Ardour 2.8.12 released, A3 gets Linux VST support

Paul Davis released an update to stable version of Ardour and applied a patch that adds support for native Linux VSTs to A3.

The primary goal of releasing yet another stable version of this great DAW for Linux and Mac was to support new Latency API in JACK, which is why Ardour 2 now does a better alignment of recorded audio. There are even more useful changes in the stable version like dropping excessive control points in recorded automation line. Finally, the new version officially support OS X Lion. The download link is the same.

Now the unstable version is where things get really interesting. Up till now Ardour only supported VST files built for Windows. Which means it had (and still has) to rely on WINE, and that’s really not a very comfortable thing for production use. Since Paul always stated that he isn’t much interested in VST support, one of linuxDSP developers ended up biting the bullet and patching Ardour to add support for native VSTs built for Linux.

Right now this code lives in the trunk branch of SVN repo, but it looks like it will be enabled by default in the upcoming first beta of Ardour 3. However if you feel adventurous, you can build the code from SVN. Just remember to run

$ ./waf configure --lxvst

Ardour expects to find .so files of your VST plug-ins in /usr/local/lib/lxvst and /usr/lib/lxvst directories. On 64bit systems just replace lib with lib64 or, if you are advanced user, tune up LXVST_PATH and LXST_PLUGINS variables.

All the natively built VST plug-ins will be put to “linuxVSTs” menu:

VSTs in Ardour’s plug-ins menu

A newly added plug-in can be run from the mixer strip just like any other one.

Loomer Aspect synth running inside Ardour 3

The initial implementation is not entirely bugfree. For instance, A3 won’t load presets into its own UI (which is not that huge of an issue since effects have their own UI for presets usually).

Given the fact that plug-in developers don’t exactly rush porting their stuff to LV2 (a native open effects and instruments SDK), support for VST in such a reputable app as Ardour could be another reason for them to look into at least building native Linux VSTs. Of course, the prerequisite is to use a crossplatform UI toolkit such as JUCE. So let’s be patient.