Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Support & discussion regarding DAWs and MIDI sequencers.

Moderators: khz, MattKingUSA

What are your favourites?

Ardour/Harrison Mixbus
53
41%
LMMS
7
5%
Qtractor
17
13%
Rosegarden
6
5%
Tracktion Waveform
11
8%
Renoise
3
2%
Bitwig Studio
7
5%
Reaper
17
13%
Muse
4
3%
Other
5
4%
 
Total votes: 130

Death
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Re: The best Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Death » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:02 pm

Michael Willis wrote:This might be heresy, but if your wine setup is working for you, why change? You sure have done your due diligence and have tried pretty much every native option that I can think of. If you're not happy with them, that's fine, use what works for you.


Yeh that's a good question. I already came to that conclusion about a month ago and stopped looking at Linux DAW's. But... I had this mission to replace all my Windows software with Linux software. I've replaced everything now apart from my DAW. That's literally all that's left. I came so close to my goal and it felt like a shame to stop so I kept on looking for replacements. I think I really have been through all the best candidates though so it might take a while to get this done.

I'm keeping my eye on these programs though as some of them have come close to making the cut for me. I think some of them will be there within a couple years. I'm looking forward to the day..

@JamesPeters - I recognise your avatar. I think you were very helpful to me once on the Reaper forum not so long ago! I can't remember my username there but I was trying to setup a drum sampler or something. It ended up getting a bit complicated and I just bailed in the end haha.. Thankyou once again though :)

And yeh, I know Reaper is a great program but it just wasn't doing it for me really. I have no complaints about the pricing either! I bought a license for it back in 2013 and I think it might even still be valid for today's current version. Maybe I will try it again at some point. I've given plenty of programs multiple chances in the past.

sysrqer wrote:I tend to have two stages of the music I make, making and mixing the music, and then editing and mixing vocals. I have always used renoise for the music, for me it's very creative and I like the amount of modulation that's possible, control of details that you can have, the native fx, and the stability. I had never even heard of trackers before I used it but I quickly fell in love with it when went through all the linux offerings (there always seemed to be something major about the workflow that I didn't like) and when I saw how powerful it was I didn't look back.

That said I've done a few tracks exclusively in reaper lately and found it very different but enjoyable. I've also started experimenting in puredata with automatonism, it's great fun and so much quicker to get going with than regular puredata.

For the vocals I used to use ardour (because it's a nightmare to try to mix and edit 20-30 vocal takes in renosie). For the most part it was fine but there some stability issues when projects got complex so I decided to try reaper. Once I started to use that I didn't go back to ardour, the actions in it are incredible and you can customise every aspect of it to how you like to work. It was also very stable.


I've also tried Renoise. Trackers aren't really my thing unless it's just some novelty fun I'm after, but it does do its job very well. But yeh, looks like you take that different programs for different stages of production approach which I mentioned. Seems so common amongst Linux users..

zoco wrote:I don't like topics about best. Best daw, best microphone, best interface. Is best for you also the best for someone else? What is best?
My wife says i am the best man one can get. I think your wife will not agree.


I don't believe in 'a best DAW' either. You've just misinterpreted this topic, which is probably my fault. I've renamed the title to stop the confusion :wink:

English Guy wrote:I am a recording musician (as opposed to a programming one, except some drums on hydrogen and a bit of keys for colour) so Mixbus has proved best for me. It not only sounds good, it has a sane selection of tools built into the mixer such as eq, compression/ limiting, high pass filter, a master bus limiter, which make audio mixing easier and more intuitive. I also like the way it is set to sum your mix into to mixbusses; on my modest gear it makes mixing easier.


I hear ya! If I didn't care about midi then I'd have been on Mixbus already. I love the mixer on it :)

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sysrqer
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Re: The best Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby sysrqer » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:20 pm

Death wrote:I've also tried Renoise. Trackers aren't really my thing unless it's just some novelty fun I'm after, but it does do its job very well. But yeh, looks like you take that different programs for different stages of production approach which I mentioned. Seems so common amongst Linux users..

I would probably do the same regardless of the OS. The vocalist I work with sends a lot of stems (doubles or triples for leads, lots of harmonies and backing vocals often tripled or quadrupled), sometimes over 50 in total so when I start mixing them there's no way I could do it all at the same time as all the processing that I do with the music. At best I would do it in a different project in the same program. I don't really see it as the same as using one program for midi sequencing, another for drum tracks, another for something else. It's not really a modular approach like some linux users have, it's more of a question of CPU power to be honest. I know trackers are not for everyone, and I would never thought in a million years that I would use one as my main daw, but I think if you dig in to renoise and learn it properly and get over that initial 'this is weird' period you would quickly adapt and thrive like I did. Then again, I'm not trying to convert you, use what produces the results for you. I came to linux because I heard it was possible to use ableton in wine and it seemed like a no brainer. After deciding to make the switch I realised that there was a performance hit and it wasn't ideal to use wine so I started searching...renoise just ended up being the closest thing to what I needed despite the alien approach.

I don't think using different programs which are best for the job is uncommon for other OS either. Check out Barry Beats - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZDENqF ... pI&index=5 he uses a record player to source his sounds, ableton to create the track and protools to mix it. Or artists that create sounds with modular synths and record in to a daw to edit and mix.

Death
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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Death » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:36 pm

Yeh I'm not against using multiple programs. I've considered using Harrsion Mixbus just for mixing but I just like to do it all in one program. One of the reasons for that is so that if I wanted to play live from my project, it's already a finished song and will sound good live, otherwise I'll only have ahead and mix/master the song again in the program I composed it in for a live situation. Might as well just do it all in one project/program and save the hassle. I'm good for cpu issues too. I build my own computers so I tend to update the hardware when they need the extra power.

You know what though, I'm gonna look into Renoise again. I want to see what it looks like to mix a session in that program. Thing is, it just seemed like it was designed for everything to be clicked in. I like to play midi in by hand for the most part. How does that even work in Renoise?

Edit: Does it support LV2 btw? I'm looking into this stuff already, but just incase you reply before then..

I've just added a poll too.

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Michael Willis
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Re: The best Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Michael Willis » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:03 am

Death wrote:I'm keeping my eye on these programs though as some of them have come close to making the cut for me. I think some of them will be there within a couple years. I'm looking forward to the day..

I'm one of those weird people who really likes Ardour even for doing really midi-heavy projects. I tried Muse and Rose garden for a while, but switched to Ardour a while after it adopted midi support. Unlike a lot of folks, I've grown to like the all-in-one interface without separate midi editor windows.

There are some improvements to the midi editor coming in Ardour 6.0, I'm not really familiar with everything, but I have seen screenshots of a lollipop-style velocity editing view that looks pretty nice. I do understand that if you don't like the inline piano roll, you probably won't ever like Ardour for midi. I don't think anybody will convince Paul and Robin to change that decision.

Death
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Re: The best Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Death » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:48 am

Michael Willis wrote:There are some improvements to the midi editor coming in Ardour 6.0, I'm not really familiar with everything, but I have seen screenshots of a lollipop-style velocity editing view that looks pretty nice. I do understand that if you don't like the inline piano roll, you probably won't ever like Ardour for midi. I don't think anybody will convince Paul and Robin to change that decision.


The inline editor wouldn't stop me using it, but I prefer not to be forced into that. The main reason was just that I hate the slow and clunky methods for inputting and adjusting midi notes. Not being able to easily see or adjust velocities was a big deal so I'm glad to hear that improvement is coming! This means I'll definitely be revisiting Ardour/Mixbus :)

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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Basslint » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:19 am

Ardour is my favorite DAW because:

1) It's free and open source
2) It does not fry my CPU
3) It has a nice GUI, both in terms of looks and usability
4) It supports LADSPA and LV2 plugins
5) I like the single window interface
6) I mostly work with audio, not MIDI

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sysrqer
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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby sysrqer » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:13 am

Death wrote:Yeh I'm not against using multiple programs. I've considered using Harrsion Mixbus just for mixing but I just like to do it all in one program. One of the reasons for that is so that if I wanted to play live from my project, it's already a finished song and will sound good live, otherwise I'll only have ahead and mix/master the song again in the program I composed it in for a live situation. Might as well just do it all in one project/program and save the hassle. I'm good for cpu issues too. I build my own computers so I tend to update the hardware when they need the extra power.

You know what though, I'm gonna look into Renoise again. I want to see what it looks like to mix a session in that program. Thing is, it just seemed like it was designed for everything to be clicked in. I like to play midi in by hand for the most part. How does that even work in Renoise?

Edit: Does it support LV2 btw? I'm looking into this stuff already, but just incase you reply before then..

I've just added a poll too.

I actually really like mixing in renoise, you can do some amazing stuff with sidechaining, such as creating your own dynamic eq or more regular volume ducking either based on the signal source or from custom drawn LFO shapes etc.

As far as playing, you can play things with the qwerty keyboard, or midi controller. You can use regular midi mapping (or just connecting the controller and focusing on the relevant instrument) but it can be much more in-depth. Depending on the controller you have you can use a tool called Duplex which has built in scripts to do different things (like one for playing keyboard, another for controlling focused fx devices, another for controlling the mixer etc) and can be completely customised to do what you want it to, it's kind of similar to the control surface scripts or whatever they are called in ableton, or automap.

Playing and recording midi is very easy, there's a great tool called noodletrap which will record your playing and create 'takes' as phrases so you can play for a couple of minutes and then go back and trigger the ones you like whenever you like.

I would recommend just playing around for a while and watching some of the tutorial videos on renoise youtube channel. If there are specific ways of working you want to acheive just ask here or on the renoise forum and chances are there is a way to do it.

It doesn't support LV2 but a lot of them are available as VST in the kxstudio repo if you have that (or you could use carla), I don't really miss LV2 much, there are loads of VSTs available. The built in fx are really good on the whole and can be layered and combined with the modulation/meta devices to be very powerful, and if you need instruments you can create your own synths by using any kind of file (not even necessarily an audio file). You can draw your own waveforms in to the sampler so you can layer them and have modulation and fx chains for each layer so you can make some crazy synths with basically nothing.

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Re: The best Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby tavasti » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:11 am

Michael Willis wrote:I'm one of those weird people who really likes Ardour even for doing really midi-heavy projects. I tried Muse and Rose garden for a while, but switched to Ardour a while after it adopted midi support. Unlike a lot of folks, I've grown to like the all-in-one interface without separate midi editor windows.

In fact, I like that all-in-one interface. However, editing of notes, somehow I am not fully ok with that, but I suppose it is matter of not just done enough midi in Mixbus. But then, LMMS is great, and many times I start things with it. All the synths and presets are there, and I also love LMMS 'mark scale', so I as music theory newbie can easily see where I should put my notes. So I'm in two separate daws situation.

Edit: added sponsoring to my ticket about marking scale: https://tracker.ardour.org/view.php?id=7347
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Death
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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Death » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:37 pm

@sysrqer - Thanks for the info. I was watching tutorial videos lastnight to refresh my memory on how the program works. It kinda reminded me how fun it is to look at while a song is playing and I just enjoy something about the partly old school design aesthetic. But in the end I don't think that tracker layout is really where it's at for me. It's not how I like to picture song layout.

As for LV2 support, it's mainly just Calf stuff I want that for. I don't want to bridge them in with some other program either.

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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:35 pm

Why are Ardour and Mixbus the same entry in the poll? Do you need Ardour to use Mixbus? I thought Mixbus was a DAW in its own.

Anyway, give me Qtractor. Great integration w/ Jack.

P.S. For some simple stuff after recording DAW-less I use Audacity.

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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby tavasti » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:01 pm

Linuxmusician01 wrote:Why are Ardour and Mixbus the same entry in the poll? Do you need Ardour to use Mixbus? I thought Mixbus was a DAW in its own.

Mixbus is based on Ardour.
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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:11 pm

tavasti wrote:
Linuxmusician01 wrote:Why are Ardour and Mixbus the same entry in the poll? Do you need Ardour to use Mixbus? I thought Mixbus was a DAW in its own.

Mixbus is based on Ardour.

Never knew that, thanks. Can you use it stand-alone?

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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby Michael Willis » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:25 pm

Linuxmusician01 wrote:Can you use it stand-alone?

Yes, that is how it is designed. You don't need to have Ardour to use Mixbus, it just uses a lot of the same code as Ardour, with additional features added.

For what it's worth, I have the opinion that Ardour and Mixbus should be considered different DAWs for the purposes of a survey like this.

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Re: The best Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby ufug » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:07 pm

Hey, why isn't Jokosher in the poll? :)

For analogue stuff (95% of what I do), my favorite is Harrison Mixbus. I love Ardour and spent years using it, but Mixbus is sooo much easier for me, everything is right where I expect it to be. I also admire Qtractor, but haven't used it very much. I really look forward to exploring Reaper soon.

Easy is my #1 criteria. I guess "easy" is subjective, but I want a DAW that gets out of the way once it's time to record or mix (speaking of, Bitwig is "not-easy" for me--if anyone is interested in a Bitwig license, PM me).

Things are better than ever with the DAW options we have on Linux. Both the commercial and FOSS options are really good now, compared to 12-13 years ago when I switched over from the Mac. It's an exciting time!

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Re: Your favourite Linux DAW's in 2019?

Postby milo » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:50 pm

FWIW, I switched over to Linux "full time" in 2007, but I still did recording on my Windows 98 DAW for another couple of years after that. I was a poor student, and couldn't get my sound card working on Linux. I couldn't afford to buy a new audio interface. So my choice was either: 1) keep using Windows, or 2) stop making music. I chose #1 (at least initially, but then I started residency, which more or less forced me to choose #2 for a while.)

I agree with Michael Willis - your choice of software environment for music production is purely pragmatic, and there is no shame in using a Windows/OS X tool that you like. There are many factors in the equation (in no particular order): cost, freedom, workflow, interface, stability, software capability, technical expertise, creative style, curiosity, etc, etc. These factors weigh differently for different people, and even for the same person they will weigh differently at different times, and even for different songs.

These days I am using Ardour mostly, because I am not doing a lot with MIDI, and it is a really great environment for recording multiple takes on guitar and vocals. But I have also done some LMMS work recently, and I often use Hydrogen for my drum tracks. I've read enough comments from Qtractor fanboys on this forum that I am curious to give it a try. Maybe on my next song. I have also used Audacity in the past, but I don't recommend using that for anything non-trivial.


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