Running Sound Applications under Wine
Buzz combines tracker-style pattern and sequence editors with a powerful audio synthesis/processing environment to form an all-in-one package for sound design and music composition. No other music software is quite like Buzz.
I had tried installing Buzz unsuccessfully by following the normal instructions for Windows users, but reading over the comments on the Wine AppDB, I discovered that I needed an installation package different from the one available on the official Buzz Web site. Here's what I did to install and run Buzz successfully under Wine:
Downloaded the package found at buzzdistro.cjb.net.
Ran wine buzz_base.exe to install the program.
Changed directory to ~/c/Program Files/Buzz.
Ran wine buzz. (Honest!)
And indeed, as shown in Figure 3, Buzz runs under Linux.
Buzz synthesis and processing modules are known as machines in Buzz-speak. The default package includes dozens of immediately useful machines, and hundreds more are available from the Buzz community. Like many other synthesis applications, Buzz uses a “patching” metaphor to roll your own audio processing network—that is, you link machines together with virtual patching cables to create a data-flow diagram representing your network.
Figure 3 displays some opened machines. Whenever you want to manipulate a machine's parameters, simply double-click on the machine box, and its control panel appears. You can control all parameters in real time with the mouse or with MIDI controllers.
Buzz's composition interface closely resembles a typical tracker interface (Figure 4). A scrolling display represents beats within a selected pattern length. Audio events (typically sampled sounds) are entered on the desired beat lines anywhere within the pattern. Completed patterns are then linked together to form a song sequence.
By the way, the package available from the link above is not the only Buzz-for-Linux package available. If that one doesn't work for you, try the bundle available from Flavor8 (see Resources). Peruse the hints and tips while you're there, and be sure to check out the demos made with Buzz on Linux.
Buzz is much too rich an application to treat in any depth here, so I simply recommend playing and studying some of the demo files included with the distribution. The package includes extensive documentation, and a very active community of users can be reached through the main Buzz site. Buzz is freeware, and though it's a shame that no native Linux version of Buzz exists (or ever will—the source code has been lost), in lieu of a native version, you can still enjoy a pleasant Buzz with Wine. Sorry, I just had to say it.
In the course of writing this article, I also tried to run many sound and music programs that failed in various ways. Native Instruments' very cool FM7 loaded and appeared to work (it received MIDI input from my keyboard), but no sound came from it. NI's Tracktion installed and ran, but its audio output was terribly distorted. The latest Finale demo wouldn't install at all, and the Reaktor 5 demo installed but crashed when started. Of course, all these programs run perfectly well in their native Windows environment, which is simply to say that Wine is still in development.
I also solicited the Linux Audio Users mail list regarding opinions of and experiences with the use of Wine with Windows audio applications. As might be expected, input varied. Reports included whole or partial success with applications such as Native Instruments' Battery and Kontakt, the Renoise tracker and the demo for Guitar Pro 3. I plan to put up a Web page that will list Windows audio/MIDI applications that have been tested with Wine, so if you have any notable successes or failures to report, please contact me at email@example.com.
Hopefully, Wine's JACK driver will work again in a stable version of Wine by the time this article is printed. JACK is the present and future of Linux audio, and it would be a definite Good Thing for the Wine Project. A virtual ASIO driver might be a helpful addition too.
Ideally, native Linux applications would replace their Windows counterparts, but until that happy time, Wine may prove to be a viable alternative to dual-booting or setting up secondary machines. It may lend a new lease on life to your software investment, and hopefully, it will work well enough to let you run those needed music and sound applications that still have no Linux equivalents.
Resources for this article: /article/8886.
Dave Phillips is a musician, teacher and writer living in Findlay, Ohio. He has been an active member of the Linux audio community since his first contact with Linux in 1995. He is the author of The Book of Linux Music & Sound, as well as numerous articles in Linux Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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