Ardour 3.3 released

Keeping up with our roughly monthly new releases, Ardour 3.3 is out and includes a few new features and the usual assortment of bug fixes. Developers Robin Gareus and Colin Fletcher did some great work to push this release forward.

Regrettably, the OS X release situation has still not improved, with a variety of things that require attention there (particularly plugin support) before a real release can be considered. A demo copy of 3.3 is available (fully featured except that is has no saving or restoring of plugin settings, and no plugin presets).

New Features


3.3 brings some significant changes to the metering both visually and technically.

Visually the meters have been spruced up somewhat to look more appealing and to aid legibility and reading. Meter colours now have hard changes between them rather than gradients, with the colour changes being at significant levels, some of which are configurable, -18 or -20 dBFS meter line up levels, for example. Green, yellow, orange and red have been chosen to indicate an increasingly high level signal, which in the track header particularly, increases readability even when track heights are small. Levels reaching 0dBFS also now give a red background to the whole meter. Left clicking the meter clears this.

Meter scales have been made more detailed and should allow for more accurate reading.

Meter balistics remain the same but have been better labeled in the configuration dialogue to indicate how they relate to existing metering standards. Meter configurations can be found in Edit->Preferences->GUI

Right clicking on a meter now offers two different meter choices, either Peak, or a combination of RMS + Peak.


3.3 also introduces a new window, namely the Meterbridge. This is a compact view of all meters in a session and will prove useful for large recording sessions, particularly live recording. This has various configuarble elements that can be shown or hidden via the menu Session->Properties->Meterbridge.

Freesound Searching and Usage

There have been a variety of visible and internal-only changes to Ardour's interactions with the Freesound database of sound samples:

  • Use the new freesound-download-dir config variable to decide the location of sound files downloaded from Freesound.
  • Make download of sound files multi-threaded. Each sound file download takes place in its own thread, and has its own progress bar and cancel button, which stack up from the bottom of the list of results.
  • Sound files download into a file with a '.part' suffix, which is then renamed to the intended name on success.
  • Add a 'Similar' button, which searches Freesound for sounds similar to the currently-selected sound in the results list.

GUI Changes

  • Make scroll-wheel modifier keys consistent in main editor window and editor summary pane.
  • If the ScrollZoomVerticalModifier key is used with the scroll wheel over the editor summary pane, zoom the editor vertically.
  • New track height button icons


  • Avoid symbol name conflicts with Aspect LinuxVST plugin, making it possible to use the plugin without semi-random crashes.
  • Previous "free" binary versions from for Linux did actually save and restore plugin state. No longer. Consider the old stuff a gift :)
  • Updated version of ffmpeg included for video timeline work
  • Video timeline: avoid problems with frame numbering (particularly in Quicktime movies) by using avi/mjpeg (insted of mpeg4) for video proxy. Average picture quality is slightly worse, but seeking works accurately.
  • Video timeline: remember original video-file for later export/mux
  • Prompt the user for confirmation before removing an export format.
  • Fix display of meters when track outputs change repeatedly between audio and MIDI
  • Fix crash when showing external send GUI
  • Fix empty Locations window
  • Make the CD track details visible whenever the CD range box has been ticked, rather than only when the user toggles the box on.
  • Fix alignment of meters on midi-tracks
  • Fix race/endless loop on exit
  • Reset meters when changing metering-point or ports
  • Fix save/restore plugin windows position and size (without an explicit save)
  • More extensive centralization of window visibility management.
  • Update plugin UIs at reasonable rate (25Hz) and clean up plugin-ui meter layout, including colors.
  • Make Help > About > Configuration window suitable for small[er] screens
  • Ignore mouse-scroll if scroll-bar is not present.
  • Load bundled LV2 plugins in LV2PluginInfo::discover() later in startup process, to make it actually work.
  • Remove old CMT animatics code (functionally replaced by the video timeline)
  • Do not expose freewheeling or samplerate controls/ports on LV2 plugins
  • Compilable (almost) with Clang++


Robin Gareus, Colin Fletcher, Robin Gareus, Michael Fisher, Robin Gareus, Ben Loftis, Robin Gareus, Julien de Kozak, Robin Gareus, Adrian Knoth, Robin Gareus, Alexandre Prokoudine, Robin Gareus, Paul Davis.

Translation Updates

Russian translation updated (Alexandre Prokoudine)