LMMS/FL Studio style Beat/Bassline editor

It would be a very nice feature for Ardour to have a beat/bassline editor just like in LMMS, to facilitate working with audio samples/synths, most importantly for drums.


Feature requests go to tracker.ardour.org. Also, large scale feature requests like this one don’t really make a lot of sense, given the way we develop Ardour.

That said, some preliminary work on this has already been done. No idea where it will go or when it might appear.

Do you mean having a separate sequencer with an easy way to place referenced copies of a sequence in the Session timeline?
I’m not sure how that’d mesh with the current Ardour’s workflow. Maybe we’d need to have a separate track type for such sequences to be placed on?

Maybe that’s not exactly what you meant, but…
Right now I think that the best way to work with drum samples in Ardour is via MIDI tracks with a sampler plugin. There’s a good selection of open-source plugins that can do that.

DrMr Sampler - plays Hydrogen drumkits https://github.com/falkTX/drmr
Fabla - http://openavproductions.com/fabla/
drumkv1 - https://drumkv1.sourceforge.io/ http://openavproductions.com/fabla/
LSP Multisampler plugins - http://lsp-plug.in/?page=manuals&section=multisampler_x12_do

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The workflow i did some work on last december involved a builtin “processor” in ardour that did step sequencing. you can either leave it running (it is fully tempo map aware, too), or export the current sequence into the track as a MIDI region. it doesn’t make any noise itself - you still need some synth for that.

Is this sequencer available in 5.12? How to access it? I’d like to experiment.

There is one step sequencer already “MIDIStepSequencer” but it has only 8 steps.

I use Ardour on Linux, installed via KX studio repository.

Absolutely not. It will be part of a 6.x release, though I don’t currently know which one (I’d prefer 6.0 but we’ll see about that).

What’s the current status of this? Any rough idea when we might expect this feature?
I’m also looking for LMMS/FL Studio style beat/bassline editor badly.

Sorry for necroposting, I’ve noticed this thread is almost two years old.

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Have you tried the x-42 Step Sequencer plugin. I have never tried such a workflow but I believe that this is what you’re looking for.

I believe what KristijanZic and OP were talking about was a complete “piano roll” like the ones you can find in other DAWs, where you can easily write melodies and chords or do drums programming, like an improved Ardour MIDI handling.
IIRC Paul said that some work has been done but first the “time representation” issue has to be solved, once that is done better MIDI workflow will come. AFAIK there’s no ETA on this, hopefully this much awaited and, IMO, needed, feature will come soon but it’s a huge work so it will take time. With this feature I think that Ardour, already being awesome, would truly become the best DAW there is.

Anyway I want to once again thank @paul and @x42 for their amazing work on this beautiful piece of software, you guys are really the best, we trust you guys.

EDIT: you can see what I was talking about here under “MIDI handling”:
MIDI handling: https://ardour.org/news/6.0.html
Although we still have significant work to do on improving Ardour’s MIDI workflow, 6.0 features some major breakthroughs and fixes for a lot of the irritating bugs that interfered with MIDI editing in earlier versions. We’ve completely changed the way we handle MIDI data during playback and the result has been (according to our beta testers) an end to stuck notes, odd looping behavior and missing notes. Although 6.0 did not end up including the overhaul of musical time representation (still planned for a version 7), these changes have already fixed a large number of the most pressing and immediate issues when working with MIDI. We’ve also made it easier to visualize velocity too. We look forward to lots more improvements in the MIDI workflow in future versions.

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I’m thinking about this:

It’s a huge missing feature, but what you all are saying I deduced that devs are thinking about this and working hard towards this feature and it should come soon (soonish)? Before 7.0?

It will absolutely not be before 7.0, since that would imply doing this before the time representation work is done.

But I did quite a lot of work on the implementation of what is called “beatbox” in the past, and it is functionally already a good distance towards where it needs to be, though the GUI is still problematic.

I took inspiration from a large variety of different step sequencers, but particularly MuLab and several Reason components, which I felt did some really cool stuff.

It is possible that this will land in 7.0; if not, it will be in a minor release not too long after it.

Also, I disagree that this is a “huge missing feature”. It’s not really part of the linear recording workflow that Ardour currently supports. We plan to work towards expanding to include other workflows derived from the non-linear model that Live, FL Studio and others have been built around, but that’s different story than a “missing feature”.


Thank you so much, I was just afraid that this might be the case of “won’t-do”. But since you are obviously going towards that feature I can wait a little (1-2 years) for it to come.

I’m guessing it will probably coincide together with PipeWire general adoption so that will be cool :slight_smile:

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