My experience with linux audio so far

Discuss how to promote using FLOSS to make music.

Moderators: khz, MattKingUSA

ess2theg
Established Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:42 pm

My experience with linux audio so far

Postby ess2theg » Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:15 pm

So I thought I'd write down and share some of my experience with Linux audio so far.

So far I've experimented with Ubuntu using the studio packages and with a fresh install of Ubuntu studio.

This is from the perspective of an electronic music producer and aspiring live performer.

Please take my criticisms with a grain of salt. I realize that things take time with open source development and I recognize the hard work that went into all of the software that I've used so far. Also being a software developer I can respect that it's not always possible to foresee every possible use of a piece of software. With that in mind:

The good:

Modular design that looks promising in the long term. Lots of room for personalized configuration.
Plenty of software to choose from.
Open source collaboration on a domain that is complex.
Loads of fx plugins
LV2 is looking promising so far.
ZynAddSubFX / Yoshimi - So good it's insane.

The bad:

Jackbusd on Ubuntu studio seems immature and ticky
Gladish seems immature and ticky. (I really like the concept and data structure model though)
-Does not remember all connections.
-Session patchbay doesn't show all of the clients so I end up using patchage to wire everything up (which also doesn't work too well).
Alsa and Jack can't talk to eachother without running a2jmidid, though, as a workaround a2jmidid is excellent (I am told this should work out of the box in studio though I haven't experienced that yet)
No midi learn on most jack clients. This makes Linux audio unusable for live electronic music performance. (If it can turn, twist, slide, be toggled on/off, or have a variable value I need to be able to assign a midi control to it)
LV2 instruments are sparse. The instruments that are there are good though.
Sequencers that exist rely on muting / unmuting rather than synchronizing clips.

The ugly:

Jackbusd seems to publish ports with long hash numbers that mean nothing (viewable from ladish patch view in Ubuntu Studio)
LADSPA plugins sometimes crash when loaded into various mixer applications.
Hydrogen starts in song mode without a song loaded which causes the jack master to stutter and then stop when I hit play.

I could live with a lot of the bad stuff if midi learning could be done on every application control / button / knob / slider.

In all I expect that in the future linux audio will be a dominant player. Right now though I've found it to be a frustrating and somewhat fruitless experience.

I think, though, that the system is quite capable in the world of multi-track recording though.

But it's not really practical for electronic music composition and performance workflows.

ess2theg
Established Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:42 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby ess2theg » Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:29 pm

falkTX wrote:I advise you to go with a more complete solution than UbuntuStudio.
UbuntuStudio is good, but it has too much limitations.

Give AVLinux or KXStudio a try, both have live-dvd ISOs.

Some of the issues you mention are something that I'm working on right now in my Cadence tools and KXStudio (I make those :D ).


Thanks for the reply. KXStudio is next on my list. Thanks for the recommendation of AVLinux. I hadn't heard of that one yet.

So cool that I get replies from a Developer. Are a lot of devs on here? Btw the Cadence tools look awesome! I can't wait to give them a try.

ess2theg
Established Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:42 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby ess2theg » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:32 pm

Tried out kxStudio. I really like it! I like that there is an xfce and kde interface (more choice is always good!) and the patch bay is remembering my connections. It also looks very polished and well put together. Session management is a snap and I really like how alsa-jack bridging is provided out of the box.

Thanks for the suggestion! BTW your Cadence tools rock! Thank you for developing them.

User avatar
paperplastic
Established Member
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:49 am

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby paperplastic » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:10 pm

Try kxstudio or avlinux. I've been struggling with ubuntustudio for a few months with all sorts of random dropouts and errors. The moment I switched, a lot of them vanished and I could start doing some music.

Alwaysanewb
Established Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:04 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby Alwaysanewb » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:02 pm

I don't think ubuntu studio is even maintained. They just package a bunch of crap together and in theory would work. I don't think they do bug fixes or anything like that.

ess2theg
Established Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:42 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby ess2theg » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:32 pm

If it's true that Ubuntu Studio isn't maintained then that is really sad. It's disappointing. So many bugs and non-starters. It really makes Ubuntu and linux audio look bad. KxStudio rocks. Now if only LMMS had session view. :roll:

Thad E Ginathom
Established Member
Posts: 369
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:03 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby Thad E Ginathom » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:52 pm

I guess I still don't understand this linux distribution/packaging thing. As Ubuntu Studio just follows Ubuntu, with added multi-media-focus applications and facilities, don't the bug fixes etc just flow from Ubuntu?

Just tell me how many misconceptions I managed in two sentences! :oops:

It seems to me to provide a good basis, but, no, in itself it was not enough to make my FW device even play music properly, let alone anything else. In fact, Firewire was still just a pain in the backside. KXStudio changed all that.

(As I don't want Unity or KDE, and am using MATE, I should consider MINT+KXS, rather than Ubuntu-Studio+KXS for the next upgrade)

Alwaysanewb
Established Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:04 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby Alwaysanewb » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:20 am

I guess I still don't understand this linux distribution/packaging thing. As Ubuntu Studio just follows Ubuntu, with added multi-media-focus applications and facilities, don't the bug fixes etc just flow from Ubuntu?

Just tell me how many misconceptions I managed in two sentences! :oops:


I have no Idea how many misconceptions. Your most likly right that the bug fixes ect flow from ubuntu. I only think ubuntu mantanes and does bug fixes on programs vital to ubuntus core system. I have installed ubuntu 10.04, 10.10, 1104, and 12,04 and on every one of them jack won't work. I have no Idea why no ones mentioned to ubuntu that if this program dosn't work you might as well try and install amiga os for your audio needs.

TheSafePlaces
Established Member
Posts: 200
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:50 am

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby TheSafePlaces » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:48 am

Alwaysanewb wrote:I don't think ubuntu studio is even maintained. They just package a bunch of crap together and in theory would work. I don't think they do bug fixes or anything like that.

Alwaysanewb wrote:I have no Idea how many misconceptions. Your most likly right that the bug fixes ect flow from ubuntu. I only think ubuntu mantanes and does bug fixes on programs vital to ubuntus core system. I have installed ubuntu 10.04, 10.10, 1104, and 12,04 and on every one of them jack won't work. I have no Idea why no ones mentioned to ubuntu that if this program dosn't work you might as well try and install amiga os for your audio needs.

I'm just curious, is this Ubuntu Studio+KXStudio or pure/stock/garden Ubuntu Studio you speak of? Because if anyone is starting out in Linux pro audio I'd recommend them the former no questions asked, and I feel that this is the best example of Linux audio - that is how good my experience with it has been (...so far. Been using 12.04+KX everyday, for everything from basic internet/office to recording and sequencing, for ~3 months now.). My first distro was AVL and while I used it for long and it worked, it was unfortunately very unpolished in a lot of aspects. Not something for someone completely new to Linux.
Looking for the ideal distro. NixOS?
Newbie composer, somewhat-experienced classical guitarist.
Largely known as HisaoNakai/contrapunctus on IRC and other places.

Alwaysanewb
Established Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:04 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby Alwaysanewb » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:58 am

Just ubuntu studio no kxstudio installed over it. Kxstudios works pretty much flawlessly

ess2theg
Established Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:42 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby ess2theg » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:36 pm

KxStudio is awesome. Also, I've noticed that the Ubuntu Studio packages installed on top of a normal Ubuntu 12.04 install work very well. I didn't have luck with a clean Ubuntu studio install this time around.

Either way I like the direction Linux audio is going in. It's getting to be VERY powerful. We just need more live style sequencers for solid electronic music performance.

MiXXX is outstanding and LMMS is amazing. If LMMS goes forward with adding that live performance interface they've been talking about I don't know if I'll ever need another program for making Electronic Dance Music.

User avatar
ldevose2
Established Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:02 pm
Location: East Orange, NJ 07018
Contact:

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby ldevose2 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:40 pm

I have also spent many hours with Ubuntu Studio, and produced not a single track. I am in the process of loading KXStudio on a dedicated machine.

Ubuntu Studio was great in every other aspect, except the reason for installing it, to record and engineer music. For all the other things I have MSW. For the most important work of my life, I think Linux will be far better - once I get the right package installed.

It is comforting to hear that someone with more experience and expertise than I enjoyed the same returns as I from what is potentially a dominant packafw.

Now, if someone who knows the best line of boot options to get the KXStudio DVD to install would share... . :wink:
Leon De Vose, II
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Real Secret
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AMD Athlon X2 245 Rev. C3 2900MHz CPU
- 4 GB Ram
- Alesis Multimix 8 USB mixer

User avatar
briandc
Established Member
Posts: 1336
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:17 pm
Contact:

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby briandc » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:52 am

I think it's worth mentioning here that there are also other approaches to making music with linux. -Keeping in mind of course, that the end user generally wants things to work quickly and efficiently. The less hang-ups, the better. Apps that are "idiot-proof" are what are needed. (Often, new projects aren't yet idiotproof until they've been tested a good deal.)

As such, I can say this:

If you understand how linux works (modular build, packages/repos, etc), then it makes sense to build your own scenario. Linux is perfect for this. Because since many people leave Windows due to weighty apps and unmanageable setups, this is where linux's beauty stands out.

Many linux distros are very very light: BodhiLinux, PuppyLinux, antiX... and people are making new distros every week. Just go to distrowatch.com to see how things are "fermenting"!

So, with a basic distro that usually requires just a blank CD (750mb or less), your computer is already more efficient than most.

From there, you add ONLY the things that you want. Want Jack? You can choose Jack1 or Jack2. Want a DAW? You choose: Rosegarden, LMMS, Qtractor, Ardour, nonDAW....

I've had a lot of success this way. Of course, there are nice full-fledged systems that are very good indeed: KXStudio, AVlinux, Studio1337....

Just don't think that "Ubuntu Studio" is the be-all, end-all. It's not. If you know the basics about installing packages, the sky's the limit, literally. For example, I installed BodhiLinux on an older PC, and it's running nice and fast. Since it's Ubuntu-based, I added the KXStudio repos onto it just fine. (And now that KXStudio is moving to Debian, that opens up loads of other distros where you can do the same thing. Debian is one of the "3 big mammas" of linux, and covers a LOT of distros (if not the majority). Take a look at this timeline to get an idea of how many Debian-based distros there are: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Linux_Distribution_Timeline.svg

And when you encounter problems, it may not even be a linux-issue at all, but a hardware issue, or simply finding the right app to do the work. For example, LMMS handles most VST instrument plugins very well. But it might not be preferable for other tasks.

This, to me, is what linux is all about: building your own PC. And it's really pretty easy. And if you need help (although it's not always necessary) the folks here at linuxmusicians are really, really helpful (and patient too! :D ).

By starting with a basic, lightweight distro, you get the satisfaction of doing things your own way, and sometimes even being able to do things that others can't! :)


brian
Have your PC your way: use linux!
My sound synthesis biome: http://www.linuxsynths.com

mac
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:06 pm

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby mac » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:26 pm

I have installed a standard ubuntu 14.10 , and from there installed Jack , Ardour, qtractor and all the plugins I heard of
I spent hours tweeking the system, at some point installing a lowlatency kernel: 3.16.0-29-lowlatency #39-Ubuntu SMP PREEMPT
I have come across kxstudio you are refering to , but only used it as a repository for needed packages , I had no idea it was also a distro !

All the software are working fine untill they crash randomly and very frequently: at some point qtractor or ardour just disappear ... it seems there's no way to reproduce the condition of the crash , I can be touching a knob or clicking on a midi note... It's just spectacular

Now this is my question: does using a special distro like kxstudio garanty a less crashing environement ? Are the different pieces of software supposed to be working together better when they come preinstalled in a audio distro? Please dont just answer 'yes' if you're only guessing
I've been installing all the packages wih regular apt-get , thus all the dependencies are met , there shoul'dt be any conflict?

I'm a little bit of a newbie because I've been trying to use linux for many years , and still don't understand how it work

User avatar
raboof
Established Member
Posts: 1660
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Deventer, NL
Contact:

Re: My experience with linux audio so far

Postby raboof » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:45 pm

mac wrote:All the software are working fine untill they crash randomly and very frequently: at some point qtractor or ardour just disappear ... it seems there's no way to reproduce the condition of the crash , I can be touching a knob or clicking on a midi note... It's just spectacular

Interesting. When you start the applications from a terminal, do they output anything interesting there when they crash?

mac wrote:Now this is my question: does using a special distro like kxstudio garanty a less crashing environment?

Not really - special distro's do a good job of having more recent stuff and more suitable (default) configurations, but once you're troubleshooting, there's not too much difference IMHO...


Return to “Music & FOSS Advocacy”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest