I thought i'd give a heads up to the members and a big thank you to Tom Crowning.
I've been experimenting with a Linux/OSX program called Ardour.
It's an audio DAW at the moment, with Midi sequencing to come. As a GPL, it's also free, and can be got at from the www.ardour.org website, with source codes available for those who know their way around Linux, and Mac, from a terminal perspective.
Now the background.
I'm absolutely non existent when it comes to knowing Linux, and limited when it comes to terminal commands in OSX. (Even my DOS is meagre...)
So when i made enquiries about the possibilites in Linux, i was looking from the viewpoint of something with a interface prettier than mine, that was easy to use, and didn't require a degree in Quantum code building. (A wide scope then. )
Tom put me onto the program called Ardour, and i set to work, given my limited computer engineering and programming skills, learning a little about this program, and importantly, how easy it is for someone like me to use. I'm on Mac, and it's a laptop, so i didn't want to mess around with dualboot or anything like that, as i'm working, and well, if it ain't broke don't stuff it up, something i would most certainly do, without a lot of help.
After some fiddling around getting JACK installed, and an interface, (QJACKTL i think) so i could manipulate it, i opened Ardour and set up connections.
I have to say, it was easy.
Everything seems in the right place, and there's no hoops to jump through. You want to import a wave file, the directory comes up, and puts your file in a library. At any time you can call it up, as its in a window on the right, and you can SEE which files you have loaded and available. All of them. No going back and forth. Then there's the track window. You want an extra track, with a mono to stereo conversion going on while you input? Simple. Open a plugin in the mixer track, and it WORKS straight away. You want to change settings? Click on it. And it GOES AWAY when you've finished, and doesn't hang around occupying hectares of 'mac acres.' I know other programs do this stuff, but they often don't do it all at once, with the same pattern of operation throughout. After three hours of fiddling, i got to connect to the system, and everything got a lot easier after that.
There's a set of 4 types of plugins on the Ardour site. I think they're called LADSPA plugins, but if that's wrong, it's not far off. I downloaded them, and follwed the installation instructions carefully. Right first time, so if a dummy like me can do it, there's a bright outloook for others.
But when i opened a track in Ardour, and loaded a simple reverb plugin called freeverb,( and there are many to choose from), i was astonished at the warmth of the sound. I've had hardware and software (including the stuff in Logic at the mo) that didn't sound as nice. That warm, almost analog sound, that stirs memories of past glories.
And that's with a preset. I can only imagine what some you geniuses could do with the settings.
There's also a plugin called Jack VST. I haven't tried this yet, but if it works like the rest of the package, then i think it's entirely feasible to record VST in to Ardour. And with a patchbay like, Midi patchbay, I'm fairly confident it would be simple to connect programs together.
And the tools are there for decent audio editing, with a simple layout that's easy to use.
I'm still yet to figure out the related control surface coremidi stuff, but to be honest, it would be more worthwhile buying a cheap PC, installing Ardour with one of the main Linux distributions, and going clean from the start, something i may try later in the year.
I'm not an engineer, as i wrote, so anything that makes life easier is cool by me, and Ardour does. I wrote a short sequence in Logic, bounced to L and R, and then imported into Ardour. From start to finish it was half the time, and i felt a lot more confident with the result at an earlier stage.
This may seem cack handed to some of you, but the workflow has improved further, and with a lot less hassle. I've always struggled with Logic, more so than Cubase when i used that.
It's worth a look, takes little out of your system, and of course, if you install in Linux OS, you get native 64 bit. If you're on Mac, the CPU and RAM usage is admirable and certainly a lot less for the same process than Logic.
Putting aside the rhetoric of the program being free, built primarily for Linux and the general derision that tends to afflict that OS, and not yet Midi, Ardour was a surprise, and a pleasant one at that.
I know much needs to be done for Linux before people take it more seriously, but the progress seems steady and worthwhile. If there's any members associated with the development team, please give them my congratulations for a well laid out, functional program that actually works, easily, and without complaint. And i'll keep watching the site for the midi sequencing update. (Soon i hope.)
I'm likely to go Nuendo when Vista gets sorted out, but the pressure's off in terms of workload, thanks to this clever and well thought out program, which does what it says on the 'label' without a fuss.
I don't know if Ardour does Vid, but i'm sure one of the experts could provide more info on other aspects of this program.
So, thanks Tom, and others who gave helpful hints, and pointed out the options available.
It's a welcome change to load something, and not have to spend as much time developing workarounds.