vst plug-ins with ilok on ubuntu studio


I’ve been using Ardour on OS X for month now and I think I’ve decided that it’s my favorite DAW compared to all the ones I’ve used before (protools, cubase, logic, dp). So I thought I’ll give it a go on linux (Ubuntu Studio) to take advantage of the extra stability of Ardour on linux. Having managed to get ubuntu studio going and installed my sound card I now have one question: I know it is possible to use vst plug-ins on linux but I cannot be sure if this will work with vsts that require an ilok dongle. Specifically I would like to use the GRM tools plug-ins. Is this possible? Has anyone tried them, and are they stable on the linux platform?

Also I am going to need to buy a new computer soon, I thought maybe I can go linux all the way. Is this wise? Or are there any advantages of using OS X over linux in terms of stability and professional production quality (apart from the obvious fact that there are all these commercial software available on the mac which I am not really interested in anyway)? For instance how does the sample-rate conversion quality compare with a commercial software like izotope (which is what I use o the mac)? See here for more detail: http://src.infinitewave.ca/

Thanks very much in advance.



You cannot use iLok with Linux (even with Wine, AFAIK). I do not want to encourage anyone who depends on VST plugins to use Ardour for critical projects - we cannot support a VST-enabled version effectively: there are not the resources available to enable investigation and fixing of issues, and investigation is much, much more difficutl. Yes, some (even many) VST’s work. Its cool, and its useful. But if you work is fundamentally based on using certain Windows VST plugins, you should stick to a Windows host.

The main benefits of ardour on OS X are: more audio interfaces supported, (many) more high quality plugins available. The downside is that Ardour’s support for these plugins is still evolving (as usual, the documentation is never enough to pin down all the different interpretations of what the plugin and host can and should do), and OS X as a whole seems to be a more sluggish system than Linux.

If you check the infinitewave site, you will note that libsamplerate (aka “Secret Rabbit Code”) is one of the best sample rate converters available, proprietary or otherwise. Its the one Ardour uses, and is available to you from the command line as the command sndfile-resample. Sox (also open source, not sure of its status on OS X) apparently has a slightly better SRC implementation that even libsamplerate.


You may want to try AV Linux. Version 3.0 will be coming out by the end of November and will have Ardour 2.8.3 with the external UI extension required to run the linuxDSP LV2 plugins mentioned above (also included) Out of the box VST support with either FST or DSSI-VST is also included for VST plugins that comply (not ilok).

Check out the current version here:

Check out the development in progress here in the first post:

Thanks very much for your comments. Well actually I am not that dependent on vst plug-ins. I think I could manage to do more or less all that in csound (e.g. csLADSPA which works very nicely with Ardour).

Also it looks like my presonus Firebox is supported on linux so that should be fine. My only reservation is the money that I have already invested on OS X applications, and maybe one or two AU/vst plug-ins that I use (they are replaceable I am sure).

Good to know about the SRC I will look at getting Sox for sure for batch processing at the terminal.

Mhh I think that’s more or less decided then, I’ll start my transition to linux. What is the recommend distro for Ardour? I have currently got Ubuntu Studio 9.10 and Ardour is running nicely with it. Incidentally I am passing the audio into a mac using the Digital pass through available on my sound card. So I could still use my VSTs/AUs. Maybe a linux machine + a mac mini is the way forward then? :wink:

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found Ardour, it is the best DAW I’ve ever set eyes on!

Thanks again


have a look at this amazing plugins:


they are standalone plugins but the guy is developing a lv2 interface for all of them so they can be integrated in Ardour. When this happens the Ardour plugin system will be 1st class…a couple of them are already available.

Also, for your vst plugins, you still can use them under linux using dssi-vst, a standalone host that will run them outside Ardour (you can use creating inserts on ardour tracks). The advantage of this is that if a vst plugin crashes or fails Ardour will not crash.

Also, try out Calf and Invada LV2 plugins, they are really good. LADSPA is ok but a bit oldfashioned and some plugins are not that stable.

Hello, thanks Gmaq and vervelover for your replies. I’ve looked at the web sites and it looks nice. However I am not particularly into VSTs apart from the GRM spectral tools which is ilok only :frowning: So VST is not really an issue for me, I can do without.

For now I have both os x and linux running in parallel and can take advantage of both.

Thanks again for your posts.