Category Archives: Linux

Ubuntu 17.10 released and waves goodbye to Unity Desktop!

Ubuntu just announced their new release, 17.10 and it is using Gnome as it’s default Desktop Manager. This is a big change since Ubuntu has been using Unity as its default DE for many years now.

This will come as a welcome change to a lot of people since Unity really wasn’t getting much love from the masses. I personally never hated Unity, I just don’t use it. But I don’t use Gnome either. I use IceWM. I’m still waiting for my “Icebuntu” release, haha.

Anyway, I’m curious if any of my readers have tried it yet, and if so what are your thoughts?

5 Ways to use MIDI Pad Controllers in Linux

Pad controllers are a lot of fun to play and use for making music. They’re great for live performance, or for composing drums at home and not disturbing the neighbors or taking up space. I have one just like the one pictured above (MPD24) that I used to make many performance videos on YouTube.

If you’re on Windows or Mac, a lot of people just use Ableton Live for pad controllers. But what if you’re using Linux? What kind of options do you have for fingerdrumming? I thought I’d put together a list of a few programs I know work well with Pad Controllers.

  1. Creating your own soundfonts with Swami.

Swami is great for pad controllers because you can create very complex sample sets then save them to .sf2 files. Then you just open them up with qsynth/fluidsynth and you have an awesome standalone sample player that is fully customizable with your particular pad controller.

2. LinuxSampler

Linuxsampler is a very powerful software sample player that can load many sampler formats like sfz, GigaStudo, and sf2. It’s a bit of a pain to setup and use though.

3. AVLDrumkits

If you’re wanting to just play drums on your controller, AVLDrumKits is an LV2 plugin that has some good drumsounds. You can program your controller to a comfortable layout to play the kit.

4. Drumgizmo

Drumgizmo is another great drum sampler for Linux. There’s some very high quality drum kits available for it, and you can create your own using it’s special editor called DGEdit.

5. Drumkv1

Drumkv1 is probably my favorite option for pad controllers on Linux right now. All you need to do is drag and drop any sample into whatever slot you want to have on your controller. This makes it easy for mapping, as well as easily apply fx, filters, and LFOs to any sample. No external editor needed! Then you can save your kits and use them any time!

If you’re looking for a place to get a ton of samples, loops, and one hits, check out this page!

Why Young Creatives Should Use Linux Instead of Mac or Windows

The tutorials I’ve made on YouTube about Audacity are by far the most popular of all of my videos. I started to wonder why this was? I realized the answer was pretty simple. It’s free software that is pretty good at what it does and runs on every platform. This is why Audacity is very popular among young creative musicians. This got me thinking about how these people are only using about 1% of the amazing open source software they could be using if the were all using Linux instead of Windows or Mac OS.

If you’re a teenager and want to setup a computer to become a YouTuber, Music Producer, Film Maker, Photographer, Graphic Designer, or all of those things, doing so with Mac or Windows is going to cost you an arm and a leg. It is hardly worth spending $3000 on a Macbook, then another $3000 on software when making money in the creative landscape can be challenging, especially when you are first starting out. A much better option would be spending $500 to $1200 on a PC then install a Linux distro geared towards creativity like  Ubuntustudio. You could even spend far less than this. I personally use a 10 year old Macbook running Ubuntu and KXstudio that I purchased for $150.

If you’re a young music producer, there’s a ton of great programs on the Linux platform. There’s several DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) like Ardour, Qtractor, Rosegarden, and LMMS. There’s high end mastering tools like Jamin, and of course Audacity. There’s the Jack Audio Connection Kit, that allows you to interconnect nearly every piece of audio software into one gigantic modular audio workstation, there’s thousands of plugins, software synths, and FX all available for free on Linux.

But it’s not just about audio, Linux has become incredibly powerful as a full multimedia workstation. For photography there’s full RAW development capabilities with Darktable, and Digikam, photo editing programs like GIMP and Fotoxx. For Graphics there’s Inkscape and Blender, and for video editing there Kdenlive and Openshot. 

This is all just the tip of the iceberg too! There’s always new and exciting software being developed for Linux, there’s a huge user support group online, and there’s more and more of us who use it for everything every day!

To me there’s also ethical reasons to use Linux as apposed to the other two. Mac is one of the worst companies when it comes to planned obsolescence. Every time they release a new OS, suddenly computers they made just 4 years ago are completely useless (if you’re using Mac OS). There’s no more security updates, no updated web browsers, software companies all play along and drop support forcing you to purchase software and hardware updates. This is not only unneeded, it is incredibly wasteful. It is completely insane that we live in such a society that normalizes throwing away a computer after only 5 years of use when the only reason is corporate software developers decided they want you to buy a new one.

If you’re a young creative person, I urge you to consider what I am saying here. You can spend a lot less money, make the money you DO spend last longer, and help the environment as well has have all the tools you need for complete creative expression if you switch 100% to Linux.

Rendering on a second computer with Kdenlive

Have you ever edited your YouTube video but didn’t want to render it right then and there because you don’t want to bog down your system while you’re working on other things? This happens to me all the time. My solution was to use a second computer I had laying around for rendering. It doesn’t even need to be super fast. You’re not going to actually be editing on it, only rendering.

So how do you get your complete Kdenlive video project over to another computer easily? Well, Kdenlive has a feature that can do this for you! 

You’ll need a USB stick with around 8gb or more depending on the size of your project. Then when you are ready to render your project, all you need to do click on Project then Archive Project.

Once you do this, you’ll be prompted for an Archive Folder . Click the browse button then select your USB stick, then click Archive. Kdenlive will automatically copy all of the necessary files to open the project on another computer!

Then just plug the stick into your other computer and copy all of the files from the archive to a folder on that system, open up Kdenlive, then open the archive like a regular project and click render! You can then just go back to working on your main system and let your rendering computer do the work. Once it’s done,you can either upload it from there, or transfer it back to your main system with the USB stick.

Just make sure you are using the same version of Kdenlive on both systems. Also, if you are using any titlescreens made in Kdenlive, make sure you have the same fonts used on those screens installed on your rendering computer.

If it’s an older computer that’s pretty slow, you can expect the rendering to take quite a while, but it doesn’t really matter since you won’t be using that computer for anything else.

If you need a sweet deal on a complete camera setup, check out this T6!

Free Linux LV2 Answer to NI Massive – Sorcer!

The plugins avalible for Linux just keep getting better and better. I recently found this amazing bass synth called Sorcer that is capable of creating those huge, sub bass, worbly, buzzy dubstep style basses similar to NI Massive.

Massive will sorta run on Linux with wine, but it’s super glitchy and doesn’t allow you do really select any presets or do much at all really. If you’re using windows or mac it’s no problem, but now there’s an answer for Linux with this awesome LV2 Plugin.