Linux audio must be making some headway: they’ve even got sequencer/DAW rivals. MusE is a full-blown DAW / MIDI sequencer / audio multitrack application for Linux, based on ALSA (audio framework), JACK (for interconnecting audio between apps), and LADSPA (open source Linux audio plugin format). It’s got an impressive feature list, with extensive MIDI controller support, integrated soft synths, and even Windows VSTi support (see features. It also looks like it might be more streamlined than Rosegarden, a similar Linux program that also features notation. (Ardour is an audio-only DAW; they’ve been promising MIDI support but right now there’s nothing — though if you like hype, they’ve got plenty of that on their site.)

O’Reilly’s LinuxDevCenter yesterday ran a feature on MusE and its creator.

So is anyone actually using this stuff? I love the concept of Linux audio, but I’ll admit I’m not remotely as comfortable with Linux as Windows and Mac. It’s a little like vegetarianism: I know it’s more ethical and better for the environment, but I still want steak. So let’s leave aside the obvious benefits of open source for a moment:

  • Are you using Linux now?
  • Did you try Linux and give up? (or is it sitting dormant on a dual-boot system?)
  • Linux lovers, is there a killer app that’s part of the reason you go to Linux?

  • Let us know!

    • Guest

      …for audio since '98. i use it for every aspect of production. there are apps like ardour (DAW), barebones sequencers like seq24, samplers like specimen and apps that defy description like freqtweak. i stay with linux and free software because there's a lot of variety and at this point, setting it up and using it is pretty simple for end users.

      a lot of apps are making their way to os x thanks to apple's decision to follow the unix path. my site lists a pile of apps ( that will run on linux and os x.

      anyway, linux for audio is only getting better. the only thing it will cost you is time.

    • Guest

      I just (a month or so ago) switched across to using linux as my main audio environment. I had been using Buzz on windows, but I found it too easy to use as a toy and too hard to use for recorded guitar/vocals etc.
      I'm actually using Ardour mainly at the moment, as it was easier to set up than MuSE – and freeverb for example wasn't working properly in MuSE.
      If you are going to play with linux audio, check out PlanetCCRMA
      for ISOs that are built for audio.

    • Guest

      I know it's more ethical and better for the environment, but I still want steak.

      exactly why i switched to linux, i wanted steak and not a fast-food hamburger..

      as to why i gave up windows/mac, lack of exciting software, annoying keygens/cracks, and a McRib is really much more fattening than a nice filet…

    • Guest

      Doesn't do my favorite program Reason by the Propellerheads. Also doesn't play back the majority of demos. The demoscene is a huge inspiration for my electronic music making.

    • Guest

      I've ended up primarilly using MacOS for music work but I've done a bit of multitrack recording on linux and have found it to be reliable and have a lower latency than OSX or windows. I really need to learn to use a software synth linke SSM on Linux so I can move over entirely.

    • Dan Voyce

      Unfortunately MusE doesnt offer the same sort of features as Cubase and Logic, however it is still early days – id like to see a day where Linux can have all of this implemented. The introduction of VsT's in MusE is by far its biggest step to becoming a truely usable "soft studio" however I also feel that it will require a lot more streamlining to get it to the stage of its other rivals.

    • wikiBuddha

      First, to answer the questions; I tried switching to Linux some time in '98 or so, but neither it nor I were ready.

      I picked it up again last year with Kubuntu and the only real lack in the Linux department are games. I still use windows for one game I like to play (Atlantica Online). Music seems thoroughly supported, but most of the issues I've faced with it tend to be related to hardware (hissing noises, cross-talk) when recording.

      But ultimately, I'm at a loss. I'm much less interested in recording/mixing/arranging as I am in sequencing (realtime), I believe. I have an Art X-15 Ultrafoot, designed to control a guitar effects processor, but my goal is to use it essentially as a keyboard. The problem is that it sends continuous control signals and I need to somehow translate them into note on/off signals. This issue is OS-independent. I think I might know a guy that could help me, but if any of you know how I can go about this (in Linux), feel free to contact me at wikibuddha (at) yahoo (dot) com.