Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

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caltrop
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Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby caltrop » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:50 pm

you asked...

about me...
grade school music - cornet (trumpet)
skipped junior high / middle school
high school - baritone/euphonium
college - I was a music major for a couple of years... before MIDI...

then MIDI, and the computer lover (not so much now) I was I had to have it

MIDI was hard enough in Windows
stuff either was too expensive
or not for the win version I had

last MIDI thing I tried in WinXP
needed online registration which was no longer possible

now after the death of WinXP & the demise of my laptop
here I am in Linux Land hunting for MIDI

I thought I had some old round MIDI cables...
I do have the old MIDI to USB for older stuff
and my new Casio Kayboard is all USB
I bet I will have issues with my Casio Keyboard
Casio worships MICRO$OFT like the rest of the wurld

I have already had issues with mint's audio...

If things keep going the way they are Linux will be just as bad as Windows.

terminal

Code: Select all

much MIDI in Linux is terminal... why the gui then?
it's like Linux Lovers hate gui's

I don't know... I do a lot more in a terminal than I did in windows
a linux terminal is way more powerful than a windows/dos command line
but for many things if there is a gui, I hit that first (doconf editor for one)

I have yet to investigate MIDI for the terminal environment
I like seeing my music!


gui

Code: Select all

jack & pulseaudio (mint) do not work well together

ardour
   sound & MIDI
   looks promising

audacity
   sound only, no MIDI
   I have installed but have not used it yet

musescore
   installed but have not done much
   doesn't look very MIDI friendly

qtractor
   similar to rosegarden
   jack & issues with pulseaudio

rosegarden
   repository version is old
   new version has to be source downloaded & compiled
   system configuration dependent

rghvdberg
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby rghvdberg » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:00 am

Linux audio and midi can be difficult to set up.
First I'd highly recommend to install the kxstudio repositories. You'll get all the latest versions of audio software you need. Usually distributions have outdated packages, kxstudio solves that.
It has changed my life, I'm not exaggerating.
Anyway.

First make sure your USB midi convertor is detected.
We'll use command line to figure it out.

Plug the USB device in.
Type

Code: Select all

lsusb

See if it is there.
Type

Code: Select all

lsmod|grep snd


Remember that the midi applications don't see your Casio but your USB device.
Don't expect to see "Casio" in your audio software.

Pulseaudio is used for desktop audio.
Audio production software use either jack or alsa.
This is a good article about that.
https://libremusicproduction.com/articl ... arted-jack

For recording midi I find qtractor the best BTW.

I hope this get you started.

And … welcome :-D

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khz
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby khz » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:46 am

:welcome: \o/

Possibly partly useful knowledge: See signature.

No Panic && HF :-)
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tavasti
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby tavasti » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:07 am

Take a look at LMMS. It has midi in & out, works even without jack. It does not have audio recording, but do you need that?
Last edited by tavasti on Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Linux veteran & Novice musician

Hear my music at https://audiu.net/users/tawaste

Luc
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby Luc » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:19 am

I think MIDI works very well in Linux, at least with KXStudio. All applications I have — and I have lots of them — that claim to support MIDI will find and support my hardware without a glitch. The one exception was Bitwig quite a while ago. It used to be a struggle. I don't know if they have improved that.

See if you can install an application called Midisnoop. It's great for troubleshooting MIDI. If your MIDI hardware works on it, it should work everywhere. Sadly, that package is kind of abandoned in Debian.

https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugrepo ... bug=894012

But you still can grab it from Jessie (if you use Debian):
https://packages.debian.org/jessie/amd6 ... 2/download (also required, must install first)
https://packages.debian.org/jessie/amd6 ... p/download

If you use another distro, check its repository.

Pulseaudio has caused me a lot of headaches in the past. Now it's one of the first things I do whenever I install Linux: remove Pulseaudio and never look back.

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bluebell
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby bluebell » Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:51 pm

caltrop wrote:

Code: Select all

jack & pulseaudio (mint) do not work well together

ardour
   sound & MIDI
   looks promising

audacity
   sound only, no MIDI
   I have installed but have not used it yet

musescore
   installed but have not done much
   doesn't look very MIDI friendly

qtractor
   similar to rosegarden
   jack & issues with pulseaudio

rosegarden
   repository version is old
   new version has to be source downloaded & compiled
   system configuration dependent


First you have to understand that there are several audio systems for Linux and only ONE can own the soundcard/audio adapter.
A good solution is to use jack as the main soundsystem and tell Pulseaudio to output via jack. Some tools do it automatically and start a Pulseaudio/jack-bridge. You can canfigure it manually as well, see http://marzen.de/Holger/pulseaudio_and_jack/

All USB-MIDI-Keyboards that I plugged in worked out of the box with Linux. You have to understand that the MIDI-port that is created when you plug them in has to be connected to the software that shall receive those MIDI-data. Some programs have a builtin dialogo to do that but you can do it with Qjackctl as well.

What makes it a bit complicated: There is ALSA MIDI and jack midi. Not all programs are able to do both. The problem can be solved with a bridge, a2jmidid.

So, getting started is not easy but then you have lots of possibilities. You can send audio and midi over the network as well to combine several computers. You can get tons of plugins and DAWs without license managers, copyprotection dongles, software phoning home and other nasty stuff that's common in the Windows world.
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

Shadow_7
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby Shadow_7 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:22 pm

rosegarden is more midi - centric.

You'd need stuff like fluidsynth if you don't have midi output devices to generate the sounds that midi events trigger. Things like qsynth for the GUI front end to fluidsynth. Hyrdrogen and a few other options besides fluidsynth, like timidity. Some distros don't compile with sequencer support, which about the only reason for midi to be broken IMO. Otherwise it's generally not a setup by default scenario unless you run something like avlinux. Perhaps one of the *-studio options as well.

In a pinch you can use alsa's snd-aloop loopback device to host jack and pipe that device to pulse audio. One option to run jack locally while using a networked pulse system. Each layer adds latency though. And alsaloop can be unstable, which is what takes the output from the loopback device and sends it along. Various networked jack options that I'm not familiar with. The snd-aloop loopback device it setup so the output is the input. One way to record without hardware / re-encoding what you are playing on your computer.

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protozone
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MIDI difficulties are not unheard of

Postby protozone » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:31 pm

Personally, I had problems with KXstudio repos, but they might be fixed by now--it was a long time ago.
But yeah, I find MIDI to be difficult to accomplish on every type of OS. It's not really Linux's fault--I think its difficult to implement.
I've seen a lot of Windows programs where the programmer implemented meter the totally wrong way too. It's so common most people don't notice the difference unless they try to do non 4/4 meter in blocks of greater than 16.

You might have better luck just starting with a distro such as AVLINUX where most of the heavy lifting has already been done. Ubuntu Studio might also work. The downside is that if you don't have a fast uninterrupted wifi connection the ISO downloading can be difficult. But other than that, it's not so bad. AVLINUX recently had kind of a renaissance of sorts and I think KXstudio might also be in a similar phase of improvement. Thankfully, I think both are active projects. On the downside, Ubuntu Studio seems to have lost and deprecated some of it's own supports and hasn't seemed to have improved much over several years, though it's still active.

I hope this is somewhat insightful for you.
Good luck.
At least you are in the right place at this forum.

tux99
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby tux99 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:48 pm

Can some Mod please change the trollish title of this thread?

The OP gives no evidence at all about MIDI being broken, and we all know that MIDI works fine in Linux.

A more appropriate title would be "My problems with MIDI"

I get the impression we are dealing with a troll, the way the first post is written and the fact he never followed up are strong indicators.

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khz
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby khz » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:29 pm

Ohoh ... I just changed the title.
Possibly undo it again...
SRY

falkTX wrote:it's fine, let him answer at least once before we start with assumptions.

Undo. Wait.
FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.

tux99
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby tux99 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:08 pm

42low wrote:Troll? Great marketing!!
Who sees the title get's interested and starts reading this topic with all confirmations how easy and great it works.

Unfortunately there are a lot people these days that just read titles and make assumptions without investigating further.
Wether he's a troll or not, I find the title inappropriate and misleading with regards to the actual content of the thread. A title should give the reader an idea about what a thread is about.

jonetsu
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby jonetsu » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:49 pm

Have absolutely no problem with MIDI in Linux since approx. 5 years. It's plug and play. No need to have a special distro. as long as your device is a standard MIDI device (like most are) it will work. No need for DIN cable, use USB. If your MIDI device has USB.

But if your device is one of the very first MIDI device at around 1983, which in this case would explain your using of a DIN cable, then it might be that it will not work instantly. I'd suggest to upgrade to a newer device or if you stick to it, well, you might have to do some research.

IMHO, you are trolling.

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khz
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby khz » Wed Aug 22, 2018 6:38 am

Such statements referenced by Threat Starter are unfounded unless substantiated by verifiable evidence.
GNU/Linux users can think critically : or : GNU/Linux users can critically reflect thinking.
IMHO
FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.

jonetsu
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby jonetsu » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:08 pm

khz wrote:Such statements referenced by Threat Starter are unfounded unless substantiated by verifiable evidence.
GNU/Linux users can think critically : or : GNU/Linux users can critically reflect thinking.
IMHO


Ich glaube es ist wirklich einen "Threat Starter" in diesem Fall :)

Eine leere Drohung. :)
Last edited by jonetsu on Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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khz
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Re: Why is MIDI so broken in Linux?

Postby khz » Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:48 pm

jonetsu wrote:"Threat Starter"

"Bedrohungs-Starter" ;-)
FZ - Does humor belongs in Music?
GNU/LINUX@AUDIO ~ /Wiki $ Howto.Info && GNU/Linux Debian installing >> Linux Audio Workstation LAW
    I don't care about the freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.


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