Ardour 7.3 released
We're happy to be back on our planned bi-monthly release schedule, this time with 7.3 which brings VST3 multi-bus support, searchable preferences and sample rate independence as notable new features plus dozens of important crash and workflow fixes.
Also new for our official builds of 7.3: newer versions of several of the software libraries that Ardour depends on. We expect this to help with some plugin issues. If you build Ardour yourself or get it from a Linux distribution, this won't affect you, but for everyone else, it should be a small but meaningful improvement.
VST3 multi-bus support
Ardour now supports VST3 plugins with multiple I/O busses. This allows for instrument plugins to have dedicated additional outputs. Notably drum software which have direct outs (e.g. ezdummer, AD2), and also VST3 synths (e.g. surge) can now be used to their full potential (and without the errors that would occur with older versions of Ardour). The plugin busses are indicated in the pin configuration dialog for the plugin (see below).
To make use of this feature, you will need to re-scan VST3 plugins. To do so, open the Plugin Manager from Ardour's Window menu, then click "Re-scan All".
Two instances of Fabfilter showing multi-bus support and automatic mono/stereo switch (note how the plugin on the right shows "stere" in its UI).
It is now possible to search for relevant items in both the global Preferences dialog and the Session Properties dialog. Type one or more words in the search box at the lower left, and then hit to find the first matching item, then again to keep searching. We've provided a fairly rich set of keywords (currently English only for the most part) for you to locate items with.
At this time, not all existing preference items can be found this way, even those that are displayed in the user interface. We hope to fix this over time.
Until now, Ardour needed the audio hardware sample rate and the session sample rate to match. If they did not, content would be played at the incorrect speed ("The Donald Duck effect"). Ardour is now largely sample rate independent: when engine and session sample rates mismatch, Ardour will now resample all mismatching content non-destructively, making it "sound right". We don't recommend recording new material in this scenario, but you will be able to work on the session despite not having the correct sample rate available.
The resampling quality is configurable; the setting can be found on the Signal Flow page of the Preferences dialog. The setting also affects vari-speed resampling.
Ardour already supported SSE,SSE2,NEON, AVX and various other SIMD instruction sets for its most intensive DSP work; this support has been extended to the even more powerful AVX512 instructions.
Note that for Linux this support is not present in the binaries from ardour.org. We will provide support in our binaries in the future, probably with version 7.4. Some Linux distributions will probably provide AVX512 support in their builds of 7.3, and of course if you have a machine that supports AVX512 you can build Ardour yourself.
Plugin Setup and Pins Configuration
Now when you load a plugin with more than two outputs, the setup dialog will limit options to "stereo" and "all" for simplicity's sake. The Pin Configuration dialog still shows all options though.
Ardour now also doesn't create a sidechain port for plugins by default, unless a plugin specifically request one. This fixes a bug where a plugin with 1 audio input and 1 sidechain input would match a stereo track when the sidechain port is not present. The behavior preference is on the Plugins page of the Preferences dialog.
Finally, Ardour will now correctly detect mono tracks and busses and not provide stereo options when routing signal to a filter.
There have been a few user-visible changes in various exporting dialogs.
The Quick Export Dialog now sorts range markers by the time of their appearance on the timeline rather than alphabetically.
Additionally, Ardour will now check all channel configurations before exporting and list all existing files that will be replaced on export.
Tap Tempo with MIDI Devices
Tapping tempo with a MIDI keyboard now possible. Just plug it in, choose it as a source in the Tap Tempo dialog, and punch the keys or stomp the pedal.
Edit tempo marker, choose MIDI device, (invisibly) tap the tempo, apply ...
Routing and Bundles
System ports are now grouped by a common prefix. This way hardware ports from different devices/clients (for example when using pipewire as jack backend) are grouped by device rather than all being listed as one bundle.
Ardour will now use pretty names of ports not just for mono bundles, but also stereo bundles. For mono bundles the name of the bundle was based on the pretty name of the port (if the port has a pretty name), however stereo bundles always used the indices of ports to make the name.
When using PipeWire (or otherwise having multiple JACK clients exposing physical ports), the indices are even less meaningful than otherwise (as different devices could appear in arbitrary order), so also using pretty names for stereo bundles makes the UI less confusing in places where these bundle names are used (for example the menu when clicking on an IOButton). Ardour also stopped truncating pretty bundle names.
- There is now a preference item (Edit > Preferences > MIDI) for the maximum height of a note lane in a MIDI track.
Increasing this allows you to have a MIDI track whose height only spans, for example, 1 octave. Previously you could not get this below a couple of octaves. We would be interested in user feedback regarding what the default setting for this ought to be.
- It is now possible to reverse the polarity (aka phase) of an audio region, in addition to entire tracks
- Use pretty names of ports not just for mono bundles, but also stereo.
- In the port matrix(es), group system ports via common prefixes
- The presets submenu in the processor box now includes a "reset" action
- The recording page now has functioning undo/redo, and several other shortcuts.
- The MIDI tracer can now be directly used on physical MIDI ports (not just destinations within Ardour)
- Add and use a quarter note (quaver) symbol to Ardour's builtin font
- The plugin selector now allows sorting by plugin name
- Automation thinning (the removal of redundant recorded automation) added after touch/latch recording, and improved in various ways
- When recording the metronome to a track, use the correct alignment at all times
- Some macOS systems will see an improvement in overall GUI drawing/update performance
- Fix plugin duplication when sidechains are involved
- Sidechain ports for plugins are no longer created by default, but there is now a preference item to control this default
- Fix loading LV2 presets that contain non-floating point parameter values
- Automation point drags now actually move the underlying data to the correct position
- Automation point drags will now follow snap settings
- Fix a deadlock when using "define one bar from range/region"
- Fix a crash when "unlearning" a MIDI learn binding for a cue slot
- Fix snapping when the snap setting is 1 bar
- Fix incorrect track display when scrolling vertically in the editor with a full-size track visible
- Fix importing MIDI files with duplicate track names
- Convert imported SMF track names to UTF-8
- Fix "automatic" audio monitoring handling when hardware monitoring is in use
- A variety of tempo map editing operations now work, or work much better than they used to
- Fix duplication of foldback busses
- Improve the execution of other programs (e.g. ffmpeg) on Windows
- Reduce the occurence of a weirdly-drawn grid
- Update latency compensation information when adding or removing sends
- Reduce crashes caused by use of multiple mouse buttons during drags
- Fix loading Ardour2 (!) sessions that used external return/sends
- Fix custom order of plugin favorites in the mixer-sidebar (This broke in ardour 6.6, now it's possible to re-order them again)
- Fix crash when deleting a soloed track
- Editor-sidebar track/busses toggle-buttons (mute, solo,..) now work as intended (Windows, macOS)
- Fix crash after export when using export-analysis and screen-scaling
- Fix mp3 export, previously in rare instances it could contain glitches
- Faderport 8: better solo handling
- Faderport 8: improve monitor control
- Faderport 8: improve do not reset fader to unity on selection
Updated: French, Russian
Theme-meister cooltehno updated the Blueberry Milk and Clear Gray themes with minor adjustments
Code: Robin Gareus, Paul Davis, Ayan Shafqat, Ben Loftis, David Robillard, Marijn Kruisselbrink, John Emmas
Translations: Alexandre Prokoudine, Olivier Humbert.
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