au plugins not seen in ardour 4


I am running ardour 4 32 bit on a 2015 Macbook Pro with Yosemite.

I have been demoing a couple of different Waves plugins using the latest Waves installer and they do not appear in the Ardour plug ins list.
These plugins appear in GarageBand and in Reaper 32bit. I have also seen this occur with the OvertoneDYN4000 plugins.
Does anyone know if I just need to use Ardour 64bit instead or is there something else I need to do?

Thanks in advance.

Did you re-run a plugin scan?

Hi Paul,

Thanks for that. The Overtone plugins have now appeared, but the Waves ones haven’t. Maybe that’s not so bad, but I’d like them to be there. I had some version 8 waveshell plugins that appeared, but the version 9 waveshell ones don’t.


Are the Waves plugins VST or Audio Unit?

Ardour/OSX only supports AudioUnit and LV2 (and LADSPA) but not VST.


As mentioned, the plugins are AU. I can see them in GarageBand as well as 32 bit Reaper.


I have asked Waves support, so now I’m waiting on their reply.
I will update here when I know more.


Well the reply from Waves technical support is that Waves plug ins were not designed to work in Ardour.

Then they linked the list of supported DAWs which was quite extensive, but it didn’t include this one.

Shame really…

I work with Waves. Their “Tracks Live” product is based on Ardour. The support person you spoke with doesn’t know what they are talking about. It would be easier to debug this in realtime, on IRC. Web forums are a horrible medium for trying to solve problems like this.

this is so annoying, ardour has no sound, it won’t play any plug ins it won’t find my samples i really am about to destroy my laptop.

@betakid: that is known as “thread hijacking”. Please don’t do it. If you want to vent, join us on IRC.

@vjtek: one question that comes to mind: what version of Ardour 4 are you using? We recently merged some code (from Waves, as it happens!) to use Apple’s latest API for plugin discovery. I’m not sure if the version you are using will have this code. This was specifically done because Waves has stopped (in their latest releases) using/supporting Apple’s older API for this purpose (as recommended by Apple).

Hi paul, sorry for the delay in reply.

I could give you the support person’s name if you like, but that would be better away from this forum as well.

I had read that the Waves “Track Live” was based on Ardour and that’s why I thought they should be working.

The version of Ardour I’m using is Ardour 4.4.0 “Discreet Music” Intel 32 bit installed using the dmg. I only downloaded this about a week ago.

I’m using an early 2015 13" MacBook Pro Retina with 10.5.5 installed.

Is there a later version of Ardour available that I should be using?

When I rescanned the plugins I set the scan to rescan when I open Ardour as well and display the process so I know it’s at least updating itself when starting up. That part has made a big difference. Helped with another little issue I was having, but that might be another thread at some time.

Try a version from (you can install it in parallel with your existing version, they can live side-by-side). It might solve the problem.


Gotta ask the obvious, are you sure you are using 32 bit Waves plugins(Yes I know you said it shows up in 32 bit Reaper and Logic, not sure if th ey do any bridging etc.)? If not you should try the 64 Bit version of Ardour just to test.


Why you run 32 Bit software with a 2015 macbook?
Any extreme old plug-ins?

32/64bit is less of an issue on OSX, plugins are usually universal binaries. But if waves AU are 64bit only, 32bit Ardour won’t see them (Ardour itself has no bridging technology).

As Paul suggested: A quick test with the OSX 64bit version (demo is fine for testing) from will tell.
Go to Preferences > Plugins clear the cache and blacklist (since the 32bit version does not support 64bit plugins they may have ended up on the blacklist)

AU plugins solved

I downloaded Ardour 4.4 64bit and this made no difference.

I downloaded Ardour 4.4.331 64bit and Ardour 4.4.331 32bit and the Waves plugins have been found in both versions.

The trumpets sound and the glistening rays shine down from above.

Not knowing the code going on behind the scenes at this stage I would be purely speculating as to why, but maybe it is the API issue that paul suggested earlier?

The reason for using the 32 bit version is because of some older plugins I have in my collection and I kind of automatically went for the 32 bit version when maybe I can step forward confidently now and get into using the 64 bit versions of things.

I appreciate all the help and suggestions. I like this place.

Thanks for confirming this.

Support for the new AudioUnit API that Paul mentioned was added after 4.4.0 (the transition started with 4.4-30 was completed in Ardour 4.4-156) and must be the reason since nothing else has changed.

Yes, this is because the version you got from contains the new code to discover plugins. We will release 4.5 in the next few weeks, and then it will be in an official release.

Because Apple did a good job designing the AudioUnit plugin specification, the 32 bit vs. 64 bit question isn’t really that important (unlike with VST, where the two different bit sizes make the plugins fundamentally unusable in the wrong host - hence the various “bridge” plugins you can find). What mattters more with AU is whether the plugin GUI (“editor”) is written using Carbon (Apple’s 20 year technology, deprecated for more than a decade) or Cocoa (Apple’s 17 year old technology, still in use). Right now, Ardour can use both, but as time ticks by it is becoming harder and harder to support Carbon-based plugin GUI’s. Logic no longer supports them, for example.

Thanks paul and x42 for your help with all of this.

Your description of the plug in GUI support might explain why a couple of plugins are not showing their GUI in Ardour.

They still work so I’m not really that concerned. I might chase them up a little more to work out why.