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Music Software Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Linux and the Home Recording Studio? 264

wjcofkc writes: Somewhere between IT jobs I found myself spending 2 1/2 years employed pretty deeply in the local music industry. It was a fantastic experience. Left and right I saw people using very expensive proprietary software. I never saw anything that a similar Linux counterpart, or a suite of Open Source counterparts could not do. Needless to say, I preached the good word. Unfortunately, I never exploited any opportunities to provide a demo. One thing concerned me. If you have a full DAW setup, it's not just software; there is always some sort of hardware interface of varying complexity involved and playing through an amp into a microphone connected to a computer is not an acceptable way to record. I recently purchased a Lexicon Alpha 2-Channel Desktop Recording Studio interface based on vague mentions that it might work with Linux. After plugging it in for the first time, I fired up Audacity and Ardour. The device was available to select as an interface with zero configuration and it works perfectly. My question to the music geeks among us: what is your take on the state of Open Source pro audio software? And what successes and failures have you had with studio hardware?
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Ask Slashdot: Linux and the Home Recording Studio?

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  • Ubuntu Studio (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:15PM (#51560753) Journal
    I remember Ubuntu Studio [wikipedia.org] being a thing years ago. I haven't been active in the Ubuntu community for a while know. I don't know what happened to the project. It had a real time kernel that seemed interesting.
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:18PM (#51560783) Homepage

    Somewhere between IT jobs I found myself spending 2 1/2 years employed pretty deeply in the local music industry.

    You were unemployed for 2.5 years following the Great Recession. I understand your situation. I was unemployed for two years (2009-2010), underemployed (working 20 hours per month) for six months, and filed for Chapter Seven bankruptcy. Alas, I spent my entire looking for a job.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:31PM (#51560935)

      Alas, I spent my entire looking for a job.

      I also spent my entire noun looking for a.

    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:46PM (#51561073)
      To feed the troll or not to feed the troll...? Okay, here's some kibbles and bits. In fact I was most certainly employed in the music industry, however local. No less, I paid taxes and everything. Yes, I even got paid!!! It was decent too. I would rattle off everything I handed which was substantial, but that is not the point of my submission. Look, I am sorry your presumably tech resume didn't cut it during that time. Many of ours did not. I am also sorry you did not look outside the box like I did resulting in one of the most enriching and exciting employment stretches I will probably ever have. I have missed it so much, I am ditching tech outside of economic reasons to get back in.
      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        To feed the troll or not to feed the troll...?

        I'm a troll for being sympathetic to your situation? Sheesh...

        I paid taxes and everything.

        The IRS hounded me for a year because I owed taxes on my unemployment benefits. Being unemployed for an extended period of time, filing for bankruptcy and unable to qualify for welfare didn't qualify for a hardship exemption in the eyes of the IRS.

        Look, I am sorry your presumably tech resume didn't cut it during that time.

        My resume was fine. The problem was with recruiters who saw that I had help desk experience for 3+ years in the last three positions, assumed that I wanted to continue doing help desk, and told me that

        • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )

          Every time I looked outside the box, I was told I was overqualified by hiring managers and unemployable by recruiters.

          Okay, so this has happened to me lots. Being told you are overqualified, even when true, is the pits. As far as how I so drastically switched gears, I had the benefit of hooking up with someone in the industry with previous IT experience. I also re-wrote my resume to be as applicable as possible. Further, I pretty much social engineered my way in. It worked out.

          • Yeah, in 2009-ish I spent a couple of weeks camping outside "my future employer" doing stuff on my own laptop on the promise that I might get a paycheck, someday. Someday finally did come, and it was a good paying gig, off and on. Eventually too much off for my taste and I moved on to something with more "on time."

  • Comes with a realtime kernel, jack, and Ardour all set up and ready to go. There's no other distro to use for a home studio. I used it in my home studio years ago with an 8x8 PCI audio card, and it was great. I haven't used it in a while but the project is still being maintained, so you might check it out.

  • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:24PM (#51560859)
    For what you trying to accomplish, there are more open source programs available for Windows than any other platform. If your computer is stand alone, you need not worry about phone home telemetry, or just use Windows 7. Auto Tune alternatives are widely available for Windows than Linux, if that matters to you. Otherwise, Linux is great if it meets all your projected needs.
    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      Linux does in fact meet my needs, granted with a low latency version of the Linux kernel. Reading these comments, people seem to be overlooking the "Home Recording" part of the title.
    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      Also, as far as sticking with Linux, it's kinda sorta the title and point of my submission. I am in fact familiar with what is available on other platforms and their capabilities.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:29PM (#51560905)

    'Recording Studio' -> Get a Mac. Seriously. CoreAudio is probably *the* best audio subsystem on the planet, currently, Proprietary or Open Source.

    I tried Ardour with my FireWire mixer (32ch in & out). Even with a realtime kernel, JACK would instantly eat 100% of a CPU core when connecting to the mixer, and I'd get dropouts. You have to manually tweak buffer sizes & sample rates to target a specific latency. Not to mention the entire JACK core would crash mid-recording sometimes. Ardour itself is amazing for an open-source DAW, but it's hobbled by broken subsystems as dependencies.

    PulseAudio is like WDM on Windows - you're going to get absolute crap for latency, next to no control over sample rates and buffers unless you start digging through the Pulse configs, restarting the service yourself... it's meant as a 'consumer' audio playback engine, at *most* you'll want to use its recording side for, say, voice chat, livestreaming with Open Broadcaster Suite, that sort of thing. It also has a bad habit of assuming 'multichannel' means 'surround'.

    The only other system that you can get by with would be ASIO on Windows, but then you're dealing with the typical Windows issues, hoping your mixer/interface manufacturer has created Windows drivers for your system, those drivers actually work and don't crash, etc. Your interface is a few years old? Only has drivers for WinXP/Vista? Good luck!

    This is *the* one big place (video editing being the other) where Macs are still King. CoreAudio is literally plug-and-play, and can handle sample rate conversions, clock sync master/slave settings, etc. (Audio MIDI Preferences.app for details) - you can even merge multiple disparate interfaces into one combined virtual interface (though you risk timing issues with wildly disparate hardware).

    You can assume almost every Pro Audio hardware manufacturer designs and tests on Macs & OS X *first*, and then hacks together a Windows ASIO & (maybe) WDM driver as an afterthought. All your 'regular' Windows apps will be using WDM - games, Skype, what have you, and all your Pro apps will be using ASIO. Two different drivers for two different sets of applications. On a Mac? CoreAudio is the same for everyone. Games and 'regular' apps use the same backend as Pro Tools or Ableton or Logic.

    tl;dr: I tried the whole 'Linux DAW' thing years ago, gave up, got a Mac, actually spent my time getting stuff done and not fighting broken systems/drivers.

    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      Already have a Mac, although it does not get much action these days. When I was in the industry it was all I used, but I also did a fantastic amount of graphic design and print advertising. Fast forward to today, and I much prefer the Open Source offerings I can get with Linux for home studio recording. The trick is to use a low latency kernel.

      Note: When it came to graphic design and print design, I actually got by using Gimp in X Windows on OS X and no one was the wiser. But wait.... print you say? But th
    • Even with a realtime kernel, JACK would instantly eat 100% of a CPU core when connecting to the mixer, and I'd get dropouts.

      I have the intuition (not so much an intuition) using a real time kernel would increase the CPU load rather than decrease it. Perhaps the "tick rate" or whatever it is of the real-time feature can be configured.
      In another vein you remind me why I don't use a "3D accelerated" desktop in linux, I like to keep a top window running when needing to keep tabs on things and this just results in crazy CPU load spikes by the window manager, Xorg or both.

      Pulseaudio does have a cool feature, you can add one silly line

    • You can assume almost every Pro Audio hardware manufacturer designs and tests on Macs & OS X *first*, and then hacks together a Windows ASIO & (maybe) WDM driver as an afterthought. All your 'regular' Windows apps will be using WDM - games, Skype, what have you, and all your Pro apps will be using ASIO. Two different drivers for two different sets of applications. On a Mac? CoreAudio is the same for everyone. Games and 'regular' apps use the same backend as Pro Tools or Ableton or Logic.

      tl;dr: I tried the whole 'Linux DAW' thing years ago, gave up, got a Mac, actually spent my time getting stuff done and not fighting broken systems/drivers.

      It seems like Windows is a bit more prevalent in the audio/music DAW world than it used to be. Macs certainly used to reign supreme, but that was quite a few years ago - it's a lot more even footing, at least from what I've seen. Granted, my view may be biased since the audio pros I know are mostly game developers. As such, they'd naturally tend to gravitate towards Windows, that being the primary development platform our industry uses.

      For my part, I've been using Cakewalk software since DOS days, and mo

    • This is so accurate. I recently bought a little M-Audio M-Track Plus 2 audio interface. Its manual (which is findable online [m-audio.com]) has a section called "Audio Setup" with instructions for configuring your audio, downloading drivers, etc. The Windows section is a page full of checklists. The Mac section is "plug it in, go to Sound preferences, set the unit as your default input and output devices, and close the window".

      Mac audio Just Works really, really well.

    • This is *the* one big place (video editing being the other) where Macs are still King.

      Considering the state of the art GPU acceleration on PC and the availability of substantially superior CPUs with high clock speeds (which is generally what you want vs many cores), Windows is still the place to be for video editing.

    • by paulbd ( 118132 )

      PulseAudio is nothing like WDM on Windows, in any sense at all.

      Your "one system for everyone (CoreAudio on OS X)" is also true on Linux too. The issue is the presence of "middleware", such as PulseAudio or JACK. But JACK provides functionality that is not possible with just CoreAudio (interapplication audio, shared transport control and more), so the comparison is a bit more complex.

      And by the way, if low latency is the primary metric for measuring the quality of an audio system, then ALSA still wins.

      And f

    • by paulbd ( 118132 )

      Oh, and Ardour no longer requires JACK either (on any of the 3 platforms on which it runs), but can use it if the user wishes to do so.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Aaron Wolf gave a talk about this at SCaLE14x this January.

    Link: https://opensource.com/life/16/1/configuring-linux-for-music-recording-production

  • I've used Audacity and Ardour but only to record practice and loose sessions when it comes to making something a little more professional you will want hardware based recording system so that you can actually record more tracks simultaneously. Sometimes is difficult to get drums recorded directly to the PC with out loosing quality due to track limitations. This doesn't mean you can't dump it to the workstation for editing and mixing later.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:34PM (#51560969)

    I used Ubuntu with Ardour for about 4 years (2005-2009) doing a ton of recording. The machine I ran on was a 2.7Ghz dual-core, 2GB of RAM, and I used a sound card known to work well with Linux at the time (can't remember the brand, disinclined to open the machine up and find out for the purposes of this post). I have a friend who, during the same time frame, bought a Mac Pro and Pro Tools, paid someone from Pro Tools to come to his studio and train him, and bought a bunch of preamps, etc. He was writing songs and working some kind of deal with a publisher in Nashville.

    Long story short, because my apparent knack for arranging (and programming realistic-sounding drum parts), he ended up sending all of the bed-track work to me. Typical project size was 40+ tracks. I built a Qt app to listen to incoming MIDI events from my drum machine, played hi-res drum samples, and recorded each drum output into Ardour. There was a TON of effects plug-ins that ranged in quality from "utter crap" to "very darn good". The overall recording quality was about what you'd expect a basement-studio guy to produce: That is to say, equal to what my ProTools friend was producing. As for performance and stability: I remember that when the machine was trying to play 40+ tracks with a lot of effects and play the drum parts too, it would run into some difficulty that resulted in it sounding like the drummer was a bit drunk. The solution was to record the drum tracks by themselves in a pass, then it was fine.

    Overall, I was very happy with it. I ended up doing the bed tracks for an actual album for another guy later, and then sort of lost interest in recording in my basement and moved on to other things. I've been thinking lately of getting back into it, to see where things are technology-wise. It was fun.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:42PM (#51561031)

    Lots of experience with this.
    1) Real Time Kernel (compile it if you have to)
    2) Ardour (My best results are with Ardour 2 so far)
    3) Jack Audio
    4) Rosegarden (for midi)
    5) Linuxsampler (convert midi to audio using professional samples)

    It doesn't hurt to have 8 cores, 32 GB RAM and tons of HD.
    With 2 40" 4K screens I can display just the ardour mixer with 30-50 tracks across one screen.... and have room for the other apps.

    I've done many tracks.... easily up to 70 tracks... with plugins... low latency....

  • by Jonathan P. Bennett ( 2872425 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:53PM (#51561139)

    I use Ardour on Fedora, connected to a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, and heavily using the great and opensource Calf Studio Gear Audio plugin suite. Everything works really well, and the setup could be used to put together a really high quality album. We almost exclusively use it for recording church services, which doesn't exercise the full potential of the setup. One of these days I'll have time to put together a project that takes advantage of more of the capabilities we have.

    • I use Ardour on Fedora, connected to a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, and heavily using the great and opensource Calf Studio Gear Audio plugin suite. Everything works really well, and the setup could be used to put together a really high quality album. We almost exclusively use it for recording church services, which doesn't exercise the full potential of the setup. One of these days I'll have time to put together a project that takes advantage of more of the capabilities we have.

      I can attest to Focusrite's stuff. I use a Scarlett 2i2 with Audacity for live audio capture. Works great. For the cost, the mic preamps on the Scarlett are absurdly good.

    • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday February 23, 2016 @03:59AM (#51565169) Journal

      I have almost completed producing a full album using only Ardour. We tried Logic and looked at Pro-Tools however, as a band, we made an artistic decision to see where Ardour and Jack would take us because we did not want to invest our time and money learning proprietary tools. Additionally the workflow was something we wanted to alter and being locked into proprietary software meant we had no control over that even though we had the technical expertise to overcome issues.

      We are a live band with instruments (drums, guitars, bass, vocals and a lot of sweat) recorded, using Ardour on hardware tuned for I/O (ssd, jfs), Linux mint, low latency kernel, rt patches and 16 channels captured from a 24 Channel desk. I threw my friends into the deep end and told them that we were going to record an album. We converted a 3 bedroom house into a studio and recorded over a period of 5 weekends to polish the material we recorded each time. We finalized it with a single recording session in one day after we picked out the songs we wanted to record for the album. They were a bit dubious at first but soon got into it when they could see results.

      We used a bunch of different microphones and a number of techniques to capture the sounds we want, I personally feel that the choice of what microphones (which Ardour has allowed me to accumulate and test into an interesting collection), where and how you capture sounds is more important than the software. Ardour just made it possible by just working. We captured all day, no issues and the system was stable. More than that, it really gave my friends the confidence to be a little out there with what they did. It was so much fun but also very hard work.

      On the production side I found the Ardour code base to be stable, I use a Xeon 2650, X79, 16Gb ram. I did have one crash, however I had to abuse it pretty hard to get there. It's not perfect, I'm not using the latest version, however it's pretty good. We don't use VSTs and the sonic results so far are amazing with the calf plugins and other open source plugins. I think it is absolutely worth the investment in time to learn Ardour if you are a live band recording music and just want to get on with recording music.

      I think Paul Davis is a genius and Jack is a revolution in the way audio production works on a system once you understand how to utilize its power. I don't think we could have achieved the workflow efficiencies we have without Jack or with traditional processes. It's not easy, it's a very heavy workload and I'm hoping I can make some contributions back to the Ardour project with what I have learned by doing this.

      The best advise I can give is to cyclically prepare and test all hardware before recording. Agile seems to work pretty good for musicians too.

  • Bitwig for Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Checkout Bitwig. It's basically Ableton for Linux, damn near an exact clone. Multi-track recording, VST support, arrangement and performance type views.

  • by old_skul ( 566766 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @04:12PM (#51561301) Journal

    Full disclosure: I'm a middleware guy, and I greatly prefer to run linux as a server operating system. I have 25+ years of experience as an IT administrator and am more than a power user on linux. Off the clock, I make music and have used PC and Apple based DAWs for 20+ years, starting with a Pentium 75 with a Turtle Beach soundcard back in 1994. Today, my wife is a pro voice actor (if you listen to Pandora, you've likely heard her) and we maintain a professional level recording studio in our home. Said studio runs Windows 10 and Cubase 8.5 for a DAW.

    That said: There are better platforms upon which to do digital audio. If you're doing this with any intention of making money, spend money on your operating system. Linux struggles to be a decent desktop OS as it is; there's no need to introduce driver issues and under-supported DAW software into the mix, while at the same time dealing with a dicey desktop OS.

    Windows and OSX are by no means perfect - but they're supported solutions that DAW software and interface drivers are specifically coded for. Open source is fantastic in the enterprise, but I would never, ever risk my wife's career on community supported software. As it stands, running Windows is dicey enough - and we'll be moving (back) to OSX once I work out a monitor/keyboard/mouse sharing solution that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

    • Full disclosure: I'm a middleware guy, and I greatly prefer to run linux as a server operating system. I have 25+ years of experience as an IT administrator and am more than a power user on linux. Off the clock, I make music and have used PC and Apple based DAWs for 20+ years, starting with a Pentium 75 with a Turtle Beach soundcard back in 1994. Today, my wife is a pro voice actor (if you listen to Pandora, you've likely heard her) and we maintain a professional level recording studio in our home. Said studio runs Windows 10 and Cubase 8.5 for a DAW.

      That said: There are better platforms upon which to do digital audio. If you're doing this with any intention of making money, spend money on your operating system. Linux struggles to be a decent desktop OS as it is; there's no need to introduce driver issues and under-supported DAW software into the mix, while at the same time dealing with a dicey desktop OS.

      Windows and OSX are by no means perfect - but they're supported solutions that DAW software and interface drivers are specifically coded for. Open source is fantastic in the enterprise, but I would never, ever risk my wife's career on community supported software. As it stands, running Windows is dicey enough - and we'll be moving (back) to OSX once I work out a monitor/keyboard/mouse sharing solution that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

      I take it that Synergy didn't work out?

      • Synergy has latency I'm unwilling to accept....because I'm a gamer, too. :) Besides, I still need some way to switch 2x24" monitors between computers, along with a pro audio interface (UAD Apollo).

    • Full disclosure: I'm a middleware guy, and I greatly prefer to run linux as a server operating system. [....] Linux struggles to be a decent desktop OS

      I would not call Linux a dicey desktop OS, it works very well if you keep it up to date, and have hardware that support it. I can not speak for audio on the desktop but it seems to me that you are mixing the two issues, I have complete newbies that use Linux and there are NO issues except proprietary hardware support. From what I can see it seems that you haven't even tried using Linux for this, you could perhaps just list the softwares you have tried and why dismissed them.

      Please add some useful facts to

    • In commercial DAW products, Harrison Consoles offers MixBus for Linux in both 64-bit and 32-bit editions. When I first tried it, the boot-able DVD demo edition was running AVLinux.

  • Years ago I ran hacked versions of Sonar on an XP system with a basic two channel usb input. For basic recording it worked fine, and Sonar wasn't bad.

    Here we are several years later and I have been thinking about getting back into it, and I've researched DAW on Linux and found Ardour [ardour.org], which I haven't tried.

    Like others have pointed out, getting drivers of interfaces to work has worried me on Linux, though they show certain M-Audio ones they recommend.

    But alas, I've stayed on Windows 7 with Sonar an
  • Any luck with VST/VSTi? I recall an inability to make progress with the latter as a major show stopper
  • This album [spotify.com] was recorded on a 10 year old HP Pavilion single processor laptop with 2G RAM on Arch Linux with Audacity using $50 condenser mics through a Mackie FX12 mixer. A video [youtube.com] of one of the songs was created with OpenShot [openshot.org] on the same equipment.
    • Um. That's great. Nirvana's "Bleach" was recorded on 8 track, using dynamic mics and guitar amps. Of course you can record on anything, if reliability isn't too much of an issue. Particularly if you're recording through a mixer anyway, in which case your recording software is a bit irrelevant. You just mic up, set the levels and EQs and what-have-you, and push record.

      If you're doing real multi-track recording through a proper multi-track audio interface, like the Steinberg UR824 that a friend of mine uses

      • by paulbd ( 118132 )

        There are LOTS of multichannel USB audio interfaces that work perfectly on Linux. What matters is whether the devices correspond to the USB audio class specification, which is also equivalent to asking whether they come with their own drivers for OS X and Windows. No drivers? They will work on Linux.

        • If that's the case, why are we having this conversation? The drivers might be fine for the device, but the software just isn't there for Linux.
          • by paulbd ( 118132 )

            1) Quite a few manufacturers choose not to use the USB audio class specification
            2) I can't write the software fast enough. Ardour has taken up 16 years of my life already, with a huge amount of help from other people.

            • I don't wish for one moment to diminish the huge efforts of the open source community to try to create a software solution for Linux. But you're up against well-funded teams of software engineers who create software that the recording industry pays significant cash to acquire. The same problem exists for Photoshop vs. The GIMP, and Avid vs. whatever video editing software exists for Linux. And Blender vs. Renderman + Maya etc.

              It's interesting that open source has succeeded with the OS (for its warts, Linux

  • There is little to none professional open source audio software. Yes, there are some notable exceptions, but the visual arts have a lot more open source tools that a professional could fine useful compared to the audible arts. I could speculate all day about the reasons for that. Maybe because to paint you only need a mouse, that a computer has anyways, but for professional audio production you need a lot of expensive hardware making visual computer art a lot more accessible. There could be any number of re

  • by Captain Damnit ( 105224 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @06:43PM (#51562647)

    I love Linux and open-source software. I used a Linux desktop for 15+ years as a software developer. For servers, it's a no-brainer. I'm rooting for Linux.

    For audio work, I won't touch Linux with a 10-foot cattle prod. It's just not there yet, and it's not going to be anytime soon.

    I spent several years attempting to keep Linux at the center of my studio, and I wish I hadn't. The user experience for a seasoned studio engineer is light-years behind Windows and Mac. I was forced to compile real-time kernels and custom versions of Ardour, got rid of my MOTU interfaces because the manufacturer hates Linux, spent countless evenings swearing at xruns, and developed a well-honed contempt for JACK's almost Windows NT-like stability. Working with MIDI and audio required lashing Ardour, Rosegarden, and Hydrogen together with duct tape and wishful thinking. Audio latency was never decent enough to use most effects while monitoring.

    Every time I hit record with other musicians, I said a small prayer to the USB bus gods that nothing would explode mid-take. This is not a mindset conducive to creativity.

    Did it actually work? Yes, after a fashion. There are some bright spots: Alsa Modular Synth sounds awesome, the Calf Audio plugins are as good as anything on the proprietary side of the fence, and Ardour is serviceable in a 2003 kind of way. I managed to record a few albums of material using that setup, but it was not an experience I would recommend to anyone. It felt like I was doing more tech support than creating.

    Eventually I sucked in my open-source pride and bought a Mac with Logic Pro X on it. Pretty much everything that I've done on it worked right out of the box. It hurt my soul to hand $3K to an Apple Store genius, but now I spend my free evenings recording instead of swearing. I can only hope that Richard Stallman doesn't show up at my front door to lecture me, or worse yet, sing that god-awful GNU song at me.

    Time is money, and free time is the most expensive of all. If you value your creative time in the slightest, don't bother with Linux. Get a Mac or PC, load it up with an industry-standard DAW, and make some noise. You may not please St. Ignucius, but you will at least be productive.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      It hurt my soul to hand $3K [to store] but now I spend my free evenings recording instead of swearing.

      Try recording rap, then you can do both.

  • by Chas ( 5144 )

    What is your take on the state of Open Source pro audio software?

    You mean it has a state?

    I didn't think it'd gotten that far yet...

  • I never saw anything that a similar Linux counterpart, or a suite of Open Source counterparts could not do.

    Then you didn't understand what they were doing. To suggest you can do the same on Linux is like suggesting you can use Gimp instead of Photoshop. It makes it sound like you don't do anything but resize photos, or the audio equivalent.

    All of the DAWs and all of the sound libraries and all of the virtual instruments and all of the effects processing and all of the mastering software is on the Mac and on

    • by paulbd ( 118132 )

      I suppose it is just too hard these days to imagine recording music (the question was about a home RECORDING studio) as actually meaning RECORDING musicians performing on instruments.

      I can assure you that there are plenty of people using Linux to do that, without the issues you're describing above. I'm also going to assume that you live in the USA, because if you lived in Europe (notably Germany) I think your perception of Linux would be quite different.

  • As an experienced user of Mac and Linux, I have to say that, unless you are more interested in technical aspects of music, rather than smooth and accomplished production - actually getting stuff out the door - Garageband is a FAR FAR better choice.

    Linux audio is fraught with peril and surprises. The available software is adequate, but not very polished, and usually lacking in endless features you'd find invaluable in production. Nothing ruins the flow of creativity and artistry more than endless limitations

  • by amper ( 33785 ) on Tuesday February 23, 2016 @12:13AM (#51564629) Journal

    I know that "Get a Mac" seems like a trite statement to a lot of people, but in the case of professional audio and video production, there really isn't any reason to do otherwise. Your choices for professional studio compatibility are ProTools or Logic, and everything else (Abelton, etc.) is pretty much only used by hobbyists, not professional studios.

    FWIW, my current home studio setup is still a Power Mac G5 Dual 2.0 GHz machine with 1 GB of RAM and a 160GB SATA-1 drive. I use a second 160GB SATA-1 drive for my recording deck. My interface is an M-Audio Delta 1010 (24-bit/96 KHz), the PCI-X version (this is the last Mac that actually works with the PCI-X card). I'm running Logic 7.2 still, because it works for what I need, which is for recording a small rock band. I have an M-Audio Octane 8-channel mic preamp fronting it, and the outtput goes through a Presonus Central Station before hitting my Sennheiser HD280 cans and M-Audio Studiophile BX8 nearfield monitors. My microphones are a pair of M-Audio Solaris large diaphragms with Shure Beta 57A and 52A dynamics. I use a LaCie Electron Blue 19 CRT monitor. All in all, a very respectable home studio setup, circa 2005, which is when I bought it.

    I can easily record 16 tracks with a shit ton of software plugins including multiple convolution reverbs before running into CPU or disk speed problems. This workstation is not used for anything other than recording, and ten years later, it's perfectly functional, if limited to Mac OS X 10.6 (I keep it off the Internet, mostly). If I needed a bit more speed, I could run a RAID-0/1, add RAM, or add a tc electronic PCI DSP card to handle the reverbs and some of the other effects, rather than having the Mac calculate everything. But, the fact is, I rarely run into insurmountable problems with the amount of bandwidth in this machine. There have been times when I've needed to "freeze" certain tracks in Logic in order to avoid CPU snags, but I'm recording a four-piece rock band: drums, bass, guitars, vocals.

    This whole system was literally plug and play. You are simply not going to find anything that works this simply or this well in Linux, not even now, in 2016. Eventually, this system will be replaced with something new and a Firewire or Lightning A/D/A box, and I'll upgrade to whatever version off Logic is current, but there's no need to fix what isn't broken. Logic is, to my knowledge, the only system other than ProTools that is capable of using Avid/Digidesign ProTools HD interfaces.

  • by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Tuesday February 23, 2016 @09:24AM (#51566111) Homepage Journal
    I use Bitwig Studio and Renoise as my DAW's of choice. Hard to beat really I use a Scarlett 2i4 and have a bunch of hardware . Arturia Beatstep , Korg minikeys , Waldorf Blofeld. Never had any issues getting it to work I use Ubuntu for the desktop. Neither DAW are open source but both have a thriving community .I'm happy to support vendors that support Linux. You can hear some of my stuff here. http://www.soundcloud.com/poly... [soundcloud.com] No Mac or windows machines were used on any of my tracks.

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