Music using LMMS, Carla etc.

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miredia
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Music using LMMS, Carla etc.

Post by miredia » 8. Nov 2022, 18:58

If you're into making music with computers you might have installed LMMS on Salix.

But if you're like me and also into Virtual Sound Technology (VST) then you might have become disappointed why Carla refused to start in LMMS.

This is caused by a missing Python script/library. Must enter "GSlapt" and obtain "PyQt5" (without double-quotation marks) package.

This works well inside LMMS and U-he's Triple Cheese loaded inside Carla (must rescan plug-ins after any was added). Note that the plug-ins to use must be Linux executable format 64-bit only. Maybe VST3 could work but I care about VST2 which, sadly its creator wants to phase it out in favor of VST3 which is less user- and programmer-friendly.

I have not tried Carla as standalone with Jack, I have had many problems with this program in particular, even in Ubuntu Studio where it was supposed to shine brightest, and also in the "Liveslak DAW" test I did for a week last month. I also had problems using the other program by DISTRHO called Cardinal (based on VCV Rack) despite its being updated five times so far. In the past I tried to use Qtractor to host Cardinal but automation doesn't work. Otherwise it requires like a quad-core CPU, or much more computational power and RAM than I could afford and than I presently have on a budget laptop.

This thread was started in case somebody installed LMMS and was, WTF why all these additional programs just to run this one? Then he/she becomes curious and wants to use VST plug-ins.

LMMS is also available as AppImage from the original authors' site. In the past it came with something called "VSTige" which sucked because it was meant for the Windows version of the application. In other words it only loaded "EXE" and "DLL" suffix files. I know Ardour is also available in the repositories but that also installs Carla and Jack if they don't exist, and much more.

I also have Schism Tracker, chose to download it from the original author's site because the Salix package for it is from 2019. :O

This requires WAV format samples, and you might be interested in editing them away from that program. Thus Audacity could be acquired from the repositories but it's a bit behind in release. It's also available in AppImage format from Audacity Team, however you will also have to install "libthai" package. This is the same as in Porteus.

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Papasot
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Re: Music using LMMS, Carla etc.

Post by Papasot » 13. Nov 2022, 21:38

Hi @miredia,
I use LMMS regularly, it's getting better and better. To be honest, I don't really care much about VST, so I don't use Carla. VSTs were always a mess with versions and stuff, although I must admit there are some very good VST plugins out there. If you do have synthesizers/keyboards, however, the need for VSTs is much lower, if any. In that case, I would recommend trying Rosegarden instead. It is available in Salix repos and works out-of-the-box. It also has very good support for a lot of synthesizers (with presets, sound banks etc), which LLMS hasn't.

For a strictly software setup, I guess you already tried SF2 soundfonts (available in Salix with the fluid-soundfont package). I found some good presets there. And there is always the tried-and-true ZynAddSubFX (also available in Salix), which has a very good integration with LMMS.
A pleasant detail in this forum: several people pick a picture of their pet as their avatar. Who am I to do otherwise? ;-)

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miredia
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Re: Music using LMMS, Carla etc.

Post by miredia » 21. Nov 2022, 18:44

Hi Papasot.

I'm a "laptop" musician, don't have any hardware anymore. I bought one which was half-broken, upset because it costed a lot of money and the shop's workers got into a bad habit of checking stuff out and not giving discounts about it. I was able to enjoy that keyboard for about a year, but it was a long time ago, just as I was discovering VST plug-ins.

The Zynaddsubfx inside LMMS is all over people's songs as could be noticed on LMMS sharing site, but is somewhat clunky to use. The biggest thing is opening the presets window and it shows nothing, must press "Refresh" button for banks and pick a bank. Then the user has to go back to doing things in LMMS. But returning to that preset window shows all entries blank again. Instead of refreshing again sometimes I have to pick a preset button but it could load a different sound which is annoying, but it causes all presets for that bank shown again. This is a bug with Zyn obviously, it wasn't originally intended to be a plug-in.

Recently I was able to run MusE on Salix as AppImage. Disappointed it doesn't render "quickly" or "offline" to wave or anything else, have to sit around playing the song at normal speed with recorder enabled. What if many plug-ins are used taking a lot of CPU and it produces glitches? Otherwise, MusE is a great program for arranging audio clips. This is because my experience with Audacity indicated it cannot handle more than ten files or so at a time. Some years ago I caused it to crash trying to load 40 short wave files, had to log out the user to regain control.

I'm afraid of Rosegarden at the moment LOL.

Also installed ZRhythm as "flatpak" but didn't detect Jack properly and I didn't like being told I didn't have enough "privileges" for it to lock down memory or whatever. A no-go for me is its insistence for plug-ins "flatpak-ed" to be used in it. I was able to play audio with it but I don't like programs that leave a small amount of room for the actual project, instead cluttering with sidebars, toolbars, buttons, functions not needed etc. and not easy to hide away because they might be needed in the course of music production. Note that I also tried ZRhythm on Spiral Linux (Debian clone) but was told the version of "pipewire-jack" that the app required was newer than what was installed by the packaging system of that distro.

I use Soundfonts sometimes but don't prefer it because it's clunky. I purchased a few Soundfonts from Digital Sound Factory, such as the Ensoniq MR set, but I tend to focus on the drum kits. I don't like the fact the Soundfont loaders could gobble a lot of RAM and even Qsynth could do it, and it's supposed to refer to the same Soundfont for different MIDI channels. I should have tried doing this in MusE.

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Papasot
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Re: Music using LMMS, Carla etc.

Post by Papasot » 22. Nov 2022, 11:44

I agree Zynaddsubfx is a bit clunky to use, but still worth being installed. And yes, Rosegarden is a bit... intimidating at first, but it is a great sequencer/arranger. I use it since... well, a long time ago, before it even had a QT interface. Modern applications of this kind tend to work in patterns, which has its benefits, but I am not sure I like the idea that much. LMMS, Ardour and virtually all of the popular applications for musicians nowadays are clearly designed with patterns in mind. Most of them are also designed with Piano Roll in mind, and they don't even support music scores (Rosegarden and MusEScore being notable exceptions). I have zero experience with Zrythm so I can't tell much about it.

As for music hardware, there used to be cheap solutions with older, used keyboards/racks, but not much of them lately. My 20-years old Roland RS-9 is sold used today for like 450 € (probably because of its great keys), making it not cheaper than its original price when you could buy it brand-new. Believe it or not, you could buy a decent used RS-9 for about 50 € a few years ago. Used hardware prices skyrocketed nowadays... Even Roland Juno-G (notorious for its defective LCD screen (which I would expect it lowers its price) goes for more than 450 € in good condition.
However there are still a few options worth considering: an FM synthesis rack like the iconic Yamaha TX-81 (a.k.a "poor man's DX7") goes for 150 € nowadays. If you are familiar with FM synthesis, this could be a reasonable purchase, since a used DX7 in questionable condition goes for at least 3 times more money. For sampling rack solutions, I would go for something like EMU Proteus 2000 (about same price as the TX-81). Used rack synthesizers are typically less prone to be defunct. But you are right, all those involve the inevitable risk of buying something half-broken.
A pleasant detail in this forum: several people pick a picture of their pet as their avatar. Who am I to do otherwise? ;-)

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