Working with Ardour-built Plugin Editors

The plugin editor can be shown by double-clicking on the plugin within the processor box. A new window will appear showing the editor/GUI for the plugin.

A generic plugin Editor (A-Eq)
A generic plugin editor (ACE Compressor)
  1. Parameters
  2. Description
  3. CPU Profile
  4. Analysis graph

Generic Plugin Editor

If a plugin does not have its own GUI, Ardour will construct a generic plugin editor from a small set of common control elements. Ardour will do this even for plugins that have their own, if Edit > Preferences > GUI > Use Plugins' own interface instead of Ardour's is disabled.

The generic UI can be temporarily switched to by right clicking on a processor and selecting Edit with generic controls. This is necessary in order to access the plugin automation controls.

In the generic UI, any controller can be reset to its default state by Left-clicking on it.


This is a rarely used section that displays the contents of the description metadata of a plugin.

CPU Profile

This section displays CPU time measurements for the currently opened plugin. For more information, please see the documentation on the Plugin DSP Load window.

Analysis Graph

At the bottom of the generic plugin editor, clicking the arrow displays the Analysis Graph.

This graph displays:

  • the transfer function in white,
  • the phase response in red (optional),
  • the post effect spectrum in green.

The transfer function plots the output amplitude of the plugin (considered as a "black box") against its input amplitude, along the audio spectrum.

The phase response, that can be switched on or off using the Show phase checkbox, plots the phase of the plugins output against its input phase, along the audio spectrum. The scale is shown in yellow on the right.

The green spectrum plots the output signal spectrum, after the plugin (for tracks that have a signal on).

The dB scale selector in the bottom left allows to change the vertical scale of the graphs.

MIDI instruments specificities

The MIDI keyboard in instruments plugins
The MIDI keyboard in instruments plugins

The generic UI provides, for all MIDI instruments plugins, a keyboard, that can be used either with the mouse, or by using a QWERTY keyboard as a piano. Both the channel and the velocity can be set above the keyboard.