I’ve always liked these little flowers. They look so fake, like they’re made of some sort of particularly sun-resistant plastic. I’M NOT SAYING IT WAS ALIENS BUT

…it was aliens.

Remember a couple of months ago the hell of upgrading Ubuntu so I could run a modern version of Jack, so I could run Ardour 2.6.14? Well, that was the latest version six months ago, the first time I tried to upgrade.

About five months ago, the long-awaited Ardour 3.0 finally came out. (They’re at 3.1.mutter now; and having the history with Microsoft, this sounds like a sweetspot for versions.) So now I’m fiddling around with that.

I’ve only been working with it for a few hours so far, but I’ve done a little test recording and editing, and tried to put it through some early paces. It works with the version of Jack included with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS; no Jack update needed. It still allows parallel installations, so you can use it without losing 2.6. There’s an installation script, but honestly, you don’t need it; you can run it straight out of its bin directory, which is what I’m doing.

First impressions are really good. Latency is lower. I’ve had a little list of features I’ve wished Ardour had, and suddenly it has them. There are a lot of UI changes, most of which I like, some of which I love, a couple of which… I’m not as happy about, but nothing I can’t get used to. It has updated project formats; I’m figuring out how much that matters, it seems to maintain double root files now, one for Ardour 2.x use, one for Ardour 3.x use, but I haven’t tested that.

I love love love the new project view window.

It’s a lot smarter about use of screen space; I can fit all the tracks of, say, Voiceless usably into the editing window now, and even have a bit of room to spare. “Maximise editor space” is now actually worth using; it’s much smarter about use of screen real estate. Plug-in management in tracks is much better – that was one of those things I’ve been wanting. Click track now lets you set files for both emphasis note and basic notes, and it has an exposed level control. (You could do that before; it was just difficult.)

One way in the past to crash Ardour has been to get freaky with editor zoom controls while the transport is running on a complex project; 2.6.8 would crash pretty easily that way; I’ve only seen 2.6.14 do it once. 3.1 hasn’t yet, despite trying – but the night is still young.

Anyway, those are all just some first impressions. I’ve already made a scratch project for the soundtrack album in 3.1; if things continue to go well, I’ll do the whole album in it, and post new impressions as I have them.