Files and Directories Ardour Knows About

Configuration Directory

Ardour stores configuration files in two places. The system configuration directory and the user configuration directory. The system configuration directory is used for stock configuration files at install time. The user configuration directory is used by Ardour to store configuration changes made in the GUI as well as being a place the user can add control surface device files, scripts etc.

Ardour tries to use standard places for these directories for the platform it is running on.

Linux

The user configuration directory will be somewhere inside the user's home directory. The home directory on a linux system is normally /home/$USER/, but should also be returned by $HOME or ~. A normal place to find this is $HOME/.config/ardour*/ where * is the major version. However this can be set by the system with the $XDG_CONFIG_HOME environment variable to something else. If you cannot find $HOME/.config/ on your system try echo ${XDG_CONFIG_HOME} to see if your distro is using something else. In any case Ardour appends the ardour* directory to the result where * is the major version number. For example, ardour5 where the Ardour version is 5.6.

In Linux, all path names are lower case and case matters.

macOS

The user configuration directory on macOS is $HOME/Library/Preferences/Ardour*/ where * is the major version number. For example, Ardour5 where the Ardour version is 5.6.

Windows

Windows users are not expected to hand edit configuration files at all. It is expected configuration options are changed with some sort of GUI tool. For the most part all of Ardour's configuration is taken care of by the GUI in preferences. However, there are devices that may need a custom file and that would be in the users configuration directory.

Ardour asks the system for this directory and then appends Ardour* to the path where * is the major version number. For example, Ardour5 where the Ardour version is 5.6. The official path would look like: %localappdata%\Ardour5\ Windows expands %localappdata% to a real path.

An example of a configuration path in Window (from xp) would be: C:\Documents and Settings\<User>\Application Data\Local Settings\Ardour5\ The user in the path would be the user's account name.

The above is only an example and may not even be true for all installations of Windows XP.

Plugins

Plugins will be installed in various places, some by standard and some by developer whim. Some are installed incorrectly by distro policy.

Linux

In linux there are 3 kinds of plugins Ardour can use. LADSPA, LV2 (LADSPA version 2) or lxvst (VSTs compiled as native linux binaries). While it is possible with some strange magic to run Windows VSTs on linux, their whereabouts would follow the Windows info below.

LADSPA

LADSPA plugins should be found in /usr/lib/ladspa/, /usr/local/lib/ladspa/ or in a directory mentioned in your LADSPA_PATH environment variable. The most common mistake made by distro packagers, is to use a path like /usr/lib/$ARCH/ladspa/ and find that Ardour will not find that by default. The user can either add a link from this actual directory to the standard directory or add this path to LADSPA_PATH.

LV2

LADSPA plugins should be found in /usr/lib/lv2/, /usr/local/lib/lv2/ or in a directory mentioned in your LV2_PATH environment variable. The most common mistake made by distro packagers, is to use a path like /usr/lib/$ARCH/lv2/ and find that Ardour will not find that by default. The user can either add a link from this actual directory to the standard directory or add this path to LV2_PATH.

Linux VST or lxvst

They are typically installed in /usr/lib/lxvst, /usr/local/lib/lxvst or a directory mentioned in your LXVST_PATH environment variable. However, this is not a standard and the VST plugin developer may install the plugin just about anywhere. Therefore Ardour allows the user to set extra VST paths in the preferences GUI under Plugins>VST.

macOS

On the Mac, plugins are expected to be installed correctly Ardour uses the system tool to scan for AU style plugins and LV2s should be in the right place. LV2 should be in $HOME/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/LV2/ /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/LV2/ /usr/local/lib/lv2/ /usr/lib/lv2/ If an AU or LV2 plugin does not show up on a Mac it is probably a development fault with the plugin and the plugin will not work with anything. Ardour in Ardour 5.6 has support for native VST plugins. That is VST plugins built for OSX. I am not sure if these have a standard place to be, but as with other VSTs the search path can be edited at Plugins>VST.

Windows

The most common plugins on Windows are VSTs. However, LADSPA and LV2 plugins are available for windows as well. In fact Ardours built in plugins are LV2s. The biggest advanatage of LV2 plugins is that they are the most likely to be cross platform and therefore allow the same Ardour project to be worked on in Windows, OSX and Linux.

VST

As with other platforms, VSTs on Windows do not have a standard place to reside. Ardour Preferences>Plugins>VST allows setting the VST path from the GUI.

LV2

The LV2 standard for Windows is %APPDATA%/LV2/ or %COMMONPROGRAMFILES%/LV2/

Project Directory

Ardour places a project directory where the user tells it to. This directory is chosen when creating a project. In most cases the user does not need to know about the files inside of the project directory. However there are a few subdirectories worth noting.

export

This is the subdirectory where exported files end up.