Ardour 4.1 released

The Ardour project is pleased to announce the release of 4.1 with a great line-up of new features such as input gain control, Save As for projects, click-free changes to processor order and meter position, relative snapping, faster waveform rendering, Hi-DPI/Retina support and more! As usual, quite a few bugs have been mercilessly slayed.´╗┐Encouragingly, we also have one of our longest ever contributor lists for this release.

We had hoped to be on a roughly monthly release cycle after the release of 4.0, but collaborations with other organizations delayed 4.1 by nearly a month. We hope to release 4.2 before the end of July.

New Functionality

Input Gain Control
Ardour's mixer now includes an input gain control. In tracks, it is positioned after the signal flow to/from disk, and so affects the signal heard both when recording and during playback. It can be found in the mixer strip, near the top (honoring the top-to-bottom visual and signal flow).
Playback- or Capture-only device support for ALSA & Coreaudio
It is now possible to use Ardour's native audio/midi backends for Linux and OS X with devices that only provide playback or capture, but not both. This can be useful, for example, when editing using a pair of USB headphones, where recording is not required.
Save As

Ardour finally offers "real Save As", which will allow you to save the current session to a new location on disk. Several options are available, notably whether or not to copy all the audio/MIDI files to the new location or share them with the existing session. It is also possible to create an empty version of the current session this way. "Rename" now also works more reliably.

The operation named "Save As" in previous versions has been retitled "Snapshot (& switch to new version)". Regular snapshotting continues to be available as "Snapshot (& keep working on current version)"

Windows assembler metering support.
Metering is one of the most CPU-intensive operations done by Ardour, second only to running plugins. On Linux and OS X, this has been done using hand-written assembler code (more or less the lowest level of programming language that exists). Ardour 4.1 now has similar code for Windows, thanks to Grygorii Zharun of Waves Audio.
Click-free changes to processor order and meter position
In earlier versions of Ardour, reordering plugins or changing the metering position would often cause a click in the audio. This is no longer the case.

User Interface Changes

Waveform rendering
Waveform rendering has been dramatically sped up. In addition, the user interface no longer waits for the images of waveforms to be drawn, but can continue operations while they are generated in the background. This dramatically speeds up scrolling, both vertically and horizontally, though you may see brief intervals of time when specific regions are shown without a waveform. It will appear very quickly, normally just a fraction of a second.
Stationary playhead option
Activated via the main menu's Transport submenu..
Layering: later is higher
Ardour 2 contained several different models for layering overlapping regions, which Ardour 3 simplified down to just one, most easily termed "manual layering". Ardour 4.1 sees the return of one of the additional layering modes, "later is higher", which puts regions with later start positions higher. No layering model is perfect for every workflow, but we hope that the return of this one will be useful for many relatively common ways of working.
hi-DPI support, part one
People on all platforms with high resolution displays (e.g. Retina on OS X) will now find far fewer "ugly" icons and text in the user interface. The support will scale up to any sized display.
hi-DPI support, part two

Linux and Windows users have always been able to use the font-scaling control to scale almost a lot of the GUI to their own personal preference. This has now been extended by making many elements of the GUI size themselves using the chosen font size as a reference, rather than absolute pixels, allowing it to work as you would expect even on hi-DPI displays.

OS X users with Retina don't have this option, but the GUI will still automatically display appropriately for their hi-DPI display.

Relative snap
this makes it possible to move objects around without changing their relationship to the grid. It is activated by using a keyboard modifier while dragging, which defaults to: Linux/Windows: Alt-Window OS X: Shift-Option. The modifier can be changed in the Preferences dialog (User Interaction tab)
X-run counter in status bar
For those who don't know, "x-run" is a term that stands for "overrun or underrun", which describes a condition where the computer fails to keep up with the flow of information required by the audio interface. An overrun is where the computer fails to read incoming audio fast enough; an underrun is where the computer fails to deliver audio fast enough. You should ideally never see any x-runs on a properly configured system, but we don't all live in an ideal world.
Plugin parameter reset button
In a generic plugin GUI, Ardour now shows a button that will reset all plugin parameters back to their default value (as best as the default can be determined).
Allow deletion of MIDI Program Changes using the Delete key
Peak meters now have sample-accurate fall-off, no visual jitter
Automation-lane log-scale parameter support
New 0dBFS peak meter
The existing default peak meters in Ardour max out at +6dBFS. Ardour 4.1 contains an optional new peak meter that maxes out at 0dBFS which makes better use of screen real estate when recording live material that can never go above 0dBFS by definition.
Tap tempo
When editing or adding a tempo, the dialog now offers the chance to tap the tempo you want to use.
Remove time
This editing operation removes silence and audio from the edit point, and then moves later material earlier. It can optionally move markers, tempo and meter points etc. as well.

Fixes

No more x-runs & noise on session-open/close
Note: JACK 1 users may still experience occasional noise during session open.
Fix stuck midi notes during save/auto-save
Fix stuck midi notes if loop-range is present
Various MCP improvements & tweaks
  • panner width behaviour fixed
  • Control key puts v-pot into "fine" mode
  • Clean up profile editor to remove things that don't/can't work
  • Add an option for the MCP .device file to set the master position
  • Allow the removal of key bindings in the profile editor
Properly display JACK buffersize
When jackd is already running, the Audio/Midi Setup dialog now displays the current buffersize correctly (previously it always showed 1024).
Fix importing old A2/A3 automation
Fix Non Session Manager support
Ardour4 now announces its application basename properly (previously A4 disguised itself as A3, also case-insensitive).
VST plugins are now searched for using a case insensitive comparison of their filename extension
This matters when plugins are on filesystems that are case-sensitive
Relax gain/fader LPF to 25Hz (was 10Hz)
Gain changes now happen faster. Most people won't hear the difference, but trained audio engineers will know what to look for.
Fix monitor-section polarity invert
Fix crash when switching backends.

Developers

Robin Gareus, Paul Davis, Nick Mainsbridge, Colin Fletcher, John Emmas, Ben Loftis, Len Ovens, Tim Mayberry, David Robillard, Johannes Mueller, Grygorii Zharun, Valeriy Kamyshniy, Nils Philippsen, A. Hellquist, Nimal Ratnayake.

Czech translation update (Pavel Frich). Axiom 61 midi map (Edgar Aichinger).