VST Plugins In LMMS?

I have often heard the common stereotype about Linux that it can’t run “good” software, especially when it comes to music DAWs or plugins. I have already shown some decent, free DAWs that run in Linux, but there are also good audio plugins. Other than LV2, LADSPA, GIG, and SF2, it is also possible to run VST plugins! Traditionally VST plugins only work on Windows. I am here to prove that it can be done, and quite easily.

Now I will admit that I started off taking the long route around. I originally used Wine to install the .exe file for the plugin I wanted. That enabled me to launch it, but took forever to get the proper version of Wine and get it running. Maybe it’s just me, but this route seems to be the harder one, besides you cannot use the plugins in any software. You would have to use JACK Audio or something of the like to port the audio through the plugin and back.

I ended up using vestige on LMMS to load the .dll files that came with the .exe files. Apparently there are a lot of VST files that don’t run with LMMS on Linux, but the one that I used worked fine.

Vestige In Action

At this point I still couldn’t open the plugin in the plugin manager. I was able to do this by putting the .dll file in my VST folder which is decided by the settings in LMMS. After that, other than LMMS running a bit slower it worked fine.

Automation Editor in LMMS

I have often used the automation tracks in LMMS to turn up or down volume, to change plugin effects, and to really do everything.


Now, I have a lot going on here, but lets say that the violin needed to be louder for a bit to carry the beat.

Violin Volume

I have created a automation track and expanded it out to fill four bars. It isn’t doing anything for us yet, so lets fix that.

Mixer Window

Here is my mixer window, and my violin is set to track 19.

Drag And Drop

If you drag your volume bar or effect knob to the automation track, it will tie it to change that control. So what does the editor look like?

Automation Editor

This is it, and I have already added two dots to raise the volume temporarily. There are three options at the top to make a change on a very choppy, linear, or smooth path. Now, if you wanted to change more than one control with the same automation track, just drag another control to the track. It won’t appear to change, but if you right click on the track it should say 2 Connections at the bottom.

AutoTune vs Vocoding

Most people that listen to music would know what AutoTune is. However, not everybody knows about it’s less music oriented predecessor, the Vocoder. There is a definite difference between those who use auto tune for correcting “off” notes, and those who use it because they like the sound of it. If you like robotic voices, you might like the sound of vocoder plugins.

A vocoder basically mixes your voice with a synthesizer. The benefit being that there is a large selection of sound distorting options.

AutoTune Plugin In Ardour

I installed this auto tune plugin and it worked out of the box, but it had a very minimal effect on the sound even on the fast setting.

VocProc Plugin In Ardour

I also installed this vocproc plugin and was able to get a robotic sounding result. You can install it on Linux with a simple command: sudo apt-get install vocproc. It automatically popped up in Ardour, but it did take some messing around with, as it bases it’s pitch shifting on a separate MIDI track. A more in depth setup video for vocproc can be found here.

Zynaddsubfx in Ardour

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited to have the latest Zynaddsubfx running in Ardour. I actually got it from the github page for Linux and it took forever to build. I had tried to install it multiple other ways, but it had unmet dependencies or wouldn’t show up in Ardour.

Zynaddsubfx Finally Running

I have come to love the different synths provided in Synaddsubfx because I used to use it in LMMS and it has especially nice choir sounds. It now has a bunch of new synth plugins, and plenty of options for customization.

Zynaddsubfx Finally Running In Ardour

Editing Audio in Audacity

So, you recorded yourself, but there is a big gap at the beginning of the audio clip. Well, that “problem” can be easily solved using Audacity.

Audio Selected

Editing is as simple as dragging to select and deleting the undesired area. The problem is when you are trying to edit tiny bits of audio out of a recording. Maybe there is a wrong note on your piano recording, or you said the wrong word. It all depends how well you want the audio track to flow. In this song, a note is about .2 seconds long. That will differ from song to song, but this is around the sweet spot where you can pick out undesirable sounds.

Zoomed In On Audio

There are some helpful editing tools that are highlighted in red in the corner. There are in order, the cut, copy, paste, trim around selection, and silence selection tools. There are also five zoom tools at the top, but it is easiest to just use the zoom in and out ones.

Editing Tools