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Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,2 days | from the make-some-noise dept.

Music 299

enharmonix writes "I have a big decision to make. I am probably going to buy a laptop that I will primarily use for music. I would prefer an OEM distro so I don't need to install the OS myself (not that I mind), but I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user; I just care about the quality of the product. There are two applications that I absolutely must have: 1) a standard notation transcription program with quality auditioning (i.e., playback with quality sound fonts or something similar, better than your standard MIDI patches) that can also accept recorded audio in lieu of MIDI playback, and 2) a capable synthesizer (the more options, the better). If there's software out there that does both 1 and 2 in the same app, that's even better. I've played with some of Ubuntu's offerings for music a few years ago and some are very good, though not all of them are self-explanatory and the last time I checked, none of them really met my needs. I am not so worried about number 2 because I think I could pretty easily develop my own in .NET/Mono, which I think would be a fun project (which would be open source, of course). I am a Gnome fan so if I go with Linux, I will almost certainly go with standard Ubuntu over Kubuntu, but Gnome seems to rule out Rosegarden which was the best FOSS transcription software out there the last time I checked. The other solution I've thought of is to just shell out the $600 for Finale, which I'm more than willing to do, but I'm not so sure I want Windows 8 and I'm just not sure I can afford to go with a Mac on top of the $600 for Finale. I don't intend to put more than one OS on my laptop, either. Any slashdotters out there dabble in composing/recording, using MIDI, sound fonts, recorded audio, and/or synthesizers? What setup of hardware/OS/software works for you? Can FOSS music software compete with their pricier closed source competitors?" The KXStudio apps installed over Debian or Ubuntu tend to be pretty nice (better session handling that gladish provides at least).

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GarageBand (-1, Troll)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087849)

Does GarageBand get you what you need? They have a good iOS app too

Re:GarageBand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46087881)

No macboy, it doesn't.Now instead of sucking off Steve Jobs' corpse, why don't you actually read the poster's list of requirements and formulate an educated response to it.

Re:GarageBand (-1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087897)

I read the requirements, and I'm just wondering if GarageBand meets the requirements. It's free with every new mac and iDevice, which is a plus!

Re:GarageBand (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46087929)

And guaranteed to blow your entire budget on something completely ill-suited to music composition/recording before you can buy any other decent equipment.

Re:GarageBand (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088017)

I read the requirements, and I'm just wondering if GarageBand meets the requirements.

Sure, but if you really read and understood the requirements, you would not just wonder if GarageBand meets his requirements, but you would know that it does not.

Re:GarageBand (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088125)

That's assuming I'm familiR with the capabilities of GarageBand. Or music programs in general. Duh.

Re:GarageBand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088295)

We pretty much assumed you knew nothing about music programs in general when you suggested an apple device.

Re:GarageBand (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088349)

If you aren't familiar with the capabilities of GarageBand, or any other music software, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU COMMENTING ON THIS PARTICULAR STORY?

Re:GarageBand (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46087901)

Your request included 'educated' - you're asking too much.

Re:GarageBand (2)

stillpixel (1575443) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087925)

A Mac is a viable option, why don't you re-read the original post.. try line 1.

It's like telling a Photoshop user: Try Paint! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46087913)

Although I believe the other anon was out of line for his response.

I don't know anything about any of this, but it sounds like this guy is somewhat above the basic dabbling hobbyist level and that higher echelon wouldn't seem to me to be Garageband's area.

Re:It's like telling a Photoshop user: Try Paint! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088279)

Although I believe the other anon was out of line for his response.

I don't know anything about any of this, but it sounds like this guy is somewhat above the basic dabbling hobbyist level and that higher echelon wouldn't seem to me to be Garageband's area.

Unless the person says "but I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user" which puts us right at dabbling hobbyist level.

Re:It's like telling a Photoshop user: Try Paint! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088347)

If he were about the dabbling hobbyist level, he would have to beg for advice on what to do from Slashdot.

Re:It's like telling a Photoshop user: Try Paint! (5, Informative)

log0n (18224) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088413)

Garageband is (at least up to 2010ish - not sure if recent? versions have robbed anything) a surprisingly powerful music program. Logic (& other daws) add a lot of editing specific features that really enable you to get extremely anal with your work, but all of the underlying 'record/punch/trim/level/etcetc' concepts are there and do what you expect them to do. Garageband does notation along with midi / wave substitution and add in the JamPacks (all included free with MainStage on app store iirc) to replace stock GM sounds and everything the topic poster wants is there.

A better analogy would be telling a Photoshop user to try GetPaint.net / Paint.NET. Not the same as Photoshop, but all of the essentials and editing concepts are nearly identical. You can easily accomplish whatever it is your trying to do.

$.02 As much as I love and try to solely OSS, there are no options for this specific case. Ardour and Rosegarden are nice enough, but in much the same way Gimp isn't Photoshop, neither are those suitable alternatives. (primarily, asio-ish low latency audio/hardware isn't reliable ime, and there are no real options for upgraded GM soundbanks short of creating them yourself (which will end up consuming easily 88x more time and energy than the music being written in the first place))

Re:It's like telling a Photoshop user: Try Paint! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088595)

+1 correct use of nested parenthetical statements.

Ubuntu Studio (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088087)

Ubuntu Studio will do everything you need

Re:Ubuntu Studio (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088429)

Bullshit. When you're a Linux user who is already used to software that is actually usable, you run an XP or 7 installation alongside or, if you're badass, torrent Cubase or another actually proven DAW and run in VM. What you would not rely on are the catchpenny half-ass solutions rolled into anything *Nix unless you're a trust-fund pedalfaggot who has enough money to do everything through botique hardware.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Paging Dr. Editorial Standards (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46087883)

Someone's paired the wrong headline and summary.

Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user; I just care about the quality of the product

Re:Paging Dr. Editorial Standards (1)

sk999 (846068) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087947)

Dang - these are the kind of incongrenuities that I like to point out. Well done!

what do others use? (4, Insightful)

D1G1T (1136467) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087909)

Since music is a collaborative art, and you are going to want to share music, aren't you better off using what people in your "scene" are using, whether that's your school program or online forum or in the performance venues you frequent? I'd expect that would trump whatever software might look "best" if you were working alone.

Re:what do others use? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088033)

The Reaper is not open source, but comes in a free flavor. I'd recommend an x64 os, as lots of ram is a very good thing for projects as they grow.
http://www.reaper.fm/ [reaper.fm]

Re:what do others use? (3, Informative)

TwobyTwo (588727) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088249)

I agree: REAPER may or may not be quite what you're looking for, and it's not open source, but it's got a free distribution for experimental use and the fee for purchasing it for anything other than larger-scale use will be a small fraction of what you pay for that PC anyway. Surprisingly capable for the price.

Re:what do others use? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088067)

Ableton Live is by far the most widely used nowadays for production. For recording bands, it's Pro Tools.

Re:what do others use? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088389)

Since music is a collaborative art, and you are going to want to share music, aren't you better off using what people in your "scene" are using, whether that's your school program or online forum or in the performance venues you frequent? I'd expect that would trump whatever software might look "best" if you were working alone.

Perhaps a program that actually facilitates said collaboration would be useful. Was just looking at some software on Steam earlier and this [steampowered.com] piqued my interest. It's Windows/Mac only ATM but the base program can be used for free.
"Free version is limited to compressed audio export and 16 bit audio recording."

Must use MacOS (0)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087915)

For serious music production use MacOS, its the right tool for the job. Get Logic Pro or Pro Tools for audio/midi recording, and Sibelius or Finale for score editing. If you want pain & suffering welcome to use open source alternatives.

Re:Must use MacOS (1, Informative)

jazzis (612421) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088047)

This is my main setup and I highly recommend it. You can get a Mac Mini or a 2010 MBP used if cash is an issue. You gotta use a Pro setup if you're a pro. I use all major OS'es for various reasons but OS X. Logic, ProTools and Finale beat all others hands down and the instrument and mixer interface is the best out there.

Re:Must use MacOS (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088069)

For serious music production use MacOS, its the right tool for the job. Get Logic Pro or Pro Tools for audio/midi recording, and Sibelius or Finale for score editing. If you want pain & suffering welcome to use open source alternatives.

You say that like pain and suffering in the creation of music is a bad thing.

Re:Must use MacOS (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088093)

I want to see an Open-Source Blues. It'd be better than Stallman's Free Software Song.

Re:Must use MacOS (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088555)

For serious music production use MacOS, its the right tool for the job. Get Logic Pro or Pro Tools for audio/midi recording, and Sibelius or Finale for score editing. If you want pain & suffering welcome to use open source alternatives.

You say that like pain and suffering in the creation of music is a bad thing.

That's all well and good for writing it. But not so much for recording it.

Re:Must use MacOS (4, Informative)

qpqp (1969898) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088633)

That's all well and good for writing it. But not so much for recording it.

Huh?! You serious? Logic/ProTools is like the default setup for recording, mixing, composing, and editing. We're not talking about avant-gardists, mind you, so no PD, Max, Audiosculpt (and other IRCAM stuff), etc.
Yes, there's Live, Reason, Sonar, DP, and a couple of other packages, but standard is Logic and/or ProTools. Period.

Re:Must use MacOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088651)

but standard is Logic and/or ProTools. Period. On a Mac.


Re:Must use MacOS (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088297)

"For serious music production use MacOS, its the right tool for the job."

That is a fallacy. I have used Wintel for the last 10 years in a pro-studio setup. My system is just a capable as any Macintrash, and cost far less.

Re:Must use MacOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088577)

Go bullshit yourself kiddo.

Re:Must use MacOS (1)

bobjr94 (1120555) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088365)

If your not running an free os like Linux, Windows hardware will be much more affordable for the same hardware and performance level, no reason to pay for the Mac name. You can get all the same software for Windows vs Mac. Maybe until 5 years ago Mac was the standard for audio or video editing, that marketshare has since been slipping fairly fast. I tired Reaper, didnt really care for it.

Re:Must use MacOS (1)

clockwise_music (594832) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088453)

>For serious music production use MacOS, its the right tool for the job.


I resisted getting a mac for about 15 years. Just do yourself a favour, buy a macbook pro, or even an air, and you will be amazed at how easy everything is and how well everything works. Open source is a waste of time.

Windows will work ok, but for various reasons the music industry has chosen Macs as the standard. In theory you could run everything on Windows ok, but I wouldn't bother. Don't fight it, just get a Mac, you will be saving yourself months of "stuffing around" time.

Re:Must use MacOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088521)

they have chosen mac's cause 20 someodd years ago mac's came with sound, if atari were still making hardware they would be using that cause of its onboard midi in 1985

the music industry doesnt like dicking with tech, hince the holdovers, and why your 40 year old mixer sounds better than your 10 year old one

Re:Must use MacOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088773)

Macs are just used by idiots who can't take the time to learn about audio editing and engineering.

Getting a tool or making a religious statement? (4, Informative)

DavidinAla (639952) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087917)

If you're making a statement of your religious faith OR if you're just tinkering, going to the trouble of finding something to run an open source package makes sense. If you're actually interested in the right tool for the job, then buy a real music studio with a Mac or a Windows PC instead. There's a reason that real musicians generally use real tools that suit professional needs.

Ya pretty much (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088039)

There is just not much in the free software world, particularly for Linux, that is good for music composition. Just the way it is. If you want to do it well, you need commercial tools, generally for Windows or Mac.

For what the original poster is looking for, I'd say have a look at Cakewalk Sonar X3. Sonar is real, real good at MIDI, knows how to deal with SoundFonts, has some built in synths that aren't too bad, and only runs $100 for the basic version. It's notation is not the best, but anything I can think of that is a reasonable step up is also quite a bit more money (like Cubase).

However depending on what the ultimate goal is, the DAW can end up being the cheap part of things. High quality samples cost a lot, and there are few freebies. Reason is to make good samples you need to hire good musicians, a good recording studio/hall, good engineers, and then spend a lot of time on it. Gotta make that money back somehow. So if you want realistic sounds, you can easily spend far more on samples than the DAW/sequencer. I own Sonar X3 Producer, which is $500, but I've spent more than that on a single sample set, and I have multiple sample sets.

Also if he thinks that programming a synthesizer is easy, he's got another thing coming. Making a competent synthesis engine that sounds good, is usable, etc, etc is not an easy task. Particularly since there are all sort of different kinds of synthesis one might wish to use, and each is implemented and controlled differently.

So, like the parent said: religious statement or actual work? If you just wanna play around in Linux with free solutions, then go to it. No need to ask on Slashdot, just try stuff out. Wikipedia has a list of OSS music software, to name just one place. If you are asking because you want something that doesn't suck and can do some real work, then you'll need to stick with Window or Mac and drop some money.

Like I said, I'd go for Sonar. There's a free trial, and the base version isn't that much and has good features and capabilities (it isn't crippled with regards to tracks and so on). You can always upgrade later.

Other reasonably priced options to look at are Reaper and FL Studio Fruity Edition.

Re:Ya pretty much (1)

Razordude (3505695) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088119)

Exactly. Use the right tool for the job. It's disappointing that Linux sucks in the music production scheme of things, but that's just the way things are and hoping and imaging a different state of affairs isn't going to change reality. Knowing this and accepting it is a very important method of avoiding becoming an insufferable Linux fanboy.

Re:Ya pretty much (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088387)

Use the right tool for the job.

But to people philosophically opposed to proprietary software, proprietary software can't be the right tool for the job. Some people have principles and don't throw them out the window when it's convenient.

Re:Ya pretty much (3, Insightful)

Razordude (3505695) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088527)

Sure. But when your principles are so restrictive as to prevent you from using the majority of useful modern technology and software, it's worth considering whether such principles are really sensible and whether your priorities are suitable for what you're trying to accomplish.

Some people have completely unrealistic principles. They can't be helped, not unless they realize that the world requires compromise if you want to get things done sometimes. It's just how life is.

Re:Ya pretty much (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088519)

Bitwig is one to keep an eye on... has an Ableton Live-like interface, and fully supported on Linux. Still in beta.


Re:Ya pretty much (1)

Mass Overkiller (1999306) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088795)

I use Sonar X3 Studio ($150) and its excellent. Every DAW is different of course, and I've been using Sonar for a decade. You can get Sonar X3 for $99 or opt for the higher end versions for more money.

CCRMA and Fedora (5, Interesting)

bucketoftruth (583696) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087957)

Our music studio only records live sound (no MIDI). We use CCRMA on Fedora20 [stanford.edu] . It has a ton of stuff you might find useful. We use it for the RT prempt capabilities so musicians can auto-punch-in/out during recording without have to go back and time-shift tracks later. Our "sound card" is a pair of Echo Audiofire 12's for the 24 mics around the studio.

Re: CCRMA and Fedora (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088857)

Fedora v18 has a Musicians guide in the docs, it has been updated over the years.


As both a sound guy and a salesperson (4, Informative)

aitikin (909209) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087961)

I have tried just about EVERY option I can find in FOSS and they do not quite hold up to the current commercial offerings. Frankly, both as an end user and as a pro audio salesperson, I've only ever had mediocre luck with Make Music/Finale. At the very least, with Avid's Sibelius, I've been able to get decent tech support. I haven't had as much luck with Ardour as I'd like, and Audacity doesn't cut it. Getting into a decent Sequencer without dropping a fortune, I'd get into Studio One personally.

If you want more details and/or want to know more about my opinions on the matter, please feel free to PM me.

There are no professional solutions. (1)

Jahoda (2715225) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087971)

Logic/Cubase on the Mac, Sonar/Cubase for Windows. (My personal preference is Cubase). When this question was last asked not even 6 months ago, it was pretty well demonstrated that the state of open source DAW applications was fine for the hobbyist or the casual user, but if you want to do actual work, you need to get some real tools.

Re:There are no professional solutions. (1)

Jahoda (2715225) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087979)

Sorry - here is the thread I was referencing: http://ask.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org]

All very confusing (0)

OzPeter (195038) | 1 year,2 days | (#46087973)

So your solution could be open source, but you may buy it, on the other hand you think you can develop part of what you want from scratch. And it could be on Windows 8, Linus or OS X.

The whole description is rather too rambling to make any real sense of. You would have been better off just asking what recommendations people have for a PC base music studio and left it at that, and let moderation bubble up various best of breed solutions.

And in hind sight I bet the "Open source" part of the topic was added for you.

Re:All very confusing (1)

jones_supa (887896) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088071)

And in hind sight I bet the "Open source" part of the topic was added for you.

Heh, seems like it could be so. Now I realize why the title mismatched with the part where he in the beginning specifically says that "I have no preference between open- and closed-source software as an end-user".

Linuxmusicians.com, linuxaudio.org, Traktion, Ardo (4, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088013)

As a DJ, I've come across some tools and some complete distributions that will likely fit your needs, but I don't know quite enough to make specific recommendations. I do know that there are alot of Linux music production tools that are way above my head, pro quality stuff. The folks at Linuxmusician.com and Linuxaudio.org would know exactly what you're talking about and be able to make specific recommendations. I looked at a couple distributions that are complete audio workstations on boot. They included a lot of fancy tools that were way more than I needed.

As you may know, music production on Linux uses JACK to hook together any software components you want. That means any editor tool can work with any midi source, for example, because they are plugged together using jack.

Two popular software packages are Ardour and Traktion, but really the Linux music community at sites focused on music production under Linux will have much better answers for you.

Re:Linuxmusicians.com, linuxaudio.org, Traktion, A (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088811)

> As a DJ, I've come across some tools and some complete distributions that will likely fit your needs, but I don't know quite enough to make specific recommendations.
Great, ty for posting.

Use Reaper on a Hackintosh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088029)

I'm a gigging musician who's been doing digital audio for 20 years, and followed open source audio very closely for ages. Sadly, a purely FOSS solution will just hamper you. I tried for years, ( I played shows with 100% FOSS software) but honestly, I think a DAW is too feature rich for anything but a dedicated team to do properly. Now I use Reaper, which is as close to open source as you're going to get in a kick ass DAW. (Ardour will do for tracking and mixing, but not scoring or midi editing). It's got an unlimited un-crippled demo, cheap individual license ($40), cool company, and to be honest, it's so good I'd use it over Logic or Protools or Live even if it cost $500. It's incredibly well designed, and extendable in two scripting languages so there are loads of open source extensions and plugins for it. You can find tons of great FOSS environments to use *in addition* to your DAW ( PureData, SuperCollider, CSound, scads of open source plugins), but for your main DAW, the sweet spot IMHO is Reaper on a hackintosh.

If you *need* it to be 100% open source, Linux + Ardour + PureData or SuperCollider is a good option, but I wouldn't recommend it over doing the same thing with Os X and Reaper instead.

Re: Use Reaper on a Hackintosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088161)

^ this. I've been a professional for 12 years and all you said is absolutely spot-on. Another great combination is Max (formerly max/msp), Max for Live and Ableton Live. Your suggestions are best though.

I do this for a living (5, Informative)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088041)

1. It's the SOFTWARE FIRST ,the OS is (mostly) irrelevant.
2. figure out WHAT you want to do in music and select the software that fits your needs from there.
3. Buy the hardware that supports your software the best.

Frankly, in terms of just "getting shit done" Windows (7) is basically as good as Mac. Linux isn't so friendly, but if the software you need to get shit done is only on Linux, then, you're on Linux.

Now, there is a caveat with the software first thing, which is, your interface. If the audio in/out device you're using is Mac only, then you're using a Mac. Etc for the rest. So, for example for my home studio, I have a MOTU Ultralite MkIII hybrid running on windows 7 HP laptop. It's a bit quirky, but the sound quality is excellent and the preamps are smooth - for the price, it's hard to beat. There is better, but it costs more. Luckily, the MOTU is Mac/Win, and I happened to have this HP laptop not doing anything, so bingo: instant home music set up.

For software I run Ableton Live Suite - the fullblown monster. Why? Because what I do is more performance /composition based. If I was in a band and I was recording through some big multichannel interface, I would go with ProTools, because that's what I learnt in school, and it's pretty much the "MS Office" of the audio world (in more ways than one...) I also use Audacity, which is the swiss army knife of audio editing (i.e., small, crude, but effective)

For monitors at home I have a pair of EVENT PS8 monitors. They're a little bass heavy, but over all, very good sounding at a very reasonable price.

I don't use a mixing desk, I have an AKAI control surface and a Yamaha (XS6) synthesizer. Between them, I have plenty of ways of making things happen.

At work, things are very different - I have a ProTools C24 console and an SSL mixing desk with Bryston amps and Dynaudio 5.1 monitors and a Mac Tower running Protools, AVID, Audacity, Melodyne, Autotune, and a pile of other gear (compressors, processors, etc.) But that's almost half million bucks right there. So, "let's not go there" and let's focus on what you're trying to do.

So, get yourself an audio interface and some kick ass speakers, FIRST. Then figure out what software you need, and that will guide you to the hardware. When all is said and done, what computer you use is trivial, both in terms of effectiveness and expense. I bought my HP laptop (an old i5 running win 7) for $300 used. It works FINE. Ableton Live Suite literally costs THREE times as much. My laptop is one of the cheapest pieces of gear I own (my speakers were $650). So, don't sweat the hardware. Figure out the kind of music you want to make and proceed from there.

Here are some general suggestions
1. Rock Music: ProTools / Logic / Whatever - Focus on microphones and a good compressor.
2. Electronica: Ableton Live. Get a good control surface (I don't recommend Akai - mine sucks...) and a good keyboard
3. Dance Music: I would suggest a combo of FL Studio and Ableton Live
4. Composition: Finale and (whatever: Logic / Ableton / ProTools / Reaper / whatever) Your main point is to generate good composition - the software is just there to make it do something, so it will be more a question of what softsynths you use...)
5. Experimental: Cycling 74 Max/MSP or Processing. You'll need to get a Mac for that.
6. Jazz: See Rock.

That should get you started. DON'T TALK TO SALESMEN. They will try to sell you things. Things you probably don't need. Focus on what your interests and skills are, and then build your studio around that.

Re:I do this for a living (1)

NotPeteMcCabe (833508) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088073)

I was just going to post this exact opinion. Software first. You will spend orders of magnitude more time using your application software than your operating system.

Re:I do this for a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088107)

What interface is mac only?

Re:I do this for a living (3, Interesting)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088327)

Currently using musescore and audacity. Musescore makes me want to punch it, Finale was more usable 15 years ago. Audacity just has oddities, like track being milliseconds apart and had to resync.
If I used them frequently, I'd pay money to not use them.

Re:I do this for a living (3, Informative)

clockwise_music (594832) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088477)

>That should get you started. DON'T TALK TO SALESMEN. They will try to sell you things.
>Things you probably don't need. Focus on what your interests and skills are, and then build your studio around that.

Very helpful advice. Check out gearslutz.com for some other (hopefully) useful answers. The forum is very good.

Re:I do this for a living (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088777)

I also do this for a living, and I want to echo this comment. Also, there's very little open source music software to begin with. Since the poster talked about a willingness to develop his own synthesizer in .NET, I assume he isn't primarily a professional musician, but someone who wants to make music in a secondary role to something else. Perhaps he is a game developer. I do as little as possible on a computer. I now record digitally mostly despite having much on tape, but I still create large PCM files. These are multi-tracked and do get some post-processing, but as I said, I do very little in a computer. Even in my case, I still rely on Logic and Pro Tools. There are numerous VSTs that I dabble with, and I tinker in Max MSP when I want do programming. Most computer-based musicians I've met, do as much as they can on a computer as possible, which necessitates very complex, robust software that has highly fine-tuned UIs. If the poster wants to make something of his own, Max MSP is definitely a delight for tinkerers.

Wait, what? Is this question from 2004? (4, Insightful)

Phil Urich (841393) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088061)

These days, that an app is developed "for" KDE or GNOME or whatnot doesn't at all preclude running it elsewhere. I use many GTK and GNOME apps myself (in fact, the browser I'm typing this from at the moment---Chromium---is GTK) but run KDE since it's flexible and doesn't seem to want to remove features every release (sorry, sorry, not trying to start a flamewar), so I can't see why you wouldn't be able to run Rosegarden in a GNOME environment. The worst thing that can happen is the widgits and iconography might look a bit out of place, but who cares? And there are compatible themes that take care of even that. I'm honestly really confused by your statements, it's like saying you can't wear a striped tie because you have polkadot underwear on.

But of course, since Ubuntu doesn't even use GNOME anymore as the default environment, I suppose it's possible you're simply asking a question from 2004, and I do remember back then apps looked kindof bad in the wrong DEs, and computers often didn't have enough disk space and RAM to want to bring in so many additional dependencies. Yeah, your question starts to make a bit more sense if we assume you're lost in time, although it still doesn't make a ton of sense. But anyways, considering it's 2014, who the fuck cares if you end up using an extra 100MB of RAM because you need to open the Qt libraries as well?

Re:Wait, what? Is this question from 2004? (1)

gishzida (591028) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088593)

Is that you John Titor?

Second KXStudio (2)

MaslowsHammer (3515257) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088075)

KXStudio is really the best choice if you want to give it a go on Linux. You can run whatever DE you want, gnome, kde, etc. Rosegarden will run just fine, even with a GTK DE (Gnome/Unity). So will QT based apps for that matter, just not as tight integration. I cant speak to transcription software, but Ardour is pro-quality multitrack audio, with decent and improving Midi capabilities. If you do opt for a Mac, I would highly recommend Reaper - for a $70 piece of software, it is quite amazing as a multitrack audio and midi studio.

What's more important to you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088081)

Open Source purism or making music? For me it's making music so my answer is going to reflect that.

I'e seen this question before and I'll try and answer with what I feel gives you the most bang for your buck, rather than try and shoehorn some collection of solutions into the parameters listed above.

First of all, get a cheap but capable second hand laptop. If you're getting started you don't need the latest and greatest, as older stuff is really quite adequate to produce semi-pro results once you've mastered it, and the free tools out there are as a rule much less resource hungry than newly released software.

Secondly, by far the broadest and best selection of free stuff runs on Windows, however that makes you feel. Forget about open source, as you need to put in a few years work learning how to record and produce your music : any dreams of customizing software will quickly fade away once you realize how much effort recording itself takes (but it's loads of fun, so dive in and enjoy it). XP runs beautifully, more modern versions have been plagued with all sorts of issues when recording audio so at least take care when deciding this. This also has the advantage of being able to find dirt cheap 2nd hand laptops and thus having more money to spend on dedicated music hardware.

From then on : if you're still having fun (as I am after 15 years of going down this road)

Good multitrackers, soft synths, samplers and samples, audio editors and effects and mastering plugins are easily obtainable for free via an hour or so on Google, and any decent soundcard from the last 10 years will be perfectly good enough - mozt people are going to listen to your stuff on MP3 format if you get any interest in your music. Pay much more attention to your room acoustics, loadspeakers and how your mixes work on different systems in different environments and compared to professional recordings. Read a lot about this stuff. If you record acoustically you need to know a lot about microphones. If it's all done "in the box" get a really good controller keyboard and fader setup.

Finally I hope you have as much fun as I've had exploring all this stuff.

Just use Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088095)

Use the right tool for the right job. If you're concerned about Windows 8, then either download a Classic start menu replacement (plenty of good free ones) and use the desktop exactly the same as you always have, or grab Windows 7 (some places still sell it). Don't make a big deal out of something that's really not a big deal in the first place, no matter what Slashdot likes to think. In the end it's the music creation software that counts and Linux equivalents simply doesn't stack up yet in terms of features, easy of use, support by plugin developers and user base, and all the niceties you get from the packages that are only available in Windows or Mac.

Fights battles when they are worthy of fighting. You already said you only care about the quality of the product. Again, use the right tool for the job.

Reason Essentials (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088133)

For the money you cant beat it.

Ubuntu Studio (2)

capt_mulch (642870) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088143)

Vote 1 Ubuntu Studio. Works great. Rosegarden works fine with it too (not loaded by default, post-install it).

Linux Audio (1)

itsphilip (934602) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088157)

Doesn't Linux still have problems with low-latency audio?

no, real time since about 2008 (2)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088241)

No, the real time kernel was available by 2008 and soon after the drivers and other important elements for real time were adapted.

You DO want to use a kernel compiled for real time, last I checked. You certainly CAN introduce latency if you're also using it as a typical desktop, but if you either start with a studio distribution or build it as a studio machine you should be fine.

Re:Linux Audio (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088323)

The last time I tried this, several years ago, that was a major problem. I think there was a kernel patch or something that was supposed to make it better, but as a Linux newbie, that was way beyond what I was up for. I think I also had problems just getting ALSA going to make sound come out. Other folks may enjoy that kind of masochism but I don't, so I simply went back to a certain unmentionable other OS that "just works". But maybe things have gotten better on Linux since then.

Re:Linux Audio (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088819)

Linux, Windows, and OSX all have problems with low-latency audio. The sad irony is that 15 years ago, you actually COULD connect a MIDI keyboard to a SB Pro AWE/32's MIDI port, run your sequencer app, and have it do a halfway decent job of both capture and playback. Then, host-based audio happened, and everything went to shit... accelerated by architectural changes to all three platforms that made matters even worse.

Forget about trying to do realtime CPU-based audio on any computer that needs to still be usable as a normal computer. It's impossible. You CAN hand-tweak Linux, Windows, and OS X in various ways to get the latency down (as others have noted, Linux has had realtime kernel audio available as an option for a while), but the tweaks you have to make will render it dysfunctional as a general-purpose computer.

It doesn't matter how fast your i7 or Xeon is, it doesn't matter how much RAM you have, and it doesn't matter if you have a terabyte RAID 0 SSD array... nothing you do will ever make it fast enough to do low-latency host-based audio without ever glitching. You might reduce the glitches to something that happens every 5-10 minutes, instead of every 5-10 seconds, but you'll never eliminate them completely. It's just the nature of how Windows, Linux, and OS X now handle multitasking.

The solution? Re-discover dedicated synth modules. Or set up a second PC whose only reason for existence is to be a VST/soft synth host -- aggressively tweaked for low-latency audio in ways the main DAW PC can't be.

The problem isn't MIDI (that was solved YEARS ago by just using USB to give every physical MIDI port its own dedicated full-bandwidth MIDI cable), and the problem isn't raw data being shoveled around. The problem is that even with a multi-core CPU and abundant RAM, Windows/Linux/OS X will all starve the soft synth for CPU cycles for 3-7ms at a time (usually, more like 12-20ms) while the audio buffer drains. If it empties before the CPU calculates the next 5-10ms chunk of waveform data, you get a loud audio glitch. Audio-generation is a "realtime" activity, and Windows/Linux/OS X in their roles as desktop operating systems all fall flat on their faces when realtime becomes a necessity.

So... the moral of the story: forget about trying to use a single computer as both DAW and VST/softsynth host. If you can avoid live performances involving a softsynth (or pre-record the softsynth and fake the keyboard playing during the performance, you'll save a LOT of money. Audio glitches while jamming or capturing keyboard input suck, but at least they won't affect your real recordings. Use your DAW as a DAW, and give the soft synth host its own hardware that can be properly tweaked for realtime audio.

Not really :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088193)

It would be nice if there was a good, solid selection of VST's to go with the various Linux DAW's.

There isn't, so as much as I would *LOVE* to run linux at home, Ableton, Maschine and NI Komplete ($thousands all up) do not have linux compatibility. If you just want to track audio channels then you're set. But, high quality production from the ground up ITB isn't quite the preserve of linux / foss DAW's. Yet.

GNU/Linux can handle it (1)

ikhider (2837593) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088195)

You can use GNU/Linux, whether Ubuntu or even better, Trisquel. Another interesting one to try is Fedora: http://www.muktware.com/2012/0... [muktware.com] and they also have another. Almost any distro can handle audio, some do this better than others in terms of plugins. This article is a tad dated, but also informative. http://createdigitalmusic.com/... [createdigitalmusic.com] There is no need to go the proprietary route unless you are looking for something very specific.

Topic is fanboi trollbait... (4, Insightful)

jddeluxe (965655) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088205)

BUT, that being said, I'm a musician in real life that prostitutes myself as an engineer during the day to pay the bills, for several decades now...

I tried for years using various software packages on Windows and Linux, you name it, I've tried it... Bottom line is, I finally broke down and bought a MBP in 2011 ( cheap ass $1199 entry level one, maxed out the memory and shitcanned the HD and installed a 512 Gb SSD) I'll never look back and wish I'd done it a lot sooner.
Everyone can spew whatever fanboi shit they want to, but Apple owns the music market. Even software that works in multiple OS environments like ProTools work better on a Mac and you don't run into hardware/latency/drivers/other issues common on other HW/OS platforms. Just go ahead and buy an Apple iMac or MBP as suits your environment; if you don't you can spend a lot of time/money/aggravation over a period of years, trust me, been there, done that, have the T-shirt and barbed wire ankle tattoo...

Re:Topic is fanboi trollbait... (1)

Wumpus (9548) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088229)

I went through the same process myself. I used Ardour on Linux for years, and didn't even realize how painful it was until I got my MBP.

Re:Topic is fanboi trollbait... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088339)

For $1200 I can buy two i5 windows8 systems, fully loaded, with Sonar X3, and a decent enough audio interface. (I actually just did for a client.) Apple may have owned the market once, but they definitely no longer do. Just about every studio I work with has dumped the macs for i7's running Windows 7. More stable then OS X, faster, and at least 10x the choice in software and vst/vsti's.

No, sorry, but it is the opposite (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088495)

Most of the cross platform stuff works better in Windows. You can sniff around online for various tests, DAWBench has some good ones: http://www.dawbench.com/win7-v... [dawbench.com] . You also don't get away from driver issues if you are talking pro audio, since all the pro cards have their own drivers and many of them are... suboptimal to put it nicely.

If you like using a Mac, that's fine, but don't try and sell it as "better" because objectively, you can get more polyphony, lower latency, etc on a Windows system using the same software. Not really a big deal these days as an i7 + SSD generally means your system has more power than you need for anything, but the data is what it is.

MuseScore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088211)

Try MuseScore. If it doesn't meet your needs, get a Mac.


Re:MuseScore? (2)

BenFranske (646563) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088299)

Parent is correct. Clearly, a lot of slashdotters don't know the difference between notation and DAW software. No, Reaper, Ardour, and Audacity are not notation programs. If notation is what you want the best F/OSS solution I've seen is MuseScore [musescore.org] . I have completely replace Finale/Sibelius with this for my notation needs. Note that my needs are strictly for notation for printing though. I am not doing any MIDI creation from it so I can't speak to that. I don't believe it supports playing back with soundfonts (it includes the nasty MIDI patches mentioned in the OP). As an aside if you're really serious about making printed music look nice you should take a look at LilyPond [lilypond.org] though it doesn't have an editing GUI so it's more for your magnum opus rather than the quick and dirty song development more typical.

Re:MuseScore? (1)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088485)

MuseScore does support SoundFonts. It comes with a really low quality set of instruments, but that's just to keep the download size down. Download the FluidR3 SoundFont and it sounds a lot better.

Stick with the standards (1)

radish (98371) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088245)

If you want to record audio, use synths, etc, I'd recommend sticking with one of the big boys: Ableton, Cubase, Sonar, Logic, FL Studio, Pro Tools. Compatibility is a big deal and unless you have a compelling reason to pick something more niche it'll likely cause you more pain than it's worth. Synths are all either VST for PC or AU for Mac, and they work in all the DAWs. You won't want just one, most of us end up with 10's or even hundreds. If you're looking to do anything realistic in terms of orchestral or acoustic sounds expect to spend $$.

The only thing you mention which is a little specialist is notation support - I know Cubase does a decent job of that and some of the others (FL, Ableton) don't support it at all. Something to research.

The move to Linux (5, Informative)

mdwstmusik (853733) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088261)

I've been writing and recording since the early 80s. I own several computers and tonnes midi/audio recording software, (e.g. Protools, Cubase, Garage Band, Sonar, Sibelius...). I've also been using Linux on my desktop since Mandrake 7. Recently, I set up a computer with Ubuntu Studio, and I love it. I've barely touched any of the other systems since....mostly just to export tracks. There was a bit of a learning curve, but I'm finding that once I got the hang of using Jack, there was no turning back.

Primarily, I'm using Ardour (http://ardour.org/features.html) for multi-track audio recordings (LV2, VST and LADSPA plugins are all supported), MuseScore (http://musescore.org/) for scoring, Timidity/Qsyth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TiMidity%2B%2B) for MIDI tone generation.

Also, I've never had any issues sharing tracks with users of other programs, nor have I had any issues exporting from other programs/platforms into those in Ubuntu Studio.

so (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088263)

you want to run a recording studio on an OS that cant even mix a line input without dropping down to a command line and running a text based tool... have fun, but if I were you I would get something that requires less time dicking around and more time recording

Reason :) (1)

speckman (2511208) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088265)

It's definitely not open source, but I vote Reason 7, windows 7. You won't get the standard notation, but everything else you wanted, you'll get in droves. It's a seriously excellent program and sounds fantastic. Otherwise, I'm not sure what the state of the art is for free stuff. There's probably something out there, but I figured I'd cast my vote for Reason.

Here are some options (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088267)

Top 10 Notation Software Reviewed [toptenreviews.com]
As you can see from the reviews Sibelius scores the best and runs on Windows 7,XP, Vista and Mac. If you want to go ahead and write your own open source software then I'm sure us slashdotters would be happy with that. However, if you don't have the time to do that then Sibelius is probably the go.

for open source, add, don't create. Mac != iOS (2)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088277)

You mentioned programming your own synth, which would be open source. I'd bet there is an open source synth that is 98% what you want. Since it's open source, you can just do the 2% that it's missing - no need to write your own 100%.

Several people mentioned Mac. I'm a hardcore FOSS guy. I used FOSS exclusively for 15 years. Mac devices like the iPhone reminded me why proprietary stuff can be so annoying. Then I was presented with a Mac Pro. Actually using the Mac changed my view. It's good, and it's what professional creatives use - for a reason. Don't let any negative experiences with iOS portable devices put you off of Mac computers. It's as if OSX and iOS are made by two different companies. Additionally, Mac OSX is Unix, so it'll run most any Linux programs.

Re:for open source, add, don't create. Mac != iOS (1)

fredc97 (963879) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088497)

Actually for some great synths look no further than the iPad: Nave, the Yamaha Synth & Pad, Korg iMS-20, iPolysix, iElectribe, Arturia iSEM, iMini and many others. The best with this is that you can drive it using a combo of an ipad USB interface with a Roland UM-ONE (MIDI) interface, this way you can use any synth with a MIDI out to drive the iPad, or if you prefer you can drive it with a MIDI sequencer or a DAW.

You then simply record the audio back into your DAW. It may be not the simplest of setups, but the great music companies of the MIDI era (think 80s, 90s) are creating/recreating many synths on the iPad these days and they sound great (some purists will say they don't but then again, you can't buy any hardware synth for a mere 5-10$ nor can you get decent sound fonts/samples for such a low price).

To be honest i do have some vintage gear: D110, K4r, AX73, D550 and some Proteus' but the iPad is great to try some ideas and if you like the sound, then record it in your DAW!

The sound is the point, how it was created is pointless (but the road to its creation can be fun and rewarding too, but that's another topic).

Choose your platform based upon the tools (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088285)

If you're just working in your basement or making basic recordings/mixings, go with Garageband. Need more features and aren't afraid of paying a bit more look at Logic Pro-X. I like LogicPro for composing music while ProTools is better for editing and mixing.

All of the above have a rich support for plugins.

Conversely you could select Audacity [sourceforge.net] . Runs on windows/linux/mac and is pretty much free. It's a step up from Garageband, depending on exactly what you need to do. Definitely take a look at it.

One could pick their applications based on platform or based upon your requirements/needs of your work.

I chose the latter and went with a mac and LogicPro.

Btw, don't forget to to get good input hardware (mics, converters etc..). Believe it or not, that $30 cable that comes with the game Rocksmith does provide an ok USB interface, not quite as good as the equipment from Line6, but if you're just hacking in the basement for minimal cost, it'll work. With recordings crappy input = crappy output.

I would also spend some time on Homerecording.com [homerecording.com] browsing/searching their forums. This topic is covered quite a bit there.

Good luck.

Never gonna happen, because of how OSS works. (4, Insightful)

goruka (1721094) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088321)

I've been following this for more than a decade, even wrote a lot of audio software for Linux, and all my music is made under it, with my own apps. Yet I recognize the situation will never improve. Here's why:

1) While the Linux kernel is perfectly capable of low latency, even on the shittiest of hardware, it does not provide the concept of primary and secondary buffers. If you want to use pro audio, you want to be able to mix the low latency, high sampling rate stream together with the regular OS/Desktop audio. Windows and OSX do this by setting the hardware for the realtime client, then also mixing the secondary audio over it, which comes from userland (or already mixed in userland). As a result, when using realtime audio in Linux, desktop audio dies or is hacked to route pulseaudio to jack and other stuff that does not really work well.

2) It's impossible to write plugins similar to VST, because of the different way tookits connect to X11 (they won't share the connection). You can't mix and match toolkits so a host DAW will use different plugns. The only way is to use separate processes, but that makes programming complexity much higher and very few people bothered. Wayland seemed like it could fix this in the future, but other distros such as Ubuntu refuse to use it, so it doesn't seem good.

3) Good programmers are not necesarily good composers. This is something that is much more important than it seems. Commercial companies are forced to listen to their users, but OSS developers mostly care about doing something good enough for themselves. Given the chance that a good programmer is a good producer/composer is super slim for the practical world, most audio software kind of sucks and feels incomplete. Ardour took more than a decade to implement MIDI and it still is horrible, because the main developers care more about live session recording. If they really had to use it everyday to make professional music, it wouldn't be as bare bones as it is now. At the same time, stuff that looks like a good idea (jack daemon) are terrible in practice because making music with a bunch of applications open is akin or worse to a live set of devices with cables connected.

4) Finally, the biggest problem of Linux is that, unlike other software such as 3D or imaging, there is plenty of cheap and good Windows/OSX audio alternatives, so even if OSS software were to run properly on Windows/Mac, the incentive is still slow. It's not like Blender or Gimp, that it's commercial counterparts are in the thousands $.

I like AVLinux (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088369)

I use it as a hobby and am reasonable happy with it.

It's a live distro and I never bothered to install it onto a hard drive, though I believe it's possible.


I am not exactly a a music maker (1)

dimko (1166489) | 1 year,2 days | (#46088385)

But download ubuntu/xubuntu/mint on USB flash drive, install it on another, or simply try it from virtualisation! That way is best way before you go full on into open source. Also, as a side note, see if laptp will be compatible with Linux. Avoid poblems before they are real! I got Lenovo laptop for me mom, id search for specific model but I can't right now since I am at work and gmail is restricted here.

Logic, Reason, FL Studio, Reaper, Protools (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#46088391)

I use FL. It is a great program. I've been using FL for a decade almost, and I like it alot. I like the synths and sounds alot. Experiment with vsts. You can plug them in. I also use Reaper.
People rave about Logic, Reason and Protools. I can't deny the quality of music I've heard made first two. Never touched PT, nor been told when music is made with it, but I've also met audiophiles seem to love it.
You will soon discover that your hardware is the biggest constraint, after the software is taken care of.
Make sure to add a hardware audio compressor to your system if you are using distortion+EQ's. LEARN _HOW_ TO USE IT so it protects your ears from sound spikes. Even "small" PC speakers can cause partial deafness with sound spikes happening at particular frequencies.
If you really get into this you will realize that your own use of the tools is every bit as important as the tools themselves.

options (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088475)

This isn't really a recommendation for open-source, but since we're working with music, where the creative process is the key to the result, I'd say also look into lower-cost solutions. Last thing you want to deal with are drivers and latency issues. DAWs on windows (and mac) these days are really powerful. Reaper ($60) is a great low-cost, yet very powerful solution, but I find the menus too cluttered. But that's my preference. DAWs like Sonar/Nuendo/Cubase have lower cost ($100) options too but also very powerful. I noticed you said midi - sonar's good for that. Reaper - not so much in that area.

I also recommend visiting gearslutz.com (not a pr0n site - it's a forum dedicated purely to music/audio engineering). Beware of mis-information though and make sure the posters to your answers make records for a living. The search function on the site works great. Somebody might even have posted recommendations on opensource options there.

OSes versions and general hardware tips (1)

fredc97 (963879) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088631)

Yes Gearslutz.com is the place to go, many great discussions. Also on the topic, be afraid of the latest and greatest version of any OS, Windows 8.x, OSX 10.9.x as the music companies that produce the DAWs as well as hardware audio interfaces tend to support these versions after a while. I guess they must work hard on debugging their product compared to say game companies which tend to release ASAP then just keep patching them as bugs creep along. A DAW is not a game after all and you probably don't want to rerecord your last day because of a software crash/bug/glitch.

With OSX stick with 10.8.x, with Windows stick with Win7. On the hardware front prefer SSD over HDD if you plan to do a lot of tracks and/or use libraries of samples. Plus invest in RAM, swapping is your enemy to low latency oh and all the crapware and background tasks too. If you want to do music, make it a dedicated music computer.

When you start working in the DAW, just unplug the network because you don't want Symantec updating its definitions or any background process happening when you record that once in a lifetime track.

Read reviews and make note of the hardware setup of the reviewer, prefer tried and tested and supported over latest and greatest but buggy. Try demo versions of the DAW you plan to purchase and make sure you get the concept, each one has a learning curve and some are quite daunting.

Why not LMMS? (2)

MindPrison (864299) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088509)

I'm kind of surprised no one in this long thread have mentioned Linux MultiMedia Studio yet, that software is actually very capable. http://lmms.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] Enjoy.

Logic is $200 (1)

robbiedo (553308) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088603)

Think about that. All the pieces in Logic cost a small fortune not too long ago.

some input (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088793)

I use Ubuntustudio with a gnome desktop. Rosegarden runs fine. My basic go-to is Rosegarden using mostly orchestral type soundfonts, Yoshimi (the usable version of the very fine Zynaddusbfx software synth), and Ardour (the DAW). I don't mess much with notation, although I have published some very simple works with Rosegarden. It seems that you are wanting to commit your music to notation which may be difficult in the open source world. Also fiddling with soundfonts and the myriad realistic subtleties currently available with advanced software like Finale would be difficult. My music tends more towards "soundscapes", heavy on a baseline synth, with the simple orchestral soundfont or two on the top. Fun, but probably not what you are interested in doing. I'm hoping that Ardour will incorporate sequenced tracks (they keep saying they will) so I don't have to open so many programs... Good luck in your endeavor!

Re: some input (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#46088883)

1. REAPER DAW = CPU friendly $60.00 home studio license. Or free until you come up with the $.
2. Sensomusic usine = fully customizable. $99.00 1/2 off right now.
3. Plugins for the cheap @ Dontcrack.com - get the Nomad bundle $200.00 for 50 high quality plugins.
4. Slate Digital...$$$ worth every penny. And he's got some cool shit coming q2. If you contact Steven, he might give you a bundle deal.

Renoise & Bitwig Studio (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | 1 year,1 day | (#46088891)

If you want to use Linux Renoise is a great program - its interface is more like a tracker, but just as capable as a traditional DAW. Its crossplatform and inexpensive too! I've been writing music exclusively on Linux for a while now (I released an EP a couple of days ago).
Secret Level EP [soundcloud.com] .

Im very much looking forward to the release of "Bitwig Studio" - this will be the piece of software that may convince a lot of musicians to switch to Linux. Its written by the same guys who built Ableton Live and I cant bloody wait for its release !
Bitwig [bitwig.com]
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