Instruments other than "Reasonable Synth"

Hi, I’m from a Cubase 4.3 background, new to Ardour and VERY sanguine on its potential. I’ve read through some of the documentation and have a successful install:

  • JACK is working (yay!)
  • Ardour starts new sessions successfully (yay!)
  • “Audio” tracks seem to track input from PC’s microphone (wierd, but yay!)
  • I can get sound from an imported MIDI track (yay!)

I need instruments now.
However, the only option for instruments is “Reasonable Synth”. I’ve installed Yoshimi and several other software synths.

Am I missing a step beyond merely installing these packages? I want them to appear in the “Instrument” menu when adding a new track.

Any advice GREATLY appreciated!

Ardour version 3.5.308
Uperating system Ubuntu 12.10

Looks like JACK’s “patch bay” may have something to do with it.

Using Yoshimi as output target.

Still no sound from Yoshimi…


You want to use JACK’s CONNECT rather than PATCH BAY.

could you detail tha way you solved the problem in JACK’s? i had the same issue, and not been able to go on… thanks

To get sound from yoshimi or other Jack programs, you hvae to route them. Generally they sould automatically connect to your outputs but sometimes thats not the case.

If you want to record in ardouir though, you will want to disconnet it from system outputs and then connect it to the inputs of your track in ardour.

you can also use plugins directly in ardour. there are a few out there. one of the easiest is calf fluidsunth, but you will need soundfont files to load into fluidsynth befor eyou get any sound. there are tons of free sound fonts availible on the internet.

It could potentially be a problem with tagging for some plugins. Common ones like calf I think should work. Yoshimi isn’t a plugin ardour can insert, you just run it as a separate program and connect its outputs to where you want it (i.e. an audio track called synthaudio). You can also make a midi track and route the midi out to the input of yoshimi or other external programs.

For other instrument plugins you can try creating a midi track and putting an instrument afterward through the mixer. You can look to see what plugins show in the instrument category or use the plugin manager and search “synth” etc. Amsynth is one of my favorite synth plugins (also works as separate program)

[as a shameless self plug] you might try my infamous cellular automaton synth
download it at

Hope that helps.

@veda_sticks and ssj71:
thanks for replies; what i think is thge problem with me is, i do not really know how to connect the outputs of a separate program to a track in ardour. i understand i lack some basic skills in this area of ardour use regarding connections. i read what i found in the manual but still do not understand. anyone can give me a step by step instruction on how to set up the use of amsynth in an ardour track from beginning to end? i do not understand many technical words, but once i do things right 1 time, the whole world opens… thanks anyway!!!

Have you looked at the Ardour Floss manual which explains Jack connections: ? Also, amsynth is also available as a LV2 instrument plugin which could be put directly on an Ardour3 midi track.

Here are some basic instructions: I’m not at my DAW right now so please forgive if I forget something
–Amsynth as a pugin–
Start Ardour and load your project
Create a new track and in the dialog that appears select MIDI as the track type
Click Ok.
Go to the mixer window.
Right click the empty space in the midi track mixer strip above the fader
select add plugin>by category>instruments>amsynth
You should now be able to get sound from amsynth when you play midi regions

–Use amsynth as standalone–
Create a midi track as described above
Go to the mixer window
at the bottom of the midi track mixer strip is a button for the connections, it usually shows what the output is connected to, or how many connections
click it and a grid should appear that shows all the available connections. There will probably be a tab for “other” connections
click the square between the midi track output row and the amsynth input column so that a dot appears, this creates the JACK connection
close that connection window
similarly on the master bus mixing strip at the very top you can make connections using the button and grid dialog. Be sure to connect both left and right channels of amsynth to the inputs of the master bus. (This could be done with other tracks beside the master i.e. if you want to bounce the audio then close amsynth)
you should now hear sequenced notes from the midi track play through amsynth

Hopefully that helps a bit. There are actually quite a few ways of doing the same thing. Typically I prefer plugin synths when they are available. Hopefully you’ll find a way that is comfortable for you. Good luck!

rule does not. Its to help you visualize the “shapes” of the harmonics in your sound design.

The synth can be heard by generating a midi track and inserting plugins->by creator->spencer jackson->cellular automaton synth
You should be able to drag the bottom of the track in the timeline until a keyboard appears and you should be able to click the keys of the keyboard just to hear it play. There are 16 presets to help you get some ideas of its capabilities.
This song was made using entirely this synth:
Thank you for trying it. Please continue to let me know how it’s going!

ssj71, I downloaded your plugins. Is the synth supposed to make sound? Running ./rule x y just scrolls zeroes in various shapes.

Partly depends on what distribution you are using. If ubuntu add the kxstudio repositories and it should install together I think. Kxstudio keeps much more up to date versions of pro audio software than is typically found in the main ubuntu repositories and the lv2 plugin version was added somewhat recently to amsynth. Follow the instructions here to add the repos:
If you are comfortable building amsynth from source it also should work as lv2. Though the repos will be easier.

thank you very much, now i’m eager to the next recording session when i want to try to use your informations! also, how do i get amsynth as an LV2 instrument plugin? (at the moment it does not appear in my plugin manager) . thanks again