Sunday, October 5, 2008
Reaper, Ardour, and digital audio editing on an Eee PC 1000H
One of the first things I tried when I got my first Eee PC 701 last year was installing some audio editing software. As a radio producer and tech journalist, I've been wanting to try the open source Ardour digital audio workstation for a while, but I've always run into hardware compatibility problems. I didn't really get Ardour to work well with the Eee PC, but the much more basic Audacity digital audio editing application worked perfectly. What's more, through the magic of WINE, I was able to get the Windows-only Reaper DAW up and running in a matter of minutes.
Fast forward nearly a year and I'm sitting here with an Eee PC 1000H in my hands. Audacity seemed to work out of the box, but Ardour was another story. I'm running Ubuntu on my Eee PC at the moment, so the easiest way to make sure all the proper packages were installed seemed to be to install the ubuntustudio-audio packages. Again, I wound up with glitchy audio playback. And when I went to uninstall ubuntustudio, I ran into all sorts of problems. Fortunately some kind Download Squad readers offered me a bit of advice that helped me get back the 600MB of disk space the packages had eaten up.
So I was back to square one. And I decided to give Reaper another try. This time I installed WINE, installed Reaper, and I was greeted by the same audio playback glitches I had been hearing in Ardour.
I did a little Googling and ran across one of the most useful tutorials ever written for someone looking to set up a digital audio workstation under Linux. Blogger Dave Hayes lays out step by step instructions for getting Reaper to work with WINE on Ubuntu Linux by using wineasio. Not only did this work, I found that Ardour worked perfectly after following his steps as well.
That probably has more to do with the fact that Hayes shared his JACK configuration settings than anything else. But as someone who's always only vaguely understood how JACK works, this was incredibly helpful.
So I now have two professional quality digital audio workstations working on my Eee PC 1000H. Honestly, Reaper seems like it's better suited to the Eee PC's small 10.2 inch display than Ardour. But both applications provide a ton of tools for recording and mixing music, podcasts, or radio news reports.