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Journal by nostyle

In my vainer moments, I fancy myself a composer of music. I record these compositions from time to time - well, because I can. The first album I produced around 2005 using Demudi - an obscure (and now defunct) Debian-based digital-audio-workstation (DAW) distro featuring a low-latency/RT kernel which ran on custom built box with a low-power Cyrix CPU where all the fans could be switched off temporarily while recording. Between the crashing of the software, the glitches in the GUI and the limited power of the CPU, I somehow managed to cobble together 17 songs with up to ten tracks mixed and mastered together. It cost me nothing but time and headaches. It actually sold about 300 copies.

Then when tunes kept leaking out of my mind, I repeated the foolishness in 2010, this time using an Ubuntustudio distro on an HP laptop with an I-5 CPU, managing to produce 15 songs with up to sixteen tracks mixed together. It was less of a headache, but with the introduction of pulseaudio, the number of moving parts was starting to get unwieldy, and it was more difficult to get clean (xrun-free) recordings. Thank $DEITY for audio cut-and-paste.

So now, slow-learner that I am, I am once more considering producing a new album, but with all the dabbling I've done in the meantime and with the advent of systemd, I have not found a pleasant linux-based DAW set-up that is headache free. I notice that there is a recent Slackware-based DAW live ISO available, but before investing much time and energy into the effort, I thought I would ask if anyone out there in SN-space has found an easy and convenient set-up that they might recommend.

For the record, the material I produce is mostly stuff that only a mother could love, nor is anyone here in the demographic that would be interested in it. The tracks that have been posted to you-tube have (on average) garnered maybe a dozen views over a ten year span, and the most popular track has a whopping 5 likes (and 1 dislike).

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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
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  • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Wednesday May 26, @08:03PM

    by DECbot (832) on Wednesday May 26, @08:03PM (#1139075) Journal

    I listen to a bunch of podcasts from Jupiter Broadcasting, and they are excited for pipewire to make audio routing on Linux magic. They advertise it as all the power of Jack Audio but none of the complexity. It's suppose to either replace pulseaudio or mask it away so users don't have to deal with it. There's a few shows where they discuss their setup--Linux Unplugged did a review of Pipewire on Fedora if I recall the episode correctly.

    --
    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday May 26, @09:06PM

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday May 26, @09:06PM (#1139094) Journal

    Here are the live isos [slackware.nl] in case you're looking. Use the "iso2usb.sh" to put it on a nice big stick, it has a persistence directory to save your work. Now you have a portable DAW that you can plug into anybody's machine

    --
    Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 26, @09:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 26, @09:43PM (#1139104)

    Hard to beat Linux, Reaper, Jack Audio, and Zam right now. I used to prefer OS X for audio work then Apple ruined Jack support there, so Windows was the next best thing but Jack sucks there too, unfortunately. Now that Reaper runs natively on Linux I'm pretty happy.

    I have no idea if it'll do for music work but for me this combo works great for live broadcasts and podcasting/vlogging.

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Wednesday May 26, @10:33PM (8 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday May 26, @10:33PM (#1139113)

    Give us a link (even to short samples), always good to be exposed to new stuff.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Freeman on Wednesday May 26, @10:58PM (1 child)

      by Freeman (732) on Wednesday May 26, @10:58PM (#1139116) Journal

      Unless the new stuff is mercury, lead, some form of radiation, poison, toxin, or other substance that might cause you irritation, pain, suffering, and/or death. I mean, how bad can his singing be?

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by BK on Wednesday May 26, @11:53PM

        by BK (4868) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 26, @11:53PM (#1139123)

        It could be reeeeally bad. Still want a link.

        --
        ...but you HAVE heard of me.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by nostyle on Thursday May 27, @12:09AM (4 children)

      by nostyle (11497) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 27, @12:09AM (#1139128) Journal

      I dare not dox myself when there are so many out to get me. Likewise content is scriptural (hence the demographic mismatch with most here).

      --
      I mean I trust you and all, just not everyone else who can read this. Nice try though.

      • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday May 27, @12:25AM (3 children)

        by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday May 27, @12:25AM (#1139133)

        I wonder if some DAWs are better at working with the instruments, sound effects (maybe no need for pitch bending or distortion), and vocal processing (maybe choral) profile of that kind of (Christian? vocal/instrumental?) music.

        Some of the live-performance-targeted DAWs might be a better option if they're not heavily electronic/effects based. If scriptural, I'd suspect that talking to people who produce that kind of music would narrow down things for you more.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by nostyle on Thursday May 27, @12:51AM (2 children)

          by nostyle (11497) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 27, @12:51AM (#1139136) Journal

          All the recording and effects were done using Ardour - mostly staying true to raw sounds of instruments/vocals. To fill things out a bit, I used a number of synthesized instrumental sounds from a Roland XV-5050. Drum tracks were developed/recorded using Hydrogen. I have several high-end audio interfaces.

          I'm happy with the resulting sound. I am simply hesitant to return to fighting with the distro to make it all work.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, @01:31AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, @01:31AM (#1139144)

            I'm told hydrogen plays well with rosegarden, which plays well with recording audio and midi.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, @01:55AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, @01:55AM (#1139153)

            Ardour was really where it was at on Linux when I last did any serious music production. It's a heavyweight app for older hardware and I was only ever using "tape tracks" and the mixer function, x-run free until around the time they broke tape mode (2014?). I was already playing with non suite [tuxfamily.org] but never battle tested it on a real session. I think Ardour 6 is running on the Raspberry Pi 4, they now have internal routing for parallel processing so that may have improved performance.

    • (Score: 2) by nostyle on Friday May 28, @09:36PM

      by nostyle (11497) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 28, @09:36PM (#1139848) Journal

      So, this has nothing to do with me, but you were wanting a link, and this [youtube.com] is the best thing I've heard all year - especially the segment between 1:23 and 5:12.

      --
      It's true, I'm a fan!

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, @01:11PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 27, @01:11PM (#1139268)

    I wouldn't buy a computer. In fact, I outfitted a hardware studio precisely because of the howling vortex of suck that dealing with IT issues creates while you're trying to be creative.

    Recording, mixing and mastering: you can get a Tascam DP32SD for less than the price of a new Mac, and there's a whole range of similar recorders down to little portable, battery-operated ones. With a high speed SD card you can even record 24 bit, 8 tracks in parallel, on the top end Tascams. Their I/O sounds clean, and they have internal effects as well as effect sends. They can take in low impedance as well as line level, and they can provide phantom power too if memory serves.

    For effects, consider a recent vintage Zoom multi-effects pedal, like the Zoom G3n. Add some cables, and you have a solution for everything from mic to mixing to mastering, under $1K.

    If you want to get more involved in sequencing all sorts of stuff but still want to record vocals and so on, consider something like the Akai Professional Force, or even the MPC One.

    If you're really strapped for cash and you just want free software to get you there, you can record just fine on Audacity, you can sequence using Muse or Rosegarden or LMMS or probably half-a-dozen others, but I would go hardware if you had the means.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, @05:03PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, @05:03PM (#1140055)

      Like any industrial machinery, studio equipment needs maintenance. It's easier and cheaper to replace a laptop and audio interface than to service a console. What IT issues would you have with a tablet? [musicianwave.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, @09:51PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 29, @09:51PM (#1140110)

        Besides malware, breaking upgrades, disputes between developers and app stores, figuring out ways to plug in interfaces with the new stupid clagnuts, and that touchscreens are pretty lousy central interfaces?

        I can't imagine.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, @01:32AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 31, @01:32AM (#1140392)

          Besides malware

          How does the malware get on a device you're using exclusively for audio production?

          breaking upgrades

          Do you not update the firmware on your "hardware" devices?

          disputes between developers and app stores

          What is the warranty and support period for your "hardware"?

          The journal specifically asks about DAW setups but let's entertain ≥90 dB SNR of your Tascam - so why does that sound shitty compared to the 70-80dB of magnetic tape? Yes I do know the answer and yes, modern entry level audio interfaces (eg: Focusrite and MOTU) do piss all over your "hardware" setup.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @03:13AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, @03:13AM (#1141949)

            "How does the malware get on a device you're using exclusively for audio production?"

            If and only if you never go online with it, the answer is that it mostly doesn't. But at that point, you're paying big money for a device without even so much as hardware controls, that wasn't purpose-designed for the role. This is not a good user experience. You might as well buy something intended for the purpose, such as (to pick one example from many) a Deluge. It'll generally be easier to use for the purpose and more rugged besides.

            "Do you not update the firmware on your "hardware" devices?"

            Breaking upgrades don't happen in the same way on dedicated single-purpose units. However, there's a constant battle between app devs and platform controllers about various settings, which ones get to stay on which app stores, and what their compatibilities are allowed to be. None of this applies to updating your MPC4000 or KORG Kronos or whatever. If they come out with a firmware upgrade that you don't like, need or want, you don't bother downloading it for an installation.

            "What is the warranty and support period for your "hardware"?"

            Generally breath-takingly far beyond what your slab-o-glass gets. Moog Voyager getting cranky? You can find technicians who will work on it. Like, right now. 2015 ipad with just all the right things set up just the way you like them getting cranky? Bend over for the nice guy in the apple suit, and smile for the camera. There are people who will actively service music equipment going back decades, and no-questions-asked warranties are generally counted in years. If your 2015 Krome gets creaky after too many barroom gigs, you can get it serviced.

            "The journal specifically asks about DAW setups but let's entertain ≥90 dB SNR of your Tascam - so why does that sound shitty compared to the 70-80dB of magnetic tape? Yes I do know the answer and yes, modern entry level audio interfaces (eg: Focusrite and MOTU) do piss all over your "hardware" setup."

            Right. You can walk right up with your 24IPS tape and do amazing things and it will sound magnificent for top dollar as a hardware solution (because tapes and decks do not come cheap - but what does this have to do with DAWs), but back in the land of the DAW, your Focusrite will get you all the groupies. Lovely. None of that has anything to do with the pain of using that shit. If an Apple with a T2 chip introduces glitches on your USB audio interface? Try not to let your tears spoil the shot while the man in the apple suit loves you. If you have a Fantom that's glitching? You get a warranty replacement, and a handsome apology.

            That's the difference.

            (By the way, all the neo-audiophile spooging about how pristine their up-to-the-nanosecond bleeding-edge tech sounds in their semi-megabuck tuned listening rooms are completely missing the point that their music will actually be heard over teens shrieking at each other, or traffic noise, or FM freaking radio, through bargain basement speakers or whatever they plugged into their phablets this week to look cooler than the next schlub on the subway. By the time you have enough headroom and bitdepth to mix and master for CD, you might as well call it good because Spotify will still rape your stream on its way to a phone with a shitty DAC plugged into Doctor Deff's Hearing Loss Enablers. Sure, keep a clean signal path through your studio, but if you think that's the defining criterion of success you'd better start by throwing out every album using a classic Moog, because their noise floor is high enough to colour the sound regardless of what you use to record them. You can slap together a prosumer home studio today that would have given Madonna circa 1984 an instagasm in terms of the raw capabilities, without a general-purpose computing device in sight, and with a much cleaner audio signal than damn near any 1980s synth could even theoretically provide.)

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday May 27, @03:17PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 27, @03:17PM (#1139323) Journal

    What about running a DAW in the cloud?

    --
    In order to make Halloween scary this year, children are ordered NOT to wear masks.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, @10:09AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 28, @10:09AM (#1139590)

      it is technically possible to take the laptop up the mountain and use it drenched in the cloud (in practice not much different from a fog once you're in it).
      but I don't see how it would help with the whole "high quality recording" undercurrent present in the question.

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