Workflow between Linux/Windows

Ardour 8.1, paid pre-built version on both Linux and Windows.

I am a Linux user and I do all recording/editing on Linux. However, I do need to use some plugins that just do not exist on Linux. Either instruments or effects. Dropping Linux and working only on Windows is not an option - that would be a nightmare. Not using those Windows-only plugins, is not an option either.

I therefore try to establish a workflow where I have to switch between Linux and Windows for different tasks on the same session. I have found the following two main pain points.

Plugins missing

Obviously, plugins that are only installed on Windows are not found when I’m on Linux. However, plugins that do exist on both Linux and on Windows, are commonly inserted as lv2 on Linux but then when switching to Windows they are not found as they exist as vst(3).

Can this be automated in some way? Would it be possible for me to write a script that replaces that lv2 version of the plugin with the vst3 version upon session startup? Is this something that could be rolled into Ardour as a feature i.e. if each plugin has a unique identifier to understand that the system does not support lv2 and switch to the vst version, if found in the system?

No sound in some sessions

Session created in Linux. I just copied the session files to Windows and open it with Ardour there - all worked. At a later point, I copied the same session again. The session loads but this time there is no sound produced. I can see activity in the metering i.e. there is sound in the master channel, but it does not reach the sound card.

I cannot think of what would have changed on the session, other than more tracks where added between the first and the second copy. Where could I look at to troubleshoot.

Alternative solution

A solution that would solve both of these issues is the following - albeit possibly complicated.

I have recently found the Vienna Ensemble Pro. It seems that it allows to connect two computers with ethernet cable where one runs the session and the other can run plugins (instruments or effects). This is mostly done in studios to alleviate the burden on CPU and memory from the main computer so that you can run some or all of your plugins on a separate computer. That specific solution works only on Windows/Mac.

Is there any alternative solution that would work between Linux and Windows? Would that be within the realms of possibility for Ardour to provide as a feature? Even if it’s more specific to Ardour/Mixbus rather than generic software.

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There is netjack which works on both Linux and Windows.


  • this isn’t trivial to set up,
  • it will require a Windows VST3 host that is jack capable
  • it will require configuration of sends/returns between Ardour tracks and netjack channels
  • it will have latency for which you will need to manually compensate

So it is possible, but messy. Personally, I don’t see this as being the job of Ardour to make this easy to do.

I could, potentially, see someone creating a plugin that works. I’m guessing the Vienna Ensemble system acts like a plugin.

Regarding your other points:

Two, potential, options here:

  1. Use VST3 versions of the plugins on the Linux side. I’m not sure it will work or not, but it’s more likely to map correctly.

  2. See if you can get the Windows plugins running on Linux with Wine/Yabridge

I’m guessing here that the naming of the audio interface between Windows and Linux is different enough that Ardour can’t connect the audio up. I don’t see a simple, automated way to deal with this.

The manual process should be simple though: open audio/midi Setup in Ardour and select the audio interface. Yes, it’s a pain to do every time the session moves to the new OS, but it’s not that difficult and probably only takes about 30 seconds.



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Thanks, I will look into these.

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Carla might be a candidate: KXStudio : Applications : Carla

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This could be some sort of solution to that

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Ah, Linux compatibility for both server and plugin, that looks cool.
Friend of mine uses Waves SoundGrid which is a similar solution and runs on Linux. But it only runs Waves plugins.

The solution here is to use LV2 of the given plugin on both Linux and Windows, or the VST3 variant on both Linux and Windows.

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Lol, who besides you (and Ardour/Harrison) even provides LV2 Windows binaries…? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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