Hi! I’m new here, wanted to inquire about this issue I was noticing when testing Ardour. I did a quick search of the forums, but didn’t spot topics that seemed to be about this (correct me if I’m wrong and this has already been covered somewhere, obviously). Some relevant stats: I’m on a 64 bit Debian testing system, jack, Ardour version 5.12. I’m using the LinVst wrapper to run Windows VST plugins.
Now, I was recently comparing Ardour and a demo version of Bitwig Studio, and I was noticing a discrepancy in CPU usage between the two. So I did some testing with a simple project, just importing one wave file and putting an EQ plugin on it (the MEqualizer from Melda Production, to be precise). (Since the plugin runs in its own Wine process, it’s easy to spot in a task manager.) The CPU use is initially negligible. When I activate more visually demanding elements, like spectrum analysis, in the VST’s GUI, CPU usage naturally increases a little (a couple % on my system—small, but noticeable). The CPU usage here seems to be identical between Ardour and Bitwig. Now, where it diverges is when I close the plugin’s own GUI. In Bitwig, the CPU usage immediately appears to drop back down to the base level. However, in Ardour, it continues at the same level as when the GUI was open. If I quit and re-open the same project, the CPU use again initially appears to be negligible, until I open the plugin’s GUI, after which it is once again stuck on a higher level.
So, would I be correct in making the assumption here, that even though the GUI is not visible in Ardour, it is not actually closed, but rather still being updated by the plugin’s process, whereas Bitwig is actually disabling the GUI while it’s not visible? If there’s some way of fully closing the plugin GUI that I’m not seeing, or some other workaround, please do correct me.
This wouldn’t be a big deal with a small number of plugins, but of course in modern music production we’re easily talking dozens of plugins. And I imagine it’s particularly an issue for GUI-intensive plugins, like analysis tools. The fact that the CPU usage is normal until the GUI is opened somewhat mitigates the issue, but it feels like this is still far from ideal behavior. I can’t really currently afford the full version of Bitwig (and I’d rather use Free Software anyway, when possible) so I really hope this issue won’t come back to bite me in the butt if I try creating a larger project in Ardour…
(Note: as I was writing this, I saw that LinVst has had some updates since I installed it last year. However, I don’t feel like this is an issue with LinVst, since the exact same plugins are working fine in Bitwig.)