Since the late nineteen nineties, Linux has been a part of the audio and MIDI production industry for home studios and professionals alike. Special consideration needs to be given to the hardware being used in Linux audio production studios, as specific drivers will be needed to produce the necessary results in the recording and production of audio. Consumer hardware, mainly used for DVD and music playback, will not have the software or drivers able to support the higher quality and control needed for mix down, layering, EQ, and applying effects. After getting past the hardware limitations or requirements, Linux is well designed for music production for a very simple reason--it is customizable to the application.
Because Linux is open source, developers and users with a basic knowledge of coding and programming can add applications and extra coding to tweak Linux for better performance and better audio production. A few comments on hardware and how it is configured will help in customizing the Linux system to audio production and MIDI production. The entire system will need to have a low audio latency; in other words, the PCI bus needs to be free of extraneous processes that take away from the audio card. This allows for the best possible production of sound and limits the use of the RAM and CPU for other functions. Since video will not be too much of a concern with an audio production Linux machine, it should use as little resources as possible, without hindering the video performance; this is a fairly easy point to design or build for.
Audio Hardware and Suggestions for Linux Systems:
· An article on possible arrangements of hardware and software for Linux systems producing audio.
· A list of solutions to Linux audio and MIDI production.
· A dedicated site to Linux Audio.
· An examination of Linux audio possibilities in software with a small explanation of the audio interface.
· A discussion on the state of hardware and interfaces for Linux audio production.
Look for motherboards that are primarily designed for sound production or heavy workloads, but they will typically cost more. The system should be designed so that the CPU is powerful enough for the amount of audio processed, as well as being able to handle input signals and processing voltage levels. Consider using a sound card for audio production and a standard onboard chipset for regular day to day use. M Delta Audio produces a good card for Linux; it should be noted that Linux does not utilize FireWire as effectively as other systems, at the moment, which may present a few additional requirements or considerations. There are many CPU's on the market that will be more than ample for this scenario. After the hardware has been determined, the software needs to be chosen, and there are a multitude of programs available to Linux users for audio and MIDI production.
MIDI and Audio Software for Linux:
· A general list of resources for MIDI applications in Linux.
· A how-to on MIDI for Linux systems.
· A description of Rosegarden multi-track hard disk recording for Linux.
· A large list of available audio and MIDI software for Linux audio production.
· Commercial sound production for Linux discussed, with examples provided.
· Ardour production software specifications, uses and requirements
· Linux free audio software list with explanations.
There is currently a Linux project called AGNULA, and it is a complete system designed specifically for musicians and Linux. This project makes the Linux system it is installed on be completely dedicated to music and audio production with augmentations to drivers, interfaces and resources. In addition, the AGNULA project includes already developed and available MIDI and audio programs for Linux users. One of the best MIDI sequencers for Linux is Rosegarden, which uses ALSA and JACK for real time audio plug-ins and effects. Rosegarden also sequences audio tracks and can be run on KDE interface or any Linux system that has the correct libraries installed. In addition, another program, called Ardour, can be used in association with AGNULA. Ardour is a multi-track hard disk recording program and audio workstation; Ardour is intended to compete with such software as ProTools, Cubase and Nuendo, which are industry standards. No external hardware for mixing is needed as the virtual mixer is present in the software much like ProTools.
Linux users have a wealth of software programs to choose from for audio and MIDI production. The main concerns come in when deciding what hardware and drivers to use. The system does need special attention paid to its internal configurations and how the system uses memory. With new projects and an extremely low cost of acquisition, it is no wonder that more and more professional audio engineers, musicians and home studios are turning to Linux.