Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Audio Production

Effects And Other Tools

This page is dedicated to utilities that manage effects and essential apps that aid in the creation of music, such as metronomes and tuners.

JACK Rack (v. 1.4.7)

JACK Rack is a LADSPA effects rack for JACK--try saying that three times fast. This application comes pre-loaded with well over one hundred LADSPA effects plug-ins. Most effects have multiple sub-settings that can be locked or adjusted individually, producing a different final sound. Each combination of effects can be saved for later as rack configurations, and the individual effects in each configuration can be enabled or disabled from the rack.

Connecting JACK Rack somewhere between your input device or app and the final output applies the selected effects. We used the virtual keyboard in ZynAddSubFX as our input device and JACK Rack automatically makes output connection to the system playback in JACK Control.

The user interface is clean and easy to master, despite the great number of effects and combinations possible. Below the menu bar sits the main toolbar, which houses buttons to add plug-ins to your rack and manage rack configuration. The main work area is divided into sections for each plug-in, and expands to fit additional effects. All plug-in sub-settings have both sliders and text boxes to make adjustments.

Rakarrack (v. 0.5.8)

Rakarrack is a guitar effects processor application. This program automatically creates the appropriate JACK connections, however, it defaults to the mic for input. While listening to yourself talk and breathe with guitar effects is pretty awesome, it's not exactly the intended purpose of this app. Utilizing JACK, Rakarrack can be connected to ZynSubAddFX to use its virtual keyboard for a more useful software input.

The user interface attempts to mimic the layout of an effects pedal, with sliders galore. There is an absurd number of customizable effects to choose from. The list from official Web site is as follow: “Effects include compressor, expander, noise gate, graphic equalizer, parametric equalizer, exciter, shuffle, convolotron, valve, flanger, dual flange, chorus, musicaldelay, arpie, echo with reverse playback, musical delay, reverb, digital phaser, analogic phaser, synthfilter, varyband, ring, wah-wah, alien-wah, mutromojo, harmonizer, looper and four flexible distortion modules including sub-octave modulation, and dirty octave up."

Each effect can house its own number of sliders for sub-effect customization, which makes the number of combinations nearly endless. Thankfully, each sound only displays the pertinent effects so as not to overwhelm the user with unneeded or unutilized effect options. Rakarrack comes with 60 predefined sounds in the bank to choose from, and banks can be customized by the user.


GTick (v. 0.4.2)

GTick is a metronome application. There are settings for tap, speed, volume, and meter. Profiles allow multiple setting configurations to be saved.

GTick is a decent metronome application, though better (and certainly better looking) ones exist online as Web apps.

gtklick (v. 0.6.4)

gtklick is a gtk+ metronome application that requires JACK. Adjustable options include tempo, speed trainer, meter, and pattern. Multiple combinations of these settings can be saved as profiles.

Tempo is controlled via a slider, or text input box with up/down arrows for more precision. The speed trainer feature can be enabled to start at a certain tempo and increase in custom increments. Meter presets are even, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, or custom. Beat patterns are also customizable to the selected meter. While there is no pendulum swing or visual representation at all, gtklick is a great audio-only metronome.


LINGOT (v. 0.8.1)

LINGOT is an annoying recursive acronym standing for “LINGOT Is Not a Guitar-Only Tuner." Therefore, it is capable of tuning not just electric guitars, but also basses, violins, pianos, and more.

The user interface is reminiscent of those little hand-held analog guitar tuners with a needle indicating up to a -50% or +50% variance, with the proper tone in the middle. Next to the needle is a readout of the current tone, which is automatically detected. Underneath is a spectrum analyzer measuring decibel level and frequency. Audio capture can be done via ALSA, JACK, or OSS. LINGOT is a pretty nice little tuner that worked right away, though it defaults to the system capture (mic).

(v. 0.97.7)

FMIT stands for Free Music Instrument Tuner. This application works right out-of-the-box with the mic, but does include JACK support for linking to other apps.

When all views are enabled, FMIT includes a waveform viewer, note stability meter, error graph, volume graph, waveform graph, harmonics viewer, fourier transform, microtonal graph, and note statistics. Tuner frequency can be modified, input can be paused, and error logs can be kept. There is no menu bar in FMIT. Instead, the toolbar contains buttons to enable or disable the different views, as well as access the configuration window. FMIT is a simple to use tuner with a ton of statistical options.

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