The state of linux audio and jack

hi all. im running a studio for electronic music in berlin and am on linux for the last 10 years. switched from ubuntu to manjaro 6 months ago.

now im for the umpteenth time infuriated by the state of linux audio. i just wasted 2 nights trying to move it all to jack. i already wrote a long post on how to get it all up and running but that got lost in the crash. after two nights of fumbling around my freshly installed system looks unstable. i have a mess of alsa, pulseaudio, jack but nothing is working correctly. one of the problems seems to be that i have to run cadence in supseruser mode which took me one night to figure out. qjack doesnt have that problem.

is there a foolproof way on how to get jack up and running? main problem seems to be that every application seems to start up something different that is not compatible with the rest. pulseaudio is started by the system but cadence starts it up again then we have two incompatible pulseaudio versions running. etc. i want to get rid of everything and just run a clean alsa/pulseaudio/jack. after 10 years of linux i still cant do it. ridiculous.

i think the main problem in linux audio is that its draggin old stuff around that could easily be replaced. ans its absolutely nontransparent because whatever is going on under the hood is not easily visible.

in other words what i want to do is get rid of pulseaudio and jack and reinstall and configure it via the shell. so i can finally figure out this mess. how would you go about doing this?

Hello,

The first comment comes out more as a rant and complain. The second comment, while does come as a help request is quite vague.

Most of proper configurations are mentioned here:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/JACK_Audio_Connection_Kit

Some discuss about more or less the same issue here
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=255564

Most of us do not deal with audio production, but some do and share their opinions


This might be a good read for you, plus there is a link to a tutorial … and some advice from @nikgnomic that also should help your case.

thanks for clarifying that. not really ranting but am always amazed at the stupid intricacies of linux audio. from reading other opinions i have learned that its overcomplicated so what i would like to do is simplify matters. i run a high end firewire audio interface and everything else is run through jack so pulseaudio is only necessary for webbrowsers and such. i sequence from pure data and that definitely needs jack so jackless is not an option. im not sure if i can run pulseaudio without alsa as i dont need the onboard audio but i thinks its necessary for midi.

so i think what i need to do is deinstall all audio and then reinstall it step by step, only the stuff i need. and then figure out how to start it all up in the correct sequence. thats the hard part. is that correct?

GNU/Linux audio is not complicated, but some apps use Pulseaudio as default and others need JACK. That’s the problem when you want to run both, but not GNU/Linux audio servers. In fact it’s extremely more difficult and less flexible on other commercial OSs.

Take a look to Pipewire, which aims to unify all audio and video streams on GNU/Linux. It’s on active development.


I have two proposals for you:

Studio Controls

  1. Install Octopi
  2. Install base-devel package group (select that group on the right groups-column and right click on any package). This is needed to install packages from Arch User Repository.
  3. Click on the Alien face on Octopi to search on AUR
  4. Search and install studio-controls-git. It’s on active development and they’re improving the package for Arch based distros. Installing the package will also install all needed dependencies.

Manually and Cadence

Simply follow this guide:


To install plugins and so on, you have package-groups on Octopi:

  • lv2-plugins
  • ladspa-plugins
  • pro-audio
  • soundfonts

You can also search for those terms on AUR

1 Like

how interesting, i had no idea. yes unfa is also one of my guardian angels. im going to go through his guide and maybe install a new system. pipewire looks great lets see if we can get this up and running. thanks again!

Your discussion on the old forum is still accessible (but read-only)
Manjaro Studio showcase - archived.forum.manjaro.org

I do not recall anyone else on Manjaro having mentioned use of Firewire hardware
but I did find someone on youtube recently who has been using a few Firewire devices on Linux
Interfacing Linux - Linux Game Cast - YouTube
For anything related to Firewire or MIDI you should look on linuxmusicians.com forum for the best expert knowledge

the personal setup video made by @unfa is excellent but I am working on a better way to configure a fresh Manjaro install for JACK realtime. Most of it is worked out but I have to check out recent changes to ALSA, PulseAudio and Pipewire

There is a package for realtime configuration on Arch distributions that would not be familiar to someone from another distribution.
It is not easy to find in the Archwiki page amongst a lot of other technical information, so it is often overlooked

Getting started

Configuring pam_limits (e.g. by installing realtime-privileges and adding your user to the realtime group).

that package is sufficient to allow JACK to start OK
some of the other configurations on that Archwiki page are also needed to have JACK run well
but Archwiki has too much technical information that a user does not need to know
(if the configuration is done right JACK will keep on trucking as long as the rolling release allows so there is not much point to retaining detailed knowledge of this)

There is also a python script that makes configuration easier
GitHub - raboof/realtimeconfigquickscan: Linux configuration checker for systems to be used for real-time audio
That is still a bit technical and not easy for a new user to understand, so I expect anyone may need some help working through it


@Porru
I do not think OP is using KDE so octopi would not be needed.
OP probably already has pacman and pamac

you posted on here previously that Ubuntu Studio Controls is not compatible with Cadence
and Ubuntu Studio developers have said the same too
adding another JACK control package alongside Cadence and QjackCtl only seems likely to make the situation worse

Pipewire is still in early development and the only experience from Manjaro users is that it crashes PulseAudio and results in no sound. The developer has posted some screenshots and claims it is functional on Fedora, but there is no definite proof of much beyond that so far

Hi, good post.
I know Octopi is not needed for installing packages, but it’s the easiest way to install groups for a non-command-friendly user.

I’m currently in close contact with a developer of Studio Controls package, those who package it fro AUR, and they’re working on this.
The problem between Studio Controls and Cadence come when Cadence has left its configurations on the system, but there’s no problem if Cadence has not been installed previously. Even more, removing certain config files created by Cadence it’s possible to install Studio Controls, even if it’s not a fresh install. So the things are not so “one or the other”.

I truly think that Studio Controls is a good and easier (for non technical people) option than the other ways, although it’s on development for Arch due to its previous incompatibilities.

pamac can do the same thing so no need to use Octopi for groups

pamac-groups

thanks again for all the good hints. ive been reseaching pulseaudio first. pulseeffects are great and i like it and if there is a way to run everything on pulse … if i can find a way to connect pure data to pulse its doable. thats tangent one …

so i want to quickly report that i figured most of the problems out - and its surpriningly simple to get it all running without problems. here is the lowdown:

  • im assuming you have jack installed and pulsewire up and running. you can start and stop pulsewire with

systemctl --user mask pulseaudio.socket #unmask
systemctl --user stop pulseaudio.service

  • forget qjackctl or cadence. these create more problems that they solve. do it all in a shell
  • kill all jackd processes with

killall jackd

  • now we start up jackd. in my case im using a tubefire8 interface over firewire which has no official support from FFADO but works like a charm out of the box. the tubefire8 can be had for very little money and has 8 tube pres in and 8 high res outs. amazing deal.

jackd --autoconnect a -d firewire -p 512 -n 2 (im disabling autoconnect)

  • now we need to pipe all pulseaudio in/outs into jack.

pactl load-module module-jack-sink channels=2;pactl load-module module-jack-source;pacmd set-default-sink jack_out

  • now if you start something like patchage to make jack connection you are all done. incl. midi its all there.

  • to make it more comfortable install new session manager NSM and all the non-studio modules. then start NSM and first start up jackpatch. then start up all your audio application and connect them. save and next time you can start up your whole studio and very complex setups with one click.

thats it, pieceacake :-).

I used to produce songs on Windows. With recent Windows upgrade, my Line 6 TonePort UX1 lost its recording ability. So I decide it is time to try music production on Linux. My preferred DAW is Reaper which has native Linux version. Now I need to face the same kind of problems of setting up audio system in Manjaro. Would like to hear guidance from peers. I have many years of experience on programming and Linux. So not feared of technical details if necessary. Thanks.

You may be better off starting a new topic with your questions. I might not be able to help specifically but someone else who can might be more likely to see your thread. :slight_smile:

Hello folks,

  1. I am experiencing a similar, slightly related issue. Carla does not load win32/win64 vst’s. (see illustration)I followed Unfa’s guide. I have tried a lot of things of which I think most were actually stupid but I did try one thing that (I think) did make sense: to find the carla-bridge-win32 packages on Arch linux. But unfortunately when I try to grab those, terminal gives an error (see second illustration).

illustration: (weird I can’t include links?)

Link of the package I tried (I tried the others as well but they give the same error. Am I doing something wrong or are the packages not available at this moment?
(sorry I can’t share the link)

If we manage to sort this out; there is one other small request I’d like to make: I am trying to get this all working so that I can EQ the signal output permanently. I was wondering if it would be possible to script it into a daemon (is that what you call it?) so it is always running in the background. Would it be possible to “hide” the interface but still keep the thing running? If so, is this something a noob like me should be able to figure out?

In any case; thank you for reading!

It’s because your account is fresh and don’t have proper tier level. I don’t remember which TL it was, but you need to collect a few budges.

Aw and welcome in Manjaro’s lair :slight_smile:

welcome to Manjaro

New users do not have forum permission to post images or links for spam prevention
but if you need it to explain something you can post a url as preformatted text with 3 backticks

I only use native linux DSP plugins so I am not familiar with VST packages
carla-bridges-win is available in AUR

The package description does not specifically state it supports 32 bit and 64 bit VST
but the PKGBUILD script fetches 2 packages from the github repository

  • Carla/releases/download/v2.2.0/Carla_2.2.0-linux32.tar.xz
  • Carla/releases/download/v2.2.0/Carla_2.2.0-linux64.tar.xz

I would expect Carla to continue to process audio even if the window was minimised