How do I make a beat in Ardour (I'm a newbie)

See the the topic title…

Well… Ardour is a very flexible and powerful tool :slight_smile:

If you want to sequence individual drum hits in Ardour, you can (I have done).

  1. Get drum samples.
  2. Import them into your session.
  3. Create a Track to put your samples in (or a track for each drum instrument, kick, hihat etc).
  4. Set snap-to to beats or quarter-beats as required (what’s the resolution of your beat going to be).
  5. Drag drum samples into timeline.

This is not especially painful, and can be a useful technique. You could also bounce your completed beat to a new region (I don’t know how to do this but it’s gotta be possible) to make moving it around/pasting it easier. But you can also just select all the regions that make up your beat and copy-paste them to more places in the timeline to loop it or whatever…

OR (forget all the above and) use Hydrogen…

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I don’t believe Ardour can currently do music composition. It’s a recording software. Get a mic and record yourself…

“This is not especially painful” Cough cough… Right… But we don’t want drum programming to be painful at all. Sorry I don’t mean to be rude! I’m just learning the software and I found myself extremely puzzled trying to understand cues. I started out just placing out samples in a track but it’s not streamlined, I feel it has not been designed for it. I’d love something similar to LMMS I was using before, there is a beat/bassline editor that is very effective and straightforward.

Anyway, I’m sure I will get better at using Ardour, but I’m looking for help to get “on track” with the drum programming.

Edit: Holy shit I’m replying to a 17 year old thread just realized. Maybe there are some news regarding adding drums. Btw, just want to say I’m new here I just became a subscriber ($1/month) I’m actually kind of living in a 3rd world country lol. But I’d be excited to increase to $4 in the future, especially if I can earn something from my music.

At the moment I record in Ardour and add drums after with LMMS… works so far. But would be ideal if one of the programs could do everything. Sorry for the rant!

Well, depends what you want to create.

Most of the time I use one of the AVL drumkit plugins and actually write the drum events in the associated MIDI track. Very fast.

I can create custom kits by loading drum samples into a sample player and again create a Midi track for the events.

Almost never use drum samples in an audio track, to tedious …

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HISE has become my go to drum sample player. It allows me to easily spread out samples over my midi keyboard and I can decide if I want it pitched or not.
I saw that it is possible to somehow use Faust code in there. I also saw some drum synths in Faust example folder. So maybe this will give me some more sonic possibilities, without using samples. The FM capabilities are also interesting, for logdrum stuff, like in all those cool South African beats a la DJ Maphorisa etc.

My only gripe is that drag and drop from Ardour does not work. Neither from the playlist, nor from the built in browser.
For the playlist, the sample has to be exported, show folder, drag and drop.
For the browser : right click, show in finder, drag from there.
@paul @x42 Any chance this might become easier in the future? I know it must be hard to pull off, as I saw other DAWs struggling with drag and drop to plugins. But it would be a real timesaver.
Edit: HISE is JUCE based. Maybe it is a framework issue?

The simplest way to get started I think would be:

  • Add a LSP Mono Sampler plugin in a MIDI track
  • Fill the 8 sample slots with drum samples of your choice
  • Start creating beats, either in Ardour’s MIDI editor or with an external device connected through USB MIDI

Or if you’re aiming at analogue drums then the AVL drumkits are the easiest choice, followed by the DrumGizmo ones that are a bit more elaborate.

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Interesting. Can you shortly list the steps I need to take to do what you
do (using the drumkit plugin)?


  • Download AVL drums plugin here:
  • Install the plugin
  • In Ardour, create new MIDI track, select the plugin as the “Instrument” in the Add Track dialogue.
  • Expand the track until the virtual piano shows up
  • Hold down the left mouse button on the virtual piano, run the cursor up and down midi octaves 2 and 3, verify that you hear a bunch of percussion crashing.
  • Right-click the track header, select Note Mode > Percussive.
  • Create a midi region, insert midi notes to your heart’s content.
  • (Optional) Add a plate reverb to the track and crank it waaaay up for that 80s sound.
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Thank you so much! Will try it out.

Another option is MT Power Drum Kit.



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In Ardour, create new MIDI track, select the plugin as the “Instrument” in the Add Track dialogue.

The plugin is not showing up in the instrument drop down. Any ideas?

I second MT PowerDrumKit, you can match the built in drum grooves to the tempo of your song using tempo mapping and use a different drum kit with the grooves you drag in.

Also if you got the binary version of Ardour, you can use the built drum beats under Ardour bundled content, there are also drum loops available for download for free here: Releases · gvellut/dmp_midi · GitHub

Just like with Mt Power DrumKit you can match those grooves to the tempo of your song.


What plugin are you trying to use?

Hello Jonathan790, there are videos on the internet, for example on YouTube, to know how to use ardour, such as: :grinning:

I especially recommend one from UNFA

A list of videos:

Making Breakbeats on Linux (Ardor, AVL Drumkits,)

A good option, depending on the case, is lsp sampler plugin

I’m now using lsp sampler for a drum track in a song I’m creating and it’s not going bad at all, for what I’m doing, I use different samples (not necessarily from the same source), and I load them into lsp sampler.

If you are looking for a more cohesive sound for the drums, by type of drum sound styles, the AVL drumkits option seems more suitable depending on the case.

Ardour is a very complete DAW, on par with other renowned DAWs, although it has its own style and ways of doing some things, it is very similar to other DAWs, it is not lmms (fruity loops), or (reaper a Swiss army knife) like DAW) although I prefer the Ardour style.

In ardour you can do everything from a podcast to orchestral composition, for some specific things ardour may not be the most suitable daw, but there is little that cannot be done with it.

I use Ardour on Linux Ubuntustudio 22.04, on a somewhat old PC and it performs quite well, regarding cpu and ram consumption.


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