Sordina User Guide

A mute is a device a musician can fit to their instrument to change its sound. There is usually a reduction in volume and a change in tone depending on the instrument, the type of mute, and the performer.

A mute works like an acoustic equalizer. By blocking sounds and absorbing energy the mute filters out certain frequencies while allowing others to pass.


Sordina is an effect plugin that runs on GNU/Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. It’s purpose is to emulate a wide variety of brass and string instrument mutes.

As with real mutes each of Sordina’s virtual mutes has a different character and responds slightly differently to the input signal they are applied to.


Sordina can be installed through Rhapsody (v2.3.1+). Simply install Rhapsody, log in, and if you have a license for Sordina you’ll see it available in the Rhapsody home screen, just click the green download button to install it.

Quick start

Sordina on Ardour audio track

As the plugin is intended to alter the sound of an audio signal it should be placed either after a virtual instrument in the plugin chain, on a track containing audio, on an audio bus, or on the master output.

Sordina can be added to a DAW track as either an insert or send effect. This guide will assume it’s being used as an insert.

After the plugin has been added to the audio chain select a mute model from the browser.



Quick Tips

If you hold the shift key on your keyboard while clicking on a knob you’ll be able to type in a specific value.

You can move the knobs on the interface more precisely by holding down the control key on your keyboard at the same time.

Double clicking a knob will reset it to its default value.

Clicking the Sordina logo in the top left of the interface will display some information about the plugin.

Mix & Gain

The Mix knob allows you to adjust the balance between the incoming dry signal and the processed wet signal. To recreate the true sound of the mute on a solo instrument this should be set to 100%. Values lower than this are useful for blending the sound with other instruments and for creative purposes.

The models that come with Sordina have been volume calibrated against reference recordings but this calibration may not necessarily fit with the audio you will feed into the plugin. The gain knob allows you to adjust the output volume to suit your specific needs.

Parametric Equaliser & Meters

The window in the middle of the interface displays a real time frequency analysis of the incoming audio. The spectrum analyser can be disabled by right-clicking on it and selecting the Spectrum Analyser option from the popup context menu.

On each side of this window is a traditional volume meter. The one on the left shows the volume of the incoming audio while the one on the right shows the volume of the processed output signal.

How to use Sordina’s Parametric EQ

The EQ is operated entirely with the mouse. Left click anywhere within the EQ grid to add a band. By default the new band will be a peak filter, but you can right click on it to select other types, such as low pass, high pass, high shelf, etc.

To delete a band just right click on it and select Delete Band from the popup context menu.

* If your mouse doesn’t have a second button you can use CTRL + left click instead.

To change the Q value of a band you can hover your mouse over the band and move your scroll wheel up or down. Alternatively you can click and drag up or down on the band while holding the shift key on your keyboard.

Wah Wah

When a compatible mute is selected the Wah slider will be enabled. This knob can be controlled in real time using host automation or a MIDI CC to create a live wah wah effect.


All of the knobs and sliders will respond to automation messages from your DAW. Check your DAW’s user guide for details on how to access automatable parameters.

Alternatively, if your DAW supports sending MIDI to an audio plugin, you can control knobs and sliders using a MIDI CC. Simply right-click on a control and either assign a CC number from the popup menu or select Learn MIDI CC and move a hardware controller.

Mute Browser

Sordina’s mute browser

The browser is divided into three columns. In the left column you can select the instrument you want to mute. For example if you are routing a trumpet recording or a trumpet virtual instrument into Sordina then you’ll probably want to select Trumpet from this column. However there are many creative combinations possible by selecting a mute intended for a different instrument.

From the centre column you can select the type of mute. The options available will vary depending on the instrument. See the tables below for more details.

The third column displays the mutes available for the selected instrument and mute type. All of the virtual mutes in Sordina have been created by analysing recordings of real instruments and their mutes*. The names you see in the third column contain the brand of mute that was analysed and either the mute’s model or some other relevant information

A note about the string effect models

String effects like col legno, flautando, sul tasto, etc., cannot be faithfully replicated through Sordina’s subtractive techniques. For instance, when a live musician executes col legno, they introduce distinctive sounds—such as the bow’s wood contacting the fingerboard or bridge. Sordina isn’t capable of introducing sounds not originally present. Therefore, when utilizing the effect models, you’ll get more of the essence of the effect rather than a true recreation.

Nevertheless, in numerous scenarios, this approach is entirely suitable. In the context of a genuine string ensemble, the sound naturally tends to be more blended and ambiguous, and Sordina adeptly reproduces this quality. However, in a solo performance where the technique’s unique sounds define its character, it’s inevitable that those defining elements will be absent.


French Horn

CupHumes & Berg Stonelined
PracticeHumes & Berg Sh ShBalu
MiscHumes & Berg Stonelined Stop
StraightHumes & Berg PhilharmonicHumes & Berg StonelinedThe Warburton TunableBalu

Piccolo Trumpet

CupTom Crown Aluminium
HarmonTom Crown: Stem In/Out
PracticeJo Ral AluminiumTom Crown Aluminium
StraightDenis Wick AluminiumJo Ral Brass BottomWallace Aluminium

Trumpet & Cornet

BucketHumes & Berg StonelinedJo Ral Brass BottomHumes & Berg Velvet ToneHumes & Berg BucketJo Ral BucketSoulo
CupDenis Wick Adjustable in/out (3 variations)Generic/No brand (2 variations)Humes & Berg (4 variations)Jo Ral TriTone
HarmonDenis Wick: Stem In/OutHumes & Berg: Stem In/OutJo Ral Bubble: Stem In/Out (2 variations)Tom Crown: Stem In/OutGeneric/No Brand (5 variations)LeBlanc: Stem In/Out/Half
MiscFeltHumes & Berg Pixie (2 variations)Plunger (4 variations)DerbyHumes & Berg Cleartone (2 variations)
PracticeBremner Sshh (2 variations)Denis Wick AluminiumHumes & Berg Mel-O-WahMute TubeGeneric/No Brand (2 variations)Yamaha (2 variations)
StraightDenis Wick (10 variations)Bach PlasticJo Ral (5 variations)Soulo CopperLeblanc AluminiumPro Tec FiberTom Crown (2 variations)Alessi VacchianoHumes & Berg Stonelined (3 variations)Trumcor (4 variations)


BucketHumes & Berg Velvet Tone
CupHumes & Berg Stonelined
PracticeHumes & Berg AluminiumHumes & Berg Sh ShHumes & Berg Stonelined
StraightHumes & Berg AluminiumHumes & Berg Stonelined


BucketHumes & Berg Bucket
Humes & Berg Velvet Tone
Jo Ral Aluminium
CupHumes & Berg Mic-A-MuteHumes & Berg Cup (2 variations)Tom Crown
Jo Ral Aluminium
Denis Wick (2 variations)
HarmonHumes & Berg Wa-Wah: Stem In/OutJo Ral Bubble: Stem In/OutGeneric/No Brand: Stem In/Out
MiscBuzzHumes & Berg Cleartone (2 variations)Humes & Berg Derby HatHumes & Berg PixieGeneric Plunger (2 variations)Humes & Berg Plunger
PracticeHumes & Berg Sh ShLiberty PracticeSoftone Neoprene
StraightHumes & Berg StonelinedJo Ral Brass BottomSouloAlessi VacchianoTom Crown (2 variations)Denis Wick

Bass Trombone

BucketHumes & Berg Velvet ToneJo Ral Aluminium
CupDenis Wick AluminiumHumes & Berg Mic-A-MuteHumes & Berg StonelinedJo Ral Aluminium
HarmonHumes & Berg Wa-WahJo Ral Bubble: Stem In/OutGeneric/No Brand
MiscBuzzHumes & Berg CleartoneHumes & Berg DerbyHumes & Berg PixiePlunger (2 variations)
PracticeHumes & Berg Sh ShLiberty
StraightDenis Wick AluminiumHumes & Berg StonelinedHumes & Berg BrassJo Ral Brass BottomSoulo


PracticeDenis Wick AluminiumSchlipf Mnozil
Humes & Berg StonelinedJo Ral Aluminium


PracticeSchlipfVoigtDenis Wick
StraightHumes & Berg StonelinedJo Ral Aluminium


PracticeE-Sax WhisperMMDSax Mute One


EffectsCol Legno (2 variations)Flautando (2 variations)Sul Ponticello (5 variations)Sul Tasto (4 variations)
Orchestral:EbonyLeather (2 variations)MetalTourte (5 variations)
Practice:Artino – Rubberized metalD’Addario SpectorGeneric/No Brand PlasticGeneric/No Brand Rubber


EffectsCol Legno (2 variations)Flautando (2 variations)Sul Ponticello (2 variations)Sul Tasto (2 variations)
Orchestral:AlpineLeather (2 variations)MetalTourte (4 variations)
Practice:Artino PetiteArtino – Rubberized metalArtino


EffectsCol Legno (2 variations)Flautando (3 variations)Sul Ponticello (3 variations)Sul Tasto (3 variations)
Orchestral:Tourte (2 variations)
Practice:Artino (3 variations)Rubber


EffectsCol Legno (2 variations)Flautando (2 variations)Sul Ponticello (3 variations)Sul Tasto (2 variations)
Orchestral:AluminiumEbonyLeatherPolyWoodTourte (3 variations)
Practice:MetalRubber (2 variations)

*Libre Wave and Sordina are in no way affiliated or endorsed by the manufacturers of the mutes analysed for the creation of this plugin. Their names and trademarks are referenced only as descriptors for the user’s information.


Produced by: David Healey
Demo Audio: David Budimir, Betania Strings, Tyler Rumore
GUI Design: Julian Behrens