Ardour 6.5 does not show any plugins

Hi, I downloaded the ready to run Ardour 6.5 program paid version. I followed the instructions and installed Ardour 6.5 on Ubuntu 20.04 however when I start Ardour there are no plugins present.

I previously was running free Ardour version 5 which had all the plugins.

Does anyone know why this is happening? I checked the location such as /usr/lib/ladspa and there are definitely plugins there.


Just read another post about this issue.

A right mouse click under the fader, in the mixer view, and click on the plugin manager brings up the full list of available plugins.


Since this is the normal way to list plugins (or at least a normal way), what were you expecting to happen that did not happen?

I’m rather a newbie at this. Didn’t realise that was the normal way of doing things.

That’s why I asked. You had apparently successfully used plugins in Ardour before. How did you do that? What do you feel has changed?

Sorry Paul I just forgot that is how you bring plugins into Ardour. Maybe I’m in the minority that don’t realise it’s logical to bring plugins in via the mixer strips.

What was your intuition beforehand?

I’ve been used to dragging my plugins into the mixer strips from the favourites box. So in my mind, I am used to seeing the plugins in that favourites box. In one of Unfa’s YouTube videos, you see a lot of his plugins in his favourites box.

OK you first have to mark some plugins as your favorites to populate the sidebar.

You can do this in the plugin-manager, use the “fav” checkbox there, or via drag/drop a plugin from a mixer-strip to the sidebar.

Ardour 6.5 also automatically collects a “Top 10” and “Recently Used” list (select via dropdown in the mixer’s sidebar).

Thanks, Robin. I’ve figured it out how to get to the plugins it’s right mouse click under the fader of each track then click on “new plugin” and then “plugin manager”. The plugin-manager brings up a list of the available plugins where I can select the ones I want to appear in the favourites box.

That makes sense as you apply your plugins to each track that you have. I am not an audio engineer so that was not immediately obvious to me. I’m just a hack recording my electric guitar and the great thing with Ardour 6.5 is that I now have drums, bass and keyboard using the midi plugin which is awesome.

I think it is confusing as in “edit preferences” you can scan for plugins and when you do it doesn’t seem to do anything, there is a disconnect between scanning for plugins and actually seeing the plugins. Also under VST 3 it does not show the paths but under VST 2.x you do see the paths and I’m not sure why that is.

You can right click above or below the fader, to create pre- or post-fader plugins. Most DAWs restrict you to pre-fader, Ardour allows both. You should probably click above the fader by default.

There’s no path shown for VST3 because the path is defined by the VST3 specification. VST2 includes no definition of where plugins should be installed.

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Hi Paul,

So having the plugins above the fader means that the fader has control of the levels from the plugins. So does that mean that the fader has no control over any plugin below it?

I’ve been watching the Unfa videos and the only plugin Unfa had below the fader was a limiter to lift the loudness of the track presumably above the level provided by the fader.

Also just saw a video of a music composer using Ardour and all his plugins were below the fader. This leads to what I think is a problem with the user interface in that there is no space between the invert polarity bar and the fader. So just looking at the interface you wouldn’t know that you could add plugins above the fader.

Is it possible Paul, to add blank space between the invert polarity bar and the fader? That would make it so much clearer that plugins can be added above the fader, which for most plugins they should be by default.

Anyway, I’ve made progress with plugins by installing a new one I didn’t have.


More complicated than this sadly, but a necessary topic to understand. This is part of signal flow. VERY shortened 2 hours lesson (Literally, 2 hours of lecture on these topics every time I teach mixing, and many students still don’t understand it truly after that and it is only after they play with it for hours afterwards they start to get it).

By default, your signal will flow from the top of the processor box to the bottom. It will flow through each pre-fade plugin in turn, then through the fader, then through each post fader plugin. What this means is that the fader does not affect the input signal going into any pre-fade plugin, but will only affect the output of all those prefade plugins. And the fader will affect the input of any plugin directly post fade, which in turn those plugins affect the signals of those following them.

Often times people use post fade sends to send to effects busses (Reverbs, Delays, etc.) so that if they bring the fader down, the end result will be a natural tailing off of the reverb as the inputs signal is no longer feeding it. Likewise people often use dynamics processors pre-fade so that they are acting on the signal before the fader, and they can use the fader to control the overall level of the signal after these processes for an easier and cleaner mix.

These are both guidelines, and when you truly understand the affect of signal flow in the DAW (Much like a console) you can break these when you want to, but it is best to understand it first.

I hope that answered your question to some extent.

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