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Old 04-30-2018, 04:15 AM   #1
globetrotterdk
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Slackware audio production issues for Renoise and Reaper.


I have decided to take the plunge into some basic audio production, but LMMS doesn't cut it for me, so I am trying out Renoise and Reaper. Renoise is a tracker, while Reaper is a more traditional DAW. Both come as compressed tarballs that can be executed directly without any installation or compiling. Renoise can be downloaded from the front page, while Reaper for Linux is under development and is downloaded from here. Note the restrictions on discussing Reaper for Linux specific issues. Both are closed source, but relatively inexpensive. While I am a FOSS fan, I believe that it is important to encourage Linux development of all kinds. I have started implementing Renoise and Reaper on both a Slackware 14.2 and a Slackware64 14.2 system, both with Studioware's audio group installed. I have left the subject relatively vague as I am hoping that other people using Slackware for audio production, particularly Renoise and Reaper will jump in to share their experiences. In my experience, Slackware is the most stable environment around, so why not do audio production on Slackware?

My first issue is with Renoise. I get a RealTime priority thread error for ALSA. While JACK is always the "go to" layer for audio production in Linux, it is probably best to make sure both work well with Renoise. The RealTime priority issue is covered here. It mentions the need of editing /etc/security/limits.conf As Slackware apparently doesn't have such a file, what is the Slackware way of doing this? Should a file just be created?

The second issue revolves around getting soundfonts and VST plugins (Win) to work with Renoise and Reaper. Carla appears to be the way to go, if you are planing to use other VST plugins in the future, but it unfortunately is unavailable as a SlackBuild. There is a VST plugin version but I seem to remember that Renoise only supports LADSPA plugins, so I guess the only way around would be to patch from another program??

Anyway, this is the jumping off point. I hope that we can have a good time sharing info about audio production.

Last edited by globetrotterdk; 04-30-2018 at 04:20 AM.
 
Old 04-30-2018, 05:05 AM   #2
globetrotterdk
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Why try Renoise and Reaper?

Why try Renoise and Reaper? There are a number of reasons:
  1. Re-mapping MPC pads.
  2. Linux support
  3. Documentation
Re-mapping MPC pads.
Over approximately the last ten years, MIDI keyboards have gradually migrated to become MIDI devices with keyboards and MPC pads. At the same time, new devices, such as the Novation Launchpad have been produced. The development of MIDI devices have followed two strategies - developing a MIDI device to function with a specific program (i.e. Abelton, Reason, etc.) or have used proprietary programs (Win/Mac) to allow editing/remapping of basic functions of the (Akai/Samson) MIDI device. All of the FOSS software that I have come in contact with largely excludes the function to remap keys, buttons and MPC pads.

Linux support
I consider it important that FOSS as well as commercial, closed source software is developed. 'Nuff said.

Documentation
Both Renoise and Reaper are a bit cult, but both have put a lot of effort into trying to break the mold of development where MIDI devices work best with the software they are designed for. Both have excellent documentation, both have video tutorials covering most subjects and are a boon for beginners. Actually, Reaper has a crazy amount of video tutorials. The downside with Reaper is that the Reaper for Linux version is still under development and has yet to be released. All documentation and videos are Win/Mac centric. Functions are well documented, but Linux specific stuff is lacking.

Last edited by globetrotterdk; 04-30-2018 at 05:11 AM.
 
Old 05-01-2018, 03:21 AM   #3
enorbet
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Just to begin the conversation I have to ask "Have you tried Ardour?" It may be valuable to know, if you don't already, that the author/developer of Ardour, Paul Davis, is also the dev for LADSPA, LV2, and Jack so they are very well integrated and play nice together.

Paul Davis as you might imagine just from those 3 creations is a highly creative and driven slice of brilliance who appears on Forums, Blogs, Podcasts, Symposiums, etc etc so not only is the documentation first rate but he is extremely active as a driving force in the Linux Pro Audio community and remarkably approachable. Highly recommended.

Here's one recent podcast --- Ardour and Paul Davis Podcast ---

Last edited by enorbet; 05-01-2018 at 03:22 AM.
 
Old 05-01-2018, 09:40 AM   #4
drgibbon
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I can't say I've done any serious audio production on Slackware/Linux, but the Slackermedia site is definitely worth a look. I did used to use Tracktion back in the Windows days , and they support Linux now (old versions are released for free, T6 at the moment). There's also Bitwig which looks like something similar to Ableton but with Linux support. Then of course there's the previously mentioned Ardour, which quite up to date through SBo.
 
Old 05-01-2018, 10:56 AM   #5
enorbet
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Once again something everyone interested in such things as audio production may already know but the Studioware set of packages is a wealth of apps and assistance. It can be found here ====>>>
--- Studioware - Getting Started ---

To avoid duplication it was discussed right here at LQN here ===>> https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...0/#post4521778
 
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Old 05-01-2018, 12:06 PM   #6
globetrotterdk
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Thanks for the posts so far. @enorbet I am taking your suggestion seriously regarding Ardour and am taking a good, hard, look at Ardour 5. I will report back when I have had a chance to do some serious work with it. First impressions are no notation editor and limited piano roll from what I can see. On the plus side, Ardour 5 seems to be able to automatically assign separate instruments to MPC pads, but I have yet to figure out how to reassign manually. As some will note, Renoise doesn't have a notation editor either, but the tracker has a list of every note used...
 
Old 05-01-2018, 05:10 PM   #7
enorbet
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You're certainly welcome globetrotterdk. I don't depend much on notation editing but a cursory search concludes as you did that Ardour doesn't have it's own but ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by rghvdberg
run MuseScore with jack backend and send midi to a jack aware daw (ardour, qtractor) to handle the synths and further audio processing.

The daw and MuseScore will run perfectly in sync. Will require some fiddly routing within the daw to split the midi channels to separate tracks but once setup you can save that as a template session.
Hope this helps
 
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:10 PM   #8
globetrotterdk
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I have some more basic information about Ardour 5. First of all, I found out how to get the piano roll. The track item needs to be highlighted and at the cursor needs to be moved to the lower edge. It will then turn into a two way arrow cursor and it is possible to left click and drag while holding down. On the inner edge next to the track, a piano roll will appear, depending on how long the track item is.

The other main item that I have been concerned about getting to work is the use of MPC pads, both in connection with my MIDI keyboard and with a possible Novation Launchpad. I believe that it was the main developer that replied to my question:
Quote:
...the mapping of sounds to channels and notes is a property of the soundfont, and not of the player.
I would have though that it was the property of the Ardour soundfont plugin player called a-Fluid Synth...

Quote:
Ardour's workflow is not well designed right now for the typical use of devices like the launchkey and other pads. There are lots of things you can do with it, but likely not quite the thing you want to do.
So that sounds like a maybe, depending on what you want to do. I should also note that Ardour 5 supports auto-mapping of some devices, but the devices supported seem to be relatively old and there is no current support for newer devices.

My conclusion is that Ardour 5 is unfortunately not up to date enough for my needs
 
Old 05-04-2018, 01:34 PM   #9
globetrotterdk
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Regarding the problem with RealTime threading, that I brought up in my first post on this thread, AlienBob posted an answer on another thread, as it turns out that things are done differently with Slackware (whood a thunk it?):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alien Bob View Post
I think you missed the header "Systems using PAM" when you copied that information about the "realtime" group.
The article does not apply to Slackware.

Studioware does things differently to achieve realtime performance. The most important are:
  • Append the "threadirqs" option to the kernel commandline (that is, add it to the "append" line in (e)lilo.conf or grub.conf)
  • Create a file called "/etc/initscript" and make it executable, and give it the following content:
    Code:
    # Set umask to safe level:
    umask 022
    # Disable core dumps:
    ulimit -c 0
    # Allow unlimited size to be locked into memory:
    ulimit -l unlimited
    # Address issue of jackd failing to start with realtime scheduling:
    ulimit -r 65
    
    # Execute the program.
    eval exec "$4"
    Read more about initscript here.
This was in reference to a Slackware64 14.2 install. I am not sure if it would be done differently with a Slackware 14.2 install.

There was also a reply to a different question, on another forum, suggesting that if you are serious about audio production, you don't want the CPU to be throttled while you're using the software.
Quote:
Jackd can and will have x-runs caused by throttling.
(thanks B Watson). So from Slackware 14.2, it is a good idea to run
Code:
# /etc/rc.d/rc.cpufreq "performance"
as the command line argument, on a system that is being used for audio production. Should you want to reset, run
Code:
# /etc/rc.d/rc.cpufreq "ondemand"
as the command line argument, which is the default argument on a Slackware system.

Last edited by globetrotterdk; 05-04-2018 at 01:38 PM.
 
Old 05-06-2018, 04:36 PM   #10
globetrotterdk
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Renoise RealTime error after following alienBob's advice.

OK, I think I get the append line in Lilo. I followed alienBob's advice posted above and also ran
Code:
# /etc/rc.d/rc.cpufreq "performance"
but I still get the following error in Renoise at startup. This is on a fresh, Slackware 14.2 install:
Code:
Failed to create a RealTime priority thread for ALSA. Will create a non RT thread instead...

It is highly recommended to use RealTime priority audio threads with ALSA AND Jack to get acceptable audio latencies, but you may need admin rights to create RT threads. Please see the Renoise for Linux FAQ on http://tutorials.renoise.com for more details.
Any ideas? @alienBob?
----
This is the same error as in my first post and only happens with ALSA set, but it shouldn't be happening as i understand it after having made the recommended changes above.
----
BTW, my append line in lilo.conf now reads like this:
Code:
append=" vt.default_utf8=0 threadirqs"

Last edited by globetrotterdk; 05-06-2018 at 04:45 PM.
 
Old 06-12-2018, 05:43 AM   #11
globetrotterdk
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OK, I was suddenly in doubt, so I rechecked, and I was correct.

Quote:
For audio production you want the CPU to run without any kind of
throttling at all, so you would want 'performance' as the scaling
governor for audio production.

For normal use you would use either 'ondemand' or 'powersave'
depending on the version of your kernel/acpi modules. To find which
of those is available you can do:

cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_available_governors

eg mine outputs 'performance powersave'
Thanks to David Woodfall from the Slackware Studioware group.
 
  


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