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Need to get a Firewire Audio/MIDI interface working in Mint

Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:56 am

Hi; taking a break from Windows 8 DAW setup.

I have a Presonus Firestudio Project, which is a combined audio and MIDI interface for recording and playback. It's a Firewire interface, and it is hooked up to my studio monitor speakers as well as a pair of headphones. My system has AC97 disabled in the BIOS, and it must stay that way to avoid problems when I run my DAW software under Windows 8. I also plan to disable HDMI audio and any other kind of audio that might be turned on in the graphic card or other places. Again, the Windows DAW is the king that rules, so all other systems and purposes exist at his benevolence. :)

Mint 14 is very pretty, but I can't seem to get with the Linux mindset and it doesn't help that I have a typical end-user's limits on time and patience. I can't figure out how to add drivers (the original installation was done before I hooked up the Presonus).

The package manager is very descriptive, but you have to read each item individually which is time-consuming, and the filters are kind of sloppily defined. I'm a pure Windows guy so I haven't yet the experience or mindset to determine what I need to install in a Linux environment in order to "make something go". Google searches yield aimless-sounding results and scores of "sudo" commands, which I'm not about to try doing here.

I'm a technical guy, but here in Linux, I'm not a power user and don't have either the time or desire to become an admin (yet). I guess you could say I'm an end-user because I just want to use my Firestudio Project to hear audio and to play a MIDI keyboard or other device without a lot of fuss and without having to write scripts or type in cryptic commands. It would be a huge bonus if i could get even a single mic or line input working for recording. Can this be done?

Intel i7 3930 K
Asus P9X79 WS, 64 GB RAM
320 GB Samsung SATA II hard drive
Linux Mint 14
A living room full of tools, computer parts, a mess of MIDI controllers, a few keyboards, and some guitars. And oh yeah, an electronic drum kit, so that line input needs to be stereo-in!

Urgency is not critical here, this is just a fun project. Well, it's fun until I have to start typing line commands, and then somebody's gonna get hurt! Okay, just kidding. A little. :o :roll:
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Re: Need to get a Firewire Audio/MIDI interface working in M

Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:57 am

BIF wrote:
... Urgency is not critical here, this is just a fun project. Well, it's fun until I have to start typing line commands, and then somebody's gonna get hurt! Okay, just kidding. A little. :o :roll:

At the risk of getting (a little) hurt, the apt-search CLI command (optionally combined with grep) can be very helpful when you're searching for a package:

apt-search keyword
apt-search keyword | grep additional-keyword

This will give you a list of one-line summaries of all packages in your distro's repository that match the specified keyword(s).

Setting up a Linux DAW can be a PITA if you're starting from a mainstream distro, the main impediment being the lack of a DAW-friendly audio stack. You're going to get your hands dirty, and the above CLI commands are probably just the tip of the iceberg; at a bare minimum you will need to install the JACK audio toolkit and disable the default PulseAudio stack (or re-route it to run on top of JACK).

If the goal is to minimize your CLI exposure, your best bet is probably to start with one of the specialized DAW-oriented Ubuntu re-spins like Ubuntu Studio or KXStudio, which (allegedly) configure things for DAW usage out of the box. I've not used either of these distros myself, but I'm currently mucking around with turning a stock Ubuntu system into a hybrid system suitable for both everyday use and light DAW tasks, by installing some of the KXStudio packages on top of Kubuntu 12.04 (this experiment seems to be going OK, but yes some mucking with the CLI is necessary). In theory it should be possible to install the KXStudio packages on top of Mint as well, since Mint is itself an Ubuntu derivative. However, doing anything other than installing one of the re-spun distros from scratch using its installation media is likely going to take you down a CLI rabbit hole at some point.

Hope that helps... and the CLI is your friend... really, it is! :wink:

Edit: You'll also probably want to install qsynth/fluidsynth (software-based MIDI synth back-end) rosegarden (MIDI recording/editing package), jack-rack (to manage effects plug-ins), and various LADSPA-related packages (effects plugins compatible with jack-rack). Some or all of these may come pre-installed with the re-spun distros mentioned above (not sure).
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