Options for recording midi data in a sequencer.

I wonder what kind of options exist in linux for recording from a midi keyboard controller and integrating with ardour? Some things I tried are:

Ardour 3. This works quite well for me in brief tests recording midi and audio interface and hydrogen output, but of course Ardour 3 is not yet stable enough to use.

Muse. I couldn’t get my controller recognized, and the gui was extremly slow, which was not encouraging. I may go back and spend more time trying to get this to work.

Rosegarden. very easy for me to route midi input and output, and use fluidsynth either as a plugin or routed through the jack-dssi application. easy to sync with ardour and/or hydrogen via jack. My problem is that severe xruns make it completely unusable. In the past, I have spent many hours trying to prevent xruns with modest success, but the xruns produced using rosegarden are much worse.

Are there other sequencing options that work with ardour via jack?

I should add also that I tried,

qtractor. crashes on startup.

seq24 should sync with Ardour, I think. It’s a nice lightweight MIDI sequencer. I just reinstalled it to test again, until Ardour 3 is ready.

I also forgot

lmms. Recording midi and using a synth seems ok. But this apparently does not sync with jack transport.

@spock. Thanks for the tip, I had forgotten about seq24 and was just trying it before you wrote. Having a pattern length limitation of 64 bars might be a bit
of a problem.

I like the fact that it’s lightweight, so that it will likely not burden the system much and increase xruns.

(I edited this post because I finally got seq24 working… not sure how.)

So at this point, seq24 seems like my best candidate.

@gmaq. I am using debian unstable (for close to 15 years). probably buying myself a lot of headaches these days, but its hard to break the habit.

I just upgraded jackd from 1.9.6 to 1.9.7 and now qtractor works.

So i still have some xrun problems, but I just recorded a minute of midi keyboard controller input with hydrogen running and got no glitches.

So qtractor and seq24 are two possibilities.

(I have to use a proprietary graphics kernel module because the free one causes the chip to overheat, but the proprietary one has a known bug that makes it very sluggish with a preemptive kernel. This might be contributing to the xrun problems, but I think all distributions on this hardware have the same problem)


I don’t know what distro you use, but it is very odd for Qtractor not to run, it is generally a very solid app even though it is not as far along in development as Ardour. I recently came across an issue with librdf causing Qtractor to segfault and rolling back to a prior version of librdf fixed it. (This was on AV Linux/Debian Squeeze) perhaps you may want to look into that and give Qtractor another whirl until Ardour 3.0 is stable enough for your liking.

Hi. What do you mean by integrating with Ardour? Are you looking for something that does everything until Ardour 3 comes out or just midi at the same time Ardour is running?
FWIW my two favorites for full midi apps are Muse and Qtractor. For Muse, you really should be using the latest SVN version of Muse2 or at the least Muse 1.1. Muse takes some getting used to, but once you do it makes sense and is very efficient - especially with hardware synths. For me, they are both very stable and solid for my musical fun. (My system is Fedora 14)

@gsking1 I was rather vague with ‘integrate’. I mean various things, such as, listen to tracks in ardour while recording midi somewhere (and hearing it via a synth) and maybe later recording the pcm output of the synth to ardour. I guess the important thing is midi that is running and synced with ardour.

My muse is 0.8.1 for some reason, although I am running debian unstable. Thanks for the tip, I’ll check out a more recent version.

@tucsonjohn - i just spent a few minutes trying this and it worked pretty well with ardour2 and qtractor connected. I set it up to record midi in qtractor and play and record audio in ardour2. However, once I started messing with different midi sync/clock/mmc settings in qtractor things got a little weird until I figured out the right settings. Also tried muse2, and it also synced, but didn’t seem quite as easy (at least in my 1 minute trial).