10 years of ARA Audio Random Access
More musicality, greater ease-of-use, new functions and improved workflows: The audio interface ARA Audio Random Access has raised the interaction between compatible DAWs and plug-ins to a new level. Now this important standard is ten years old.
ARA Audio Random Access expands existing plug-in interfaces like VST or Audio Unit to include a “musical information channel”. Thanks to ARA, DAWs and plug-ins can exchange information about things like the notes, tempos and chords being used – a dialogue that is advantageous to both parties, as it allows DAWs and plug-ins to combine their strengths and offer functions that are considerably more musical. ARA also provides direct access to all audio files, eliminating the tiresome transfer process that some plug-in concepts would otherwise require, as well as making new functions and workflow improvements possible – especially for arranging and comping.
ARA was developed by Celemony in collaboration with Presonus Software and was presented for the first time in the fall of 2011, with Melodyne 1.3 and Studio One 2 operating in tandem. The seamless interaction and the new workflows were received with enthusiasm and soon ARA was being supported by other manufacturers of both DAWs and plug-ins.
Today, most of the leading DAWs – including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Studio One, Cakewalk, Nuendo, Samplitude, Sequoia, Mixcraft, Reaper and Waveform – support ARA in one form or another. ARA support on the plug-in side can be found in Melodyne, SpectraLayers, Autotune, RX 9, VocAlign and some more. Which of ARA’s many possibilities are actually used in any given case depends upon the technical framework and the product strategy of the manufacturer in question.
Since May 2021, the ARA Audio Random Access Software Development Kit (including detailed documentation) has been available on GitHub as open-source software under the Apache 2.0 license. This makes it even easier for interested developers to familiarize with ARA and to integrate it into their projects.
DAWs with ARA support: Apple Logic Pro; Steinberg Cubase, Nuendo; Presonus Studio One; Cakewalk by Bandlab; Cockos Reaper; Magix Samplitude, Sequoia, Acid Pro, Sound Forge; Tracktion Waveform; Acoustica Mixcraft; Avid Pro Tools (Audio-to-MIDI)
Plug-ins with ARA support. Celemony Melodyne; Antares Autotune Pro; Steinberg SpectraLayers; Synchro Arts Vocalign, Revoice Pro; Izotope RX Music Reblance, RX 9 Spectral Editor; Bandlab Drum Replacer (Cakewalk only); SoundRadix Auto-Align Post 2