Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« on: October 28, 2019, 04:01:08 PM »
Now that Reaper is an option on linux based systems Id like to give it a try ,
I'd be interested in hearing if people have previous experience running multitrack audio recording and processing, what distributions people have had success with , any special tricks to getting low latency etc

Ive tried a few variations on the theme over the years , Ive started looking at the various options again and Im a bit shocked to be honest , typically Im finding distro's are around the 3-4gigs mark ,thats a lot more than I remember , last time I looked you could fit the live image on a CD , now its DVD instead .

I did try Ubuntu studio , unfortunately trackpad/buttons didnt work right ,so it was off to a poor start ,
Ive tried AV linux before ,that  seemed good enough ,but ultimately Id like something much more stripped down and basic .
Id like to be able to compile my own system from the ground up , but I havent the  proficiency in command line linux to be able to do it . Any advice appreciated.

http://ccrma.stanford.edu/planetccrma/software/understandlowlat.html

Those guys look like they have put together a specialist low latency platform with music in mind .
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 04:29:36 PM by Tubetec »


mhelin

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2019, 04:34:57 PM »
Any regular Linux distro  works, I prefer Ubuntu 18.04 (bloated little bit) - Debian Buster would be fine too. I assume you have a recently built PC with at least i3-8100/9100 CPU, enough RAM and SSD disk. Key thing is to use ALSA drivers and uninstall Pulseaudio if installed by the distro. Also PCI(e) interfaces will have lower latency than USB.

If you want the lowest (soft RT) latencies  check this page: https://liquorix.net/
I haven't tried that, but they have prebuilt pre-emptive kernel builds available for the above distros so you will avoid configuration and compilation of the kernel.

Reaper works fine (though it's experimental build I think), Tracktion Waveform is a little bit buggy and crashing. Ardous is fine, or Harrison Mixbus (same thing bundled with some Harrison plugins).

There's a thread about this on Reaper forums:
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=209944
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 04:41:39 PM by mhelin »

squarewave

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2019, 04:40:30 PM »
As the resident cynic I apologize in advance for peeing in the punch but Linux is not a good platform for audio / video. Linux is optimized for one thing and one thing only - network servers and principally web services. It's the flatbed truck of operating systems. So drivers, fast custom UIs and DSP is going to be weak on Linux.

And if you need to interface with converters, then that pretty much dictates which OS you use. The standard USB drivers are not going to compete with what the manufacturer provides. It could be an order of magnitude better and many features of the device may not be accessible at all.

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2019, 06:14:56 AM »
Thanks Mikko and Squares,

No need for any apologies , different perspectives are the reason I asked the question in the first place .
I can see most interfaces and drivers dont support linux natively at all ,  if you do get it to work ,yes often functionality is hampered . In my case I can probably use windows to configure the TC Konnect interface , Linux will pick it up via firewire  ,but like you mentioned ,basic functionality is all that can be expected .

Maybe I didnt explain properly what I expect out of this ,  the idea really is to provide  very simple multitrack recording , Four analog ins/outs ,spdif and adat , the internal reverb send on the TC are accesible from the front panel ,even in stand alone mode if I need it . Of course I can always boot into windows after for processing if I need that ,but my focus is trying to get a really cut down ,low latency system mainly for live recordings.


cyrano

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2019, 06:33:06 AM »
I'm currently testing Lubuntu. It was a pleasant surprise.

Wifi works, Firewire works, Reaper installed, all without any intervention from me. I use an old Dell for testing. 2 GB ram, 2 GHz core duo. A minimal test setup.

Next step is getting the RME up with ffado.

I've tested a lot of distro's lately. Most suffered from missing drivers. No performance problems. Some suffered from an arcane setup during install. None failed to install.
Why is it people love to believe and hate to know?

mhelin

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2019, 08:32:30 AM »
Firewire might be problem in Windows as well as in Linux, it's getting obsolete.

Regarding the special needs the new Raspberry Pi 4 (with 4G RAM at least) could easily run Reaper (Linux armv7l compiled version) for your 8 tracks (or more). Pi 4 has USB 3.0 port so you could use it with a SSD drive. There is no Firewire port though. USB should work fine, Linux support (basic functionalilty less mixers and such) for current XMOS based interfaces (which is almost 90% of all new USB interfaces sans the most expensive and RME, Audient ID4 for an example is based to XMOS USB audio solution) is good.

Yes, Lubuntu is fast, newer versions of it uses actually LXQt desktop which is based to Qt which is a cross-platform UI library used to build many mobile apps.

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2019, 08:36:03 AM »
Thanks ,

Im just piddling about with an older core duo as well ,my focus is very much on simplicity though as opposed to track counts or  megaflop number crunching power. 

Id  be happy if I could boot my computer from usb ,into a dedicated HD recorder OS ,  a small control surface with record arm/monitor mode button  per  channel ,transport controls , on screen metering  thats literally all I need from it ,
 Maybe Im dreaming for thinking  glitchless operation  is even an achievable goal ,  Im not sure Ive ever heard a PC based audio system that didnt glitch , even if it is only on rare ocassions or when the operator does something wrong .

I know modern windows with modern hardware is better than ever in terms of latency for audio, processing power and just about anything else you can think of , but I absolutely refuse to get onto this technological escalator thats hauling the planets insides out .   

I dont know maybe Im wrong in expecting a computer to be able to do what standalone hardisk recorders do.
Akai DPS-24 is still the mothership for me , getting on for 20 years , thats not likely to change anytime soon , the Konnekt 24D is a welcome addition though ,realtime standalone operation with no giltches and a VST like interface for reverb/ eq/dynamics via TCnear if you want it .

RME interfaces, there one of the marques  thats holding price well because they still rub  shoulders with the best in terms of spec.





 

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2019, 08:50:25 AM »
I have spotted the Audient ID4 around alright , thats another very high spec piece of kit available now for small money ,

A PI based mini Hd recording system , that does sound like a nice idea , a multitrack recorder that fits in your top pocket.

I do take Squares point that  all of the best processing,especially the stuff you'd want to use  is to be found on mac or pc based systems , Linux is basically free , so its nearly always a secondary concern with manufacturers if their gear even works with it .
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 09:55:48 AM by Tubetec »

mhelin

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2019, 02:26:46 PM »
Reaper also comes with a web interface, don't know much about it but you could maybe use your phone as UI for Reaper.

There's a thread on Reaper forum on one such UI - Advanced Web Browser Interface GUI:
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=188194

Here's someone using ID4:
https://linuxmusicians.com/viewtopic.php?t=16166

RPi3, Reaper & ID4 (See their other Reaper related videos as well, remote interface etc.).:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CteUMMMKC_8

Now, RPi4 is much more powerful so it could run many more plugins (FX or instruments).
So here is RPi 4 running Reaper. Watch this video, it's good!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFfy896hGz0

I counted he used seven stereo audio tracks, easily. Except that like the man mentioned RPi 4 can easily get hot, so you must install additional cooler on it to avoid the CPU frequency being dropped down for cooling (that can happen easily).


Generally, Linux is much more class (USB Audio 2.0) compliant when compared to Windows, so with many USB audio interfaces you don't need any manufacturer provided drivers. It's the same also with MacOS.

« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 02:53:18 PM by mhelin »

squarewave

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2019, 02:57:55 PM »
Generally, Linux is much more class (USB Audio 2.0) compliant when compared to Windows, so with many USB audio interfaces you don't need any manufacturer provided drivers. It's the same also with MacOS.
Manufacturers drivers can activate advanced performance features specific to the particular hardware.

But just test it and see what you can get out of it. No doubt some devices will be better than others. For what is being discussed, 48kHz with a large buffer will work fine. The latency could be annoying but I would never use a computer for any kind of "real-time" effect processing anyway. As long as you don't get drop outs, recording quality should be just as good as any other 48kHz device.


Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2019, 05:35:16 PM »
I didnt realise Reaper had a web browser interface ,
Seems like it might be usefull as a control surface with the PI  .
I see the newer versions of the PI , some of them are shipped with heatsinks and fans .
Good videos , Id seen the pi3 and audient one before , Ironically enough the sound quality on the videos was quite poor , I found if I panned the Pi4 video sound all the way left speaker even though level was low it was easier to understand right channel was distorted beyond recognition for the most part .

If you got an audio interface with enough space in the enclosure you could just build the PI into the box to save wires and mess on the desk  :D
« Last Edit: October 29, 2019, 05:41:03 PM by Tubetec »

squarewave

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2019, 08:42:58 PM »
From scanning over the manuals and looking at https://maidavale.org/blog/usb-audio-interfaces-for-linux/, there are quite a few USB Audio Class 2 (UAC2) complaint audio interfaces that should do 24bit 192kHz without extra drivers and thus on Linux and maybe even Raspberry Pi.

cyrano

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2019, 01:34:56 AM »
Don't trust what you read on the net...

When it comes to finding out what works, you need to try it. My older eMadic interfaces, fi, are widely reported as working fine. Only, the kernel devs decided to drop the driver* a few years ago. My FF400 is reportedly working, but that is with partial support for the built-in DSP mixer.

Sometimes, having 2 I/O working is reported as "working". Most people would expect other channels working too.

As mentioned, the newer Xmos chipsets are real plug and play.

* Not a driver really, just a tiny firmware loader, the interfaces are USB audio class compliant.
Why is it people love to believe and hate to know?

MatthewF

Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2019, 01:39:25 PM »
Many well-established vendors of broadcast kit are moving away from custom hardware (custom silicon, in some cases) to software services running on linux-based operating systems. This kind of kit is in use already and is meeting very high levels of availability. (At my work we typically achieve >99.999% service availability on a month to month basis). The point being that Linux can be a very stable platform for real-time audio & video if it's done right.

As for getting audio into and out of computers I'd suggest that we're better off using AES67 audio over IP; using a widely supported and open industry standard which leverages the capability of the ubiquitous gigabit ethernet interface seems like a no-brainer to me. If we wish to continue with applications built around ASIO/CoreAudio/ALSA etc. then virtual soundcards on the computer can do the translation to and from AES67. (Check out Merging Technology for freeware virtual sound cards of this sort).

Quote
Id  be happy if I could boot my computer from usb ,into a dedicated HD recorder OS ,  a small control surface with record arm/monitor mode button  per  channel ,transport controls , on screen metering  thats literally all I need from it

I share this desire! To that end I've started development of a linux-based, AES67 native, audio engine with multitrack recording one of its main goals. I see this running on a headless server, with options for control clients ranging from smartphones to dedicated hardware control surfaces. If it ever gets anywhere near fruition I'll be sharing the results here!


Re: Which flavour or Linux do you use for audio
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2019, 03:03:57 PM »
Hi Matt,
Sounds like an interesting project ,

Merging technology looks interesting too,   I guess the waves SG server is another example along similar lines , instead of diverging into its own niche , it ties in nicely with the pre-existing technologies you already have ,compliments it as opposed to trying to replace it . Definately keep us posted of any developments as work progresses.


 

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