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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

PC & MOBILE LIFESTYLE HARDWARE

LINUX , ANDROID

Create Your Own Android PC


With Phoenix OS
By Kannon Yamada / February 8, 2018 08-02-2018 / 9 minutes

Kannon Yamada
301 articles

Kannon is a Tech Journalist (BA)


with a background in international
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affairs (MA) with an emphasis on
Advertisement economic development and
international trade. His passions are
in China-sourced gadgets,
information technologies (like RSS),
and productivity tips and tricks.

Want to make an Android PC? It’s easy. Phoenix OS, based on the Android-
x86 project, can install Android on a desktop (or laptop). On the downside, it
won’t run the full version of Chrome browser (Chrome is really fast). This is,
after all, a mobile operating system.

3 Ways You Can Use Android as a Desktop


Operating System
It's actually pretty easy to use Android as your desktop operating
system once you know how.

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Here’s how to get started.

Warning: The instructions in this guide will OVERWRITE your hard drive. While
Phoenix OS can install in a dual-boot con guration, I don’t recommend it
because dual-booting can cause problems with both operating systems.

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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

Latest Giveaways!
Reolink Argus Pro is a
100% Wireless Security
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Android PC Using Phoenix OS Cut, Burn, and Melt All


the Things With This
Phoenix OS looks and feels a lot like the now unsupported Remix OS. It’s Insane Dobot Mooz
Machine (Giveaway!)
GPL-2.0 compliant and installs on many different kinds of x86-based
hardware. (If you can install Linux on a speci c computer, you can probably
Forget Philips Ambilight:
install Phoenix OS.) iHoment Retrofit TV
Backlight Does The Job
For $60
A Real, Android-Based Alternative to Windows:
Remix OS 2.0
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Phoenix OS also includes improvements to Android, such as automatically


preventing apps from running in the background. In addition to speed, the OS
also receives regular updates. These features have contributed to its recent
increase in popularity. A few China-only hardware companies will release
tablets and miniPCs with Phoenix OS as its primary operating system — for
example, the Pipo P10 2-in-1 tablet.

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Not all hardware is (fully) compatible with Phoenix OS. In many ways, it suffers
9 Reasons Why the
from the same weakness and shortcomings as Linux: namely that it won’t Essential Phone Is My
work with all hardware. And even when it does work, it will lack certain Favorite Phone Yet
features, like audio through an HDMI connection.

As an aside, you can test Phoenix OS out from within a virtual machine, such
as VMware or VirtualBox. The Phoenix OS images for both are found over at
OSBoxes.org.

Requirements for Installing Phoenix OS


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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

Phoenix OS Hardware Requirements

Phoenix OS only requires an Intel or AMD x86 processor (Intel Atom


recommended) and internal storage with at least 2GB of space. I recommend
using at least 16GB drives. In order to install Phoenix OS, you will need a USB
drive with at least 8GB of storage.

Requirements:

2GB storage drive

Intel or AMD processor made around 2012 or later, preferably an Intel


Atom processor Latest Free PDFs
An 8GB or larger USB ash drive (for Phoenix OS)

A 512MB or larger USB ash drive (for GParted)

A separate computer in order to prepare the USB ash drives

UEFI or BIOS Motherboards?

Older computers (2010 or older) mostly use Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)
as a Power On Self Test (POST) environment. So, what does that mean?

A BIOS allows computers to start without an operating system. Newer


computers replace BIOS with something called a Uni ed Extensible Latest Deals
Firmware Interface (UEFI), which is more robust compared to the older
SERPstash $500
scheme. Unfortunately, Phoenix OS doesn’t play nice with UEFI systems. And Premium: $29
that requires con guring your UEFI to work with a non-Windows operating Lifetime
system (see step three below.) Subscription

Pay What You $2891


What Is UEFI And How Does It Keep You More Want: The $1
Secure? Complete Cyber
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The Pay What You $1368


Want: Project $1
Management
Phoenix OS Installation Instructions
The Complete $4329
Step 1: Download Phoenix OS 2018 CompTIA $59
Certification
The Phoenix OS installation package includes both 32-bit and 64-bit
compatibility. That means you can install the operating system on older or
newer hardware. Note, though, that the instructions in this guide rely on Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we
downloading the ISO image, not the executable. recommend, you help keep the lights on at
MakeUseOf. Read more.

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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

Download: Phoenix OS

Step 2: Image Phoenix OS to USB Flash Drive

Once you’ve downloaded the Phoenix OS package, you need to image it onto
a bootable USB drive using Rufus. Alternatively, you can use UNetbootin, but
it can cause unpredictable behavior during the installation process.

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Download: Rufus Portable

Next, run Rufus to image your downloaded copy of Phoenix OS to a USB drive.
The USB drive must offer at least 8GB of storage.

___

4 Reasons you n… How to write a p… Fret Ze


Now playing

Take note of the following: First, select your USB drive. Second, you can use
GUID Partition Table (GPT), but I had zero success with it. Choose Master
Boot Record (MBR) instead of GPT. Third, choose FAT32 for the le system.
Fourth, make sure you’ve checked the boxes for Quick format and Create a
bootable image using.

The rest of the defaults here should work.

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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

1 Select your USB ash drive.


2 Under Partition scheme and target system type, choose MBR.
3 Check the boxes for Quick format and Create a bootable disk using (and
choose Phoenix OS from wherever you downloaded the .ISO le).

4 The other defaults should work ne. Choose start.

Step 3: Configure Your BIOS/UEFI

Con guring the BIOS/UEFI (BIOS explained) is the hardest step. You’ll also
nee to know how to enter your computer’s BIOS. Motherboard
manufacturers do not use a common language for their BIOS settings. For
example, you will need to turn something called Legacy Mode on.

The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory,


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and passes control over to the boot...

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Unfortunately, different board manufacturers may use different language to


describe this feature. Additionally, you may need to disable Windows-speci c
features. In your POST environment, some manufacturers refer to it as
Windows 7 mode. Others called it Windows 7 or Other Operating System
Mode. And there are other variations, as well.
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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

You will also want to turn off any Fast Boot and Secure Boot options. Fast
Boot and Secure Boot are designed for Windows computers — Phoenix OS is
Linux-based so there’s no reason to leave them on.

1 Turn Legacy Mode on, if possible.


2 Choose Windows 7 mode or Linux mode, if possible.
3 Turn off Fast Boot and Secure Boot, if possible.

Step 4: Prepare Your Target Drive for Installation


(Optional)

Why is this step optional? The only reason you need this step is to change the
boot drive’s partition table from GPT to MBR. Many older drives come with
MBR as its partition table as default. If you already know whether or not the
drive is MBR, skip this step. I should also note that GPT sometimes works with
Phoenix OS. In my experience, though, it does not.

Download GParted for this step. GParted is a partitioning utility. Among its
many features, it can prepare a storage drive for receiving an installation of an
operating system. The speci c function that you need is to format the storage
drive’s partition as MBR.

GParted - The Ultimate In Partitioning So ware


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Download: GParted Live USB

To format a disk as MBR, simply image GParted onto a USB drive and boot
your computer with the USB Flash drive inserted. The steps after GParted
boots are simple: choose the default options (just hit enter when prompted).

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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

I won’t get into lavish detail here, but you will need to remove the current
partitions on your disk and create a Microsoft DOS partition table on the disk.
To do so, choose Device and then Create Partition Table from the context
menu.

Finally, at Select new partition table type prompt, choose msdos. Then hit
Apply.

That should write the new partition table to the disk. You can now exit this
program.

Step 5: Prepare Your Computer for Phoenix OS

The installation process is straightforward. First, insert the installation USB


drive into your computer and boot from the drive. Remember: the installation
process outlined here is destructive.

You should see a menu that looks like this:

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Choose Installation. From the next menu, select Create/Modify partitions.


Optionally, if you just want to see if Phoenix OS works on your system, choose
Live CD. If it boots, congratulations, your system is compatible!

You may receive the prompt Do you want to use GPT? Choose No. As
discussed earlier, using GPT is a disaster on Phoenix OS.

The following window looks like this:

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In this menu, you must use the left and right directional keys for navigation.

First, hit the right key to select New and then hit enter, which creates an entry
called sda1. Second, choose Primary and use the default drive size (which
should be the entirety of your drive). Then, third, choose Bootable as the last
option. Be careful that you don’t accidentally remove the Boot ag by pressing
enter more than once.

Select Write to commit the changes to your drive. However, just before
writing the changes, you’ll receive a prompt asking: Are you sure you want to
write the partition table to disk?

You must manually type in the word yes and hit enter. Then the format tool
writes the tables to disk. After it writes, choose Quit. This returns you to the
Phoenix OS partition selection menu.

Step 6: Install Phoenix OS to the Target Drive

Choose sda1 and hit Enter.

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From the Choose lesystem menu, select ext4 as the lesystem.

The installer will ask for con rmation (this step will create an ext4 partition,
which wipes out the previous data on your drive). Choose Yes.

It may ask if you want to install an EFI GRUB2. Considering that your disk
should be formatted as GPT, you will select Skip.

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It will then ask: Do you want to install boot loader GRUB? Choose Yes. You’re
pretty much done at this point. After it nishes installing, you’ll see the
following menu:

You can select either Run Phoenix OS or Reboot. If you choose to Reboot,
remember to remove your installation USB drive from the computer.

Using Phoenix OS as an Android PC

Phoenix OS Is Nougat + Windows

Phoenix OS looks like Android Nougat but with a desktop interface. Most
apps open in windows, meaning they don’t occupy the entirety of the screen.

7 Reasons You'll Want to Upgrade to Android


Nougat
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Like a desktop, Phoenix OS also includes such features as “snap”, where you
can shift a window to the left or right half of the screen. This may not last,
though, as Remix OS (how to install Remix OS) offered the same feature and
removed it later on. I’m not sure why, but copyright may be the culprit.

The snap feature allows for Android to function in dual-window mode. To


illustrate, opening an app and holding the Windows key (or command key) and
hitting either the left or right directional key will cause the app to resize and
change position. Below is a screenshot of Phoenix OS’s dual-window mode in
action. It’s handy for writing papers and more.

Phoenix OS Limitations

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A lot of games won’t play correctly using a mouse and keyboard interface.
And on top of that, there are a few features that need polish. For example, if
you want to highlight large swathes of text, you have to click, hold, and then
manually select the text you want. It’s three times as time-consuming
compared to a Windows or Mac computer.

Even though Phoenix OS’s developers designed the operating system to work
on Atom-based systems (best Linux distributions for Atom processors), it
will still install on most newer computers. I should note, though, that most
computers will boot, but they won’t work properly with Phoenix OS installed.
For example, HDMI audio rarely works.

5 Lightweight Linux Distros Ideal for an Intel


Atom Processor PC
Don't let your Atom-powered netbook or low-specced laptop
gather dust in a closet -- install a lightweight Linux distro and start
enjoying mobile computing once again!

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Should You Install Phoenix OS?


If you have a computer with an Atom-based processor, like a netbook, it’s
worth trying out. Phoenix OS has two big advantages: rst, it’s fast. Second, it
gives you access to the Android app library.

The issue with Phoenix OS is that it doesn’t work on every computer the way
Windows does. So a lot of people will install it thinking it can make older
hardware faster. It can, but rarely does it work without problems.

Do you love using Android on a computer? Let us know in the comments.

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Scroll down for the next article

The Best Free Linux Music


Production Apps for Beats,
Loops, Recordings
By Tim Brookes / Updated September 7, 2018 07-09-2018 / 10 minutes

Tim Brookes
943 articles

Tim is a senior writer for MakeUseOf

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who can currently be found living in
Melbourne, Australia. You can nd him

Some people believe that you need the latest MacBook Pro and a suite of on Twitter at @timbrookes.

pricey commercial software to make music, but even on macOS there’s


plenty of free software for making music too. Money can’t buy talent, and
talented individuals can often make great use of free tools.

Sure, dropping a couple of thousand on a high-end synth engine or


workstation might make life easier, but it’s not a pre-requisite when you
can use free music production software instead. Linux is home to some
very powerful and exible music production applications for beginners to
professionals.

Let’s take a look at the best free music making applications for Linux
musicians!

Linux Digital Audio Workstations

Ardour

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Ardour is probably the best free digital audio workstation (DAW) available
for Linux. It’s a complete set of tools for home recording and bedroom
production, whether you’re recording directly from microphones, using
MIDI controllers such as these, relying on plugins for synthesis, or a
combination of all three.

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and a few buttons.

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Not only can you record and edit waveform audio, you can arrange audio
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audio sequencer. There’s support for AudioUnit (AU), LV2, LinuxVST, and Reolink Argus Pro is a
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hardware controllers, video support for soundtrack creation, in-depth Charging
routing thanks to JACK, and comprehensive export options.
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Put in the time to master Ardour and you’ll be amazed what you can
achieve for free.

Download: Ardour

LMMS

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Previously known as Linux Multimedia Studio, LMMS is now a cross-
platform project with Windows and macOS versions too. While LMMS How to Remove the Vocals
From Any Song Using
lacks some of the features seen in Ardour, it’s still a powerful suite of audio
Audacity
tools for home recording and production.

LMMS comes with 19 built-in software instruments including synths and


drum machines, more than 1000 samples, support for MIDI instruments
and hardware interfaces, and an intuitive interface. The multi-track
sequencer makes it easy to work with VST instruments, samples, and MIDI
sources and there’s enough included to let make music right out of the box.

It’s perfect for newcomers since it lacks some of the complexities seen
elsewhere, and it’s a lot of fun to play around with.

Download: LMMS

Tracktion T7
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Tracktion T7 has no stripped-down free version, though it is a feature-
restricted version of Tracktion’s Waveform 9 and 8 DAWs. It’s a cross-
platform workstation with support for 64-bit versions of Linux, and
unlimited audio and MIDI tracks.

There’s a full range of MIDI tools at your disposal, including automation,


MIDI learn functionality for external controllers, and a simple MIDI editor

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17/9/2018 Create Your Own Android PC With Phoenix OS

too. The professional time-stretch feature makes working with samples a The Lifetime MBA $1622
breeze, and there’s extensive support for software instruments and plugins Bootcamp $29
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in VST, AU, and LinuxVST format.

Tracktion is worth a look at the unbeatable price of $0, though familiarize


yourself with its limitations before you dive too deep. ProtonVPN Plus $240
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Qtractor

Another solid choice for home studios and bedroom production is


Qtractor, a Qt C++ app developed from the ground-up for Linux. It’s a multi-
track audio sequencer and recorder that uses JACK for audio, and also
supports MIDI via ALSA for non-linear audio editing.

Like Ardour it features an unlimited number of tracks per session, as well


as its own mixer and monitoring controls. It also has a simpler interface
than Ardour, which may be less intimidating for complete newbies. Plugin
support includes VSTi, LV2, DSSI and LADSPA, and there’s a robust set of
MIDI tools for sending and receiving instructions to and from hardware
instruments.

It’s another great place to start, though you’d best read up on the Qtractor
documentation for best results.

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Download: Qtractor

MusE

MusE is an even simpler multi-track audio and MIDI sequencer, complete


with realtime recording and playback, automation, and an easy to grasp
drag and drop interface. Edit MIDI parts via the piano roll, drum editor, and
score editor; and host software plugins in DSSI, VSTi, LV2, and SoundFont
format.

The interface is a bit old-hat, but don’t let that put you off. MusE covers
most of the basics without bogging you down with features you don’t need
or aren’t ready for. You can use it with JACK to control (or be controlled by)
multiple applications, so it might be a nice supplement to your existing
work ow.

Download: MusE

Rosegarden

Rosegarden is a sequencer with a difference. It’s heavily weighted toward


MIDI editing, with a particular focus on musical notation. If you know how
to read music, and you’re looking for intuitive ways to write and edit MIDI
instructions then Rosegarden should be high on your list.

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You could use it to write and proof your compositions, then print them out
to use as regular sheet music. There’s also support for recording, mixing
and triggering samples; as well as hosting synth plugins in the DSSI format.
It should be said there are more robust tools for this if that’s your primary
focus though (check out a few of the entries above).

Download: Rosegarden

Instruments, Plugins, and Synthesis

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a free, open source drum machine for Linux, Windows, and
macOS. It’s a pattern-based sequencer focused entirely on triggering
samples, of which there’s a healthy library of sounds included in the FLAC
compressed format. You can also import your own samples, and edit them
in-app.

What makes Hydrogen so powerful is the ability to have an unlimited


number of instrument tracks and patterns, with individual volume, panning,
muting and solo capabilities. You get time-stretching and pitch shifting,
support for MIDI control and MIDI learn, multiple layers for each
instrument (up to 16 samples) and JACK, ALSA, PortAudio and OSS drivers.

There’s also a robust mixer, with support for effects using LADSPA plugins.
It’s a beast, but is best used alongside another DAW or sequencer via JACK
for best results.

Download: Hydrogen

Guitarix

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If you know how to play guitar, you’ll love Guitarix. It’s a Linux-only virtual
guitar ampli er for use with JACK. It runs as a separate standalone
program, and isn’t available as a plugin (though it can make use of LADSPA
and LV2 plugins for even more guitar processing fun). The app takes a
guitar’s mono signal via a sound card, processes it, and allows you to route
it to your speakers or into an app of your choice.

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It’s the processor of choice for Linux guitarists using DAWs like Ardour to
create nished productions. Guitarix includes more than 25 different built
in modules to create truly unique riffs and melodies, including reverb,
phasers, auto-wah, angers, overdrive, fuzz and more. Developers promise
a latency of around 10ms on a properly set-up system.

For best results, pair Guitarix with a low-latency Linux kernel or audio-
focused distribution like AVLinux.

Download: Guitarix

LinuxSampler (QSampler, Fantasia)

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LinuxSampler is a highly stable and low-latency modular sampler for


triggering samples. In its barebones form, LinuxSampler lacks a graphical
user interface (GUI) but you can download the Qt-based QSampler or Java-
based Fantasia (screenshot above) front-ends for controlling the app.

Linux users can host VSTi, DSSI, and LV2 plugin versions of LinuxSampler
in their favorite DAW, receive MIDI input from ALSA, JACK and MidiShare
sources, and send audio to ALSA or JACK for use alongside other audio
software.

Download: LinuxSampler

FluidSynth (Qsynth)

FluidSynth is a SoundFont 2-compatible real-time software synthesizer,


and Qsynth is a GUI front-end that allows you to control it from a Qt-based
interface. FluidSynth has found its way into many modern applications
including LMMS, MusE, and VLC among others.

The synthesizer requires the use of SoundFont les, which are sample-
based instrument sounds found on websites like Hammersound. Combine

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the Qsynth with SoundFont les, JACK, and your choice of DAW to vastly
expand your instrument options.

Download: Qsynth | FluidSynth

amSynth

amSynth is an analogue modelling synth designed to emulate classic


analogue synths like the Minimoog. It’s a polyphonic synthesizer available
in VST, LV2, DSSI, JACK, ALSA, and OSS formats for Linux (and also as an
AU for macOS).

The plugin includes dual oscillators, monophonic, polyphonic, and legato


keyboard modes, dual envelope generators and LFO modulation on the
oscillators, lter, and amplitude. There’s also distortion and reverb for
creating even more wacky sounds. You will need a DAW or sequencer that
can host the plugin to make any use of it.

Download: amSynth

TerminatorX

TerminatorX is a unique app that allows you to scratch audio les just like
you would on a real turntable. It’s a standalone piece of software rather

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than a plugin, with multiple turntables, real-time effects (and LADSPA


plugin support), sequencer, and MIDI support.

0:00 / 0:00

You can use JACK to route audio to other apps, so you can record
scratches for use in production or even perform real-time. Control is done
using the mouse, but there’s also support for MIDI instruments and a
number of dedicated fans who have built their own virtual turnable
interfaces.

Download: terminatorX

Bristol Audio Synthesis

Bristol Audio Synthesis is a synth emulation package that emulates some


of the most famous digital instruments of all time. These include Moog
synths like the Voyager, minimoog, and Sonic-6; ARP’s Odyssey, Roland’s
Juno-6, the KORG MS-20 and Polysix, Yamaha DX, and the Commodore 64
SID chip.

The package works as a standalone app with both JACK and MIDI support
for routing to other apps and control via hardware interface. There’s no
Windows or Mac version and even getting it working on BSD will prove
quite a challenge.

Download: Bristol Audio Synthesis

Linux Audio Editors and Other Tools

Audacity

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Audacity is the cross-platform multi-track audio editor that everyone


loves. And that’s because it’s one of the most simple yet essential tools to
have at your disposal. Whether you’re just looking to trim a sample down to
size, apply compression, or remove ambient noise from a track, Audacity
can do it all.

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Audio Files Using Audacity
It's really simple to remove ambient noise in Audacity. It'll give
you recordings a much more professional feel. Read on to nd
out how...

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Among the standout features are simple audio recording from multiple
sources, post-processing and mixing of audio (in some cases whole
albums), and support for LADSPA and VST plugin hosting. Check out our
tips for getting the most out of Audacity.

Download: Audacity

Cecilia

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Cecilia is a powerful audio signal processor that lets sound designers


create custom interfaces. It’s an advanced tool with which you can achieve
some spectacular results if you know what you’re doing. The app is cross-
platform, with an extensive user manual aimed at bringing newcomers up
to speed.

Not only can you apply effects to existing audio, but Cecilia is also capable
of sound synthesis. This includes time-stretching, delay, reverb, and
particle generators. Check out the rest of AJAX Sound Studio’s tools
including modular synth Zyne and granular synth engine Soundgrain.

Download: Cecilia

JACK

JACK is intermediary software that allows many of the apps listed here to
communicate with each other. It facilitates the processing of audio with
effects, recording into a DAW, and even live performance. Some of these
apps (like Ardour) will install JACK for you, while others may not, so you
might want to download it yourself.

Either way it’s an essential tool for anyone thinking of using Linux for audio
production.

Download: JACK

Cadence

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Cadence is a set of tools aimed at producing audio. It includes simple


additions like the JackMeter for monitoring peaking, to a capture tool for
rendering audio through JACK called (unsurprisingly) Render. Other tools
include Catia, a patching app for linking JACK sources, and audio plugin
host Carlia for running LADSPA, DSSI, LV2, VST2/3 and AU plugins on
Linux.

Download: Cadence

Start Making Music on Linux


You can, and should, use these tools to get started making music with
Linux today. But if you’re still searching for that perfect distribution, check
out our roundup of Linux distros aimed at creative types for audio, video,
and media production.

6 Linux Distros Designed for Artists, Musicians


and Editors
READ MORE

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