Ardour's Pitches sound unnatural

MuseScore is mostly meant for you actually printing the scores and playing them in an orchestra, so I think it would use some standard old classical tunning like from the 1800s. A google search leads no where.

For the record, while I could argue these observations, none of what you observed here means pitches were different.

2 Likes,Scordatura%20etc.%20indirectly%2C%20see%20create%20desired%20playback%20below.

Here’s what I’d consider as “unnatural pitch”:
Audio file

I think your problem is with the timbre instead of pitch? But the sound is up to the plugin to produce, so it’s not Ardour’s fault. You can use filter or EQ if you think the sound is maybe too bright or dull. Also you can always modify the synth setting if it doesn’t sound good to you.

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Not that type of unnatural, not flats and sharps, but more like having the carpet be off centered a bit, having a light bulb not be directly on it’s socket like that, very minor

They were, I said that the octave differences I could here felt different, Ardour and Mixbus, create too dramatic of a space between octaves, that’s what I am saying, it’s more like having a carpet be a bit offcentered.

So here is the issue I have with that though:

This is a single snapshot in time, but seems to hold true at any point in time. All of the frequencies produced seem to line up dead on accurate to each other.

Obviously one file is Ardour, and one is Logic in this case.


Why does it sound different to me then? It can’t be something egoistic, as Ardour always sounded like that. Compare it over time maybe then there is a difference? Software is complex, you don’t know what causes a bug.

The scenario here looks like this:

  1. Ardour sends MIDI data to plugin (synth)
  2. Synth generates audio with no involvement of Ardour at all
  3. Ardour takes audio, delivers it to the rest of the processing chain, which includes panning, gain control and some level of mixing (very little in the case we’re talking about)
  4. Ardour delivers the final data to the audio interface for playback

There’s no way for DAWs to handle step 1 differently - MIDI is MIDI.

Step 2 is 100% the responsibility of the plugin. The DAW plays zero role in the audio that the plugin generates. It would be a bug in the plugin if it did.

Step 3: DAWs will vary in what they do in the default processing chain. There is room for variation here. Ardour generally attempts to be as neutral as possible. Other DAWs do the same or more (Mixbus is an example of one that does quite a bit more).

Step 4: There is potentially room for tiny variations across DAWs in how this done (essentially, floating point values being converted to integers), but not enough to create the differences you seem to be experiencing.


I also don’t see how Ardour could be causing what you claim to be hearing but just to make sure you haven’t got some weird settings please do the following

  1. Close any existin Ardour session.
  2. Start a terminal window and run
    mv ~/.config/ardour7 ~/.config/ardour7.bak
  3. Start Ardour and start a new project, using ALSA as backend
  4. See if you still can hear anything supposedly off.

What Odin preset are you using ?

Frankly, most likely because you are imagining it.

You have decided it’s different and so your brain is telling you it’s different.

It’s the same psychology behind some expensive audio gear, like $500 data cables that some people will swear sound “like night and day” compared to standard $20 ones.

I have even seen claims that a wav file sounds different from the identical file compressed losslessly using flac. In this case the guy was 100% convinced until we did a blind test and he couldn’t reliably tell one file from another.

There’s no logical reason why Logic and Ardour should sound different when using the same plugin with the same settings, and other people are telling you it doesn’t sound different to them

@seablade has even shown measurements that show they are the same pitch.

If it sounds different to you, then that’s probably you.

Sorry to be blunt, but the evidence is stacked towards that conclusion.




This reminds me of the plugin JST Black Box where it does nothing but give placebo. It is used when the client wants revision but don’t really know what to change, or you feel the mix is perfect as is. So you turn the knob on the shiny GUI while it’s playing and the client would be satisfied.

Just a little anecdote to show it’s normal to hear something in nothing. You shouldn’t worry about it too much, just focus on creating @flyx :blush:


I don’t think there is any solution to this right now, let’s post this as an issue to the Ardour devs and make this long term.

I don’t think it’s placebo, it happens every time, it can’t be, I do think autistic people are affected by trauma a bit like from the UI or confusingness but it only causes like a cloud in their imagination, it wouldn’t affect what they hear or see.

Yes, this is a very good point to raise which I should have.

This isn’t just you: it’s everyone. As humans we have biases and make pre-judgements which affect our senses. It is often said that musicians and audio enthusiasts often “hear with their eyes”.

It is natural for us to think that, because something has changed, that has to impact what we experience, especially as it’s easy to compare things unequally (at different levels, or different settings, different tempos, different instruments).

Even a difference of around 0.5dB in volume can make something sound “better” and it’s a common trick used by hifi dealers to adjust the demo kit so that the more expensive equipment is at a slightly higher volume.

Our ears and brains are easily fooled and misled into thinking we hear differences that don’t exist or which are a function of some other factor that hasn’t been properly controlled for. This is well known and understood by scientists.

So as @NarendraU said, focus on creating using whatever tool inspires you most.




I think you need to present some compelling evidence that there is an actual issue here.

At the moment, all you have presented is a vague claim based on your personal perception, which no-one else seems to experience.



I wonder if it’s possible to do a null test between the Ardour and Logic outputs.

It may be tricky to get all of the levels equivalent, and I don’t know to what extent the plugin output is consistent, so it may not be possible.

I remember at one point on the Slimdevices forum there was a guy conducting null tests for various scenarios.

He tested things that people swore made a difference, such as different cables, power supplies, software versions, and device settings. In most cases they nulled to very low level noise, indicating they made no sonic difference whatsoever and that the claimed differences were in the imaginations of the users. He busted a lot of long-held myths.



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Short answer no, and I am not certain a null test is appropriate when talking about Synthesizer outputs which may have a degree of randomness in the generation naturally either intended or not, like you mentioned. I suppose I could see if Logic even nulls with itself on separate outputs to test that aspect, something Paul asked about on IRC when I was discussing this but haven’t done yet.

But beyond that due to slight timing differences 80bpm is not quite the same between the different DAWs, much in the same way that 44.1k is not the same between different hardware. So as a result is that you end up with a differential that results in waveforms not being in phase, and waveforms that don’t quite line up with each other, so therefore can’t null really.

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Please try other instruments. I have used Odin and found that I didnt like the sound of most presets. The bass notes sound very rough. There are other more modern free vsts that are better suited to what you are trying to do.