Using VST via MIDI

Hello friends!
I’m a drummer and don’t have much experience using ARDOUR. Now I’m trying to use my drum module (2box drumit Three) to record VST drums with ARDOR. I use ARDOR with Jack and Ubuntu. Audio recording works fine. I installed AVL drums as the VST. I can create a MIDI-track and play the VST with the ARDOUR-Keyboard.
How can I play AVL-Drums with my module and establish the connection? Is there any instruction? Many Thanks!


You have to connect your drum kit to your computer using a midi connection (i.e. usb to midi converter cable or through direct midi connection to your audio recorder device).

Hi! I have tried
a) MIDI / USB cable directly to the computer
b) MIDI / MIDI cable into the audio interface and then into the computer. What is better? Neither of them worked.

The best option would be to use your audi9 interface since your audio signal of your audio interface will be in sync with the midi data.

You have to check that your midi drum kit is connected to the midi track using the button shown in here (buttton 3) :

If its not listed in here, you have to check that you have a2jmidid (the midi to jack bridge) running.

Ok! I use a Behringer UMC1820-Inteface. So, I connect my modul via MIDI/MIDI cable to my interface, and the interface via USB with the PC. What device must be shown, the Behringer, the Drum-Modul?

It will show your audio interface but the name shown really depends on the devices… You should give a look at what’s in the list, try with your audio interface plugged in and unplugged so that you’ll see what’s changing.

OK, thanks a lot! I’ll try it later. Do I have to change any settings in JACK, when I use MIDI via my Interface? The digital connection between the interface, JACK an ARDOUR ist actually running well.

No, I dont think you need to change anything.
The stuff from the previous posts may do the trick!

When I connect the Interface with the Modul via MIDI and the Interface via USB, I can’t see any reaction in JACK.
When I connect the Modul via MIDI/USB direct with the PC, is there a device shown in JACK. The USB-lights are flashing, when I hit the drums, so a signal must be there. But I can’t find this input in ARDOUR. The AVL-Drums are running in the MIDI-track, when I use the mouse.
Unfortunately there is no connection between the input and the DAW and the VST.
What can I do?

The midi connection is not as “alive” as a usb connection would be. So nothing happens when you plug a midi to midi cable… This is because the midi port is managed by your audio interface which is already connect via USB to your computer and already seen by jack.

So now using the midi interface, you have to set the midi track input in ardour, there’s nothing to do in jack. You have to click on the button 3 shown in the doc I previously pointed. From the menu you’ll see misi devices, one of which should be the midi input of your interface.

If you dont see anything interesting on the list, you have to make sure that a2j is running.

Ok. Sorry, …but is a2j a tool that I have to use with ARDOUR/MIDI? I did not install it allready :grimacing:.

A2j is a tool that works as a midi bridge between alsa and jack. It allows jack to manage ( basically send and receive) midi signals from/to the audio interface (or “midi-only” interface).

Once run its seen by jack and so ardour is able to connect to it through jack. This connection is made when you select the midi input of your midi track.
So to image this, when you’re done the chain would be like :
Audio interface <=> PC <=> alsa <=> a2j <=> jack <=> ardour <=> your midi track

Hi! I connected my interface via a2j with the drum modul and the PC, and it works! Only the notes/instruments are reversed.
Does a2j have to be started manually, every time when I start ARDOUR?

Is is possible to use other VST-Drums than AVL-Drums? I miss some Toms and Cymbals in the present Drumsets of AVL.

Yay nice!

Yes a2j has to be running each time. Fortunately you have an option in jack that will run it for you each time jack is starting.
Check the ardour manual below

You can of course use any midi plugin with your drum kit ! You can even play a piano with you drum! :slight_smile:
So as to other drumkits you can use MTPowerDrumkit which I do use (I’m a drummer too). I like the sound of the kit!
Other than that there’s also some little plugins that can act as midi note filters (dont let specific notes pass through), midi maps (remap notes to other notes), midi note curve (log, exp… note velocity response)… they could be useful depending on what you’d like to do.

Generally we recommend against using JACK. Prefer Ardour’s ALSA backend whenever possible. Especially with MIDI it’s a lot more robust and easier to setup.

Yes, any synth plugin should do. You may like

…or you could use also use fluidsynth with some soundfont (search the web for “drums sf2”).

PS. Strictly speaking avldrums is a LV2 plugin (not a VST).

Thank you for all the information!

I need some time to understand everything.
Two more questions:

What is meant by ALSA backend?

Are there any instructions for the connection manager? I don’t understand the context and terms correctly yet.

Menu > Window > Audio/MIDI Setup

Audio Sysem: ALSA – This way Ardour directly connects to the soundcard and is in full control

You only need JACK if you have to share the soundcard with other JACK application. In this case JACK connects to the soundcard (via ALSA), and then Ardour connects to JACK.

If you’re coming from the macOS or Windows world. JACK, here, serves the same purpose as ReWire™ on those systems.

OK. I’ll try I thought you always have to use jack.

Maybe the connection manager will be easier to understand for me too :innocent:.

That as true until Ardour 3.5 (2013), sadly a lot of tutorials out there still have not been updated since.

JACK is still needed if you want to route audio between applications, but unless you need such advanced cases, you’re better off without it.

The following screenshots may help:

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