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Gear / Technical Help => Post-Processing, Computer / Streaming / Internet Devices & Related Activity => Topic started by: Chuck on August 25, 2019, 04:34:18 PM

Title: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on August 25, 2019, 04:34:18 PM
So, I'm finally sick of Windows and won't be switching from Win 7 to Win 10 after support for Win 7 is withdrawn. I've been messing around with Audacity in Ubuntu. I'm using the MATE install of Ubuntu.

My question is... are any of you doing all of your post processing on Linux? Ubunto specifically? Is there a better editor than Audacity that I should check out?

The minimal requirements I need are:

The ability to edit two or more 24 bit stereo sources together
A quality para-graphic EQ for mastering
A quality Maximizer for mastering
A quality spectrum analyser

I'd really appreciate hearing from someone who is actually doing this now. I'm looking to avoid going down rabbit holes to find a workable solution for me.

Currently I'm using various versions of Steinberg CuBase with Waves plug-ins Q10 Paragraphic EQ &  L2 Maximizer. I'm also using CD Edit to cut tracks on sector boundries.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Life In Rewind on August 25, 2019, 04:48:19 PM
Audacity is the same on both platforms

Edit...hit Control+B for tracking...export multiple...

In a nutshell - that all there is to it.

Can't really testify about the tools you mention...

Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: voltronic on August 25, 2019, 07:37:10 PM
About 10 years ago I tried to switch from Windows to Linux, and had nothing but grief on the audio side of things, particularly getting my external recording interfaces to work.  Latency issues, futzing with ASIO4ALL, it was a giant PITA.  Maybe things are better now, but I only lasted about 6 months before going back to Windows because the score writing software I use for composing is Win/Mac only.

That said I see that REAPER now has experimental Linux builds.  Reaper is an outstanding DAW (what I use and love for a long time) so it would at least be worth a shot.  It comes with a lot of very good plugins, but I can't speak to how well VSTs are or are not supported under Linux.
https://www.reaper.fm/ (https://www.reaper.fm/)
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B) on August 25, 2019, 08:09:18 PM
I have tried to quit Windows many times and have a 100% failure rate.

No way around it, I need Windows for audio (Wavelab) and photo (Lightroom) editing. I can do video editing on Linux (Davinci Resolve), but since I have to use Windows for audio and photos I just run Davinci Resolve on Windows.

That being said, I still use my computer at least 90% of the time to dick around on the internet which works perfectly fine on Linux.

2 options to do that are: dual boot (cheaper), or 2 machines (easier).

I am currently going back to Linux with the Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB model). I still have a little work to do to get everything working perfectly, but it's pretty nice to have 2 different machines. I have each running into a different HDMI port on my monitor and plan (eventually) to have a keyboard and mouse that will work with both machines (already have the mouse, need to pick up the keyboard). That should hopefully keep my desk nice and organized and I can use the Linux device most of the time and just fire up the Windows machine when I need it (that sucker eats a lot of electricity too).

I wouldn't hesitate to upgrade to Windows 10. I like just as much as Windows 7. Easiest route for sure, but if you want to use Linux you have options.

The Pi ended up costing about $90 for the Pi, case, power supply and HDMI cable (I re-used an old micro SD card).
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on August 25, 2019, 08:16:22 PM
Hey Mike, I'm messing around with an old MacBook 2,1. Dual booting OS 10.7.5 with the current build of Ubuntu-MATE. Just to test audio software in Linux. You guys are probably going to save me a bunch of time. So far it looks like a consensus...

I do have a desktop HD with a version of Win 10, but I looked at it a couple of times and hated the interface. Maybe I'll give that another shot.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: voltronic on August 25, 2019, 08:47:51 PM
Raspberry Pi's are great little devices.  I have a couple of them.

One (pi 3b) is a dedicated RetroPie vintage gaming box with a Super Kuma 9000 SNES-style case.  The creator of this case has a customized install image on his website that includes scripts to make the Power and Reset switches on the case functional. 
https://www.amazon.com/Kintaro-Super-Kuma-9000-Functional/dp/B079T7RDLX?th=1 (https://www.amazon.com/Kintaro-Super-Kuma-9000-Functional/dp/B079T7RDLX?th=1)
https://www.kintaro.co/pages/guides (https://www.kintaro.co/pages/guides)

My other Pi is a Pi Zero, running pi-hole as my network-wide DNS server and ad blocker.
https://pi-hole.net/ (https://pi-hole.net/)
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: tim in jersey on August 25, 2019, 08:56:20 PM
SoX for resample/dither. Sounds good to my ears and is wicked fast...

http://sox.sourceforge.net
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: tim in jersey on August 25, 2019, 09:06:20 PM
I think SoX<-case sensitive. Been a while since I ran an Ubuntu box, but I think it is in the repository/software center.  It's command line only, but don't let that scare you. It's pretty simple.

Fellow taper sent me these instructions:

"The basic resampling, dithering and exporting to 16 bit in SoX is pretty
simple. I do it in two steps:

Step 1: sox -S [infile] [outfile] rate -s -v -M 44100
Step 2: sox -S -D [infile] -b 16 [outfile]

The first step resamples to 44.1 khz. SoX dithers by default, but you
can turn that off with the -D switch. I do the dithering during the
resampling instead of during the 16 bit export, not sure which is
better. But I only dither once. -S displays the progress, while -s, -v
and M correspond to very high quality, steep, minimum phase.  There's no
separate dithering step without any other conversion, as far as I know.

Step 2 is 24 to 16 bit conversion. Again, -S to show the progress, -D to
turn off dither, -b for bitrate. One thing to make sure is not to have
any spaces in the directory name, the terminal emulator will schitz out.
Also, you can take a look at the different dithering options by typing
sox --help-effect dither. It's a bit more work than r8brain, but as I
said, it's much faster. Hope this helps. If not, let me know."

Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Life In Rewind on August 25, 2019, 09:36:05 PM
The only reason I keep Windows boxes is to run my transparency scanners and a lot of big media stuff won't support it (think Xfinity streams)

Linux is much better these days, guys!

I feel your pain - but it seems so simple to install and jump right in. Way way easier than setting up a Windows machine.

MATE - ehhh...Ubuntu...they're lost. MINT - not since they abandoned KDE.

The hot distro is MXLinux -

https://mxlinux.org/
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: if_then_else on August 25, 2019, 11:13:23 PM
Linux Mint is more polished than Ubuntu and a better choice for beginners.
The only disadvantage is it's based on the long-term-support versions of Ubuntu (currently the 4.15.* kernel series) which can be quite old.

If you want the latest kernel(s) and applications go with a rolling release based distribution, e.g. Manjaro or Endeavour OS.

Ardour (using jack2 dbus) and the CALF plugin suites are much more advanced than Audacity and should cover almost any needs.
The only scenarios where Linux still falls short (compared to Windows) in music production are audio restoration and time & pitch correction. (There's the Rubber Band library for the latter task but it's not as advanced as Zplane's Élastique Pro algorithm).

Tagging, checksums and playback: DeaDBeeF (foobar2k clone), ex-Falso, Trader's Little Helper (using wine)
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: morst on August 26, 2019, 01:17:19 AM
MATE - ehhh...Ubuntu...they're lost. MINT - not since they abandoned KDE.
The hot distro is MXLinux -
https://mxlinux.org/ (https://mxlinux.org/)
I thank you for this tip.
I've enjoyed and recommended older versions of Ubuntu and Mint, and would have probably started there on my next old PC rebuild, had I not seen this.


edit: I took a class that used Mepis, which seems to be a precursor to MX, so that's cool. I liked KDE too.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on August 26, 2019, 08:06:22 AM
Thank you if_then_else.

Before I start researching, will I need a Phd in Linux to make this work? I'm becoming comfortable with Ubuntu, but if it gets too command line heavy I get lost. Your description seems to imply there are some workarounds involved.

Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on August 26, 2019, 08:10:03 AM
OK, well... I just Googled Adour...

This is on the main page:

"You'll need to build this yourself. That can be a challenging and complex process, especially on Windows and OS X. We don't provide help for this process, and we can't support the end result. But if you're hoping to modify Ardour or get involved in our development process, this is where to start."

That's not going to work for me. It sounds like a rabbit hole.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: if_then_else on August 26, 2019, 08:20:51 AM
OK, well... I just Googled Adour...

This is on the main page:

"You'll need to build this yourself. That can be a challenging and complex process, especially on Windows and OS X. We don't provide help for this process, and we can't support the end result. But if you're hoping to modify Ardour or get involved in our development process, this is where to start."

That's not going to work for me. It sounds like a rabbit hole.

This is only for the latest builds.

There are some older, stable binary versions in the official Ubuntu repositories.
Arch / Manjaro has the current versions (either in the official repos or the AUR).

You might also want to install a realtime or low-latency kernel from the official repository of your preferred distribution.

I wrote a basic installation document for a friend of mine. I'll see if I can find it when I get back from work.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Life In Rewind on August 26, 2019, 08:39:10 AM
Not totally audio related - but one of the shortcomings of some distros is (maybe was) the file picker window.

Like, if I wanted to upload 5 photos to ebay - there is no preview pane!

That was a deal breaker.

The combo of Linux Mint KDE + Chrome was the only setup that fetched me that feature.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on August 26, 2019, 09:05:35 AM
OK, well... I just Googled Adour...

This is on the main page:

"You'll need to build this yourself. That can be a challenging and complex process, especially on Windows and OS X. We don't provide help for this process, and we can't support the end result. But if you're hoping to modify Ardour or get involved in our development process, this is where to start."

That's not going to work for me. It sounds like a rabbit hole.

This is only for the latest builds.

There are some older, stable binary versions in the official Ubuntu repositories.
Arch / Manjaro has the current versions (either in the official repos or the AUR).

You might also want to install a realtime or low-latency kernel from the official repository of your preferred distribution.

I wrote a basic installation document for a friend of mine. I'll see if I can find it when I get back from work.

Yeah, I'm not concerned about using the most up to date builds. I'm still running OS 10.7.5 and Win 7 ;)
I'm just worried about Microsoft dropping support for Win 7. I'm hoping to find another stable audio editing solution before that happens.
I appreciate your help.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: if_then_else on August 26, 2019, 01:08:58 PM
This is my how-to for setting up Ardour 5 and jack2-dbus on Arch-based distros (Arch, Manjaro, Endeavour OS). 
If you're new to Linux and want to avoid most of the "rabbit holes" you've mentioned, I'd recommend Manjaro.

jack2 is a low-latency audio server. It's the Linux equivalent of the ASIO drivers in the Windows eco system that Voltronic had mentioned earlier...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bxul0l0ir509svj/manjaro-ardour-setup.pdf?dl=0

Hope this helps...
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on August 26, 2019, 01:12:47 PM
This is my how-to for setting up Ardour 5 and jack2-dbus on Arch-based distros (Arch, Manjaro, Endeavour OS). 
If you're new to Linux and want to avoid most of the "rabbit holes" you've mentioned, I'd recommend Manjaro.

jack2 is a low-latency audio server. It's the Linux equivalent of the ASIO drivers in the Windows eco system that Voltronic had mentioned earlier...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bxul0l0ir509svj/manjaro-ardour-setup.pdf?dl=0

Hope this helps...

Awesome if_then_else. Thanks . What type of PC is needed to run this? Any PC that can run Win 7?
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: if_then_else on August 26, 2019, 01:29:38 PM
Awesome if_then_else. Thanks . What type of PC is needed to run this? Any PC that can run Win 7?

In principle: yes. I'd recommend at least 8 GB of RAM, though.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: morst on August 26, 2019, 05:14:41 PM
Before I start researching, will I need a Phd in Linux to make this work? I'm becoming comfortable with Ubuntu, but if it gets too command line heavy I get lost. Your description seems to imply there are some workarounds involved.
One of the things I like best about Linux is the availability of online help.
The fact that it's not MS or Apple means you get a lot of smart & independent-minded folks in the user base.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: tim in jersey on August 27, 2019, 11:27:30 PM
Before my last laptop died, Linux (regardless of distro) and UEFI didn't mix well. Ran like molasses on a cold winter morning in Maine.

Been playing around with the live USB version of MX Linux. Seems to work nicely with the new hardware and even running off an USB stick it seems pretty quick. May have to create a dual-boot machine so I can play around in *NIX-land again...

Thanks Life In Rewind.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on September 03, 2019, 11:54:10 AM
Follow-up on this...

After looking at and trying various LINUX options I decided to resurrect a Windows 10 desktop computer I stopped using. I had to re-buy a couple of Waves plug-ins, because the old versions I had were not compatible with Windows 10. But I got them on sale and they weren't as expensive as I thought they'd be. Also, Windows 10 isn't as bad as I thought it was. It has some quirks, but it's still supported by Microsoft, which is what I need since Win 7 is a lame duck.

I am still intrigued with Linux, and have been running tests with various distributions on an old MacBook. I just don't have the time or patience to figure out everything I need to make a good LINUX DAW now. So far, I really like Ubuntu-MATE. It runs pretty well on a MacBook 2,1 I have. That old MacBook has optical inputs and outputs which are important to me. I also have a Win 7 Gateway laptop that I'm going to start trying with LINUX. The only digital output on that is an HDMI port that I can feed to my amp, so that may be my best bet on having good LINUX DAW to mess around with.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: sparkey on September 03, 2019, 12:19:44 PM
All my machines dual boot.  No need to choose one or the other.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on September 03, 2019, 12:25:37 PM
All my machines dual boot.  No need to choose one or the other.

I think that's where I'm eventually headed. I just have to find a Linux distro I really like. I'm fighting all the terminal commands that are still needed to do simple things like install some software. I know I'll eventually get it down, but it's kind of a pain in the ass. Though I did plenty of command line stuff before Windows came out when I used DOS. I used to complain about Windows 3.1 back then, because I thought I was losing control by ditching the command line I loved in DOS.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: morst on September 03, 2019, 07:25:17 PM
Maybe I should mention Ubuntu Studio? It's a Linux OS flavor which is made particularly for A/V production
https://ubuntustudio.org (https://ubuntustudio.org)
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on September 03, 2019, 08:47:40 PM
Thanks morst. I haven't seen that one yet. I'll look into it.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: morst on September 04, 2019, 07:03:46 AM
I have been meaning to stick a now-cheap 500GB SSD (or some such) in my tower and make it boot Ubuntu Studio... If you need personal assistance, it will motivate me to build a workstation using only free and open-source tools. That would be for the best. Hit me up and challenge me, Chuck!
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on September 04, 2019, 07:57:40 AM
Thanks Tom. When I'm ready I'll let you know.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: Chuck on September 04, 2019, 10:00:16 AM
Any suggestions for Linux HTML editors? I still use MS FrontPage with my Windows 7 computer.
Title: Re: Ubuntu mastering?
Post by: if_then_else on September 04, 2019, 10:02:34 AM
Any suggestions for Linux HTML editors? I still use MS FrontPage with my Windows 7 computer.

BlueGriffon or Bluefish.