Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reaper + Wine = easy audio editing on Ubuntu

I took a break today from playing with Linux on my Eee PC to play with Linux on my Toshiba A135-4527 laptop. I don't know if it was a recent Windows update or what, but for the past few days I've been getting horrible glitches whenever I try to play or record audio. At first I though Skype was the problem, so I downgraded Skype. But it turns out the errors are just as bad when I'm using my favorite audio editing software like Cool Edit or Reaper.

When I reinstalled Vista the other day, I made sure to set aside a partition for Linux, and so I went and reloaded Ubuntu. It's amazing how responsive and zippy it is
compared to Vista. If I didn't need certain Windows-only programs I'd seriously consider switching.

Anyway, I had a lot of audio recording and editing to do today and yesterday
. And while I really hate using Audacity for complicated editing tasks, the open source audio editor works as well as anything for recording tracks. So I loaded up Audacity, hit record, and went into my voice booth (err, closet). Everything worked perfectly, and I did some basic editing, saved my files to my Windows partition, rebooted, and did my editing in Windows while fighting with playback glitches.

And then I started to wonder. I know that Cool Edit and WINE don't play nice together. But what about Reaper? So after I finished my editing tasks, I booted Ubuntu again, installed WINE, and downloaded Reaper. And wouldn't you know it? It works like a charm.

I know Ardour is probably a better long term solution, because it's a digital au
dio workstation built for Linux. But I've had a pretty hard time in the past getting Jack configured. And Ubuntu just barely recognizes the sound drivers on my PC. So the fact that Reaper and WINE recognize my USB mixer makes me pretty giddy. And it also makes me one step closer to dropping Windows altogether. If I can just figure out how to synchronize my Windows Mobile 2003SE PDA with Sunbird, I think I'd be pretty much set.

Of course, if another Windows update make my audio drivers start working again I'll probably forget all about this.

Oh yeah, I tried loading Reaper on my Eee PC using WINE, and it didn't take quite as well. The application installed, and even seemed like it was going to run. But it froze on startup.

Update: I spoke too soon. It turns out Reaper does run on my Eee PC. It's a bit slow and glitchy when making recordings, but it seems up to basic editing tasks. The program is obviously meant for a larger screen, because there's no way to resize the mixer window, meaning you can only view one track at a time unless you just hide the mixer, which is what I've done below.

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