Calf plugin in Mac OS X

While this haven’t anything to do with Ardour directly, I was to use Ardour with this; calf plugins on mac os x. If anyone know where else to ask (forums or e-mail adresses, please tell me)

I have tried the Calf plugins at a computer running AVLinux, and I liked them very much. However, I would like to install them at my own computer as well, a Macbook pro. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well as I hoped. I’ve never done this before, but I first installed Homebrew (simply by putting «/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL»» in the terminal, which seemed to work out fine. Then I went out to paste the line «brew tap david0/homebrew-audio» in the terminal, which also seemed to work fine, then «brew install --HEAD calf», which obviously didn’t work out well. All the time I got messages like: «Error: You must brew link fontconfig pixman before david0/audio/calf can be installed», so I pasted «brew link fontconfig pixman», got

Linking /usr/local/Cellar/fontconfig/2.12.1_2…
Error: Could not symlink lib/libfontconfig.1.dylib
Target /usr/local/lib/libfontconfig.1.dylib
already exists. You may want to remove it:
rm ‘/usr/local/lib/libfontconfig.1.dylib’

To force the link and overwrite all conflicting files:
brew link --overwrite fontconfig

To list all files that would be deleted:
brew link --overwrite --dry-run fontconfig

So I tried one of the alternatives there, and tried again «brew install --HEAD calf», and got another «Error: You must brew link [something else] before david0/audio/calf can be installed», pasted «brew link [something else]», and got something like what’s pasted above, in an endless story…

If you have any suggestions, I’d be very happy!
Thank you

While I sadly can’t help you with your particular issue, it sounds like something screwy in your homebrew install, possibly caused by poorly written recipes in the tap, but not sure since I have never used that tap. Sounds like your best option is to purge any packages you installed from that tap and either start again, or more likely find a different way to do it. Building GTK-OSX is not easy at all, and going this route you will be missing some patches that Ardour has so you won’t be able to build Ardour in a redistributable package anyways, which would be needed for the next step.

Not sure I would recommend continuing here honestly for a variety of reasons. But along with everything else, to run Calf on OS X in Ardour, you would need to modify Ardour itself as Calf uses a GTK theme that is not shipped in Ardour by default. I did some work on this a few years back, and while I could get it to run on my machines, I never got the work to carry through to other machines so could never redistribute. Along with that I am not a particular fan of the quality of the EQ in the Calf suite for instance, so I would suggest using other plugins for this purpose, sorry.


Thanks anyway. I haven’t got enough experience myself to continue building this myself without some kind of patch that work. I would try to contact the Calf staff or to Homebrew for this question, but I couldn’t find any contact info…

I have quite some experience using Logic as DAW for many years (even though, it has been quite on and off). Now, since I am teaching in a subject at a school, the budget was small, and I installed AVLinux on an old (but not too bad) PC, to use Ardour. Since I was going to use this in education, I wanted to use Ardour at my own computer as well, which is a macbook, and since I have a sound card at home which uses thunderbolt, mac os still seems to be the way for me. So, since I’m teaching on one PC, I wanted to have some of the same plugins at my own mac. At the moment, I would like to try using a compressor with side chain (haven’t tried that earlier other than in hardware), and I saw Calf had one, still, haven’t figured out well how it works… If you know of other compressors with side chain, and for that sake, other plugins which would work with Ardour on both Linux and Mac OS (and also Windows if possible), I’d be happy to hear about that as well.

A-Compressor the builtin plugin has sidechain.
Zam audio has SC comps too and is cross platform.

Thanks a lot, I will check them out!

Note that A-Compressor comes built in with recent versions of Ardour.


I noticed that. Thank you

So far I haven’t succeed to understand where the side chain-signal is sent into the channel/bus which the compressor is used… On hardware compressors, this is, as far as I remember, an own input for side chain. I just haven’t done this digitally, so obviously there’s something I don’t understand yet.


See if this helps you?


For pin-connections/side-chain also check out – the video tutorial is for Mixbus, but it’s also valid for Ardour5

Thank you very much, I managed to connect it correctly :slight_smile: