Ardour's Pitches sound unnatural

Hello, ardour’s pitch’s sound unnatural, Musescore, Cakewalk and Bandlab use different pitches for the notes and it feels way better, It seems like it pushes the wrong freqs to the synth.

I am using Arch Linux on wayland

So all Ardour does is transmit MIDI to the synth, and you can confirm what MIDI is sent using a MIDI monitor right before the plugin but this would be VERY unlikely to be a problem honestly as many more people would have said something. This sounds more like it is possible a problem in the synth, what synth are you using?


Both Vital and Odin2, they sound much better in Cakewalk on Windows with the correct pitches.

There is no known mechanism by which this could be true.

If you want us to take it any more seriously, you need to record the outputs and file a bug report with audio files attached.

I had a similar issue with other software. It was related to sample rates and the sound server. For example, an instrument was outputting 44.1khz, while the other program was expecting 48khz, or vise versa. It altered the pitch. I dont remeber the exact circumstances, but it may have been pipewire related.


Here’s something in Musescore, just some part of a full score for simplicity, I chose an Electric Piano as the instrument in Dropbox:

Here it is in Ardour, after I exported it ot MIDI in Musescore, I chose Odin2 with one of my piano presets, don’t focus on the instrument, focus on the frequencies, they sound a bit blunt, less difference and the charm of the original one is lost:

I don’t think, Ardour is meant for what I do, I am more of a composer than a musician

There is some significant confusion here.

Ardour doesn’t make these sounds: the plugin you chose did. MuseScore (as far as I know) comes with its own instruments (plugins). If you want to compare the two programs, you need to use the same plugin in each one.

It is well known that different plugins sound different (even when nominally making the same sound). People have different preferences (which is part of the reason why we don’t include any instruments other than a General MIDI synth).

And yes, Ardour is primarily designed for audio engineers and self-recording musicians. It can be used as a compositional tool (and is used this way by many of users), but depending on what you have in mind, you may well find other programs more suited to your needs.

No I mean to focus more on the pitches, those sound a bit off, not the instrument, I do remember them sounding like they are in musescore, when I was using Cakewalk. Also in Ardour, going between an Octave sounds unatural like C4 to F4 isn’t bad, but G4 to E5 is, not in Musescore or Cakewalk

I’ve listened to both and the pitches of the notes on both sound the same to me.

The Odin2 one is played at a faster tempo and, of course, is using a considerably different sounding instrument which makes it sound very different.

Perhaps you should try with instruments that, at least, sound similar in both applications.

But to Paul’s point, Ardour is NOT making these sounds. The sounds are coming from the plugin you are using which, in this case, appears to be the Odin 2 Synth. If the pitches of the notes are not right then that has absolutely nothing to do with Ardour.

I guarantee that if you used the same Odin2 plugin with the same settings in MuseScore, and fed it with the same MIDI stream, it would sound the same.

Have you tried that?



You can’t use the same settings of Odin2 in MuseScore, you can’t bring in your own synth, Odin2 is more like a modular synth, MuseScore limits you to it’s own instruments.

Also, I can’t play any other audio, while Ardour is loaded, at the start it makes me select, some audio settings, which could be the problem, but it still sounds the same, after I chose PulseAudio

I realized it’s more complex, I remember in Cakewalk, if I had it copy up itself an octave, it would sound better, If I have the oct slider up, it sounds bad like it jumps too much, but not in musescore, where it would sound normal:

It sounds so much better, if I have Odin2 standalone,

The two audio samples you gave have different tempos. If the tempo in Musescore is the same tempo in Ardour, there is likely some sort of sample rate conversion issue happening. I remeber some laptop chipset sound cards being only 48kHz at the hardware level, and to get 44.1kHz, the system driver would do some coversion in the background.

Are you referimg to the OVERALL pitch of the instrument or individual notes being off pitch ?

Have you tried the General MIDI instrument ?

I mean individual notes being off pitch

The tempos are different, it didn’t get exported.

By “General MIDI instrument”, I think you mean the ACE Fluid Synth, and I chose the Rhodes Piano, as when I imported the MIDI file I made in Music Score, it wrote Rhodes Piano at the start of the track, the instrument sounded the exactly the same, but it still feels off, the pitches are off.

As has been said, if the pitches are off that is a function of the instrument, not of Ardour.

Or, has also been suggested, the.sample.rates may be wrong. But if you are using MIDI instruments in both cases, then that’s unlikely

I believe what you are hearing is purely down to using totally different sounding MIDI instruments…



No, General MIDI instrument. I think that it is installed by default with Ardour.

If you want a free synth, try Yoshimi, but it may only be for linux. Maybe mac, no windows version.

How about this, can you upload the MIDI file? I will attempt to match your settings in Odin2 here on MacOS in Logic, and Ardour/Mixbus. I will then export and compare these files to what you have already uploaded.

Right now we have different instruments, and different tempos, so both of these cause issues that mean the results really cannot be compared in any meaningful way.

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Here it is:

Tempo is 80 bpm

What tuning method is being used in Musescore ?

So here are three exports of the piece from Logic on Mac OS, Ardour on Mac OS, and Mixbus on Mac OS. I did not add any reverb in, and just used what settings I could off your screenshots, so essentially square wave generator for the synth. Very dry without reverb in this case, and yes that is intentional as reverb itself is a different topic.

On first listen I don’t detect much difference between Logic and Ardour. Mixbus on the other hand has a bit more of a difference, but this makes sense as there is some basic processing in Mixbus’s signal chain. Also the Mixbus export seemed to be about 3dB or 3.5dB louder than the others which probably contributed as well, so I don’t think I would worry to much about Mixbus there, as that is working as intended I believe.


EDIT: Forgot link: ODIN2 Demo - Google Drive

EDIT2: Yes there is very slight tempo differences between Logic and Ardour at 80bpm, I am not terribly surprised here honestly, they are incredibly slight and would expect to see the same variation between just about any DAW personally.

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The Logic one sounded the best, “chordy”, the Ardour one didn’t feel “bright” enough, dull, and the Mixbus felt way too bright, the difference between the octaves were way too much, same with Ardour but in a different way