Pro Audio Linux Documentation

Many resources can be found online to guide through the process of proper Pro Audio Linux configuration. However, very often they are obscure, especially for beginners. I will then collect the most useful resources in this page so that they can be retrieved easily (and I don’t forget about their existence). I will categorize the resources based upon how much they are distro-specific.

Let’s go!

Non Distro-Specific resources:

The Linuxaudio consortium maintains an extremely useful Wiki. The System configuration page is probably the best piece of documentation around and often the main source for many distro maintained pieces of documentation. Tutorials are supplied as well.

Linux Audio is another resource pointing to quite a lot of information.

Although they bear similar names, these resources are not actually the same.

Libre Music Production hosts loads of information useful especially for beginners, with step by step tutorials rich of images but also links to various Linux artists and other material.

LinuxMusicians Forums is the best place to find solution to most issues, make new queries or just share configuration, software, samples or have a nice chat.

Audio devices hardware compatibility can be probed by googling, searching on forums or on the main drivers pages, ALSA (PCI, PCI-E and USB) and FFADO (Firewire only). In particular the ALSA Matrix and the FFADO device support database are crucial, although they may not contain working devices in their listings. See also this thread on Linux Musicians for links to lists of user tested devices.

The JACK documentation is of course an important piece of documentation, but tutorials are probably more useful for beginners.

Open AV Productions hosts a short system tuning guide (link broken, I will keep an eye on it and adjust if the guide gets updated).

AutoStatic website is packed with good info and stuff. Have a look, especially if you are interested in Raspberry Pi.

Finally, although it doesn’t seem to be a very active blog, something interesting can be found at The Penguin Producer.

Distro Specific Resources:

This part has been briefly treated also in another post.

Fedora supplies an excellent Documentation for Musicians comprehensive of a detailed Musicians’ Guide (apparently this link is expired, it was outdated…). However, this documentation is getting really outdated (although much is probably still pretty applicable). Nowadays the best source of info and software is probably the Fedora Jam Spin and the relative documentation. Given the availability of the planet CCRMA repos Fedora offers a good Pro Audio support.

Arch Linux Wiki hosts a wonderful Pro Audio page that can be applied virtually to every Arch based distro (but, with minor changes, to also every other distro). This tutorial could be seen as its “walk-through” version (warning: it is starting getting old). Documentation and packages, most notably realtime kernels, can be also found at ArchAudio (unfortunately, the project appears not be active anymore).

Probably the worst documentation is the one provided by Ubuntu. It is not super bad, but it is not contained in one single place and often a lot of pages are outdated. Again, better to refer to the Ubuntu Studio derivative and relative documentation, but beware that often pages are really outdated (like this, last edited 2010) and the info hard to navigate (like this useful page unlinked by the main documentation). Probably more useful are the Forums, even if the Ubuntu Studio section has been closed. A new resource recently surfaced, an Ubuntu Studio manual that can be found here.

KXStudio is the Pro Audio treasure of the Debian based Linux lover, supplying a distro, repositories and documentation that can be enabled and used on every Debian based distro, comprising Ubuntu. The manual can be found here.  A very quick upgrade tutorial is also available on LinuxMusicians.

Audiophile Linux supplies a nice distro oriented towards Hi-Fi reproduction. Its documentation and articles contain very interesting and a bit unusual info regarding hardware quality and players setup.

The historical source of information for Gentoo Linux is the Pro Audio Overlay. However, new projects are tacking over, like Gentoo Studio and a new initiative to bring the most useful software directly in the main Gentoo portage tree.

AV Linux and its documentation are among the favorites of the Linux Pro Audio community. Have a look at the new User Manual, chances are it will be useful also outside AV Linux.

Debian can take advantage of the more general documentation above and the work of the DebianMultimedia team. Its Wiki will be useful as well. There is also deb-multimedia, but be aware that is not a recommended source of packages for Debian Stable (see here).

Finally, studioware and Slackermedia should be the main resources for Slackware Linux, while the Audio HOWTO for NixOS gives the support for this niche distro (the Audio HOWTO page expired, but most of the information it included and more can be found here).

This should be pretty much all. I will update if I find something else.


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