Did you have any problems during the installation?
I haven't had any issues with tango studio (10.04).
How complicated is the overall configuration?
It's important to know that this sequencer works with the jack audio server (well-configured) and a driver (alsa or ffado for firewire), which is a bit surprising at first, but you'll quickly understand the advantages it brings with itself! You are free to route anything you want anywhere you want!
Did you have any incompatibility problems?
You need to inform yourself whether the soundcard is compatible with the driver, otherwise Ardour won't be functional. For firewire, which is what I have, go to the ffado.org website to look at the list of compatible firewire cards.
Is the user's manual clear and comprehensive?
The documentation is pretty clear, plus there are useful online forums where you can ask your questions.
What's your computer setup?
HP elitebook workstation 8530w, core 2 duo 2.8 Gtz, 8 gb ram, HDD 320 7200 rpm, focusrite saffire pro 26 IO soundcard
How is the performance?
Recording 16 tracks simultaneously, the latency is about 2.5 ms at 16 bit 88200 Hz
Does the software work correctly with your setup? Is the hardware+software configuration stable?
Everything works impeccably.
How long have you been using the product?
About a year.
Did you try any other models before buying this one?
I worked with cubase previously and also tested Tracktor.
Which feature do you like the most / the least?
The most: Free software, unlimited number of tracks, automation of effects gain (and other parameters), you can route anything to and from it via Jack, it comes with 80 plug-ins, it never crashes.
The least: The interface is not as nice as that of cubase.. Version 2 doesn't support midi but I don't use it anyway! Version 3 is supposed to support midi.
An indispensable software! It is very responsive and the stability of Linux needs not be proven, I don't know why so little people use this software! Rather than cracking software (to end up with unstable tools) or paying licenses with abusively prohibitive prices for products whose stability isn't the best, and using opaque audio engines that are very resource-intensive, try this software out and save your money for some good gear! Don't be afraid of Linux: The times are gone when you had to do everything via command line, now everything's done via the GUI!
Conclusion: You could have less for much more money!!!
Installation: Via your distribution's package manager (ubuntu, fedora, debian, mageia, etc...) ... it's easy!
Configuration: Add the user to the audio group, unlock memory access to get the maximum power... and it's ready!
If you get the version included with your distribution, that's the one that will work best on most machines. If you choose to download a development package (like Ardour 3 beta in 12/2012), you can expect some bugs.
You can download the manual in English. And it's more than enough to start out with confidence.
Machine: Casawave PC with INTEL DH77EB - EB Lake - Chipset H77 - LGA 1155 motherboard. INTEL Core i5 3570 - 3.4Ghz - 4 core processor. 8 Gb KINGSTON RAM (max: 32Gb) - DDR3 - 1333Mhz C9. HDD 1: HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.D - 1Tb - Sata III - 7200rpm - 64Mb Cache. HDD 2: HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.C - 500Gb - SATA II - 7200rpm - 16Mb Cache.
Soundcard: Formerly an Edirol UA25 (and all the problems that come with it), now: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4.
The software works like a clock. The connection to Jack (a Linux audio server) is automatic. I've had no crashes to this day, the soundcard is recognized immediately and it just works! Add to that the Linux plug-in must-haves: Calf plug-ins, Swh, Cmt, invada, IR, Amb, etc... and you get a very powerful and flexible system
I tried it seriously from June 2011 to May 2012. And then, in the summer of 2012, I decided to buy a computer exclusively to make music with a custom setup running Linux. Since August I've been producing audio (no MIDI) on a regular basis.
I used to work on Windows with Adobe Audition 1.5 and then 3. A very good software, but after version CS5.5... it's lousy!
I then switched to Cockos Reaper 3 and then 4. Very good as well, quite comprehensive, but my Windows system started to really get on my nerves (I was fed up of having to clean the registry, of having to change my anti-virus constantly, etc.). And then I discovered Linux. I had my reserves for quite some time: Not too many pro soundcards recognized, the need to change your workflow (which requires a lot of time!). After some perseverance, the result is that you can really get a high-end and versatile setup (in terms of audio quality): Managing software packages is a real breeze after working with Windows. I wouldn't go back again.
As for Ardour 2: it's really pro! Anyone coming from Pro Tools won't have any trouble adapting to it, the operating logic is the same. It's simple, clear, precise: Effective. Visually, it's sober, but relaxing for the eyes. It's very pleasant for long editing and mixing sessions. The keyboard shortcuts speed up everything to be even more efficient.
What I like best is that it never crashes and it does what you ask from it. Loading times are pretty short (as long as you don't have sessions with 300 tracks and 120 plug-ins, obviously...). It's very user-friendly: The windows (effects, notes, indications) are very clear, you really have the impression of working with pro gear.
What I like least is the file insert window, which is oversized, not everybody has a 24-incher!
Unbeatable value for money! It's free! (In fact, it has a free license and doesn't cost a thing, but you can make a donation, the proceeds of which will help develop future versions)
Installation without any issues, as long as you're running the normal version of Ubuntu (the studio version is a pain to install).
As the documentation states, besides Ubuntu, you need to install the corresponding audio packages and plug-ins and it works right away! It's automatically configured and everything!
I have never used the user's manual, I discover things on the way and take notice (I have some experience with Cubase).
Anyway, the Ardour forum is very useful, jut like the Linux community in general and the Ubuntu one in particular.
I currently use a 2GHz laptop with 2 Gb RAM.
It works great.
Several years ago I worked with it on a netbook!
Linux's advantage is that it uses much less resources than Windows, which is great for this type of software tools. I get latency times of less than 5 ms!!
I used to connect my instruments directly into the soundcard (it's risky, so be careful!).
EDIT: Ever since I use a Digitech RP355 pedalboard as soundcard. The pedalboard is perfectly recognized by qjackctl and you can check my info if you want to develop ideas together (collective songwriting).
I've been using it for 3-4 years and it's great for me. It's stable, reliable, light... And free (but do consider contributing to support such an impressively serious project!!)
It's clearly better than Audacity, which is pretty good all the same, just like Cubase I'd say.
Afterwards, if you fiddle with it, it can get really complicated. It's a really pro software, so you can configure the plug-ins, map the hardware by hand or use the hammer/chisel tools if you want to develop your skills further, which isn't my case.
I'm all for simple/effective/efficient computer tools and Ardour fits that description perfectly!
I chose the Tango Studio Linux distribution... it's easy to install and, more importantly, it was conceived with musicians in mind, not programmers ... low-latency and other configurations that make it ready-to-use.
I tried Ubuntu Studio but I had a hard time with my M-Audio 24/96 soundcard, even though it is recognized by linux ... However, I had no issues under tango studio (thanks to its Alsa configuration)...
I must add, though, that I chose this soundcard because, unfortunately, Linux does not recognize all soundcards, which can be a real pain...
4 gb ram on a 3-year old pc... It would be better to have some more, but...
It has some bugs but nothing too bad (I must admit that my computer is not very recent and isn't the best for making computer music).
My M-audio soundcard has no preamps. That's why I added a tube-pre (presonus)... which has only one input, but it's better than nothing. I play one instrument after the other (guitar, piano, vocals...)...
It's more than enough together with my Audio technica AT2020 mic.
There are obviously better things out there, but they are more expensive, and I'm not for winning the hardware race.
I think I have good low-cost gear.
What's important is what you do with it (in my opinion).
After one month of use, I've almost mastered it and I think it's pretty good.
1 It's free but a donation to Paul Davis (ardour's creator) is very welcome....
2 Thanks to the Jack software, you can connect to it a drum machine, an additional synth (already installed under Tango Studio), compressor (jamin)...
3 Plug-ins: Heaps of them...for free.
4 It's easy to get used to it (although I still have lots to learn)...
1 Linux doesn't recognize all soundcards, so...
I admit I don't know any other software tools, most of which aren't free, but the times are tough right now...
They are either too expensive and you have to get them illegally... I chose Ardour as a conscience decision.
And after what I've heard... Ardour has not much to envy its paid counterparts... and given the results I get, I don't doubt it (I'm talking about the sound and the huge possibilities it offers).
With hindsight, I'd definitely choose it again...If you're on a low budget, don't think it twice.