I know that tuners seem really basic, but if you ever have to try tuning something like a piano or 12-string guitar, you might consider downloading a dedicated application.


I needed something different when I discovered that my guitar tuner wouldn’t properly identify the range of notes I needed to tune my piano. Two tuners that I tried were FMIT and lingot. I found lingot to be very plug and play oriented. I just had to plug my microphone in, and it immediately recognized it. I got FMIT working, and it seemed more configurable, but I think that I liked lingot better


Peavy Vypyr Edit

I have owned a Peavy Vypyr III for a couple of years now, and have found it to be a great modeling amp. It came with a CD including a manual and some software to download, but to my immediate dismay, it wouldn’t work with Linux!

Peavy Vypyr III

The software I am referring to is the Peavy Vypyr Edit software. Going to their website reveals no options for running it on Linux.

Of course I could use the amp as an interface in my DAW, but the ability to change what amp it was modeling or any of the settings was exclusive to manually changing it!!! I have read of people selling their amp because they run Linux. You don’t have to choose between your OS and amp!

I have been increasingly impressed by WINE’s ability to open Windows applications and just work. I did have to mess around with what order I turned the amp on and when I opened the software, but apparently that isn’t specific to running it on Linux. Here is what it looks like in Linux!

Peavy Vypyr Edit

Getting a Drum Beat

The backbone of any sound track is a good drum track. Maybe you like to use them sparingly, or maybe you go all out on the drums, but either way you need drums. The three DAW’s I have covered so far, Audacity, Ardour, and LMMS all have drum integration. I would venture to say that drums in LMMS are easiest to use as there is a drum track where you can click in the drums on certain beats. On Ardour and Audacity you have to copy and paste the drums while also trying to align them, so it can be a little frustrating.

If you want to focus in on the drum track, than you might consider using the Hydrogen Drum Machine. The software is specifically made for making drum tracks and it even has a built in mixer. I actually started off using Hydrogen and when I made the shift to LMMS I found the workflow to be very similar.

Apart from downloading new software for your drum tracks, you do need drum sounds. In LMMS you can find basic drum sounds under the Kicker presets. You could also download something like the Black Pearl Drum-kit and install it like I showed in my LV2 plugin post, and that would work in LMMS or Ardour.

My third alternative would to download recorded drum files. There are a bunch of free sounds and projects on LMMS Sharing Platform, and Freesound also has a bunch of sound files.

Other than that, it’s up to you to make the beat. Something to consider if you are just starting out is downloading a few finished projects off of the LMMS Sharing Platform to see what the beats look like. BPM (Beats Per Minute) settings will make a huge difference in the speed and feeling of the song, so make sure to integrate it if you are trying to imitate a beat or type of song.

VCV Rack

I recently heard about VCV Rack and decided to try it for myself. It’s a modular synthesizer that works on MacOS, Windows, and Linux. For those that are interested in a new synthesizer, or just like being able to see the connections between modules this is a great tool.

VCV Rack

From the picture above you can see that it is very clean even with all the ports. I really appreciated the color coding of the “wires” to help keep things tidy and understandable.

Besides it being fun to play with, it was surprisingly easy to install. Something I’ll have to play with in the future is installing plugins. Of the synthesizers I have tried to this point, most didn’t have plugin integration, so it’s a nice functional change for me.

VST Plugins In LMMS?

I have often heard the common stereotype about Linux that it can’t run “good” software, especially when it comes to music DAWs or plugins. I have already shown some decent, free DAWs that run in Linux, but there are also good audio plugins. Other than LV2, LADSPA, GIG, and SF2, it is also possible to run VST plugins! Traditionally VST plugins only work on Windows. I am here to prove that it can be done, and quite easily.

Now I will admit that I started off taking the long route around. I originally used Wine to install the .exe file for the plugin I wanted. That enabled me to launch it, but took forever to get the proper version of Wine and get it running. Maybe it’s just me, but this route seems to be the harder one, besides you cannot use the plugins in any software. You would have to use JACK Audio or something of the like to port the audio through the plugin and back.

I ended up using vestige on LMMS to load the .dll files that came with the .exe files. Apparently there are a lot of VST files that don’t run with LMMS on Linux, but the one that I used worked fine.

Vestige In Action

At this point I still couldn’t open the plugin in the plugin manager. I was able to do this by putting the .dll file in my VST folder which is decided by the settings in LMMS. After that, other than LMMS running a bit slower it worked fine.