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Lets talk about Linux

Discussion in 'Recording' started by JonLewis, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. JonLewis

    JonLewis Guest

    I noticed that Linux has a kernel specialized for low-latency audio developed by the crew at Stanford University called “Planet CCRMA at home.” There is evidently quite a bit of audio/MIDI software developed for Linux. The most intriguing bit is JACK which is a low-latency audio server and transport control interface. It evidently allows numerous pieces of audio software to be interconnected and synchronized without specifically being compatible with each other. Has anyone had any experience with Linux based DAWs? What was your experience with it? From what I read, the audio engine is up to PT level but the UI is lacking. Can anyone back this claim up or shoot it down? It is well known that Linux is passably one of the most stable platforms, but does this reputation continue into the world of audio? Please, no glorifying or bashing without current experience or evidence to back it up! Opinions are great, but I am looking facts.

  2. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Jon, While I have no experience with CCRMA you spoke of I have toyed with a few Linux audio apps in the past although nothing approaching the level that CCRMA appears to have achieved. They were very stable, the audio quality was excellent and the UI wasn't bad either. All in all a decent product but primitive compared to Cubase, PT etc. Drivers are the biggest issue I see with further development of Linux based audio programs. That said IMO Linux is the OS of the future and you should see better and better audio apps released for it. Maybe Steinberg or one of the other software makers will put out a Linux version in the next few years.

    Is that kernel available for download?
  3. JonLewis

    JonLewis Guest

    Thank you for replying. Can you expand on your comment of being primitive compared to Cubase and PT. Out of curiosity, how long ago did you toy with Linux audio? I have read (forgot where) that Ardour (http://ardour.org/) is comparable to PT; at least the audio engine. It seems that the drivers issue is also being taken care of with ALSA (http://www.alsa-project.org/). They seem to support most of the pro-level sound cards. I use the Delta 1010 which is supported. Yes, CCRMA is available for download. Here is the link: http://ccrma.stanford.edu/planetccrma/software/planetccrma.html. What is “IMO Linux,” I have not heard of that distribution? I have started a thread on the ardour-users-ardour.org mailing list asking what the best Linux configuration for me would be, maybe you also have some suggestions. As soon as it is put in the archives is will post a link to it here, but here is my system configuration:
    AMD Athlon 64 3200 939 pin (single)
    Gigabyte K8NS mobo (nForce3)
    1 gb DDR 400 (2-matched Kingston 512 mb)
    2-80 gb Segate 7200 rpm sata drives (1-os, 1-audio)
    Matrox G550 32 mb dual head video card
    M-Audio Delta 1010 audio card
  4. JonLewis

    JonLewis Guest

    Here is the link to that thread on the adour mailing list: http://listserver.dreamhost.com/pipermail/ardour-users-ardour.org/2005-March/001830.html.
  5. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Thank you Jon for posting this stuff... it's all very interesting... almost interesting enough to make me try some of it.
  6. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Jon, As David said thank you for posting this great information. I'm going to have to start downloading this stuff and give it a whirl. It sounds like great strides have been made since I last tried Linux audio.

    Sure, both of the apps I ran did not contain alot of the DAW functions we take for granted now. The layout was almost an afterthought it seemed although with a little practice it was useable. Editing was pretty minimal and the tools were not up to today's standards. MIDI control was pretty sparse also if memory serves. Only a few sound cards were supported as well. I believe both apps may still reside on my old Linux box which is somewhere around here, I'll fire it up and if they are still there I'll post the program titles.

    2 maybe 2 1/2 years ago. The one app I favored I used to record a local accoustic guitar duo several times and the tracks were very nice. No complaints about the audio quality that's for sure.

    I'm sorry, it's a web abbrevation for In My Opinion not a Linux distrubution. I was just saying that in my opinion Linux is the OS of the future.

    Again thank you so much for providing the great information and links to the resources. It looks like my current Linux box will be getting a big dose of audio work soon. Please keep us updated and also feel free to drop by the DAW's and Computing Forum any time you like, I'm sure some of our users over there will be interested as well.
  7. JonLewis

    JonLewis Guest

    Just to keep those of you who are interested up to date, I am currently involved in discussions on the ardour-users (http://lists.ardour.org/listinfo.cgi/ardour-users-ardour.org) and PlanetCCRMA (http://ccrma-mail.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/planetccrma) mailing lists trying to get as much information as possible before I take the plunge. I will post my findings here (and any other appropriate forums) as soon as I get them. Just a note to the mediators: it might be interesting to start a Linux forum just to see what happens.
  8. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    For those interested in Linux Audio seek out a book written by Dave Phillips. I don't recall the title off of the top of my head but I have seen it in Barnes and Noble. He has worked with some heavy hitters in the Linux community in developing audio tools for the platform. I have spoken with him several times and he really lives and breathes it along with being a pretty damn fine musicians as well.
  9. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    I'm no expert but like you I have been watching for some time and Adour is the current high profile package.
    I've never loaded Linux but it will happen one day.

    when you do begin experimenting, let me know and I'll see if I can organise my time to join you.
  10. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    We had a linux forum once; there were about three posts in it.
  11. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    I know... but I think a time will come
  12. trey85stang

    trey85stang Guest

    Ardour is a great piece of software from what I have used. I have been working on the linux platform for a little over 4 years now and I have never had a reason to go back to windows (well maybe a few but I made do :D)

    For those of you that are looking to take the plunge.. I suggest you take a look at this website for an all-inclusive distrobution.


    I am an old guitar player that took a 6-7 year break from playing and I am overwhelmed by the leaps and bounds that recording industry has taken over that amount of time. I've been slowly working with ardour and it it is fullfilling all my home based needs. I will be throwing a band together soon and it seems as this will fullfil all my needs for cutting a demo without ever having to take a trip to a studio.

    The only negative I have ragarding recording on linux is some sound cards just do not work with midi at all. The next issue as mentioned above is device driver support. I recommend if any of you have a spare machine to take a look at linux and ardour. Some of you might be suprised, dont forget the fact that it can be had for free :D
  13. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    I think Kev's idea is a pretty good one. If you guys are interested we can work out the details as a group and share them on this thread. I'm willing to give Ardour a shot as it sounds like it may be the real deal. Maybe others will join in if we get it rolling.

    Trey, it seems like you're the farthest along so if you don't mind would you detail your PC hardware and sound card for us.

    I'll be using a Layla 24/96, I'll let you know how it goes once I'm done downloading all this stuff.
  14. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    I was thinking the separate machine and probably test without a pro card to start with ...

    I wouldn't be lucky enough to find a driver for the AMIII card ... would I ?
  15. trey85stang

    trey85stang Guest

    Im definatly a newbie at this recording stuff.. But a friend and I are interested in setting up a decent home studio. So we can record whatever we need when we want :D

    Anyways.. my setup is nothing major. Its a a celeron 2.5 ghz machine w/ 1GB of ram, and a cheap soundblaster live card (I only use the line in) I am not running the distro I mentioned above.. I am running Slackware 10. Latest version of jack and the latest version of ardour and alsa 1.06

    So far the recordings I have done have been with backing tracks. I dont have the equipment yet (or even know what equipment I need) But I have done a few 5-6 track recordings with great success imo.

    Anyways.. I'll make you guys a deal.. Ill help you rid your self of the linux noobness if you help rid myself of this recording noobness :D

    btw, what is a 24/96?? :confused:
  16. trey85stang

    trey85stang Guest

    It doesnt look like alsa (advanced linux sound archtectirure, this is the project that provides drivers for soundcards http://www.alsa-project.org) supports any audio media cards.
  17. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member


    24 bit ... bit depth of the sample
    96 K ... sample clock rate

    the above link should have read

    I'm happy to use any sound card the group chooses. Don't make it too expensive and I can hag in there.
  18. voidar

    voidar Guest

    I have downloaded what I believe to be the iso's I need from Planet CCRMA, six in total of the Fedora Core 1. Thinking of trying this out some day soon.

    One question to the people who have actually tried Ardour. How do the available LADSPA-plugs sound? Are there any good EQ's, compressors etc.?
  19. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Kev, is it best if we all use the same card? If it is I'll use whatever the group is using also. You're far better at organizing this type of group project than I am so any suggestions or direction you have please feel free to tell us.

    My original plan (for myself) was to use my current DAW which has swappable drives and just trade out the Windows OS and Audio drives for the Linux OS and Audio drives. That way I could run either whenever I wanted and also compare the performance of the 2 since the rest of the hardware would be identical.

    If it's best to have us all on the same card I'll just use one of my spare machines as another Linux box (I have 2 machines running Linux now).

    Let me know guys.
  20. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    While the group is small I think close to common hardware is good.

    My main DAW is PT so I don't expect drivers and ultimately a NON digi unit is a good idea ... if it also will use digi gear then all the better ... I am thinking AMIII 001 002 M-box here.

    forget TDM hardware support as it offers only one bonus ... VIRUS plug support.

    This is all about open platform so I think recycled cards is a great place to start ... or the clean lined well priced NEW cards with NEW clocks and converters.

    There will be enough trouble with the variety of computers .. so once again I think there is merrit in the the older hardware ... to a point.

    Stable PCI slots are good but the future is external through 1394 USB2 and perhaps Ethernet.

    cutting edge stuff BUT this world moves to fast to not expect change to come fast.

    AS fars as I am concerned ...
    a bottom line system need to record and playback to a two 24 track standard and in a modern sense be scallable
    be capable of import and export to windoze and Mac based machines.

    I have more to say
    ... net time is low .... 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... oops got to go ... 4 ... 3 .....

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