Tips for usable Ardour -vst needed (you get a nightmare story for free)


I was having this band here. We were planning to do the final touches on their record, and thought it’d take 3-4 hours.
Result: 8 hours work, at least 15 Ardour crashes + 10 freezes… and total frustration.

I am using Ardour2.3 -vst enabled. Can anyone tell me a usable wine version for this?
I tried wine 0.9.44, 0.9.55, 0.9.56. All crashed at different times.

The worst part of the evening was when I told them about cool Ardour and that I’m using linux… and then I saved (!) the project… and it freezed… I reopened it and saved… it crashed… I moved regions…you guess what.
(At the end I was stuck for over 5 minutes because I didn’t know how to import stereotrack which I just mixed down in antoher session… fortunately oofus_lt rescued me on irc)

List of various crashs and freezes:

  • moving more than one region (always after doing it more than 2 times)
  • saving (sometimes)
  • opening vst-plugins (sometimes)
  • exporting ranges (always)
  • exporting whole project (always)
  • setting playhead during editing (sometimes)

other problems:

  • wild reordering of tracks and busses when adding a new track (most of the time)
  • tons of "programming error"s when clicking on any file in the import dialog (always), but it works
  • vst-plugins reporting false latency (e.g. SIR which works in other daws) (some)
  • opening of 2 windows for vst-plugins (wine version 0.9.55 and 0.9.56)
  • vst-windows aren’t opened (sometimes)
  • overwriting of all my keymapping to standard (damn it!)

Yes, I need vst plugins - we may argues about this another time, but if you want/need those, it’s a hard time for ya.

So any tips are welcome. First I need a good wine version. Please please tell me!

Then I’d suggest an additional page somewhere (doesn’t have to be here) where Ardour-vst users could vote on Ardour & wine versions. There seem to be better working versions with vst support than 2.3. And issues seem to change with every version, both with Ardour and wine, which makes it very difficult to find a good setup and not break everything through an update. I’m having the impression that the Ardour team doesn’t want / doesn’t have the possibilities to really work on a stable Ardour-vst as long as it is depending on wine (which I hate for having a release every two weeks by the way…).
But maybe we could document advantages and disadvantages of different versions and so on.

Maybe I’ll do a simple site for that, but it’d be great to know experiences of other vst-users first.


A user-supported wiki or other site would be nice. I can’t blame the Ardour devs for not wanting to get mired in the complexities of Wine + VST, but someone needs to go there. VSTs aren’t much of an issue for me personally. However, I do keep a current version of ArdourVST around for testing. Alas, my tests aren’t so heavy as your indicated usage, and I suspect that your scenario is more typical. We need more reports like yours, with more user-level research into what arrangements work and which ones don’t.

Sorry to hear about your non optimal experience. What I am gonna say is maybe not very constructive and I will by no means blame you for wanting VST plugins in ardour. But here it is anyhow : if you want to use VSTs because you say you need them badly, use e.g. Windows for your audio work. The very fact that ardour supports VSTs through wine is a (almost) complete mystery to me. I understand why, I understand that VSTs are very popular and pro-sounding, etc. But the problem is not ardour or linux. The latter are cool! I mean really cool! VSTs are not. Yes, they are if you use a platform that natively supports them. So your problem is not that you should feel frustrated or embarrassed before your friends because ardour crashes zillions of times or freezes for no apparent reason. Your problem is that you are using non native stuff that some people succeeded in making half-work after probably losing a lot of hair to achieve this. This is an impressive pirouette that I can only admire. But personally, I find it useless and almost counter-productive. If these people were clever enough to bring a half-working VST functionality under linux, I think they would have better spent their time in developing robust and pro sounding native plugins for linux. That to me is a way better investment of time and gray matter … unless Steinberg opens its licence to the open-source community, which I doubt will happen. So in conclusion, don’t blame ardour or linux for being unstable when used non natively, blame Steinberg.

PS: I warned you this wouldn’t be very constructive. I tried ardourVST myself. It was really not worth. I decided to do without and so far am managing very nicely. It’s a “philosophical” decision and I stand by it. Everybody’s free to do whatever, provided that one can assume consequences.

I’ve been there too. I mixed about 12 songs several months ago with Ardour-vst and had many of the same issues. Unfortunately, Paul (in a forum post here: conveyed that Ardour can’t be debugged with VST support enabled, making it very difficult to improve.

One thing that helps with VST support big time is to disable “Allow the Window Manager to Control Windows” in your Wine settings. This will solve 99% of the problems with plugin GUIs displaying twice, not displaying, etc.

The tracks shuffling issue you mentioned is there even in a non-VST setup, from what i understand is a known issue and is being addressed, however it isn’t well understood yet. Maybe post-3.0.

I have since ditched VST support after having found plenty of useful LADSPA plugs. Maybe you could list some of the VSTs you use and other users could post some similar LADSPA plugs and sensible settings? I realize there aren’t alternatives for every VST, or even most, but it would be a start.

Thanks for the replies and the reference to the other vst -post.
Looks dark for vst suppport.

cbreeze34: Unfortunately disableing “Allow the Window Manager to Control Windows” didn’t fixed my problem with wine 0.9.56. I click 1 time on a vst plugin and 2 windows pop up. I close them and try to reopen, but only 1 empty window pops up…

As to vst Plugins: I love the fishfillets and endorphin
which are a great stereo compressor (endorphin, e.g. for drums, great!), a channel compressor, a de-esser, and a gate.

I don’t know if the de-esser is replaceable by LADSPA ones, but in my opinion the fishfillets also beat the ones like SC1-4 or TAP Dynamics etc. in quality, harmonics, etc.

Apart from that, I try to get Glaceverb and SIR (convolution Reverb) running, but they don’t save their settings… I’m still searching a great reverb. Tap Reverberator and Gverb are good enough for early reflections in my opinion, but they don’t sound realistic or good or anything when you add a reverberation.

Apart from that I’ll see if I get a wiki Page working, but maybe you know better where and how to do that.