Trying to make a live usb dedicated to audio

Forum Forums General Software Trying to make a live usb dedicated to audio

This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by eltuno Aug 21-10:02 am.

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  • #11793
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    eltuno

    Hi all

    I’m back to keyzness 🙂

    In this thread I’d like to share impressions about making me a live usb dedicated to audio/music.

    I thought this could be of interest for some of you too, well I hope so.

    What I’ll be using to start with is :

    * a 15GB 3.0 usb compatible usb stick, but limited to 2.0 by my laptop
    * the MX 17 july snapshot
    * a Zoom H2n recording device that can be plugged in as a new sound card or as a simple mic.

    and well my laptop of course and that’s it.

    I’ve chosen MX over antiX because I’m more comfortable with it but there shouldn’t be much difference, I guess, whatever your choice is.

    If you have comments or tips or questions, I’d love to hear about them.

    ***********

    What I’ve tried so far is playing with the io gnu linux distro, a live usb distro dedicated to multimedia – not just audio.

    It is based on debian just like MX/antiX and it’s quite big : more than 4GB, so not for the fat32 sticks, don’t make the same mistake I did. It has a RT (real time) option at startup for better latency and you can set your language and other stuff.

    Everything seems to work more or less out of the box, but the last release is quite old now (march 2017) so there’s a big load of updates to go through (more than 3000 actually !) if you want to stay up-to-date.

    However I’m not too much satisfied with it. Mainly because it uses a KDE desktop (with the lighter Enlightenment windows manager) which doesn’t seem to be the best choice for a live system. The other reason is it isn’t a real live OS. I mean you copy the iso to your usb, make a persistent partition, ok but just like you would with any other linux distro. So I think these are the 2 main reasons why I’m having xruns (cracks) when recording in Ardour. It’s too heavy and not optimized for live use whatever it claims.

    Right, so I thought MX/antiX should do the job better.

    So now I’m going to make that MX live usb with the live-usb-maker and start configuring. I’ll tell you more in the next message…

    #11795
    Forum Admin
    dolphin_oracle
    dolphin_oracle

    welcome!

    and welcome to the “most extensive live-USB on the planet!” (TM)

    feel free to throw out any questions!

    #11800
    Member
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    eltuno

    Hi dolphin, thanks 🙂

    So first step is done : I’ve installed MX on my key with options encrypted and persist-root, and a 5GiB rootfs.

    So here come the first questions about what’s going on in the backgound.

    First : correct if I’m wrong, persist-root is one of the options you call “to-ram”, that are best suited for laptops equipped with 1.0 and 2.0 usb while persist-static is fast and comfortable with usb 3.

    I’d like to know what’s the main difference between these options. What is going “to ram” with persist-root that isn’t with static ?

    Should antiX or MX users choose a “to ram” option anyway, for faster data read/write ? I believe this can be of importance about xruns triggering or not. But a heavy-loaded ram also makes the system slow down, so I can’t decide what’s better. I know you’re not all specialists of audio optimization but that’s one of the things I’m wondering about.

    Then about encryption : I don’t feel like it’s slowing down anything but maybe it is in a way ?

    ~~~~~

    Now another important step is choosing the right kernel.

    As a MX user my options are :
    * I can pick the Liquorix kernel from the MX package installer as it’s supposed to be configured for multimedia (low-latency)
    * download one of the too many Real Time kernels available from synaptics (type “-rt-” in search)
    * stick with the default kernel and try to tweak it
    * (my fave option 🙂 ) do nothing

    I’ve seen all of these options suggested in a tutorial about linux audio.

    Is the default kernel able of low latency out of the box ? I haven’t tested it so far so I can’t tell.

    I must install some basic audio apps first : Jack, audacity, ardour … that’s what I’ll do next.

    ~~~~~

    I must install a browser to replace Firefox cause it’s taking to much ram. I like to save pages in mht format so I should find another lightweight browser that will open them, not sure if that exists though …

    OK much work ahead folks !

    Stay tuned 🙂

    #11802
    Forum Admin
    dolphin_oracle
    dolphin_oracle

    the basic persistence differences:

    1. the non-static versions load the rootfs persistence file into ram at boot. this is faster in operation at the tradeoff of a minor hit at boot time and shutdown.
    2. with rootfs in ram, the changes during a session (like installing packages) are sync’d back to the rootfs at the end of the session in automatic or semi-auto mode.
    3. there is also a manual save mode
    4. while having the rootfs persistence file loading into ram is faster in operation, you do have to have the ram to support it.

    5. static versions run with the rootfs mounted off the usb stick.
    6. changes to the root file system (like installing packages) are recorded as the happen, just like a standard installed partition.
    7. since the root filesystem is not loaded into ram, static modes can be friendlier for ram-strapped machines.

    8. “to ram” boot option actually loads the linuxfs file into ram. this is the basic file system supplied by either the released isos or by a remastered or snapshot system.
    9. to fully load a root filesystem into ram, you need to use the non-static persistence options plus “toram”.

    10. the homefs persistence file, if created, is always mounted statically.

    11. the remaster system can combine the rootfs peristence file back into the linuxfs base file, creating a new linuxfs file. this is especially usefull after an initial flurry of installing packages and updates, as you get to make a new blank rootfs filesystem after that.

    12. I’ve heard the default kernels aren’t too bad these days in terms of latency. you can use live-kernel-updater to update your live usb to another kernel if you wish. I’ve got antiX videos on this, and its identical on MX.

    #11804
    Member
    azrielle
    azrielle

    What I’ve tried so far is playing with the io gnu linux distro, a live usb distro dedicated to multimedia – not just audio.

    It is based on debian just like MX/antiX and it’s quite big : more than 4GB, so not for the fat32 sticks, don’t make the same mistake I did. It has a RT (real time) option at startup for better latency and you can set your language and other stuff.

    Everything seems to work more or less out of the box, but the last release is quite old now (march 2017) so there’s a big load of updates to go through (more than 3000 actually !) if you want to stay up-to-date.

    However I’m not too much satisfied with it. Mainly because it uses a KDE desktop

    Might give ParrotOS Studio Edition a look-see, which uses the Mate DE; about 2.7GB, and it IS up-to-date. The download link location is less than intuitive, so I am including it here:
    Parrot Home 4.1

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by azrielle.
    Lenovo T430 i5/3220M 8GB 14.1" MX17.1/AntiX 17.1 Fluxbox/Win7SP1 180GB SSD+128GB mSATA
    Lenovo X230 i7/3520M 12GB 12.5" MX17.1/Win7SP1 500GB SSD
    Lenovo X131e i3/3227u 8GB 11.6" MX17.1/AntiX 17.1 Fluxbox/Win7SP1 500GB SSD
    #11816
    Moderator
    fatmac
    fatmac

    I’d start with AntiX Base, add what you want, then remaster it as an installable distro, then create your persistence version.

    I do recording of my playing, & then post online. I use a USB mic, recording into Audacity, & use Openshot to create a ‘video’, just sound & some pictures, (it uploads quicker than a real video). 🙂

    Linux (& BSD) since 1999

    #11829
    Member
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    eltuno

    That was a clear and detailed reply dolphin, nice ! I wasn’t hoping so much. I’m a daily MX user so I understand most of it, but on a more intuitive level.
    For my new live usb I had to do a remaster just after the first dist-upagrade. It was only 100 MB but the persistence file raised to 900MB right away, don’t know why.

    To azrielle :
    I hadn’t heard about the Parrot distro, debian-based too… certainly worth testing for multimedia.

    To fatmac :
    Nice to know someone is making music with antiX too 🙂

    ~~~~~~

    OK ! so… I have made some homework about linux audio, reading stuff ardour-related, tryin to understand what’s behind the words xruns and latency actually, to better handle them. And then installed the first basic stuff of “home studio” (yeah I wouldn’t call it a home nor a studio). Everything went easier than I thought, really no hassle except for that ardour plugin called Linuxsampler. Anyway I’ll tell you later maybe.

    I can tell you that there’s no comparison with what I’ve experienced with IO gnu linux. I haven’t heard a single crackle so far, everything’s light and smooth 🙂 Though my laptop ain’t that great : I bought it back in 2011 and it’s made for office, with 3GB ram and 2Ghz cpu.

    About latency, you should know that part of it is controlled by the sound server, jack. The rest is a just a delay coming from your hardware and from how the kernel treats audio in respect to other tasks (priority).

    So well I have tested different jack settings and when I have reached a 10ms latency I stopped tryin to go lower because you’d hardly hear the difference, it feels like you’re playing your guitar through an amplifier. Compared to the other distro where I had both the echo and the xruns…

    So that’s what you get with better software people! no need for real-time kernels or anything. Antix/MX makes it all too simple.

    I must say my setup is very simple yet, just basic recording. I still have to test virtual instruments and midi for instance.

    I’ll try to put some samples of my recordings in next post to show u the difference.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by eltuno.
    #11834
    Member
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    eltuno

    Hi

    Another general question about the OS.

    I’d like to know if there’s an easy way to install MX’s desktop in antiX.

    So as to get the lightness of antiX with the usability of MX desktop.

    By the way, do you know the difference in size of the linuxfs file for a fresh live antiX compared to MX ?

    thx

    #11867
    Member
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    eltuno

    OK I’ll be answering my own posts from now on, got it!

    You can install a full desktop in antiX from antiX-net or antiX-core, as shown by this video from 2014 (xfce) or mate as shown by this other vid.
    But that supposes some command line action, so not for the noobies.

    Personally I’ll just stick to my MX17 live, only removing LibreOffice as I won’t need it.

    Linuxfs files in released ISOs define the size of the ISO pretty much, so approx. 800 megs for antiX and 1.3 GB for MX.

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