Moving entirely to Linux and Ardour

I wasn’t quite sure which category to post this under but I wanted to say that tomorrow morning I’m making the move entirely to Linux and Ardour (with more than a dash of Mixbus for mastering!). If you’ve read the classical workflow mega thread, you’ll know that I’ve been straddling two platforms for a good while now but I finally feel ready to make the shift. No more Win10, iLok, HASP key, eLicenser etc.

As a classical engineer I will have to make a few changes and/or sacrifices but this is to be expected. I’ll be trying my hand at Audacity for spectral editing in addition to using my Wavearts suites via Wine for realtime noise reduction. For everything else I have various open-source plugins ready to deploy that are more than capable of doing a professional job. One of the tipping points in the past few days has been thoroughly testing Michael Willis’ Dragonfly Hall reverb. Between this, the Harrison GVerb+ and impulse responses there’s not much that cannot be achieved. I’m also keeping a keen eye on Noise Repellent as an eventual replacement for the Wavearts stuff.

Anyway, a big thank you to the devs of Ardour and Mixbus for providing such amazing software (@Michael_Willis: great job on the latest iteration of your reverbs!). I hope to share my first completely open-source Bach recording in the near future. Even the instruments I have settled on are free-to-download and playable in Grandorgue.

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Good luck on your experience.

A few things to note that you may already be aware of, while WaveARTs is certainly not bad (I used it for many years) and in fact I think it does a slightly better job with HF broadband noise reduction, it is not quite up to the same level as Rx if you are used to using it. I find there is a use for both tools honestly, but Rx does make things a bit easier to achieve.

Also i would be curious to hear what instruments you do end up settling on. I will agree the dragonfly reverb in particular has helped to fill a niche, I started using it in my class I teach as a cross platform reverb for my students. The realm of plugins on Linux is continuing to grow, and that is a great thing.

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I’m going to be using the Zell harpsichord sampled by Pere Casacota and three of the harpsichords courtesy of Soni Musicae (Taskin, Blanchet and Petit Italian). I also have two of the Piotr Grabowski organs in mind not only for the Bach organ works but perhaps for some of the clavier works. The Azzio and Guibiasco organs, in particular, are superbly sampled. Friends of mine who know the organ as an instrument quite well were completely fooled. As per an exchange with @x42, I’m also keeping my eye on Aoelus even though the sampled-based organs are superior sonically. An lv2 plugin version would go a long way to opening it up to less techie organists looking for an accessible practice option. As an aside, I’ll be using the lower baroque chamber pitch of A=392 (no doubt the same pitch that the Brandenburgs were composed for).

EDIT: There’s also a wonderful free Martin Bezemer harpsichord if I can get it to run in Grandorgue but I doubt it is compatible. As an alternative It might be straightforward enough to load the samples into an SFZ editor.

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Out of curiosity, have you tried out the PianoTeq Harpsichord? I am curious to know how that stacks up.

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EDIT: I didn’t even realize they had versions available to current PianoTeq customers for free, so I would be interested in feedback either on those or the instrument pack they have.

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Yes, I own Pianoteq 6 plus the Ruckers add-on. For playability it is as good as any. The timbre, however, really does sound fake next to a sampled instrument.The same goes for the Blanchet and Grimaldi. It doesn’t help that all of them share the same single key-off noise. A sampled instrument will have every individual release sampled making for a more real experience. I’ve yet to determine whether round robin for harpsichords makes any real difference given the lack of dynamics. Certainly I love many of the instruments without it.

The pianoteq pianos on the other hand I find very close to the real deal. I absolutely love the Bluthner for playing Bach. No doubt a deeply-sampled version would win in a shootout though.

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@Michael_Willis, If you are interested, do you have a preferred way for us to continue a conversation about your reverbs as they pertain to classical duties?

Yes! For some reason I thought that the thread about classical music had concluded that Dragonfly Reverb wasn’t realistic enough. I’m glad to hear that you have found settings that work for you.

Another thread here would be fine, or we have a Matrix chat

I looked back and from the skimming I did, I think the last thing was committing to trying it on a classical project which I’ve now done (finally) with excellent results.

I’ll think about the best venue for my questions/observations and be back in touch!

I’m finally rid of Win10 after being delayed somewhat by other non-audio related stuff. In the end, for what it’s worth, I installed Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon (64-bit) and will see how I go on. I originally had antiX 19 but had some strange hanging issues after first install (single flashing underscore in top left of all things) so watched an @unfa video and saw he was using Mint. I’m actually no stranger to Mint but, as I’m sure some of you have also experienced, distro-hopping is often a hard thing to shake :wink:

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Cool! I hope you keep us posted on your experience. I used Mint for a few years, then System 76’s PopOS (on an old Lenovo laptop), then Manjaro, and probably a few others I’m forgetting, and ran Ardour on all of them. I’m currently Linuxless but plan to go back to it eventually.

On an unrelated note, what MIDI keyboard(s) are you using to play your music on virtual instruments?

Yes, but make sure you don’t let it get in the way of getting work done:) In my earlier days with Linux I went through quite a few, but you can get distracted by the distro over getting work done.

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I’m using a Roland F-120 digital piano for almost everything these days. I have an Alesis Q49 but I’ve only used that while travelling as necessary. The other 88-key keyboard (currently in the shed in a huge hard travel case) is a Roland RD-150 stage piano. I used it for almost everything until I bought the F-120.

The distro-hopping has slowed considerably. My audio drive will hopefully keep Mint on for a good long while but I have my separate MXLinux every-day-tasks drive for tinkering as the mood suits :wink: