On this website, I plan on posting both my own music, tutorials, various articles and videos, as well as interviews and other goodies with people I’m curious about in the Linux audio realm. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay, and please let me know if you have any suggestions, stuff you want to see more about or any questions/feedback/criticism at all. Enjoy your stay here!
My name is Gabriel Nordeborn, but some of you might know me better through my online handle zth. I’m originally from just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, but currently living and studying in Lund, Sweden. I’m a big open source/Linux-fan, which kind of unexpectedly led me into the world of making digital music. I’ve always been playing the guitar, and always enjoyed trying to come up with my own melodies and songs with that. However, it wasn’t until fairly late I found the joys of actually recording what I played, and trying to evolve it. Since I did discover that, I’ve been completely hooked.
You can find my own music at my Soundcloud.
(This is under construction. Bear with me as I add new stuff here)
Here’s a brief rundown of what my setup is. I have a blog category too, where I occasionally post about my setup. Check that out here.
First, lets do a quick rundown of the hardware. A while ago, I made an important decision, and got myself a brand new desktop computer, dedicated to making music, and doing various audio projects. This has been working very well for me, and I will do a quick summary of what that computer has:
- CPU: Intel i5 Quadcore, clocked to 4Ghz. This one is just great. Lately, I’ve actually managed to make it sweat a little (by running an insane amount of plugins), but I’m really struggling to make it show any signs of fatigue. Which as we all can figure out, is a very good thing when talking audio production.
- RAM: 16gb. I don’t remember the actual specs of the RAM, but it’s 16gb. More than enough for anything I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve been over 8gb ever, so 16gb is perhaps a bit overkill. But, I’m sure the day will come when I do go over, and then I’ll be prepared!
- SDD drive: 240gb. Another one of those components that really has made a difference. The SSD makes the loading and writing of things lightning fast, and I couldn’t be without it. For extra storage, I have a 1TB mechanical drive as well.
- Sound card: ESi Juli@ XTe PCI-E edition. I got this for two reasons: 1. I wanted an internal soundcard, and 2. I wanted a PCI-Express card. I’ve been messing around with USB cards before, and while they do work flawlessly for the most uses, I wanted something a bit more modern. Regular PCI was out of the question, so I ended up buying this one. I’m not completely satisfied, as I haven’t managed to get the SPDIF ins or outs working in a meaningful way (although it’s advertised as working with ALSA, but they of course, do not provide any support…..), and there’s a few other things that make it seem… not what I thought it would be. But, I’ve managed to make it all work like I want using some outboard gear, so all is good.
- Studio monitors. Adam A3X. These are just great! I really like these. They are small, which means I have more or less no bass from ~70hz and down, but other than that, I just really like them. Crisp, clear sound, and they sound good regardless of volume. Recommended!
- Studio headphones. KRK KNS8400. Another purchase I’m very happy with. These are closed back headphones, so they double as monitor headphones for recording. But, they sound great, even though they’re closed back. The only problem with these are that neither them give a good bass response. Virtually inaudible under ~70hz too. To solve this, I have another set of consumer grade headphones for gaming, that has a good bass response. I’ve just learned to use them, and a few visual tools, to mix my bass. Until I can afford bigger studio monitors, or a sub.
- Outboard mixer table: Behringer Xenyx802. One of those “just enough”-mixers. This has 2 mic/XLR ins, 2 stereo line ins, phantom powering, and is pretty easy to hook up to the computer. Works well! Although, to properly monitor my recording, I’ve had to use another very similar mixer in addition to this, which I had lying around (and that had broken outs, which is why I got this new one). This also works very well, as I now have a complete mixer dedicated to monitoring.
- MIDI keyboard(s). M-audio Keystation 49e, M-audio Keystation Mini 32. I’ve got both a big keyboard with 49 keys, and a small, travel sized one with 32 keys. Works good, and I’m happy with both!
…and that’s it for my hardware. Overall, I’m very satisfied, and it’s nice to have a powerful setup that Just Works.
Here you’ll find the software I use most often when making music. I won’t go into too much detail though.
Digital Audio Workstation
As the main workhorse of my software setup, I use Ardour 3. I’ve been using Ardour since I started out making music digitally, and I haven’t found anything that quite matches it for me. I have a section on this website for tutorials for Ardour 3, which you can check out here.
Here follows a short list of plugins I usually use, in no specific order:
- EQ: LinuxDSP (commercial) or lv2fil.
- Compressor: LinuxDSP (commercial), SC3 or Invada Compressor, usually.
- Delay: Calf Vintage Delay. The one and only!
- Reverb: LV2 Convolution Reverb (by Robin Gareus) in combination with some IRs. Or Roomy from artyFX, or the zita-reverb from Fons.
- Distortion: Barry’s Satan Maximiser. Really cool distortion effect.
- Limiter: not a plugin, but zita-dpl1 is _awesome_, works well as an insert in Ardour.
- Various plugins: Calf Multichorus, MDA Stereo Tools.
…to be continued!