Unusually large session size due to multiple copies in the session's plugins 'state' subdirectories


While sorting out a new backup procedure for my audio system, I happened to notice that one of my session folders was reporting an unusually large size of 28gb. I narrowed it down to a sub-directory (named ‘220856’ – but that’s probably irrelevant right now) of the session’s ‘plugins’ folder. I haven’t really recorded much audio yet, so that session size seemed a bit off.

Here’s the folder structure/path I’m referring to in case my explanation isn’t cutting it:

----------------------sample_bank.gig (338mb)
----------------state 2
----------------state 3
----------------and so on

It turns out that in almost every one of the 55 ‘state’ folders within that ‘220856’ directory, there is a copy of a 338mb .gig sample bank that I had used with LinuxSampler when I first started the project a year ago. I removed those LinuxSampler tracks a couple of weeks back, however, and no longer need to have that stuff taking up space.

I have 3 main questions:

–Is it normal to see copies of sample banks (like .sf2, .sfz, .gig, etc.) stored in multiple state locations?

–Is there any way to limit the number of these from occurring, or is it just a necessary part of how Ardour needs to operate? I guess I’m not really sure how these multiple state folders work and so I’m not sure how to word this question very well.

–What is the safest way for me to remove these without removing something I still need for the session?

I routinely use the session cleanup tools in Ardour from the ‘Sessions’ menu, but that doesn’t seem to have any option to clean up this sort of thing.

Thanks in advance!


No. There should be symbolic links from every plugin/*/* folder to the externals/ folder that is part of the session, which in turn use symbolic-links to reference the real file.

What file-system and OS are you using?

Hi Robin

I’m using Mint 20.02 / Ext4 file system.

I checked some other numbered plugin folders after my post and found another sample bank I had used at one time in this project (a bass guitar bank of a much smaller size - 2mb), but also repetetively copied in state folders.

The only sampler plugin I use is LinuxSampler so I cant check to see of it’s happening with another sampler plugin or just LS.

In that case (ext4 fs) chances are that it’s just LinuxSampler.
I do not use LinuxSampler and have not experienced this issue.

If you don’t use snapshots, you can remove the state<num> folders except the one with the highest number.

I haven’t used any snapshots in this project so I’ll clear out those particular state folder (except the highest numbered one).

Is the numbered name of the state’s parent directories referring to a specific plugin instance (in this particular case an instance of Linux Sampler) or is that numeric name referencing something else? Just curious - I want to gain a better understanding of how those directories link to the session, for potential future needs or issues.


I delved a bit deeper and looked at a different session’s plugins state folders. This session also used the same large .gig sample bank 338mb with LinuxSampler. In this particular session’s plugins state folder it is showing the symbolic links to the .gig sample bank, not a copy of the file itself, whereas the session mentioned in my original posts has actual hard copies of the .gig. file in the state folders.

So, this other session seems to be storing plugin state info as expected. The problem seems limited to one specific session.

Thinking back, I did transfer the problem session to a new session a while ago via the ‘Save As’ dialog. I may have chosen the option to bring external media into the new session by accident, though I’m not sure if I did, or if doing that would even have created the problem.

Just updating things for posterity:

I just went through all of my projects and found that in most cases, sessions using LinuxSampler did create sym-links in the /plugins/state directories of the session’s folder as expected – but there were a few sessions in which, depending on the numbered state folder, it created both: one ‘state’ folder might show a sym-link to the sample bank file, while another ‘state’ will have a hard copy of the sample bank instead of a link. Odd.

I can’t figure out why it would switch to copying the actual sample bank file into the session directories as opposed to sym-linking on only some occasions (or at all really). The session referenced in my original post was unique in that it only had hard copies of the sample bank file (no symbolic links at all). But there were about 4 other projects that did have occasional hard copies of sample banks that were being used by LinuxSampler LV2.

Since the LinuxSampler plugin’s behavior within Ardour is unpredictable (at least in my case), I’ve decided to just use LinuxSampler as a standalone app and controlling it with Ardour through Jack.

EDIT: Completely forgot to mention my setup in the original post (I should know better!):

Ardour 6.9.0 | Linux Mint 20.02 MATE | 5.4.0-90-lowlatency (x86_64) kernel

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