Mixing It Up with the Behringer BCF2000
Using the Behringer as a MIDI control surface is nice, but it does require hand-assigning every button for every project. In my experience, it also doesn't do a good job at honoring the bank selectors—in MIDI mode you have eight tracks' worth of controls, and only that. If you want to mix a 24-track project, you have to be good about grouping your submixes and break your project down into passes. It's a viable way to work, but it can become a pain, and reassigning your faders as you go can confuse you when you change over (naturally, if you're running a number of BCFs in tandem, this limitation ceases to be a serious problem).
There is a better way to use the BCF2000 with Ardour, and that's in Mackie Emulation mode. Basically, you tell Ardour you're already connected to an eight-track Mackie control surface. The Mackie preset gives you a seven-plus-master mix layout, with pan pots at the top (except for the master track—there your pan pot is a jog/shuttle wheel) and each track having mute and solo buttons—very handy. It assigns the tracks in numbered order from left to right (corresponding to your track order in Ardour from top to bottom), with track eight being the Master bus.
Why is this a better way? It gives you access to all the controls on the BCF. MIDI mode allows easy assignment of pots and faders, but try assigning one of the buttons, and you'll find yourself quickly tempted to burn the thing at the stake. Button presses seem to register on assignment, but then when you go to use them, they don't work. This problem may be correctable by building a preset in Behringer's preset building software (Figure 6), depending on the preset you build and your version of Ardour. Your mileage may vary.
Section 10.6 of the manual gives detailed (and accurate) setup instructions for putting the Behringer in Mackie Emulation mode. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of Mackie mode seems to be in flux in Ardour's current development cycle. Some versions work very well—others don't work at all. Again, your mileage may vary (www.ardour.org/files/manual/sn-mackie.html).
Despite the bumps in the road due to Ardour's rapid development cycle, I wouldn't trade this little mixer for the world. It's easily saved me ten hours a week mixing down my podcasts, and the quality of the mixes has gone up as well. Mixing software faders with a mouse is a sucker's game compared to the precision you get mixing hardware faders with your fingers. For $200, this control surface delivers motorized faders and high-definition response in a well-designed, solid package that's fully supported by the Linux kernel and ALSA-MIDI.
That means it's also useful in a number of other high-level MIDI and audio programs for Linux, such as Rosegarden or LMMS or other programs that can accept MIDI control symbols. Let the mixing begin!
Dan Sawyer is the founder of ArtisticWhispers Productions (www.artisticwhispers.com), a small audio/video studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been an enthusiastic advocate for free and open-source software since the late 1990s. He currently is podcasting his science-fiction thriller Antithesis and his short story anthology Sculpting God. He also hosts “The Polyschizmatic Reprobates Hour”, a cultural commentary podcast. Author contact information is available at www.jdsawyer.net.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Interview with Patrick Volkerding
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide