EZDrummer3 route to separate tracks

Purchased a Windows laptop as a dedicated E-drum workstation (a supplement to my Linux-powered desktop running Ardour). Thrilled to learn that EZD3 seems to work wonderfully in Ardour 6.9.

However, just can’t seem to figure out how to route EZD3 to separate audio tracks in DAW. I’ve previously used MT PowerDrumKit (MTPDK) as a plugin, with “automatic” configuration; which works fantastic, but doesn’t sound as nice as EZD.

I’ve change all the EZD mixer outputs for separate channels, but the audio track inputs in Ardour don’t seem to provide the MIDI outputs i’m looking for? I also note that the MTPDK plugin has multiple channels showing in the fader when setting up the MIDI bus; but the EZD does not. I suspect my problem lies here, but can’t figure out why MTPDK provides the multiple channels, but EZD does not.

What am I doing wrong with EZD? how can I setup EZD manually to export MIDI to separate audio tracks in the Ardour DAW?

VST3?
If so, Ardour currently only support a single optional output bus (variable I/O is not yet available).


meanwhile you might be able to work around with some intermediate e.g. load EZD3 in Bidule, and the Bidule in Ardour – or do he same with Carla. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

thanks for that quick reply Robin!

I looked in the documentation and yep, VST3. When you say Ardour only supports a single optional output bus, do you mean for VST3, or do you simply mean “no automatic configuration”? I’m fine with a manual configuration if that is what it takes. Just not sure how to do that?

Conversely, wondering when that variable I/O configuration might happen?

I do 95% of my Ardour sessions on my Linux rig, but I haven’t been completely satisfied with DrumGizmo or AVL Drumkit plugins. So I’ve looked into MTPDK, PerfectDrums, and now EZDrummer. I even setup a Windows laptop with Ardour to use as a dedicated drum station. MTPDK works great, but tones/samples aren’t much better than Gizmo or AVL kits. PerfectDrums sounds AMAZING, but doesn’t even load up in Ardour. Had to buy a license for Reaper to use that combination. Reaper is okay but I REALLY prefer Ardour. I saw a friend’s setup with EZD & Windows that I was impressed with. Was getting ready to buy EZD2, but within days EZD3 came out. I tested EZD3 in Ardour and everything seemed to work fine, and it sounds FANTASTIC. Exactly what I’m looking for! But the inability to route to separate tracks could be a deal killer. Seems like I keep getting out my wallet to solve a problem, only to find out that another problem needs solving with my wallet.

But I digress…is there a way to setup manually? Or is this feature on the agenda soon for Ardour? Or maybe a bounty for that feature could speed up implementation? I prefer simple solutions whenever possible. If given the choice between turning right 1x, or turning left 3x, I prefer the former over the latter. Please advise, and THANK YOU in advance!

I’ve been all over the Bidule website and I don’t understand how to use that? Videos aren’t much help, and I don’t see anything in the Bidule or Ardour forums. I’m afraid Bidule is over my head…

It is entirely unrelated to automatic/manual config.

Regardless of how many output busses a VST3 may have, Ardour currently only sees the first two. Also if a VST3 plugin reconfigured its output after it was loaded, Ardour will not notice this.

This is currently a technical limitation in Ardour. Ardour’s internal abstraction for variable I/O plugins is based on how Apple’s AudioUnit plugins do this (EZ3 multi out works fine there). This is conceptually at odds with Steinberg’s VST3 spec. At some point Ardour will have to deal with this.

Not sure I understand what you wrote there. Ardours implementation of variable I/O plugins is based on Apples AU plugins, where EZD3 works fine, but doesn’t work in Ardour. I’m confused. What I’m hearing is that EZD3 doesn’t work in Ardour, as intended, and at this point no plans are currently on the table to address VST3 issues.

Ironically, it seems like the EZD2 plugin would’ve worked just fine, correct?

It seems my options at this point are to either:

  • purchase the older EZD2 plugin, OR
  • purchase the Bidule plugin, OR
  • go back to Reaper

Before I shell out for the Bidule plugin, are you aware of any online videos/tutorials to wire Bidule for EZD3 the way I need it wired? I’m not finding anything. But this seems over my head and maybe I just don’t know what I’m looking at?

Well, it work fine in stereo output mode, and you can also mix inside the plugin, but other than that, yes your assessment is correct for the VST3 version of EZ3 on Windows at this point in time.

I do know that other users managed to work around this with either Carla or Bidule, but I have no 1st hand experience with this. I’m sorry. Maybe someone else will chime in.

Hey, yeah this is a SERIOUS pain point for using EZDrummer3 VST3 in Ardour (on any platform). FYI, the plugin itself does work well on Linux when using yabridge, and that is what I will describe. Hopefully it works similarly under Windows if that’s what you’re using. Your are correct: EZDrummer2 had a VST2 plugin for which multi-out worked fine in Ardour, but EZD3 is VST3/AU/AAX only.

First to clarify Robin’s point about AU on Mac. I believe he means that the EZD3 AU plugin works as intended with multi-out in Ardour on Mac. Unfortunately AU is not an option for Linux or Windows and we are left with VST3, and due to Ardour’s internal implementation of variable/multi-out I/O, it can only ever see the first two outputs of any VST3 plugin. That about right, @x42 ?

I’m not familiar with Bidule, but here’s how I get things working with Carla in Linux.

1.) Add a MIDI track (you can leave the General MIDI Synth default instrument for now)

2.) Add as many tracks as you need to capture the output from EZD3 (eg, 16 stereo tracks)

3.) To your MIDI track, add an instance of Carla-Patchbay (32 chan)

4.) In your Ardour mixer you can get rid of the General MIDI Synth, make sure you’ve set your drum tracks to In and at this point you should have something resembling this.

5.) Open up your Carla-patchbay instance and add the EZD3 VST3 (note in the right panel it indicates 32 Audio outs, yay!)

6.) Now wire up the audio outs from EZD to the Carla Playback outputs like so:

7.) In Ardour open up the output routing grid from your MIDI track and make the connections from the Carla outputs to the your Drum tracks* (see note below):

8.) Inside your Carla instance, open your EZD3 instance and set it to multi-channel out and start banging the drums.

Excellent!

*Now that you’re overjoyed that you have multi-outs working in Ardour, it’s time for a reality check. For some reason unknown to me, the outputs of EZD3 don’t seem to be going where I tell them. For example, if I solo the kick drum and tap it, the signal goes to my “Drums 9” track which would be 17/18 instead of “Drums 1” i.e. 1/2. I believe like EZD3 Outputs 1-16 go to Ardour 17-32, and 17-32 go to 1-16.

You may have to fiddle about with your track names, or rewire your routing grid. Once you get that working, I would definitely recommend saving a session template.

I hope this helps.

Rock on,
-Manuel

@befloibent Manuel…THANK YOU for that! Not sure how you figured all that out, but I feel like I can follow along with those detailed instructions. Very much appreciated!

@x42 Robin…I’ve been surfing forums trying to understand this VST, AU, and AAX format stuff. I think I understand a little better, but still over my head. The one thing I learned that really stood out is that Steinberg has deprecated VST2 support to focus on VST3. So yes, that sounds like Ardour is going to have to deal with VST3 compatibility sooner or later. I’m sure there’s a TON of VST and VST2 plugins for Windows based systems, but if Steinberg ceases support (no “forking” projects in proprietary world) for them, and new plugins must adhere to VST3 standards, it seems that Ardour would be best served to accommodate that, IMO. I see you’re one of the Ardour devs…any thoughts on when Ardour may address this issue?

I thought this has been clearly stated enough already, but let’s try again.

Ardour already supports VST3 on Linux, Windows and macOS.

Part of the specification for VST3 allows plugins to have not just multiple outputs, but multiple “busses” (think “collection of outputs”). The way that Steinberg designed this is very different from the way that Apple designed the same feature in the specification for AudioUnits.

VST3 plugins with multiple outputs work just fine in Ardour, if they are all on the same output bus.

Changing Ardour to be able to work with the VST3 multi-output-bus design in addition to the AudioUnit multi-output-bus is a major change in how we handle plugin stuff internally, not just a quick fix. There is currently no timeline for this work to be done, but we are aware of its importance.

Thanks for that excellent tutorial Manuel!

I had a little difficulty following along, but your screenshots helped me figure out what I was doing wrong. While my main rig consists of Ardour running on a Linux base, I’ve never had much luck with WINE components, which is why I decided to setup a dedicated drum station on a Windows laptop, with Ardour and EZDrummer plugins for the e-kit. So I recognized Carla in your response, even though I never used it. But I saw there is a Windows *.exe file for Carla and decided to follow along on a Windows machine.

My main hiccup was not realizing that adding 16 audio tracks needed to be “stereo” tracks. I’m almost always in “mono”, but once i realized your screenshots showed 2 channels in the mix faders (stereo), I got it sorted out, and everything works wonderfully for me now. Definitely saved that configuration as a template, as it was a PITA…but it’s working now and its an acceptable workaround for me! KUDOS to you for walking me through that…THANK YOU!

Lastly, I can confirm that EZD3 and Carla behaves the same way for me, with respect to output channels 1-32. I typically route my kick to 1/2, snare to 3/4, toms to 5/6, hihats to 7/8, ride to 9/10, and crash/splash/overhead/ambient/room to 11/12. But the kick shows up in channel 9, snare 10, toms 11, hihat 12, ride 13, and oh to 14. Which means that my system is also mapping MIDI channels 17-32 to inputs 1-16. Weird, but without this information, I wouldn’t have thought to look where you suggested. Not sure if it’s an EZD issue, a Carla issue, or an Ardour issue, but for now it doesn’t matter.

For any other troubleshooters who find this post after experiencing similar issues, I can confirm Manuel’s workaround also works for Ardour users on Windows OS. FWIW.