Starting Ardour

There are several ways of starting Ardour, which may vary depending on which platform it is being used on:

  • by double-clicking the Ardour icon in the platform's file manager (e.g. Nautilus on Linux, Finder on OS X)
  • by double-clicking on an Ardour session file in the platform's file manager
  • on Linux, Ardour can also be started via the command line (see below)

When Ardour is run for the very first time, a special dialog is displayed that will ask several questions about the system's setup. The questions will not be asked again, but the choices thus made can always be modified via the Edit > Preferences dialog.

If JACK is needed, in general, it is sensible to start it before Ardour is run. Though this is not strictly necessary, it will provide more control and options over JACK's operation. JACK can be started through the CLI of a terminal, or by using a GUI program, like QjackCtl or Cadence.

If Ardour is opened without specifying an existing session, it will display the Session > New… dialog and the Audio/MIDI Setup dialog. See New/Open Session Dialog for a description of those dialogs.

Starting Ardour From the Command Line (Linux)

Like (almost) any other program on Linux, Ardour can be started on the command line. Type the following command in a terminal window:


To start Ardour with an existing session, use:

Ardour5 /path/to/session

Replace /path/to/session with the actual path of the session. Either the session folder or any session file inside the folder can be specified, including snapshots.

To start Ardour with a new, named session, use:

Ardour5 -N /path/to/session