new Avid AXX plugin format

Avid has announced a new plugin format that will support both native and DSP card-based plugins for all of their future versions of Pro Tools.

If plugin formats are just an API definition, does this mean that it would be feasible for Ardour to support this native version of the AXX format? If Ardour could support this new native format, then it would probably open up Ardour to tons of future plugins that will no doubt be coming from the current mainstream Pro Tools plugin manufacturers like Waves, McDSP, etc.

I do not know the technical issues involved, but it seems to me that plugin code itself is not OS dependent. Is that true? If the plugin is coded so that it will run on both a dedicated DSP-based card AND a native x86 host, then I would think that the code would not have any OS dependencies. If that is the case, then it seems that if Ardour supported the native version of the AXX API, then the plugin could be used in Arbour.

If mainstream plugins (from Waves, McDSP, etc) could be used with Arbour, that would indeed be a nice push in helping Arbour gain more users.


yeah, I totally forgot about the GUI code–totally different. Oh well, I was hoping that the situation was looking better with the new Avid AXX native format.

I did post a request to support Ardour/linux over at the McDSP site. If more users would request this from the mainstream plugin manufacturers maybe they would respond.


@Andres Gonzales: While it’s a good idea to politely ask plugin manufacturers to support ardour / linux, I think it is unlikely that it will happen (unless it is a result of already using a crossplatform GUI toolkit e.g. JUCE, which just happens to work on linux)

I did post a request to support Ardour/linux over at the McDSP site. If more users would request this from the mainstream plugin manufacturers maybe they would respond.

I think even if all the linux audio users requested this it would still not be enough for commercial developers for other platforms to consider it worthwhile. It is very hard to guess the number of linux audio users (and the percentage of those who are willing / able to pay for professional quality software) but the indications as far as I can tell are that it is a very very small number.

In addition, (and I speak from personal experience) linux can be a very risky platform for commercial developers to develop for. As an example, about 90% of my time is spent just maintaining my existing software against all the potential distribution incompatibilities, host incompatibilities, (and sometimes arbitarily changing standards), new / old / deprecated plugin APIs, graphical library APIs, packaging standards (or the lack of them), misbehaving package manager applications etc etc.

And the situation is getting worse, with more of what could once be considered the ‘standard base’ being replaced, or customised by the different distributions.

Contrast this with some of the plugins I ported to Windows, they will run on anything from Win95 through to Win7. And are compatible with just about all VST hosts from early pre-cubase steinberg software up to the present versions.


last I heard can't make nearly enough to support himself alone on Linux.

It’s true no one’s going to get rich doing this, but I think there’s enough of a potential market to survive for a while - but it also depends on people being aware of the value / work involved in doing this, and how that impacts on the price of the final product. For example:

In one plugin, at a rough estimate there are approx 20 - 40,000 lines of code (some in re-usable modules, including all the low level GUI toolkit) but it was all developed at a cost, (and that doesn’t include the graphical design too)

Combine that with approx 2 - 3 Months development (and importantly - testing) for a new plugin and equate that for example to how much someone using the software professionally would charge for that time and I think the value (and development cost) soon becomes apparent.

Many things wrong with this post sorry.

First off, I don’t think that AVID has provided any documentation on the hosting specs for AXX, and I doubt that they are likely to as it is something they are using to promote their own product. I can be corrected though if I have heard wrong on this however.

Secondly, while the actual audio dsp code can be cross platform, often cases the UI is not quite so much.

Ardour3 supports VSTs compiled for Linux courtesy of LinuxDSP. This is probably the closest you will get to what you are looking for, and I would still bet you won’t see to much commercial development just because of this. The userbase needs to be able to support the development time invested as well as support for each platform. In short Linux doesn’t do so yet, and LinuxDSP who is one of the very few commercial DSP developers on Linux last I heard can’t make nearly enough to support himself alone on Linux.


linux dsp , very interesting what you wrote, non-programmers (like I am) usually dont have an idea about the amount of work that is invested in a piece of software like your fabolous plugins.

@calimerox: There’s a lot of work involved in creating the software, but importantly there is continuing work, just to keep it functioning on a constantly evolving OS / platform - and quite often this is the kind of thing which, if it is done well, you will not be aware of - because everything just keeps on working, just liked it used to.
This is equally true of any project, and I think sometimes it gets overlooked, especially in the context of financial donations / support for projects. It’s not just about keeping a project moving forward, its also about maintaining it at its current level, or at least trying to ensure that migration to the next distribution “upgrade” is as painless as possible.