I've wanted to write this article for quite a while. Over the years I've noted that Java-based music and sound applications have increased in number and quality, yet no comprehensive list or summaries have covered these advances. And so at long last I present this survey of music and sound applications that require Java. The presentation follows no particular order, but in this first part I'll begin by questioning the use of Java in sound and music applications development, followed by a brief look at Java's internal audio and MIDI capabilities.
Converting music file formats may not be your top priority. But consider this: What if you wanted to create a so-called 'car' CD - a disk with lots of good music for the road? Most likely your car music system will support only a limited number of formats. Or what if you wanted to pack your music onto a portable device that supports only certain file formats, like mp3?
EasyTag is a graphical utility to edit the descriptive ID3 tags for your music files. One will think primarily of MP3 files, but it also does other formats, such as Ogg, FLAC, MP4/AAC, MusePack, Monkey’s Audio files and WavPack files (APE tag).
Amarok, Rhythmbox and Banshee are a few of the popular music players in Linux. They are great in features and have received plenty of good reviews. But what is unknown to many is that there are a lot of other music players for Linux which are also great in features, but are hidden in some corners of the world.
Four years ago I wrote an article for the Linux Journal about my use of Linux software for music instruction. A lot has changed since then, so I thought I should update that article to reflect my current use of Linux in my work as a music teacher. I'll follow the presentation of materials as I organized it in the original article, but first I'll share some observations about the changing nature of my trade.
There are dozens of nice music players around, that’s for sure. You can choose between featur rich killer applications like Rhythmbox or Amarok, use old-school but up to date standards like XMMS or even a console classic like mp3blaster. Most of the standard players have in common, that the interface and the player itself are the same. That’s normal and therefore everything is fine. But maybe you are in a situation where you prefer playing music on a remote machine, only have a console or just don’t want your music player to stay open while playing. Huh?
I’ve been reading a lot of reviews recently about the upcoming Banshee 1.0. (Arstechnica and Linux Magazine, for example) It looks like it’s going to be an awesome release, but I wanted to see where it is now and compare that to Rhythmbox.
Sonata is a GTK+ music player, written in Python. Actually, it is an MPD client, which is it’s most important advantage. MPD is a daemon that plays your music at background (maybe on a different computer). It can use different front ends, you can use it even from command-line and it continues playing even if your client or X is crashes. Sonata takes advantage of MPD and serves it in a clean and user-friendly interface.
You can stream your music collection to the whole Internet from your favorite Linux distribution. Take some playlist files, add in the functionality of the Icecast server, and you have your own Web-based radio stream. Use it to listen to music remotely on your home machine, or tell your friends and become the next Internet radio phenomenon.
I absolutely love visualizations while listening to music, its unfortunate that Ubuntu does not currently have many presets, Fortunately here is a quick way to enjoy a few other visualizations in Ubuntu, personally I think these visualizations should have been installed by default with Rythmbox!
Today I finally replaced my out-of-date streaming music server with something a little more recent. I had long been using gnump3d, and even wrote up a tutorial on it some time ago. Development on the project has pretty much died off completely and even though it has worked great for nearly three years I felt it was time for a change.
Mplayer is one of most known movie players in Linux, and also in Mac OS, and Windows. To install it in Debian / Ubuntu run:
sudo aptitude install mplayer
Mplayer has lots of options, and we will explore some of them here, the files format it can play according to its official site are:
M-Audio has supplied hardware and software to computer-based musicians for 20 years. Its new "make-music-now" line of products, aimed at musicians just getting into computers or PC users with an interest in music, includes a microphone, speakers, drum machine, and DJ mixer deck. Unfortunately, its bundled software, called Session, is for Windows only. Our challenge was to try out this hardware -- specifically the KeyStudio MIDI keyboard and Fast Track audio interface -- with Linux applications. We were half successful.
A while ago I blogged about the long process of managing my music on my laptop (opensuse 10.3 with KDE). I’ve been able to trim it down a bit so I thought I’d post my findings in the hope that someone else saves some time and effort. My requirements are simple:
When you listen to digital music, your software or hardware player usually shows information about the current song, which it gets from MP3 tags or Ogg Vorbis comments. Most ripping software supports acquiring this metadata from the CDDB or FreeDB services based on a CD's disc ID. But you can also can fill in and edit metadata with tools such as EasyTag and Picard.
Amarok is a wonderful application for managing and playing your music collection, but the default settings aren't optimized for speed when it comes to large collections of music. The problems are especially noticeable while trying to use the search box.
This is a great time to be your own recording and sound engineer. There are all kinds of great digital recording gear, from tiny portable recorders to multi-channel mixer-recorders with CD burners, and Linux has a wealth of good-quality audio recording and editing programs.
As promised, the second part of this series presents still more commercially available music and sound software for Linux. Come see (and hear) what your money will buy...
There is an interesting class of programs: audioplayers. What we expected from them? Playing music. What is required for this? Codecs, simple interface, playlist, equalizer. May be themes and control from keyboard. Many things can be applied to it, but audioplayer must stay a-music-player. This is primary task for such kind of program, and afterwards - cataloguer, tag converter, music collection organizer and so on. For this, spartanians and ancient-lovers remembers and likes simple yet powerful XMMS.
"I can't live without my radio," LL Cool J once declaimed. Me, I can't live without my music library: there isn't a day that goes by when I don't have Miles Davis or Brian Eno (or, when I'm feeling more ruminative, Merzbow) on the speakers. To that end I tried out Songbird, a Mozilla-derive open source music player and web-sharing platform. In time it could be to WMP and even Winamp what Firefox is to IE -- but, again, in time.