Virtual Playing Orchestra

I made an Ardour project template for orchestral scoring. It uses “Virtual Playing Orchestra”, Maestro Concert Grand, and a small number of Linux-native plugins.

Any feedback is welcome, about design decisions, stylistic choices, whether it works for you at all, etc.


Fantastic, Mich, just in time for my needs :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
I’ll check it out and get back to you

There’s something I can’t get: I installed the LADSPA, Tap and the other plugins. But as I open up Ardour to load the VO template, there’s a message saying those plugins, as well as others, are missing.
The dpkg -l | more gives me:

ii invada-studio-plugins 0.3.1-1
amd64 Invada Studio Plugins - a set of LADSPA audio plugins.


ii ladspa-sdk 1.13-2
amd64 sample tools for linux-audio-dev plugin architecture

First make sure you installed the correct packages:

sudo apt install linuxsampler-vst x42-plugins invada-studio-plugins-lv2 tap-lv2 unrar-free

Then tell Ardour to refresh its plugin list. I don’t have Ardour in front of me right now, but I think you go to Preferences, plugins, and there should be an option to scan for new plugins. Also do the same thing in the VST submenu under plugins. Then try reloading the project.

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Thanks Michael. It worked. How strange: I installed all the stuff as per your instructions but I don’t know why it couldn’t find them.
Anyways. To play the orchestra, do I have to use my keyboard or I have to draw note after note in the timeline?

@telover: either

michael - amazing work! one comment; in your readme you mention connecting the MIDI input device to a given track. As of Ardour 5.5, you can specify that a given MIDI port should be automatically connected to the currently selected (MIDI) track, thus avoiding the need to deal with connections/patching on a per-track basis.

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You can do either one. It is set up such that all tracks expect notes on midi channel 1; each track has a midi mapper plugin to send it to the proper channel in the LinuxSampler plugin. That way you don’t have to think about channels when writing or recording notes, just do everything on channel one and it will work.

If you want to use a midi keyboard, the easiest way is to go to Preferences, Midi, and enable to option to automatically route midi input to select track. Under input, enable the checkboxes for midi controls and note data. Go back to the Editor view, select a track, press keys on your midi keyboard and you should hear the instruments. To record, “arm” the selected track (by pressing the record button on the track), then click the big record button at the top, then click play.

@Paul - Thanks! I was just drafting my previous message when you posted yours. Yes, I’m using the midi auto-routing, but I found that the preference doesn’t seem to be saved in the ardour project. I’m assuming that people familiar with Ardour will have a preference about whether they like automatic or manual routing.

With a template that has so many midi tracks, I have noticed one problem with auto-routing. Sometimes I’ll use the “Select All” keyboard shortcut (ctrl-a), intending to select all notes in a region, but the editor will be in some other state and instead try to select all regions (I think?). The result is that ardour hangs for a long time, apparently doing lots of back end work rerouting the midi input over and over again for everything that was selected.

Thank you so much. Terrific!!

Michael: two excellent points. I’ll cook up a solution to both of them. The “save/restore” one is a bit trickier because ardour doesn’t really store information on MIDI ports at all currently. The selection can probably most easily be solved by ignoring a selection change if more than one track is selected.

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@psst Thanks!

I would really like to hear what people do with this, and again, any feedback is welcome. In particular, I’m really new to mixing and using audio processing plugins, so I would like to know if you make any adjustments to the reverb or whatnot, or switch something out for an alternative plugin. If there are any clear improvements to be made, maybe I can incorporate them into the template.

The "save/restore" one is a bit trickier

@Paul It seems to me like it’s an intentional design that nothing in the Preferences section is saved in the project. Since preferences are different per user (Naturally! That’s the definition of “preferences”), I don’t think that the act of loading a project template should override any preferences. With that said, I can certain update the readme to suggest using the “Follow Selection” feature.

Too difficult. I’ve tried but I couldn’t do anything. I should look at a tutorial step by step.
Also. Since I installed everything, I cannot hear anything anymore. I have a couple tunes recorded but even if the tracks plays, I see the meters moving, I don’t hear the sound.
I guess something has changed in the chain. I tried to check the routing map, selecting and unselecting each checkbox but it didn’t change anything.
What the hell might be?

Michael: preferences is “application wide”. Session > Properties is per-session. Things that are likely to reflect hardware setup and general user working style go in Preferences; things that we think might legitimately frequently from session to session are in Session > Properties. Sessions, therefore, do not override or reset Preferences. But … we don’t store information about MIDI ports in Preferences or Session > Properties …

@telover If you are available to chat on IRC within the next few hours, I’ll try to see if I can help you sort this out. Follow the #ardour link at the bottom of this page.

For anybody who is interested, I’ve made a major update to this template. Now it uses VPO v3 and a different reverb plugin that has a much better concert hall sound.

I made another major update to this template. It now uses sfizz instead of LinuxSampler. The signal routing is much more simple now, and I dare say that it is mixed way better than my previous attempts. It works on both Linux and Mac:

Would anybody here be willing to review my documentation and give it a try?


I made a quick demo, trying to cram almost the whole orchestra into 30 seconds. Any feedback would be appreciated:

Dropbox Link

EDIT: Added dropbox link as the preview of it was not working – Seablade