Connect Hydrogen to Ardour

Hi there!

I’ve read tons of information and I didn’t feel like bringing back old topics, so I’m sorry if this bothers anyone.

The thing is, I’m really frustrated. It looked so easy to connect Hydrogen to Ardour 3.5.380 (Ubuntu 12.04), yet I haven’t been able to do it for a few days so far. The patch bay seems really straightforward to use (using patchage at the moment) and I said “obviously Hydrogen’s midi output should go to Ardours midi input”. But this does not do the trick.

Using JackMidi in Hydrogen, and enabling the jack transport by initiating it with -djack, I’m able to control its tempo from Ardour.
I still have no idea of the role of a2j, which is recommended to be used in the manual.
Some people don’t seem to be using this, yet they make it work. I’m baffled.

I also check the mixer in Ardour, and I’m able to connect things, notably the midi in/out, but it doesn’t work either.

So I’m basically hoping a charitative soul in this forum will be able to help me.

Has anyone gotten any ideas?

Have a nice day!

Dont be frutrated StratoCarlos. Tell us, what you want to connect?
What are you “doing with Hydrogen in Ardour” ?

1.Audio outputs from Hydrogen to audio inputs to some ardour tracks/channels?
2.Midi out from hydrogen to midi in into ardour ( but i dont know why you need this connection)?

3.Or just sync ardour to hydrogen?

Sync. :

(old vid)
and there are more vids there :slight_smile:

1 Like

nedzad, you are awesome.


Hey there! i had this confusion a while ago but from what i’m reading in your post you are doing it the wrong way, what you should connect is Ardour TO Hydrogen, meaning:

  1. set Ardour’s clock to JACK, not Internal
  2. set Hydrogen’s clock to JACK, not internal
  3. Add a midi track in Ardour - set your midi controller and play, be sure Ardour gets the midi input from the controller, then
  4. Connect Ardour’s midi track output to Hydrogen’s midi input using Jack’s Patchbay
  5. Voila! Hydrogen should be playing Ardour’s midi output which should also be what you are playing at the moment OR whatever midi region you have programmed
  6. Optional: Connect Hydrogen tracks to a new set of tracks in Ardour so you can record the audio comming from Hydrogen, may it be the Drumkit or Instrument by Instrument, this will allow you to mix them much better using Ardour’s mixer, adding compression, eq and reverb to get a much realistic drum for your musical purposes.

Reccomendation: check out all sounds and kits on hydrogen and mix them so you develop a custom drum kit that fits your needs over and over again, not needing to do it every time you make a drum track


Anyone have some tips on doing this in Ardour/Hydrogen for Windows?

If you use JACK on windows, it’ll be exactly the same.

OK, installed JACK and configured Hydrogen to use it, I just don’t see the Time Master controls area in Ardour in order to tell Ardour to use JACK instead of internal as outlined in the video. I clicked TRANSPORT-TIME MASTER, but it does not seem to change anything or show any additional controls.

Seem to have a problem with Hydrogen now. Ever since I changed to JACK, Hydrogen crashes upon opening. I have to close JACK in order to open it again. Once i get this figured out, I guess I will still need to understand how to fix my other question about changing the Time Master.

Same here as guitman423, after searching through the web can’t find a clue about why I can’t set any jack transport on Ardour 5. Only Internal and MTC options available, when in preferences only have the option of changing from MTC to Midi Clock or LTC.
Any suggestions?

Ok, just found the option of setting Jack instead of Alsa when opening the session, that brings up the option of choosing Jack Transport. Now I can hit play and I see both Hydrogen and Ardour start playing, problem is nothing can be heard : s

This means you likely don’t have Jack set up correctly.

What device is your monitors or headphones plugged into? Did you select that as the device in Jack?


Since upgrading to v5.8 and now v5.9, there is no option to select Jack (only internal and MTC). Can manage to route output of hydrogen to ardour audio in, got the sound but crashed frequently. The main problem is that I cannot make them talk so when I hit record button in ardour the hydrogen doesn’t automatically play.

@prudiarto Did you set your audio device to use Jack instead of ALSA/CoreAudio/etc. when starting Ardour?


Thank you seablade for pointing me in the right direction, I’ve opened Qjack and just changed what was selected as “interface” to the other available option.

So for anyone having the same problem recap would be: for synching set J.TRANS as active in hydrogen, JACK as audio device when opening the Ardour session and JACK instead of MTC in Ardour preferences, then if no sound coming out check “audio interface” in Qjack settings.

Would like to resurrect this discussion. I have still been unable to get this JACK setup to work on Windows. Perhaps my issue starts with Hydrogen, but both Hydrogen and Ardour crash when I have JACK started. I have the latest version of JACK, Hydrogen, and Ardour installed.

Any insight, guides, links etc of how to get this to work on Windows? Can’t seem to find much out there.

Not sure if you can run Ardour on windows, sorry If I’m wrong.
Cheers bob

It is available for Windows, it’s the only platform I run it on these days. I used to run it on a Mac, and it ran way better out of the box, but Windows has VST plugin support so I switched over.

Wow someone did some major work, I havn’t seen a window in about 7 years.
As long as it’s stable all good I have heard that win10 is very good.

@guitman423 Ardour on MacOS/OSX also supports VST plugins these days. MacVST.

As for pro-audio software, pretty much all of it runs smoother out-of-the-box on an Apple system, still.

Got to say having just had a week long session on Ardour and Ubuntu studio latest.
It all ran like a dream here. Only thing that crashed Ardour was calf plugins, primarily the delay line.
I changed that and all good.
Workflow was excellent , mind you I learned a lot myself from this site.
Cheers bob