New/Open Session Dialog

The initial Session dialog, displayed at each start of Ardour, consists of several consecutive pages:

Open Session Page

The Session Setup Dialog
The Session Setup Dialog

On this page, an existing session can be opened. Any snapshot of a particular session can also be accessed by clicking on the arrow next to the session name to display all snapshots, and then selecting one.

If the session is not displayed in the Recent Sessions list, the Other Sessions button will bring up a file selection dialog to navigate the file system.

Alternatively, a New Session can be created.

New Session page

The New Session Dialog
The New Session Dialog

This page allows to type in the name of a session, select a folder to save it in, and optionally use an existing template. The different templates, both the "factory" ones and the ones created by the user, are easily available on the left-side panel.

Template Setup dialog
Template Setup dialog for the Advanced template

Depending on the chosen template, a specific Template Setup window may be shown, allowing the user to fine-tune the details of the template and/or choose between the different options of the template.

Templates can be huge time savers when working on similar projects, or on usual projects, as they allow to preset and tweak a lot of the session properties, (like the availability of a monitoring section, connection to a Master Bus, etc.), and handle the creation of tracks of any kind.

The Empty Template preset allows to create a session "from scratch". Everything a session template does can be done manually —albeit more tediously— and the resulting sessions will not differ whatsoever.

As of Ardour 5.12, which introduced the new template dialog, the factory templates are:

Empty Template Creates an empty session with no tracks and no monitoring. A stereo Master Bus is created, and any track created defaults to output on this bus.
Advanced Session Like the Empty Template, but adds the ability to easily manage the Master bus (channels, hardware connection, and track autoconnection), and the creation of a monitoring section.
Recording Session Like the Empty Template, but allows the fast creation of a number of tracks, optionally ready to record.
Live Band Fast tracks the creation of usual tracks for a band setup (vocals, guitars, piano, ...), and optionally adds usual effects on these tracks.

Selecting a template will display its description in the right-side panel, while hovering over a template name will show a tooltip indicating if it is a factory template, or, if it is a user-created one, which version of Ardour was used to create it.

Whether or not a template is used, and before the "Template Setup" dialog, the Audio/MIDI Setup will be shown.

The New Session dialog also allows selecting session's time domain — either audio time or beat (musical) time. This defines the defaut selection of visible timeline rulers and units in which various markers operate in.