How to Make Your Own Music on Linux with Ardour

Ardour is a simple, easy-to-use, and powerful audio recording and processing tool for Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, and Windows. Ardour is a freeware application that comes with its own set of built-in features to record and organize sound. As a sophisticated tool, Ardour requires a little bit of experience with recording and processing sound.

Ardour’s main feature is its status as a professional digital audio workstation (DAW) that works on Linux while still being cross-platform overall. It’s the standard in the industry and it’s used by thousands of people every day.

This is because it’s stable, flexible, and modular with a massive community behind it whenever you need help. It’s open-source, so everyone can modify it to their own needs. This means you can customize it to your liking, whether you work on one or ten tracks.

Uses of Ardour

The Ardour software is a program that can help to create, record, and edit music. Using the Ardour software, people can make music with a computer and make use of things like MIDI and audio recording.

Characteristically, Ardour is in a league of its own by drastically taking on a unique approach to music-making. Also similar in execution-style to other media software of the same caliber, it takes a more relaxed approach to the UI layout despite its level of sophistication.

Where to Use Ardour

There are many different Linux distributions, each with its own flavors of Linux. To use Ardour, you need to install a distribution that’s made for audio. For example, you can use the Fedora Project distribution to download and install Ardour, but you need the right system for audio production.

Ardour is open-source software, meant to be used by anyone regardless of their experience But it can also be used by engineers and audio professionals who want to get the tools they need in their day-to-day.

How to Install Ardour in Linux

With a ready-to-download flatpak package, you can proceed with the initial installation of flatpak to get it running. Typically, you can install Flatpak from your default repository as shown.

$ sudo apt install flatpak [On Debian, Ubuntu and Mint]
$ sudo yum install flatpak [On RHEL/CentOS/Fedora and Rocky Linux/AlmaLinux]
$ sudo emerge -a sys-apps/flatpak [On Gentoo Linux]
$ sudo pacman -S flatpak [On Arch Linux]
$ sudo zypper install flatpak [On OpenSUSE] 

Next, you need to add the Flathub repo that will enable you to access Flatpaks.

$ flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Now you can install and configure Ardour using the command below.

$ flatpak install flathub org.ardour.

Once you have your flatpak Ardour package installed and ready, it’s time to continue to the next critical point in the process. That is an audio group configuration before editing a specific Ardour configuration file so the application may take full advantage of your system resources when it needs to.

We do this by adding the user to the audio group followed by editing limits.conf file in the /etc/security directory.

$ sudo usermod --append --groups audio username
$ sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf

Add the following lines at the end and simultaneously press the keys CTRL+S to save it.

@audio - rtprio 95
@audio - memlock unlimited

Once done, do a system reboot using the command below.

$ sudo reboot

How to Use Ardour in Linux

Now that we have the application installed, it’s time to run it. In this case, we’ll be running the application from the terminal using flatpak again.

$ flatpak run org.ardour.Ardour

There will be a GUI and font configuration pop-up disguised as a welcome prompt once you execute the command.

Welcome to Ardour
Welcome to Ardour

Read through the welcome note and click “Forward” to continue throughout the initial setup.

Ardour Session Location
Ardour Session Location
Ardour Monitoring
Ardour Monitoring
Ardour Monitoring Section
Ardour Monitoring Section
Ardour Template
Ardour Template

Right at this point, your main application configuration window will open.

Ardour Configuration
Ardour Configuration

After ensuring the overall configuration is up to par with your needs, you’ll be able to proceed to the actual application window for editing.

Ardour Editing
Ardour Editing

Now you’ve reached the main playground and you may begin experimenting with music. We recommend watching a bunch of YouTube tutorials to quickly grow proficient with the application. For the barebones starter process, start by importing a music file. This is your best bet.

Have you had any experience with Ardour in the past? Let us know in the comments!

Posted by Contributor