Looking for "e-Jay"-alike Software [Solved]

Fanboi

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After just wasting the whole of yesterday (and another couple of hours on the forums because I saw some topics that piqued me, my bad), I'm at a loss. Audio production seems to be divided into 2 categories:
1. High-end professional knock-offs
2. None at all
I kid ya not. Literally every program I've tried (that counts and works) is pretty professional. Lmms is like FL Studio and is for making music (once, long, long ago). Ardour is really OTT complicated and I get sound issues with it that I cannot be bothered trying to work around because I know it's my hardware and it'll take days (maybe code) to fix.
Basically I don't want high-end professional tools, I want a little kiddies' toy like eJay that "just works" because I'm going to use it once, just to make a parody of someone I know who's and asshat. I have voice samples, and sound samples, I just need a very basic mixing tool that's not much more advanced than Audacity.

Requirements:
- Simple UI. Just drag 'n drop samples onto track(s). Just import samples with File-->import. Etc.
- Can use ALSA without JACK and without breaking settings.
- On-the-fly timestretching would be good, but I can live without it.

Two requirements with a would-be-nice. Come on!
No: No erroneous closed-source binaries from unknown/small "developers", no adding repos, no flatpak, no snappy.
Okay: Appimages are acceptable if they're from a reputable source, source code that builds against my system, closed-source from large corporations or trusted individuals on trusted sites.
Ideal: Something already in Debian or Arch's repos, an Appimage of an OSS project not released on Debian or Arch by a trusted maintainer/developer.
 


Fanboi

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Qtractor?
It’s QT based sequencer.
There are a couple others, but I can’t think of them offhand!
Really nice lookin' piece of software, but it's more for MIDI sequencing, etc. What I'm looking for is a lot less professional. Literally a drag, drop, make-a-song-in-5-minutes software, lol. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion, it's always good to know what's out there all the same.
 

JasKinasis

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It’s not just MIDI though. You can use Qtractor for sequencing audio samples too!
Just bung your samples onto their own tracks and drag them where you want them in the timeline. You can use cut and paste to duplicate samples.

Otherwise you have classic soundtracker software like soundtracker:
http://www.soundtracker.org/
Where you have a number of channels, you load samples into each channel and then set which beats/sub-divisions to trigger the samples. E.g. hi hat on 16th notes, bass drum on 1,2,3,4. Snare on 2 and 4.
And then lob in some other samples to provide melody and bass etc.

Or perhaps something like Mixxx?! which is more for mixing songs together for parties/DJ sets.
https://mixxx.org/
 

Fanboi

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Thanks, I looked closer and I think Qtractor is what I was looking for. I didn't realise it could work so easily with samples.
That Mixxx software was interesting. I ended up pratting around with it for quite a while, just for fun XD
 

Fanboi

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Have a look at LMMS
I have already. Mentioned it in the OP. It's like FL Studio, which was too professional and complex. I last used it around 2010ish so I didn't want to relearn everything. Thanks anyways, though.
 

Fanboi

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So, I found another useful software, Muse, which compliments Qtractor nicely. I'll be marking this "solved" then.

Summary: If you want a simple e-Jay program just for a quick once-off job, Qtractor and/or Muse depending on your needs. Ensure you have JACK audio and load the jack modules into Pulseaudio if you use Pulse (you may feel a few ms latency, though, so you may have to use raw ALSA or a better soundcard -- my laptop's is better than my MSI X570 board's but that could be drivers, too).

Cheers for the help, guys.
 

JasKinasis

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A way to reduce audio latency is to install a real-time patched kernel. It should be possible to do that from the repos. Most distros package an RT version of the kernel, or an RT patch for their version of the kernel. That should drastically reduce the latency for audio applications. On my old laptop, I used Ardour with Jack and pulse and an RT patched kernel and got near zero audio latency.

When first installing Jack (or was it ardour?!), you usually get asked whether you’d like to install a real-time patch for the kernel!
 

JasKinasis

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I got so confused when 2.6 came out and the kernel then added the RT stack.

Does the new kernel still need to be patched for RT now? I haven't felt obligated to do so for quite a while now. My recordings come out okay.
Offhand, I honestly don't know.
All I do know is that without the RT patch on my old laptop, I used to experience a lot of latency. But it was only a low, to mid-level laptop anyway. But using the RT patch reduced the audio latency to almost nothing.

On a more powerful, modern system the latency might not be too bad and you might be able to forego the RT patch altogether. But there will probably still be some latency there. I guess it depends on your PC and what you're running on it.

If you're just running something simple like Qtractor, or Audacity - you probably won't need it. But if you're trying to run a full studio setup - with Ardour running through Jack, with Hydrogen for MIDI drums and a MIDI synth and Guitarix for guitar, plus a ton of JACK effects and other audio plugins, then the RT patch might make more sense to use!
 

Fanboi

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I got so confused when 2.6 came out and the kernel then added the RT stack.

Does the new kernel still need to be patched for RT now? I haven't felt obligated to do so for quite a while now. My recordings come out okay.
Just worth noting in addition to @JasKinasis answer is that firmware/drivers can play a huge role here. My intel 5200U 4GB laptop (has a standard kernel) handles audio better than my desktop (specs below in my shiny new not-too-professional sig).
Firstly, using Debian (and other more purist distros) the kernel is missing a lot of proprietary firmware in favour of FOSS/OSS equivalents (even non-free will prefer OSS drivers by default). Some of them don't play so well, and not just audio.
As everyone already knows, nVidia nouveau drivers aren't as good by leagues, especially video acceleration. Buuut, as a lot of people soon find out to their dismay (nVidia does not state this on the drivers page), nVidia's proprietary drivers do not work with an RT kernel (at least that I know). And what nVidia don't mention is their crappy drivers add latency, too! That's right, my VMs have shite sound ever since my "upgrade" to nVidia. And I've even found Windows people (who love nVidia) complain here.
Another configuration factor at play can be chipsets. A more powerful CPU is not necessarily better for audio. TBH, I hate saying it, but intel chips win here. IDK why. Maybe because until Zen2, intel were leagues ahead in single-thread performance and audio relies on this. Generally, intel still offer better single-thread performance with the exception of the Ryzen 5000s, which compete nicely with all but intel's high-end stuff.

Hardware is hardware, but often there are optimisations that Linux drivers can't take advantage of given our drivers. Meanwhile, we have outside drivers hindering us! So config is a big player, and because vendors seem hostile to Linux, we have our fair hardships.

I'll say that any single thread performance over about 1500 is good enough for sound, so long as you don't have any fcking nVidia in the machine (I'm saving for a 6600XT or going retro on a 470/570, then selling this cursed nVidia card).

Hope this post is useful info and not just added fluff.
 

KGIII

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If you're just running something simple like Qtractor, or Audacity - you probably won't need it.
I do pretty much everything in Audacity, and it works well enough.
 

Fanboi

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Audacity's great. Used to use it before I even started using Linux on my production machine. It has great filters and brilliant noise removal. Not to mention intuitive UI.
 
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