Running Sound Applications under Wine

You still need Wine to get a buzz (and other audio applications) on.

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

  • 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.

Figure 3. The Wine Buzz

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.

Figure 4. Buzz Tracker Interface

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.

Some Conclusions

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

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


Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.


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Great article for Apple users

JK Fertighaus's picture

I am a long-year apple-fan. I dont use it for professional use in music-business, but the band-in-a-box program is a great piece of work, done by apple. So especially this part of the article was interesting for me. :-)

I have huge problems with

Anonymous's picture

I have huge problems with wine first you can't run two sound programs at once. I can't say output an MP3 with one wine program and try to record it at same time from Linux by listening to the sound card output. Also the worse problem is I have a program that outputs MP3s and I can't play them in LINUX because it says the file is EXECUTABLE type wine. If I setup this same program on Windows box, it would output MP3s. I can take those MP3s to my Linux box and do whatever I wanted. Now with wine it doesn't work. Wine must put some binary output in the file itself saying it is an executable file hence unusable MP3 in Linux.

Good article - bad premise

oldman's picture

It wonderful to see that this kind of work is being done, but without official support from the vendors of the packages in question, one os SOL if there are any problems that the community cant solve.

Its simply easier t run these natively.

*easier* hmm.. lot's of

Anonymous's picture


hmm.. lot's of great cliches come to mind, great things, patience, nothing good comes, something or other.

you are right, though. i just want to run things out of pride for my OS. i don't actually want any of these proprietary beasts; i just want to be all like, "say I can't run Reaktor in Ubuntu, go ahead." Muuuhaaahaaa

"make my day." it's really going to be great when people are lagging along on Vista with insane resources and I speed by in some light-weight little linux rig with a P4.

Sorry to be a 'fanboi' as I have only recently learned the word. I always said that I was a partisan.

worth doing sometimes - not always

a friend of the troll in the basement's picture

Oldman has a valid point, although there are still times when running windows sound apps under Linux is worth it.

For everyday computing, such as web browsing, mail, viewing movies etc. I use Linux. This is because Windows committed suicide on me several times, forcing me to reinstall it, and all my applications, each time. If I want to take a break and dabble in some music making I don't want to reboot into Windows. Audiomulch works under wine without any hastle and I have never known it to crash. One should also remember that Microsoft is making it increasingly hard to update unlicensed copies of its current operating systems. If you want an MS OS and you don't want to pay for it, then sooner or later you will probably have to restrict yourself to software that will run on Windows 2000.

One thing Dave Phillips didn't mention is that a great many VST plugins work under Linux, but outside the wine environment proper, using various wrappers such as dssi-vst. Most of the ones I have tried have also worked within audiomulch.

If you are setting up a dedicated studio and your tool of choice is cubase, ableton or whatever, and you don't want a lot of hastle, then of course you should choose an OS that won't give you any nonsense. As Dave said, at the moment those kind of tools don't work at all within Wine, and even when they begin to, there will probably be some pain involved. Then again, even though it will be harder work to get these to run flawlessly on Linux--Audiomulch's developer has a much friendlier attitude to Linux than the companies that make the other stuff--I suspect that this will indeed happen sooner or later.

That said, if you want to use ableton or whatever then you should do it on a mac rather than windows both because the audio latency is usually lower and because of all the other problems you get with windows that most windows users already know too well.

If, on the other hand, you are willing to do the nerd work, you may find it very useful to use windows audio apps alongside traditionally unix ones (of which there is a very long tradition) in a Linux environment. One reason is that it is possible to achieve very low, glitch-free, audio latency, even under very heavy system load. There is also a huge potential for working over a network in ways that tend not to happen under windows or mac os. Some of these, such as clustering, don't apply directly to windows apps and plugins running in wine or a VST wrapper, but others, such as syncing low latency audio backwards and forwards across a network, certainly do.

Amongst all of the flaming

Anonymous's picture

Amongst all of the flaming going around on the subject of linux audio, you have just so happened to put my thoughts into words, when I'm giving other people advice.

Personally, linux and I are recently married and enjoying a long honeymoon after having a high school fling years ago. Cheating on my operating system is not negotiable. Whatever the limitations, I plan to go without a few impressive high-level audio manipulation GUIs and stick with my linux box through thick and thin.