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Tech: Linux Audio Distros

GUEST,Jon 19 Jul 14 - 06:02 AM
treewind 19 Jul 14 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Jon 19 Jul 14 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 19 Jul 14 - 10:18 AM
treewind 19 Jul 14 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Jon 20 Jul 14 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Jon 20 Jul 14 - 02:40 PM
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Subject: Tech: Linux Audio Distros
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Jul 14 - 06:02 AM

I had some problems with audacity the other day and rather than try to work out what was causing the troubles, thought I'd probably be better of installing a distribution that is geared for audio.

I've had a very quick look at 2 distributions so far and neither look as if they are going to work out of the box for me. I think some of my difficulty/confusion concerns my sound cards. Here's what I get on my desktop with my usual OpenSuse system:


jon@worthy:~> cat /proc/asound/cards
0 [CODEC          ]: USB-Audio - USB Audio CODEC
                      Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio CODEC at usb-0000:00:12.0-2, full speed
1 [UM2            ]: USB-Audio - UM-2
                      EDIROL UM-2 at usb-0000:00:16.0-1, full speed
2 [SB             ]: HDA-Intel - HDA ATI SB
                      HDA ATI SB at 0xfdff4000 irq 16
3 [NVidia         ]: HDA-Intel - HDA NVidia
                      HDA NVidia at 0xfcffc000 irq 19
4 [CX8811         ]: CX88x - Conexant CX8811
                      Conexant CX8811 at 0xf9000000


0 Yamaha mixer, my main playback/record device
1 usb-midi interface
2 motherboard - I've sometimes used this for playback to headphones
3 audio on graphics card
4 tv card

The 2 audio distributions add a loop back device which I'm not sure whether I'd want and prevent snd-usb from being card 0.

kxstudio gives me a setup on Jack with some 32 capture and 32 playback channels which at the moment is getting me very confused. I've also had major problems with Audacity (using ALSA) crashing although this might be resolvable.

avlinux gives a simpler looking setup although I don't know if the 32 channels on kxstudio might be better if I understood it???   I've only looked at this one as a live dvd.

Anyway, as said before I've a feeling that whatever I try, I'm likely to find I'm going to make some changes to the Alsa configurations (seems to be a file in modprobe.d and ~/.asound.rc) which I don't really understand (the whole situation with Linux and sound seems to me that it can do wonderful things IF ONLY you can get your head round the setup).

What I'm hoping to avoid more that anything is trying 6 or more distributions and having to work my way through an ALSA configuration on each.

For now then, I think my first question is: Is anyone here using an Audio Distribution that they would highly recommend to others?

(relevant comments towards setting up sound on Linux welcome of course).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux Audio Distros
From: treewind
Date: 19 Jul 14 - 09:37 AM

I'm using AV Linux and I'm very happy with it. Like many AV Linux users, the main reason is to provide a relatively problem free platform for Ardour, the Linux digital audio workstation, as many general purpose distributions are not properly set up for it.

I don't know what the "32 channels" issue is. If Jack is showing you 322 inputs and 32 oputputs, you must have 32 channels in your hardware somewhere and Jack in any any distro will see them.

If AV Linux is showing the same sound devices in a different order, it may be that Jack is not using your mixer as the default device and you need to edit a config file to change the priorities. I can't remember the details but it's documented in many places.

There's an AV Linux forum at http://www.remastersys.com/forums/ and it's worth signing up there. You'll find everybody (including Glen MacArthur, the creator of AV Linux) responsive, friendly and helpful.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux Audio Distros
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Jul 14 - 10:17 AM

OK, thanks.

I'll install AV Linux then and persevere with resolving any initial issues I may find.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux Audio Distros
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jul 14 - 10:18 AM

I'm a linux virgin. [apart from recent experience with android tablets, if that counts ?]
I've wanted to give AV linux a try since first reading about it a few years ago.
I've never heard of kxstudio, so've got some googling to do.
Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

To test the positive claims for AVlinux as an easy to use package for linux newbies,
and a light install that shouldn't tax the resources of low powered elderly PCs;
I've dug out a 14 year old Celeron 1600 with either 256mb or 512mb ram
[can't remember which].
It was working last time in use, approx 3 or 4 years ago, when it was retired as too slow for general internet use.

In the first instance I'll see how it works with the motherboard chipset audio.
Then any of a variety of decent win xp era USB audio interfaces I already own.

Maybe also, the Emu soundcards I've just remembered I have somewhere
- 0404 & 1212m new in box unused - remaining from a cancelled project 5 or 6 years ago.]

I'll be looking out for a Roland Quad Capture whenever the prices drop low enough.

Hoping to try an install when the current heatwave is over, and I can be more bothered concentrating on the project.

What do you guys think of the chances for this trial setup ?.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux Audio Distros
From: treewind
Date: 19 Jul 14 - 11:53 AM

Depend on what you want to use it for.
512MB of RAM will be enough to get a desktop and run normal apps and programs like Audacity; If you want to use Ardour 2GB is recommended. See http://ardour.org/requirements.html KDEnlive (video editor) needs 1GB memory too.

As for sound cards and on board hardware, anything supported by the ALSA drivers will work, and that means the majority of sound hardware.

Again I recommend asking more detailed questions on the AVLinux forum, where you may meet users with similar hardware and more collective technical knowledge than you'll find on Mudcat.

KXStudio comes recommended by some users, by the way, but I've never used it myself.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux Audio Distros
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 20 Jul 14 - 02:49 AM

I seem to have a provisional setup for AV Linux. Leaving things as they are by default, my sound cards show as

jon@worthy:~$ cat /proc/asound/cards
0 [SB             ]: HDA-Intel - HDA ATI SB
                      HDA ATI SB at 0xfdff4000 irq 16
1 [NVidia         ]: HDA-Intel - HDA NVidia
                      HDA NVidia at 0xfcffc000 irq 19
2 [CODEC          ]: USB-Audio - USB Audio CODEC
                      Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio CODEC at usb-0000:00:12.0-2, full speed
3 [UM2            ]: USB-Audio - UM-2
                      EDIROL UM-2 at usb-0000:00:16.0-1, full speed
4 [CX8811         ]: CX88x - Conexant CX8811
                      Conexant CX8811 at 0xf9000000
5 [Loopback       ]: Loopback - Loopback
                      Loopback 1


I spent ages going through various bits of ALSA documentation trying to get the mixer (card 2 above) to card 0 but nothing short of blacklisting snd-hda-intel worked. I then found a much simpler solution:

Leave the card order alone but change the input and output settings in QJackCtl to use the mixer.

If aloop-daemon is running as well as Jack, non Jack programs (I've been using YouTube on Chrome) will play back (and presumably record) using the loopback device.

This command will need fine tuning but to make the motherboard's sound card available for Jack output (with the name "headphones") I can use something along the lines of:

$> alsa_out -j headphones -d hw:0

---

punkfolkrocker. Please let us know how your experiment with the old PC goes.   

My desktop these days is an AMD quad core with 8GB RAM. As far as I can remember, it was finding Eclipse (possibly with the Android ADT) frustratingly slow that persuaded me that my previous policy of 2GB no longer met my needs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Linux Audio Distros
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 20 Jul 14 - 02:40 PM

Oh well. All change...

I had terrible probelms with Jack and both Ardour2 and Ardour3 on AV Linux. Jack kept stopping, sometimes I couldn't restart it. There were Jack processes I could not kill and Ardour2 crashed a couple of times with segmentation faults.

I decided to give KX Studio (which incidentally uses my preferred KDE dektop) another try.

This time round, I opened Cadence and it's configuration options, selected my mixer as the Device/Interface.

I then did a Jack Force Restart in Cadence. The 32 Jack inputs and outputs that had been confusing me before in Catia dissapeared and they were replaced by the Jack Input/Outputs I would expect!

I've since ran the software updates and rebooted a few times and Jack is starting itself correctly.

I've manged to record both on Audacity and Ardour3 without problem.

Fingers crossed, this may turn out to be the distro for me after all.


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