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newbie on linux studio

Discussion in 'Recording' started by pitagoras, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. pitagoras

    pitagoras Guest

    I'm a complete noob and want to record track by track (me alone) and so some sequencing/looping.
    I plan to build the following setup:
    1. A linux machine with rt kernel
    2. ECHO Audiofire 4 (yet to buy)
    3. mic to define (sm 58?, some diy with WM-61A?) to record voice and conga/kalimba/bongo (yet to buy)
    4. Line in from Rockman + Guitar
    5. Line in from Theremin
    6. some looping software like sooperlooper controled by midi footswitch
    7. Ardour
    8. Seq24 sequencer, hydrogen drum machine
    9. Audiotechnica ATHM20 headphones for monitor (yet to buy)
    10. yet-to-choose near field monitors... advice? (yet to buy)

    Selection of interface is mostly because it's "supported" by some open project.
    Does anyone have experience with studio around linux?
    What about the ECHO Audiofire 4?
    As you see budget is as low as possible, I'd say 1000 to start with a basic setup .
  2. Molotov256

    Molotov256 Active Member

    Dec 3, 2010
    Disclaimer: I just started using Linux and I'm a pretty amateur recorder, so pardon my ignorance.

    There's a flavor of Linux called UbuntuStudio (obviously based on Ubuntu) which comes prepackaged with a bunch of JACK stuff and Ardour and a plethora of other effects and programs that I haven't even started to mess with yet. I don't know what your knowledge level is with Linux (mine is very low on the learning curve), but If you choose to use Ubuntu of any variety, you ought to signup on ubuntuforums.org for Linux specific advice. The folks on there have been HUGELY helpful to me.

    On my somewhat experimental setup, I loaded an old P4 machine with UbuntuStudio and use an EMU 404 USB audio interface. One of my favorite things about Linux is how lightweight the OS is - it totally breathes new life into old computers that slog around with Windows on them. I haven't done any MIDI with the EMU404 since I got it running in Ubuntu, so I can't say much there. I'm not sure why, but there's loads of long long long long long forum threads out there about people looking for drivers and support for the EMU 404 USB in Ubuntu, but I got mine to work fine (audio input and output, haven't tested MIDI) just by changing the input and output settings in JACK Control. Maybe UbuntuStudio has some built in support that vanilla flavors of Ubuntu don't? Who knows?

    I'm not familiar with the ECHO Audiofire 4 you mention, but if you lurk a bit on some Linux forums, you ought to be able to get a feel for how it's working for people.

    Good luck!
  3. TimOBrien

    TimOBrien Active Member

    Jan 19, 2003
    Quite frankly unless you are linux superuser, you might want to go with XP/Win7 instead.

    LOTS of free/lowcost software on Windows and LOTS more VST effects available
    (and a lot more compatible hardware and helpful user boards)
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Win7 Pro with Reaper, GVST, and a few Fish Fillets thrown in and you're set. And no worries about finding drivers etc.
  5. Molotov256

    Molotov256 Active Member

    Dec 3, 2010
    I personally disagree, but it's really a matter of opinion and personal preference. I'm not a Linux superuser by any stretch (I don't even know any terminal commands without looking them up), but I'm usually able to find the information I need to keep making progress. All you really need is time, an internet connection, Google, and some good folks on some good forums (see my earlier post).

    It really all boils down to your expectations. If you expect plug & play compatibility with minimal setup woes, then yeah, Windows 7 is a good bet, although even that isn't completely foolproof. Also, Windows 7 is going to require a pretty decent computer to run smooth enough to be worth working on. If you're on a budget, these are all things to consider.

    If you have the time and the patience, Ardour running on Linux will be very rewarding to you once you have your audio interface configured through JACK Control. Since you're looking into buying a new interface anyhow, check on ubuntuforums.org under the UbuntuStudio category and read up on what interfaces work with Ubuntu right out of the box.

    To me, even though I'm not as proficient in Linux as I am Windows, my lack of proficiency makes me feel that much more satisfied when I clear a hurdle. Warm fuzzy feelings aside, once you have your computer and audio interface connected and functioning, you won't have to mess with it again (barring a computer catastrophe requiring a reformat or re-installation of Linux, but same goes for Win or Mac or whatever).
  6. pitagoras

    pitagoras Guest

    Linux is going just fine!

    Since I opened this thread, I managed to put together my home studio using linux.
    I resume my experience just for the record if anyone interested in the future.
    I use standard ubuntu but adding the falk-t-j repository (Index of /falk-t-j/lucid/ubuntu) which allows install more up to date audio tools and contains the lowlatency kernel.
    I bought M-Audio fast track pro interface, which is USB 1.1 class compliant and works out of the box. The lowlatency kernel was needed to go to 5 ms latency, but now I run without loosing frames at 5ms even with a heavily loaded machine.
    I also bought an old but very robust roland FC100 footswitch (which came with a MIDI adapter and an expression pedal) which I configure at will to command whatever I need to comand (loop start/end with sooperlooper, banks/presets, etc).
    I'm quite seasoned in ubuntu and in linux in general, but this should not discourage anyone as the ubuntu community is really helpful to solve problems (I solved most in freenode's #opensourcemusician). Linux is really stable and robust OS and I find the audio applications to be first class. I record using Ardour and qtractor which also sequences midi. Wiring stuff with jack control works nicely. I use sooperlooper for live looping, configured à la RC-50. Hydrogen is a very good drum machine, zynaddsubfx a nice synth, etc.. and endless list of good software.
    I hope this encourages others to follow this path.
  7. heva

    heva Active Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    FWIW: I use an old SonyVaio laptop as backup recorder on the odd concertrecording I do; it's a PIII-800 with 128mbRAM, running an ubuntu realtimekernel and used only for 'meterec' and jack with an Edirol UA1EX device (note: I run this all as root in singleusermode, very dedicated to recording with all privileges available). On 24/96 this runs for hours with no problem/hickup ever; basically the laptop turns in a recorder with large meters, start/stop buttons saving the 1's and 0's to disk (in w64). Not been able to test a FireWire audiodevice, but streaming DV from a Camcorder to disk by a PCMCIA device, never gave a problem too.
    Editing and mastering (if I may call it what I do, ahum) can be done in Ardour2 on a faster computer, if you like using Jamin for EQ/Compr/Lim.. In the end I export from Ardour2 to .wav with a .toc file and burn this all to CD with gcdmaster.

    FireWire devices may be a pain, you might check ffado.org | Free Firewire Audio Drivers

    Disclaimer: I'm no professional in recording business in any way; appointed organist in a RC Cathedral, making a living as RedHat Certified Engineer (so I'm supposed to know some linux ...)

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