Adding Plug ins such as VST and LADSPA

Hi, me again. I’ve got the latest Ardour 2.8 with VST support now. I only have one problem: Where can I add the plug ins? I tried to add a folder usr/lib/vst, that worked so far. But I have no access to this folder, because the rights for the folder belong to root. So how can I get the rights for the folder (Ubuntu 9.04) and where’s the rest of the plug ins, such as ladspa? There must be a folder containing it, but I just can’t find it. Thx so far!

Ladspa plugins should be installed system-wide, probably in /usr/lib/ladspa. You may have to set the LADSPA_PATH environment variable if it isn’t already set - but if your distro set your system up properly this shouldn’t be necessary and Ardour should find them automatically. You don’t need write permission into this directory because you will probably be installing LADSPA packages from your package manager. Even if you build them yourself you should still install them as root.

For VST plug-ins, the usual way is to install them to ~/vst and then set VST_PATH to point to this directory. To install plugins, just use the install program that came with the plugin (if there is one) and make sure you use that directory to install everything into (i.e. don’t put anything in ‘Program Files’.)

To set environment variables, edit your ~/.bashrc; for example

export VST_PATH

And to become root in Ubuntu you open a terminal, type ‘sudo su -’ and enter your password.

if I try to set bashrc it says bashrc permission denied. What’s wrong?

ok. I solved the bashrc problem. I set everything as you said, but no application seems to find the vst plugins. Weird…

You need to log out and in again for the chages in .bashrc to take effect.

I tried it several times. Could you give me a script what I exactly have to type? I tried it with
chmod 007 ~/.bashrc
export VST_PATH

nothing happened. sorry, I’m a nubie with the terminal.

First: chmod should be 644 or at least 600

Second: did you manage to put the vst dll’s in /usr/lib/vst? In that case you shouldn’t have to do anything since Ardour by default searches /usr/local/lib/vst and /usr/lib/vst.
Otherwise change that to the dir you have them in (like DrG’s suggestion ‘~/vst’, meaning you put them in a ‘vst’ dir in your home directory)

Oh, and if you want a recipe on how to get the info into .bashrc the easiest way is probably to echo it into the file:
echo export VST_PATH=~/vst >> .bashrc
or use your favorite text editor.

I tried everything possible. I extracted and installed all of the vst plugins into the /usr/lib/vst. but no application realizes this fact. I don’t know what to do.

What happens if you launch ardour from a terminal (type ardourvst)?
Among the startup info you should see ardour: [INFO]: detecting VST plugins along /usr/local/lib/vst:/usr/lib/vst. If it doesn’t you don’t have VST compiled in.

Also, what does ls -la /usr/lib/vst say? The dlls have to be directly in that dir, they can’t be in any subdir (I think).

Edit : Oh, and make sure the dlls are readable by your non-root user: chmod 755 /usr/lib/vst/* (run this as root)

OK. Maybe we should talk about this point… :wink: Ardour 2.8 is with VST-Support. Or do I have to build the VST support? In that case: Is there any .deb package out there with built in VST? I can’t build the package myself. I just quit windows and I am happy if I can handle the Terminal thing (I was a child last time I used DOS, so I don’t really like the text-thing :-)). Ardour is a really great application, and I try to support It, If I can run my studio Linux-based. But for this it has to work perfectly with vst. Why am I telling you this…? I don’t know, but it had to be said :-).

I’ve just had a look at qtractor, and it also doesn’t find any VST plugin, although they are in their folder, with no subdirectories or such things. I did everything you told me. But no aplication finds the VST’s.

and ls -la usr/lib/vst lists all the vst effects I have in this folder. So they are def. in there!

OK, back to basics: Can you start Ardour by opening a terminal and running ardourvst ?
If it says something like “command not found” you don’t have the vst version.
A quick googling hasn’t shown any .deb-package of 2.8 and only has for 8.10 and it doesn’t mention if it was compiled with vst support.

And don’t count on it to run vst’s “perfectly” anyways. Some work fine but others don’t and probably never will.

I don’t think qtractor has vst support by default. It seems to use the Steinberg headers still so it can’t be redistributed.

OK. It might become a little bit more complicated as I thought. I know that there’s a .deb vst package for AV-Linux, but I don’t know if i could get it for Ubuntu.

In theory the AV-package could perhaps work in 9.04.

But if you’re really that dependant on perfect vst support I’d really suggest you go back to Windows. The vst support in Ardour is a hack and will be for the forseeable future. From what I understand dssi-vst is a bit better in that regard but adds another level of complexity and it’s still not 100% compatible.

Another route would be to see if there are LADSPA/LV2 plugins that can replace your vst’s. You haven’t specified what vst’s are of importance to you. If you do I’d be glad to recommend some native plugins, or you can look here:

I tried several LADSPA plug ins. They sound horrible. No compressor is comparable to VST, and the EQ’s are a joke. OK. It seems I have to wait another year until Ardour is usable for Studios. Sad. But thanks a lot for your help!

“I tried several LADSPA plug ins. They sound horrible.”

You’re not using the right ones. :slight_smile: I’ve got close to 100 LADSPA plugins installed. Of those there are about 10 that I use. The rest, as you say, are horrible.

“No compressor is comparable to VST”

You’re definitely not using the right ones. Try the Calf compressor.

“and the EQ’s are a joke.”

I’m with you there. The Multiband EQ from SWH is quite good, and the TAP Multiband/BW EQ is nice, but they’re CPU eaters.

You’re right in that there is very little available for Linux that compares with the quality you get from VST plugins. But what do you expect for free? If you’re careful in your choice and learn their limitations a lot of the LADSPA stuff is perfectly useful. A lot of it is perfectly awful too :slight_smile:

I really like SWH Triple parametric with shelves EQ.
As for one sounding “better” than the other, here’s one take of it :

And the SC-compressors do their job, at least for my requirements which are to attenuate the output if the input reaches a certain level. In my world a compressor is a necessary evil that shouldn’t affect the sound in any other way.

I’d really like some more detailed explanation what they lack (apart from an übercool retrolooking GUI) and that the VST’s have.
On a side note, the LV2 plugins have fancier GUI’s than the LADSPA’s.

Now, if you had complaints about reverb or other modulating effects I could possibly understand since they require another set of mathematics to get “right”, though as for reverbs you could use jconv and one of the many free impulse responses to get that prestine Lexicom PCM70 sound.

“I’d really like some more detailed explanation what they lack (apart from an übercool retrolooking GUI) and that the VST’s have.”

For me, you can mostly keep the fancy GUI. I actually like the nice big easy to adjust sliders that Ardour gives for LADSPA. So much easier than turning a virtual ‘knob’. What I do like about the GUIs however is those that give me a realtime graphical display of what’s going on - but with LV2 we get that (Calf Compressor being my favourite example).

As for EQs… most of the ones I have, have fixed frequencies and bandwidths. That’s just not useful. I can get the frequency response correct to that degree when I record it. What I want for mixing is very fine control. The SWH one gives me that… but whenver I run it Ardour ‘Loses connection to JACK because it is too slow’ even though DSP load never exceeds 20%. That’s not good.

There are a whole load of plugins I have that are obviously written straight from DSP cookbook examples… and they sound… horrible. Then a lot of the others are buggy (the TAP Reverb crashes and silences all outputs if the input to it exceeds some level)… even my favourite Calf Compressor doesn’t work properly if I use more than one at once (on different tracks). The supposedly ‘LEET’ plugins crash my system to the point where I have to physically power it off. This is what I mean… there’s a lot of talent out there but the quality is downright shameful. I feel bad complaining, cos these guys do it for fun and I’m grateful… but when you’ve become used to the rock-solid, great sounding Waves and TC Native plugins it’s frustrating to be forever battling with unstable software. What I want to be doing is making music, what I end up doing is trying to figure out which plugin isn’t working properly this time.

I’ve been using the stuff from LinuxDSP a lot recently. That stuff is really good. Sounds great, works great… it’s not LADSPA or LV2… coincidence?

DrG, my question was more directed towards rieger.simon but thanx anyway.

Have you tried the SWH Triple parametric LADSPA? In my experience it shouldn’t require that much CPU, using one each (with different settings) on four tracks took me from 4,5 to 7% DSP on a 2.7GHz Pentium4.
Just remember to set the freqs as per the info on
And you get precise control of your frequencies…

The TAP ones have their problems but as you perhaps noticed in compiling with -fno-strict-aliasing seems to fix some of them.

I agree that some are of “questionable” quality but to outright crash your system sounds weird. Are you sure you don’t have other problems like bad RAM, flaky capacitors and whatnot?

Obviously what you pay for when you buy a professional VST is quality both sound and stability wise (though I’m not entirely sure about the latter all the time :slight_smile: but for the price I’d say the LADSPA/LV2 are infinitely good.