Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

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lintlicker
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Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby lintlicker » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:35 pm

Hi,

I am a Ubuntu newbie, recent windows convert, and I'm very VERY lost and confused by this whole thing.

I have a Edirol UA-4FX that I've used with windows vista and Audacity for years. My windows crashed, so I'm trying to get Ubuntu working as well as windows did for recording. I'm having trouble getting my interface to work with any degree of quality. Apparently, drivers are not needed in Ubuntu...?!? I plugged it in, installed Audacity, and it seems to recognize the device. Audacity seems to run VERY laggy though, and recording quality is very crackly and poor.

I don't even know what questions to ask. I am SO green, but I am willing to learn. Can you help me to get this working like normal?

Thank you,

Lintlicker

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby kaimerra » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:16 am

I have a Edirol UA-4FX as well and have been using it for a couple of years on Linux. It took me forever to figure out what was causing the popping/crackling that I started experiencing around Ubuntu 8 or 9. For me it was a bug or glitch caused by the Radeon drivers when Kernel Mode Setting(KMS) is turned on.

My troubleshooting thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7017

Ubuntu KMS doco: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/KernelModeSetting

As far as Audacity lagging, I would first ask if you are running Jack audio server?

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby Pablo » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:23 am

Apparently, drivers are not needed in Ubuntu...?!


In general, drivers are included in the linux kernel.

Linux is so different, you don't always have to worry about things you usually worry about in Windows. In contrast, you have to learn a bit about things that you would take for granted there. Particularly, the different linux sound systems or "audio servers".

As kaimerra pointed out, you need jack, which is not the default audio server in ubuntu 10.04. Moreover, you need to make some tweaks to get it working properly in this general purpose Linux distribution. That is why I think you will have a much better experience with a music oriented distro that ships with jack by default. AVLinux and Tango Studio come to my mind. You can use both of them in live mode (without installing) so you can decide later what suits you best.

Cheers and welcome!

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby slowpick » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:20 am

@ lintlicker 'live' mode means you download an installation file with .iso extension,
and burn that to a dvd (or cd on smaller installation .iso files). Then, your bios has
a boot order, it checks devices for operating systems to launch. Often, the cd/dvd is not first,
so you need to change that in the bios. As your system starts, the F-key will be displayed,
that opens the bios (or 'system setup' or another jargon). Once it is open, the arrow keys, tab key,
spacebar, and enter key are used to navigate the menus, and toggle options. There is always
an 'escape key' option to leave without changes. The optimum boot order would be
floppy disk
cd/dvd
usb/sd media
hard-disk

Some computers have an 'early boot' menu, also using an f-key, so no bios change is needed.

Once enabled, reboot with the burned iso image media, and a linux sysytem will load into memory, and run, without touching your hard-disks. This gives you nearly foolproof means of knowing
how compatible the system will be, if fully installed later.

There is often and md5 checksum file with the .iso image, your burner software may produce
one based on the image to be burned. It must be an identical match, for a successful burn process.
Most burns that say they were successfull, are, but sometimes the first boot or install from
the finished media fails, do to a minor glitch during the download. md5 will verify such differences
if they exist. I have had two coaster-maker sessions out of about 50 .iso burns, it usually works fine.

Look at youtube for ubuntu studio videos, and software

ardour multi-track recording
hydrogen drum machine-sample sequencer
zynaddsubfx synthesizer
rakarrack multi-fx
qjackctl gui to hook them up with your physical gear and soundcard

qjackctl is the gui of the jackd soundserver, to connect all your software and hardware, and is crucial to learn it first off, and not difficult. It has a wiki page, with links to help pages with screenshots
and articles.

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby lintlicker » Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:00 pm

Thank you all for the suggestions. I guess I could try Tango or AV Linux, but I am starting to like the Ubuntu I have now. If I could get audacity (or another piece of multi track recording software) to work, that's all I would need. Besides, I would like to learn to solve these problems.

I'm not running JACK, but I have managed to configure Pulseaudio (with someone else's help) to be able to handle one good sounding track in Audacity. If I try to record a second track, it does this strange clipping/style effect where the sound input fluctuates rapidly from full volume to quiet and crackly several times per second. It's so weird.

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby Pablo » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:32 pm

I think you need jack or at least it deserves a try.

The good thing about tango is that it uses the same desktop interface (gnome classic) and it is based on ubuntu 10.04, so it will be familiar for you. And it is better prepared for this kind of tasks.

If the conflict is at a lower lever (linux drivers problems rather than pulseaudio's) the solution can be tricky but it could be solved in a more recent linux (lucid ships with 2.6.32, rather old although probably good enough for your hardware). Anyway, you don't lose anything if you try with another live CD.

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby lintlicker » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:45 pm

Can you help me use JACK? I tried to get it running, but all the documentation I could find is WAY over my head.

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby slowpick » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:32 pm

issue this basic command from a terminal

jackd -d alsa -r 44100

you should see something like this at the end of the terminal output
if the command works.

ALSA: final selected sample format for capture: 32bit integer little-endian
ALSA: use 2 periods for capture
ALSA: final selected sample format for playback: 32bit integer little-endian
ALSA: use 2 periods for playback

then start qjackctl, and refer to the wiki links and screenshots for connecting.

Press Connect on the main qjackctl gui, in the connections panel, are
3 tabs, audio, midi, and alsa each have a left/right side. Select an item on each
side, and press Connect on this panel (not the main gui panel)
A line is drawn between the two.
It helps to have a midi drum machine, or music cd etc playing, so you hear
when the right connection is drawn.

some linux commands have online man(ual) pages

google for the jackd manpage

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby Pablo » Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:51 pm

The most important thing is that the user needs realtime priority and memlock privileges. Otherwise jackd will fail to start, giving an error like "cannot open rt thread" or something of the sort.

You have to do this only once:

Open a terminal an paste the following:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -p high jackd

If you are asked about rtprio and memlock, select YES.

Then add your user to the audio group:

sudo adduser your_user_name audio

Reboot.

Check that you gained the privileges:

ulimit -r -l

If rtprio is ninety-something and memlock is unlimited, you are done and jackd will start in the default, realtime mode. If not, the first command probably failed (I am not sure if this command was implemented in ubuntu 10.04 or later). In this case you will need to manually edit the file /etc/security/limits.conf and put there two lines. This is documented in many places, see jackaudio.org.

Remember that if jack is up and running you need to tell audacity to use jack in the audio configuration. Other programas, like ardour, are jack-aware by default and even by necessity.

Audacity is a great tool for destructive editing and it can do amazing things but if you want to do multitrack recording, non-destructive editing, mixing with plugins, sends and inserts... exporting to wav... ardour is your friend.

cheers, Pablo

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby Pablo » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:02 pm

issue this basic command from a terminal
jackd -d alsa -r 44100


Well, I think this will confuse lintlicker because this command forgets the most important setting: telling jack what audio card to use. Here it us using the default audio card which is usually the onboard one.

I think it is better if lintlicker just uses qjackctl (Jack Control) and choose the right audio card in the interface field, in the setup window. I hope this card has a unique duplex device. If not, it is not so easy because you have to select one device for input and another one for output (yes, even if it is the same card). If in doubt, paste the terminal output of:

arecord -l && aplay -l

which tells you about card and devices, and if you can use them in duplex, or in only capture, or in only playback modes.

Cheers, Pablo

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby lintlicker » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:39 pm

Thanks for the advice about JACK. I'm going to try Tango and Ardour with JACK tonight to get something rolling. You keep talking about sound cards but I have to confess that I don't know what kind of sound card I'm running. I have a stock HP laptop and I've honestly never had to think about it before today. My main goal is to get my Edirol UA-4FX working for multi-track recording. In this situation, would the UA-4FX be the sound card equivalent or does it need to be configured separately?

(And on a separate note, can you recommend somewhere to look for information about learning linux? I find stuff for beginners, like "Do you want [insert feature here]? Then just type [insert command here]." I also find lots of advanced seeming instructions that I don't understand. Is there something to read to move from "stoopid n00b" to "somewhat knowledgeable"?)

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby Pablo » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:21 pm

My main goal is to get my Edirol UA-4FX working for multi-track recording. In this situation, would the UA-4FX be the sound card equivalent or does it need to be configured separately?


Well, sound card is a general term. Call it "audio interface" if you prefer. You will have one which comes with the laptop. Now, you have another (external) one that you connect to the laptop. No problem. The UA-4FX is supported by a linux driver. It should work.

Then, there is the jack audio server. As mentioned, you have to set up jack so it uses the UA-4FX.
can you recommend somewhere to look for information about learning linux?


Well, I think you should start by scanning ubuntu documentation [1]. Note that tangostudio is based on ubuntu 10.04, so almost all you read there is true for tango.

[1] https://help.ubuntu.com/10.04/index.html

Also, read jackaudio.org faqs and the linuxmusicians wiki.

Don't try to understand it all. You don't need to. Be patient and enjoy.

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby lintlicker » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:31 pm

I just tried out Tango Studio - pretty cool, but I miss the interface of vanilla ubuntu, and I think it has more "stuff" than I need.

I had an "Aha!" moment with JACK. I figured out how to make connections between input and output devices. However, when I tried to record, Ardour did not receive any input. I feel like I'm getting closer :)

After quickly perusing the Ardour forums, I figured my problem is probably simple enough to just ask here.
Here's exactly what I did.
Open JACK
Start Ardour
Connect JACK to Ardour
Start JACK
Attempt to record.

Did I miss a step?

*EDIT*
Looked at a youtube video of Ardour, and the guy there seems to be making TONS of conections in JACK.
I think the problem is I haven't made the proper connections. So I guess what I need is a description of the minimum connections needed to provide audio recording and playback.

Thanks!

*EDIT*
Still thanks!

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby Pablo » Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:49 pm

Cool!

Do this:

Open qjackctl (aka Jack Control)
Press the Setup button.
Press > button on the right of the interface field (third column). Make sure that the selected interface is the UA-4FX.
Close the setup window
Start the jack server, via Start button. You will see "Started" on the display (1).
Start Ardour.
I assume you have a micro connected to the first input of your UA-4FX:
Add a mono track.
Now, time to make/check virtual connections. The easiest is as follows:
In the Ardour Mixer window, (Windows -> Mixer). You select the input for the new track on top of the channel strip. Connect system: capture 1 (aka In 1).
You also can make/check audio connections via the connect button of qjackctl (audio tab) or via patchage (blue wires).
Don't forget to tell ardour what kind of monitoring you want, either right from the Edirol (hardware monitoring), or via Ardour (See Options -> Monitoring).

See also Help menu.

Cheers, Pablo

(1) (You will also see "stopped" in green but this refers to the jack transport. This is beyond the basics but note that you can get in sync two or more sequencers/DAWs thanks to it).

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Re: Edirol UA-4FX on ubuntu 10.04

Postby lintlicker » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:02 pm

Selecting my device in the setup menu fixed it! Ardour works great! THANK YOU! It does exactly what I want! I'm more comfortable with Audacity, but I'll learn Ardour. Just for curiosity's sake, do you know how to connect Audacity to JACK? It doesn't show up in JACK's connection menus.


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