[Ardour-Dev] Need a 32 bit Ardour (with VSTs) on an x86_64 linux system

Mike Mazarick mazarick at bellsouth.net
Sun Nov 30 15:52:54 PST 2008

Terrific!   I got a reply from the 'master wizard' himself!!

Paul Davis wrote:

> Hah. For 6 months, I'm at the TU in berlin. The TU has the biggest WFS
> system in the world (for now). 40 sources, 2700 speakers, powered by 16
> computers, playback system = Ardour + JACK.

The TU in Berlin is definitely the 'mothership' of what WFS is supposed to be.   Feel free to comment on whether the "stereo/5.1 on steroids" is really worth it or not.  I'm guessing it is, but it's really only a guess.   It's really ironic that a dude like me who only plays sax and Hammond organ with a mono PA for live gigs is working on a WFS system.   Maybe I've 'gone Disco/Electronica' in my senile old age.

> no windows VST's in sight :)

If I had any budget, I would prefer to do this the 'right' way instead of the 'quick/free kludge' way.  However, I do like the basic underlying idea of untrained people (musicians) hooking up software components as a tool to produce something new for them.

VSTs may be a suitable path that 'mere mortals' can pursue, because there are so many of them.

I'm always interested in an easier/better way, but I haven't heard what it is yet.   I basically just need a way to programmically delay each source 'x' samples with a different 'x' for each output channel.   I may want to throw in a 'shift' ('low rent' multiply) for each source if it becomes necessary.  There are probably tools/techniques that I simply haven't been exposed to that would do the job.   It doesn't have to be 'real time' (at least in the first pass) to create the sound from an Ardour session, but should play back 32/64 separate channels in real time once all the arithmetic is done.

> in addition, one of linux audio's hard core geniuses and host of next
> years LA Conference, also works on a fairly big WFS system in which
> ardour & JACK are key components, again with no VST. 

You must mean Torben Hohn.   He's very cool.

> in fact someone
> told me (they may not be correct) that every WFS *installation*
> worldwide at present runs on top of JACK

Looks like I've made at least one good decision to work with Linux audio, (Jack and Ardour) as the basis for a WFS system  If not, at least everyone else (including me) is wrong, too.

I don't necessarily agree (along with several million other musicians) that all Windows/Mac audio software is a 'bad thing'.  My personal belief is that Linux offers more freedom, including with audio.   However, I am more than drowned out by others with the "ProTools is for pros" or "Logic is more logical" mentality.   All of my musician friends who know a lot less than I do about computers spend a lot more time recording music and less time fiddling than I do.   Linux audio is a distant 3rd behind Mac and Windows in the mindshare of musicians, and I think that VSTs are equivalent to Outlook email for keeping people on the wrong platform for longer than they want to stay.  Once you become "hooked", it becomes very difficult to leave.  (Maybe that's why 'the first one is free'). 

You may wish to reconsider the strategy of (effectively) not using VSTs in Linux.   I do not have a vested interest in VSTs one way or the other (except I see a quicker path using VSTs for doing a demo system than developing more software, installing more hardware, or setting up a virtual machine).  However, it may be easier to 'co-opt' existing users into using a linux system if they could have a path to migrate their existing setups into something that had all of their existing functionality, plus more.  I perceive that embracing VSTs would be in your interest, but I certainly don't want to dictate what you should spend your time on next.

There is one small point about the 'tone' in your few words:
> (note: installation means
> something built and installed somewhere other than a research lab or home experiment).
There is no reason that the sound of a home WFS system should be any lower in sound quality than a complete professional WFS installation.

Ten Hammond organs don't sound 10 times better than one.  Maybe Joey DeFranceso is 10 times better than me, but comparing the 'big' to the 'home' WFS system should be more like comparing Joey DeFrancesco to Dr. Lonnie Smith (two great Hammond players).

The sound quality can only get so good, and that's how good I intend for it to be (as good as it can be).   It should produce the same results as a big system only in a smaller space.

This effort at a home WFS system is also in complete recognition of the great accomplishments and innovation that have gone into building the small handful of very terrific WFS systems in the world (not to mention all of the great linux audio software that I will be riding on top of).   You may have noticed that I call it a 'demo', because in the final design, a DSP chip based board (with a radio?) in each speaker will probably be a more suitable solution for something that can be deployed commercially (but that is for someone else to do).

> you're likely to find the work that i am doing over the next 2 months
> with an iphone much more interesting than the wiimote. Maybe.

IPhones are really neat, but the WiiMote is very low cost and has a lot of features that make it really useful for controlling 3D info (like accelerometers, Bluetooth, and an IR camera).  I hadn't given it much thought to it before this year, but someone shared a few links with me.   I'll do the same for others who may not know what I'm talking about (someone had to point out the wiimote's low cost 'coolness' to me recently).


If you have some things that an IPhone can do that is better than what can be done with a wiimote, or if they should both be used (like a keyboard and a mouse), I'd be interested in what you find to be most useful with the IPhone.

Mike Mazarick
mazarick at bellsouth.net

PS - I stated earlier I am more than willing to go 'off list' with this topic unless others care to hear about it.

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