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Working with LADSPA effects

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LADSPA-effects can be used in both individual instruments and the FX-mixer.

Using The LADSPA effects in instruments.

When you load an instrument into the Song Editor, it gets its own track. when you click on the instrument button in the newly made track the Instrument GUI will appear.

The GUI has 5 pages. The LADSPA-effects dialog is located on the fourth page called FX

The FX page


On the FX page you have the FX-chain and the ON/OFF lamp which toggles all the effects on the instrument.

You add new effects using the Add effect button. when you click it Effect browser will appear. You can browse through the many built in effects effects.

The Effect Browser

After a while you will get to learn the names, and it will be simple for you to find the effect that you like to use, but you can also write some characters in the input-field. The browser will filter the effects for you.

Try writing reverb. You will see all the LADSPA-effects that will add reverb to your instrument.

Choose the C* Plate2x2 and click OK.

The instrument FX chain will have a C* Plate2x2 object, with 3 knobs on it: W/D, DECAY and GATE. You can change the Effect specific controls by clicking the Controls button. All of these controls can be automated.

The W/D stands for Wet/Dry. Wet is the signal that has the effect applied to it, and the Dry signal is the signal with no effect on it. By tweaking the knob you can mix those two signals together to get some nice effects.

The DECAY tells LMMS for how long the Effect should be processed after your note ends. This is useful for long reverb tails, because after some time LMMS turns the effect off because of CPU saving. The decay knob prevents that from happening.

The GATE knob does the opposite from the decay knob. When turned all the way up, it stops the effect processing when your note ends. This is useful when you don't want to have any reverb tails in your sound.

Using The LADSPA effects in the FX-mixer.

The Mixer Effects Chain

Adding LADSPA effects in the FX-mixer works in a similar way. You click the Add effect button below the Effect Chain box and that opens the Effect Browser. The effect chain works in the same way as the instrument effect chain.

The effects apply on the channel that is currently selected. You change the channel by clicking on it name. When a channel is selected, the name will turn from white to green and it will turn slightly lighter or darker than the other channels (this depends on your theme).

If you apply an effect to the Master channel, that means that the effect is going to affect any signal that comes from your instruments (regardless if they are connected to an FX channel or not).

Advanced LADSPA usage

You can make quite advanced things with some of the LADSPA plug-ins. Use for instance Stereo-Matrix in a channel in the Mixer. This will let you pan a mixer-channel! Together with automation, channel-separation and virtual instruments (for more, see Video_tutorials FX-mixer), that can be used for great pads!


One of the most interesting usages is however with Vocoder for LMMS

You can make tracks like Kanye West cover of Darf Punks Stronger,or the famous NBA interview track with Cobe Bryant

This is how you set this up:

  • create a track with (let say) an audio file of your voice
    • a. put its pan to full left
    • b. assign it to a FX channel

At the same position in song-editor:

  • create an instrument-track that your wave-file should follow

This track with the notes are known as the Carrier

    • a. put its pan to full right
    • b. assign it to the same FX channel
  • add "Vocoder for LMMS" plugin to this same FX channel

Now you need to set a good Carrier up. Use a saw-wave. Experiment with detuning and distortion. The key factor is to have a broad wave-spectrum, with several overtones! This is also the reason that a sine-wave, will output the worst result. Sine-waves cant have overtones! The Carrier is not a finite thing! One may work perfect with one specific wave-file, but sound awful with an other!

When you replay in song-editor, the wave-file sounds, will follow the notes in your Carrier-instrument-track, in the familiar vocoder fashion.

Manuals & Graphical GUI

The majority of LADSPA effect plugins that come with LMMS (Windows) lack proper documentation.

In LINUX (only) -it is possible to use setups that allow to use very nice GUIs. Furthermore these packs contain small manuals for the LADSPA effect & CALF collection.

- Download these files and extract the manual (doc) for info about the Calf plugins:


http://calf-studio-gear.org/files/calf- ... re1.tar.gz

http://calf-studio-gear.org/files/calf- ... re2.tar.gz

http://calf-studio-gear.org/files/calf- ... re4.tar.gz

http://calf-studio-gear.org/files/calf- ... re5.tar.gz

- Detailed/Technical info about the C* plugins:


- Info about plugins made by Steve Harris can be found here:


- Info about the TAP plugins:



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