VST for Linux?
October 5, 2009 3:26 PM   Subscribe

What do Linux people do for realtime music effects?

I used to play around with AudioMulch and a whole bunch of sweet VST effects on my Windows machine, and it was great. You know, stuff like Transverb and the like.

Now I use Linux, and while there are a host of advantages, there is no VST (something about the license from Steinberg, I think?). In fact, the DAWs I've used (Audacity and Ardour) don't seem to be set up for effects processing at all.

I'm assuming that you are meant to do you effects processing upstream, and chain it into the DAW at the last step (I use JACK, so this wouldn't be a problem) but that's just a guess. So...

A) What do Linux people do for digital audio effects? Is there maybe a nice converter or emulator or something I could run that will let me use my old windows stuff?

and B) I presume that there's some sort of program that takes in audio, runs it through an effect, and spits it out again, right? What is it? I use Rarkarrack, but that's only good for a certain number of effects (and is also impossible to spell).

Any advice?
posted by Squid Voltaire to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ardour can use ladspa plugins. Right click on the box below the fader on the channel's mixer strip to select plugins for that channel's output (above the fader you can select plugins to be applied to the channel's input). Double click on the name of the effect to open a simple editor for effect parameters. Any parameters on effects that you load will be automatable in ardour.

The steinberg VST format is officially incompatible with open source, but technically you can compile for yourself, and get the steinberg hearders for yourself, which allows compiling open source VSTs. In my opinion it is not worth the trouble.

If you install all the ladspa plugins you should have plenty to work with (on my machine 'listplugins | grep -v usr | wc -l' outputs 357).

Also jack-rack uses LADSPA plugins as well, and does processing the way you describe for real time usage. If you fine tune the parameters of the jack server and use a decent sound card you should be able to use a computer running jack-rack for real time guitar effects with a low enough latency to not be noticeable.
posted by idiopath at 3:40 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

For command line, I know a tool called sox that's best described as ImageMagick for sound.

There's also CLAM, which I've been meaning to look at. Their FAQ claims they're targeting low-latency, and experimental compatibility with VST. It's not set up in Ubuntu yet, but I believe they have published Ubuntu packages that could one day meet Debian packaging guidelines.
posted by pwnguin at 3:53 PM on October 5, 2009

In a word, LADSPA. Some other links you should check out include:

Tom's Audio Plugins
Linux Audio Users Mailing List
JACK's listing of compatible software

If you want to do anything custom or innovative, I can't recommend Supercollider (with this helpful interface) highly enough.
posted by phrontist at 3:53 PM on October 5, 2009

posted by Mach5 at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2009

I know it's been a long time since you posted this, but: it's entirely possible to use VST through Linux. For one thing, there's LMMS, which has a VST loader; but my own favorite way (and the most stable way I know how) is to run Psycle through Wine. Works entirely without bugs, as far as I've seen, and it's lightweight enough to a very functional way to run VST and VSTi machines.
posted by koeselitz at 9:55 PM on June 2, 2010

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