AFAIK Taktik uses Ubuntu, most of alpha testing team aswell, so it’s probably the safest bet. There are couple of audio optimized solutions aswell:
Ubuntu Studio - same as ubuntu but installs realtime kernel and PAM config by default, same goes for commonly used audio apps. Doesn’t include much additional packages other than theme files to make it bluer or something. (Cause all music makers like blue, don’t they?)
Planet CCRMA - Addon repository for Fedora Core & CentOS. Contains a lot of audio software and configured realtime kernel and stuff like that. It’s developed for and by The Stanford University Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics and thus may have some quality poured into it. Not sure myself, never tried it, but as far as I have heard it is popular amongst some linux audio developers.
64 Studio - Mostly 64bit optimized distro (has 32 bit version aswell). Based on debian and has inherited some of it’s legal craziness, so things may need some hacking to get to work. Not sure about performance or benefits, never tried it myself, but Indamixx uses it. Have heard some mentions elsewhere aswell.
JAD (Jacklab) - Seems to be some sort of thing based on OpenSUSE, not sure about this, seems to be experimental and development might have been ceased, but I have seen several interesting things originating from that project.
First three seem to be established and active projects, JAD and rest which you can probably google out are either experimental or dead projects right now. I guess you should better check them out and see which fits best for you.
Renoise runs on all of them, but beware, using Renoise on 64bit distro may cause various incompatibilities. I recommend you to use 32bit distro for now, 64bit version of Renoise is also planned in future.
I very nearly started this exact same thread yesterday but decided to do some research of my own and try searching the threads on here (although I didn’t actually find one that similar and things do change fairly quick.)
I have downloaded the stable and bleeding edge versions of Ubuntu Studio and it seems to give the most mentions (they use different terms, think it’s versions 8.04.1 and9.04 respectively.)
A reply to a related comment of mine in the Linux DAW thread on KVRAudio:
The realtime kernel is the only kernel that allows you to give applications the biggest authorisation to use your most wanted system resources and devices with the biggest priority.
The point with good RT kernels is that you have to compile them using only the bare minimum of drivers and libraries that are required to work with the hardware that you want to exploit and then you have to set the priority to those devices using a specific configuration.
One part where all of this can go wrong is if you use a generic RT kernel that supports all kinds of generic hardware and then you don’t prioritize the resource only for those devices that you really need.
The other part is that you try to configure and compile your own RT kernel using only the drivers that you need but you screw up because you forgot something to enclose that you thought it wasn’t that important and it turned out otherwise after reboot.
The generic RT kernel works, but not as efficient as your own compiled version (a bare bone kernel also loads way faster), but specific compiled version cannot be distrubuted ready-made as your hardware consists out of a unique set of devices that require their driver so this is a thing you have to do yourself and go through the whole list of options that is offered during the configuration stage of your kernel compilation.
very interesting suggestions & information, thanks all!
regarding ubuntu studio, it wasn’t much more than a new theme (in blue/dark colours as you say), new splash and loading screens (quite ugly if you ask me) and lots of extra buggy audio programs, plus the famous realtime kernel.
I think the best option is going to be ubuntu 8.10 plus maybe the realtime kernel. I say ‘maybe’ because I couldn’t really spot much of a difference between realtime and non realtime kernels. Using JACK, I occasionally get buffer underruns, but I have the feeling that it might be related to the sound card, which is an integrated one, because I still haven’t decided which one to buy which goes fine with Ubuntu/Linux.
Would you recommend an external usb or firewire card/audio device or an internal one? I mean, I’m not recording anything nowadays, excepting my electric guitar which I plug into an Stealth Plug and that shows up as another audio source in the mixer. And the mic gets recorded with the ‘mic in’ input, so I can’t seem to find the point in a dedicated sound card other than a better sound quality and less (or not at all) buffer underruns. Or am I to expect faults with JACK whatever I do?
I’m beginning to feel a bit skeptical about linux’s audio capabilities :-/
I’ve been reading what I can about external audio interfaces and Linux the last week or so and think I’m going to get myself the NI Audio Kontrol 1 as it seems to cover my needs and is reported to work well with Linux and generally well in Windows (although I have read about the odd trouble.)
My requirements were:
2in/4out. (having a mic and line are nice although I probably wont use them loads.)
Stable XP and Linux
Preferably not Firewire as it seems to be on the way out.
Reasonable quality converters (96kHz 24bit with all 4 outputs nice.)
I would love to go for the RME Multiface 2 with the ExpressCard adapter and almost did but don’t think I can really warrant spending the money and this seems the best option that cover my current absolute needs.
Realtime kernels are also available in vanilla ubuntu, they are just not installed by default. As said, the difference between ubuntu studio are MOSTLY themes and some configuration. Not the software itself, which actually is MOSTLY downloaded directly from Ubuntu repositories.
There are minor differences as some packages are handled inside ubuntu studio in case something breaks in ubuntu, but generally it’s just configuration optimizations which you can carry out yourself.
I rarely use JACK myself, I don’t see any point in using it unless I want to interconnect couple of programs or use Ardour or something like that. Renoise runs just as fine with bare ALSA and if you are using only renoise you don’t need to waste your time on Jack at all.
What would you use anyway? Only other program that I know which can be used for real work is Ardour, but even that is pretty buggy. I hate Ardour developers because of that. They keep adding tons of features and changing old ones, but they never decide to take some time off and fix the effing bugs.
As for card I am using Fasttrack pro nowadays, I don’t recommend it though. It works, but has some glitches, and is too expensive for the featureset IMHO. But generally works well. Maybe you can find something cool by RME, I heard their cards work well with linux and are very high quality as well. They are very expensive too.
There are probably many cards out there, I used behringer little usb boxy thingie, don’t remember the name, but it came bundled with midi keyboard. It has two line outs and two line ins RCA. I connected it to my mic preamp for recording. Worked just fine, no features, but decent sound quality and very stable.
Actually the only reason why I use FTpro is because it has more input-output ports for connecting various devices, mic preamps, direct monitoring capabilities and MIDI IO.
The JACK xruns are easy to come, you can get rid of them by tweaking stuff. Realtime kernel helps, also you need to throw out some drivers which cause kernel to lock down and miss realtime threads, and most importantly you need to find right configuration parameters. There are some tutorials on the net. If you have fast enough computer, half a decent card and well supported hardware then you should get no xruns at all. Unfortunately, rarely you get such a setup out of box on a laptop. On “regular computers”, it’s more common.
The problem is that most kernel/linux developers care mostly about server and office desktop solutions working, this sometimes gives blowbacks for linux audio community, also because of the lack of decent audio software until recently hasn’t grown Linux audio scene too big. Renoise probably has big impact on Linux audio scene, and unless there is enough active audio users, the situation won’t improve.
yeah - i use ubuntu hardy for most things as it works with my cheap laptop but for audio stick with windows, (macs suck too) there are pretty few soundcards that have any linux support so you have to configure everything by hand - which is fine if you like this kind of thing - but can get in the way of making music.
i reckon that would be the behringer U-control.
if i was running renoise again - i’d go for the ubuntu studio 8.10 i reckon and then go on the ubuntuforums.org to get help with the dozens of issues that are bound to come up - remove all the programs you don’t need and buy a cheap external soundcard that is supported in linux - there is a list for alsa -
I got a cheap Acer laptop with Ubuntu and I updated from 8.10 to 9.04 recently. Now I’m starting to have some problems with audio on Renoise. I’m still tweaking stuff with ALSA, PulseAudio and Jack to get the best audio performance, but I keep getting clicks… it didn’t happen with 8.10.
As for interface, I’ve heard endless good things about the RME Multiface I/II. Mainly, that it’s a nice, fast 8-in/8-out box and there’s a good Linux driver available. It’s expensive as asdfghjkl though.