The state of linux audio

My band's second guitarist uses Reaper on Win7 and the results have been miserable. Guitar amplifier modelling sucks noodles.

Afaik, Reaper does not have a built-in guitar amplifier. I think you can get with all systems good and bad sounds.

Being a cheerleader for Windows or Mac is not an option for me. Linux audio works.

The GUI just under gone major upgrade migrating to cairo canvas.
“Issue fixing” - what issues? report a bug.

What is wrong with calf plugins?

agree with kelargo: I mixed an entire film sound postpro on ardour4 a month ago and it was a blast.

I never really think about guis, it worked for me with ardour2 and mixbus and ardour3 and ardour4, but I have to say in my eyes it never looked better than it does now, and i m extremely happy it doesnt look like Live, etc…!!

What part of post pro? I tried some sound design (impacts, monster voices) and a simple mixdown for a short. Had many crashes …may be caused from plugins, maybe from A3. Haven’t tried it again lately.

just my 2 cents in regards to the first post: it is totally unfair to say that whatever foundations of linux audio are not solid enough.
From my user point of view, “linux*” is the only system i would consider using (and do use) in critical applications.
As with every other system you have to check and stress-test one’s particular setup to validate it as acceptable for one’s application.
But unlike every other system, you have full control and flexibility should one ever need it.

I run a heavily automated local radio station fully on linux systems. I have setup workstations for co-workers that are everything but power users, and they have much less troubles than in the windows xp era (actually it “just works”).
I use ardour (well, mixbus) everyday, 5 hours a day. From one track to ~24ish, 30 seconds spot to hours length features…

The most common problems i meet in operations are all unrelated to the OS (lack of disk space, hardware network issues, bad audio hardware…).
I know similar operations as mine, that use windows or macs because it’s “easy”.
Then I am very glad that i choose the linux route years ago. Because most repetitive things i need to do, i write a shell script, use some combination of cli tools to get the job done, and more time to focus on content.
So in that sense, linux has freed my mind of many uninteresting tasks.

I am no developper, nor have i an IT educational background. I just read manuals and use search engines.
Sorry for the quasi-rant but i must say that post irked me a little bit.

  • by “linux” i mean the distros i know and use, that are: Debian, Ubuntu, mintDE (also freebsd but that’s irrelevant here).

Ermina, I am in the same position – I am at a Linux-driven radio network based in Washington DC USA, providing syndicated shows to stations across the U.S. We are using CentOS Linux and the Rivendell Radio Automation suite throughout the house, but still running Windows 7 in the ‘bullpen’, doing principal recording and mixing.

I am making an effort to adopt Ardour as the workstation software of choice here, but as was once pointed out to me, Ardour is an audio environment and not an “editor”. News editors and show producers are obligated to use Audition, Cool Edit or Audacity for fast acquisition, editing and ingest of news stories and short sound bites, while I’m taking care of recording and mixing long-form talk programming of up to 1 or 2 hours each.

Ardour wasn’t designed for radio production, but then neither was Cool Edit/Audition or ProTools. Yet radio users wrapped themselves around those and made them their own and now they won’t use any other. I would very much like to see the same happen for Ardour/Mixbus to the point where it becomes a major viable third-choice for complex and clean audio production for radio broadcast.

Audio absolutely works under Linux, and Im a convert. Thousands of affiliate stations depend on us for stable, uninterrupted audio programming, and our CentOS/Rivendell combination delivers without missing a beat, with entire months going by between reboots. If I can successfully make a CentOS Ardour build, I’m never going back.

An interesting thread indeed.
I really think people will in the end go with what they’re comfortable with. I go through lengths at my job to use linux, even though everything there is set up around windows. I did the same through school, and at home I only use linux. I love linux (probably irrationally). In my home project studio, of course, I’m most comfortable in linux so I use it. I just barely reinstalled Ubuntu, added the KXstudio repos, made a few tweaks and setup i3 as the window manager last week. I was setup and good to go in an afternoon. I’m used to it. If someone from another platform tried to do that to get set up, it would probably take days and they’d come out testifying of the unsuitability of linux for anything. But when I use their platform I end up grumbling about how their OS is a big virus and I can’t get anything done.
So linux audio is for linux users.

I think linux in general is getting more useable, and linux audio is too. The bar to becoming a linux user is lowering. Its hard to say since I haven’t gathered any real statistics, but it DOES seem like I’ve seen lots of people having problems with things working, getting set up, etc. which I think means more people are trying it. Really trying it, not just install in a VM, declare it garbage and getting back to work. They’re seeking support because they see potential here. I think the issues I’ve seen lately are from unsupported/poorly supported hardware (which there’s only so much software can do without support from hardware manufacturers), and people just getting started. Thats kind of an overarching perception I’ve had, so could be way off reality. But many of these people are making quantum leaps both into the foreign world of audio AND the alien world of linux. To summarise: If you’re used to doing the linux way of workarounds, fixes, bug tolerance, you’ll be perfectly fine with linux audio. If you are used to the OSX way of workarounds, fixes, bug tolerance, you’ll be happier there. If you are used to the Windows way… etc. etc. etc.

@linuxdsp: As for your business, I’d imagine you should just follow the corporate trend. Most pro-audio users are on other platforms, so you should spend proportional effort on those platforms. Several companies are finding linux as a growing market that they are getting into (e.g. bitwig, uhe), but its far from a landslide of companies running to produce products here. There is less competition for pro-audio apps, but also less demand. You were an early adopter of linux audio support, and you will have to decide if it’s worth the risk of spreading your resources thinner for linux support. It will likely always be in flux, a moving target, and more difficult to support than other platforms, but I do think it will continue to grow. Slowly.

And +1 to GMaq’s comment. Linux cannot ever become like OSX or Windows because it was founded, designed, and continues to develop based on fundamentally different principles. Not necessarily better or worse, but very different. I think linux support usually comes more from support of these principles than as a potentially lucrative venture.

Unfortunately we live in a world where we have and get things a bit too easy, everyday is becoming easier, then using our brains for a little more complex task becomes an impossibility. Linux is not an easy OS, I perfectly understand it, but common! Is the average user going to get into a higher level of audio work?

No, Linux is not getting better, simply it has always been better, but it’s getting easier, but then again, how easy does someone need an OS to be? Especially someone who works with audio at a “pro-level”. Let me point out that pro = production and not professional, because professional is only the person who works with it and gets the job done, no matter if he used a freaking cell phone to record audio, as a hobbyist photographer I have learnt that there is no such thing as “Professional Gear” only the person who uses it makes it professional. I have seen amazing pictures taken with regular point and shoots. So it’s practically the same thing with audio, does the program really matter??? The way it looks??? I never thought the look of a DAW would affect my audio quality…now I am worried…

Comparing all these DAWs with each other is just as logic as, sorry, I don’t find logic to it now that I think of it.

The only thing I can say is each one will perform better than others for certain things.

I have 6 different cameras, each one performs different and better than the others for specific things, and that’s the sad truth. I don’t have a favorite one (well maybe my 35mm film Pentax which I do still use), I even use my mobile phone maybe even 50% of the time to take a shot, and I can pull it off. I have even sold a few mobile shots, if people knew how I did it, they would laugh their asses off.

Do I care what a camera looks like???

NO! As long as it takes a good shot without overexposing that’s all I care about, the rest comes later…

What do I use to edit photos? Does it matter? I use GIMP many times, others I use Darktable, but I pull it off, I make it work…

The very last thing I would care about is what a program looks like, I want to see its PERFORMANCE!

My two cents…

I think a big factor in what makes Linux hard to use is that most people first learned to use a computer with Windows. People don’t really want to have to make the effort to learn something over again when they already can do it. Same with DAWS or any other type of application. It’s what you’re used to. I have a friend who is a Sysadmin at a large university, He first got interested in computers in the 80’s and started with unix and never learned msdos or windows. He has no Windows pcs on his network.
I haven’t played music professionally for a long time and even then I was never involved in the tech aspects so my opinion on this isn’t worth too much but I am really grateful that I can try all these tools that I never would have been able to afford in hardware or software form. 25 years ago we were bouncing tracks around 4 track cassettes and using awful drum machines. Now we can have endless tracks and plugins and then sit and complain that it’s too inconvenient to route a virtual cable from one program too another and the colours are outdated. This is speaking from a hobbyist’s perspective of course but I would think that in a production environment there would be much advantage to the degree of customisability and freedom in Linux. Also it is my opinion that the community based support system works much better.