Setting Up a Linux-Based Recording Studio (a Preface)Posted: April 8, 2011
It seems to me that the process of setting up a Linux-based studio is going to unfold like a novel, putting me, the main character, in situations where I am out of my comfort zone and I will learn and grow in the process of working it all out. So I am going to set these journal entries up in chapters. Today’s entry is a Preface of sorts because I want to talk about the history behind the decision to use Linux.
In the beginning… I married a computer nerd. Of his 12 (I think it is 12 but it could be more) computers, all run Linux except two, and really, one of those is partitioned so it can run Windows OR Linux (Ubuntu, I think) so really that makes it 1.5 that run something other than Linux. I can see the draw. Open Source software is free and if you are a computer wiz like him, you can have input on the software yourself because it is this big happy community of computer nerds who welcome input and improvement. Super duper.
I entered into the marriage clutching my Mac. I recorded 3 albums using that laptop, and though it had become an old man, it was familiar and safe and trust-worthy…until it died. I am not saying it didn’t have its problems. It was an old computer and for some reason, during the year it was made, Steve Jobs felt USB and Firewire were the only way to input information. I could not plug anything in that used a 1/4″ plug. I got around that problem by buying a mixer with a USB port and went along on my merry way. But everything sounded a bit muffled. How could my very expensive condenser mic sound so… flat and lifeless? I know now…. poor analog to digital conversion. My tech-savvy husband help me figure that one out.
So the Mac is dead and that mixer is out for future recordings. Time to start over.
I wanted a new and improved Mac. Perhaps a desktop with which I could use all these cool new analog to digital converter toys I have discovered. Then the “Steve Jobs only gives you what he thinks you should have” speech came up again. That aside, my husband had an even bigger message that I could not ignore: I should be able to make great recordings with my condenser mic and a brand new converter for my keyboards and bass guitar using FREE software. Free. It is hard to pass up the opportunity to try something that might work just fine for free.
And that brings us to today. I am really trying not to be dubious. I am trying to be positive, but when we cannot even get 64 Studio or Ubuntu Studio to load onto this machine smoothly, I am very wary of what is to come. I think back on my Mac as if I am daydreaming about an old boyfriend – forgetting all the faults and limitations he had. Only remembering that he was perfect and easy and reliable. Yeah, so I had to buy a book called “Garage Band: the book that should have come in the box” (or something like that) to figure out the nuances of the software that, as the title implies, should have come with the Mac. But I forget and forgive all that now. Familiar is good. New is scary.
Let’s see if I can just get through this first step of system install…