Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Prepare to jump to lightspeed

Disclaimer: I know nothing at all about how to program audio interfaces, but I seem to have been reading a bit about this topic in the last couple of days.

It started with this interesting piece on how development of Firewire drivers is going. I've not used any of these, but I did consider it as an option when I was buying an interface. I've heard that it matters what Firewire chipset you have. I just have what is on the motherboard and I only know that it works with my DV camera. This article has been discussed on the Linux Audio Users mailing list. I don't subscribe due to lack of time, but I check the archives now and again to see what is going on. Dave Phillips said it was on the list after I mentioned the article on Linux Musicians. It features people from the Ffado project who have tried to implement drivers for lots of interfaces, but have not had much help from some of the manufacturers. We have to accept that Linux audio is a very small market and they won't pay developers to work on it.

I also saw this piece on USB3. It's not Linux specific, but it seems there can be issues plugging USB2 devices into USB3 ports. I don't even have anything for USB3 yet. I'm not sure it's really needed for most audio work as USB2 seems to have ample bandwidth to handle many channels. Firewire was big on Apple machines, but even they are dropping it. Someone in the article actually says 'Firewire is dead'.

I also found this blog by a Canonical audio developer. It gives some insight into the sort of things they work on. I mainly work on Oracle database applications, which seem simple in comparison. When you are dealing with audio even the slightest timing glitch will be noticeable. I'd perhaps like to learn a bit about how DSP programming works some time.

On the home front, my next target is to install Ubuntu Studio plus KXStudio. I'll be dual booting with the existing Kubuntu installation as the family all use that. I want to try the newer audio applications, including those to store JACK configurations so I can easily start it up with the applications I want to use and just start recording. I especially want to try Guitarix. I keep hearing about the cool amplifier simulators on other platforms and want some of that action. I hope to get something set up over the next week or so.