Making music with this stuff!

So you want to try out some OpenAV plugins? Great! Here’s how you can get started in the shortest amount of time! Basic Linux skills are assumed - you know how to open a “terminal” or “command prompt” - but nothing else! If you know that much, you should be able to follow this guide!

Getting Started

We’re going to use JACK, QJackCtl, and JALV to run the audio, and host a delay effect from the ArtyFX plugins. I’m assuming you can install Jack, Jalv, and ArtyFX using the Install guide here. If you’re not familiar with JACK, checkout LibreMusicProductions fantastic guide. If you’ve never used QJackCtl, a section of the LibreMusicProduction guide introduces it. From now on, it is assumed you have JACK running, and are able to connect cables in the “Connections” window.

Listing All Plugins

With JACK started, and the QJackCtl Connections dialog open, we now start the (slightly) difficult part - loading Jalv and giving it a plugin URI. What is a URI? URIs are used to identify plugins. In short - its like humans have a name. A plugin has a URI.

Human name = "Harry"
Plugin name = ""

The URI is how we identify a plugin, and is a core part of LV2 plugins. Less details, more action? Good idea. Open a terminal, and start typing!

List the LV2 plugins installed on your computer (all of them!)
$ lv2ls

Assuming you ONLY have ArtyFX installed, you will see this output:


This list shows the URI of each plugin currently available. If you don’t see ArtyFX listed here (scroll back if there’s a lot!) then ArtyFX is not properly installed, go back to the install guide, or if you really can’t figure it out, try this.

Launching A Plugin

From the open terminal, we’re going to launch Jalv, and tell it which plugin to load. In this case, we load a reverb effect from ArtyFX called “Roomy”:


But wait, should you type all that every time you want to load a plugin? Of course not! There is a shorthand way to write this, using some Linux shell magic:

jalv.gtk `lv2ls | grep roomy`

Notice the small “backtick” characters, they are not high-commas, but backticks. This allows us to type the name of the plugin, instead of the whole URI:

jalv.gtk `lv2ls | grep PLUGIN_NAME_HERE`

Using LV2 Select

A useful little tool is available to select LV2 plugins, and launch them in Jalv (optionally with a preset!): jalv_select


You’ve learned how OpenAV launch plugins using Jalv during development. Yes its a little techie, but we’re software developers, so its feels pretty normal to us. Is it an ideal situation? Absolutly not - we totally understand that musicians would prefer a nice UI to load plugins with. Given that we test OpenAV plugins with Jalv, and we are confident that they are stable and perform well with Jalv. If you have any doubts about a plugin working well - if you can make it misbehave in Jalv, OpenAV requests you to file a bug report.

If you have suggestions or updates for this page, please also email us!


Interested in installing the OpenAV software? Checkout the install page.