February 12, 2009
I’m a doofus. I added a page from inside the WP interface instead of creating a post. Here’s a response to Paolo from long ago about audio on linux… I mention these because a lot of GNOME people may never have been sucked into the strange world of electronic music apps on Linux, but some of them are quite cool (if crufty), and a lot of fun for programmers.
re: Paolo about music audio on Linux:
The strange thing about audio apps on Linux is they’ve happened (in scores) by a process of acretion. There’s nothing really geared toward people getting started, but the belly of the beast is incredibly rich, though very much geared toward electronic music… much more impoverished for guitar effects. But, yeah, consistently littered with irritating interfaces. As seems to often be the case with Linux, there’s a lot of choice with tradeoffs you don’t want to make, rough gems “on the inside” and one or two semi-polished gems.
The motherload is PlanetCCRMA @ Home put together by stanford’s computer music center. Every time I browse there I find surprising new projects. Two notable apps that are really fun for programmers (but a pain to use in many ways) are:
Supercollider -a smalltalk-esque programming system for putting together music “pipelines”. Its incredibly fast, has VERY rich filters, and they are some of the best sounding in the world (inc. commercial). Supercollider’s filters would make an excellent basis for a more readymade app as well, since its synthesis is done out of process and can be externally controlled through OSC (the next evolution of MIDI). I recommend looking at supercollder just because of its “holy sh*t” factor.
PD - pd is a visual “filter chain” based programming environment. You drop filters, sources, and sinks down and draw lines to connect them together. Its commerical cousin Max uses a nicer widget set, but once you get past the archaic widgets, Pd is quite nice, has lots of inline developer docs, etc.
Neither of these is an end-user solution to the problem Paolo outlines, but a programmer could build his own tool pretty quickly using one of these.
Because LADSPA, the Linux audio plugin API, is pretty well defined (and very simple), it’d probably be easy to hack together an audio effects rack that’s good for guitar “pedal” with a nice GTK interface. I agree that many people would benefit from clear easy to use audio apps like this, especially ones that fit with a clear physical analogue like you’d buy at a music store. If you use LADSPA, and realtime isn’t as critical, you could bypass jack and not require the daemon munging. There’s a lot of plugins. The biggest problem is selecting ones that sound good. There are many of these, and even more terrible ones.