My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

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Digital Larry
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My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby Digital Larry » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:23 pm

Hopefully I won't come across as too self important....

I've used Linux off and on for at least 15 years. But you know what? There are still some things I don't know about it and I learned a few here. So hats off to this community, I thank you.

For example, I'd never even heard of the "inxi" tool but that zoomed in on an overheating GFX card that seems to have been at the heart of my stability problems. I'd even go so far as to guess that Fedora with the RT kernel MIGHT have been working OK modulo the GFX card issue. But, since I'd recently been switching distros, I figured any changes must have been due to that rather than something completely unrelated that may or may not have happened around the same time.

My recommendation to anyone who experiences stability problems, before you start hopping distros, do a basic check of your system using inxi and memtest86. I installed memtest86 on a USB stick and it took more than 4 hours to check 8 GB but nothing came up. I used this PC yesterday for several hours and did not experience a reboot after changing out the gfx card with the frozen fan.

My next reflection is about the variety and quality and state of music apps from a VERY brief bit of time spent looking. As you may have picked up from my other posts, I'm trying to get a to a very specific kind of tracking setup that is conducive to capturing song ideas from the guitar.

I remember when I first saw a MIDI demo in 1984, I was ecstatic - but I didn't play the keyboards. I always wanted that kind of flexibility when recording guitar music - note a little late? Ah, just slide it back into place. Wrong note? No problem. Even with a plugin like Melodyne, correcting timing and pitch in audio files is REALLY A LOT OF WORK. I actually had to learn to play better! :?

I have had such a hard time with various complex DAWs, compared to hardware looper pedals, I really started trying to figure out why and see if there was some way to bridge the gap.

And I've come really close now with SooperLooper and Hydrogen. I don't care about adding anything else because my assumption is that whatever gets captured at this stage will get imported into a DAW for editing, arrangement, etc. and that could happen anywhere. Of course, right here on the same PC is the ideal place.

Other people have commented that the Linux audio world is turning more towards the monolithic full featured apps like Reaper, Ardour, etc. which are cross platform as well.

My two favorite Linux apps at the moment are open source projects that stopped real active development 5 or 10 years ago. I've managed to set up my computer to compile these and several other apps, but with a code base that old, one faces the dilemma of continuing to use outdated or unfashionable tools such as Qt or yet-another-variation-on-an-open-source-graphical-widget library, or perhaps rethinking these things in more modern terms using modern tools.

Supposing someone really wanted to move Hydrogen forward. That would be a LOT of work. Writing music apps which have to process stuff at audio sample rates, manage threads properly, etc. etc. is NOT EASY. I did do an open source project once, it was all I thought about for 3 years, and then... more or less "poof" the motivation left me. I kinda see that in these abandoned apps.

Suppose I wanted to combine SooperLooper with the UI from luppp, and integrate Hydrogen so I'd have a single app that did exactly what I wanted with no setup and just a single file save/open needed. Again, that would be a ton of work mostly because none of the graphical libraries used are the same.

A very large percentage of the apps which I've tried work OK on their own, but do not work so great when combined with other bits that supposedly follow the same standards (i.e. JACK). This is exceptionally difficult to debug. I have a pretty high tolerance for frustration because I deal with computers and networking all the time for my job, but everything's got a limit.

I'm not going to predict where my whims will take me because my focus is on trying to make music in an optimized way rather than allegiance to any hardware or software platform. I think the closest I've come so far was the iPad app "Quantiloop", but it has a hard time sync'ing properly to the iPad drum machine apps I tried and has a several-step procedure to get stuff to the PC via iCloud (sorry I'm not going to do DAW work on the iPad if I can help it). But then there's this "Beat Buddy" programmable drum pedal that supposedly it integrates really well with.

I also like using different tools to get different results. I have a modular synth setup that I don't use a bunch but that takes one in a completely different direction that can have nothing to do with MIDI or computers at all. So I think that I will keep using Linux for audio in some way, but it probably won't be the only way I go about doing things.

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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby Spanner » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:36 am

There is an old saying: 'when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail'

The saying may arise from this: "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." -- Abraham Maslow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_instrument


That old saying touches on a major and ongoing theme of my life.

I've had a lot of problems I had to either solve or work around. Mostly work around.


One day, I thought I had found a convenient and brilliant solution to all of them. I got rid of the hammer.


But then, recently I got myself into a bind. Of course, it involved linux and music.

I needed a hammer. But I had no hammer.


I will post again in this thread if I solve the problem, find a work-around, or locate a hammer.

A bigger, moar better hammer...



NB: This post is not intended to imply that OP Digital Larry is wrong or somehow defective in intellect or approach.

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Digital Larry
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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby Digital Larry » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:21 pm

Spanner wrote:NB: This post is not intended to imply that OP Digital Larry is wrong or somehow defective in intellect or approach.

LOL I appreciate your thoughts. This recent exercise is actually a deep drawn out introspective journey into my own creative process and trying to make it easier. I do plenty of goofing around which is enjoyable but leaves no lasting trace. I've concluded that what I'm trying to do is not actively being pursued by SW vendors. Something like a Boss RC-505 or the Electro Harmonix 5 track looper are more in line, but I really do NOT want to buy hardware to solve this problem as they have their own set of constraints.

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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby tavasti » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:33 pm

Digital Larry wrote:Other people have commented that the Linux audio world is turning more towards the monolithic full featured apps like Reaper, Ardour, etc. which are cross platform as well.


I think reasons are mostly same as you commented later: save one file, open one file. And also, no compatibility problems with other programs when you use one. And maybe also computers changing: now they have more memory and cpu power, so monolithic app is possible.

Digital Larry wrote:Suppose I wanted to combine SooperLooper with the UI from luppp, and integrate Hydrogen so I'd have a single app that did exactly what I wanted with no setup and just a single file save/open needed.


You get nearer that point if you open your apps with non-session-manager. Your non-session is your song, opened in few apps.
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milo
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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby milo » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:44 pm

The monolithic apps are still used in a modular way, especially when it comes to plugins on midi tracks. A software instrument running as an LV2 plugin on a midi track in a DAW can be replaced for another one easily. You could replace Amsynth with ZynAddSubFX, for instance, without having to copy/paste any notes, launch any apps, or reconfigure JACK connections. Same goes for percussion tracks with Drumgizmo, AVL Drumkits, etc, although there are issues with midi mapping in that case.

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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby ufug » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:06 pm

Digital Larry wrote:I've concluded that what I'm trying to do is not actively being pursued by SW vendors. Something like a Boss RC-505 or the Electro Harmonix 5 track looper are more in line, but I really do NOT want to buy hardware to solve this problem as they have their own set of constraints.


DL, I've quite enjoyed your threads here.

As a fellow old timer, I think your inkling toward hardware is telling you something, as much as you want to resist.

I was trying to stay "in the box" for the longest time, but now I just think of my DAW as a tape deck, mixer, and razor blade, nothing more. I'm much less frustrated now. I'm mostly an analogue music maker anyway. Sure, I still play with some plugins here and there, but microphones and amps and effects pedals are really the best tools for the job unless the sound waves themselves are originating in software.

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Digital Larry
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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby Digital Larry » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:26 pm

ufug wrote:As a fellow old timer, I think your inkling toward hardware is telling you something, as much as you want to resist.

Well MAYBE, but an all hardware solution doesn't let me jump back to drum machine programming easily either. I looked at the BeatBuddy and even though it's cool, it's mostly for performance and the concept is STILL: you come up with your beats ahead of time. I just came up with one today on Hydrogen that I thought was 4 bars in triplet time, but it really is 3 bars of regular time. Then I came up with some riff against it. This is exactly the sort of thing I am going for. These are the kinds of happy accidents I like to exploit and extrapolate on, if only for a little while.

A looper pedal these days is just a computer with some I/O running a program. Somebody dreamed up how it should work but they aren't me. And yeah I do get some enjoyment out of figuring out how to make it all work, even if I grumble a lot.

tavasti wrote:You get nearer that point if you open your apps with non-session-manager. Your non-session is your song, opened in few apps.

I did look at that briefly. Will check it again. I could probably add the hooks for NSM into SooperLooper and Hydrogen also without too much trouble if necessary.

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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby sysrqer » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:38 am

Digital Larry wrote:
ufug wrote:As a fellow old timer, I think your inkling toward hardware is telling you something, as much as you want to resist.

Well MAYBE, but an all hardware solution doesn't let me jump back to drum machine programming easily either. I looked at the BeatBuddy and even though it's cool, it's mostly for performance and the concept is STILL: you come up with your beats ahead of time. I just came up with one today on Hydrogen that I thought was 4 bars in triplet time, but it really is 3 bars of regular time. Then I came up with some riff against it. This is exactly the sort of thing I am going for. These are the kinds of happy accidents I like to exploit and extrapolate on, if only for a little while.


Why don't you go for an Elektron drum machine? You can program on the fly and doesn't have to be still in the slightest.

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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby tavasti » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:46 am

Digital Larry wrote:
tavasti wrote:You get nearer that point if you open your apps with non-session-manager. Your non-session is your song, opened in few apps.

I did look at that briefly. Will check it again. I could probably add the hooks for NSM into SooperLooper and Hydrogen also without too much trouble if necessary.

It is possible that you don't need to program any NSM support there, but just use them.
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Digital Larry
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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby Digital Larry » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:00 pm

sysrqer wrote:Why don't you go for an Elektron drum machine? You can program on the fly and doesn't have to be still in the slightest.

Actually, there's not really a problem using Hydrogen in this setup. For drum programming I prefer the onscreen grid to any row of buttons with blinking lights. I have a BeatStep Pro for that kind of thing. It is excessively hardwired to 4/4. I am going to stick with Hydrogen for awhile and see what happens.

The latest screwy idea I had yesterday was to modify Hydrogen to merge it with SooperLooper. Or more to the point, put a SL UI into Hydrogen that is preconfigured for the way I want to work. I don't use a lot of SL's functions as it is. I'd like a full screen UI to represent a small number of looper tracks (maybe 6?). Then also it would be cool to allow positioning of a track with a WAV display lined up with the drum grid so you could align hits with transients in the WAV file.

And also maybe deal with some things like letting you export a song as MIDI instead of just a pattern, that doesn't seem like it would be too hard.

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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby milo » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:21 pm

Digital Larry wrote:Then also it would be cool to allow positioning of a track with a WAV display lined up with the drum grid so you could align hits with transients in the WAV file.


YES! That is the single biggest problem with the Hydrogen workflow for me, and why I currently prefer to program drums in a midi track. It really helps to see visually what is happening in the other tracks at the same moment on the timeline when programming drums.

Yes, there are problems with Hydrogen's JACK transport, etc, etc, but I think you hit the nail on the head here with this issue..

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Re: My opinion about everything (TL;DR)

Postby sysrqer » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:41 pm

Digital Larry wrote:
sysrqer wrote:Why don't you go for an Elektron drum machine? You can program on the fly and doesn't have to be still in the slightest.

Actually, there's not really a problem using Hydrogen in this setup. For drum programming I prefer the onscreen grid to any row of buttons with blinking lights. I have a BeatStep Pro for that kind of thing. It is excessively hardwired to 4/4. I am going to stick with Hydrogen for awhile and see what happens.

Do you not want it hardwired to 4/4? The Elektrons are not for everyone and they are really expensive but they are extremely powerful, certainly wouldn't be tied to 4/4. That's cool though, everyone's got different workflows and different styles of music so just find what works for you. If you want to learn, or already know something about it, then vcv rack is also very powerful and could give you as much flexibility as you want. There are very capable samplers and you can start playing around with probability to make things interesting.


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