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Calling Beer Moon: Linux question/advice

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Calling Beer Moon: Linux question/advice

Postby Chuck_Schick » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:22 am

Hey, Beer --

I've long been tempted to start dicking around with Linux, but have never really found the motivation. Lately, however, I've been reading about this Debian distro called 64 Studio which is pretty tantalizing, given that I've spent scads on DAW software updates for Windows over the years.

Thing is, this thing's specifically designed for 64-bit systems, with which I have zero experience. Moreover, despite my years of IT experience I've never actually built a system from the ground up (though I have plenty of experience under the hood, so to speak).

Any recommendations for a butt-kicking barebones system on the cheap? You seem to be the man when it comes to this stuff.

I've got an old P3 system I could cannibalize for parts (drives, vid card, etc.). Any advice or warnings? Do you provide consulting services, build these things for a fee or know someone who does (preferably at a reasonable rate)? I'm not sure this is a project for a Linux noob such as I, or that I have the time and patience to do it from scratch.

Mind you, my interest in largely theoretical at this stage. Just wondering if I could get such an animal up and running without spending a fortune. I'm thinking it might save me money over the long haul if I could break my dependence on Windows for all things digital audio.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Postby juanton » Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:39 am

Chuck, there's also this I think there's a thread or two somewhere on tapeop.com about using Linux for audio.

My only issue about switching to a Linux distribution for audio work is the lack of commercial plugins compiled for Linux.
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Postby DMeister » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:15 pm

Which linux audio app has got you excited, Chuck, and what do you plan on using it for?

You could probably get that old P3 up and running some decent linux audio, at least for experimentation purposes, before taking the dive and building a new computer. It may choke if you have a bunch of plugins processing sound in real-time, but for multitrack recording or editing, you have plenty of computer to see if linux audio is the route you want to go.

I've been meaning to do this for some time: download some distro, use the distro's package manager to get Audacity or whatever, and try it out. The thing that's been holding me back is ALSA support for the "pro-sumer" cards that I own.

The Eastman School of Music also has the Linux Turn-key package, though it looks like it's currently being updated for the newer distros. But the documentation is(were) probably pretty good, and with linux, that's the best that can be expected.
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Postby Beer Moon » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:11 pm

If you want to order all the parts, I will come to your house and stick it together for you for the price of a six pack.

In the budget range AMD is still tops.

Socket 939 Athlon 64 3400+ - $52
Arctic Freezer 64 CPU Cooler - $30
Motherboard (includes onboard video and 3 PCI slots for your soundcard) - $70
Case with 300W PSU - $50
DVD/CD Burner - $40 (or you might already have one)
2x512MB Dual-Channel DDR400 RAM - $75
200GB Seagate 7200.10 SATA Hard Drive - $70
Sound - assuming you already have this covered.

That's $387 before shipping if you got it all from the egg. Assuming you need everything listed above, figure a little over $400 all said and done. If you already have a burner and maybe a hard drive, then you might be closer to $287 and $300.

That thing would blaze through Linux.

Depending on how much encoding you are planning on doing, you may consider upgrading that to a dual-core processor, which would cost you an extra $60 (Athlon 64 X2 3800 is $119). Of course it would come with a fan, so really it would only be an extra $30 because you could ditch the $30 cooler.

For a sixer I'll help you put it together, and then you'll probably be able to do it on your own next time. Of course, I won't be much help with the OS because I know jack about Linux. The last couple installs I tried were easy enough to get done. No clue about the ease of use of the software you're talking about.

I'm sure someone else on here could help you with the OS.
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Postby Chuck_Schick » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:53 pm

Thanks for the input, y'all. I knew you'd have the skinny, Moon. I'll let you know when (and if) I decide to spring for such a thing. Your assistance would be worth at least a twelver by my calculations.

I love booze as legal tender.
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Postby juanton » Tue Apr 17, 2007 6:40 pm

I just installed Studio 64 on a 3 year old Dell with an embedded sound card. I have never experienced an easier Linux distro install ever. The only section of the install that may give folks difficulties is if you choose to do a manual configuration of the partitions. The only reason I did the manual partition config was to preserve an XP partition that I use for occasional windows type development. If you only want one OS on your machine, i.e. the Linux distro on Studio 64, then install away and let the installer automatically use all free space to config your partition.

I chose to use the other "automatic" option to chop up my disk into seperate partitons for /usr, /(root), /etc, /tmp, and /opt/. I figure if one partion gets munged, I don't have to reinstall everything.

The Ardour instance in this distro is sweet. It's totally install and go. I will be trying my MOTU 828MkII firewire audio interface with it tonight.

One major drawback, no effects plugins are installed by default.
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Postby DMeister » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:02 am

juanton wrote:I will be trying my MOTU 828MkII firewire audio interface with it tonight.


Did it work?
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Postby juanton » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:17 am

Oh, god no. I'm still futzing around with Jack. It seems to be having issues with my SIG 1394 card.
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Postby paulie » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:32 am

chuck, it may also be worth investing in an extra GB of RAM to bring it up to 2GB. especially if you're into using quite a few VST instruments or effects... just some food for thought :)
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Postby DMeister » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:18 am

Good luck juanton.

I am very interested to see how difficult it was to get MOTU setup. Please reply when you have it working.

Or when you give up.

Off topic:

People like to rant and rave about Stallman like he's some kind of revolutionary/communist/lunatic. But I think his ideas are really quite simple: You should always be able to use the hardware you've purchased, regardless if it's a printer or a computer or a MOTU 828.

You can muddy the water with all kinds of rent seeking talk like "intellectual property". Sharing knowledge costs nothing.
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