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Global preferences control general workflow and system configuration, and should apply to all sessions. They are located in Edit > Preferences and stored in Ardour's user configuration file in the user's home directory.


  • DSP CPU Utilization
    • Signal processing uses: sets how many cpu processors can be used to do signal processing. It can be set to use one up to all processors.
  • Memory Usage
    • Waveform image cache (megabytes): sets the maximum amount of ram that can be used to store the images representing the waveforms in the editor. Past this amount, the images will be regenerated when needed, which can significantly decrease the system's performance.
  • Engine
    • Try to auto-launch audio/midi engine allows Ardour to try to automatically launch the audio and MIDI system, driver and device, thus not showing the Audio/MIDI Setup dialog. This can save a little time if the system is always used the same way.
  • Automation
    • Thinning factor ranges from 0 to 1000 with larger values sending fewer automation changes. Thinning is like lossy audio compression, removing data that is less likely to be noticed, although the more is removed, the more likely the loss will be noticed. The advantage to thinning is reduced CPU usage.
    • Automation sampling interval ranges from 1 to 1000 ms. Determines how frequently the automation input is sampled. The shorter the interval the higher the accuracy but also the higher the CPU requirements.
  • Tempo
    • Allow non quarter-note pulse: by default, Ardour understands the tempo as the number of quarter notes in a minute. Checking this option allows to set the tempo based on any division of the note, from whole to 1/128th. This is reflected in the Edit Tempo window (accessed by double clicking a tempo marker) that shows a "Pulse" menu when this option is checked.
  • GUI Lock
    • Lock timeout (seconds):locks the GUI after this many idle seconds (zero being 'never lock'). The GUI can also be locked with Session > Lock. When locked, a dialog will display a "Click to unlock" button.


  • Undo defines the behaviour of the Undo operations:
    • Limit undo history sets how many commands can be undone using Z or Edit > Undo. Unchecking will keep an endless memory of operations to undo, at the expense of memory.
    • Save undo history sets how many commands are saved so they are available to be undone after reopening the session. This can also be unchecked to keep all actions undoable, at the cost of bigger session files.
    • Verify removal of last capture when enabled prompts to verify removal the last recording capture when Edit > Remove Last Capture is executed.
  • Session Management:
    • Make periodic backups of the session file will create a backup session file after changes to the timeline. The backup file is the session name followed by .ardour.bak. The backup can be used to recover from crashes when the session had not been explicitly saved.
    • Always copy imported files selects, and then disables changes to, the Copy files to session option in the Add Existing Media dialog.
    • Default folder for new sessions: defaults the folder where Ardour will create new session folders. This is used in the Session Setup dialog displayed by Session > New.
    • Maximum number of recent sessions: determines how many of the last opened sessions shows in the Recent Sessions dialog displayed by Session > Recent.


  • Internationalization
    • Use translations sets if Ardour should use a translated version of all the messages. The default (unchecked) is English (US). When checked, and if a language file exists for the system language, this file will be used to translate Ardour.


  • General
    • Snap rubberband to grid when enabled uses the grid when selecting regions with a rubberband rectangle.
    • Prompt for new marker names when enabled, popup a dialog when a new marker is created. This allows markers to be named as they are created.
    • Allow dragging of the playhead, when enabled, allows dragging the playhead with the mouse in the Editor window.
    • Playhead dragging speed (%): chooses how fast the canvas scrolls when dragging the playhead outside of the visible canvas.
    • Limit zooming & summary view to X minutes beyond session extents prevents the zoom out both in the editor and the summary, to show anything past the chosen time after the end marker, restraining the vision to only useful content.
    • Zoom to mouse position when zooming with scroll wheel: by default, Ardour zooms to the edit point. When this option is checked, and the zoom is done with + mousewheel, the zoom will happen at the mouse cursor position regardless of the edit point chosen.
    • Zoom with vertical drag in rulers allows, when checked, to click anywhere in an empty zone of the ruler zone and drag up to zoom in or down to zoom out.
    • Double click zooms to selection allows by double clicking, to zoom on the selection, both on the time and tracks axes. If the selection has been done with or , then this key should still be pressed when double clicking for this to work, otherwise the first click breaks the group selection.
    • Update editor window during drags of the summary: when enabled the contents of the editor window will redraw the tracks area as the selection rectangle in the summary area is moved or resized.
    • Auto-scroll editor window when dragging near its edges when enabled will scroll the editor window automatically when dragging a region. This can make it easier to see where to position the region.
    • Show gain envelopes in audio regions: sets in which modes the gain envelope is displayed in audio regions. The gain envelope is superimposed over the region in the selected modes, and hidden otherwise for a better legibility.
  • Editor Behaviour
    • Move relevant automation when audio regions are moved, when enabled, causes automation data to stay with a region when the region is moved inside the playlist. When disabled, the automation is not affected by movement of regions.
    • Ignore Y-axis click position when adding new automation-points allows to create new automation points at the x-position of the mouse, without using the Y-position as the value, hence creating a new automation point at its present value.
    • Default fade shape: sets which fade shape is the default.
    • Regions in edit groups are edited together: sets the criteria to see if editing actions apply to tracks grouped together in an group.
    • Layering model: Ardour allows layering multiple regions in the same track. This selector defines how these layers are managed, either manually or by placing the latest on top.
    • After splitting selected regions, select: determines which, if any, regions are selected after a split operation. The options are no regions, the regions created by the split, and if more than one region was selected to start with, the existing selection and the new regions.


This page allows to choose how things are done in the editor. This is a very flexible way for Ardour to match an existing workflow, or speed up the editing process based on the user's most used actions.

The Reset to recommended defaults button at the bottom provides a way to revert any user made change to its default value.


  • Solo contains settings that affect the use of solo, muting, and panning.
    • Solo controls are Listen controls: when enabled, the soloed track is soloed only on the monitor bus, the master fader mix is not affected by the solo. This option can also be set by enabling pre-fader listen or after-fader listen in the Mixer monitor section.
    • Exclusive solo when enabled will only solo the last track selected for solo. Previously soloed tracks will be un-soloed. This setting is also available from the Mixer monitor section.
    • Show solo muting when enabled outlines the mute button on tracks and busses when another track is soloed.
    • Soloing overrides muting when enabled allows a track to be heard when it is soloed while muted. This setting is also available from the Mixer monitor section.
    • Solo-in-place mute cut (dB): sets the attenuation of the other tracks when another track is soloed in place. This setting is also available from the Mixer monitor section. The default is "−inf" for −∞, meaning the other tracks are totally muted.
    • Listen Position: determines what is listened to when the solo controls are used as listen controls. The options are after-fader or pre-fader.
    • PFL signals come from: determines whether the pre-fader listen position is before or after the pre-fader processors.
    • AFL signals come from: determines whether the after-fader listen position is before or after the after-fader processors.
  • Default Track / Bus Muting Options sets the muting options for a newly created tracks or bus. The mute options for an existing track or bus are changed by the right-click context menu on a mute button.
    • Mute affects pre-fader sends when enabled pre-fader sends will be muted by default.
    • Mute affects post-fader sends when enabled post-fader sends will be muted by default.
    • Mute affects control outputs when enabled control outputs are muted by default.
    • Mute affects main outputs when enabled main outputs are muted by default.
  • Send Routing affects aux and external sends.
    • Link panners of Aux and External Sends with main panner by default when enabled, sends follow the channel panner. When disabled, sends can panned independently of the channel panner and fader. Double clicking the send in the processor box toggles the main panner and fader between the aux send and the channel.

Signal Flow

  • Monitoring
    • Record monitoring handled by: determines whether Ardour provides monitoring of incoming audio or whether monitoring is provided by hardware. See Monitoring for more information.
    • Tape machine mode when enabled defaults new audio tracks to tape machine mode. See Track Types for more information.
  • Track and Bus Connections
    • Auto-connect main output (master or monitor) bus to physical ports auto-connects the outputs to the first N physical ports. In a session without a monitor section, the master-bus is connected to the system's playback ports, and if a monitor section exists, the monitor-bus' output are connected.
    • Connect track inputs: allows to choose when a new track is created whether its inputs will be automatically connected to the physical inputs of the system or not (hence the user has to manually connect it).
    • Connect track and bus outputs: allows to choose, for any new track or bus created, whether its output will automatically be connected to the master bus, directly to the physical outputs or to nothing (the user has to manually connect it).
    • Use 'Strict-I/O' for new tracks or busses determines the default choice for the signal flow of a newly created track or bus. This can be overridden in the Add Track/Bus/VCA dialog


  • Buffering settings determine how many seconds of audio off of disk will be buffered in memory. Longer settings reduce the risk of buffer under-runs but consume more memory.
    • Preset: will automatically choose the values for the playback and recording buffer based on the chosen size of the session. The Custom option allows to manually select the buffers with the two sliders below.
    • Playback (seconds of buffering): sets how many seconds of audio Ardour will buffer during playback.
    • Recording (seconds of buffering): sets how many seconds of audio Ardour will buffer during recording.
  • Denormals are a specific type of very small numbers that can cause issues with CPU consumption when using some plugins in some circumstances. Ardour provides two methods of handling the issue. Trying different combinations of these settings may minimize CPU consumption.
    • Use DC bias to protect against denormals adds a small constant value to numbers to move the numbers away from zero.
    • Processor handling:, if the computer's hardware supports it, offers two methods that can be used individually or combined. Flush to zero and denormals are zero.
  • Regions
    • Enable automatic analysis of audio generates the transient values (used in e.g. the Rhythm Ferret) automatically. When unchecked, the transient values will be generated on demand.
    • Replicate missing region channels: if a track is N-channel, and the region has fewer channels, this option copies the existing channel's data for this non-existent one. If left unchecked, the missing channels will stay silent.


  • Buffering
    • MIDI read-ahead time (seconds): defines how much time of MIDI data must be read in advance by Ardour and put in the buffer. More time means more stability while playing back, at the expense of more time to buffer the data. This should be set to a low value for a reasonably capable machine.
  • Session
    • Initial program change: Ardour will send a MIDI program change message on the ardour:MMC out JACK port when a session is loaded and whenever this field is changed. A value of -1 means don't send any program change message.
  • Audition
    • Sound MIDI notes as they are selected in the editor will play any selected or added MIDI note when in Draw or Internal Edit modes. The note is sent as MIDI as if Ardour was playing it withe the session, so the processors and signal routing will be applied.
    • Midi Audition Synth (LV2): allows to select in the list of LV2 instruments, which one will be used to audition MIDI when e.g. in the import dialog.


  • Metronome handles the way Ardour's metronome is played when enabled in the Transport Bar.
    • Emphasis on first beat plays a different sound when the first beat is played (e.g. 1/4 in 4/4, 1/3 in 3/4,…). When unchecked, all the beats are indistinguishable.
    • Use built-in default sounds when checked, uses Ardour's own sounds for the metronome click. Unchecking this allows to set some custom sounds below.
    • Audio file: selects an audio file for the beats, in any format Ardour supports.
    • Emphasis audio file: in conjunction with Emphasis on first beat, selects an audio file for the first beats of each bar.
    • Gain level: allows the metronome's click sounds to be boosted or attenuated.
  • Options
    • Enable Metronome only while recording: when enabled, the metronome will remain silent unless Ardour is recording.


  • Metering
    • Peak hold time: allows the meter to keep displaying the highest signal level for a period of time before reverting to showing the actual instantaneous value (unless an even higher peak occurs). The longer this time is, the easier it is to spot peaks, at the expense of instantaneous accuracy.
    • DPM fall-off: describes how fast the Digital Peak Meters can go from a high value to a lower one. Faster values are more accurate but less readable.
    • Meter line-up level; 0 dBu: chooses a standard for the conversion between dBFS (Full Scale) which represent the numeric signal level, and dBu which represents the analog signal level. This value is used to configure meter-marks and color knee-points, or set the reference levels for various meter-types.
    • IEC1/DIN Meter line-up level; 0 dBu: sets the reference level for the IEC1/DIN Meter
    • VU Meter standard: selects which standard to use for the zero value of the vu-meters, i.e. the analog dBu value that will show as 0 on the VU-meter.
    • Peak indicator threshold [dBFS]: at that value and over, the signal will make the peak meter to turn red, indicating a level too high.
  • Default Meter Types sets the default meters when creating a session or track. These meters can be changed afterwards by right-clicking a meter.
    • Default Meter Type for Master Bus: defines which kind of meter will be used when creating a new session (does not apply to the current session).
    • Default Meter Type for busses: defines which kind of meter will be used when creating a new bus (applies to the bus created after changing the value).
    • Default Meter Type for tracks: same as above, for tracks.
  • Post Export Analysis
    • Save loudness analysis as image file allows, when the Analyze Exported Audio is checked in the Export dialog, to save the analysis graph as a file named session.png alongside the exported audio file(s) (in the same folder).


  • General
    • Stop at the end of the session causes the transport to stop during playback when it reaches the end marker. Behavior during recording is not changed.
    • Keep record-enable engaged on stop leaves the global record-enable engaged after transport is stopped. Does not affect track level record-enable which is never changed on stop.
    • Disable per-track record disarm while rolling, when enabled, will not allow the any track's record-enable to be disarmed during record, preventing accidentally stopping the recording of a take.
    • 12dB gain reduction during fast-forward and fast-rewind when enabled will reduce the unpleasant increase in perceived volume that occurs when fast-forwarding or rewinding through some kinds of audio.
    • Preroll: sets the duration of the preroll for playing and recording when using a preroll. Can be a musical duration (in bars) or a duration in seconds.
  • Looping
    • Play loop is a transport mode changes the behavior of the loop button, turning it into a toggle. When enabled, the loop button does not start playback but forces playback to always play the loop. Looping stays engaged when the transport is stopped. Playback continues where the transport stopped and continues to loop. When disabled, the loop button starts playing the loop but stop then cancels loop playback.
    • Do seamless looping removes any clicks that might otherwise be audible when the transport moves from the end of the loop range back to the beginning.
  • Dropout (xrun) Handling
    • Stop recording when an xrun occurs will stop the transport when an xrun occurs during recording, ensuring no audible glitches are recorded.
    • Create markers where xruns occur will create a new marker when an xrun occurs during recording at the location of the xrun. This marks where possible xruns might produce audible glitches.


  • External Synchronization
    • External timecode source determines which external source to use when Ardour is using an external synchronization source. Depending on the timecode source chosen, the additional preference options below are available.
    • Match session video frame rate to external timecode controls the value of the video frame rate while chasing an external timecode source. When enabled, the session video frame rate will be changed to match that of the selected external timecode source. When disabled, the session video frame rate will not be changed to match that of the selected external timecode source. Instead, the frame rate indication in the main clock will flash red and Ardour will convert between the external timecode standard and the session standard.
    • Sync-lock timecode to clock (disable drift compensation) When enabled, Ardour will never varispeed when slaved to external timecode. Sync Lock indicates that the selected external timecode source shares clock-sync (Black & Burst, Wordclock, etc) with the audio interface. This options disables drift compensation. The transport speed is fixed at 1.0. Vari-speed LTC will be ignored and cause drift. When disabled, Ardour will compensate for potential drift regardless if the timecode sources shares clock sync.
    • Lock to 29.9700 fps instead of 30000/1001, when enabled, will force Ardour to assume the external timecode source uses 29.97 fps instead of 30000/1001. SMPTE 12M-1999 specifies 29.97 df as 30000/1001. The spec further mentions that drop-frame timecode has an accumulated error of -86 ms over a 24 hour period. Drop-frame timecode would compensate exactly for an NTSC color frame rate of 30 × 0.9990 (i.e. 29.970000). That is not the actual rate. However, some vendors use that rate—despite it being against the specs—because the variant of using exactly 29.97 fps has zero timecode drift.


  • Linear Timecode (LTC) Reader
    • LTC incoming port: specifies which physical incoming port of the system will provide the LTC signal.
  • Linear Timecode (LTC) Generator
    • Enable LTC generator when enabled Ardour will output an LTC timecode signal on its LTC-out port. If this option is checked, the two options below are active:
    • Send LTC while stopped, when enabled Ardour will continue to send LTC information even while the transport (playhead) is not moving.
    • LTC generator level [dBFS]: specifies the peak volume of the generated LTC signal in dbFS. A good value is 0dBu=−18dbFS in an EBU calibrated system.


  • MIDI Beat Clock (Mclk) Generator
    • Enable Mclk generator when enabled Ardour will generate a (tempo dependant) beat clock at a rate of 24 pulses per quarter note on the ardour:MIDI clock out JACK port.
  • MIDI Time Code (MTC) Generator
    • Enable MTC Generator when enabled Ardour will generate MIDI time code on the ardour:MTC out JACK port.
    • Percentage either side of normal transport speed to transmit MTC: MIDI time code generation will be disabled when the transport speed is greater than normal speed plus this percentage or less than normal minus this percentage.
  • MIDI Machine Control (MMC)
    • Respond to MMC commands when enabled Ardour will respond to MIDI Machine Control commands received on the ardour:MMC in JACK port.
    • Send MMC commands when enabled Ardour will send MIDI Machine Control commands on the ardour:MMC out JACK port.
    • Inbound MMC device ID: is the only device ID Ardour will respond to when an MMC command is received on the ardour:MMC in JACK port.
    • Outbound MMC device ID: is the MIDI device ID Ardour will use when it sends MMC commands.

Control Surfaces

This tab contains settings for control surfaces.

It lists all the Control Surface protocols Ardour knows. To enable a Control Surface Protocol, the Enable checkbox next to its name should be ticked. Editing the settings related to this protocol can be done by double-clicking its name or clicking the Show protocol settings (only for Generic MIDI and Open Sound Control).

MIDI Ports

  • MIDI Port Options
    • MIDI input follows MIDI track selection allows Ardour to automatically connect the MIDI input to the selected track. Selecting a different MIDI track results in Ardour disconnecting the MIDI device from the former track and connecting it to the newly selected one, so that the MIDI device is always connected to the selected track. Which MIDI device will follow selection can be chosen below.
  • MIDI Inputs This is a list of all the MIDI devices connected as inputs (capture devices) to Ardour. For each devices, there are 3 checkboxes:
    • Music Data if checked, Ardour will consider this device as a source for musical data input (notes, etc…)
    • Control Data if checked, Ardour will consider this device as a source for control data input (play/stop, etc…)
    • Follow selection if the above MIDI input follows MIDI track selection is checked, Ardour will make this device follow track selection.
  • MIDI Outputs This is a list of all the MIDI devices connected as outputs (playback devices) to Ardour. For each devices, there are 2 checkboxes:
    • Music Data if checked, Ardour will consider this device as a target for musical data output (notes, etc…)
    • Control Data if checked, Ardour will take this device as a target for control data output (play/stop, etc…)


The content of this preference page varies heavily between versions or Ardour: both the platform and the build-time options can make Ardour support some types of plugins and not others. While this documentation tries to show all possible options, most systems will only show a subset of the options hereunder, e.g. AudioUnits are macOS only…

  • Scan/Discover
    • Scan for Plugins will initiate an immediate scan of the system for available plugins. Useful to get a newly installed plugin recognised by Ardour.
  • General
    • Always Display Plugin Scan Progress When enabled a popup window showing plugin scan progress is displayed for indexing (cache load) and discovery (detect new plugins).
    • Silence plugins when the transport is stopped when stopping playback or recording, if this option is checked, the plugins that still emit sound (reverbs, etc…) will be stopped. If unchecked, the plugins will continue playing after the transport stop.
    • Make new plugins active when enabled, any plugin added to a track will be in active mode. If unchecked, the plugins will be added in inactive mode by default, hence have no processing effect on the track/bus.
    • Limit automatable parameters per plugin: as some plugins (synthesizers, …) have a lot of parameters, and those parameters can be automated by Ardour, checking this will limit the number of parameters that are listed as automatable, hence making the lists shorter and the GUI more responsive.
  • Plugin GUI
    • Automatically open the plugin GUI when adding a new plugin shows the plugins GUI as soon as it is added to the processing box. If unchecked, the plugin will be added in the processor box but the GUI will only be shown when double clicking it.
    • Show Plugin Inline Display on Mixer strip by default allows Ardour to show, in the mixer strips, a visual rendering of the effect. These Inline Display are a special feature of Ardour, so not all plugins are able to show this display. Most of Ardour's own plugins have an Inline Display. At any time, the plugin's Inline Display can be toggled on or off by double-clicking it.
    • Don't automatically open the plugin GUI when the plugin has an inline display mode: this option, available only if Automatically open the plugin GUI when adding a new plugin is checked, supercedes it and hides the plugin GUI at creation if it has an Inline Display, like Ardour's own a-* plugins.
  • Instrument
    • Ask to replace existing instrument plugin: if a MIDI track already has an instrument (i.e. MIDI to audio converter of some sort) and this option is checked, Ardour will detect it and offer to replace the existing instrument with the newly added one, avoiding a possible conflict.
    • Interactively configure instrument plugins on insert: when inserting a multichannel instrument plugin, if this option is checked, prompts the user for the channel configuration for this plugin.


  • VST
    • Enable Mac VST support (requires restart or re-scan) makes a MacOs system able to run VST-Mac plugins. As stated, a new scan for plugins is required, be it manually or by restarting Ardour.
    • Scan for [new] VST Plugins on Application Start When enabled new VST plugins are searched, tested and added to the cache index on application start. When disabled new plugins will only be available after triggering a 'Scan' manually.
    • Verbose Plugin Scan: adds information about the plugin in the Log window.
    • Scan Time Out Specifies the default timeout for plugin instantiation. Plugins that require more time to load will be blacklisted. A value of &infinity; disables the timeout.
    • VST Cache: Clicking the Clear button removes all VST plugins from the list of plugins available to be inserted into the processor box. A new VST plugin scan is then required.
    • VST Blacklist: Clicking the Clear button makes blacklisted VST plugins available to be added to the processor box.
    • Linux VST Path: Clicking the Edit button pops up a dialog to manage the directories that will be searched for Linux VST plugins. When modified, Ardour will offer to scan those paths for plugins.
    • Path: are the paths chosen above.
    • Windows VST Path: Clicking the Edit button pops up a dialog to manage the directories that will be searched for Windows VST plugins. When modified, Ardour will offer to scan those paths for plugins.
    • Path: are the paths chosen above.

Audio Unit

  • Audio Unit
    • Scan for [new] AudioUnit Plugins on Application Start When enabled, new AU plugins are searched, tested and added to the cache index on application start. When disabled, new plugins will only be available after triggering a 'Scan' manually.
    • AU Cache: Clicking the Clear button removes all AU plugins from the list of plugins available to be inserted into the processor box. A new AU plugins scan is then required.
    • AU Blacklist: Clicking the Clear button makes blacklisted AU plugins available to be added to the processor box.


  • Graphics Acceleration
    • Possibly improve slow graphical performance (requires restart) Ardour uses hardware accelerated gradient creation by default for speed. Sometimes though, a buggy driver can cause this to make the system slow or unstable. Checking this will make Ardour draw its own gradients without hardware acceleration, improving stability and responsiveness on those buggy systems.
  • Graphical User Interface
    • Highlight widgets on mouseover, when checked, makes Ardour's widgets (buttons, sliders, …) slightly change color when the mouse hovers them, visually indicating what a mouse action would interact with.
    • Show tooltips if mouse hovers over a control when checked, displays a little help bubble about the control the mouse hovers. The mouse pointer needs to stay idle for about 1 sec for the tooltip to appear.
    • Update clocks at TC Frame rate: Ardour updates its clocks every 100 ms. Checking this will make the clock refresh at every TimeCode frame which is more responsive, at the cost of a bit more system stress.
    • Blink Rec-Arm buttons: when enabled, the record-armed buttons on tracks will blink when they are armed but not currently recording. When disabled, the record-armed buttons on tracks will be outlined in red instead of blinking. The global record-arm button in the Transport bar is unaffected.
    • Blink Alert indicators: when enabled, the Alert indicators (like the Error Log or the Feedback button) will blink when they are active (when an error or feedback has been detected, respectively). When disabled, the indicators will turn red instead of blinking.
    • GUI and Font scaling: allows the display size of most of the text and buttons in the user interface to be scaled up or down. May require a restart to take effect.


  • General
    • Use name highlight bars in region displays (requires a restart): when enabled, the region name is displayed, in the editor, in its own opaque bar at the bottom of the region. When disabled, the region name is overlaid at the top of the region, possibly over audio waveforms or MIDI notes.
    • Region color follows track color: when enabled, the background color of regions in the editor will be displayed using the color assigned to the track. When disabled the default region background color will be used.
  • Waveforms
    • Show waveforms in regions when enabled shows a visual representation of the region's audio waveform.
    • Show waveform while recording when enabled, will draw the audio waveform in regions being recorded, in near real time. When disabled, only a region block will be drawn while recording, reducing CPU requirements.
    • Show waveform clipping: when enabled the waveform displayed will show peaks marked in red if they exceed the clip level.
    • Waveform Clip Level (dBFS): sets the level at which the waveform shown in an audio region will be drawn in red to indicate clipping. Setting lower than 0.0 dBFS can be useful if any tool in the audio chain has problems near 0.0 dBFS.
    • Waveform scale: when waveforms are shown in audio regions, they can be displayed using a linear or a logarithmic scale. See Waveform display.
    • Waveform shape: when waveforms are shown in audio regions, they can be displayed using a traditional or a rectified shape. See Waveform display.
  • Editor Meters
    • Show meters in track headers, when enabled, shows a small meter in the Editor's track headers. The meter is shown on the right side area of the header and provides an instant, if unprecise, view of the levels on this track/bus.
    • Limit track header meters to stereo: if a track has more than two outputs (e.g. with a drum plugin), limits the number of meters in the track header to the first two ones. Only affects audio meters, not MIDI.
  • MIDI Regions
    • Display first MIDI bank/program as 0: when patches and bank changes are displayed in the editor, if this option is checked, the numbering will be zero-based instead of one-based, i.e. banks/programs will be numbered O, 1 ,2… instead of 1, 2, 3…
    • Don't display periodic (MTC, MMC) SysEx messages in MIDI Regions: if checked, will hide these control messages from the MIDI regions for better legibility.


  • Mixer Strip
    • This table enables (checked) or disables (unchecked) the display of controls in the mixer strip. Controls whose display can be toggled are: Input, Phase Invert, Record & Monitor, Solo Iso/Lock, Output, Comments and VCA Assigns.
    • Use narrow strips in the mixer for new strips by default When enabled, new mixer strips are created in narrow format. When disabled, they are created in wide format. Existing mixer strips width can be toggled with the width control at the top left of the mixer strip.


  • Main Transport Toolbar Items: this section allows to toggle the visibility of some elements of the main toolbar:
    • Display Record/Punch Options toggles the visibility of the punch and record slice of the main toolbar.
    • Display Monitor Options toggles the visibility of the monitor options slice of the main toolbar.
    • Display Selection Clock toggles the visibility of the selection clocks slice of the main toolbar.
    • Display Secondary Clock toggles the visibility of the secondary clocks slice of the main toolbar.
    • Display Navigation Timeline toggles the visibility of the navigation/mini timeline slice of the main toolbar.
    • Display Master Level Meter toggles the visibility of the selection clocks slice of the main toolbar.
  • Lua Action Script Button Visibility enables or disables the visibility of the four columns of Lua script buttons. Each columns contains two user-assignable buttons.


  • Theme
    • Draw "flat" buttons: when enabled, button controls in the user interface will be drawn with a flat look. When disabled button controls will have a slight 3D appearance.
    • LED meter style if checked, the bar meters in the editor and mixer will be styled to look like if they were made of LEDs, with a dotted bar. Unchecking this option makes the bars flat and continuous.
    • Waveforms color gradient depth: determines how much gradient effect is applied to the inner of audio waveforms displayed in the editor. Values range from 0.0, no gradient effect, to 1.0, maximum effect.
    • Timeline item gradient depth: Determines how much gradient effect is applied to the backgrounds of regions displayed in the editor. Values range from 0.0, no gradient effect, to 1.0, maximum effect.
    • Icon Set: Changes the mouse cursor icons used to indicate different tool modes in the editor. An example would be the icons used to indicate whether the cursor will select a region or change the length of a region.


  • Colors
    • Color Theme allows to switch between some presets bundled with Ardour, changing both the palette and items colors, hence styling Ardour all at once.
    • The table allows to change the color settings in Ardour by acting on three parameters:
      • Items that allow to choose any color from the palette (see below) to color a UI element. Clicking on a color sample in the Color column bring up the Palette, to choose from.
      • Palette that allows to create a set of colors that will be used in the UI. Using a palette allows for better consistency, instead of picking "free" colors for each UI element. Clicking on a color patch brings up a full color selector, to assign this color to this patch of the palette.
      • Transparency where possible, allows to select, with a slider, the transparency of the UI element, with 0 (slider to the left) being fully opaque.
    • Restore Defaults turns all the palette, item colors and transparency back to Ardour's default base setting, in case Ardour's appearance has turned into a toddler's toy.


  • Various Workarounds for Windowing Systems: As Ardour is available on a number of platforms and windowing systems, some specific workarounds are sometimes required to provide a smooth experience to the user.
    • Use visibility information provided by your Window Manager/Desktop allows the system window manager's rules for the windows visibility to supercede Ardour's.
    • All floating windows are dialogs: when enabled, Ardour will use type "Dialog" for all floating windows instead of using type "Utility" for some of them. This may help usability with some window managers. This setting requires a restart of Ardour to take effect.
    • Transient windows follow front window.: when enabled, transient windows will follow the front window when toggling between the editor and mixer. This setting requires a restart of Ardour to take effect.
    • Float detached monitor-section window: as the monitor section can be detached from the mixer, this option makes it a floating window, which may be handled differently by the windowing system and easier to access.


  • Video Server
    • Show Video Export Info before export Shows a warning message when exporting a video about licensing and offers to open the export video section of this manual.
    • Show Video Server Startup Dialog: when using video inside Ardour, this video is accessed via Xjadeo from a source file through a Video Server. This options shows the server's startup dialog (useful for debugging a malfunctioning video).
    • Advanced Setup (remote video server) can be used when the setup is more complex than opening a local file with Ardour. The tools used behind the scene by Ardour allow a lot of flexibility, so for a competent user, the options below are provided to access a distant file (i.e. on another machine). The default options for the two following fields ("http://localhost:1554" and "/") are suitable for local files.
    • Video Server URL: Base URL of the video server delivering the video through the network (http://IP-or-address:port).
    • Video folder is the server's local path to the document-root, i.e. the files that can be delivered by the server.
  • Video Monitor
    • Custom Path to Video Monitor (xjadeo) - leave empty for default: Ardour bundles offer xjadeo bundled, so it should run flawlessly. Though, for custom builds or if a newer version of xjadeo is available, one can specify a path to the wanted version of xjadeo.