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Rosegarden is a sophisticated MIDI + Audio sequencer, which also incorporates a high-quality score editor. The AGNULA project is creating what is possibly the first computer system tailored specifically for musicians — and it's all based around the Linux operating system. If you use a computer at all in your recording setup, you'll know that the performance and stability of machines running general-purpose operating systems hasn't yet come close to that of dedicated studio hardware.
Most of the desktop computers in the world run a derivative of Windows 95 or the Mac's System 7, and it's a fact that the manufacturers of both know that their time is up.
In the network era, computers that crash, lose data and work inconsistently are no longer acceptable. There are two traditions in software development: the work done in universities and by individual developers, often shared among research teams, and the proprietary code created by commercial entities which is usually a trade secret. The UNIX family, which includes Mac OS X and Linux, has long been the mainstay of university computer departments, but the original UNIX concept has fragmented into many incompatible proprietary versions. The sense in which 'free' is used by the GNU project is not the same as in 'freeware': it refers to developer and user freedom rather than zero cost.
The familiar software licence that comes with a Windows or Mac application only allows you to use that software in specific ways, and non-compliance with the conditions of the licence can even lead to prosecution. With 'open source' software, the source code of the program is made available for those who need it. The licence under which Linux and the majority of software for it is released is known as the GNU GPL, or General Public Licence.
Of course, there is nothing to stop programs from the proprietary tradition being made available for Linux. At the pinnacle of creative power computing, Hollywood studios are squeezing every processor cycle out of the fastest hardware currently available to design and render ever-greater special effects scenes. One obvious advantage of Linux is lower acquisition cost, and while this is definitely a factor for sites with large numbers of computers and limited budgets (for example schools), it's not actually the major reason for most migrations.
But a far more compelling reason for the migration is the quality and flexibility of Linux. Another factor often cited by people who have migrated to Linux is the supportive and knowledgeable user community.
The Stanford University Centre for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) already produces pre-packaged audio applications and system components for Linux, as part of its Planet CCRMA project. As far as the musician and pro audio user is concerned, there are four key components of a Linux system. The individual components of AGNULA are already available, but the project is creating two integrated packages based on either the Red Hat Linux or Debian distributions.
Beta versions of the two AGNULA distributions are due shortly, with stable releases expected in 2003.
Since AGNULA will cost very little to try out, except perhaps in the time taken to learn about the software, there's not much to lose.
Software engineer and musician Richard Bown comes from London, and is one of the lead developers on the Rosegarden project. When Rosegarden was originally written for UNIX machines about 10 years ago, Linux was just beginning to emerge, and it seemed a natural fit.
Sweep is a multitrack audio editor with a difference: it can also be used for virtual scratching.
Ardour is a multi-channel hard disk recorder and digital audio workstation, capable of the simultaneous recording of 24 or more channels of 32-bit audio at the 48kHz sample rate.
An added bonus with Audacity is that the program is available not just for Linux, but for Mac and Windows too.
This makes Sweep possibly the first audio program that could be used both in a serious production environment and as a performance tool for fully digital DJs.
Steve gives his plug-ins away for free, including the source code — and he isn't worried about being ripped off. This is also a problem when moving complex projects between proprietary programs on the same platform, of course.
It may be early days for Linux desktop audio applications, and both proprietary embedded hardware and software based on trade secrets aren't going to disappear from studios overnight.
Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Bitwig has now released Bitwig Studio, a multi-platform professional music-creation system and Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) for production, performance and DJing and unlike Ableton Live, it will have a Linux version.
Following the success of Novationa€™s Automap Universal, (a protocol exclusive to Novation controllers, providing automatic and intelligent control of your music software), NAMM 2008 has seen the arrival of the eagerly awaited Automap Universal 2.0.
Featuring a revolutionary 'heads-up transparent control GUI', Automap Universal 2.0 allows you to view all parameters simultaneously on your computer screen, as well as on an SL or SL COMPACTa€™s huge screens.
As before, little or no user setup is required and control of your software can be customized just the way you like it, no matter what sequencer you use. Automap Universal 2.0 is due for online release in February 2008, is fully backwards compatible, and will be available to all existing Novation SL and SL Compact owners.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission from Sonic State is prohibited.
Hello Guest - Register or Log-in now, to download the tunes, add your comments, ask questions or share advice with our home musicians community. It's probably one of the most discussed "missing" features of Propellerheads Reason - the inability to record audio tracks within the program.
Well Propellerheads have now announced their new software package, imaginatively called, "Record".
Record allows the user to, well, record audio tracks, and apply a multitude of effects to them, in a software style and layout that should be very familiar to Reason users. As most of you will probably be aware, learning your music production software is a vital part of being comfortable in your home studio, especially being able to quickly translate what's in your head to what people can listen to. One way this can be helped along is learning the keyboard shortcuts, or hotkeys, for the commands you use most often. For those of you using Reason 4.0 (and potentially other versions of Propellerheads Reason), you might like to check out the excellent Reason Keyboard Commands chart linked at the end of this article. Often it's easiest to get the basics of a new piece of music production software by watching a video tutorial, and then trying out what you've learned. Here is a 25 minute Nuendo tutorial video, which although pretty poor resolution, should still help people get the basics of Nuendo down. Celemony have announced that their upcoming release of their Melodyne v2 Plugin will include Direct Note Access, which allows for MIDI-like complex alteration of audio data, even when those notes are buried in chords, and even other instruments. You can take a single audio recording or sample, and break it into its component notes - and then adjust those notes accordingly, whether it be pitch shifting, moving the notes position, or the length of a particular note within a chord being played. Here is one of the examples from the video, showing a single audio recording full of chords, expanded out into all its individual notes. The best way to see what this new Direct Note Access is capable of, is to check out their announcement video below, which contains several examples of it in action. While the majority of home musicians and small studios use either Macs or Windows based PCs, there are a growing number of Linux users wanting to setup audio sequencing and editing software on their chosen operating system.
One of the leading audio and MIDI sequencers for Linux is, the rather oddly named, Rosegarden. There are a range of different mastering software options available these days, and one which has remained popular over the last few years is the T-Racks 24 mastering suite. The creators of FLstudio, Image Line, have just announced their foray in the DJ software market, with their offering, Deckadance. This looks like a handy little effect plugin, that I'm sure some of you guys doing live performances could use.
Music Creator is a professional audio recording and editing program developed and sold by Cakewalk. With Music Creator you get the tools, instruments, and effects you need to create, record, edit, mix, and promote your music in one integrated software solution.
Anyone familiar with the idea of point and click, drag and drop music creation will have heard of MAGIX Music Maker.
While there is a great deal that can be done in the field of computer music, it is hard to replace real instruments. With support for projects that include up to 99 tracks, there is great scope to produce something very impressive. There is also a Premium version of the program available which includes a number of extra tools and features. Please read and then click the "I have tested the trial and am happy with the terms" in the yellow box before continuing. That dedicated hardware might be like a computer inside, but it runs an 'embedded' operating system that is tailored for the purpose, with rock-solid reliability. In the case of PC users, Microsoft would like to see their customers move to the NT-based Windows XP, while Apple has also abandoned its existing codebase with the launch of the UNIX-based OS X. As more and more people have come to depend on computers for earning a living, a migration of some sort from the legacy operating systems becomes essential. Each tradition has its own ethos, and licenses the software it creates in very different ways.

Because Linux belongs to everyone and no-one, it is now being invested in by many of the big UNIX companies, including IBM, Sun, SGI and HP.
In fact Linus Torvalds still leads the project to this day, more than 10 years after he began it, but the operating system has been contributed to by thousands of people. Confusingly, Free Software can be sold, while software that can be downloaded at no cost often places restrictions on user freedom. Usually the software you get is a binary — an executable file made of ones and zeros that isn't human-readable.
This not only helps the software developers, who can fix problems directly, but also those users who can hire a developer to sort the program out. OS X is based on a very liberally licensed codebase known as BSD, which allows developers who make fixes to keep the improvements to themselves — if they want to. It insists that any improvements to GPL-licenced source code have to be made available under the same terms, and generally patches are sent back to the original developer. As long as those programs don't make secret changes to Linux itself, then they are perfectly acceptable to most users and developers.
If these computers are capable of creating the graphics used in The Two Towers, the second film in Lord Of The Rings trilogy for example, then they should have the power and stability to be able to handle any sound recording job we can throw at them. In the case of a multi-million dollar movie studio, it's unlikely to be the price of Linux alone that makes it attractive.
Machines powered by Linux have been known to run for months or even years without needing a reboot, let alone crashing.
If you have a problem with your Linux machine, there are lots of places to ask for help — both with local user groups and on the Internet.
Mac hardware is firmly entrenched in professional studios for the time being, but due to the open source nature of Linux, the free OS is available for many different processors, including the PowerPC architecture of the G3 and G4 chips. However, this isn't much help to people working in the sound industry with little or no UNIX experience.
AGNULA is a consortium of several European universities, the Red Hat Linux company and the Free Software Foundation.
Each distribution (or version) of Linux has its followers: the Red Hat company is more business-orientated, but Debian is built by volunteers and has a reputation for very high quality. In the Linux community, the widest possible testing of beta versions is encouraged to enable high standards of quality control. Both AGNULA distributions will be free for download, intially built for the Intel x86 architecture (Pentium and Athlon), and will be probably be available on CD-ROM too. Fortunately, although Linux is relatively new to the sound industry, it has already been under development for a decade. Version 4 is probably the closest native equivalent to Cubase for Linux, and has recently been released as a beta after two years of active development. He's been working on Rosegarden over the last seven years, but until recently he still needed to use Windows or a Mac to record and produce his music. Since there were already plenty of good sequencers and notation editors available for the Mac and Windows, the Rosegarden team concentrated on making something new. While I'd like to be paid to write this code, I'm also proud to be a part of it for what it is.
Currently in heavy development, Ardour visually resembles the UNIX software available on platforms such as SGI. It has a clean interface with large buttons in the style of a tape machine, but very precise edits are possible by drawing envelopes directly on the waveform using the mouse. This means that mixed-computer environments can have a standard free format for multitrack recordings. However, a virtual stylus instead of the normal cursor makes the program quite unique, on Linux at least. It was developed with the support of animation studio Pixar, who presumably needed a high-quality audio editor which could be used on Linux and Sun UNIX workstations (Sweep is available freely for both). He works at Southampton University and started writing experimental electronic music about 10 years ago.
Some drivers have been available in stable versions for a long time, while others are still in development. Well, if a studio has a large capital investment in proprietary systems, some of this won't be able to be carried over to a Linux platform.
Most of the audio formats from Windows, Mac and UNIX are supported by the equivalent Linux programs, but complex projects combining multitrack audio and MIDI could be a problem. It could be argued that since binary and secret formats keep the user hostage to their creator, they are best left behind anyway. A more likely scenario is that Linux machines will be introduced to perform specific tasks, and gradually increase their profile in the world of sound. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents.The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.
The company was founded in 2009 by a team of music enthusiasts with extensive experience in the music technology industry and a strong vision about new cutting-edge methods of music production, live performance and collaboration. Novation tell us that RTAS and TDM plug-in support is now included, making Novation controllers the best solution for controlling multiple instruments and effects within Pro Tools LE and HD.
The size of the window can be modified, as well as the degree of transparency, so a permanent view of the GUI is possible without interfering with your regular setup. Simply boot up an automatable plug-in and youa€™ll see at a glance how the parameters are automatically assigned to each control. A simple browsing facility allows you to view mapped plug-ins by type, then quickly switch to control any one of them.
You can also upload your original music, home studio photos, and post your own forum topics and blogs.
I should clarify at this point, that Record is a standalone program, you don't need to be running Reason as well - though it's likely that many people will choose to run both I would imagine. This can save a LOT of time, and make your music creation process much more streamlined and intuitive. It's been created by Peff using a full size Mac keyboard layout graphic, with all the Reason keyboard commands scattered across the keys.
Well the latest addition, FL Studio 8, has been made available, the culmination of 10 years of FLstudio development, and it looks to have a whole bunch of useful new features.
If you fancy the idea of creating your own music, it does not necessarily matter whether you can play an instrument or not. If you would like to inject a little life into your creations you can use the ultra-realistic Vita Solo Instruments that are included in the program.
MAGIX software has always been easy to get into, but the 2013 incarnation of Music Maker includes a new interface that is flexible and easy to use.
If you choose to go for this version of the program, youa€™ll gain access to an extra selection of sounds, loops, instruments and special effects. As part of the MAGIX anniversary, we're now giving you MAGIX Music Studio free of charge with every MAGIX Music Maker 2013 order.
So easy to use ANYONE can make music, yet so powerful it is used by professional musicians - UK number 1 hits were produced with this software!
Meanwhile, the computing power available to individuals continues to grow at rapid rate, meaning that off-the-shelf hardware can now process multiple tracks of digital audio in real time, something that not even the most well-equipped studio could do a generation ago. By contrast, Mac OS X belongs to Apple, so we are unlikely to see other companies contributing significantly to it.
It builds on the considerable work of developers who had dreamt for many years of making a free UNIX, many of whom worked on the GNU project.
But there are plenty of complete Linux systems that you can download for free, or buy on CD-ROMs for near the cost of production. It's like a sealed black box, and if anything goes wrong or you don't like a certain feature, there's not much you can do about it except complain to the vendor. There are usually fewer restrictions on binaries too — for example, you can often install open source software on multiple machines without infringing the licence. This is one of the reasons why you can't just download OS X for free, even though it's based on freely available software. The message that anyone porting their program to Linux will be forced to make it Free Software has been put about by the likes of Microsoft — but this is clearly not the case. The suprise is that the film studios are not all using super-expensive hardware and esoteric operating systems to perform this mission-critical work. In the UNIX world that's not unusual, but that kind of reliability hasn't been seen on desktop computers before.
Linux users tend to be self-documenting: when they find the solution to a problem, they will often create a web page describing the fix to share their knowledge. Many Apple and Microsoft users across the creative industries know exactly how this feels, when they find their projects can't easily be moved to a different platform.
While most Linux users have Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon-based computers, several companies already make packaged versions of Linux for PowerPC machines, including Mandrake, SuSE and Yellow Dog. Although both Linux and Mac OS X hide UNIX quite well under some very elegant graphical interfaces, there is no doubt that UNIX can be confusing to someone from a Windows or traditional Mac background. The idea is that all the software needed for professional audio use will be on one set of CD-ROMs, which will include a tuned Linux operating system. The Advanced Linux Sound Architecture or ALSA provides drivers for pro and consumer soundcards (see table on the last page of this article).

While each distribution has a slightly different way of doing things, they remain broadly compatible. With modern hard disks being so large, there is usually plenty of room to install Linux in its own partition, and keep the existing operating system intact. The project also plans to make the distributions available for PowerPC chips and the new generation of 64-bit processor systems later next year.
While Windows and Mac applications can run under Linux on the relevant processor using various kinds of emulator and virtual machine, lots of native Linux audio software is already available. Unlike Windows and Mac OS where there is only one kind of desktop for each system, Linux developers have a wide choice of graphical toolkits to build applications from. While making his last album, Richard wondered if Rosegarden would one day allow him to do the same on Linux, and now believes it can. Linux machines running Ardour are intended to replace dedicated studio hardware such as the Mackie HDR, the Tascam 2424 and ADAT systems.
Audacity breaks large audio files into small chunks for its native file format, which makes multitrack recording and editing quite feasible on modest hardware.
The idea is that you can scrub through a file to hear the exact place where you want to make an edit — but the virtual stylus, known as Scrubby, has been programmed with the physics of a real turntable.
This application might be the first benefit to trickle down from the big movie studios to the Linux audio community, but it almost certainly won't be the last. Many of the core routines used in DSP programming are difficult to get right and very tedious to write, so it makes sense that they should only have to be written once. An example would be a large collection of plug-ins, or application software that won't run adequately in a virtual machine or emulator. If the original software vendor supported open standards, it wouldn't be difficult to create a tool to transfer the project from one platform to another. What if you need to get that project out of the archive for a remix in 20 years' time, and the company who made the software no longer exists? Companies in the industry are almost certainly using Linux, perhaps without realising, in their computer networks already — a record label with a busy web site, for example, or a studio saving its work on an embedded file storage appliance that doesn't even look like a computer. They say that the mapping options available go way beyond those offered by existing HUI-based controllers. An instant click and control a€?learna€™ function is also available for quick re-assigning of controls, or for creating your own controller map in seconds.
Automap Universal 2.0 still supports standard MIDI protocol, but now also provides the same heads-up display and editing solution for quick and simple assigning of MIDI parameters. Print this out and keep it near your home studio keyboard, to help you learn the commands as you make your tunes! However most, if not all directly associated file extensions should be listed with its appropriate program. Using MAGIX Music Maker, you can take advantage of music samples, loops, and special effects to creation something incredibly impressive with very little effort.
Depending on your level of music ability or familiarity with music software you may want access to different options. To help you to get more creative, you can also use the BeatBox 2 Plus drum machine and Revolta 2 analog synthesizer to come up with some truly unique sounds. MAGIX describe Music Studio as everything you need to get a great start in the world of music production, whether for recording, MIDI compositions, editing or mixing. The vendor's response can only be that you should upgrade the binary, since the source code from which the program is made is a trade secret. As one spokesperson for the company put it, IBM has a lot of intellectual property and a lot of lawyers, and they aren't worried about the possibility.
Increasingly, they are using off-the-shelf hardware that is not fundamentally different from today's desktop computers, and they are running the freely available Linux operating system. The answer is in part the lower cost of Intel processor hardware compared to the traditional SGI UNIX platform, and the fact that it's much easier to move programs from SGI to Linux than from SGI to Windows. And the open source development model means that users can get the software they want, rather than just choose from what's on offer.
Open standards are particularly useful to the creators of embedded systems, as they mean manufacturers don't have to start from scratch every time they invent a new digital device. It's probably no more difficult than moving from Mac to Windows or vice versa, but nevertheless an element of retraining will be required when migrating to any UNIX-based operating system.
This doesn't mean that it just comes with an extra driver or two and a few tweaked settings here and there. JACK is the internal audio system which connects between applications at a low level, while LADSPA stands for the Linux Audio Developers Simple Plug-in API.
Published standards and source code availability mean that a program created on one distribution is usually available to all the others.
Disk partitioning is well worth doing for Windows machines anyway, since it keeps your sound data well away from the operating system, and therefore safe if you ever have to reformat your C drive. The full range of programs available on other platforms is covered, from notation editors to DJ software.
Rosegarden is designed with the KDE interface, but it will run on any Linux machine with the right libraries installed. Ardour is also intended to rival proprietary software applications such as Pro Tools, Samplitude, Logic Audio, Nuendo and Cubase VST. Throwing the mouse to the left results in a spin-back effect, decelerating Scrubby to a full stop. I only learnt real signal processing skills a few years ago, when Linux started to become a useful audio system and I noticed the lack of plug-ins.
I write audio software so that people will have access to high-quality, free (in both senses of the word) audio tools. However, this is often outweighed by the cost of continual upgrades of the existing system — and upgrades will almost certainly be forced on both Windows and Mac users eventually.
Where that file format is binary and a trade secret, however, the user may have no choice but to fall back to standard file types for exporting projects, and some of the information might be lost.
Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical situation for many institutions who have data going back to the 1970s on unreadable open-reel tapes. Even if you've got no time to try it out at the moment, Linux is well worth keeping an eye on.
This latest release ships with Novationa€™s new Nocturn controller, and will also be compatible with Novationa€™s ReMOTE SL and ReMOTE SL COMPACT ranges. Massive flexibility means that you can assign a potentially infinite number of parameters for each plug-in.
Once a a€?MIDI mapa€™ is created, it can be saved and recalled via the same map browsing facility, and refined and edited at will.
Compared to previous versions of the program, there are more loops and samples than ever before a€“ over 1500 sounds have been added to the collection.
The program is very flexible and you are able to create your own custom workflow to suit your style. This is a fully featured, award winning music creation program - an entire recording studio INSIDE YOUR COMPUTER!
Linux can be customised for embedded systems, which often provide a highly resource-constrained environment, to the extent that Linux has already been successfully installed by IBM Research on a prototype digital watch.
Because it's part of the UNIX family, Linux could be the closest thing to Mac OS X that someone who currently has a Windows machine could get. With a different version of Windows or Mac OS coming out every couple of years, though, people will have to retrain anyway. While Windows and Mac OS will always remain general-purpose systems, the open source philosophy means that Linux can be customised for individual requirements at the most fundamental level.
LADSPA is a bit like Steinberg's VST plug-in system, but in an open source style — the many VST plug-ins available to download from the Internet at no cost don't generally include source code. Most current Linux distributions feature a wizard to help you set up partitions and dual-booting, so it's likely that AGNULA will too. Many excellent free music applications for Linux are stable or close to stable release, and will be included with AGNULA.
AGNULA doesn't need our permission and we don't get any explicit kickback apart from a little publicity.
It supports MIDI Machine Control, and can therefore be used with any MMC-compliant digital mixer.
In addition to displaying all your assigned parameters, the heads-up display also allows you to enter new control names, parameter ranges and step sizes.
A growing library of maps will be available for free download and on-line help is also now included in the application. With the Vita 2 sample player, ita€™s possible to create unique sounds but there enhanced search tool makes it easier than ever to find the samples youa€™re looking for.
And the Linux desktop can be themed to resemble Windows or Mac OS for a smoother transition.
As a small company we couldn't afford to develop, market and distribute a closed-source solution.

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