Linux geek new to KxStudio

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rhollan
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Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:25 pm

Linux geek new to KxStudio

Post by rhollan »

Disclaimer: I am not a musician, though I appreciate that art form and support original music when I can. I do rip music for more convenient playback, but only that which I have paid for.

What I am is a Linux geek, software engineer by trade, and interested in applying music production gear toward stereo and multichannel reproduction in my home theatre. My journey has brought me here as I seek to leverage tools like Carla with the primary purpose being audio processing VST plugins (specifically Dirac Live Windows VST on a Linux host).

Right now, audio comes via HDMI from a Sony 4k Bluray player "audio only" HDMI output through minidsp nanoAVRs for bass management at a 96 khz sample rate and Dirac Live room correction at a 48 khz sample rate (24 bit) to an HDTV Supply HDMI to SDI converter (that strips HDCP, shhhhh!) and then a Black magic SDI to AES/EBU deembedder which gives me four sets of two channel AES/EBU audio at 24bit/48 khz resolution.

This runs into an old Lucid ADA 8824 8 channel AD/DA DAC portion, then a Crown XLS 1502, 2x XLS 1002, and an Outlaw Audio M-2200 mono amp to drive BG Radia 520i fronts, 220i center, and four PD6-LCRI surrounds.

It's an odd mix of production and PA equipment but it works surprisingly well in a 12'6"x14'x8'5" room. At least for home theatre.

Volume control is handled digitally in one of the nanoAVRs, which is O.K. as long as I don't go too low: the Lucid DAC is half-decent, though for two-channel listening I could do better. I am eyeing an Okto DAC8 Pro and a Benchmark ADB2 amp when I have the coin.

The Okto 8 channel DAC has AES/EBU and USB inputs so feeding it from a PC would be trivial (and my preference, though I'd keep the other path for media I could not rip).

What I would like to to is host Dirac Live Windows VST in Carla under Linux, and have it work at 192 kHz with audio coming in via a miniDSP UDIO-8 from SPDIF and out either via USB or another UDIO-8 wired as AES/EBU into the Okto or Lucid DAC, respectively.

So, I am learning Carla and trying to come up to speed on musician terminology. I have managed to use the built-in keyboard to play one of the provided synth plugins patched to system output. I am still trying to see how MIDI and events are patched up (why do the synths have event and not MIDI labrled inputs, for example).

Anyway, that's a brief intro. Sorry if I bored anyone.

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Linuxmusician01
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Location: Holland

Re: Linux geek new to KxStudio

Post by Linuxmusician01 »

I think that you're an audiophile, am I right. Anyway, I tend to think that VST's are meant for music production with a DAW (digital audio workstation, like Ableton Live, Bitwig etc.).

If you want to to things w/ Carla, midi etc.: do you use jack? Your setup is too complicated to understand for me as an non-audiophile I'm afraid. If your question is related to Midi then I'd use qjackctl to control that if I were you (everybody does). Just remember that in qjackctl "Alsa" means Midi (because we Linuxers usually use Alsa for Midi), "Audio" is audio and "Midi" is Jack's version of Midi.

Welcome and good luck! :)

rhollan
Established Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:25 pm

Re: Linux geek new to KxStudio

Post by rhollan »

Audiophile is perhaps too strong a word, but as I am a consumer of what musicians produce, it may fit in that context. I am not one to buy expensive cables, or (heaven forbid) cable raisers, or other such voodoo. I do appreciate good SNR and THD numbers. I am not a purist by any means: I think digital room correction and speaker impulse response correction (a la Dirac Live) are great technologies.

To me, ALSA is just that: "Advanced Linux Sound Architecture". It was actually a surprise to me that it would route MIDI. I know of JACK, and how it serves the same purpose in the audio world that gstreamer does in the A/V multimedia world. My only real practical interest in MIDI was using it to configure the output levels on the Lucid ADA 8824 via the command line in Linux over a USB 1x1 MIDI interface.

Right now, I have an odd combination of production and PA equipment in my home theatre (Lucid ADA 8824 AD/DA and mostly Crown amps). It works surprisingly well. The THD and SNR figures on the Crowns aren't stellar, but they are inaudable, which is good enough. If anything, I appreciate the input attenuators as it lets me dial in a good gain structure: I run +4 dBu nominal to reach 85 dB SPL, so 0 dBFS is +24 dBu. It's calibrated to THX reference level, though I never listen that loud except to "show off" the system. I never drive the Crown amps so hard as to turn on the fans: an advantage of a home over a venue environment (where you might need to reach people 50' away in a small club).

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