I asked yesterday about how to configure Audacity, which I found out doesn't work right with Pulse Audio. I have since removed them and am looking for the best way to set up a DAW on my desktop.


I use a variety of programs depending on what I am trying to achieve and how hard I want to work with it. You can install any of them from Software Center or using apt-get

Audacity - Simple recording and editing. If you are doing a couple of tracks and generating stereo output, this will work.

Rosegarden - This is my bread and butter when I come down to working with MIDI files and doing sequencing. I use a MIDI keyboard for entry, QSynth (fluidsynth) as the playback MIDI device(s), and Rosegarden to do the capture and editing of the MIDI. It also supports capturing and playing back audio along with the MIDI, as well as the production of sheet music from the MIDI, but it is not what I would call a real digital audio mixing console.

Rosegarden uses JackD.

Ardour - When I want to delve into the word of digital audio (re)mixing, this is what I reach for. Multi-channel, multi-bus, supports per-channel digital effects plugins, and has a bit of a learning curve. IMHO, it compares well with Pro-Tools(tm), but I have only seen pro-tools used and found I could do the same with Ardour. One session I did with this ended with 5.2 mix down with separate L/R/C front, L/R rear, and sub channels. The original source was recorded from playback Rosegarden (I told you I used all of these for different things!) and then mixed.

Ardour uses JackD.

Pulse Audio

[Warning, this is pure opinion and rant....]Pulse audio and any serious sound work do no mix. I don't do serious sound work, but I run 3 sounds cards in my machine. I had them running very well under ALSA (yes, it took a bit of work). When Ubuntu shoved Pulse Audio down my throat, I spent several long nights trying to get things happy again and get the right sound card mapped to the right place. I then finally uninstalled Pulse Audio, and reverted to my ALSA setup and could get things going again. YMMV

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Rosegarden (Click To Install)

Rosegarden is a well-rounded audio and MIDI sequencer, score editor, and general-purpose music composition and editing environment.

Rosegarden is an easy-to-learn, attractive application that runs on Linux, ideal for composers, musicians, music students, and small studio or home recording environments.

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  • @Keith, take note, though, it's a KDE application, and require the whole KDE library to install if you're installing it on a GNOME environment. – Oxwivi Mar 6 '11 at 17:07
  • and the whole kde libraries is overhyped it takes nothing except a bit of hard disk space and most people have hard disks bigger than 160 gb so it doesn't matter much. – Lincity Mar 7 '11 at 11:47


Ardour is a digital audio workstation (graphical gtk2 interface). You can use it to record, edit and mix multi-track audio. You can produce your own CDs, mix video soundtracks, or just experiment with new ideas about music and sound.

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This list lacks a command line tool. The preinstalled alsa-utils provide the arecord tool, which can be used to record audio with a command as simple as:

arecord -f cd output.wav

To get a mp3, just pipe the output through lame:

arecord -f cd | lame - output.mp3

Of course, arecord also has a bunch of options to configure it exactly how you want, e. g. -d for the record duration and -r for the sampling rate (the above used -f cd sets -r 44100), read more at arecord's manpage. The same applies to lame: lame's manpage.

To edit the recorded audio on the command line the libav-tools can be used, especially the powerful avconv. See its documentation for more.

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