LV2 plugins missing graphical interface

Hi, beloved equals!

I migrated to Linux (Mint 20.2 here, Audacity 3.0.2 from PPA).

In Windows I used TDR Nova ( (VST freeware) for equalization with real time preview, but it seems to not be compatible with Linux. In search of an alternative in Linux, I’ve found 3 promising EQ plugins:

They are LV2 plugins. In Audacity, activating them to use, they seem to work, but without the proper GUI, instead everyone showing like this:
Capture d’écran du 2021-07-21 19-00-27.png
Example of plugin GUI not showing properly, this one from TAP Equalizer, but all the mentioned are like this.

It seems a generalized for me, but not universal, as Luftikus (installed from kxstudio repo), also LV2, opens with GUI:
Capture d’écran du 2021-07-21 19-24-16.jpg
Luftikus, an EQ working ok but do not meet my needs.

So, is there something I can do to use EQ10Q (and the others) with its GUI in Audacity in Linux?

Thanks in advance!

Thanks for the report.
Testing the Calf 30 band EQ on Xubuntu with Audacity 3.0.2, it looks like this:

On Xubuntu with 3.0.4-alpha it looks like this:


Thanks, Steve, very good news that it is fixable (and is fixed in the alpha…)!

Hi all,

What a coincidence as regards the timing of this thread, just yesterday was “upgrading”
my Linux skills and decided to set up a nix box with audio software.

I can confirm that Audacity (older versions) do not show the full gui of any plugin.
LXVST don’t work at all, LADSPA does work (but no GUI) and LV2 seems to be touch and go.

From my limited knowledge, there seems to be several extra “layers” or dependencies/libs,
and the .ttl file that are bundled with LV2 plugins, which are supposed to be the successor to LADSPA.
I suspect that Audacity does not fully support this, hence the no GUI or the error:
“Cannot instantiate instance”.

From my “discoveries”, Audacity seems to be the most limited in terms of plugin support.
OcenAudio quite happily supports LXVST, while Ardour seems to be the DAW/editor with the
most support of the various Linux plugin formats, it’s just very fussy as to where they are placed.
At least on Debian 9 (64 bit).

Other DAWs/editors with pretty poor plugin support include, Qtractor and Traverso.
Very limited support, if they do work, no GUI and if a plugin crashes, the host goes
down with it.

Other observations, related to audio but not plugins directly, and Steve, please feel free to correct me,
but Jack seems to be much better then Alsa, just need to get the Jack patching correct.
Pulse seems to be rather unstable and will often just drop-out and crash.

I also tried “Carla” which is supposed to enable the use of Windows VSTs, but no luck.

Hope I’m not going off topic here, but any reason why pre-compiled binaries for Audacity
are not available for Linux?
I know that due to the wide range of distros, it not feasible, but how about doing what
OcenAudio does, provide binaries for the most popular.
On their site, one can download 32 and 64 bit versions for Debian (various versions), Ubuntu, Mint, etc.
I suspect then, that this will help with the uptake in Linux.

Using myself as an example, I’m no expert, but certainly do not consider myself a noobie either, but
the thought of having to compile something as complex as Audacity, just puts me off immediately.

VST support has always been a problem for Audacity due to licensing issues. (Audacity’s CPL v2 license requires that the full source code can be distributed, but Steinberg’s VST2 license prohibits source code distribution.) Audacity has tried to work around this problem by using open source “VST compatible” libraries, but basically they’re not as good as the real thing. (OcenAudio does not have this problem because it is not open source, but the downside is that it will never be part of the main Linux repositories because it is not open source).

It “may” be possible for future versions of Audacity to resolve the VST problem, as the newer VST3 license is compatible with the newer GPL v3 license. Unfortunately, upgrading Audacity’s license from GPL v2 to v3 is not straightforward, but the VST issue provides a strong incentive to jump through the necessary legal hoops to do so.

Historically, most Audacity developers have worked primarily on Windows or macOS. Fortunately Audacity now appears to be gaining more Linux expertise among new developers, so I’m hopeful that LV2 support will continue to improve.

I’m a big fan of Jack Audio System. It has no problem matching other high performance / low latency audio systems such as ASIO / CoreAudio, and also has fantastic routing capabilities (better than ReWire), along with some other cool features that are not currently used by Audacity, such as Jack Transport and netJACK.

The main downside of Jack is that it can be difficult (or even impossible) to set up with some audio devices.

Jack always runs at ONE sample rate. To support sample accuracy, the audio stream cannot resample on the fly, so it is not possible to run two apps that have different sample rates at the same time. To change the sample rate, you have to stop Jack, reconfigure it, then restart (and hope that your hardware works with the new sample rate).

Jack does not easily support more than one audio device at a time.

Jack has an option for “realtime scheduling”, which maximises performance on systems that fully support it, but causes serious problems on systems that don’t.

PulseAudio addresses all of these problems / limitations. It can do on-the-fly resampling, support multiple devices simultaneously, has excellent support for a massive range of hardware (including OSS only devices), and is generally very robust.

PulseAudio and Jack are designed for different things. PulseAudio is designed as a general purpose audio system, whereas Jack is “fundamentally designed to be a component in a pro-audio/music creation environment”.

I have little experience with Carla, so I don’t think I’m qualified to comment.

Those are all Debian based distributions.

Audacity is distributed through official repositories by many Linux distributions, including Debian / Ubuntu based distros, RedHat / Fedora based distros, Suse / OpenSuse, Arch / Manjaro based distros, … The recommended way to install apps on Linux is to use the package manager to install the official repository version of the software. The downside of using the official repository versions of software is that they tend to lag behind the latest release versions, so if you really need the latest and greatest then you have to use some other method, such as Snap / Flatpack / AppImage / building from source. Unfortunately most of the Snap / Flatpack versions available so far have had problems, sometimes serious problems.

The Audacity developers are also working on an official “AppImage” version. It’s not yet perfect (FFmpeg support, and Help links don’t work for me), but it is already mostly working.

Thanks for your valuable input Steve.

I agree, Jack has it’s quirks but seems to be the best of the lot, IMHO.

As to the official distributions of Audacity, exactly what you have described,
they are always behind, so any updates, often take ages to filter through,
if at all.

Regarding flatpak, AppImage, etc, not a fan (yet) as not only do some have
serious issues, but often have missing dependencies.
Take AppImage for example, one of the most important libs is often missing, (or whatever the full name is).
The whole idea of these, is to include all dependencies, yet they leave out
one of the most important.
I’ve heard the counter argument, bloat, nah…doesn’t cut it.
These days, HDD space is cheap, who cares if an app is 70MB or 80MB
with the added libs.

Yes, one may end up with multiple copies of some libs, who cares,
at least there are no version conflicts as each app has it’s own (correct) version
and in it’s own location.
I absolutely hate having to use symlinks as a kludge to point to libs.

Noted about the VST legal issues, but there are ways around it…a lib/bridge/plugin
that can be loaded that is not officially distributed with Audacity?
This is essentially what “Carla” (and others) are.

A similar thing was done with MP3’s before it could be included.

As you say, the situation regarding VST3 is different and since VSTs are so
common place, I think it’s very worthwhile to adapt the license conditions
to allow their support.
Audacity as a whole, can only benefit.

So as it stands now, I don’t see me using any Linux software to do any serious work.
By this I mean editing/normalizing audio in a DAW/editor.
However, I am now using it to analyze in realtime, the LUFS, spectrum and waveform
from the output of each of our mixer consoles in the studios.

It’s already proving to be quite useful, as at a glance, the operator can see what is going
out or being recorded, all in realtime.
I just repurposed some old mini form factor computers we had sitting in the store, loaded
Raspian on them, connect to small 15" monitors and hey presto, a handy tool costing nothing.
This then, is what Linux excels at.

Perhaps a bit harsh. Looking at the last three LTS Ubuntu releases:

Ubuntu 18.04 => Audacity 2.2.1
Ubuntu 20.04 => Audacity 2.3.3
Ubuntu 21.04 => Audacity 2.4.2

Personally I’m hoping that for Ubuntu 22.04 they will jump to Audacity 3.0.3 or later, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens next year.

I have added to my post since you replied.

Perhaps a bit harsh. Looking at the last three LTS Ubuntu releases:

Have you had a look at the Debian and Mint repos?

Came to say:
Audacity 3.0.3RC gets the job done!
Capture d’écran du 2021-07-26 13-42-10.png
Audacity dev version gets the lv2 eq plugin eq10q to work great! Thank you!

(I’ve seen it by luck in a topic here, haven’t seen this RC version announced as 3.0 RC was, So, for any interested, the topic with 3.0.3RC is:

The pukka 3.0.3 has just been released:


Oh, wow, thank you wax… Peter! =)