Ardour without midi


Recently I see a lot of posts wanting midi support for Ardour. In fact most want a full blown midi sequencer included. Until now, Ardour is a very fine audio application and I fear that adding such a load of functionality will just bring a lot of problems.

Would it be possible to make midi support a compile option? That way, it would be possible to strip all the midi stuff out of it and leave the audio part.

I really have no use at all for midi and would prefer an audio only application above a combined one.

You can add sysex to that list. It’s essential to set external gear to correct operating modes (effects boxes, for instance).

Yup, I agree with Havoc.

The compile option would be fine, just like with vst. With this, Ardour could focus on things it does right at the time. And that’s audio.

I don’t mind if midi support will be there someday, but I fear that slows down the other work on it too. Hope I am wrong!

I on the other hand fear that midi will be the crippled half brother you never pay any attention to if you leave it behind a compile option.

What I mean is, that optional functionality breaks often and will always be a bit unstable and badly supported. Midi support will be a lot better for everyone if it is not optional.

MIDI support is already partially implemented in Ardour for Linux. Some version of Ardour for OSX also support midi. Primarily this is control data for the mix and automation functions that is implemented. The master plan for Ardour does include a MIDI sequencer. I may be wrong on this, but I think one of the Google Summer of Code sponsorships was for MIDI in Ardour. Be patient. It will come, and I think we can trust that the developers of Ardour will not let a crippled MIDI sequencer be released.

I do understand the need for midi concerning automation and control surfaces. But it doesn’t need to get further.

I would prefer a collaboration between Rosegarden and Ardour to get them talking perfectly instead of trying to re-invent the sequencer.

I tend to disagree.

I myself use MIDI recording a lot when tracking drums.
I simply record a triggered MIDI signal, from the kickdrum, toms and snare to later be able to samplereplace them, or use them to control a gate plugin.

I agree though that a fullblown compositional suite is in no way wanted. For this we already have Rosegarden and MuseSequencer (among others) and I think it is very important to distinguish tracking (recording) tools and compositional tools, since the workflow in the two are extremely different, and compromising the one for the other will simply cripple both of them.

It is not intended for Ardour to be a full sequencer. There will be some sequencing capabilities, but it will mostly be a recorder, routing and playback machine - just like Ardour is for audio. We are also planning on using a midi extension to the LV2 plugin format so we can use effects on midi data.

Ardour and Rosegarden already sync together perfectly as both use jack transport. What is the problem there?

Shame to deny MIDI

I currently use Ardour synced with MusE, which works perfectly. I also use an MPC2000xl. The MPC2000xl does most of the sequencing and MusE is used to record controller movements for hardware synths, long or unlooped phrases, and to ensure positional sync between the external MIDI hardware and ardour and sometimes I use MusE for the whole arrangement (if I’m feeling in a visual mood)

While I’m sure some people would prefer a full blown sequencer, I also agree that would be more of a nice to have. However there are non compositional elements of MIDI that could be extremely useful.

  • As mentioned having ardour just record MIDI data,
  • Respond to MIDI clock and sync to external midi clock driven positional signals as well as tempo adjustments.
  • Sync LFO’s to MIDI clock in jack plugins.(phaser/flanger rates, delay times e.t.c).


Allan K
Littlewolf Recordings
Melbourne Australia

That’s a pretty wide spread of opinion and expectation. :slight_smile:

Would it be fair to say that the median wish is to have a lot of the power of MIDI sequencing in Ardour, but absolutely none of the UI adornments and other bloat that typically come with a full-blown MIDI sequencer? A lightweight but flexible sequencing-capable infrastructure, but not a MIDI music composition tool?

That could be achieved with little more than a well-chosen pile of callback hooks optionally triggered at all relevant event points of the existing audio-only system. Don’t populate the callbacks and you have no sequencer, and no bloat. Load the callbacks dynamically with a suite of handlers reflecting your desired setup, and what you have is not a generic bloaty MIDI sequencer but one that does specifically what you want.

That would be a lightweight yet still very powerful approach to sequencing in Ardour. It wouldn’t be there if you didn’t want it, yet avoids the serious disadvantages of conditional compilation that were pointed out by sampo.

Dont break the vibes ...

Let each app do better what it already knows well:

  • Audio recording and editing
  • Midi recording and processing
  • Plugin and control support
  • Communication between apps
    Everyone should save time and focus on what he knows better until we have a full working platform at least as powerfull as commercial ones.

We already have 4 wheels and a car, we need to build roads and fuel tanks, not square wheels :wink:

You need to use midi if you already have a composed midi song and then you want to record/overdup your song with real instruments.

So first you have alle instrumentes enabled and after recording the guitar you disable the midi-guitar but you can still hear the voice or drum when you want to record your keyboard now.

“Record only” will work for some ensembles, but for more complex music you will need basic midi playback, just for having an “advanced clicktrack”.

Not to speak about mixed arrangements with midi trough an extern sampler like LinuxSamplerProject and real instruments. This is a typical example for making Computergame-Soundtracks. I wanted to try this with linux and wanted to prove that good music and recording in that genre is possible with linux but I’m still struggling about my toolchain.

I can get ardour and rosegarden to sync, but (IMO) rosegarden sucks - I’d rather use ardour if possible