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Thread: Why is audio so complex on linux?

  1. #11
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    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwray View Post
    I have a MacBook (2,1) w/ Ubuntu Studio on it, Sno Leopard, and XP.

    Any suggestions, aside from a distro that requires you build everything from scratch?
    I would get a cheap P4 and maudio pci soundcard, to use for linux.
    This will give you stability, as you learn the OS. Bodhi linux is
    an Ubuntu minimal distro (400 meg .iso) using E17 by default.
    So an 8gig usb-stick is fine to install on. The audio apps can
    be added using synaptic and ubuntu repos, and manually installed
    .deb files from debian unstable using

    dpkg -i name.deb

    http://packages.debian.org/unstable/sound/

    If it lists a herd of related dependencies, like 6 qt items,
    using synaptic to install them may save time.

  2. #12
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    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    I have had very good luck with AVLinux.

    I use 24 channels of firewire (dual AF12').

    Basically I installed it and it just worked.

    I use Ardour all the time. Beats Protools IMO and it's free!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    Ok. Ardour. I will check out. (Someone mentioned using ~/.pulseaudio, which wasn't working for me due to having other apps in the audio group that auto login and I'm in those groups too. So I put it in /etc/pulseaudio/someconfig file and that seems to work.

    I haven't figured out what apps, I just know when I do a who, audio is logged in. (I think I installed an audio db app that uses a private copy of postgres running on an odd port.) I have looked at so many apps my eyes are spinning.


    I will also have to check out AVLinux and Bhodi.

    The AF12 firewire card? (Um anyone know of a cheep mixer that supports firewire?)

    Basically I would like to come up with an inexpensive digital mixer, using my laptop as a test platform. (In otherwords, I'd like to know how the software works before I go spending time on a building a machine for it.)

    Firewire would probably be a good choice since the cameras I have in mind if we add video later will support firewire.

    I am assuming firewire 800 not 4.

    I like audacity because it's easy to start recording and apply effects, unfortunately, you can't apply effects straight to the live feed, and the problems I've had w/ Jack is that there is about a 6 second delay between the in and the out. (Even with Realtime processing enabled.) Might be that I'm just hitting the limits of a 2GB, 2.08Ghz intel Core 2 duo macbook. Or maybe I need to upgrade the HD again. It's certainly not as fast as the 8GB 1.68Ghz IntelCore2Duo. (Main performance boost is obviously RAM and 6GBs Sata vs 3.


    Right now, just trying to record the Sunday sermon to post on the internet as an mp3. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I've ruled out cabling. So I'm down to issues w/ internals on the laptop, and the soundboard. If I am using the same setup on the soundboard for other line out apps, I never have a problem, so it leads me to believe that the issue is more to do w/ the internals on the macbook.

    (ON the mac side, sometimes I can't shut off the built-in mic, which then ruins the recording w/ ambient noise). The windows side often Bsods because it keeps trying to load the firmware for the camera.

    The linux side, I am still fighting pulse, and now my wifi and bluetooth suddenly disappeared after a set of security updates for the kernel. Since I use the laptop to do coding for clients, I can't afford not to have security up to date. Very frustrating that things that aren't supposed to be modifying sound or network always seem to affect sound and network.

    I think pulse would be easier to use if it had its' own drivers instead of relying on OSS and Alsa which are outdated anyways.


    Thanks for all the replies!

  4. #14
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    Oklahoma
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    Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    Also, thanks for the newbie input, although I personally don't need that. I'm just used to maintaining servers, not desktops. (You know, install the pieces of linux you need, setup manual updates, and let it run, since servers use wired nics, and don't need Gui's or audio, no problems).

  5. #15
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    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwray View Post
    Also, thanks for the newbie input, although I personally don't need that. I'm just used to maintaining servers, not desktops. (You know, install the pieces of linux you need, setup manual updates, and let it run, since servers use wired nics, and don't need Gui's or audio, no problems).
    Bodhi is a 370 meg .iso, based on ubuntu, with an active forum, it's easy to add just what you need, and avoid complexity.

    Timemachine is great for very high quality yet very simple recording, which audacity can import, edit, and export as mp3.

    Rakarrack is a great stereo multi-fx app, and with an maudio pci card,
    that 6 second latency will vanish.

    Calf, invada, and mda LV2 fx also have some jewels. The Calf Reverb is one such.

    There are some Focusrite firewire
    interfaces that also could be used, but 3 times the price of an
    maudio 24/96, and a lot more possible configuration niggles. Trulan
    is a name to google with firewire ubuntu. The text file .jackdrc
    would be handy to post, in case some settings need a twist. There is
    a jackd manpage on the net, that itemizes the options, so it appears
    less like squirrel tracks. qjackctl saves that file each time your settings are saved, and it can be the command string, to launch jackd
    prior to the gui, if desired.

    jackd -d alsa -r 44100

    is the basic command that almost always works.
    Cheers

  6. #16
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    Nov 2009
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    Scotia, NY USA
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    Ubuntu Studio 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    On the original question of Linux having complicated audio systems.

    You are absolutely right. I'm always torn between trying to get stuff to work in Linux and paying big bucks for audio processing tools in Windows. I'm not a professional, and just a hobbyist when it comes to audio recording. It seems every time I want to upgrade my Studio distribution I run into a lot of configuration, especially seeing I run 2 firewire interfaces.

    Right now with the state of Ubuntu Studio in flux, it just adds to the confusion. Do I stick with Ubuntu Studio, or do I start looking at other distributions. While I appreciate the efforts of the Ubuntu Studio distro, I wonder why Canonical doesn't provide more backing. It's obvious that the Default Ubuntu distro's aren't setup for recording. And while there is a learning curve to the applications that make up a modern recording system (DAW, Sequencer, etc.), that with Linux there is even more of a learning curve to setup RT Kernels, JackD tuning, and Pulse/Jack passthrough.

    I've seen other distributions that are starting to come close, but wouldn't it be a boon to be able to get a general purpose Distro that can also do audio out of the box, then allow the power users to tweak from there if they want. To me, things like Ardour, Guitarix, Qsynth, and Jackd/Patchage are killer applications. It just seems getting them running is a whole other subset of learning... Why can't I have a distro that just runs these applications along with all the other general purpose stuff I do each day?

    Don't get me wrong. I have had success getting all the aforementioned running. But it's a lot of time and energy between updates. I've also tried some other distro's, like AVLinux, and running off of PPA's like KXStudio. They are pretty good, but still geared for the dedicated studio engineer in my opinion rather than giving the average joe a shot at production over what Audacity offers. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but I think if any of the major distributions threw around some weight to finally solve the Linux audio problem, it would get done for the better of everyone doing any kind of audio work in Linux.

    John

  7. #17
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    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    Almost any linux can include the common audio tools. There is some complexity, but that is the gateway to freedom. 'Seek and ye shall find' Basic multi-track multi-instrument recording, whether done on computer, or using room full of hardware, will always baffle someone somewhere. Dozens of cables and knobs and buttons being what they are

  8. #18
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    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    at least you can "grab" a cable and see where it goes.

  9. #19
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    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgx View Post
    Almost any linux can include the common audio tools. There is some complexity, but that is the gateway to freedom. 'Seek and ye shall find' Basic multi-track multi-instrument recording, whether done on computer, or using room full of hardware, will always baffle someone somewhere. Dozens of cables and knobs and buttons being what they are
    SGX, I don't think Complexity necessarily equals freedom. Or in this case, it has to. This is what would be nice: You see Ardour in the Ubuntu Software Center. You download it and it configures jackd for the hardware you have, and you can use it with relatively good latency. Then if you want to go into the underpinnings of jackd, IRQ priorities, etc to get ultra low latency, then you can.

    That's what started me on the path with Linux recording. I first looked in about 2003, and there wasn't much there then. I was surprised how far linux recording came when I looked again in 2008 and saw Ardour in the repositories. I was excited, downloaded it, then got into days of configuration and tweaking before I was stable. I'm just saying it would be nice to have been able to download that package, use it right away for recording, then worry about fine tuning if I wanted to.

    I'm a network engineer, and used to be a systems analyst. I know complexity. And for those making a living dealing with complexities it's fine. However for the regular user, complexity is a barrier, and I think it would be a good idea on focusing on those barriers.

    Canonical did a lot right with Ubuntu, but there are still some serious "barriers" they seem not to work on that would benefit the whole community as a whole. Audio is one of them. I guess I'm biased, but I would rather have seen Canonical work on a fully functioning audio system rather than a desktop interface overhaul. It shows that Audio has taking a backseat in this distribution.

    Please don't get me wrong, I think what the Ubuntu Studio community and the open source community in general did is outstanding, and I'm using (albeit an older version) it to record my band. Something I couldn't do a decade ago. I've been using Linux since Slackware was the big distribution. It's been nice seeing how far things have come, and I've tried to lend a hand when I can. I just hate to see people settle. I think it can be better and hope projects like Ubuntu Studio get more backing. I think in the end it will benefit Canonical's flag ship products.

    The last thing I want to note, and it's kind of going off on tangets, but I don't think Unity should be totally dismissed as an interface for audio based recording. I know it's clunky, especially on a desktop. But I see Ubuntu in general moving towards tablets with the Unity interface. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to use all the linux audio tools to great effect on something like a Motorola Xoom, or Samsung Galaxy tab? That would be freedom.

  10. #20
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    Re: Why is audio so complex on linux?

    Quote Originally Posted by sheehanje View Post
    SGX, I don't think Complexity necessarily equals freedom. Or in this case, it has to.

    However for the regular user, complexity is a barrier, and I think it would be a good idea on focusing on those barriers.

    I don't think Unity should be totally dismissed as an interface for audio based recording. I know it's clunky, especially on a desktop.
    As a musician, there are several things I am free to do, due to the complex routings and creative command lines that are available to me, that are not there for windows musicians.

    I don't agree that musicians are regular users. Whether hobbyist or
    professional, they require specific hardware, oddlot software, and unique configurations. I see qjackctl and a few text files as easier and more powerful than windoze Control Panel gizmos.

    Linux musicians, not being normal users, will eventually choose
    a gui of their liking. If Unity is unpopular with the masses,
    they will go elsewhere, or install and learn a different gui. Dumb-down versions of linux distros should be available, but making them the default only insults the userbase, and won't likely impress
    refugees. 'Feed the horse that brung ya.'

    If Unity is clunky on state of the art monitors with
    blazing speed GPUs, just wait til its crammed on expensive 9" X 6"
    inch tablet screens...
    (but I would be a liar if i claimed never to have researched
    homebrew mounting hardware, to put a tablet near middle C, or
    mounted on a commodity electric guitar )
    Cheers

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