Thursday, December 25, 2008

A list of MIDI applications on


I just made a public notebook at Google,
and pasted the result of a search for
MIDI applications on (like this one).

It was a list of 76 items today, what will it be tomorrow ?


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Choosing hardware to build a linux musician dedicated computer

This is a draft

Requirements for Components:

Case: Must help make the computer silent and keep the components cool. A rack mountable version is a plus.
Power suply: Must be of good quality and match to the components' requirements.
onboard sound: Make sure you can switch it of in the BIOS.
onboard graphics:
onboard ethernet:
CPU: Look at what you can afford and check the net for compatibility.
RAM memory:
Hard disks: One for the system and a fast one for the audio recordings.
Sound cards: Look at what you need and can afford, check the net for compatibility.
Graphics cards: Look at what you really need and check the net for compatibility.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

the usual alsa troubleshooting commands

Some commands I use to get alsa going like I want it to.

Get the names of the sound cards:

peter@ubustu:~$ asoundconf list
Names of available sound cards:
Get the names of the snd modules for the cards:
peter@ubustu:~$ cat /proc/asound/modules
0 snd_hda_intel
1 snd_hda_intel
2 snd_ice1712
3 snd_usb_audio
4 snd_usb_audio
Set the default soundcard: (this is obsolete)
peter@ubustu:~$ asoundconf set-default-card M1010
Edit the alsa-base file:
peter@ubustu:~$ sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base
Alternative ways, get more info about the sound cards:
peter@ubustu:~$ cat /proc/asound/cards
HDA ATI HDMI at 0xfe8e8000 irq 19
1 [HDMI_1 ]: HDA-Intel - HDA ATI HDMI
HDA ATI HDMI at 0xfe9ec000 irq 19
2 [M1010 ]: ICE1712 - M Audio Delta 1010
M Audio Delta 1010 at 0xe800, irq 21
3 [M2x2 ]: USB-Audio - MidiSport 2x2
M-Audio MidiSport 2x2 at usb-0000:00:12.1-1, full speed
4 [BCR2000 ]: USB-Audio - BCR2000
BEHRINGER BCR2000 at usb-0000:00:12.1-2, full speed
peter@ubustu:~$ cat /proc/asound/pcm
00-03: ATI HDMI : ATI HDMI : playback 1
01-03: ATI HDMI : ATI HDMI : playback 1
02-00: ICE1712 multi : ICE1712 multi : playback 1 : capture 1

peter@ubustu:~$ lspci | grep udio
01:05.1 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc RS780 Azalia controller
02:00.1 Audio device: ATI Technologies Inc RV620 Audio device [Radeon HD 34xx Series]
05:03.0 Multimedia audio controller: VIA Technologies Inc. ICE1712 [Envy24] PCI Multi-Channel I/O Controller (rev 02)

Get info about your alsa driver version and kernel:
peter@ubustu:~$ cat /proc/asound/version
Advanced Linux Sound Architecture Driver Version 1.0.16.
Compiled on Dec 2 2008 for kernel 2.6.24-23-rt (SMP).
Info about USB devices:
peter@ubustu:~$ lsusb
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 0763:1002 Midiman (= the M-Audio Midisport 2x2)
Bus 003 Device 005: ID 04b4:6830 Cypress Semiconductor Corp. USB-2.0 IDE Adapter (= the Behringer BCR2000)

Alsa configuration files:
user-specific ALSA library configuration file

file containing asoundconf-managed parameter settings
asoundconf manual:
peter@ubustu:~$ man asoundconf

Now I won't forget these anymore, if you've know other commands that I forgot about, please be welcome to leave them in the comments.

Edit: here's a nice diagram to show the structure of how ALSA works:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

MEDION AKOYA E5310 D (MD 8394) Multimedia entertainment-PC

At the local Aldi supermarket, I bought this computer that seemed interesting for what I want to do: making music with synths, recording and using a lot of effects, rendering Blender 3D projects, editing movies etc.

Actually it was stupid to just buy it, because it comes with Windows Vista installed and has an onboard Intel HDA sound card that's not supported under Linux (edit: this guy got it working with the latest Alsa drivers). And the Vista drivers for midisport 2x2 didn't work either, but this didn't matter 'cause I wasn't going to jump back in the windows jail just because of one weak consumption moment in a silly supermarket.

Specifications of the MEDION AKOYA E5310 D:

Motherboard: MEDIONPC MS-7501 (here's the output of dmidecode) with AMD 780 chipset, ATI HD3200 onboard graphics (but no onboard port) ATI HD34xx audio, Realtek RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet, Standard Microsystems Corp. 9-in-2 Card Reader
CPU: AMD Phenom X3 8450 Triple-core
Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD3450 256MB memory
RAM: 3072 MB DDR2 SDRAM (667 mHz ?)
Disk: 640GB WD SATA (shop)

I'm not sure about the brand and model of the motherboard but it's one with this chipset:,,3715_15532_15533,00.html#780G
AMD M780G chipset with ATI Radeon™ HD 3200 Graphics

Socket AM2+ , Chipset AMD 780G , Form factor: ATX , DVI: yes (no onboard slot) , HDMI: yes
onboard sound : hda hdmi , RV620 RS780 controllers

It's probably some version modified by Medion, when I boot the pc, I can already read MEDIONPC somewhere in the first three lines.

Hard Disk Drive:
Western Digital Caviar GP 640Go : SATA2 3.5in 7200rpm 16Mo (WD6400AACS)

UbuntuStudio_8.04 installed fine, 64 Studio 2.1 also installed fine, but when I start it, I get a black screen.
Also the 64studio 2.1 installer didn't work when I didn't set the BIOS to use IDE instead of SATA with the disk drives.
I think I'll have to enable the etch-backports repositories first so 64Studio can use the flgrx-glx driver for my ATI Radeon HD3450 graphics card. (edit: I wrote this at my first attempt to install 64studio, and I'm asking myself now if X was really the only problem.)

Another hint from Brian Blater I read in this thread on the ubuntustudio users list is this:
If you type exit at the initramfs prompt does the machine successfully
boot? If so, are these HDs SATA? If so you may need to edit your
/boot/grub/menu.lst and add rootdelay=90 to the end of kernel line.
You can try a different number other than 90, maybe start with 30, but
from what I've experienced, 90 worked for me and I've seen others use

My guess is the SATA controller is not initializing fast enough and so
the boot partition on the HD is not available soon enough. The
rootdelay will pause the boot process to allow the controller to

May help and is worth a try to see if this fixes the problem.
I've also posted something about this pc on the 64studio users list.

I shouldn't just buy a computer in a supermarket.
If I want to stay local, I could have gone to e.g. linuxbelgiumshop .
Also do some good reading before getting any new hardware, it's all here in this linuxguide .

I'll gather all I find about setting up a linux musician dedicated computer in this post.
And this Medion multimedia computer will go to the second hand market.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Converting files with ffmpeg

I just read some interesting blog pages and copied the info here. Thanks to the original posters!

--Convert FLV file to MPEG using ffmpeg:
ffmpeg -i myFile.flv -ab 56 -ar 22050 -b 500 -s 320x240 myFile.mpg

--convert a video file to PSP format using ffmpeg. After converting, copy the OutputFile to the video folder in your PSP:
ffmpeg -i "OriginalFile.avi" -f psp -r 29.97 -b 768k -ar 24000 -ab 64k -s 320x240 "OutputFile.mp4"

--FFMPEG command to mix an audio file with a video file to create a final video:
ffmpeg -vcodec flv -qscale 9.5 -r 25 -ar 22050 -ab 32k -s 320x240 -i 1.mp3 -i Meta.ogv final.flv

--This command uses ffmpeg to convert a regular video into 3gp format thats used in mobile phones:
ffmpeg -i input_video.mp4 -s 176x144 -vcodec h263 -r 25 -b 12200 -ab 12200 -ac 1 -ar 8000 output_video.3gp

--Getting infos from a video file
ffmpeg -i video.avi

--Turn X images to a video sequence
This command will transform all the images from the current directory (named image1.jpg, image2.jpg, etc...) to a video file named video.mpg.
ffmpeg -f image2 -i image%d.jpg video.mpg

--Turn a video to X images
This command will generate the files named image1.jpg, image2.jpg, ...
The following image formats are also availables : PGM, PPM, PAM, PGMYUV, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, SGI.
ffmpeg -i video.mpg image%d.jpg

--Encode a video sequence for the iPpod/iPhone:
ffmpeg -i source_video.avi input -acodec aac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -mbd 2 -flags +4mv+trell -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 320x180 -title X final_video.mp4

Explanations :
* Source : source_video.avi
* Audio codec : aac
* Audio bitrate : 128kb/s
* Video codec : mpeg4
* Video bitrate : 1200kb/s
* Video size : 320px par 180px
* Generated video : final_video.mp4

--Encode video for the PSP:
ffmpeg -i source_video.avi -b 300 -s 320x240 -vcodec xvid -ab 32 -ar 24000 -acodec aac final_video.mp4

Explanations :
* Source : source_video.avi
* Audio codec : aac
* Audio bitrate : 32kb/s
* Video codec : xvid
* Video bitrate : 1200kb/s
* Video size : 320px par 180px
* Generated video : final_video.mp4

--Extracting sound from a video, and save it as Mp3:
ffmpeg -i source_video.avi -vn -ar 44100 -ac 2 -ab 192 -f mp3 sound.mp3

Explanations :
* Source video : source_video.avi
* Audio bitrate : 192kb/s
* output format : mp3
* Generated sound : sound.mp3

--Convert a wav file to Mp3
ffmpeg -i son_origine.avi -vn -ar 44100 -ac 2 -ab 192 -f mp3 son_final.mp3

--Convert .avi video to .mpg
ffmpeg -i video_origine.avi video_finale.mpg

--Convert .mpg to .avi
ffmpeg -i video_origine.mpg video_finale.avi

--Convert .avi to animated gif(uncompressed)
ffmpeg -i video_origine.avi gif_anime.gif

--Mix a video with a sound file
ffmpeg -i son.wav -i video_origine.avi video_finale.mpg

--Convert .avi to .flv
ffmpeg -i video_origine.avi -ab 56 -ar 44100 -b 200 -r 15 -s 320x240 -f flv video_finale.flv

FFMpeg par l’exemple (French)
ffmpeg page on

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Installing gspca-modules in 64 Studio

Installing gspca-modules in 64 Studio .

The gspca-modules contain drivers for webcams, but they need to be compiled for
64 Studio before you can use them, so here's a little how-to ...
This should work for all webcams listed here.

(Make sure) this package is installed:

version 01.00.04-2+2.6.17-9 (
and this one too:
version 01.00.04-2 (stable)

To unpack the sourcefiles I did:

peter@64studio:/usr/src$ sudo bunzip2 gspca-source.tar.bz2
cd into the new directory:
peter@64studio:/usr/src$ cd modules/gspca/

Now prepare module-assistant:

peter@64studio:/usr/src/modules/gspca$ sudo m-a prepare
a lot of messages came and 'cause all went well, it ended with

Now auto install gspca :

peter@64studio:/usr/src/modules/gspca$ sudo m-a a-i gspca
again a lot of messages and 'cause all went well, again

The driver is now installed and the webcam works :-)

Useful links:
gspca home page :
list of supported cams

Friday, June 13, 2008

Installing LMMS 0.3.2 on 64studio 2.1

WARNING: Don't do this if you don't want to mess up your installation !!
Adding other repositories (like Lenny and Sid) is not recommended if you don't know apt pinning.

To install the latest version of LMMS, I simply added
deb lenny main
to the repositories in Synaptic.
Then I did a search for lmms , upgraded my lmms 0.2 installation , and reverted the repositories to the default list.

With 64Studio, the repositories I normally use for Synaptic are :

deb 64studio main
deb etch main contrib non-free
deb etch/updates main
deb etch-backports main
deb etch main
deb-src etch main

The online manual is getting better every time I check it out, and it's great to have some extra standard instruments and VST plugins working in LMMS now :)

killall esd trick, pstree weirdness

After playing for a while with 64Studio , and trying some packages to change the look and feel of the desktop environment , suddenly I got an error message while starting Jack Control .

I posted a request for help on the 64studio users mailing list . (read it here)

The process esd was already using the hw:0 soundcard, so I could start qjackctl after first doing killall esd. (with Alacarte Menu Editor, it's easy to change the command in properties for Jack Control to "killall esd & qjackctl")
A second option is to go to the GNOME menu, then Desktop , Preferences , Sound , and disable software sound mixing (ESD) .
The third option is to replace libesd0 with libesd-alsa0, this way esd can keep running while I start qjackctl.

Something I still have to try out one day is what Ralf proposed to do here , I just didn't take the time to figure it out yet.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

installed 64studio again

this is an old post

Yesterday I installed an old version of 64Studio again, and upgraded it to the most recent (2) (no cd or dvd needed, it all works with a simple 64studio dummy package after which I "apt-get 64studio-upgrade" (as root).

Now I'm back with the usual configuration stuff to deal with:
the mobo's onboard sound card is recognised first so put on hw:0
but I want my Delta 1010 to be the default card.

my first useful command is:
peter@64studio:~$ cat /proc/asound/cards
0 [I82801DBICH4 ]: ICH4 - Intel 82801DB-ICH4
Intel 82801DB-ICH4 with AD1981B at 0xfebff800, irq 209
1 [M1010 ]: ICE1712 - M Audio Delta 1010
M Audio Delta 1010 at 0xdc00, irq 185
2 [M2x2 ]: USB-Audio - MidiSport 2x2
M-Audio MidiSport 2x2 at usb-0000:00:1d.0-2, full speed
(in ubuntu this would be
peter@64studio:~$ asoundconf list
but if do that command in 64studio, i get
Names of available sound cards:
with no cards listed)

Then I edited the /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base file and added
alias snd-card-0 snd-M1010
options snd-M1010 index=0
alias snd-card-1 snd-I82801DBICH4
options snd-I82801DBICH4 index=1
alias snd-card-2 snd-M2x2
options snd-M2x2 index=2

to the end of it.
Let's see if it works ... I'll restart, because I don't know the command to reload the alsa-base file

some reference links ...
64studio forums post
64studio user FAQ (nr12)

my "set default soundcard in Ubuntu" post