[Ardour-Users] getting started

Jostein Chr. Andersen jostein at vait.se
Mon Apr 13 03:20:00 PDT 2009

First, some thoughts: Is there a _real_ "Linux Audio 101" tutorial on
the 'Net? I notice that an easy and clear "Getting started with.." link
(or something) is missing on possible every Linux Audio project on
the 'Net. Maybe the different Linux Audio projects and communities
should go together and do a real Linux Audio documentation project for
end users, not for geeks. Another problem is that the 'Net is full of
links that points to unmaintained and crappy apps. A global spring
cleaning is needed here. No wonder that it's hard for beginners to get
started with Linux Audio - it's even hard for seasoned people!

That said, I - with my bad written English - is probably not the right
person to write or think about this (DP, do you have time? ;-)  ). Also,
the right news group for this thread is probably the LAU, but anyway,
here it is:

leandro roggerone wrote:

> Hi, I`m a recently ardour user, I have found this tool and I think its
> great, i would like to learn to use it but i have no experience working
> with linux os, I would like to start for the beggining , I don`t know
> wich linux version should i install, i hope someone help me with some
> document or any tutorial that i can read to begin. thanks.

The easiest way is to use a multimedia mainstream distro like
Ubuntu-studio, the upcoming 64studio version 3 or Jacklab. The good
thing about main stream distros is that you have loads of apps and
functionality under your fingertips and that your system probably works.
My favorite is Kubuntu with a realtime kernel, and from there on I
compile almost everything from source, but that is far from away the
beginning approach you asked for.

The way you should look at you studio is that everything is centered
around the Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK). Every music app (included
the soundcard) is connected to each other via virtual audio and MIDI
cables. If possible install Jack 1.9.2 (upcoming Jack 2) or just stick
to what the distro gives you.

The biggest concern when setting up your system is latency, and that can
be a tricky part when you are not used to deal with it. The Linux
community have much brain power so you will find loads of info on the
Net about this subject, the bad new is that this brain power still have
not managed to make systems that normally just works as people in the
Mac and Windows world are used to. 

As for learning Linux, you should really not have to care to much about
it. You should only care about the apps: just start using them; write
documents in Open Office, surf around the web with Firefox and so on.
The apps does normally work the same way on any OS this days.

As for music, you should learn about connecting MIDI and audio with the
help of qjackctl and probably start using apps like Ardour, Rosegarden
and a good sample player like Qsynth (it's actually a front end for a
sample player named FluidSynth, but never mind). A good drum machine
like Hydrogen is not bad either. If you are missing professional sounds
and want better sound quality, then you will start using Linux sampler
which is using Giga sampler format samples.

The Linux world has many great (and crappy) plugins and I recommend you
to avoid VST until they start to make more native Linux VST plugins -
and for the 64 bit platform. In the Linux world, plugins are called
LADSPA (old standard), LV2 (new standard) and DSSI (synths).

You asked for a tutorials? The best one is probably this slightly
outdated and OSX centeric one:
http://www.out-of-order.ca/tutorials/ardour/ .

Some links:
http://www.linux-sound.org/ (good, but much outdated links)
http://apps.linuxaudio.org/ (good, but some outdated links)

I hope this will make a starting point for you. I apologize for writing
so many non topic thoughs, but had to get them out. Thanks for reading.


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