JACK almost working

Norio De Sousa norio at maxiware.co.za
Sat Jul 12 14:36:39 BST 2008

2008/7/12 Joe Bain <mrjoebain at gmail.com>:

> 2008/7/12 Carla <poppinlockin at yahoo.com.au>:
> > Gosh it is confusing as to where i type. I have never typed at the bottom
> of
> > emails before. Ok well I get really no where with Jack. I have read every
> > tutorial in site but I don't really understand where to go with it at
> all. I
> > am not plugging in any external devices except a microphone sometimes so
> do
> > i really need Jack? I used to have audacity on my notebook and happily
> used
> > it but then someone told me about Jack and it has been a pain from then
> on.
> > I am still pretty new to Linux so I would like to be able to do something
> > simple before I get complicated. I doubt with my lack of funds will ever
> get
> > any more sophisticated in my setup.
> > Carla(Thanks)
> Hello again Carla,
> If you're happy using Audacity on its own then there's no real reason
> for you to use jack. Jack does have lots of benefits of course,
> especially if you want to do more complex things, using soft synths,
> richer editing and multitracking with Ardour, live effects on guitars
> or vocals, and there's other things too.
> It's still not clear where you're stuck with jack, so it's hard to
> tell you what you need to do to fix it. It sounds like you're not
> really sure about the general idea of it though so I'll do my best to
> explain that.
> Essentially Jack allows you to take any audio output, this can be your
> soundcard (i.e your microphone), a software synthesizer, a recording
> your've made in audacity or another program, anything at all, and put
> that into any input, like another rcording program, an effects program
> (like JackRack) or your soundcard again (your speakers). You can take
> one output and put it to multiple inputs or multiple outputs into one
> input, it's very flexible.
> It seems redundant for me to explain the whole interface, but the
> important part, the connections window, is explained <a
> href="https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToQjackCtlConnections
> ">here</a>.
> Although this is a bit old and the connections window now uses the
> 'ALSA' tab to control midi conections with the 'midi' tab becoming
> somewhat mysterious, I haven't worked out myself what it does now.
> I hope this makes things more clear, and please let us know how you
> get on or if you want more help.

Figuring out exactly what Jack does was a stumbling block for me, too.

I'll give you some real-world explanations which make it easier to

Audacity:  A multitrack recording program.
ZynAddSubFx:  A synth interface goodie.  ie:  A keyboard :)
Hydrogen:  A drum machine.

Jack allows me to connect them like this:

Guitar -> Rakarrack -> Audacity Track 1
ZynAddSubFx -> Audacity Track 2
Hydrogen -> Audacity Track 3

The result being that I can play guitar while my mate plays keyboard (on my
PC's keyboard) and hydrogen plays back a drum track we put together to make
a song that's being recorded by Audacity.

To achieve the above, you start up Jack-Control, then the rest of the above
programs and set up these connections:

1.  Connect system output into Audacity's audio track 1
2.  Connect ZynAddSubFX's output into Audacity's audio track 2
3.  Connect Hydrogen's output into Audacity's audio track 3
4.  Connect Audacity's MASTER track's output to the system input

Step 4 lets you hear everything.

You can, of course, connect a real MIDI device and then set up a connection
between that device and ZynAddSubFx, allowing to play a 'real' keyboard,
while still accessing the neat sounds Zyn provides.

Before you understand the above, you should follow the instructions in the
HOWTO mentioned by Joe and be sure you can get some sound from your speakers
using ZynAddSubFx.  The rest becomes a lot easier to understand at that

Good luck Carla!

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