Tuesday, August 30, 2005

DAW: Dave Philips is the man!

I always enjoy his work in Linux Journal on working with audio applications under Linux. This guy knows what he's talking about, after all he wrote the book on it, right?

Well, in his latest column for Linux Journal he gives us a quick overview of some really cool items available to us in At the Sounding Edge: Dave's Distractions:
  1. A quick review of a The Rosegarden Companion (ISBN 2915925186).
    For those of you don't know about Rosegarden, it is an integrated audio/MIDI sequencer with advanced features, including extensive system control and impressive notation facilities. The program has been in development since the early 1990s, beginning with a GUI based on the Xaw widget set and coming at last to a beautiful Qt interface. But Rosegarden is not only a pretty face, and McIntyre is an excellent guide to what's behind the program's good looks... For the Rosegarden novice, the book is indispensable... The assessment is a little different for a relatively advanced user of Rosegarden... Nevertheless, even advanced users can learn something new and interesting. [Link added.]
    I definitely foresee adding this book to my collection in the near future, being a Rosegarden novice myself, I could use some help. This looks like the info I need. Rosegarden sure looks cool when I open it, I just wish I knew what to do with it! Be sure to check out the rest of his review on this groundbreaking work.

  2. Next, a quick look at a project I haven't seen before, DSSI: Disposable Software Synthesizer Interface. "DSSI can be considered the logical successor to the LADSPA plugin API, a programmer's interface for the creation of effects and other signal processing plugins. Alas, LADSPA was not designed to support the features needed for plugin synthesizers, hence the DSSI." What really caught my eye was his mention of a DSSI synth called Hexter. "Hexter models the FM synthesis sound of the Yamaha DX7, loading DX7 patch files--if they're in the correct .syx format--and even accepting DX7 system-exclusive messages for editing patches."

    Yes sir!!! This is what I have been waiting/searching for. Back in the day the DX7 was it. I remember musicians touring with loads of them. I always wanted one myself but at the time was not able to afford it. Then sampling systems took over and it seemed to me that FM synths just kind of faded away...

  3. DeMuDi replaces Planet CCRMA on his laptop. AGNULA/DeMuDi is my DAW distro of choice. Glad to see he was able to get it running on his Omnibook.

  4. To conclude he caps his distractions list off with another book review: Notes from the Metalevel (ISBN: 9026519753).
    [Notes... is] a more general text that explores the world of computer-assisted music composition by way of Rick Taube's amazing Common Music... It covers an incredible amount of material, some of which is rather complicated to understand, but the author maintains a consistently engaging writing style throughout. Difficult things are explained clearly, and the author has supplied hundreds of examples and projects, all of which are available on the accompanying CD... I carry Notes from the Metalevel with me at all times, there's so much to learn from it. And in my daily life, it has become a permanent and always welcome distraction.
    This one probably isn't for me (yet). Maybe in a couple of years? Dunno.
Although he does not review it at this time, Mr. Philips seems to be quite impressed with a LiveCD distro called Studio to Go! published by Fervent Software.This is a "pay to play"1 distribution so I can't give you my own take at this time. At any rate, (as I have stated before) the only Audio-centric LiveCD that I have ever had any luck with is based on and distributed by SuSE. I am hopeful Studio To Go! lives up to expectations--especially since it is installable to HDD (whereas SuSE Audio is not, quite unfortunately).

I would really like to give Studio To Go! a spin, the literature, screenshots and reviews are all encouraging. We'll see. I have just purchased a few guitar related books this evening to learn some advanced techniques, so the purchase of any distro will just have to wait. If they would like to send me a copy for review, I would be certainly glad to try it! :-)

1 Yes, they are abiding by the GPL but they have also added some proprietary items to the CD that make a free download unfeasible it seems. Modified source code for the GPL applications is available.

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