How to enable VST plugins?

I have trouble getting VST plugins working in Ardour 2. I have read and downloaded VST 2.3 SDK and I have wine-dev package installed. I am using Ubuntu Studio

I cannot find libs/fst folder to put VST 2.3 SDK zip file.

Since I’m new to Ubuntu I just need step to step tutorial or guide how to get VST working, so I can start using Ardour 2.

I cannot find libs/fst folder to put VST 2.3 SDK zip file.

It’s in the directory where you untarred the ardour sources -
there should be a libs directory there.

Since I’m using Ubuntu Studio, I didn’t manually untar any of the apps. Everything was installed during Ubuntu installation. Any ideas where Ubuntu Studio might have untarred those files?? (File browser search function didn’t find em)

I’ve no idea. I’d imagine that it will have installed a binary package and you won’t have the sources if you haven’t got them explicitly. But to use VST you have to build from source, so you might as well grab it from the download page.

You’ll have to get the sources anew and rebuild each time you want to upgrade if you
insist on using VST plugins.

I did it right the day before yesterday. You have to compile it all by yourself. The package from UbuntuStudio is just a prebuild-binary and not enabled to use VST.

Follow the Instructions. Install all the libs and needed packages through synaptics (dont forget to choose the right versions and choose the “-dev” packages if avaible) and just download the source from ardour from this site. Its very uncomplicated.
Even if you forget something SCons will tell you what it is and you can use Synaptics then.

After that you can type “ardourvst” in a terminal or with Alt+F2 or you can use the UbuntuStudio package (without VST) parallel from the Startmenu. Without VST is a bit more stable so If im just in a recording session why have vst…? Both versions share the same project files, so there is no problem.



Ok, thanks anyways.

In case there’s someone else who installed Ubuntu Studio and made Ardour 2 work with VST plugins, it would be great if you posted guide here how to do so.

Again, I’m no pro using Ubuntu (so the guide should be pretty much for dummies) but I’d like to start using Ardour for my recordings.

Ok, thanks anyways.

In case there’s someone else who installed Ubuntu Studio and made Ardour 2 work with VST plugins, it would be great if you posted guide here how to do so.

Again, I’m no pro using Ubuntu (so the guide should be pretty much for dummies) but I’d like to start using Ardour for my recordings.

this is my step by step on a fresh Kubuntu 7.04 install (will also work with Ubuntu).

  1. Download source code and untar to ‘/home/[your user name]/dls’
  2. Download the VST SDK (google vst sdk and look for the link that starts with ygrabit.steinberg…
  3. Place the entire sdk zip file in ‘/home/[your user name]/dls/ardour-2.0.5/libs/fst’
  4. from terminal enter:

    sudo apt-get install build-essential
  5. Install needed tools and build dependencies. Enter in
    terminal (all one line):

    sudo apt-get install -y scons libtool pkg-config gettext libjack-dev
    libasound2-dev qjackctl libxml2-dev libsamplerate-dev libraptor-dev
    liblrdf-dev libgnomecanvas2-dev libboost-dev liblo-dev libglib-dev
    libgtkmm-dev libsndfile-dev wine-dev automake
  6. compile and install. Enter in terminal (individual lines):

    cd /home/[your user name]/dls/ardour-2.0.5
    scons VST=1
    sudo scons install
  7. start jack with qjackctl and run ardourvst

I have found that I don’t have to start Jack manually (although I’m pretty certain that I used to???), so to start ardour, just enter ‘ardourvst’ into terminal. I created a quicklauncer to do it for me.

Place VST plugin .dlls into /usr/local/lib/vst folder.

I hope this helps, but I can’t take complete credit for this…I found a guide online from somewhere (don’t know the source), changed a few things, and this is what I ended up with…hopefully there are no typos, but if something doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll take a look…


I’ve documented what I did to get the Drumkit from Hell VST working at:

hello to you all
i m using a ubuntu ultimate 1.6 and i did this
i ve downloaded the surce from this site and untar in documents. (i have no cd /home/[your user name]/dls, this file dosen t exist, i don t know why)
i ve installed all the lib s and downloaded the vst SDK 2.3 into home/[your user name]/Documents/ardour-2.1/lib/fst)
i start to compile (scons VST=1) and I have this erorr:
winegcc: i486-linux-gnu-gcc failed.
scons: *** [libs/fst/vstwin.o] Error 2
anybody knows why?

I have an Intel Dual Core 6550, is this the problem…?
thank you!

oh and second question
in theadd remove menu I have an aplication called Ardour GTK 2. this is already working in my computer.
the thing is that i don t have any effects/processors and i also don t know how to install VST plugins

what kind of ardour is this?

the ‘[your user name]’ should not be taken literally…for example in mine it is ‘/home/steven/dls’. Also, you would need to create the ‘dls’ directory.

Not sure on your distro (ubuntu ultimate), but you may need to install the -dev files for gnome. I use KDE (not gnome), and it the package is kdebase-dev…I would guess that gnome is something similar…


heloo I just copied [your user name]to save time
be sure that I ve put there my user.

and the program it s now working.

but I have a very silly problem now… i have the .dll plug ins in usr/local/lib/vst folder but I don t know were to search for them in Ardour. i don t find anything like Plug-ins maneger or something…and I also don t find the chanal inserts. can somebody tell me were should I search for them…
thank you

Press alt-m to bring up the mixer, and then right click in the black space above one of the meters (assuming you have a track added to the project). Choose add plugin…It used to have a vst tab, but now I think they are all listed together (Version 2.2)…

you may also have to make your plugins ‘executable’ (right click -> properties -> permissions), or you may not…it seems like I did when I originally set mine up.

you may also want to check out to see how I made it so I could store my vst’s in my home folder…it is way easier than the default.


Hello all, I was successfully able to do what mm0 said in step by step post. The only question I have is the “.dll” files. Where are the files located? When I right click on the black space in the mixer I only see “New Plugin…”. I click on it and I do not see anying on VST, my guess is, it has something to do with the dlls?

I think I just found them, please let me know if this is correct or not?
I believe the files are located in the “” file in “VstPlugins”?

Also, after finding these and copying them to the location mm0 said I found I didn’t have the “/usr/local/lib/vst folder”. I’m guessing I need to create it and copy the dlls in the “” file?

I’m guess that is the dll file? Because now I get the following when I run “ardourvst” from a terminal - “Some Vst Comms have been recorded by VSTMonitor. Would you like to keep track of them?” Yes or No

I’ve clicked on both and I don’t see any difference. Now after looking in “New Plugins” I see VSTMonitor as a plugin, but when I add it and click on “Insert Plugin(s)” Ardour crashes. I only found the one dll file in “VstPlugins”, I’m I missing something?

Please help

johnswb, you are confusing things regarding dlls. mm0 talks about the dll that comes with the VST effect or instrument, not the VST SDK from Steinberg ( So let’s say you got a VST reverb from somewhere. WHen you unzip it, there will be a dll file that is the VST dll you want to put in /usr/local/lib/vst or wherever your environment variable VST_PATH points to. Sometimes, it will require that you install the VST with WINE first because unzipping will only give you an .exe file (installer). Then you will have to fetch the dll in the wine directory, typically /home/yourself/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/VSTPlugIns or /home/yourself/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Steinberg/VstPlugins (YMMV). The latter is true with VSTi’s (aka VST intruments).