Working with MIDI + Audio tracks

I’m looking for a guide on how to work with Audio + MIDI tracks. Specifically I’m planning to use a Roland drumkit to input the drum tracks. It seems quite common for drums to be recorded as MIDI.
What I’m not clear about is how the audio and MIDI tracks are combined when producing the full mix.
Am I right in saying that Ardour itself can’t export MIDI data in wav format? What’s the normal process for building a full mix in wav format? Do I need to use a software drum application such as Hydrogen to export the drum tracks separately? Would these exported tracks need to be imported back into Ardour?
Any help or advice appreciated.

You would need to use some soft of software, be it Hydrogen or other external program, or a sampler/virtual instrument plugin on the MIDI track, to take the MIDI signal and output audio when told to yes.


Thanks Seablade. Ardour is a truly amazing piece of software, and I know there’s been a lot of development to support MIDI in 3.0. It would be even better if you could export a hybrid audio/MIDI session to wav. I guess this would need Ardour to have code which could convert the MIDI data to wav format, just as Hydrogen does.

That isn’t the purpose of Ardour however.

What you are describing is the purpose of a virtual instrument plugin, or a seperate piece of software. It would be developing a completely new piece of software for Ardour to even attempt to do this, and honestly it probably wouldn’t be that great, compared to using already existing solutions that load into Ardour fine for this.


Ok, so what are the existing solutions which can load into Ardour, and output audio from MIDI data?

Hydrogen is a completely separate application which outputs audio format independantly, and Ardour is not aware of this. Unless there’s some way of automatically loading that audio output back into Ardour. You see it’s not really an integrated solution.

I don’t want it to seem like I’m complaining, just keen to understand if there’s a convenient way of doing this. Sorry if I’ve misunderstood something.


Well it depends on what OS you are on, that would be a good piece of information to provide to start with:) The OS will likely determine what plugins you have available for this purpose.

In as far as getting audio from Hydrogen back into Ardour, that is exactly what Jack is for. You can connect the audio outputs of Hydrogen into a seperate audio track in Ardour and record them into Ardour if you want.


Ah right, thanks. Obvious really. You can tell I’m new at this :slight_smile: I’ll give it a try.
My O/S is Ubuntu 11.10

The only plugins I’ve got at the moment are LADSPA

@afielden: well, 11.10 is a bit old, and not LTS, if nothing is retaining you from loading a new OS then i would recommend to switch to either AVLinux or DreamStudio, if you have a nice PC (multi core cpu, 4gb+ ram…) and are new to Linux then DreamStudio is the way to go since is basically Ubuntu with several audio enhancements, AVLinux is great and will work even more stable, but is not as user friendly as Ubuntu.

When and if you upgrade, you will find several new LV2 (ladspa version 2) Plugins with better stability, more functions etc., you will also get default low latency kernels from those OS.

Now about midi drums: In Hydrogen you can load, download and install new sets sounds, some are really good and very complete, also you can edit the position of each instrument to match what you play on your drums so when you play your electronic drums and record it you can just play it back from Ardour using Hydrogen to play the sounds, its not that hard to set up, and i’ve been able to Record back in Ardour the audio from Hydrogen, track by track and thats really cool since it lets me forget about Hydrogen and mix the drums as if it was an actual acoustic drum recording.

I recorded this song doing exactly that:
recorded and edited in Ardour3, Mixed and mastered using Mixbus.

@fernesto thanks, very useful advice. Regarding 11.10: I’d rather leave this as, is because it’s my work laptop and I need the O/S to be very stable, which it is. I could try using AVLinux in VirtualBox, that is of course if Ardour/Jack works ok in a VM.

Good to hear that working with MIDI drums is fairly painless. I will soon have a Roland TD-11KV, which I’m very much looking forward to using for recording. Nice track there, I hope my recordings end up sounding as good as that.

hi, i’m a new Ardour user but have been using v-drums since 2007 for all my studio work as a session drummer and send my tracks via dropbox etc for international collaboration (beats sending 2" tapes around the globe!). If you’re running osx or windows it’s simply a case of sending the midi back to the TD11 via the USB audio driver and recording the TD11’s audio output digitally either in stereo or track by track (by splitting and soloing individual kit elements kick, snare etc) into separate tracks. This way you have no load on the computer, complete tuning, muffling, eq’ing and instrument substitution inside the module until the final mix stage and real-time, no latency input as plug-ins are hopeless for monitoring whilst tracking. hope this helps signal flow wise but I know there possibly are no Linux USB drivers for the TD11 .

Midi output from Ardour 3. Hello - I’m new to the forum, but have been using Ardour for a while. I am having trouble getting midi output from plugins … I have a BCF2000, and with the 2.8 series, I had no problems mapping (for instance) eq plugin bands to rotary controls to manipulate the eq frequencies of the plugin. Using 3.11, I cannot see any midi output from ardour while manipulating the plugins … any ideas?

Do you know for sure that the V-Drums USB midi in doesnt work with Jack/Ardour

I was hoping that the drivers was for the Drum tutor and such, and I don’t care about those…