Mixing and Mastering in Linux?

Hi all,

a little question to the masteringheadz here cause this is somehow new to me. (Well … I know the basics … but still want to learn how to boost my recordings up a notch or two)

I am unshure wich software I should use for mixing and mastering my VCV songs in Linux.
Ardour seems to be the thing … but I also often read about Reaper.
For writing/producing and working with samples I already have Renoise and love it.
But in VCV I use some generative sequences that can’t be used in small pieces without using their beauty.

I know I can use NYSTHIs Recorders to get a Multitrack WAV and process that in other DAWs …
But which one to invest in? Is Ardour still under active development?

I only wanna add some EQ and master the Trackvolume … maybe add some Effects if I record clean.

What is the best workflow? Record clean and add Reverb/Delay later? Or record the effects on seperate channels?

Any LV2 plugins that are a must?

Thanks for the help

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To be perfectly honest I would just go straight to reaper. Ardour is certainly capable but, depending on how heavy you get with mixing/processing, it can just vanish and you’ve potentially lost a whole session. I saw a post somewhere just the other day (that I can’t find now) about how ardour crashed unexpectedly and the auto save seemingly didn’t work. It does work but there are certain unknown circumstances that lead to the autosave not saving and ardour crashing but it’s hard to tell which is causing what. You might be fine though. If you do pursue ardour be wary of calf plugins.

Personally I have moved to reaper for all that stuff, I think it is much more powerful (although if as many people wrote scripts for ardour as they do for reaper maybe it would be different) and it is certainly more stable.

Then again, I have mixed and mastered things in renoise, both as a renoise project with instruments etc and also with stems and it’s more than capable so maybe try that instead? It’s a bit weird to do it that way but in some ways not looking at the waveforms can help you focus on the sound. If you use stems then set the bpm and you can have some fun doing master edits in the pattern editor like a pitchdowns or cuts. Just remember to use the autoseek option!

And yes, ardour is still active, they are working on v6.

I’m still working on getting tracks from vcv to a) completion and b) mixed and mastered, I just lose interest when I’m not working in Rack. I used renoise for a long time and did some albums with that and ardour/reaper and getting obsessed and bogged down with the mixing/mastering has driven me crazy sometimes. Now with Rack I feel liberated from being stuck in a groove and it’s making me think differently about music creation in every way. I’m trying to start mixing at the creation time, thinking about if a sound competes with another. Then if you can get a reasonable mix you can use Vult’s Decline and then Bogaudio’s limiter before your recorder and you’re done.


I used Ardour for quite some time, then Harrison had a Mixbus 5 offer I couldn’t refuse ($39 IIRC). It’s basically Ardour++ and hasn’t crashed once, the Harrison plugins are nice too and often on offer, overall a great investment, highly recommended. The only thing I miss about Ardour is surround panning, but that wasn’t automatable and I can do it in VCV instead.


Mixbus is really nice and it’s good to hear that it suits some people. I found it a bit frustrating, I remember having about 30 stems of vocals including doubles and harmonies and naturally I wanted to mix them in groups (L/R for doubles with the same eq/comp/verb/level etc.) and in ardour I would create a submix bus from the grouping menu or create a track to bus them to but mixbus doesn’t allow this, the resulting bus is mono. This also means you can’t send your delay aux bus to your reverb. This is design rather than bug or oversight (they say it is the wiring of the console they are emulating, I say it’s to make people need to pay for the mixbus 32) so I gave up.

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I had a look at Mixbus and Ardour and installed both,
they seem to runstable stable on my system.

Importing Multitrack Wav worked a charm in both :smiley:

I think I have to make my head around what and how I really wanna produce songs instead of just making music.

Most of the time, after relistenig to my VCV recordings I get this idea of remixing it a bit here and there and maybe EQ.
Then again I also could do some cut and copy&paste on the repeating parts and produce a complete song, but if I am there already I also could use my Renoise :scream::flushed:

OMG the more I read the more I get confuuused about what I really and if I wanna go there or simply make some nice tunes.

My 2c.
I use the open source MusE as my DAW in openSUSE linux. I just love it and the developers are very responsive. It was given a pre-release in Feb 2019 but so far it’s done what I want.

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@therealkitman … I totally forgot about Muse. I did use it some years (like 10) back but it was very buggy then. Some years later I discovered Renoise and liked the workflow I was able todo with it.

I will give it a try and see how it behaves today and if I can go back to a DAW from a Tracker :smiley: :smiley:

So again facing two worlds I forgot exist … “Making Music” and “Producing Music”

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After a lot of reading and spending time on youtube, I finally got my workflow for the big Mixing/Mastering part set up if I want to share something on f.e. bandcamp in “unltimate” quality. (well I am not a sound engineer - so ULTLIMATE is relative :smiley: )

For those who have similar questions I will leave my mindset here => if you have any suggestions or tipps, feel free to leave them here :wink:

My final setup works as following:

VCV setup like in https://youtu.be/1GhXCw4UDvU
=> all channel run to one Mixer (I use @Squinky Form mostly)
=> Effekts are used via the Send/Receive only (if possible)
=> Mixer OUT channels go to VCV MERGE and the POLY Out into @NYSTHI Polyrecorder (NOT recording the Effects or Sidechains Compression) ofc, if ou are happy with the Effects you can record them to seperat channels too, but you can not change them later in da mix
=> @STS has a Poly VU-Meter than can be used to avoid Peaks
=> I try to get the best clean recording result as possible, so I mute the send/receives and also the Sidechain compression if I have any. (Sidechaining is done later in the DAW - else the Audiosignal would already be compressed at recording - this means, if I decide to mute the drum in my mix, i have to rework the sidechained-audio on the other channel)
=> If all chanels play together, I decide if on or more singel signals could already use some PRE-EQ

VCV Recording
=> now I can play my song while recording … only using the Mute/Unmute Buttons,

  • without changing any volumes
  • no Fade-in or Fade-Out
  • All sidechain-compression deactivated

I still can play with Filters or change sequencingor … do everything … but the part above are “no-go’s”
This creates one Multicannel WAV File

Processing in Ardour (or any other DAW)
=> now I can import the WAV File into Ardour using my Mixing/Mastering Template

  • Set correct BPM in Ardour
  • my personal MixingTemplate has 4 Stereo Audio-Busses (one for Reverb, one for Delay, one for Width - Chorus / Enhance and one for Metering)
  • Now I can order and name my tracks
  • send my Tracks to the Effect-Busses as I like and experiment a bit and/or use per Insturment Effect if I like to.
  • I can set Volume-automation for Fade-Ins and Fade-Outs and especially regarding different regions of the track
  • add sidechain compression if and where I decide with the possibility to change y mind later :wink:
  • I can even cut and export samples of single insturments for later use in my Renoise if I like to
  • I could even add new tracks and record my other synths into this session
  • Ardour lets me even save snapshots of my project
  • I can use everything for later remixes if I want to

thats it


I use to send each one of the instrument in a separated channel to a renoise and mix them, renoise itself have great plugins

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A lot of people use the channel direct outs from their mixer into a multi channel recorder. If you look on the vcv Facebook group you can find info and videos.