OSX plugin suite to share sessions with Linux

:frowning: the 500 series still hasn’t got linux support… shame really fancied updating to try the G Series dynamics plugin.

I might just suggest Mixbus + Harrison plugin essentials bundle + Overtone AF-210. That should give everything needed for now and comes in at under £200, not as cheap as I was hoping, but still pretty good! My only issue with this is the awkward interface for Mixbus on a small screen.

@bdp: I’m using the 500 series plugins now on Linux. I believe it’s still supported, maybe they just haven’t updated the webpage.

One possibility: ZAM Plugins (http://www.zamaudio.com/?p=976): LV2 for Linux and Mac, $25 bundle. I’ve never used them, but they include a limiter, EQ, compressor, gate, saturator, delay, and others. The interfaces seem pretty simple to work with.

..I just noticed OvertoneDSP updated their page with full linux support on all available plugins..
The linux versions were always included in the downloads however we felt that it was becoming increasingly difficult to guarantee compatibility of the standard we wanted to provide, given the increasingly diverse and often customized nature of linux distributions (and e.g. self build host applications). There has however been some significant work on the linux versions recently, which (I hope) will increase resilience to several host application bugs and especially X11 related issues. This should provide a more reliable experience, similar to the Windows and Mac versions. There are also some ARM Linux compatible builds available in the beta software downloads area, intended for Raspberry Pi 3 running Ubuntu MATE 16.04. These are experimental, however they have been tested on a RPi 3 with hifiberry DAC+ Pro running Tracktion / Waveform 8 as the host application. Builds of Ardour appear to be available for RPi too, in the ubuntu MATE repositories, however at the time of writing this was Ardour 4 and was quite CPU heavy and a bit unreliable. It's possible / likely an optimized build of a more recent Ardour version would fair better, as it's quite remarkable what such inexpensive hardware can do.

@bdp: Heads up I just noticed OvertoneDSP updated their page with full linux support on all available plugins.

Bumping since it’s been a year or two since the last post. Calf plugins are theoretically multiplat, but without the GTK+ GUI, they’re essentially useless; not to mention the compressor has -inf. gain reduction no matter what I do on OS X (without GUI of course, compiling with GTK+ results in Ardour crashing whenever I try to open the plugin).

Don’t bother with Calf, please.

For free plugins:
Cross platform, the a-* plugins that come with Ardour are actually a good start. Also the Dragonfly Reverb[s]. x42’s plugins as well. I wouldn’t discount mda plugins either even though they are a bit old. There is a variety of others as well I am forgetting right now, as this is off the top of my head.

For paid plugins:
Harrison’s LV2 plugins, and I believe OvertoneDSP still are both good starts. x42’s paid plugins are well worth it.

I am actually working next month on prepping my online introductory mixing course (For a local uni) and putting together a list like this. I may come back and post it once I confirm everything with it.


Don’t bother with Calf, please.

Why, what’s wrong with them? I honestly haven’t found better, easier to use (and that’s an important one since the Ardour-bundled ones are fine but a bit of a hassle to use) plugin suite on Linux.

I am actually working next month on prepping my online introductory mixing course (For a local uni) and putting together a list like this. I may come back and post it once I confirm everything with it.

Please do, I’d appreciate it.

Thanks for the suggestions for the other plugins, I’ll look into them and try them out!

In short: the DSP is poor, often flawed, also the GUI displays does not correspond to what the plugin actually does.

There are various threads on this forum discussing this already. A quick search found those:

PS. Depending on context, the calf plugins can still be useful. But beware that they’re not great to learn mixing (since they display misleading information), and also unreliable on some systems.


I hear you, your warning is noted. Despite its flaws, it’s still the most complete and user-friendly set of plugins that I could find for Linux. I’ve checked out all the plugins suggested by Seablade but frankly I wasn’t impressed, especially not by the paid ones.

What I like about Calf is how many of all kinds of plugins it includes besides the standard like chorus, bass or stereo enhancer, and none of the ones I’ve looked at provided that.

If I wanted EQ, a compressor or even reverb or delay, I’d use the stock Ardour ones (and that’s not a knock on the other plugins but a compliment to the Ardour team! ;)).

I also have yet to figure out how to get the mda plugins under Linux.

I would like to try (at least experimentally, not for production use) running Calf with GUI on OS X. What would it take? Would both Ardour and Calf have to be compiled with the same versions of gtk2 and cairo libs, meaning I’d have to build Ardour on OS X? Has anyone tried this before? I remember reading a post here on the forums from somebody who could get it somewhat working but not consistently so he couldn’t publish any tutorials.

Maybe LSP plugins would be a good option? They have a wide range of different plugin types in the collection and the DSP is top-notch. I use them for classical workflow along with @x42’s plugins along with a few other “singles” like zita-rev1 and Dragonfly reverbs. The LSP plugin GUIs strangely remind me of the old Focusrite Firewire interface knobs :wink:

I have a few that are cross-platform that might be useful:

Reverbs: Dragonfly reverbs & zita-rev1 (download all the versions via Faust)
Compressor: Squeezer
Limiter: Loudmax
EQ: Luftikus
LUFS: Multimeter or LUFS meter (Klangfreund)

The LUFS meters are very reasonably priced for what they offer…Youlean also is cross-platform and works well via wine/linVST.

LSP plugins look nice (still no chorus… :stuck_out_tongue:) but how are they on OS X? That’s my biggest concern, I want to be able to work on both. Also going back to x42’s paid plugins, forgot to mention this in my last post: I’d love to try out the demo versions but I can’t use it, any time I click anywhere it just opens up a webpage for me to buy it - no, thank you…

I did a lot of editing of my previous post. Check out the cross-platform options that are mostly free. I don’t use chorus plugins so sorry I can’t recommend any!

Thanks for the suggestions. I’m not yet interested in a limiter or loudness meters (I consider those to be mastering tools and I want to start with getting familiar with mixing first), so the reverbs, EQ and compressor are the ones I’m interested in.

The Luftikus EQ looks like a nice “musical” EQ but I’m also looking for a “surgical” parametric EQ. I really like how the Fabfilter EQ works - being able to drag the dot around to change frequency/amplitude, solo the the frequency I’m affecting, the frequency analyzer etc. The Calf EQ has two of those three, although its performance (and DSP according to Robin and Seablade) is poor. You know of an EQ plugin for both Linux and OS X that’s similar in functionality to Fabfilter’s?

Also, looking at Luftikus, I can’t find a Linux build or a way to build it for Linux… :confused:

Luftikus is available as part of DISTRHO ports, in binary form or as source code via Github.

As for the surgical parametric EQ, look at LSP parametric EQs, x42-eq (paid binary, free sources) and Harrison’s XT and AVA plugins (proprietary). There may be more that I don’t remember right now…

I’ve tried it and unfortunately it’s not portable - Ardour doesn’t recognize that the DISTRHO LXVST port and the official MacVST build are the same plugin. I’ve emailed the developer if it would be possible to do official builds for LXVST for at least some of his plugins.

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve already checked out some (Harrision and x42, the x42 demo didn’t even let me try it out, it kept on opening their website whenever I clicked anywhere within the plugin…), I’ll take a look at the other ones.

Hm, I might have been confused, you asked for linux builds but now talk about MacVST? Sorry if I didn’t backread far enough or misunderstood… I’m running Luftikus successfully as lv2 plugin under linux here, probably a self compiled version from Github (I haven’t updated my checkout in a long time, so I forgot details about the installation).

Oh, sorry if it wasn’t clear, the thread’s about plugins that you can use on shared sessions between Linux and OS X.

The LSP plugins look great but no OS X build, only FreeBSD. I wonder how difficult it would be to port to OS X since Darwin has (had?) lots of in common with FreeBSD. The x42-eq looks to be the only viable one but I don’t want to pay $70 without a usable demo…

That’s a shame that they are not seen as the same plugin. Working cross-platform is always a little tricky. For the few classes I have taught, I have insisted on everyone using the same DAW and sticking to included plugins :wink: In real life if full collaboration is truly important, moving to the exact same platform would probably be a good idea. For now, would it work by having her freeze her audio tracks so that you can at least listen to everything with correct mixer levels without worrying about plugins?

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