Would anyone be so kind to point me into the right direction for finding out how to use windows vst instruments for Ardour? (yes, I know, it were better if I’d do without them. But I really cannot see how. …though a good symphony orchestra plugin would alleviate my situation a bit. Sonatina is unfortunately not sufficient.)

I seem not to be able to even find out what software I require. Ardour comes with VST support, if compiled so. AVLinux has it that way, kxstudio purportedly too. But what do I need to make windows vst finally run? There seems a host of software connected with that purpose - Carla, Cadence, Vestige, dssi-vst,
FST, JOST, or “use a windows-VST-host inside wine”. Which one should Iook into? What are the basic procedures? Are there any how-tos you know about?

P.S. I presume others must have asked the question already. I seem to be unable to find the search function to the forum, though.

Note that this document describes running Ardour on Linux.

The search button is visible when you browser is at least 1024 pixels wide. Yes, this hides it on almost all mobile platforms.

Thanks - I had seen this, but it seems only to state that windows-VST can be done, and why it is not recommended. I would need some more details how I achieve using the plugins. I can install them in wine, of course, which gives me a few dlls in a program folder. How do I connect them to Ardour then?

I think you have to have a version of Ardour specially compiled with Win-VST support. Certainly on AV LInux the Ardour-VST and normal Linux Ardour are two separate programs.

Since Ardour 4 now officially runs on Windows, if you must use Windows VSTs why not just run it all on Windows?

Oh! Is that really so? I thought VST is a platform-independent API, and the question is only for which system the plugin’s software is written. So how come the kxstudio-developers say that their Ardour supports vst, but they do not ship two different versions?

I have not used Windows since Win98 and am not particularly keen on getting into it for just this one issue. I am happy with everything else in my studio-installation setup.

Artur: the VST specification is largely platform agnostic.

But a specific, actual VST plugin - the thing you download from somewhere - is absolutely platform specific.

Most VST plugins are for Windows only. A special build of Ardour can run most but not all of them. We do not support it.

Some VST plugins are available for Linux as well as Windows (there may even be a few that are available for Linux only). Ardour can run these.

the VST API is platform independent the ABI (binary interface) is not.

Linux VSTs (.so, not .dll) will work just fine with Ardour on GNU/Linux.

If you want to use .dll (windows VST) on Linux, you need to get Ardour on Linux to run under wine (windows emulator).
That requires a special build of ardour (ardour itself needs to become a windows app running inside wine for the most part). You need to compile ardour with wine-gcc… see also the ardour configuration options. windows-vst is documented there.

…but as the linked manual page says “Getting Ardour on Linux to pretend that its really a Windows application running on Windows” is not the best idea.

Another option is to run Carla-lv2 plugin and load a Windows VSTs with that. Does not require Ardour to be compiled for Window-VST support. Of course not all Windows-VSTs will work in Carla.

Thank you all, these were the answers I have been looking for. I guess I will try different ways then. It’s really a shame, but the only option will otherwise be burying linux audio entirely. I cannot do without professional symphony orchestra samples. Of course these are not exactly the ones most likely to run under wine. But I am not willing to give up yet.

There is the option to use two machines. A Linux one for the DAW and a 2nd one to to do the actual synth. Either via cable (MIDi, Audio) or netjack.

…or coerce uhm convince whoever made the symphony orchestra VST to port it to Linux :slight_smile:

I sure shall try! :slight_smile:

The orchestra is most important, but it seems I will get similar problems with professional samples of any kind - drums, guitars, harps. The free alternatives are just nowhere close to what is possible. And I see there must be a reluctance as well as difficulties for these companies to make their DRM-solutions, encryptions etc. work for Linux. (Currently I am trying to make Edirol run as a test, but would like to upgrade to something more decent like EastWest, once I find out it is possible to use it. So I still have the freedom to choose, which one it will be, but according to what I read nothing better than Garritan seems to work for Linux, and also this only maybe works.)

I have thought about the two machines, but as I travel a lot, it seems not the most straightforward solution. Maybe a tablet, but then orchestras require a lot of processing power and RAM… hm.

..or coerce uhm convince whoever made the symphony orchestra VST to port it to Linux :)
That would be good! If I correctly interpret Linuxdsp's postings about the shift from LV2 to VST in what is now branded "OverToneDSP", although Linux VST and Windows VST are different, it's not all that hard for the developer to set things up to build both from the same code. It might be a bit harder, of course, if the symphony orchestra VST was never created with platform portability in mind in the first place...

For the record, last I looked into it, EW (And VSL) used an iLok, that by itself is a good sign you will not be able to use it under WINE on Linux. iLok requires drivers that just don’t exist on Linux, and likely never will. And before it is asked, no you can’t run the drivers under Wine, that isn’t what it does really.

Garritan I talked to some time back as they were using the SFZ format for some of their stuff, and they didn’t seem opposed to possibly having compatibility with something like LinuxSampler, but haven’t heard anything since then and haven’t really followed up with them.

I have a copy of Miroslav laying around I need to check and see if that works or not under Wine.


Ive tried various freely availible vsts including ones that were highly recommended and worked on windows.

most of them were either buggy or just didnt function.

Some windows VSTS however to seem to work fine but then theres reports of them just not working randomly after being working fine for a while and some even failing to load after crashing never to work again.

If you want an orchestra could you not use linux sampler and load samples, im sure youc ould find some decent orchestra samples/

I am all ears if you know a source for decent free samples I could load. But as far as I understand, it’s not the samples alone that makes the professional vsts sound so well, but also some programming that layers and changes them intelligently.

Maybe Seablade’s Miroslav works?

Otherwise I have started to wonder about using a midi orchestral expander hardware. Maybe somebody got some experience with these? How good can they be?

When you say ‘midi orchestral expander hardware’ what exactly are you referring to? There are some systems that are designed to ‘fill out’ an orchestra, for instance in musical theater. Personally I don’t have a high opinion of many of the dedicated systems, and they are far less flexible than you would think.

On the flip side you have touring shows like Wicked that have three or four stations in their pit running Kontakt, many people think they are running dedicated hardware when they really have 3 or 4 (I can’t remember how many off hand) computers running bog standard samplers dedicated to it in rackmount cases.


I think of something like the Ketron SD 1000 or SD 2. But yes, it that what is called “MIDI expander” does somewhat differ. I imagine a little box, that has a simple display and a few buttons, and contains hundreds of high quality samples comparable to EastWest or Vienna, that I could use via midi… does such a thing exist?

hardware Sampler brother :slight_smile: my opinion

If you use windows, so… load Native instruments Kontakt 5 things and try.
But its not linux :slight_smile:

this is the direction

some people are making it possible to use R. Pi as harware sampler.
But if you have an orchestra, you need some 8 or more audio outs.
No one is making good sampler annymore ( kurzweil k25000RS and simmilar)
Ketrons have also two chinch outs!!! Poor thing.
Hi quallity viena libs need hi qualitty audio gear,
manny outs to control it and so on…

You could try a muse research receptor? I have heard mixed results (Truly mixed, meaning some very good and some bad). Make sure to double check plug-in compatibility.


Other than something like that, yes hardware samplers and good synths are what you are looking for.