My request and why GNU/Linux are still losers in the audio game

It really depends on what the end goals are. On the one hand, you have users, on the other the developers. They may have different perspectives. So before lamenting about this or that, it is necessary to understand what the expectations are.

Example : in my case, I want to be able to produce my music (and I have a lot in mind that needs to come out) with the tools a I feel comfortable with. If these tools are “free”, even better. It happens that linux is what I know. So I chose it for my DAW, and the cool thing is that a project like ardour was available and usable when I did that choice. I learned it and got very comfortable with it. And I could get it for free! Now comes the plugins. I don’t care too much about them, I prefer hardware (not free but my DAW does not have to work hard since I don’t use tons of plugins). If linux native plugins sound like crap, well, then there are alternatives or different ways of working. So it’s not so much a native plugin issue but how you want to get from your idea to the final product. It is not always a straight line …

Now, let’s take the developers : what are their goals ? the ardour dev team is very committed and is doing its best to release a bug free ardour to the world. They would like money for it but they release it for free, so I believe that they meet some of their goals by doing so. Otherwise, they would start up a small company and try to make tons of money out of ardour. Other companies (not supporting linux by default) choose to make tons of money out of their products and impose themselves as leaders in this market segment. It becomes “mass culture”. OK, we all know how it works (advertisement, mouth-to-ear, big shot from the music industry endorsing this or that brand, etc, and voila, every body wants the same). That’s fine with me, I feel independent enough to be able to make my own choices without being influenced by this mass culture. And by doing so, I discover a team like ardour devs, whose software I enjoy using every day, and I find the team very sympathetic so I support them.

I am not expecting great stuff from sofware, it is by default unreliable, whatever degree of confidence you have in your code (your code has to run within someone else’s code, never forget that :wink: So WTF ? Sorry for the lengthy msg :smiley:

“LADSPA LV2 and the rest are like tofu, not without their benefits…but certainly not appealing for mass consumption.”

Two billion Chinese might disagree with that assessment.

And of course the flavor depends on who’s cooking, yes ?

I can actually sing and play musical instruments, real ones, so the whole plugins love-in doesn’t really reach me. I need some reverb, a little compression and EQ, sure, but what I need first is a good song or composition. Gotta have a cake before the icing’s really functional. Frankly I’ve found a handful of LADSPA plugins that work beautifully for my purposes, and that’s all I need.

The synth picture is a little different. Many VSTi plugins fascinate me, but I’ve kept only a very few to work with on a regular basis.


LOL. In the heat of typing I unfortunately let my North American bias slip in…I’d better avoid food analogies from now on!

I do however totally agree with your assessment on having to have songs and facility with your instrument first and foremost, Next the appropriate hardware and mics for the task, but even EQ, Compression and Reverb are plugins, many of the complaints leveled at LADSPA and LV2 are a lack of Equivalent Reverbs and EQ’s to the “others”. I am a total old-schooler too, I was recording on tape for many years before PC’s arrived, Plugins are not a crutch to me either, just an embellishment. I also have found some of the LADSPA plugs to truly be excellent as well…Satan Maximizer is one of the best mastering tools ever IMO. If you can work around with hardware etc like Thorgal has mentioned, then of course it’s not an issue on a personal level.

I was talking about the larger picture of Ardour’s appeal to the Mac crowd and people migrating from Windows. It is no longer the province of Linux users only. I fully realize within itself and the Linux Community it’s already a success on it’s own merits.

Well, you can replace “professional” with “the power to make it sound exactly the way I want it to”. The Mac platform has lots of plugins, both commersial and otherwise, and I have yet to run into something I just can’t do with Logic.

Perhaps I was exaggerating a bit about the compressors, but the point is that (correct me if I’m wrong), there just isn’t as much of a variety of plugins available for Linux apps as there are for Mac apps. The SC4, for example, may sound great (I haven’t heard it), but I want to be able to choose between different plugins to find the one that best suits my needs in a specific situation. For example, I find the builtin Logic compressor to sound OK on vocals, but on drums I use another one because I want another sound. The same goes for anything, there just isn’t enough to choose from on the Linux platform. But I’m sure that will change as audio on Linux gets bigger.

I’ve heard a lot of good things said about AD, but do you know a plugin that’s free (as in freedom) and isn’t Hydrogen (because Hydrogen is an external app and based on patterns, which is tedious to work with)?

I know my tempo automation comment was a bit off topic… I should get around to submitting that feature request.

bong rouge said:

“But I’m sure that will change as audio on Linux gets bigger”

That is the real conundrum here isn’t it?

As far as current development in “Linux plugins” encompassing LADSPA, LV2, and VST Linux, there is very little to none, many of the LADSPA sets cannot go any further due to the LADSPA sdk limitations, some LADSPA developers have either ceased development at all or have said “look I know it’s broken but I really don’t have time to fix it.”

To be fair there are some small, hard to find projects like CALF and LEET still working and improving.

I have repeatedly visited the LV2 homepage and there has been little to no change and no new plugins added for more than 6 months.

JOST and LinuxVST continues development but much of the offerings are reheated Windows/Mac VST’s and a few native ones with only 1 sequencer (EnergyXT) that supports them natively that I know of, without an external host like JOST…(hey that rhymes)

So…Linux has a stagnant and aging native set of plug-in platforms to offer people from the “outside” who already enjoy at least 2 “Industry Standard” platforms which are continuously developed, improved and added to by both F/OSS (or very similar) and commercial developers.

Linux audio’s only real chance of growth outside it own “congregation” will be embracing existing plugin technologies, one of which Ardour has already turned it’s back on.

Growth in this scenario becomes a real “Catch-22”.


Another more old school way of coming at the drum issue would be to use Rosegarden with DSSI-Fluidsynth hosting a good drum soundfont. I still like to do it this way myself, because I did it similarly for years in Cubase with Wavetable based Turtle Beach Pinnacle and SBLive soundcards.

It’s probably not a much better option than Hydrogen since both methods are pattern based.

Another point with regard to the original poster - and forgive me if I state the bleeding obvious - but if s/he wants this to be FOSS / free from vendor-specific allegiances, then why is s/he also suggesting investing all development funds into a Mac version?
  1. Surely this is as vendor specific as the Digidesign/ProTools/M-Audio relationship [whereby ProTools only works with Digidesign-specific non-standard interfaces.

  2. Is it not better to abandon MacOS and simply run Linux on the Mac? This can be done! I have a Mac in my teaching lab which will happily run a number of flavours of Linux!

I’m another one who has to take issue with the original poster’s perception.

I’m like Dave Phillips, having played in orchestras and various ensembles for quite some time. But writing orchestral music in a box is by its very nature, challenging, without throwing HW and SW limitations in as well.

I used to have a herd of Gigastudio boxes, which i went through various stages of angst with, trying to keep them running. Add to that the limitations inherent in Win (and Mac) related to getting audio and midi in and out of the herd, and the challenge became, regular, the stuff of nightmares.

Jack, even in its earlier incarnations, provided a freedom from many many hours of tweaking, compromising, and well, more compromising.
It’s a professional tool of use, that enables me to route anything, anywhere. And like any software ‘Ferrari’, the user should learn to drive it, and understand what’s going on under the hood. With a little time invested, patience from those who suffered my stream of questions, and taking into account my inexperience with linux in general, Jack was relatively easy to setup and use. One only has to apply oneself a little to reap the benefits.

I’ll be blunt here.

It’s been my experience with Jack, and the wider linux framework, that 99% of the time, the user is at fault. (and i draw on myself as an example of this.) I’m not a lazy person by any means, but i’ve read a lot of posts from those that are, and time and again, an hour’s concentration would put most of them in the driving seat.

I’ve also used Jack in Mac, and although it was early days in the Jack genetic evolution, it still ran, didn’t cough, and enabled me to get a lot more work done for less tweaking. Only a period of concentration at the beginning of that particular journey was needed to reap results.

I’m still a dummy with many things linux, but have enough knowledge now to get myself out of trouble on the few occasions these days that something crops up.

I will refute emphatically the premise that linux isn’t ready for realtime, or somehow behind the eight ball. There are things we’d all like to see (more concentration on the wonderful world of Keystrokes and bindings, for example), but that’s the same in any app for any distro. Like Dave, i don’t use VSTs (hurrah), as i found a wealth of useful tools in the ladspa, and lately, LV2 plugin world. Add to that the might beasts that are Jconv, Aeolus, Linuxsampler, Rosegarden, and a myriad of other apps, and of course, Ardour, and i’ll enthusiastically argue the case for a native linux audio/midi workstation, for professional use.

Bleating and moaning about linux audio/midi seems to take a familiar path of “I just wanna press the mouse over the icon, and watch it wiggle”, then “But i can’t use my 4000 VST plugins with pretty faces, cos linux doesn’t like 'em”.

Yeah, right.

Paul, my apologies in advance for the rant, but as i get more into writing every day, and notice just how much i get done, WITHOUT compromising, i’ve learnt to appreciate what we have to use from gifted and generous souls on the linux planet, and conversely, i get more irritated with those who just want to throw rocks and not put in a little elbow grease.

Guess this means i’m gonna be a crusty old fart when that time comes…


The thing is that you can’t automate the tempo to slowly increase or decrease over time, only have it change from one tempo to another in an instant. That’s one of the features I use all the time in Logic, because I don’t feel that it sounds natural to keep the same tempo throughout the whole song; maybe the chorus is 2 bpm faster, and a bridge is 4 bpm slower, just to keep in with the dynamic of the song.

In the end temp its allways bpm - so if you want delicate changes to “humanize” the tempo you can always add very small changes to the tempo-line such as having 2 bars running with 124bpm, then one with 125, then one with 124 again then two with 126 and so on.

I doubt, that smaller steps (such as raising the tempo in one bar by 5 steps of 0.2bpm) would really be noticed in an AB-comparision with a “aprupt” change of 1bpm from one bar to the next one.


automated tempo in ardour2.5

Ardour offers tempo changes in steps as small as a 1/100 bpm

Having a curve to automate such changes would be quite nice but I do not consider this a must-have…

nostrum fungitur

I really do not agree, zett…

A tempo track where you can easily draw curves IS A MUST HAVE. One of the most important things Ardour still misses. Developers could check the one in Cubase for a really nice, easy and functional tempo track and tempo line drawing. Doesn’t look that hard to do, but then, I’m not a developer myself.

In order to finance the Ardour project it needs users who make a living manipulating audio

This is a stupid notion…

You don’t have to make your money from music to financially support Ardour… while it would be nice … it’s not necessary that the money has to come from music… Anyone with an income can subscribe…

I make peanuts from my music… it doesn’t stop me making it and it doesn’t stop me subscribing to Ardour…

eveything is said, and maybe sad person bought a protools system and is happy with it (and maybe now can´t afford to pay his flatrate to post again).

it just makes the world a better place to have free software that gives us the freedom to decide for uncommercial(and professional!) projects and music. that s for me the big goal of it. it makes music possible, that is beyond the commerical mainstream.

Geesh. I can’t even respond to this.

tim gorman