Please work!

Knowing from bitter experience that kit and systems can let you down when you most need them around 6:30pm I set about setting up my systems for recording. “Oh no?” no network on the Fedora box?

behringer-Q502Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know I’ve just taken ownership of a Behringer Q502 mixing desk. Last night , full of excitement,  I looked forward to recording episode 69 of The Dick Turpin Road Show.  I should point out that everything was fine with my Fedora 19 machine as I had spent the whole of the previous day doing test recordings.

Knowing from bitter experience that kit and systems can let you down when you most need them around 6:30pm I set about setting up my systems for recording. “Oh no?” the network is not working on the Fedora box? Now I know I could have restarted the network but hey, let’s do a reboot anyway. Still no network? OK, lets not faff about, I don’t really need Internet access on this machine as in this instance it’s just a large, if expensive, recording device. “Oh no?” I can’t mount /dev/sdb1? keeps moaning about FUSE? Did modprobe fuse, nothing? And this is where I save the recordings! Lets look in Settings. Hang on, it can’t see my network card, sound card or recording device? This is serious!

PartedMagicSo there I was boys and girls thinking “Looks like no recording tonight?” but hey, we tdtrs’ers are made of sterner stuff! I whipped out a Parted Magic Live CD to see if the hardware on my motherboard had failed. Nope, boots fine, I’m on the Internet and can play music. Parted Magic is pretty much a self-contained distro anyway with a browser, tools and most of the features you find on any basic Linux release. “Right lets download Ubuntu.” now that may surprise some people as I have been tagged as an Ubuntu hater, which is pretty unfair tbh. I don’t hate the distribution as such I just hate the cobblers that comes out of Canonical and the Ubuntu community about it. Anyway, I downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 to /dev/sdb1 (Which can be mounted I hasten to add) then used xfburn within Pmagic to burn the iso. Rebooted with the 12.04 Live CD so now we are running Ubuntu in memory.

Networking is OK as is sound and I can access /dev/sdb1 right lets install Audacity (To memory remember) Cool, Audacity sees the Q502 and is recording device. Changed the temp location for Audacity’s recording within preferences to /dev/sdb1 as it was using memory then Matt and I prayed that my 8GB of memory didn’t run out as we set about recording EP69

Suprised CatAll in all this proves the saying “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Hats off to Ubuntu for a reliable distro, for Live CD’s and Matt’s encouragement of “The show must go on!” Sadly as of this moment I have no idea how to fix my broken Fedora I may well have to do a fresh install of something? 🙁

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Tips for using a Samson CO1U USB Mic on Linux: Audacity

Samson-CO1U-USB-Microphone-
This is primarily focussed on the popular Samson C01U range, and is partly for Peter Cannon who I know has had some issues with this mic, but this might be useful for others as well. Firstly, there’s a need to unravel some of the mess in the various Linux audio systems and the associated apps. The hardware-level drivers for audio on Linux is ALSA, and every app that uses audio will use these either directly or indirectly. Unfortunately the support for ALSA isn’t always as complete as it should be. If we consider the popular cross-platform app Audacity.
This does work directly with ALSA, but the (badly named) “input volume” control doesn’t seem to work properly. Ideally this should control the input gain (correct term) of the audio input via the ALSA driver. It’s not the only app that has trouble with this it has to be said. The popular Pulseaudio sound server which is used as an audio abstraction layer on many modern desktop Linux distros, also doesn’t.The trick here is to use an app which controls the gain by talking directly to the ALSA driver.

C01UQasMixer

My favourite here is QasMixer (seen below).
With this you can select the specific mixer device (in my case I have selected “hw” which indicates to use the ALSA driver directly) and the specific card.You can also use the command-line tool alsamixer, but that’s a little unfriendly for many people. The nice thing about QasMixer is you can have it in a window alongside audacity. One small problem here is that if you click on the QasMixer window to drag the control, it moves the focus away from Audacity which then hides the meters. However, by hovering over the QasMixer control with the mouse cursor and using the mouse scroll wheel, you can can change the gain without actually clicking on the window to highlight it.
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