Ardour 6.5 Free Digital Audio Workstation Released with Support for VST3 Plugins

Ardour 6.4

Ardour 6.5 free and multi-platform DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software has been released two months after Ardour 6.3 for all supported platforms with many interesting changes.

The biggest new feature in Ardour 6.5 is support for plugins in Steinberg’s VST3 plugin format. Yes, that’s right, you can now use VST3 plugins in Ardour, and they work on all platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows.

To use them, go to Preferences > Plugins and click the “Scan Now” button, which will automatically discover all the VST3 plugins you might have installed in your system. If you don’t have them installed in the standard location, you can specify the folder where they’re installed.

The VST3 support included in Ardour 6.5 supports the Presonus VST3 extensions used by Softube Console 1 plugins and control surfaces and other devices.

Among other changes in this release, there’s now better handling of MIDI encoders, proper support for MIDI strips, expanded MIDI rewriting example script, better MIDI support on ARM devices like the Raspberry Pi, and improvements to the dark theme.

Various performance improvements are included as well to speed up the displaying of MIDI automation lanes and to make the stem and direct-out export faster. Moreover, Ardour 6.5 now asks before showing 2000 automation lanes.

Also improved are the details of signal path latency computations, WAV and AIFF files now support session metadata tags, and linear fades are now used when crossfading loop starts or ends. Another interesting change is the fact that Ardour now marks sessions as “dirty” whenever a meter type is changed.

Of course, numerous bugs were squashed and several language translations updated. You can check out the full release notes for more details and download the Ardour 6.5 sources right now from the official website. Since there’s no binary for Linux systems, I recommend installing Ardour from your distro’s repositories instead.

Update: Ardour 6.4 was immediately superseded by Ardour 6.5 a few hours after its release. The article was updated accordingly.

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