Linux music with Arturia (and other) hardware

It may help people not too familiar with making music in linux.

Hardware: scarlett 4i4; drumbrute impact; microfreak; keystep37; old yamaha cp-33 Stage Piano.

Software: QjackCtl; reaper 7.1; a2jmidid (for old controller like cp-33); Ubuntu 23.10 Mantic Minotaur. VSTs: Pianoteq 8 , Odin synth.

  1. Launch QjackCtl. See below.
  2. (Optional) With older controllers, launch “a2jmidid -e” if necessary in terminal. -e forces a2jmidid to bridge hardware ports as well as software ports else you have to do it manually.
  3. (Optional) In Reaper, with Scarlett 4i4, you must Preferences (ctl p) Audio > Device, you set Input channels from 2 to 4
  4. Connecting your controllers: Open the QjackCtl graph. You can connect color units with same color (eg. red with red). Connect the purple controllers on the left with purple “Midi Through Port0”. The red midi through port on the left for old controllers connect to a Midi input on the left.
  5. In Reaper, in Preferences> Midi Devices, you should see a2j midi devices.

You can now select in your tracks the Midi input the Midi Trough Ports (or a2j Midi Through if you used a2jmidid).
Remember, to push the track record button to hear midi input.

Caveat: with old Cp-33 (wonderful keybed!), I sometimes lose contact. I have to power down and up the Cp-33. I should add this applies to the USB link; the midi link may be more secure.

Short example: Reaper compressor and limiter


Hi @francoise and thanks for the post, I’m sure someone will find this useful in the not too distant future as I see more people daily interested in operating systems other than Windows or Mac OS.
Love the sound of that piano, VERY tasty :sunglasses:

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In the not too distant future :vulcan_salute: Where I come from, Mat, we now have three hands!
Always enjoy your sense of humor and humor in general. (“el humor” is Spanish!)
Pianoteq sounds great and is one of the few VSTs working well in linux.
Until Arturia makes linux compatible VSTs (in a distant future), their hardware works fine.

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Hey @francoise

No humour this time mate, as I said, I’m seeing and hearing more people in forums and in real life taking about or looking for non Windows or Mac OS options for many different reasons.
I’m coming into contact with an increasing number of people using DAWless setups too. I think for many of us old enough to remember life before even the humble old Atari ST, it’s a nice, if somewhat limited way of working, not too different to how we did it ‘back in the day’.
I still have my old Alesis MMT8 sequencer somewhere, I’ve been meaning to dig it out and hook up some of my hardware synths and drum machines through the mixer into a zoom recorder… Could be fun :sunglasses:

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My post was in reaction to another post from linux users asking for a linux version of the Arturia plugins; so as you say some people are looking for alternatives to Mac and Windows.
As for dawless setup, I play jazz dawless with 3 standalone plugins. But you probably mean dawless and pluginless like euroracks.

“A nice and limited way of working”, yes. 90’s house hits (like Voodoo Ray) were made with minimalist setups. The zoom recorder allusion gave me an idea for recording my dawless jazz sessions. I bought one when I was playing in a amateur jazz band.

“El humor” is in Spanish.

That’s pretty cool! It’s nice to sometimes go back to a minimal setup, personally i find it forces me to think about being more economical note wise as the MMT8 has a VERY limited memory compared to a DAW. It’s an interesting challenge from memory.
We used to use, let’s see if i can remember here lol, a Korg 01W/FD, Trinity +, M1, Casio Fz1 sampler, a Yamaha workstation(i cannot remember which one), Emu Vintage Keys and Orbit V1 and a couple of Alesis drum machines, SR16 and HR16b iirc.
Sequenced them from the MMT8, for recording, we used the Trinity sequencer live as it was quicker to load.
Actually, while typing this i’m starting to remember what a headache it could be at times :woozy_face: lol It WAS a lot of fun though.

Yes those little Zoom recorders are VERY handy, i wish we’d had those back in the day instead of messing about with DAT cassettes.

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You were seriously into music with this impressive list of music hardware. I had to search on the O1w, M1, Trinity, MMT8, emu? Orbit, etc. SR16 is familiar since I have a SR18.

In the 90’s, my best piece of equipment was an Ensoniq EPS16 (with a scusi drive!). My first synths were used Ensoniq (related to Emu). I remember using Voyetra as DAW, then Cubase 1. It was my main hobby then when not preparing and giving courses.

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That’s rather nice setup you had there yourself!
SCSI drives were incredibly expensive back then too, particularly when you consider just how far things have come with SSDs, massively increased speed and storage size.

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Yes, SSD size and speed have grown so much.
When you mentioned the Zoom, you solved a problem I had recording with standalone plugins like Analog Lab, Pigments or Pianoteq outside a DAW. I couldn’t find a way to easily record the output of Scarlett 4i4. Now I simply plug the Zoom H1 in the Scarlett headphone jack and it records in stereo. Problem solved!

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Nice one!
Fixed your problem without even being asked! :crazy_face:

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