Working With Plugins

Plugins are bits of software that get loaded by Ardour in order to:

  • Create various audio or MIDI effects
  • Generate audio by functioning as "software instruments"

Ardour does not come with any built-in signal processors of its own (other than volume faders) and it also generally doesn't ship with any plugins. They are written by 3rd parties, though we do provide some information on how to get them.

Ardour supports a variety of different plugin standards:

LADSPA
An early, simple, lightweight plugin API, audio effects only, plugins have no editors/GUI of their own (Ardour provides one, however).
LV2
An extensible, full-featured plugin API, audio and MIDI, plugins can provide their own GUIs
AU
OS X only, full featured, audio and MIDI, plugins can provide their own GUI
VST
Plugins using Steinberg's VST plugin standard. Varies by platform:
on Linux
(native) Linux VST plugins fully supported (VST2.4)
on Windows
(native) Windows VST plugins fully supported (VST2.4)
on OS X
Not supported, unless you use a VST<>AU bridge plugin. Similar to Apple's Logic DAW.
Windows VST Plugins on Linux
VST plugins for Windows, but being used on Linux. Not supported by normal builds of Ardour. Read more...

Adding/Removing/Copying Plugins

Within Ardour, plugins are just another type of Processor and so the techniques for adding/removing/copying/moving processors apply to plugins as well. These techniques are covered on the Processor Box page.