Here’s Why the New Version of the Free Ardour 4 DAW is Great

It’s easy to make an argument to any cash-strapped producer that a free DAW is good news. And it’s easy to convince a free and open source software advocate that a free-as-in-freedom DAW is a good thing. But that’s not enough. If we’re going to talk about software, let’s make sure it’s worth using. Ardour, the free and open source DAW, has always been powerful. But it hasn’t always been seamless to use – especially outside of Linux. Ardour 1 and Ardour 2 were incredible feats of engineering, and some people used them to make music, but let’s be honest …


Ardour, For the Rest of Us: Free DAW Gets Plug-ins, MIDI, More as 3.0 Arrives

Ardour has long been software that you probably wanted to want to use. Fully free and open source, supporting standards for plug-ins and file interchange, Ardour is software that arguably the whole industry needs to exist. That is, even if you don’t use it, you might benefit from having a reasonable competitor that pushes openness and interoperability, that can innovate with open source code as much as commercial options do. Now, Ardour is here in a version you may actually want to use. It’s not that there haven’t been people getting work done with Ardour in the past. (Don’t forget …


Music in the Key of monome: From Samples, a Community Makes a Free Album

Keys open doors to creative music making in a community-led process. Photo (CC-BY) Cassie / Angelandspot. What an extraordinary thing an interface can be, a map to making music. A new community-generated album from users of the now-legendary monome grid instrument yields a variety of musical outcomes. The results are instrumental and lovely, breaking off on lots of different stylistic vectors, but glued together by the notion of key and pitch. Let’s let contributor Joshua Saddler explain this – and the holiday album – as well as share some of the music. If you celebrate Orthodox Christmas or more generally …


Harrison Mixbus 2.0: Mac+Linux DAW Expands Mixing, Editing Features

We’ve been watching Harrison Mixbus, a DAW and mixing, editing, and recording workstation, as it has matured. In a crowded world of similar tools, this tool, powered by the open source Ardour DAW, nonetheless sets itself apart. Robust, console-style mixing meets modeled Harrison DSP and extensive editing options, appealing enough that many Mixbus users employ it as a mixing front end even with other tools. On Linux, it finally makes the open source Ardour more palatable, but on the Mac, too, it’s winning some converts. Finding an inexpensive DAW from a leading, ultra-high-end console maker – let alone one that …


Making Music with Free and Open Source Software: Top Picks from Red Hat, Dave Phillips

There are plenty of reasons to consider free software tools as part of your toolchain for music making. They might fit your budget, give you needed flexibility, allow you to use a tool driven more by development needs than commercial ones, give you tools that would otherwise lack proprietary commercial niches, allow you to run (via Linux) on a wider variety of hardware or with greater low-latency performance, or allow you to contribute more directly to a project, from documentation to actual development. And increasingly, they don’t mandate some sort of philosophical choice, either – I routinely use free software …


The $79 Virtual Analog Console, Now on Both Mac and Linux: Harrison Mixbus

Harrison is a company with a rich legacy in high-end consoles. Mixbus, their software product, is something of an anomaly. Its analog tape saturation, EQ, filter, compression, and mixing should be sold a la carte for a few hundred bucks each, given the usual business model in this industry. The product should run on some proprietary DAW, and should definitely come with a hardware dongle. And it absolutely, positively shouldn’t run on Linux, because everyone knows you can’t sell a product for Linux. Instead, Mixbus sells for an intro price for US$79.99. You get the whole package: an entire DAW, …


Ardour 3, Free DAW, is Nearly Done – And, With MIDI, Could Become Your Main DAW

MIDI in Ardour – and now, Ardour suddenly becomes viable for a wide swath of users. If a free and open source DAW sounds like a tall order, it is. And so it’s little surprise that Ardour 3, the biggest upgrade to this solid music production workstation, has been a long time coming. What might surprise you: Ardour 3 is not only nearly here, but it could be substantial enough to become your primary music workstation. And that could be a good thing for the whole music production ecosystem on Mac and Linux. The big news is, as expected, Ardour …


The Most From Free Software: Book Review, Getting Things Made, Un-Procrastination

Is it time to get a round tuit? Photo (CC-BY-ND) Denise Mattox. For this book review, we welcome guest writer Andy Farnell, who himself has a terrific book on interactive sound design and free modular patching environment Pure Data, entitled Designing Sound. It began as a review of a book on using free software – but it could be, more than that, a chance to fight procrastination. And while this runs the gamut, including graphics and design and not just sound, that could be even more relevant to those of us who need to delve into those other areas for …


MOTU Digital Performer Adds Native OpenSoundControl

And there were three – three major production apps now have OSC control. Once considered the domain of “DIY” apps or developers, OpenSoundControl is beginning to look like a viable option for open, standardized controls of music apps. Open-source Mac/Linux DAW Ardour has fully-documented OSC support as we saw in the spring, and this week tracker Renoise added OSC in a public beta. They join environments like Max and Pd, and a wide range of live visual software. Add to that list DP. MOTU’s Digital Performer is the first mainstream, commercial DAW heavy-hitter to get OSC support, in its 7.2 …


Want a DAW that Supports OSC? In a World of Doesn’t, Ardour Does – Free

And yes, there’s even built-in control surface support for the Wiimote. I have to give that a try to figure out how the heck that works. Why wait for The Future, when you can have a full-featured DAW that supports OSC (OpenSoundControl), right now, today? That DAW turns out to be Ardour, the open source workstation software that’s been maturing surprisingly nicely, and runs on both Mac OS X and Linux. Ardour has had OSC support for some time, but early this year, it got proper documentation. Setup is absurdly simple: there’s a single menu item to check off at …