Soft Studio Solved?

Whilst the misses was away (Vegas Wedding - 4 days) I made it a goal to upgrade my system: 1. Upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on new HD 2. Reconfigure my software studio. I had just purchased a WD Caviar Blue 160 GB HD (ultra quiet!) and installed Ubuntu 9.10. Eventually I will get smart and make a remaster of my system so I don't have to reconfigure everything when doing something like this, but it is rare that I have to move to a new HD. Still, I had to start rebuilding my software suite. I can manage this to 95% completion in about 2 hours which I banged out early one morning.

I accomplished a network upgrade to 10.04 (lucid) in about an hour, however I had to troubleshoot a few bugs, two of which were related. The login screen lagged a very long time and my USB drive would not automount on boot like it used to. Searching the web, I found a fix and after deactivating the floppy drive (I don't even have one) in the BIOS settings this was corrected.

After installing my standard (and more) suite of software, I made my "Studio" menu and fired up JACK, Qsynth, and Qtractor to test things out. Unfortunately, I was unable to record midi from my keyboard! After racking my brain a bit, I decided to uninstall Qtractor and build it from source. Although this is always a non-trivial task (although getting easier), it fixed the problem. I also installed LinuxSampler, and the front-end GUIs Qsampler, and Jsampler (see earlier post 3.10) from the CVS repos.

I had hoped that the LinuxSampler engine would eventually be my "go-to" for running multiple samples on different channels simultaneously. However, I cannot figure out why the GIG files (or any samples for that matter) sound lousy, bad, terrible, fuzzy, etc (keywords!). Really annoyed after having built Gigedit, LinuxSampler, and Qsampler from source. I decided to play with Qsynth (.sf2 soundfont sample handler GUI for FluidSynth).

After some digging and tinkering I believe I have a solution. Use Qsynth with Qtractor and Hydrogen (on top of JACK of course) to build all my MIDI files in real-time with a MIDI keyboard and then record into Ardour. The breakthrough was figuring out how to play multiple samples (.sf2) from Qsynth simultaneously. Here is how:

Qsynth loads audio "engines" and you can set up several at once. However, you only need one!
In setup I select alsa_seq as the midi driver, and jack as the audio driver. Then under "Soundfonts" tab select each of the soundfonts (.sf2) files you want to have available for your Qtractor piece. Then edit each entries "offset" so they are different (0, 1, 2, etc). This sets the "stack" with different banks. Save and leave "setup." Then select "Channels" from the main Qsynth interface. Right-click the channel of interest and select "edit." Then you can select different "banks" and assign different soundfont samples to different channels! Now give your neglected 2 year-old a high five!

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