System Requirements

Computer Any 32 or 64 bit Intel-compatible computer (non-Intel hardware can be used if you build Ardour yourself or have someone else build it for you). CPU speed limits the amount of signal processing you can do.
Operating System Any version of Linux with a kernel newer than 2.3 and libc version 2.7 or newer. This applies to almost any Linux distribution released in 2008 or later.
System Software You must have the Jack Audio Connection Kit installed
RAM 2GB is recommended, more is always better
Disk Space Minimum 350MB of free space on /opt to install Ardour. You will want lots more disk space for recording. This need not be on a separate disk but performance will be improved if it is.

Although more or less any Linux Intel/AMD system will run Ardour, the incredible variety of hardware used to build systems running Linux means that your own computer may not be able to run Ardour with the sort of performance you (and we) would like.

It is extremely difficult to provide specific guidance about this. It is worth noting that the same problems tend to affect Windows users too. Contrast this with Apple Mac computers, which are built to precise specifications by a single company that actually cares about audio software.

We have a slowly growing page in the manual about some of the hardware issues that can affect Ardour users (and ways to deal with them). You can also find much more information online.

Audio Interfaces

You do not need an audio interface ("soundcard") to run Ardour but most people will use it on a system that has one.

Ardour does not interact directly with audio hardware, but relies on JACK for this purpose. JACK will work with any audio interface supported by your operating system.

Ardour (and all advanced digital audio software) will work better if you use a professional or semi-professional audio interface that is capable of simultaneous playback and recording. The use of separate devices (e.g. USB microphones combined with your builtin audio) is generally discouraged, though it can be done

Desktop/Server Devices

Any ALSA-supported device will function with JACK. We recommend:

2-4 channels 2-12 channels more than 12 channels more than 26 channels
M-Audio Delta 44, 66 or 2496 M-Audio Delta 1010 RME HDSP, RME HDSPe RME MADI

USB devices

Most USB Audio Class 1 or 2 compliant devices (i.e. it comes without its own custom drivers for Windows or OS X) will work. We recommend the following, although many others will work perfectly:

  • Presonus 1818VSL (USB2)
  • Sound Devices USB Pre 2 (in USB 1 mode)
  • Edirol/Roland/Cakewalk UA-25 and UA-25 EX

Firewire devices

Firewire audio interfaces are supported by the FFADO project, which you should visit to get the latest status on hardware support. We can recommend the following devices from among the many listed there:

  • Focusrite Saffire Pro series
  • Echo Audiofire series
  • RME Fireface 800 & 400
  • Edirol FA-101 & FA-66

The ALSA soundcard matrix provides complete details on all USB and PCI hardware support, covering devices from more than 120 manufacturers

New Linux users must read the First Time User page before using Ardour.

Computer Any 32 or 64 bit Intel system. CPU speed limits the amount of signal processing you can do.
Operating System OS X 10.4 (Tiger) to OS X 10.7 (Lion). May also work on Mountain Lion, but not tested so far.
System Software You must have the Jack Audio Connection Kit installed
RAM 2GB is recommended, more is always better
Disk Space Minimum 600MB of free space to install Ardour. You will want lots more diskspace for recording. This need not be on a separate disk but performance will be improved if it is.

Audio Interfaces

Ardour does not interact directly with audio hardware, but relies on JACK for this purpose. Any device supported by CoreAudio can be used.

Ardour (and all advanced digital audio software) will work better if you use a professional or semi-professional audio interface that is capable of simultaneous playback and recording. The use of separate devices (e.g. USB microphones combined with your builtin audio) is generally discouraged, though it can be done

If you only have a builtin audio interface and you start and stop JACK using Ardour rather than some other tool, then you must take steps to create an aggregate device

New OS X users must read the First Time User page before using Ardour.

Ardour can be built and run on any operating system that:

  • supports audio devices
  • can run JACK
  • provides most of the POSIX specification either directly or via glib

It is known to have run on FreeBSD and Solaris, for example.

To use Ardour on such systems, you will need to build it yourself, some information on which can be found here