All about digital audio and music production

Try New Ubuntu Studio 12.04 LTS

Ubuntu Studio 12.04 has come. Ubuntu Studio is the Ubuntu flavour designed for content creation. It provide a suite of the best free open source software available for professional multimedia creation (audio, video, graphics). Ubuntu Studio 12.04 LTS is a 3 year Long Term Support release and will be supported until April 2015. Get it now ! Build your own music studio with it.

Normalizing or Amplify Audio Volume Level in Audacity

In many cases, our audio file is not in good standing. Sometime the volume level was far from standard level, it may be too low or even too high. In a professional task, before we can begin to publish our audio project we need to make the sound composition in a proportional level and also meet to the standard level, so when a people play it, the sound will be heard in comfortable for ear.

The basic function such normalizing volume and amplify is very useful and we often use it to gain or turn down the volume level for any part or even entire of project. Audacity come with this function as a default so we can use it even we don't have any plug-in

Follow this steps :
  1. Turn audacity on
  2. Open your audio file
  3. Watch the track
  4. When the maximum level is so far from the top of the track or bottom of the track, it refers that your audio file is in low level you can do one of the following task :
  1. Normalize sound, this will automatically make amplification to the normal state depending on the highest level found in your audio file. Go to effect menu then click Normalize...
  2. Amplify sound, you are able to customize how big the level of amplification will be applied. Goto effect menu then click Amplify...
You can preview the result of the sound before you apply this effect. Look at this picture !

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Controlling LMMS Track By Virtual MIDI Keyboard

This is a simple trick how to make LMMS track can be controlled by an external program called virtual MIDI keyboard. Was this useful? Obviously very useful, why?

You could probably use your laptop keyboard to produce the tone by pressing its button. But it only can you do when the user interface of the piano roll or a pressets windows is in a "get focus" state. So if the windows are in minimized or hidden, you can not use your laptop keyboard to produce sound. But that is not the one reason.

You'll know that connection between application is something important to understand in music production that uses various program and synthesizer to make a collaboration. For example you might also need to connect MIDI controller with your favorite music production software or DAW.

How To Connect Virtual MIDI Keyboard With LMMS Track?

Before you can make  connection between the Virtual MIDI Keyboard with track in LMMS, you must install the Virtual MIDI keyboard if you don't have. Virtual MIDI Keyboard is usually a stand alone application, but can be linked with other software to perform a control. Download and install Virtual MIDI Keyboard here.

After the Virtual MIDI keyboard is installed, run Virtual MIDI keyboard and LMMS then make a song or open your project and choose which track you want to control.

Left click the button "Actions for this track" discover the MIDI menu-> input-> search and click the Virtual Keyboard menu or VMPK.

After this, you can test the Virtual MIDI keyboard by pressing your computer's keyboard buttons or click the Virtual MIDI keyboard tuts.
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Download And Install Virtual MIDI Keyboard on Ubuntu

What is Virtual MIDI Keyboard?
Virtual MIDI Piano Keyboard is a MIDI events generator and receiver program, it usually a stand alone program. Virtual MIDI Keyboard does not produce any sound by itself. Virtual MIDI keyboard can be used to control a MIDI synthesizer hardware and software both external or internal.

Mouse and computer's keyboard can be used to play MIDI notes. Virtual MIDI keyboard also displaying MIDI notes generated by another instrument or MIDI file player that is connected to.

Where to download Virtual MIDI Keyboard?

There are more than one program found in Linux. In this case I will show you two Virtual MIDI Keyboard you can use to control synthesizer.


2. vkeybd

One step download and install, simply use this command :
sudo apt-get install vmpk vkeybd
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Download And Install Hydrogen Drum Machine On Ubuntu

Are you the man behind the computer wanting to play drum virtually with free...absolutely free. It is highly recommended to download, install and use as free as you want, share to friend and play. Hydrogen drum machine is free drum program. Bear in mind that this program is very user-friendly, modular, fast and intuitive graphical interface based on QT 4. Sample-based stereo audio engine, with import of sound samples in .wav, .au and .aiff formats. Support of samples in compressed FLAC file.

Hydrogen Drum Machine Features:

Sequencer and Mixer

  • Ability to import/export song files.
  • Advanced tab-tempo. (NEW)
  • Director Window with a visual metronome and song position tags. (NEW)
  • Export/Import single patterns into song projects. (NEW)
  • Midi learning via Shift+MouseClick on many gui-cotrollers combined with a midi settings editor. (NEW)
  • Multi layer support for instruments (up to 16 samples for each instrument).
  • Multiple patterns playing at once.
  • Pattern-based sequencer, with unlimited number of patterns and ability to chain patterns into a song.
  • Play-lists with scripting function. (NEW)
  • Sample Editor, with basic cut and loop functions. (NEW)
  • Single and stacked pattern mode. (NEW)
  • Time-line with variable tempo. (NEW)
  • Time-stretch and pitch functions via rubberband cli. Require the rubberband-cli package. (NEW)
  • Unique human velocity, human time, pitch and swing functions.
  • Unlimited instrument tracks with volume, mute, solo, pan capabilities.
  • Up to 192 ticks per pattern with individual level per event and variable pattern length.

Audio Driver and Project

  • ALSA MIDI and PortMidi input with assignable midi-in channel (1..16, ALL).
  • Export song to midi file.
  • Export song to wav, aiff, flac or ogg file.
  • Import/export of drumkits.
  • JACK, ALSA, PortAudio and OSS audio drivers.

Above information taken from official hydrogen drum machine web site.

Where to download and install hydrogen drum machine?

It is easy to find out this software in Ubuntu Linux. If you prepare to use command line, do the following command :
sudo apt-get install hydrogen
If you're not familiar with command line interface (cli)
Get it using synaptic package manager

It is highly recommended to install hydrogen-drumkits as its drum sound library.
For complete information see download page at :
See also sound library page :

After installing this program, you can try some demo project.
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Recording Equipment for High Quality Sound

Recording is a fun activity especially for those who have a hobby of making music. Once anyone planning to do a recording process, there are several hardware to be prepared. This basic explanation is to show what is general basic equipment (hardware) to perform computer based recording and obtain high quality sound.

1. Computer

In the recording process, computer will be used to execute some important process using the recording software, running the sound editing software, sound mixing and mastering. Basically, it's recommended to use high-speed computer specifications as well as better performance that support this work. It's recommended to use the big screen, big enough memory (hard disk and RAM), a fast processor. For a better, the minimum requirement is 1.5 GHz CPU or faster, 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended).

2. Audio Interface or Sound Card

Although recording process could be done using an ordinary sound card but it is not recommended to obtain high-quality result. Almost all PCs or laptops sound cards especially for the on-board sound card does not have good enough quality to produce a good recording. Unlike the ordinary sound card found in a PC or laptop (on-board), audio interface is usually an external device to connect audio sources to a computer specifically for the purpose of recording professionally with good quality. Audio interface covers all the functions of a sound card, it usually has a mixer, preamp ,line inputs and outputs, connected with USB interface, firewire, has MIDI I/O, etc. For example : M-Audio Fast Track Pro is a good choice for hobbyist or pro-level.

3. Microphone

Microphone is the key to success in quality sound (voice) recording and musical instruments. Poor quality microphones will bring you failed to get best quality sound. Crystal clear sound is a key target in vocal or instrument recording. There are two known types of microphones are dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. One of recommended good quality microphone is AKG Perception 220. There are also available USB microphone with has a good quality result in recording.

4. Cable & Connector

Do not assume that cable and jack connector is not so important. The cable is connecting a microphone with an audio interface and with other tools such as pre amp, a liaison between a musical instrument with recording equipment and others. Good quality cables will prevent from sound defects due to electrical interference.

5. Monitor Speaker

Speaker for monitoring recording process is really different from ordinary speakers of its kind. These speakers are also called as "studio reference loudspeakers". It should be flat (no boost in a certain frequency) and accurate speakers instead of ordinary speakers are enhanced in certain frequency such as bass or treble. Flat speakers should be a really good quality, Yamaha HS 80M Series is one of good quality speaker for monitoring.

6. Headphone Studio Monitor

For best monitoring it is also highly recommended to use headphone that is designed for monitoring and mixing. For example Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Studio Monitor Headphones is very good headphone studio monitor.
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