Using Hydrogen: as midi track, audio track, or just LADISH?

How are you guys connecting Hydrogen to Ardour?

I can think of three ways:

  1. MIDI hardware connects to Ardour,
    Ardour connects MIDI output to MIDI input in Hydrogen
    Ardour acts as drum sequencer

  2. MIDI hardware connects to Hydrogen
    Ardour connects audio drum track to Hydrogen audio out
    Hydrogen acts as drum sequencer

  3. MIDI hardware connects to Hydrogen
    Ardour has no drum track to connect
    Hydrogen acts as drum sequencer, and syncronises playback & recording via LADISH

Which of these is the best solution? Does Hydrogen have specific functionality that will make using Ardour as drum MIDI sequencer hard?

It seems to me that having a unified MIDI interface and using Hydrogen as a “dumb instrument” is the most intuitive option. I’ve also seen drmr (lv2), which looks like a simple interface to access Hydrogen drum kits as a midi instrument, which could be a better way of achieving setup #1 above.

What do you use?


I always use option ‘2’. I personally think the MIDI functionality in Ardour 3 is terrific but Hydrogen is still more versatile and intuitive as a specific Drum sequencer. I really miss being able to draw velocities using visual vertical lines like Hydrogen provides, that is just a matter of preference. BTW when using Hydrogen with Ardour there is really no need for further session management like LADISH, if you simply open your Hydrogen project first Ardour will remember all the JACK Connections.

I think it depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is personal preference.

If you’re recording an entire song’s worth of triggered events, played manually in real time, and you don’t expect it to require much editing, then I would suggest that #1 might be your best choice. While Hydrogen is a capable sequencer, it’s not particularly adept at recording an entire song in real time. It can be done, but you would need as many individual patterns as there are bars in your song, laid out in sequence before you begin recording. (Bar 1 = pattern 1, bar 2 = pattern 2, etc.)

If you think your sequence will require considerable editing, then #2 might be better, as long as you’re sure of the song’s length, and you allocate a sufficient quantity of patterns.

You could always try #1, and if you’re not happy with the sequence, record it back into Hydrogen and edit it there.

Regardless of how I record a sequence, I’ll monitor through audio tracks in Ardour. Once I’m happy with the drum sequence, I’ll record it to the audio tracks, and do away with Hydrogen for the remainder of the process.

Why use hydrogen? You can use linuxsampler, it is more flexible, supports gig and sfz(in latest versions) samples with roundrobin capability.

Hydrogen is ok for initial composition, sometimes I use it myself, but then export to midi track, load in muse (it has one best drum editors available for linux, I wish ardour has one), connect it’s midi out to ardour3 midi input (optional), and then to linuxsampler (using qsampler gui).