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Linux Audio Babble

Downscaling and upgrading

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For years I've used Focusrite Firewire interfaces, first the Saffire Pro 10 IO and after that its successor, the Saffire Pro 40. Both great devices but recently I decided to make the switch to USB. The reason was twofold:

  • I was barely using more than 2 ins or outs simultaneously
  • Firewire is being phased out and my notebooks don't have any Express Card slots either, only USB ports
  • The Pro 40 isn't very portable

So when switching to USB I would need:

  • Same or better quality preamps and AD/DA convertors
  • At least 2 ins and outs
  • Portability
  • Possibility to achieve similar latencies as with the Pro 40
  • Works well with Linux

This narrowed down the choice significantly. I could go for a Focusrite Scarlett but from what I found on the net there were some issues with these devices. I've also looked at some Presonus devices but actually I had already set my mind on a different device: the RME Babyface.


RME Babyface

So when I found a webshop that offered the Babyface at a reduced price (almost 15% off) I put my Focusrite up for sale and bought the Babyface. The Focusrite was sold within a week and the Babyface easily met my expectations:

  • When in CC (Class Compliant) mode it works out of the box
  • It's highly portable, the Babyface is actually specifically made for this purpose as it comes with a nice pouch
  • It has 2 ins and outs and the great thing is that it's possible to extend the IO via ADAT
  • The preamps and AD/DA converters are simply top notch, they're so good that I'm considering switching cans and studio monitors as this device is merciless, it simply doesn't work well with my current setup
  • When connected to an USB3 port (XHCI) the Babyface can run with nominal latencies of 0.5ms (this is with 8 samples), i.e. it beats the other two OS's mentioned on the RME product page

I can live with not being able to control the device from within Linux, almost all settings can be done on the device itself. Upgrading the firmware can be done with a VM so that's covered too. The only real drawbacks are that it's an USB device so it's a bit more picky with regard to your system setup and it consumes a bit more CPU compared to Firewire. But all in all this is a great sounding device that works well with Linux when in CC mode and it fits my specific user case very well.

Written by Jeremy

Sunday 06 April 2014 om 11:01

The Infinite Repeat - Cala Del Aceite

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Finally got around finishing a new track. And it's just 65BPM so no four to the floor this time. I posted the demo a while ago, this is more or less a definitive version (definitive is a fluid term in my dictionary).

http://theinfiniterepeat.com/music/the_ ... aceite.ogg

This song is about one of the most beautiful places I know on this
planet, Cala Del Aceite in the most southern part of Spain:

http://www.conilplaya.com/fotos/playasd ... eConil.htm

Tools used:

  • Qtractor for recording and mixing
  • seq24 for sequencing
  • The necessary plugins:
    • drumkv1 to hold the drum samples (drum samples are all from
    • http://samples.kb6.de/)
    • a lot of plugins that are part of Distrho or Carla: Noize Maker, Tal
    • Reverb III, ZynAddSubFX-LV2, Nekobi
    • MDA subsynth
    • FluidSynth DSSI for the Rhodes
    • linuxDSP plugins (EQ500, DYN500, MBC2B on the master bus)
    • Calf Vintage Delay
    • LADSPA comb filter, Fast Lookahead Limiter
    • GxZitaReverb

The background vocals for the choruses are sung by my wife. The ocean
sample is from Freesound:

http://www.freesound.org/people/dobroide/sounds/93653/

Cádiz is pretty close to Conil, hence the choice.

Thanks to everyone for making this possible. Especially falkTX and rncbc, couldn't have done this without your valuable work.

Making promises that I can't keep
It's pushing me, pushing me into a deep
State of sadness, state of doubt
A state of awareness I can't live without

Making mistakes, so hard to bear
It's driving me, driving me to a point where
I can't escape, I can't shy away
From the daemons I refuse to obey

All is forgiven, all is well...

Awaiting the day that I'll be relieved
From this burden, this burden that has grieved
So many loved ones, so many friends
All the people on which I depend

Stand up, act now, it's time for a change
Lingering won't help, help to rearrange
The current imbalance, the current state
Of things so rush now don't hesitate

All is forgiven, all is well...

Creative Commons License
Cala Del Aceite by The Infinite Repeat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Wolfson Audio Card for Raspberry Pi

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Just ordered a Wolfson Audio Card for Raspberry Pi via RaspberryStore. I asked them about this audio interface at their stand during the NLLGG meeting where I did a presentation about doing real-time audio with the RPi and they told me they would ship it as soon as it would become available. They kept their word so I'm hoping to mount this buddy on my RPi this very week. Hopefully it will be an improvement and allow me to achieve low latencies with a more stable RPi so that I can use it in more critical environments (think live on stage). It has a mic in so I can probably set up the RPi with the Wolfson card quite easily as a guitar pedal. Just a pot after the line output, stick it in a Hammond case, put guitarix on it and rock on.


Wolfson Audio Card for Raspberry Pi

Written by Jeremy

Wednesday 19 March 2014 om 20:49

LAC2014: submission accepted!

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My submission for the Linux Sound Night at LAC2014 with The Infinite Repeat has been accepted. The Call for Papers page mentions the term "danceable" so I'm going to focus on that. Making danceable music is quite a challenge for me but it should definitely be doable to produce a solid set, especially now that I'm the proud owner of a Korg Volca Keys. I'm definitely going to integrate it in my current setup as the Volca reacts great on MIDI sent from my workstation. It has some fat sounds that just scream dance floor.


Korga Volca Keys

I'm really looking forward to this year's LAC. It seems falkTX and avlinux are going too, it'd be great to meet these guys in real life!

Written by Jeremy

Tuesday 25 February 2014 om 08:30

LV2 gaining momentum

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The number of new LV2 plugins being released is steadily growing. The last couple of months at least the following LV2 plugins have been released:

  • Bitrot (a set of LV2 and LADSPA plugins for glitch effects)
  • beatslash-lv2 (a set of plugins for live beat repeating and beat slicing)
  • deteriorate-lv2 (a set of plugins to deteriorate the sound quality of live inputs)
  • midimsg-lv2 (a set of plugins to transform midi output into usable values to control other plugins)
  • QmidiArp (LV2 plugins of the three QMidiArp modules)
  • x42-plugins (collection of LV2 plugins: tuner, oscillator, x-fader, audio-level meters, midi filters etc.)
  • BLOP-LV2 (port of the LADSPA BLOP plugins)

Haven't tried them all of them yet but the ones I did try (the QmidiArp modules as plugins and some of the x42 plugins) proved to be very promising. Besides new plugins being released work continues on a great number of plugins, the LV2 framework itself and on tools facilitating in the creation or building of LV2 plugins. Especially falkTX is in the vanguard with his current work on getting his Carla plugin host to work as a LV2 plugin. This would open up a lot of possibilities like using it in hosts that don't support all plugin frameworks (think Ardour and DSSI support). In the meanwhile the guitarix team continues to add great LV2 plugins to their ever growing collection and Dave Robillard, the main author of LV2, doesn't sit still either with releasing updated versions of the building blocks that form the LV2 framework.