Next up in the latency/jitter testing is Ardour!

If you don’t understand what this is, please read the introduction post (This article is being updated if/when changes are made!).

Other parts in this series:



Read the introduction post. I have updated this post since it was originally published.

For Ardour I used Kontakt. VST version.

The Preferences->Audio->Buffering options did not affect the results, nor did any other setting that I found. The developers tend to read these articles, so if I made an error in this regard then I hope one of you very fine people let me know. :)

Ardour reports latencies for the device of:

  • Input - 156 samples
  • Output - 145 samples

When using the `Window->Audio/Midi Setup->Calibrate Audio” function, here are the results:

  • 64 sample buffer
    • Roundtrip - 429 samples (8.938ms)
    • Systemic Latency - 301 samples (6.271ms)
  • 256 sample buffer
    • Roundtrip - 812 samples (16.917ms)
    • Systemic Latency - 300 samples (6.250ms)
  • 1024 sample buffer
    • Roundtrip - 2342 samples (48.812ms)
    • Systemic Latency - 295 samples (6.146)

I suspect the difference between the test results and Audio->Audio result is the MIDI subsystem and/or the device MIDI latency.

(Same results as Mixbus).

Unrelated to this test, but Ardour/Mixbus’s Audio Calibration system is the best in any DAW. This is an important setting that nearly every other DAW: doesn’t let you set, doesn’t automatically set correctly, or has a test function that gives incorrect results.

I thoroughly enjoyed using Ardour in every aspect of setting up this test.

Reminder, don’t trust dweebs on the internet. Do the tests yourself, or at least double check my data.

64 sample buffer

Reported Latency

  • N/A

64 sample buffer

Ardour - 64 Sample Buffer (Video)

256 sample buffer

Reported Latency

  • N/A

256 sample buffer

Ardour - 256 Sample Buffer (Video)

1024 sample buffer

Reported Latency

  • N/A

1024 sample buffer

Ardour - 1024 Sample Buffer (Video)


Here is a csv of all the data, including the config files used to plot it using deltafinder.

Ardour data


  • Ardour has near-zero MIDI input jitter.
    • Like Ableton Live - Ardour has about 4 samples of constant jitter at all settings (including what’s not displayed here)
      • A reader pointed out that this is possibly a round/floor issue after some division when determining which sample a MIDI event aligns with. Seems reasonable?
  • Ardour’s total latency is good at lower buffer sizes, but becomes exponentially worse with larger buffer sizes.
    • Compare Ardour with Live or Bitwig. 64 samples performs excellent, slightly more at 256, significantly more at 1024.
    • This puts Ardour firmly in the “Excellent result” camp at buffers lower than 128 samples.


This post took:

  • Testing Ardour was pleasant and took approximately 16 minutes.
  • Processing the results and writing the article took around 30 minutes.
  • Checking various settings to see if they influenced results took around 1 hour.