[Ardour-Users] other tools vst

michael noble looplog at gmail.com
Thu Sep 10 23:39:59 PDT 2015

Hi Owen

Thanks for the background. It does fill in the blanks a lot and help narrow
down suggestions.

I'm by no means an expert but I've been using Linux for audio for nearly 15
years, including for some computer game music and sound design. I'm quite
interested in synthesis techniques in general, so my approach is usually to
learn about a technique and then try to find an instrument that uses that
technique. I also like to just play with software instruments to see what I
can get out of them, but I do find some knowledge of at least the basics
goes a long way in being able to understand the sounds you are making and
how to improve them.

If you are really interested in learning about synthesis, there are
actually only a few different techniques, and each has their own strengths.
In the spirit of open source, you could start with a book like this:

It's hard to recommend specific instruments that will cross over from mac
to linux because in some ways mac seems to be its own little world. There
is more crossover between windows and Linux mostly because of VST.

One place to start might be Amsynth (http://www.nickdowell.com/amsynth/),
which is open source and available for both Mac and Linux. It is a fairly
simple synth, but a good introduction to substractive synthesis and you can
still get some pretty good sounds out of it.

Another open source, cross-platform synth that has more depth is Dexed (
http://asb2m10.github.io/dexed/). It is quite a deep synth, but will be
more difficult for a beginner. That being said, you could probably get
quite a lot of enjoyment out of it by just using the presets and going from

I'm not sure if its open source, but you might also look at Obxd (
https://obxd.wordpress.com/). Its on PC/Mac/Linux as well so in theory
whatever you learn on one platform will transfer over.

So far as I know, all of the above should work under Ardour, but I could be
wrong as far as Mac goes.

One issue with Ardour (or any DAW) and potentially crossing over from OSX
to Linux to keep in mind is that session files saved on one platform may
not necessarily work on the other because the plugins will not match, even
though they are the same instruments.

In terms of the email list, I find that posting single issue questions gets
much better response than long general issues. You are right in saying the
forum may be better for more general discussion. I've kept this on-list
because it might be info that others could use in the future. If you want
to shoot me more questions, feel free to do so off-list.


PS: to list - apologies for top-posting, but it was unavoidable in this case

On Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 2:47 PM, Owen Alanzo Hogarth <gurenchan at gmail.com>

> Hi michael
> My question is a bit broad, here's a little background and where I am
> trying to go. I came across Ardour and started using it because it's open
> source and like the main dev said, he asked one of the DAW companies for
> their source code and they didn't provide it so he started writing his own.
> I am mainly a video game developer and I have had similar experience so I
> am also in the process of writing my own tools in c. I went to school for
> art but I am a self trained programmer mostly c. I am tired of the idea of
> the closed source business model, imagine if you had to pay a monthly fee
> to use a pencil.... Well with things like autodesk sketchbook pro that's
> basically what they are doing. Anyways that's a little off topic.
> I have no real experience making music but as a video game developer I
> have ideas of what I want to create musically.
> I recently purchased an Akai mpc min 2, to get access to some software
> that came with it i had to give up so much info and then they said there
> was technical difficulties so I still couldn't get access to the software;
> hybrid 3 in this case. They said just wait until their servers are up or
> something like that. Well that brought me right back to that closed source
> software model.
> So I honestly have no real desire to use hybrid 3 or really any closed
> source tools.
> I have been doing some research over the past few days and it seems like I
> will at least need a step sequencer to make loops of drums, high hats,
> snares, those types of things.
> Then I will need some software instruments; this is the most confusing
> part for me at the moment. There are instruments that sound like pianos,
> guitars, drums, etc... but then there's also some synths that you can
> program to make your own sounds by messing with the sine waves, saw waves,
> square waves etc. Then there's something else I was reading about doing
> something with the modulation matrix.
> I am a fairly advanced computer user so I can get the gist of these things
> fairly quickly and I know it takes time to really deeply understand but as
> of right now I have no idea where to start.
> I am currently on a mac, have no plans to use windows and will most likely
> move over to linux in the future so my main concern is to find some
> instruments that are mac/linux compatible that I can start with and go from
> there.
> A lot of times when I go out looking for tutorials, they spend more time
> trying to get me to subscribe to their blog and keep you coming back
> instead of providing solid information on getting started, which I think
> would make users come back instead of the current model of just drip
> feeding stuff.
> Maybe this should be posted on the forum if it's too much for this mailing
> list?
> On Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 1:07 PM, michael noble <looplog at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Owen
>> On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 6:28 PM, Owen Alanzo Hogarth <gurenchan at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> At least if I start learning this synth since it's free, can I transfer
>>> those skills to linux? Are there any vst/au like hybrid 3 for linux?
>> Your question is quite open, so there are many possible answers, and many
>> of the answers will be more questions. People use plugins for many possible
>> goals including composing music, performing live, learning synthesis
>> techniques in general, general sound design and so on. So I would say it is
>> important to be aware of and share your goal as specifically as possible if
>> you want more detailed input.
>> If you are looking for a synth that mirrors the exact interface, GUI, or
>> workflow of Hybrid, then there is not really an exact duplicate on
>> Linux. If you are talking about learning synthesis techniques, then yes
>> these techniques can be transferred to new tools like any skill. There are
>> a number of synthesis plugins of varying quality on Linux, both free and
>> paid, that make use of similar synthesis techniques or some subset of those
>> techniques. You should be aware, however, that the range of native plugins
>> on Linux is far smaller than that available on both OSX and Windows. You
>> can also run some windows VST plugins under Linux, but that's a different
>> discussion.
>> hope this helps
>> Michael
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