Ardour + Jamin Mastering

Hi all,

I’m totally new with ardour and jamin, and I just got them running under Gentoo with rt-kernel patch.
I also have jackd running and client connections are done properly.
My question is about Mastering audio, this is what I actually do:

  1. Importing my wav backtrack in ardour
  2. Recording guitar
  3. Mixed together
  4. Export to WAV

Now, i want to explore further with jamin and how would basic mastering is done with jamin ?

Is this the correct and proper step :

  1. Open the previous exported WAV
  2. Launch jamin, set the EQ, etc.
  3. Record back with ardour then export to WAV

Thanks in advance.

honestly, I wouldn’t use jamin for mastering. I use a template I made for ardour, utilizing many of the new linuxdsp LV2 mastering plugins (and it sounds much better than jamin). The differences between what is achievable with ardour and jamin vs ardour with linuxdsp plugins is very noticeable.

A policy for including qualifications along with boisterous opinions could be interesting. Obviously beejunk has a strong opinion. I read the claim for “hideous” sound but am not sure whether to take the person serious or not. Audio production is one of those topics where many of us, myself included, become overzealous. I’m guilty with this response and don’t imagine any of us really means to cause harm.

I’ve been perfectly happy with Jamin on the couple dozen albums I’ve mastered with it. My experience is mostly limited to Jamin. I used T-Racks before Jamin existed and have mastered a couple albums with T-Racks in the last couple years. My personal mastering experience is limited to these two software solutions.

I’ve studied mastering, designed a second control room at my studio that is dedicated to mastering and my clients are always happy with the final product. FYI, I no longer master in the dedicated control room. I thought there would be benefits in a different acoustical environment with another brand of monitor. There are but not so much, for me!

My preference of one solution over another includes productivity, productivity and productivity. In the early days of Linux audio Jamin had the potential to be part of a very controllable environment. A combination of migration to OS X, developments in Ardour and a lack of development in Jamin have left it less than desirable to me on OS X. Jamin is a CPU pig, OSC between ardour and Jamin on OS X blows and Jamin segfaults on OS X.

There’s nothing wrong with Jamin’s sound; however, it has become more hassle than it’s worth. I’ve got a mastering job coming up and will try the appropriate Universal Audio plugins. It’ll be fun to try something new.

Ron Parker
Mirror Image Studio


Interested to hear your results of course, but concerning Jamin segfaulting on OS X, was this my test package I built some time ago or a different one? I haven’t done any work on the native GTK/Quartz version in some time so I am curious to see if you are running across a new bug in it.


jamin compiled from 0.95.0 not sure why I’m not or should have been using your precompile. Should I try it?

Chris “beejunk”,

If you want me to produce one song start to finish using ardour/mixbus and jamin at my studio Mirror Image, I’ll be happy to hook up. No charge. The only stipulation is using my drum kit because it sounds good and I won’t want to spend time on a kit unless I’m being paid.

Ron Parker
Mirror Image Studio
rtp405 @ yahoo dot com

rtp405, you are right that people are often overzealous in audio, and I am certainly that. I was also not being entirely serious when using the phrase ‘hideous’ to describe the sound of Jamin’s compressor’s. I do tend to use exaggerated words, and forget that on the Internet people are not going to automatically know that I’m being a bit sarcastic.

So, yes, I don’t literally think that Jamin sounds awful. There are things about it that I don’t especially care for, but I have used it to master before, and the end-product was fine.

I’m curious about your offer, though, rtp405. Is it because you’d like to show that Jamin can be used to make a good master? Like I said, I know it can, I just prefer using other tools.

I never did any serious mastering work myself but I was not really satisfied with jamin. I thought it was due to my non optimal settings but after I read what Fons A. had to say, I told myself I was not dreaming. You can instead build a track template with the plugins of your choice. There are some good ones out there.

Could you give a few clues for users who might be interested in trying it?

For example:
Is there less loss of clarity? Better stereo imaging? Higher average levels before sounding obviously degraded?

Enquiring minds want to know :slight_smile:

thanks all for the answers, btw what kind of plugin is used for mastering ? could you give some examples ? (link)


Heh I have used Jamin on quite a few projects with good results actually, but to each their own.

In as far as plugins, what most people will use is a very high-def EQ, Multiband-Compressor, and possibly a limiter.



a limiter could be the TAP scaling limiter from the TAP plugins. it behaves like a brickwall limiter, i.e. does not change the character of the waveform too much.


I’ve used Jamin on two projects - and I didn’t really like it.
This time I’ve set a seperate mastering project (exported the master from the project) - and then imported this master track into the mastering project.
I’ve set up 3 busses and sent the master track (after the fader) to those 4 busses (the track was not sent to master)
First of all the linuxdsp graphical eq in the the master track
In one bus I’ve set up the linuxdsp Multicomp, in one the clean signal, in one bus I’ve set up Barry’s Satan Maximizer and in one I’ve set up the linuxdsp compressor (setting the ratio to 1 so it didn’t compress, but using the input and output volume to get some of the nice “tube” distortion).

Well the linuxdsp plugins cost 5 pounds - but in my opinion they are really worth it. (so all the plugins did cost me 20$ approximately)

I enjoyed mastering with these plugins much more than with Jamin.

@macinnisrr: I’ll look at the possibility of doing some kind of spectrum analyser plugin - I’ve got something that I use for my own testing (the manuals have some screenshots of frequency response graphs etc) and its not very difficult to do an FFT based analyser, but I think it will have to be JACK only or VST for the moment since I still haven’t discovered a way to get the (relatively) large amounts of data throughput from the DSP part of an LV2 plugin to the GUI part for display (but this is possible with VSTs). The current design of the LV2 plugins seems better suited to the relatively low data throughput required for simple parameter changes (note that the graphical EQ represents a special case since the response curve can be mathematically calculated using the EQ coefficients and therefore does not require the same amount of data as realtime analysis). There may be some extensions to LV2 that would allow this to work, but I would have to see if they are supported in various different host applications, otherwise the plugin compatibility would be a bit limited.

While I hate the fact that jamin uses so much CPU (I couldn’t even use it until two years ago when I upgraded my computer), the spectral analysis is awesome. For any of my recent projects I’ve used linuxdsp plugins (mastering eq --> compressor), but I still keep Jamin in the last stage for a visual of what I’m doing to the sound. Even with a great set of flat-response speakers, much time is saved by seeing the frequency response of the song I’m working on. It may just be that I’m half deaf from playing so many rock shows, but being able to see what I"m doing saves me several trips to the car, the crappy stereo, etc. I must agree that linuxdsp plugins are much better sounding that Jamin, I just wish they had some kind of graphical analysis, so I could avoid Jamin altogether. Even with an athlon64 3200 with 4GB RAM, I have to downmix all my sessions before mastering (otherwise the system slows to a crawl).

Can someone explain what the problem is with the sound quality achievable with jamin? I’ve mastered loads of tracks using it and have been happy with the quality so far (as have paying customers). The version I’m using is patched with Fons Adriaensen’s foo-limiter, so that might have something to do with it, but I’m curious as to how much better-sounding the alternatives can be without resorting to CPU-hogging tricks like internal upsampling.

Its hard to tell without a proper monitoring environment but generally, I find the results are much better. Its hard to really describe without listening to a linuxdsp vs. jamin master in a good environment with good speakers.

if you dig it a little bit more around this forum, you will see that most ppl using ardour + jamin prefer the insert method from the ardour master bus.

Jamin is an effect processor receiving data from its jack input ports and outputting the result through its output ports. It therefore lends itself to be used connected to an insert object.

Create an insert object in the master bus fader (e.g. pre-fader area)

Launch jamin with the -p option so it does not connect its ports automatically to your system ports.

open the insert connection window (double click on the insert name)

connect its output ports to jamin’s inputs
connect its input ports to jamin’s outputs

and voila :slight_smile:

Since it is a mastering stage, you don’t need low latency at all. In fact, I suggest you work at a high latency as jamin consumes a substantial amount of CPU (the reason is due to some dubious compromise that Fons Adriaensen has described in the Linux Audio Dev mailing list).

Before the insert, you can now add the LADSPA plugin that can control jamin. Jamin works with scenes and you may have different master settings for different parts of the songs, etc. So you need a mechanism to switch between settings as your are processing the song (typically during playback transport and during export). This plugin will allow you to automate the scene changes by creating an automation track from the master bus (click ‘a’ button of the master bus header and look into plugin automation).

I like the linuxdsp ch-eq mastering compressor because it makes it quite easy to do overall bass/treble adjustments. This is more of a workflow preference than one of sound quality (though I actually can’t think of any two band eqs in ladspa, perhaps I should take a peek). The reason I prefer just two bands is that I’m live mastering (so to speak) the mixes (after they’ve been mixed), so I don’t so much need the accuracy of a bunch of bands. When I find single frequencies acting crazy I try to fix the offending track rather than alter the overall mix.
I do, however, prefer the sound of the linuxdsp vc-2 compressor as it adds more valve type overdrive as the signal becomes more compressed. When I was using windows/cubase, I really liked the sound of the T-Racks mastering suite (used it on all the productions I did with that system), which has an eq (albeit 4-band parametric with shelves), into a tube style compressor (much like vc-2) before running into a multiband limiter and finally a brickwall. I love being able to overdrive the signal at the same time as compressing, and this is primarily what I mean when I say that I prefer the sound of the linuxdsp plugins.
I should mention that from there, I usually do use Jamin’s multiband compressor section and limiter; mostly due to the fact that I had used T-Racks for years, and as I mentioned, that’s how their setup worked.
I realize I could use other multiband compressors or limiters, but like I said, I really like the graphical analysis in jamin.

You can use the invada meter plugin in conjunction with the linuxdsp plugins, though with ardour 2.8.9 I get really high dsp consumption with that particular invada plugin… but for mastering it might be acceptable anyway.