Linked by Filippo Pappalardo on Wed 14th Apr 2004 07:36 UTC
Multimedia, AV I wanted to write something about the great progress being carried on linux as OS of choice for a professional Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) since a long time. With the inclusion of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) into the 2.6 kernels, time has come to extend my experiences to all of you.
Order by: Score:
wooh
by Minus on Wed 14th Apr 2004 07:56 UTC

Great article! Informative for people who like music. I never heard of "Ardour", but will try it out soon!

Does anybody use this in a serious way?
by cibus on Wed 14th Apr 2004 08:03 UTC

I remember looking into ardour a couple of years ago - it was at an early alpha satge then, but I remember thinking that this really had potential ;)

But are anyone rellay using Linux systems for serious DAW? Can it match Mac boxes running eg. Cubase?

looks promising
by Hassy on Wed 14th Apr 2004 09:04 UTC

I don't know whether it can match a Mac or PC running Cubase but I'll give it a try.
When we're jamming and need to record something we got a P4 with 1 GB RAM a descent amount of HD space, Cubase SX 2.0 on WinXP for that purpose. It sounds great and its very stable but its a wee bit out of my price range for that kind of system at home.
Sure I just upgraded my system to a P4 2.8 GHz machine but Cubase is a bit too expensive for me right now and when I'm already running Linux box at home it might just be that Ardour can handle my needs.

/Hassy

@cibus
by stray on Wed 14th Apr 2004 09:16 UTC

Can it match Mac boxes running eg. Cubase?

Of course Cubase is far more mature software, but for the most part, Yes. Well...Multitracking yes, Synthesis no. Soft Synths for Linux aren't interesting at all as of yet.

As far as matching Mac (or PC) boxes running ProTools, then No.

I'll agree with the article though, that ProAudio on Linux is ambititious. I look forward to seeing it mature. It'll be awhile though. But now that systems are moving towards 64 bit, I'll probably have less need for DSP in the future.

Professional studio
by Don Cox on Wed 14th Apr 2004 09:36 UTC

These guys are using Linux:

http://www.multitrack.us/

There was a long article about them in "Sound on Sound" magazine, February issue 2004. My impression was that it was cutting edge, involving a lot of beta testing of software, and barely practical.

Nice article
by Daniel de Kok on Wed 14th Apr 2004 09:53 UTC

A really good introduction to recording on Linux. BTW. Slackers might want to look at the AudioSlack packages:

http://www.audioslack.com/

AudioSlack has packages for commonly used recording programs.

RE: Professional studio
by stray on Wed 14th Apr 2004 10:03 UTC

There was a long article about them in "Sound on Sound" magazine, February issue 2004. My impression was that it was cutting edge, involving a lot of beta testing of software, and barely practical

GG Allin

Nuff said ;-)

That they've chosen Ardour and Rosegarden over Logic and DP is definitely impractical. But hey, I commend the guys.

Mplayer and jack?
by TGC on Wed 14th Apr 2004 10:03 UTC

This article claims that mplayer supports the jack soundserver, but as far as i know that's not correct, or am i missing something?

RE: Mplayer and jack?
by Filippo Pappalardo on Wed 14th Apr 2004 10:20 UTC

It was an example, I personally don't use Mplayer for such niceties, but it's possible to use jack as an audio output via the "-ao sdl" subsystem

felipe

Alsa not running
by lars on Wed 14th Apr 2004 10:22 UTC

On mandrake 9.2 the sound was OK, now with 10.0 and linux
2.6 the Alsa will not start.
Anybody had the same problem.

The right tool ....
by Darius on Wed 14th Apr 2004 11:54 UTC

There is something called 'the right tool for the job' and when it comes to a 'professional Digital Audio Workstation', Linux just isn't it. The OS has great potential, but the actual apps are plenty less capable than on other platforms.

Great article!
by martijn on Wed 14th Apr 2004 11:57 UTC

Really good article! I wanted to use linux al long time ago for audio, and this article really helps to know more about the current status of software available. I'm really curious about Jamin, I go try it out as soon as possible!

No VST, no game anymore
by insignia! on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:04 UTC

Yes, some sort of 'commercial' synthesis engine is required, else Ardour is just a glorified Cool Edit Pro.

@Darius
by Richard on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:09 UTC

You're right on, man. Linux doesn't have the tools today, and therefor (by Darius' Law) it will NEVER have the tools!

This world needs more people like you... You almost make me piss my pants from laughter ;)

Easy way for a linux DAW
by andy on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:15 UTC

For an easy way to set up a DAW under linux look here:

http://ccrma-www.stanford.edu/planetccrma/software/

there is also Agnula at agnula.org but IMHO CCRMA is much more reliable.

look here for all sorts of software: www.linux-sound.org

VST
by Richard on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:15 UTC

VST's are actually windows DLL's, right? (whoever came up with that idea should be shot in the head...)

Perhaps it is possible to only implement a small part of wine to allow audio applications to load these? Thus avoiding adding too much weight (RAM usage) to the software...

Linux Audio
by tullepost on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:29 UTC

I have just set up Ardour, Jack, and a number of LADPSA plugins at home. At work I'll be using CoolEdit/Audition. Both machines are around 1.8GHz, with bogus Creative soundcards.

Ardour, in a potential stable version, easily beats Cool/Aud in terms of performance. On my machines Cool/Aud will not run 8-10 stereo channels with each its 3-band parametric EQ comfortably. Ardour uses max 40% cpu-time for this.

It seems that the OSS development model has great advantages in the audio-world. The responsivness is now better than win/mac already with the 2.6 kernel or the patches for the 2.4. One can also clearly feel the consequences of OSS - the apps work very well _together_, and build upon eachother, on the contrary to win/commercial software wich is too much designed to work _against_ each other. You can see this fx. in the size of the apps and the usage of ram. Of course dependencies are a pain in the ass, but you'll learn to appreciate them when you get to know them better ,]

Re: VST
by Richard Spindler on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:38 UTC
Pro
by Man-At-Arms on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:39 UTC

Actually, Professional Audio is one the biggest things I still dual boot. It will take a lot of years before ALSA/Jack catches up with Windows. Also, I hope a lot of Pro Apps will be released like Cubase.

@stray
by rain on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:42 UTC

As far as matching Mac (or PC) boxes running ProTools, then No.

Bah, ProTools has to be the most overrated app in the music industry. There are a lot better software like Samplitude Studio for example.
That said, no Ardour can't match it yet, youre right there.

RE: VST
by rain on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:44 UTC

No no, anyone can implemate VST in their apps quite easily. The only thing you have to do is to compile the VST plugins for Linux. Which can be rather hard to convince some commersial vendors to do.

whether its there or not yet
by Andrew D on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:45 UTC

this is an incredible improvement over where the audio world was when i was last looking on linux. well done to all involved.

Re: Richard
by Darius on Wed 14th Apr 2004 12:59 UTC

You're right on, man. Linux doesn't have the tools today, and therefor (by Darius' Law) it will NEVER have the tools!

Ok, obviously, I was talking about this particular point in time, Sherlock. I'm not one to pick an OS or app because of the potential it might have at some point in the future, get it? And even as the tools improve, assuming other tools on other platforms continue to evolve, it may end up always bing 2 or 3 steps behind.

Re: The Right Tool
by Don Cox on Wed 14th Apr 2004 13:02 UTC

"There is something called 'the right tool for the job' and when it comes to a 'professional Digital Audio Workstation', Linux just isn't it. The OS has great potential, but the actual apps are plenty less capable than on other platforms."

However, things do seem to be moving quite fast. I think the next couple of years will see big improvements.

Jack audio
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Apr 2004 13:03 UTC

Very interesting and informative article. A lot better than what I've been seeing on OSNews lately. Oh and I love the Linux audio icon you have on the front page with the article.

Just a few questions. If JACK is this awesome sound server why aren't the gnome and kde projects using it instead of esd and arts? Would this just be too much labor into trying to convert over? And would I, as a gnome DE user, be able to give up esd and install jack instead and have all the sounds working properly like they do with esd?

One thing to note: Make sure the PCM is adjusted accordingly. For the longest time I thought sound was broke using ALSA and 2.6 kernel, turns out I had the PCM up to high (100%) and this was causing the sound to skip. Lowered that sucker down to about 71% and the sound works great with no skips. Just wish I knew about it earlier ;) would have saved me a lot of headaches.

RE:Darius
by rain on Wed 14th Apr 2004 13:08 UTC

And even as the tools improve, assuming other tools on other platforms continue to evolve, it may end up always bing 2 or 3 steps behind.

Well, it also depends on your needs. Many people just use the DAW as a multitrack tape recorder and don't need a lot of advanced features.
Also, pro audio apps hasn't come that far in the past 5 years, and I don't think it's going to go any faster, probably slower, so catching up wouldn't be that hard to do.

VST
by tullepost on Wed 14th Apr 2004 13:18 UTC

VST under Linux is possible, but the main goal, in the long run, is to get better performance and co-operation between tools.
I would rather use LADPSA, pay the price of sound quality (in some cases), and gain performance!
Already now Ardour and LADPSA is fully usable. With the full envelope-support, and all the plannes features fully implemented, it will easily beat Cooledit, and possibly protools, at least on a home-setup.
Cubase is a MIDI-sequencer wich got audio-features. Ardour is a 'Pro-tools beater', and doesn't attempt to compete with Cubase. For that you can (in the future, at least), run Ardour and Rosegarden in sync through Jack. How does that compare to Cubase and/or Protools, and what is the minimum system req for doing similar things on win/os x?

Professional softsynths and effects on Linux
by Willie Sippel on Wed 14th Apr 2004 13:53 UTC

There's currently a project trying to port CreamWare Audio's Scope Fusion Platform to Linux (DSP based audio processing). There are already lots of great synths, samplers, mixers and effects for the SFP, and those plugins are OS and platform agnostic - so they will all become available for Linux as soon as the port is finished!

CreamWare Audio:
http://www.cwaudio.de/

The announcement:
http://www.planetz.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=12010&forum=5&80

@Richard
by kind_of_fud on Wed 14th Apr 2004 13:59 UTC

You're right on, man. Linux doesn't have the tools today, and therefor (by Darius' Law) it will NEVER have the tools!

He didn't mentioned Linux will NEVER have the tools. That a simplistic (mis)understanding you imposed on what he said.

He only said that Linux IS NOT RIGHT NOW the right tool for music heads and DAW stuff. It might be someday, and then again it might not (BeOS was never a serious DAW platform, for example, not because of the capabillities but because it lacked the apps music pros use and it lacked pro musician users).

When you read music technology interviews of artists, 60% use a mac, 35% use PC and 5% use old Ataris or HW sequencing. No Linux here.

This world needs more people like you...

People that call a spade a spade?


You almost make me piss my pants from laughter ;)


You know, there is a word for people that piss their pants from laughter or whatever. In fact Jim Carrey got rich portraying them in movies.

Cooperation
by tullepost on Wed 14th Apr 2004 14:10 UTC

I just now found that Audition does not support VST, to my annoyement. This is most likely not because of technical issues, but purely buisiness-related.

*THIS* is much of what you're running away from when you choose Linux Audio or any other kind of free software. In time, and partially already, this obviosusly imposes _BIG_ advantages.

Just learned that the no-cost-version of Protools has an implemented editing 'anti-feature', wich makes it quite useless. This, again, is a buisiness-related problem, and would never be an issue in Free Software.

We just want apps wich are logically and good built, NOT quarrels and financial warfare between companies, wich seriously sets back much of the potential in good PC and Mac-hardware.

This is what linux needs
by Paul Gallant on Wed 14th Apr 2004 14:16 UTC

Great Article!, I have the feeling that Linux will catch up to the Win/Mac world in a few years. For starters they need to convince Pro Audio companys to release Linux drivers for products like this:

http://www.tascam.com/product_info.php?pid=270&nav=computer_hardwar...

how do you do it?
by trumpetmic on Wed 14th Apr 2004 14:29 UTC

Could you do the howto side of this story? Include your distro and steps to get things working?

@Darius
by Eu on Wed 14th Apr 2004 14:30 UTC

Instead of seeing the huge progress being made and grasping why this made change the future of Digital Audio, you are always spitting in the air hoping the wind may not reverse its course.

God forbid that you have to humble yourself one day and use Linux because it has surpassed proprietary OSes in some way that appeals to you and god forbid that we give some credit to the developers who are giving us these incredible tools for all to enjoy.

Excellent...
by grapegraphics on Wed 14th Apr 2004 15:08 UTC

As a MAC user (Graphic Designer/Artist & Musician) I am so glad that Linux can, as is going so deep in the OS with regards to audio... This is why I like the Mac, it's 'from the core.'

I believe in a Mac/Linux world... what a combonation...

mmmm, pork...

Jb

planet ccrma
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Apr 2004 15:09 UTC

they are serious about linux audio

(to the guy who was wondering if high end linux audio was a joke)

RE: all
by Filippo Pappalardo on Wed 14th Apr 2004 15:16 UTC

@ all
thanks for the kind words this is just my first article ;)

@ trumpetmic
I'm afraid it would be very boring ;)
anyway follow the links I provided at the end of the article for tons of howtos. Also, depending on your linux distro, you'll find easy ways to get Jack & Co. installed on your box: do a search for "agnula" o "planet ccrma".

regarding VST
VST support is actually a reality, with some exceptions. I didn't put anything VST related into the article because it's too early to party.

regarding the future of Linux
I love linux. Unfortunately I don't have any crystal ball and I can't say "where it will go tomorrow". But I see *no point* in just blaming linux because third party hardware or software vendors don't support it...

Linux _is_ already there

felipe

RE: CCRMA
by Savage Sailor on Wed 14th Apr 2004 15:54 UTC

I used it for a year and it is really amazing. Tons of sound utilities and applications. The whole distro is tweaked to make sound processing priority #1.

"Planet CCRMA (CCRMA is pronounced ``karma'') at Home is a collection of rpms (RPM stands for RedHat Package Manager) that you can add to a computer running RedHat 7.3, 8.0, 9 or Fedora Core 1 to transform it into an audio workstation with a low-latency kernel, current ALSA audio drivers and a nice set of music, midi, audio and video applications. It replicates most of the Linux environment we have been using for years here at CCRMA for our daily work in audio and computer music production and research. Planet CCRMA is easy to install and maintain, it can be installed and upgraded over the network from the Planet CCRMA apt repository or its mirrors, or from cdroms you can download from this site."

RE: @Darius
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:02 UTC

Don't get so defensive because Linux does not do something as well as other operating systems. Maybe one day you will come to terms with the fact that Linux is not the best thing in the world for everything, and stop whining about anyone whose opinion differs. And Darius has stated in the past that he has used Linux, so your childish ranting is off-target. Have you ever taken even any basic psychology classes? You're telling a lot more about yourself than I imagine you realize.

Rant.
by cheezwog on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:11 UTC

It's worth bearing in mind what the point of all this software is. That is, to make music.

Being told that Linux software is unready because it lacks this or that feature, is like someone saying they can't make a film, as all they have is a very high quality camera and editing suite.

As long as you can record, edit and mix with a few common plugins (comp,eq etc), you can make an album.

Too much emphasis is placed nowadays on the tools we use to make music, rather than the ideas and abilities of the musicians.

What is wrong with most music is not a lack of plugins used, soft synths or obscure editing features, it's a lack of ideas, arrangement skills, good lyrics and inspiration. Unfortunately, without those qualities, the music is poor, whether it is recorded on a $30,000 pro tools rig, or free software. You cannot learn to create a good mix just by increasing the variety of plugin effects you are using.

I work professionally as a producer, and have done for some years now, and have found that 80% of what makes a good record is not about how much you fiddle with the computer. The song, performance, room, mics, pres and players abilitys are far more important.

Of there are caveats, the software has to be reliable to allow this. That is my main problem with Linux audio software at the moment. Also, if the music you make is fundamentaly electronic in nature, you need the instruments you have learnt to play, be that Reason, SSM, Fruity Loops, JMax or Hydrogen. They are instruments after all, and expecting someone who has learnt to play one to instantly move to an unfamiliar instrument is like expecting a guitarist to pick up a trumpet and solo.

But really, if people are honest about what their music lacks, choice of plugins is rarely the biggest problem.

@rain
by stray on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:18 UTC

Bah, ProTools has to be the most overrated app in the music industry. There are a lot better software like Samplitude Studio for example.

Software-wise, sure it's got it's flaws. ProTools definitely lacks with MIDI/Synth, but it's not overrated, because I'm not talking about software necessarily. When talking about PT, you really have to mention HD/MIX/TDM. Judging by the app alone isn't going to show it's worth. There's a reason why it's widely used, and it's nothing to do with hype.

RE:cheezwog
by stray on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:36 UTC

Being told that Linux software is unready because it lacks this or that feature, is like someone saying they can't make a film, as all they have is a very high quality camera and editing suite.

As long as you can record, edit and mix with a few common plugins (comp,eq etc), you can make an album.

Too much emphasis is placed nowadays on the tools we use to make music, rather than the ideas and abilities of the musicians.


I agree, I'm a musician and engineer as well (heh, sorry, but I refer to producers as engineers ;) , and I could care less about a gajillion VST plugs (though my criticism still stands of the lack of synths on Linux). Most of it just gets in my way. I regularly have "analog days", so I know where your heading.

Of there are caveats, the software has to be reliable to allow this. That is my main problem with Linux audio software at the moment.

That's all my problem is too (stability and power). If I was just setting up a home studio though, I'm sure I could do quite a bit with it.

@stray
by rain on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:38 UTC

Judging by the app alone isn't going to show it's worth. There's a reason why it's widely used, and it's nothing to do with hype.

You were comparing ProTools and Ardour, so I assumed that you were talking about the software since Ardour is just that.
Actually is has a lot to do with hype because studios tend to buy whatever hardware/software that is standard in other successful studios. When buying expensive equipment people rather buy known brands instead of investigating which solution is the best one. That's the reason the Line6 POD still is the best selling amp modeller even though there are better alternatives(Digitech and Vox for example). Though I think Line6 will have trouble competing with Vox in the future since it's such a well respected brand.
Anyway, back to the subject. I know a few producers who works with ProTools daily and I told them to try out SamplitudeStudio and they were amazed by how much easier it was to work with though since they had allready invested in ProTools they couldn't justify the switch, but they would consider it for the next upgrade though.

ProTools has got such a good reputation because a lot of famous producers and artists are using it. And other people will think that it's the best deal since the famous people wouldn't consider using anything but the best.
It's all just marketing.
ProTools may be pretty nice but it's defenatly not worth the price IMO. And it IS overrated.

Various comments.
by Chris Metzler on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:42 UTC

Regarding the suitability of Linux for pro-audio work . . .

At present, using JACK and a preemptable/low-latency kernel (I'm using a patched 2.4; I don't have personal experience with 2.6, but it's supposedly an improvement), the maximum latencies I've seen have been at about the 2ms level, with sub-millisecond latency the norm. The kernel buys you the low-latency; JACK ensures that user-space delays don't ruin it, and further makes that latency homogenous through appropriate buffering of signals. In general, Linux scoops Windows on this end.

Where Windows scoops Linux, of course, is in the applications -- the level of features and their robustness in areas such as HDRs, sequencers, samplers, etc. But anyone who's been following this closely for a while knows that the situation has been changing dramatically over the last few years. Three years ago, a comparison between Rosegarden ( http://www.rosegardenmusic.com/ ) and Cubase would have been absurd. Now, it's not absurd. Cubase still wins, but the gap is much narrower. For most work and most people, Rosegarden is just fine; and I question whether Cubase will still be a better product in two years.
Similarly, Ardour ( http://www.ardour.org/ ) is intended to fill the role normally occupied by ProTools. Does it succeed? Not completely; but it's pretty damned good, and it's getting better a lot faster than ProTools is. There are lots and lots of Linux audio apps ( http://www.linux-sound.org/ ), which range in completeness and quality from nearly unusable to excellent.

In my opinion, pro-audio on Linux is a comer. But that doesn't mean there aren't issues to solve.

One big one is a common bugaboo for open source projects -- documentation. The documentation for most of these projects is awful. This is especially important for applications like this, which are farther removed from the kind of thing people usually do on computers. If there wasn't any user-oriented documentation for GNOME or KDE, I think I could still figure things out just fine; but if something more specific like the GIMP had no good docs, it would be a struggle. And that's the case with a lot of the serious Linux audio apps. I expect this to change too; but I don't know how quickly.

A second issue, IMHO, concerns the latency numbers I quoted earlier. To achieve them, I had to apply two patches to the kernel source and recompile. The average user is not going to want to recompile their kernel to get great performance. Perhaps the 2.6 kernel improvements no longer require this; OK. But the second thing is that in order to get these kind of numbers, JACK has to be run with realtime scheduling. This, in turn, requires the user to do one of two things: run JACK as root (in which case, all the apps that will interface with it, like Ardour or Hydrogen or Rosegarden, have to run as root too); or enable "POSIX-capabilities" inheritance in the kernel so regular-user apps can obtain realtime scheduling privileges. The former is scary -- it's always scary to run complex applications as root -- while the latter requires a kernel recompile (even with 2.6) and is a security risk.

The third issue is that while some application areas (HDRs, MIDI sequencers, effects plugins, mastering tools, etc.) are doing well, others (e.g. samplers) are in their early stages, while still others (e.g. notation editing) are almost completely lacking. The last point bears repeating: there are projects (like Rosegarden or Noteedit) that give you some notation-editing capability, and there are projects (like Lilypond) intended to produce excellent typeset scores; but there's nothing on Linux that really compares to Finale or Sibelius at this point, and there are no projects I know of even in their birth stages that are intended to fill that gap.

I'm using Linux for audio work; I like doing so, and (through reporting of problems) like contributing to its continuing improvement. But it has a ways to go to equal or surpass Windows in this regard. I think it will get there eventually, but it certainly isn't there yet.

re: Rant
by rain on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:44 UTC

As long as you can record, edit and mix with a few common plugins (comp,eq etc), you can make an album.

I agree 100%. What is more important to me is performance. To be able to squeeze in a lot of tracks with high quality effects on one CPU is important, that's the reason I prefer to use lighter software.
Also, a huge amount of features can very well decrease your creativity. I found myself much more creative with the 4-channel portastudio I used in my early teens than with the current audio recording software. But the problem with the porta was the low audio quality.

average user..
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:50 UTC

I have no use for any fancy audio editing. But I have one important question.

In all this mess is there some simple transparent way to have all my damn applications to access my sound hardware simultaneously?

Without recompiling everything to support some new(or old) fangled technology. Which isn't even possible for closed source apps.

When it comes to linux audio, the ability to play multiple streams at once is all i've ever wanted.

@rain
by stray on Wed 14th Apr 2004 16:59 UTC

Though I think Line6 will have trouble competing with Vox in the future since it's such a well respected brand.

Hehe, actually I just bought a Valvetronix. Me like =P

You know what? I'll check out Samplitude. Maybe I spoke out of line. I still don't think PT is overrated though ;)

I found myself much more creative with the 4-channel portastudio I used in my early teens than with the current audio recording software.

Yep..I also recall that I used to write a whole bunch (and better) when all I used was a text editor. As long as the editor could hold unlimited text, I was good to go. Same thing with audio, I just need "unlimited text" (impossibility, but I'm sure you get the analogy). I don't care about too much about "formating", "fonts", or
"features", per se.

Just a Question
by stray on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:09 UTC

Is OSNews full of musicians with too much free time on their hands, or what?

I'm a bit surprised...Thought I was the only one. ;-)

plug-ins?
by ryan on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:11 UTC

reverbs, compressors, EQs, and other assorted plug-ins are essential. ARe there any?


@Darius, @kind_of_fud
by Richard on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:11 UTC

Okay, I stand corrected. But I'm not sure why Darius would state such an obvious thing. I thought he had a 'deeper' meaning...

Sorry!

@ryan, re: plugins.
by Chris Metzler on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:18 UTC

reverbs, compressors, EQs, and other assorted plug-ins are essential. ARe there any?

Yes. Lots of really yummy native plugins ( http://www.ladspa.org/ ), as well as several projects (at various levels of robustness) that allow you to use some VST plugins as JACK clients.

Re: Everyone
by Darius on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:18 UTC

Eu
God forbid that you have to humble yourself one day and use Linux because it has surpassed proprietary OSes in some way that appeals to you

How do you I don't use it already for some things? When I needed to set up a box for a web/mail server along with RADIUS authentication, Linux was my first choice. Again, it's called using the right tool for the job - some people just don't seem to understand this concept.

Anonymous
Don't get so defensive because Linux does not do something as well as other operating systems. Maybe one day you will come to terms with the fact that Linux is not the best thing in the world for everything

OMG! You mean Linux is not the best thing in the world for everything? When did this happen!?!?

cheezwog
As long as you can record, edit and mix with a few common plugins (comp,eq etc), you can make an album.
Too much emphasis is placed nowadays on the tools we use to make music, rather than the ideas and abilities of the musicians.


But is that any reason to purposely limit the kinds of tools we use when we don't have to. Cetain genres of music benefit more from tools than others - eg, it'd be really had to make ambient music with only an acoustic guitar.

What is wrong with most music is not a lack of plugins used, soft synths or obscure editing features, it's a lack of ideas, arrangement skills, good lyrics and inspiration. Unfortunately, without those qualities, the music is poor, whether it is recorded on a $30,000 pro tools rig, or free software. You cannot learn to create a good mix just by increasing the variety of plugin effects you are using.

So by your logic, maybe we should just go back to using $10 Casio keyboards?

Also, if the music you make is fundamentaly electronic in nature, you need the instruments you have learnt to play, be that Reason, SSM, Fruity Loops, JMax or Hydroge

So first you argue against tools, and now you're arguing for them ? ;)

Richard
Okay, I stand corrected. But I'm not sure why Darius would state such an obvious thing. I thought he had a 'deeper' meaning...

This sort of thing is obvious to you and me, but trust me ... not obvious to others. If this were not the case, then why would people say that the only reason people would ever choose Windows over Linux on a PC would be for playing games? It just aggrevates the piss out of me every time I hear something like this. I know it shouldn't, but for some reason, it does.
Obviously, there are a lot of uneducated people out there.

To conclude, even if it were possible to get some decent audio apps up and running, what kind of options do we have when it comes to patch editors/OS upgrade options for hardware synths? For example, been looking forward to trying out the new Korg Tritin and the Roland Fantom X - certainly Linux is not supported by the vendors?

:D
by jbett on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:20 UTC

ACCEPT_KEYWORDS="~x86" emerge ardour

Right on, this is cool everything in place can't wait to get band members over to show them our new audio editing system.

@Paul Gallant, re: Tascam US-428
by Chris Metzler on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:22 UTC


Just wanted to make sure you knew that while Tascam hasn't released a driver for Linux for the US-428, the ALSA folks have. That said, I don't know anything at all about how well it works.

@ryan, Chris Metzler
by Willie Sippel on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:38 UTC

Check my previous post, there soon will be a lot more great plugins (and softsynths) available... ;-)

Linux Ain't it yet
by Ranty on Wed 14th Apr 2004 17:42 UTC

Excellent article. Thanks to the author for publishing it.

Linux needs MONEY. In the form of this: Music on Linux will leap ahead when current Windows software co.s, such as Steinberg or Cakewalk port some of their software to Linux. If probably won't happen w Cakewalk, or other MS asskissers, but these programs have a maturity and history of problem solving Linux apps can't match.

Even with a great recording program, which has sequencing features, and midi editing on piano roll view, there's still a lack of sampling/synthesis, and Linux is missing other very interesting stuff available on Windows, such as Ableton, Transcribe!, and others too numerous to name.

However, my desire to "divorce" Gates is strong enough to make me find a way to combine the use of hardware and software, so that what linux is missing--say, synthesis--I can make up for on hardware. Besides, running everything on computer is not quite musical enuff for me--I like keyboards. I find that no infintesimally low latency can compare with the response of a keyboard VS a "midi controller" running soft synths or samples. The trick is to find an affordable solution that balances hard- and software.

Open Source Logic Audio Alternative?
by TD on Wed 14th Apr 2004 18:17 UTC

I'd like the open source community to release something along the lines of Logic Audio, midi and multitrack recording in one application. An open source Reason like app would also be cool.

Are there any decent midi sequencers for Linux that would support a Motu usb Fastlane Express XT?

RE:Ranty
by stray on Wed 14th Apr 2004 18:24 UTC

so that what linux is missing--say, synthesis--I can make up for on hardware.

I'm pretty hybrid myself, since there always something unique which can't be produced by using any combination of software, but the same is true the other way around. Plus, tooling is half the fun.

Re: Ranty
by Darius on Wed 14th Apr 2004 18:26 UTC

However, my desire to "divorce" Gates is strong enough to make me find a way to combine the use of hardware and software, so that what linux is missing--say, synthesis--I can make up for on hardware.

I've been thinking about this too, but my tendancy is to make my next computer a dual G5 Mac. Though I don't care much for OSX for general every day use, I think it would be just fine as an audio workstation. If nothing else, every single synth I ever owned had Mac drivers/software out of the box, a benefit not present in Linux. I think an all-hardware setup may be a little too much $$, though I've never looked into it.

@Darius
by ThanatosNL on Wed 14th Apr 2004 19:47 UTC

I think that the reason people get excited when new facets of computer use become viable in Linux is because they like the configurability, the low price, and the open nature, and seeing previously untapped markets enter into the Linux realm brings excitement.

Instead of saying "woohoo! Linux r0ks! I can record stuff on it!" I think people are saying "Yay, I can do this in Linux now." It seems like you jump on people's case when they get excited about simply being able to do something new Linux as if they were being excited that now Linux does something better.

Maybe a lot of folks really do assume that because Ardour and Jack run on Linux, Linux is the best platform to record on, since Linux is just the best OS "evar." If that is the case, then they are certainly wrong, but I didn't get that impression. People who previously had to use Windows to record have every right to be happy if they can get away with doing it in Linux. Knowing the OSS development model that Ardour has, people also know that Ardour will get better over time, as well. This is just the foot in the door.

So by your logic, maybe we should just go back to using $10 Casio keyboards?

I took the point to mean that all the nifty features that Ardour doesn't have yet, that ProTools has, are really not nearly as important to the end result as the actual musicanship. Meaning, the software matters, but it's not the most important thing in the world.

As someone else pointed out, Linux can reach extremely low latencies as well, making the kernelspace software better in Linux than Windows.

I know your original post wasn't meant to imply that Linux will never be able to compete here, but what is the point of saying it isn't ready now? I didn't see too many "fanboy" posts above your original post, and I think you've recognized the quickly evolving nature of at least the technical nature of open source projects.

I guess my big beef is, I think that Linux is good enough now to start using it for audio recording, and the more people that start, the faster the software will mature.

How much does ProTools cost? The extra money that you'd sink into ProTools could be put into better hardware. You could buy a nice Terratec or RME sound card, for instance. For me, who doesn't even own Windows, I'd have to spend 200$ on XP Pro, before even buying ProTools.

That's beside the point, though. True, Linux isn't as good as Windows in this area now. Nor is Windows as good as a Mac (although the software is).

hmm
by fr0 on Wed 14th Apr 2004 19:56 UTC

Ardour's interface sure does look a lot like Pro Tools.

RE: RE: Everyone
by cheezwog on Wed 14th Apr 2004 20:01 UTC

"But is that any reason to purposely limit the kinds of tools we use when we don't have to. Cetain genres of music benefit more from tools than others - eg, it'd be really had to make ambient music with only an acoustic guitar. "

Well, yes, but you can have a bash at it if it's not *only* an acoustic.
Inspired by that comment, here is a little ambient composition made just now with an acoustic guitar, Ardour, and Freqtweak. The bass is the guitar shifted down an octave with the rather nice pvoc LADSPA pitch shifter. Totally contradicting myself here about plugins, but Freqtweak is so much fun. ;)

www.rocketgoldstar.com/oggs/guitamb.ogg (2.1mb 2mins26 Slow server, Getright advised. Could do with an edit to remove the 5 sec gap at the start and a fade in.)

"So by your logic, maybe we should just go back to using $10 Casio keyboards?"

No, and there is no reason to when you can download a multitracker, effects and softsynths for no cost. I just don't like the attitude I often hear of "Well I would be making great music, but I can't afford/install X piece of equipment/plugin/sequencer".

"So first you argue against tools, and now you're arguing for them ? ;) "

I'm arguing for instruments, which I guess are the tools of musicians. It's hard to make a record without any. ;)
A professional cellist might spend $30,000 on their instrument, but they could still make beautiful music with a $100 one from a junk shop (and most people could probably not tell the difference). It's the skill and ability of the musican that's important, and it's easy to forget that.

@rain
"I found myself much more creative with the 4-channel portastudio I used in my early teens than with the current audio recording software. "

In a way, that's why I'm interested in Linux audio. It's good to work in a different medium sometimes. Sure, it's limited in some ways compared to my Cubase rig, but I find the hard part about writing music is never operating the recorder. ;)

See those who are using Linux for Audio
by fbar on Wed 14th Apr 2004 20:44 UTC

I've read many times in this thread, Linux cannot be used for real audio use, and I also read, yes, Linux is ready.

To those, who think, Linux is not ready: This month there will be the second Linux Audio Conference, see
http://www.zkm.de/lad

4 days crammed with about 40 talks, plus 4 long concerts, including one Linux Sound Night. Linux already is used by many musicians and composers for serious work, especially of course in the academics world, but this always is the avantgarde: Computer music was invented by academics, now everyone uses it.

What's Your Music Style?
by Ranty on Wed 14th Apr 2004 21:41 UTC

It's also good to recognize that someone doing a score for a movie--the big time, let's say--isn't going to use Linux at this point. But whether you want to use Linux for music is dependent on the kind of music you want to produce. I play mainly piano and guitar duets with myself, and would in the future like to emulate a small jazz band with synth voices. So I don't need a fancy set-up. I need to edit midi, however, and wasn't impressed with Linux interfaces I saw on Brahms and Rosegarden. They are good programs but behind the cutting edge. Another great program you won't see matched on Linux is Sibelius. If you need that kind of scoring power Linux can't do it. Since I don't earn money at music I can afford to "sell-out" and change my technical needs in accord with my desire to kick MS and Gates out of my life.

Re: ThanatosNL
by Darius on Wed 14th Apr 2004 21:41 UTC

I know your original post wasn't meant to imply that Linux will never be able to compete here, but what is the point of saying it isn't ready now? I didn't see too many "fanboy" posts above your original post, and I think you've recognized the quickly evolving nature of at least the technical nature of open source projects.

My main point was not to saying that Linux isn't ready yet, as 'ready for who' is always a relative question. My point (and basically, my philosophy) is using the right tool for the job. I suppose you could 'get away' with using Linux as an audio workstation, but it seems rather pointless when there are other platforms that clearly do it better. (Not only Windows, but OSX as well - so not like you have to patronize 'The Evil Empire', unless you classify Apple in that category as well).
I dunno - it's like people are doing everything in their power do do *everything* with Linux no matter how bad it sucks at any particular task, seemingly for no other reason than other platforms are too 'immoral' for them, or whatever. And they wonder why people often compare OS zealots with religious ones.
All that being said, if Linux ever does surpass Windows in the audio department, you can bet I'll be the first in line. I've got no bias towards Linux - eitehr for it or against it. Just tired of zealots constantly trying to shove it down my throat. I'm surprised they haven't started going door-to-door yet like the Mormons do .. "Hi there, can I tell you about Linux today?"
But you watch - one day MS is going to do something that *really* pisses me off and I'll be the guy in teh white shirt and tie ;) lol

Missing the point
by Danni Coy on Thu 15th Apr 2004 00:27 UTC

"I'd like the open source community to release something along the lines of Logic Audio, midi and multitrack recording in one application. An open source Reason like app would also be cool.

Are there any decent midi sequencers for Linux that would support a Motu usb Fastlane Express XT?"

I think you are missing the point. Jack allows Audio Apps to play together in a way that means you no longer need to have all your functionality in the one app. AFAIK this type of functionality is not available at the system level anywheere else

Re: Darius
by Piers on Thu 15th Apr 2004 02:02 UTC

Hey Darius, already I have found a benefit with switching to Linux for Audio over Windows, my computer doesn't crash. Audio driver support for pro audio, for me is much better under Linux.

Other areas will improve with time.

RE:Darius
by BR on Thu 15th Apr 2004 03:27 UTC

"I dunno - it's like people are doing everything in their power do do *everything* with Linux no matter how bad it sucks at any particular task, seemingly for no other reason than other platforms are too 'immoral' for them, or whatever. And they wonder why people often compare OS zealots with religious ones. "

Somebody has to be the one who get's all the arrows.
Then "settlers" like you can come behind them, and marvel at how peaceful the scenary is.

RE: RE:Darius
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Apr 2004 06:32 UTC

And be alive, LOL. You settle that Gentoo wild-west, and us end users will be there if you ever get around to building a city.

Quotation of the month...
by foljs on Thu 15th Apr 2004 08:20 UTC

"Ardour is a 'Pro-tools beater', and doesn't attempt to compete with Cubase."

LOL...

Ardour is Cool Edit Pro from 3 years ago...

You must be kidding
by tullepost on Thu 15th Apr 2004 08:35 UTC

"(Not only Windows, but OSX as well - so not like you have to patronize 'The Evil Empire', unless you classify Apple in that category as well). "

Not evil, but proprietary. This makes the development-model different, with its negative/positive effects. MS is the worst example of proprietary, but Apple recently killed Logic for Windows. Don't know if that's evil...?!

"Ardour is Cool Edit Pro from 3 years ago..."

No. I have used Cooledit in exactly three years, professionally and at home, it being my favourite app. Recently, however, I began to find it slooow. It does *not* work in realtime, not even in 2.0+. Additionally, Cool calls itself 1.0 with at least 50% of the bugs Ardour has today. I have the newest Audition on WinXP, and it crashes at least once a day. So does Ardour at home, but it claims to be beta, and you can know wich are the weak points, while Cool crashes in random situations.
Cool has *never* been compete'able with Protools, wich I have used semi-professionally for 6 months. Cool cannot simulate a real studio, much because of the practise of mixing down to one track in the multitrack. This makes effects muuuuch slower than Ardour, you can't automate them, and you cannot use them during record.

I guess you might have used Cooledit a bit, and judged Ardour from the screenshot? Myself I was only going to play around with Linux, but now, since Ardour is almost finished, I can use that instead and work 100% in realtime with effects, even *while recording*! I'm gonna propose it at work too, since it makes a very good replacement for Adobe Audition/Cool edit.

@Danii
by foljs on Thu 15th Apr 2004 08:54 UTC

"I'd like the open source community to release something along the lines of Logic Audio, midi and multitrack recording in one application. An open source Reason like app would also be cool.

Are there any decent midi sequencers for Linux that would support a Motu usb Fastlane Express XT?"

I think you are missing the point. Jack allows Audio Apps to play together in a way that means you no longer need to have all your functionality in the one app.


No, I think YOU are missing the point.

I WANT to have all this functionality in one app. Probably you never used a professional sequencer. Apart from the integration aspect (have everything about a song in one place), there are several tasks that need these. Like extracting the groove from a MIDI or Rex-ified audio file to use on another track.

Simply being able to stream audio from app to app doesn't cut it.

AFAIK this type of functionality is not available at the system level anywheere else



P.S Jack is a program, it's not "at the system level". As such it is similar to Rewire which is available for Mac and Windows.

@tullepost
by foljs on Thu 15th Apr 2004 09:01 UTC

Cool has *never* been compete'able with Protools, wich I have used semi-professionally for 6 months.

Of course! Protools is like a Ferrari and Cool Edit/Audition is a Ford, feature and completeness wise!

I guess you might have used Cooledit a bit, and judged Ardour from the screenshot?

I have used Cool Edit here and there, for audio editing (not multitracking, I use Cubase for that).

Can't stop myself
by tullepost on Thu 15th Apr 2004 09:15 UTC

"I WANT to have all this functionality in one app. Probably you never used a professional sequencer."

Well, I DON'T want all in one app! Then I'll end up using several apps anyway, crossing each others toes.
Hoping to be able to sync ardour and soundtracker through JACK. No success yet - anyone knows the trick?

Good to see involvement, it means that we care! Read somewhere that "computer audio people are the computer-users most religious about the program they use". As you get older this kind of wears off, but it's still great fun discussing it!
Myself being at work right now.... ,]

Cool
by tullepost on Thu 15th Apr 2004 09:29 UTC

"I have used Cool Edit here and there, for audio editing (not multitracking, I use Cubase for that). "

Yeah....Cooledit _is_ the best single-waveform editor. On Linux you have Audacity, wich is very stable and good, but can only compete (very well) with Cooledit2000, wich also BTW is killed by commercial companies (Adobe/Syntrillium). This might not be _evil_, but it might feel like it for the average user...

Re: Chris Metzler (comment 43)
by Peder on Thu 15th Apr 2004 09:57 UTC

all the apps that will interface with it, like Ardour or Hydrogen or Rosegarden, have to run as root...and it is a security risk

In what sense? You shouldn't be hooked up to internet while recording anyway, and I doubt you'll be running your multi-user production server as an Ardour server. So the only "risk" is something crashing and wiping your hard drive, which is very unlikely.

@Peder
by Chris Metzler on Thu 15th Apr 2004 14:08 UTC


> all the apps that will interface with it, like Ardour
> or Hydrogen or Rosegarden, have to run as root...and it
> is a security risk

In what sense? You shouldn't be hooked up to internet while recording anyway, and I doubt you'll be running your multi-user production server as an Ardour server. So the only "risk" is something crashing and wiping your hard drive, which is very unlikely.


You may want to re-read what I wrote; from what you say here, as well as the way you excerpted it above, it appears that you mis-parsed what I said.

I didn't say that running those apps as root is a security risk. I said that running those apps as root is scary, because it's always scary to run complicated apps as root, for reasons such as the one you cite. Bugs are bad; bugs occurring with root privileges can be very bad. My reference to a security risk wasn't with regard to running these apps as root, though. Instead, what I said was that the alternative to running those apps as root -- patching the kernel to enable POSIX capabilities inheritance -- is a security risk. You may decide the risk is minor for you, and that's fine; plenty of other Linux pro-audio folks do likewise.

Free software does not imply GPL.
by climent on Thu 15th Apr 2004 14:18 UTC

Ardour is obviously free software, therefore GPL, therefore it can be freely extended and modified by anyone.

GEEZ!

Rephrasing it:

Ardour is GPL, therefore is obviously free software, therefore...

Free software !-> GPL

GPL -> free software

Thanks

BeOS
by pmvn on Thu 15th Apr 2004 14:33 UTC

BeOS has had really nice audio capabillities from times before Alsa. It sad that it never came to a good use. But we have the new mediakit now!

@Chris
by Peder on Fri 16th Apr 2004 07:26 UTC

Yes, I seem to have mis-interpreted you a bit.

Bugs are bad; bugs occurring with root privileges can be very bad

The worst case senario I can think of is loosing your work, since the OS and apps are free and only require the extra hour or so reinstalling.
But, if you aren't meticulous and change ownership on your files, they can still be whacked by a bug even if you run the app unprivileged.

Thanks!
by dpi on Sat 17th Apr 2004 12:25 UTC

Thanks for writing this. An introduction and howto in one, very neat.

To the person saying Linux needs "commercial audio applications". Who says the current applications aren't commercial?

For example if you like Ardour, i suggest you consider donating a few bucks to Paul Davis (the main author).

What you really meant is that you wanted to see commercial, proprietary applications for Linux.

Personally i feel no need for that since i don't like to be forced to pay for doing some amateur experiments. Obviously, some people here would likt that. All i can say is: mail the company behind the proprietary (commercial or non-commercial) application and ask for a port or the source and we'll see. If they don't know there's a demand they won't fullfil the demand.

Soft Synths
by dpi on Sat 17th Apr 2004 14:14 UTC

horgand - a JACK capable organ softsynth
qsynth - fluidsynth GUI front-end based on qt3 libraries
spiralsynthmodular - An Object orientated modular softsynth / sequencer / sampler

All work with JACK.