help him and the rest of us out :) I mean, I get clients from hell all the time, I'm frequently in the same position when designing IT solutions (my primary source of income) and I totally feel his pain. I just don't like seeing him help to proliferate the thing that frustrates him, and the rest of us.

    I had planned on shutting up because you asked not to start a debate, but I see that the debate is happening regardless, so I hope it's no problem that I remain involved. I totally understand if you want to delete this post, because this one is kinda inflammatory/defensive (I don't take kindly to insults)

    Regarding the anonymous thing, all the postings in the last couple months from "anon"/anon@mous.com have been me, I'd be sure to point it out and assume a new moniker if someone else started using it… I can tell you don't really dig it, so I'll think something up… I'd feel like a w*nker calling myself Mozart though ;)

    @bliss:

    "You don’t understand. Maybe you understand in concept, but you do not understand the practice."

    I practice it daily. Just 'cause you lack the technique to make it work doesn't mean I do.

    "You’re not going to sell a Mazda Miata to someone who wants a Porsche 911 Cabriolet. Maybe you can get them to drive away with a BMW M3 or M5, but if the customer’s perception is that anything other than another model Porsche is a substitute you’re going to have to sell the customer a Porsche, or risk losing the customer and potential referrals."

    Exactly. I never suggested otherwise.

    Of course, they may prefer the faster, more fuel efficient, cooler and chick-magnetic Ferrari. Nothing stopping you from offering it to them along with your BMW, and if you do it right, they'll either take the Porsche or the Ferrari or the BMW, but whichever they choose, you make the sale. That's what I'm suggesting.

    "When I used to sell records I could have sold yet even more copies of Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, but when a customer wants Duke Ellington’s Indigos, then that’s what she wants and nothing else will do. The GRP Big Band doesn’t stand a chance––neither does Enoch Light. Maybe I could convince her to buy a copy of Charles Mingus’s Mingus Ah Um, but if her mind is stuck on wanting Indigo’s because she heard it at a cocktail party the night before, then I have to expedite her wish fulfillment. If it’s out of stock I need to find another store in the chain that has it, special order it, or refer her to a competitor. Preferably I would call the competitor to make sure that they have the title in stock before sending her there. Any of those moves would make the customer happy and more likely to visit again. If a customer is on the fence, then you sell as hard as your instincts and intuition allow you to. If the customer is firm, then you accept that he knows what it is that he wants. You honor the customer by accepting his refusal for substitution."

    Exactly. I never suggested otherwise.

    Same thing goes as before. You make the sale, that's your job. I'm not suggesting that you try to force them into something they don't want.

    "But if you want to smooth talk them, cajole them, show them how smart you are and how stupid they are by highlighting your muse and giving them all the grubby details about that which they desire –– well, then, you will lose their respect for yourself and your establishment, and they will never forget you and the business you are associated with."

    Exactly. That's what I'm talking about. If you are suggesting an alternative to a client in such a manner, your communications skills need work.

    "As for the matter of lying: If you can point out to me where I stated that film composers tell their clients that they use ProTools exclusively, then I’d like to see that reference."

    I never suggested that you said that.

    Where are you getting this stuff from man? You've misquoted me, insulted me, and made extraordinarily long analogies, it's starting to make you look like a troll. I am of the opinion that it wasn't your intention, but your actions make me wonder.

    "I stated a workaround. I did not advocate lying."

    Hangon, let's clear this up… Do you, or do you not, give your clients the impression that you are using PT, and then use DP instead? I asked this before, if you're gonna keep arguing the point, it'd be nice if you could be straight about it.

    "But you’re naïve…."

    Hey, liars will say I'm naive, they will make justifications for lying like it's a necessary evil. I say it's evil either way.

    "There’s no point in deceiving yourself about the nature of some aspects of doing business."

    I'm a rather successful businessman, and I never lie. You don't HAVE to lie to succeed in business, but liars will say that you do, because they haven't figured out how to get by without lying yet, so in their case, it's true – but that doesn't make it true for me.

    "Yes, lying can be lethal, but stretching the truth?"

    Truth is truth, lies are lies. Stretching the truth is what people call it when the whole truth is something they need to hide, it's deception.

    "Advertisers stretch the truth selling to customers all day long, every day, and the customers thank them for it. Those techniques work for freelancers and other types of salesmen as well."

    OK so advertisers con the consumer, of course their customers thank them for it, they don't care for the truth, just sales figures. That doesn't make it right, and any advertising agent will tell you that if you can sell the product with the truth, it's preferable to do so over selling it by lying/deception/"stretching the truth".

    "And your garden path analogy doesn’t hold water."

    How so? I'm saying, if you lie to customers (and get caught) they won't like it… What's wrong about that?

    "Promise roses and deliver roses. That’s what matters."

    What matters is giving the client what they want. If they want roses, give them roses. If they come to you wanting roses and leave wanting orchids, you better give them orchids.

    @dailan:

    Please don't get me wrong, I am not starting a PT vs DP vs the Universe argument here, I'm just saying that you should use the best tool for the job, and the job will dictate which tool that is.

    I'm also pointing out that the (well delivered) advice of a professional (or a well educated amateur for that matter) can have a bearing on which tool the customer would prefer – not that it should command it, just that it can have an effect – and you can administer that advice without losing a client.

  • bliss

    [b]@ anon[/b]

    It's clear that you have listening problems. Not only that but you are desperate. You're not going to get what you want from me. Find someone else to preach to, someone that will worship and love you for your ignorant condescension and myopic view of life. For all your attempted appearance of truth, goodness, and righteousness, and your talk of lying and evil you obviously continue to seethe in disgust and anger. Your desire to influence, persuade, and convert my perception of some aspects of life to match your perception would be evident to anyone who reads and comprehends this section. Proselytize elsewhere.

  • anon

    Yep, trolling.

  • http://www.analogindustries.com Chris Randall

    Man, don't you guys have work to do?

    Seriously, all this jumping about and arm-waving aside, I note that none of the last 10,000 words or so in this thread is "Ardour." I'll also freely admit that I've more or less skimmed the last few entries because they get in to subjective opinion, and Peter should start passing out life preservers to save some of you from these metaphors you're working on.

    Now, that said, anyone that actually works in post or dubbing knows that unless you can deliver a PT project w/ stems to the mixing stage, you're basically not going to get the job. You can, of course, compose in whatever you want, especially provided you work alone in a basement, rather than using union guys. But you better be prepared to move via OMF from whatever fiesta you've created to PT before you deliver.

    Never mind what you can "sell" your client (who is, in actual fact, the salesman in this equation); call up the mix at Sony or Skywalker and tell them you're gonna deliver in Ardour (or DP or Logic) and watch what happens. You _might_ be able to get away with Nuendo.

    -CR

  • Ben Loftis

    Chris,

    At Sony you'll find a bunch of Harrison consoles. And Harrison is currently working with the Ardour developers to bring Ardour into the post production market ( http://motherdubber.com/ )

    I agree that _right now_ you'd get a blank stare if you delivered an Ardour session to the Sony dub stage. However there is no technical reason this would not work. Ardour will connect directly into their MPC consoles with very little hardware cost.

    There is another difference as well. Sending someone a DP session is worthless if they don't have DP. Sending an Ardour session simply means they have to download Ardour… for free. So that particular barrier to entry doesn't exist.

    These changes take time … it's early days yet. Many stages are still using decade-old MMR machines for dubbing. There's a lot of momentum in these facilities that makes them slow to adopt a disruptive technology like Ardour. But the Xdubber is only one of the ways that Ardour may be adopted on the big dub stages.

    Another possibility is the Ardour session format becoming the industry standard, whether you use PT, DP, Logic or whatever. This was SSL's focus when they were promoting Ardour. If this were the case it would guarantee file compatibility between workstations, and define an open-source reference platform which verifies whether your session files meet the industry format.

    The possibility also exists for an entire ecosystem surrounding Ardour. It's easy to imagine customized versions of Ardour, each highly specialized for capturing, editing, mixing and dubbing. And with full compatibility between all modes. A company can springboard a product from Ardour without it being woefully outdated by the time the product finally arrives (you know who you are).

    Smaller post houses (particularly those overseas) are far quicker to adopt these ideas. We'll start seeing the effects of this sooner rather than later.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Chris — I agree that a client can (and in some cases, should) insist upon a *delivery* format, but that's different than insisting on what tools you use for production. I wouldn't object, except I think there probably are clients who cross that line (in various fields, not just music). Sometimes you have to work with difficult clients, of course, but that definitely doesn't fall into the "ideal client" range.

    And the reality is even Pro Tools doesn't always work as lingua franca between two PT systems.

    So I think what Ben is describing gets very interesting. And I think it is worth mentioning other product names, because we use them, and there is the question of whether they might benefit over the long term from Ardour technologies … yes, even Pro Tools. :) No definitive answers yet, but these are questions worth pursuing.

  • http://jackit.sf.net/ Paul Davis

    And lets be precise about this: if there was an industry standard session format, and if it was honestly adopted (rather than Digidesign's MS-like "embrace and extend" handling of AAF) by all players, it would not matter what DAW you used (other than plugin issues, but those are solved relatively easily with bounces). Instead, Digidesign has deliberately kept OMF very close to its chest, and no other DAW maker has bothered to promote any cross-industry standard for session file formats. The result is not a positive environment in which engineers and clients are free to pick the tools they really want or need – its an environment dominated by a single company with a product that nobody ever seems to claim is actually fundamentally superior to the alternatives. Maybe no "real" professionals will ever really adopt Ardour. But until you guys stop allowing Digidesign to slap you around by making you always play their game if you want to get a decent amount of sleep, then your tools will keep moving at the glacial pace of the last 5 or more years. One simple and effective way to do this is to push for widespread adoption of an open session file format, maybe AAF, maybe even OMF itself, maybe something else.

  • http://www.dynebolic.org/ cypod

    I have experiment with Ardour a little, and over all like it. There should be powerful, fun software that is available to everyone. The linux world has its own cool pluggin system and applications that are just as groovey as the commercial ones. That said there was some learning curve with the interface, and even installing x11 to get jack and it to run. In the end my biggest reason to put it asside was that there was no midi sequencing, so I went with cubase instead. Rose garden is the linux midi sequencer app. If you want to try this stuff without having to go through a long install I suggest http://www.dynebolic.org/ These cd's let you use all the software without having to install anything, and dissappear without a trace after you reboot.

    I get what bliss is trying to say, if your starting a small business then you have to go with the standards of your industry. For large productions, pipeline issues can be major factor. I did some editting on an indy film and they wanted protools, my bundy let me rent some studio time and I just worked on it there.

  • Gil

    standards or not you can certainly not argue with the price. this isnt a $1000 daw. it's free. who cares about industry standards and whatnot anyway? the idea behind ardour i'm sure is to do away with the standard, like every other daw out there that isnt pro tools. plus it's not like you just spent a grand on it and found out it's incompatible for your purposes. when i was doing composing i never had to send a client a project file, nor did they ever send me one. it was all wavs and aiffs. always track stems, vo's, splits. never project files.

  • Dan Nigrin

    Ardour 2 just rocks – just you wait too after this summer's Google Summer of Code, and the MIDI improvements that it will bring:
    http://ardour.org/node/855

    Also check out JAMIN – open source mastering:
    http://jamin.sourceforge.net/en/about.html

    Also available now as prebuilt OS X univeral binaries:
    http://ardour.org/files/releases/Jamin-0.95.08.dm

  • http://celesteh.blogspot.com Les

    I've been using Ardour 1.x to record most of the music that I've done in the last few months. I can't say it's been perfect. X-windows on the mac is sub-optimal and the UI is terribly ugly. I don't really ever use plugins, which is good because I can't get them to work with Ardour, only with Audacity (which is nicer, if only you could automate plugins and panning!)

    All that said, it's a pretty good multi-tracking system with automation stuff builtin, which makes it (almost) as good as protools for the music that I write. I like it well enough and I'll keep using it. Thanks for the heads up on v2. I had to edit some of the files to get it to run on my (very odd – it's not their fault) system, so maybe I'll wait until I have more free time.

  • namuol

    For those of you using OS X, a "native" version of Ardour is in the works; that is, a version that doesn't require installation of any other software (namely, it includes JACK and doesn't use X11, and in the future a collection of LADSPA plugins).

    Check out the site.

  • Sven Mundorf

    I will have to agree that it is extremely hard to decide on what DAW to use. During most studio sessions its either PtroTools or the highway, even if you come in with something like Nuendo. Basically you'll have to preconfigure your settings so you can fire it up in PT and go straight off!

    This is the more commercial circuit however and I wouldn't suggest starting to use Ardour there just yet (don't even have enough experience with it to begin with). However, I do feel and see potential for Ardour in the home-recording circuit and for cost effectivly minded individuals. There area few pro tools functions that I am going to miss I suppose (especially the multi dimensional track recording..its great for A/Bing takes and so on) but I simply can't afford Digidesigns prices and their hardware. I recently compiled an AMD dualcore X2 system, with 2gigs of ram and 1TB hdd space. Enough power for some basic production – my aim here is to soley stick to Ardour no matter what and see how I fare with it. Even in terms of performance and stability , PT and other sequencers have given me a big pain, even on mac OS I have managed to crash PT about 15 times within 45 minutes. Don't ask me how. So as far stability is concerned I'll give it a shot. Ubuntu is far less resource intense than VISTA for instance and less annoying too for that matter (all those security windows). Even though I have heard complaints about the theme for Ubuntu Studio being resource intense I can't really see any problems with that, you can turn it off to begin with? not like someone is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to use the theme. Anyways, to sum it all up – will it rival current commercial facility setups and flexibility , no but I intend to combine with enough outboard gear to create a workable solution. I really liked what someone else said in a post further up : Delivery system does not matter as long as you can get a session done! I whole heartedly agree and thus have decided to go on with the penguin crusade and take the plunge…scary…