Ardour 5 Tutorial

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This glossary offers brief definitions for many or the terms used throuhout the Ardour3 FLOSS Tutorial.

Aggregate Device (Mac OS X)**

An Aggregate Device is one virtual soundcard made of of two or more physical soundcards. PowerBooks and MacBooks made in 2007 or later will need this set up in order for JACK to have both input and output channels. This is set up in the Audio MIDI Setup application.


A sound file format developed by Apple and commonly used for lossless and uncompressed audio. AIFF files are compatible with Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.

ALSA (Linux)

Advanced Linux Sound Architecture. ALSA provides audio and MIDI functionality to the Linux operating system.

Arm (Track to record/Ardour to record)

Action that makes Ardour ready to start recording. Before recording in Ardour, one or more tracks need to be armed first, and then Ardour needs to be armed itself.

Artifacts (sound)

Perceivable distortion or decrease in sound quality generated as a by-product of certain signal processing operations. Artefacts are usually seen as undesirable or unexpected results of an otherwise intentional sound transformation.


Reducing the level of an audio signal, usually measured using a logarithmic scale. See also gain.

Audio MIDI Setup (Mac OS X)

The Audio MIDI Setup utility is a program that comes with the Mac OS X operating system for adjusting the computer’s audio input and output configuration settings and managing MIDI devices.

Audio Unit Plugins

Audio Unit (AU) is a plugin architecture in Mac OS X computers. It may be thought of as Apple’s equivalent to the popular VST plugin format by Steinberg. Mac OS X comes with a collection of AU plug-ins such as EQ filters, dynamic processors, delay, reverb, time stretch, among others.


The auditioner is a hidden mixer strip which auditioned regions are played back through. Auditioning a region will play only that region, without processing sends or plugins.


Automation is the automatic adjustment of various parameters such as gain, panning or plugin settings. Changes can be made once and then will be repeated every time the mix is replayed. Automation in Ardour is controlled by automation lines linked to each Track or Bus.

Auxiliary Controls

Buttons on the top right side of the controls found in the Editor Window: Punch In/Out, Auto Play, Auto Return, Auto Input, Click, Solo, and Audition.


The level or magnitude of a signal. Audio signals with a higher amplitude usually sound louder.

Bands (equalization)

The particular frequency regions to be boosted or attenuated in the process of Equalization.

Bars (music)

Same as ‘measure’, a bar is a metrical unit. In Western notation, it is the space comprised between two vertical lines drawn through the staff. The specific duration of a bar depends of its time signature and the current Tempo of the music.

Bass (Frequencies)

A generic way of referring to the lower frequencies of the Spectrum of a sound.


The basic pulse underlying a piece of music.

Beats per Minute

Beats per minute (BPM) is a measure of Tempo in music. A rate of 60 beats per minute means that one beat will occur every second; 120 bpm equals two beats per second, and so on. BPM indications usually appear at the beginning of a traditional musical score as a metronome mark (for example, “quarter note equals 60”, meaning one quarter note per second).


A bit (binary digit) is a single number with a value of either 0 or 1.

Bit Depth

Refers to the number of bits used to write a sample. In the CD standard, each sample of audio is represented by a 16-bit number. This gives 2\^16 (two to the power of sixteen = 65,536) possible values that a sample can have. A higher bit depth means a greater possible dynamic range. Studio recordings are usually first made recorded with a bit depth of 24 (or even 32) to preserve as much detail before transfer to CD. DVDs are made at 24 bit, while video games from the 1980s remain famous for their distinctively rough “8 bit sound”. Bit depth is also referred to as word length.

Buffer Size (JACK)

The buffer is a section of memory specifically allotted to temporary signal data. Small buffer sizes allow a lower latency and so are needed when using audio applications that require real-time interaction. The drawback is that CPU consumption for the system is higher with smaller buffer sizes. Larger buffers (like 512 or 1024) can be used when there is no such requirement.

Built-in Input and Output

These are the default interfaces for getting sound in and out of your computer if you don’t have an external sound card. In a laptop, they are the common input (mic) and output (headphone) connections.


A bus is similar to a Track except that it does not contain its own regions. You cannot record directly into a bus or drag regions into it. The Mixer Strip vertically represents the signal flow of a bus, whereas the Main Canvas horizontally displays time-based information for each bus (such as automation lines).


Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) is an extension of the popular Microsoft WAVE audio format and is the recording format of most file-based non-linear digital recorders used for motion picture and television production. This file format allows the inclusion of metadata to facilitate the seamless exchange of sound data between different computer platforms and applications.


CAF (Core Audio Format) is a file format for storing audio, developed by Apple. It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4 and higher. The Core Audio Format is designed to overcome limitations of older digital audio formats, including AIFF and WAV. Just like the QuickTime .mov file format, a .caf file format can contain many different audio formats, metadata tracks, and much more data.

Center Frequency

In some EQ plugins, the user has the possibility of choosing the center frequency for each of the Frequency Bands. The center frequency of a Band will be the one most sharply attenuated or reinforced by the equalizer for that specific band. Frequencies surrounding the center frequency will be less affected.

Click (Mouse)

In this manual, it specifically means to click on the left button of your mouse. Whenever the right button is required, the action is referred to as “right-click”.


Clipping occurs when a signal is too high in level to be reproduced. Any samples too high in level will simply be truncated, resulting in distortion, loss of audio detail, and artefact frequencies which were not present in the original sound.

Clipping Point

The clipping point of a digital system is referred to as 0 dB, and the level of any sound is measured in how far below the clipping point it is (-10 dB, -24 dB, etc).


The two big numerical displays near the top of the Editor Window. They can display the time in a number of formats: Timecode, Bars:Beats, Minutes:Seconds, and Samples.


FLOSS applications are distributed as source code, which is human-readable but cannot be run as an actual application. To turn this source code into a running application, it must first be Compiled. When you download a disk image for Mac OS X or a software package from your distribution (such as Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora), it has been compiled for you already. However, if you wish to add features (such as support for VST Plugins) which your distribution does not provide, then you must Compile the application from source code yourself.


Essentially, compression makes the quiet parts of a signal louder without changing the level of the louder parts. This entails a reduction of the actual dynamic range: a compressed sound is less dynamic (has a smaller range of levels)

Compression (data)

Like any other data, audio data can be compressed so that it uses less hard disk space. Compression such as FLAC, ALAC, or MLP reduce the size of audio files compared to WAV or AIFF without changing the data, which is referred to as lossless compression. Audio can be compressed to a still smaller size by using lossy compression such as MP3, Ogg Vorbis or AAC but this is achieved by removing data which can have an audible effect.

Connections Manager(JACK)

The window in Jack that allows to manage all connections between audio inputs and outputs.

CoreAudio(Mac OS X)

CoreAudio provides audio functionality to the Mac OS X operating system.

Cursor Modes

These are the six buttons just below the Transport commands in the Editor Window. The six different functions that the mouse pointer can have in Ardour are: Select/Move Objects, Select/Move Ranges, Select Zoom Range, Draw Gain Automation, Stretch/Shrink Regions, Listen to Specific Regions.


Decibel is a logarithmic scale used to measure many quantities, including the gain, level or loudness of a signal. Decibel is usually abbreviated to dB and in digital audio usually denotes how far under 0 dBFS (the clipping point of a system) a signal is.


The amount of time between one event and another. As an audio effect, a delay takes an incoming sound signal and delays it for a certain length of time. When mixed with the original sound, an “echo” is heard. By using feedback to return the delayed signal back into the delay (usually after lowering its gain), multiple echos with a decay result.

Destructive Editing/Recording

Destructive actions are those that permanently modify or erase the original data (sound files) in the course of editing or recording.


Distortion occurs when an audio signal is changed in some way that produces frequencies not present in the original. Distortion can be deliberate or unwanted, and can be produced by driving the signal to a clippingpoint, or by using mathematical transformations to alter the shape (or “waveform”) of the signal (usually referred to as “waveshaping”).

Disk Image (.dmg)

A disk image is a single file containing the complete contents and structure representing a data storage medium or device. By double-clicking on a .dmg file on a Mac, a virtual device will be mounted to your Desktop (it will look as if you had inserted a USB device or a DVD, for example). Many software installers in OS X are available as .dmg files.


Software written to control hardware. CoreAudio is the Mac sound driver. ALSA is the most common Linux driver.


Digital Signal Processing.

Dynamic Range

Used to refer to the difference between the loudest and the quietest sound that can possibly recorded, as well as the amount of detail which can be heard in between those extremes. Sounds which are too quiet to be recorded are said to be below the noise floorof the recording system (microphone, recorder, sound card, audio software, etc). Sounds which are too loud will be distortedor clipped.

Edit Modes

The three available Edit Modes (Slide Edit, Slice Edit, and Lock Edit) control the behavior of editing operations in the Main Canvas.

Edit Point

The point in the Main Canvas where an action such as Paste takes place. This can be the Mouse, the Playhead or a Marker.

Editor Window

Ardour provides two ways of viewing a session: the Editor and the Mixer. The Editor represents the time based aspects of a session: it shows tracks and busses as horizontal timeline displays, with material within the tracks (audio, MIDI, video, automation data, etc.) arranged along the horizontal (time) axis.


See Equalization.


Equalization (EQ) is the process of adjusting the relative levels of different frequencies in a recording or signal. In other words, it is the process of boosting or attenuating the various frequency bands of a sound according to a chosen artistic goal.


A type of signal processing that supresses some frequencies.

Floating Point Numbers

It is simply a number with a decimal point. “Floating Point” refers to the specific technique the computer uses to represent a larger range of integer and non-integer values.


An open source lossless audio format generally compatible with Linux, Windows and Macintosh. Unlike AIFF and WAV, FLAC is a compressed format, allowing file sizes to be reduced.


FLOSS stands for Free Libre Open Source Software. FLOSS Manuals is a collection of manuals about free and open source software together with the tools used to create them and the community that uses those tools. They include authors, editors, artists, software developers, activists, and many others.

Format (audio file)

The types of sound file that sounds are saved as. Among the most common are AIFF, WAV, FLAC, mp3 and Ogg Vorbis.


Frames Per Second. Frame rate, or frame frequency is the frequency (rate) at which an imaging device produces unique consecutive images called frames. The term applies equally well to computer graphics, video cameras, film cameras, and motion capture systems. Frame rate is most often expressed in frames per second (FPS).


Refers to the number of times an oscillation occurs in one second. Frequency is measured in Hertz, and is correlated to the pitch of a sound. Frequency is a linear scale, while pitch is logarithmic. The pitch ‘A’ above the middle C has a frequency of 440 Hz. The ‘A’ one octave above is twice that frequency (880 Hz).


Increasing the levelof an audio signal, usually measured using a logarithmic scale. See also attenuation.


The Grid is a system of points that a Region might snap to while editing it. The Grid can be “No Grid”, “Grid” or “Magnetic”.

** **Grid Points

The points in the Grid which Regions will snap to when it is active. Grid Points may be minutes, seconds, video frames, bars, beats or some multiple of beats.


A term used to describe the number of times something occurs in one second. In digital audio, it is used to describe the sampling rate, and in acoustics it is used to describe the frequency of a sound. Thousands of Herz are described as kHz (kilo Herz).

High Shelf

In an Equalizer, a Shelf cuts or boosts everything above (High Shelf) or below (Low Shelf) a specific frequency.


The range of Decibels between the region’s maximum Peakand the Clipping Point is commonly referred to as Headroom. It is common recording practice to keep approximately three to six Decibels of Headroom between the maximum of your signal and the Clipping Point.

Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK)

JACK is a low-latency audio system which manages connections between Ardour and the soundcard of your computer, and between Ardour and other JACK-enabled audio programs on your computer. You must install JACK for Linux or JackOSX before you can use Ardour.

JackOSX (OS X)

The name of the version of JACK that runs on Mac OS X. See JACK for more details.


The control interface that comes with JackOSX.

Jack Server

The Jack Server is the “engine” or “backend” of the Jack Audio Connection Kit.

Jack Router

The Jack Router allows audio to be routed from one application to another using the Jack Server.


JAMin is the Jack Audio Connection Kit Audio Mastering interface. JAMin is an open source application designed to perform professional audio mastering of stereo input streams. It uses LADSPA for digital signal processing (DSP).

LADSPA Plugins

Linux Audio Developer Simple Plugin API (LADSPA) is a standard that allows software audio processors and effects to be plugged into a wide range of audio synthesis and recording packages. For instance, it allows a developer to write a reverb program and bundle it into a LADSPA “plugin library.” Ordinary users can then use this reverb within any LADSPA-friendly audio application. Most major audio applications on Linux support LADSPA.


Latency is the amount of time needed to process all the samples coming from sound applications on your computer and send it to the soundcard for playback, or to gather samples from the sound card for recording or processing. A shorter latency means you will hear the results quicker, giving the impression of a more responsive system. However, with a shorter latency you also run a greater risk of glitches in the audio because the computer might not have enough time to process the sound before sending it to the soundcard. A longer latency means fewer glitches, but at the price of a slower response time. Latency is measured in milliseconds.

Amplitude (mixing)

The strength of an audio signal. The scale of amplitude is logarithmic, since it expresses the physical ratio of power between one sound and another. Levels in digital audio systems are usually represented as the number of Decibels below the clipping point of 0 dB. See also loudness.


The process by which the amplitude of the output of a device is prevented from exceeding a predetermined value.


A scale of numbers which progresses in an additive fashion, such as by adding one (1, 2, 3, 4…), two (2, 4, 6, 8…) or ten (10, 20, 30, 40…). Multiplying an audio signal, for example, by either a linear or a logarithmic scale will produce very different results. The scale of frequency is linear, while the scales of pitch and gain are logarithmic.

Linux kernel

The core of the GNU/Linux operating system. In a Real-time System, this kernel is usually Compiledwith new parameters which speed up the use of audio applications in the system.

Lock Edit

**One of the three available **Edit Modes, Lock Edit is similar to Slice Edit, but regions will remain at their original positions regardless of any edit operation performed.


A scale of numbers which progresses according to a certain ratio, such as exponentially (2, 4, 8, 16, 256…). Both scales of pitch and gain are logarithmic, while the scale of frequency is linear.


See Compression (data)


See Compression (data)


Unlike amplitude, which expresses the physical power of a sound, loudness is the perceived strength of a sound. Tones at different frequencies may be perceived as being at different loudnesses, even if they are at the same amplitude.


LV2 is an open standard for plugins and matching host applications, mainly targeted at audio processing and generation. LV2 is a simple but extensible successor of LADSPA, intended to address the limitations of LADSPA which many applications have outgrown.

Main Canvas

In the Editor Window of Ardour, the Main Canvas is the space just below the timeline rulers where Tracks and Busses are displayed horizontally. \

Master Out

A master out is a bus to which all (or most) tracks and other busses send their output. It provides a convenient single point of control for the output of Ardour, and is a typical location for global effects. Master out use is enabled by default, and the master out bus is set up to be stereo. **\ **

**Meter **

The grouping of strong and weak beats into larger units called bars or measures.


Audio mixing is the process by which a multitude of recorded sounds are combined into one or more channels, most commonly two-channel stereo. In the process, the levels, frequency content, dynamics and panoramic position of the source signals are commonly manipulated and effects such as reverb may be added.


MIDI is an industry-standard protocol defined in^^ 1982 that enables electronic musical instruments such as keyboard controllers, computers and other electronic equipment to communicate, control, and synchronize with each other. MIDI allows computers, synthesizers, MIDI controllers, sound cards, samplers and drum machines to control one another, and to exchange system data. MIDI does not transmit audio signals, but simply messages such as note number (pitch), velocity (intensity), note-on, and note-off.

Mixer Strip

Each track and bus is represented in the Mixer Window by a vertical Mixer Strip** that contains various controls related to signal flow. There are two places in Ardour in which you can see mixer strips. The mixer window is the obvious one, but you can also view a single mixer strip on the left hand side of the Editor (shift + E to hide/view)

Mixer Window

The Mixer shows the session by representing tracks vertically as Mixer Strips, with controls for gain, record enable, soloing, plugins etc. The Mixer represents the signal flow of Tracks and Busses in an Ardour session. The mixer window provides a view that mimics a traditional hardware mixing console.


Monitoring is the process of routing a specific mix or submix of your session into separate outputs (like headphones). For example, a musician being recorded may want to listen to existing material while performing. Ardour and JACK make it easy to setup monitor outs since any incoming signal can then be delivered back to any output, optionally mixed together with other signals and with any kind of sound processing added.


A mono sound file contains only one channel of audio. A mono track in Ardour has only one input and handles mono sound files.


A lossy, size-compressed sound file Format.

Graphic Equalizer/Multi-Band Equalizer

A Graphic (or Multi-Band) Equalizer consists of a bank of sliders for boosting or attenuating different frequency of a sound.

Non-destructive Editing/Recording

This is a form of editing where the original content is not modified in the course of editing. Behind the scenes, the original sound file is kept intact, and your edits are in fact a list of instructions that Ardour will use in order to reconstruct the signal from the original source when you play it back. For example, creating fade-ins and fade-outs on your Regions is a type of non-destructive editing.


To normalize an audio signal means to adjust its Gain so that it peaks at the maximum the sound card allows before Clipping.

Normal Mode

**See **Track Mode.

Note value

The proportional duration of a note or rest in relation to a standard unit. For instance, a ‘quarter note’ (crotchet) is so-called because its relative duration is one quarter of a whole note (semibreve).

Octave (music)

A distance of 12 semitones between two notes. In Hertz, the ratio of an octave is 2:1. For example, the note ‘A’ above the middle C has a frequency of 440 Hz. The note ‘A’ one octave above is 880 Hz, and one octave below is 220 Hz.

Ogg Vorbis

An open source lossy, size-compressed sound file format.


Panning is the location of sounds in the Stereo Field.

Parametric Equalizer

The Parametric Equalizer is the most versatile type ofEQ used for Mixing because of its extensive control over all the parameters of filtering.


Peaks are a graphical representation of the maximum Levels of a Region.

Peak Meters

Peak Meters are a running representation of the maximum Levels of a Region, and are located next to the Fader in the Mixer Window, and also in the Track Mixer, of each Track.


Pitch represents the perceived fundamental frequency of a sound.^^^^It is one of the three major auditory attributes of sounds along with loudness and timbre. In MIDI, pitch is represented by a number between 0 and 127, with each number representing a key on a MIDI keyboard. The relation of pitch to Frequency is Logarithmic. This means that a sound which is heard as one Octave(+12 MIDI notes) above another one is twice the frequency in Hz, while a sound one octave below (-12 MIDI notes) is half the frequency.


In Ardour, the Playhead is the red line that moves in time (i.e., left to right) to indicate the current playback position.


In computing, a plugin consists of a computer program that interacts with a host application (in this case, Ardour) to provide a certain function “on demand”, usually a very specific one. Reverb, filters, and equalizers are examples of plugins that can be used in Ardour in association with Tracks or Busses.


A free and open source set of audio driversfor Linux and Mac OS X.

Post-Fader (Plugin or Send)

In the Mixer Strip, the post-fader area is the black space below the gain slider, to which plugins or sends can be added. The input of these plugins and sends will be the signal after any manual or automated gain change (thus “post-fader”).

Pre-Fader (Plugin or Send)

In the Mixer Strip, the pre-fader area is the black space above the gain slider, to which plugins or sends can be added. The input of these plugins and sends will be the incoming signal before it is affected by any manual or automated gain changes controlled by the slider (thus “pre-fader”).


In signal processing, quantization may refer to bit depth (see bit depth definition). In MIDI, quantization refers to the process of aligning notes to a precise temporal grid. This results in notes being set on beats or exact fractions of beats. MIDI sequencers typically include some type of quantization function.


A segment of time. Ranges are created with the Select/Move Ranges tool and may include one or more tracks. Loop and punch ranges are special types of ranges that are created and manipulated with the loop/punch ranges meter.

Real-time System(Linux)

In a Real-time System, the Linux kernel is usually recompiled (rebuilt) with new parameters, and other settings in the system are optimized which speed up the use of audio applications in the system.


Regions are the basic elements of editing and composing in Ardour. Each region represents all or part of an audio file. Removing a region from a track does not remove the audio file from the disk.

Region List

The region list is located at the right hand side of the Editor Window and it shows all the regions associated with the session.


Reverberation is the persistence of sound in a particular space after the original sound source is removed.^^^^A reverberation, or reverb, is created when a sound is produced in an enclosed space causing a large number of echoes to build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air. Digital reverberation can be added to a sound in Ardour through the use of plugins.

Right Click (mouse)

Click on the right button of your mouse.


Routing is sending an audio signal from somewhere to somewhere else. Signals can be routed not only from the outside world into Ardour and vice-versa, but also within Ardour itself (for example, from a Track to a Bus).


Rulers are the thin horizontal bars that display the time line, helping to see when exactly a region or sound starts or stops. Also displayed with the rulers are the meter and tempo markers, the location markers, the range markers and the loop/punch ranges.

Sample (data)

In digital audio, a sample is the smallest possible segment of a recorded sound. In CD audio, for example, it takes 44,100 samples to make one second of recorded sound, and so we can say that the sampling rate is 44,100 Hertz. Samples also have a bit depth which determines the dynamic range that is possible to record and playback. Common bit depths are 16 (for CD audio), 24 (for studio recording and DVDs) or 32 (for sounds inside the computer).

Sample (music)

In electronic music, the word sample can mean any portion of sound extracted from an existing piece of music to be reused in a new composition.


An electronic music instrument or software which plays back a recorded sound (or sample) whenever it is sent a note message. The pitch of the note determines how fast or slow the sample is played back, which emulates the pitch changes in other instruments. Samples can be looped (played over and over) and one-shot (played once).

Sampling Rate

The rate at which the computer records and plays back sound, which is measured in Hertzrepresenting the number of samplesper second. CD audio is recorded and played at 44,100 Hz (or 44.1 kHz), while DVD audio runs at 96,000 Hz (96 kHz) and cheap consumer gadgets like voice recorders, video games, mobile phones, toys and some MP3 players often use a rate of 22,050 Hz (22.05 kHz) or even less. The sampling rate determines the highest frequency that can be recorded or played, which is expressed by the Nyquist number (half the sampling rate). Playing back sounds at a different sampling rate then they were recorded at will result in hearing that sound at the “wrong speed”.


An optional auxiliary output for a track or bus.


A session is all of the information that constitutes one project in Ardour. Each session is saved in its own folder containing all the audio, region and parametric data, and a master file with the .ardour extension.


In an Equalizer, a Shelf cuts or boosts everything above (High Shelf) or below (Low Shelf) a specific frequency.

Slice Edit

One of the three available Edit Modes, Slice Edit does not allow dragging regions around, but still allows you to perform slice operations (such as cut, paste, and split). Space between regions will be kept constant after any edit operation that affects it. If you delete the second half of a region, for example, any subsequent regions on the same track will automatically move back in the time grid.

Slide Edit

Another one of the three available Edit Modes, Slide Edit is the default mode. It allows you to drag regions around horizontally (within the same track) and vertically (between tracks).

SMPTE timecode

**A set of cooperating standards to label individual frames of video or film with a timecode defined by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Timecodes are added to film, video or audio material, and have also been adapted to synchronize music. They provide a time reference for editing, synchronization and identification.

Snap Mode

The Snap Mode menus are found just below the Clocks. They control the amount Quantization of the time grid, i.e., the amount of “snap” an audio Region has to the type of grid you have chosen.


Saving a snapshot in Ardour is similar to saving the session to a new file to avoid overwriting the original session file. A snapshot contains the current state of your work, while sharing all the audio and data files of the Session. If you were trying to find a “Save As” function in Ardour, saving a snapshot is probably what you are looking for.


Toggle switch found in track controls and mixer strips. When toggled on, only solo tracks will send output. Several tracks can be marked solo at once. The general Solo button (top row of controls in the Editor Window) can be used to un-solo all soloed tracks at once.


The representation of a signal in terms of its frequency components.


A stereo sound file contains two channels of audio (usually known as Left and Right channels). A stereo track in Ardour has two inputs and outputs, in order to record and playback stereo files.

Stereo Field

Stereo field is the perception of spatial location of sounds based on a sound reproduction system of 2 channels (Left and Right).


A sequence of sound recorded continuously at one time.

Tape Mode

**See **Track Mode.


The rate at which beats occur. Precise Tempo indications are measured in bpm (beats per minute), although subjective indications are also common in scores (Allegro, Adagio, Very Fast, etc).


A “terminal” is the text-based interface that allows to operate a computer by typing commands into it. Most computer users today rely solely on a graphical interface to control their systems. Both Mac OS X and Linux though, include a terminal which may make some tasks easier for some users.


A time code is a sequence of numeric codes generated at regular intervals by a timing system. The SMPTE family of timecodes is almost universally used in film, video and audio production.

Time Signature (music)

A sign placed at the start of a piece of music (after the clef and key signature) or during the course of it, indicating the meter of the music.


A Track is the place to where you can drag a Region from your Region List** and where you can record sounds coming from an outside source. The Mixer Strip vertically represents the signal flow of a track, whereas the Main Canvas horizontally displays time-based information for each track.

Track Mode

Track Mode gives you a choice between Normal Mode and Tape Mode. Normal Mode creates a new Region for each Recording Take, while Tape Mode destructively records–in other words the previous Take of a Track is eliminated with each new Take.

**Transport **

The buttons located on the upper left corner of the Editor Window, with controls such as Rewind, Play, Stop.


Generic way of referring to high frequencies of the Spectrum of a sound.

VST (Virtual Studio Technology)

SteinbergVST is an interface for integrating software audio synthesizer and effect plugins with audio editors and digital workstations such as Ardour. VST and similar technologies use digital signal processing to simulate traditional recording studio hardware with software. Thousands of plugins exist, both commercial and freeware. VST was created by Steinberg.


A sound file format developed by Microsoft and IBM and commonly used for lossless and uncompressed audio. WAV files are compatible with Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.


The time-domain visual representation of a sound. Waveforms are drawn inside the colored rectangles representing Regions in the Main Canvas.

Word length

See Bit Depth.


About This Tutorial

Published on December 30, 2014

What Is Digital Audio?

Published on December 29, 2014