Plugins, especially EQ

As a pro user I have used all the major DAW programs. I am currently working with SADiE (piece of crap) and in my previous job Logic 7 (fine piece of engineering).
My suggestion would be to rewrite or create new LADSPA plugins to give Ardour the power to be a truly great piece of software.
The first would have to be an eq at the top of the channel strip like Logic, the gui they use is incredibly powerful and intuitive, a track can be tweaked in seconds and the preset can be DnD’d to other channel strips.
The other plugins that I have used have also lacked clear GUI’s and advanced features, it would be great to have a simple powerful set of tools like Logic that fulfill all the core requirements.

Here’s hoping…

Re: My suggestion would be to rewrite or create new LADSPA plugins to give Ardour the power to be a truly great piece of software.

This might sound very ungrateful to the LADSPA developers out there, but I agree. Plug-in wise Ardour or Linux in general don’t have much to put up against the any app running on Windows or Mac that supports any of the major plug-in formats (not from what I’ve tried so far at least). I realize this is easier said than done, but I hope it gets there.

maybe some sort of method that a plugin’s ui can directly write to the channel strip? what i mean is, take a simple lpf plugin for instance, make some option to be able to add and use it in the top of each strip (like in logic, i also think it is a great feature). as long as the interface is open and easy to customise (in options, choose what plugins are available in the dropdown list on the channel??) i think it would be really useful. as ladspa plugins don’t expect any particular interface appearance i think that ardour could be easily (in thought, don’t know about programming) modified to put the controls directly on the strip. all you need to do then is have a spot on the channel that can be clicked (like the dropdown idea above) to choose a plugin to place there. maybe the dropdown list should spawn another instance below to give the option to add more plugins.

this way you can easily (and most imporantly, quickly) add a simple (or complex, if you desire, but that would clutter things i think) compressor, gate, lpf etc to the channel that would make setting up and using the channel strips (especially in a live setting) much faster and more dynamic.


ps. it’s late, so i might not be describing it very well :wink:

just a quick note. although nothing else that you’ve suggested conflicts with this, you will not ever see ardour putting EQs in every channel by default. people who want such functionality should use templates that they create. default strips come with no processing except gain&pain, and this is unlikely to change. people’s opinions on what a “good EQ” is vary dramatically, and we do not intend to try to second-guess their choices by installing a particular EQ by default.

that said, we are exploring various design ideas that would get us a bit closer to what you are describing.

I agree with stiff:

Imagine a new user starts ardour. If he has read about LADSPA and that he has to install plugins via package manager he finds about a hundred more or less useless plugins in ardour.
Don’t get me wrong: some of the LADSPA plugins are really great. Especially the CAPS, SWHT and TAPS plugins. But all in all it takes a long time with a lot of trial and error to find working and good sounding plugins out of these hundreds of listed plugins.

My proposal would be for the ardour team to write a good EQ, compressor, reverb. These are the most standard tools you need. And then deliver these directly with ardour so that new users and also others can start easy…
(Another option would be to take the best plugins from existing packages and distribute it with ardour.)

I have found good plugins for all purposes myself but it took me hours. Most beginners or professional that don’t have these time would have skipped ardour in the meanwhile…

I agree with that! I would like to see proffessional equalizer, compressor and reverb included in ardour.

I disagree.
It’s not necessary to deliever Ardour with plugins itself. Leave that to the ladspa-team, to search and write better plugins.

The “typical new user” will not have to read about ladspa plugins and install them. The new user uses a distribution like ubuntuStudio which comes with the plugins preinstalled. So there is no problem.

What is necesarry is presets and standards for the plugins. I couldn’t believe my eyes that there aren’t any presets. Thats not new-user friendly.
Is there some place where to get common ladspa-presets or aren’t there any?

Jamin includes:

*  Linear filters
* 30 band graphic EQ
* 1023 band hand drawn EQ with parametric controls
* Spectrum analyser
* 3 band peak compressor
* Lookahead brickwall limiter
* Multiband stereo processing
* Presets and scenes
* Loudness maximiser

So the only thing left is reverb.

one thing that could be done is reorganize the plugins window so that your most often/recently used plugs are available quickly (and a preset can be chosen simultaneously while instantiating the plug, to save time). at the very least that would turn the sorting out of your favorite plugs into a one-time process. it could also give the ardour developers the opportunity to pre-populate the list with some “recommended” plugins, though maybe the developers don’t want to go there.

jamin is a great tool (i just used it extensively last night!) but it’s a bit much for heavy useage. it lends itself perfectly to mastering. i’d like to see a good, but simple, multi-band comp written.

has anyone experimented with patching an ardour “insert” into an external piece of gear? this would be killer if it works well, and i’m kind of hoping to set up a studio based around this idea (DAW with lots of i/o patched into cool outboard gear). i’m just wondering if latency would become an issue, or if jack was written to allow this type of setup.

At first, I hated that there was no eq curve in the plugins, but I have found that I used to eq visually to what I thought I needed instead of listening - this IS audio. I have found that my eq is more natural without using a visual eq curve because I’m listening to my tweaks.

hogiewan: I agree with what you’re saying here. Being a visual person by nature, the fact that LADSPA plugins don’t have a fancy GUI was a turn off initially. But as I got to know them I realized that many of them sound pretty good and the fancy interfaces we’re used to are really only there to make you think the plugins are of better quality; though in some cases they do improve useability. I have found that without the GUI, I am using my ears more. Though in certain instances, like when mastering, having a visual cue (such as a VU meter or a spectral display) is useful… thankfully Jamin has such a display.

What might be cool is a way of launching other apps as inserts… i.e., have an option in the insert dialog to launch an instance of a program (like freqtweak or jamin) and then connect to it via Jack. There could even be a unified plugins/inserts/sends dialog. I guess this would be akin to global session management.

In reply to the question about using inserts in ardour, they do work quite well normally, I’ve patched quite a bit of my outboard gear into setups in this way with very few problems with latency. However I’m talking about stuff like reverbs etc. which you wouldn’t maybe notice an extra 6ms or so.

Also, I’m with the camp that would like to see some kind of mor “graphical” EQ and compression tools, not necessarily written right into ardour, but more closely integrated. I find I can do EQ much better when I can see an EQ curve on screen. In fact, my friend who I work with really appreciates our linux machine because ardour is rock solid, but he really really hates the EQ implementation,(we use the TAP EQ plugin mainly).

I use freqtweak and patch in channels when I really get desparate, but there should be some quicker way of just looking at the currently applied EQ curve…

personally I’m more concerned with the performance of LADSPA plugins. in my latest session I use the TAP Delay and SC4 compression,the DSP processing percentage just exploded of the scale. I had to increase latency to 64ms. Is there any wisdom around how to arrange/choose plugins.