On Energy XT for Linux

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Veerstryngh Thynner
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On Energy XT for Linux

Postby Veerstryngh Thynner » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:41 am

KDE Mint 17.3 "Rosa" LTS, 32-bit, on Lenovo G585 laptop;
KDE Mint 17.0 "Qiana" LTS, 32-bit, on Thinkcentre M-Series desktop.


Hello all,

A drastic overhaul of my audio home studio has been long overdue: the current set-up a mess. However, since I'm still not sure what to replace it with, I'm now researching my options.

One core hardware unit died on me, several months ago, and needs replacement. And there's a possibility, too, that some new software not within the Linux firmament may have to be purchased. For this, a small budget has been set aside, but it'll only cover the expenses aforementioned. Once it has been spent, there'll be no money left for anything else. So for all other needs that may arise from my research, I'll have to do with what's readily available.

Firstly, whatever is coming next, as to home recording facilities, I want to keep it compact and simple. Secondly, I'd also like to see external wiring limited to the barest minimum achievable, ideally. And thirdly: one of the things I have never been able to realise, in Linux, is turning electric string instruments (i.e. not necessarily guitars and basses alone) into MIDI controller mode.

It's the latter in particular I want to focus on, for now.

Normally, instruments for which I have no formal training (winds and reeds, for example) can be emulated – surprisingly realistically, after some practice – with a piano-style MIDI controller. But what I have been wishing, too, for many years, is to be able to play jazz guitar sample, from one of my orchestral libraries, with time-honoured, established guitar (or guitar-like) techniques. On a guitar (or on a guitar-like instrument) doubling as MIDI controller, in other words.

My hopes went up when, only the other day, I accidentally came across a cross-platform DAW that might be well-placed in my follow-up home studio plan. But it looked curiously familiar, too, somehow.

It's called Energy XT: originally for Windows & Mac only, when I got it, as Windows installation disc extra, with a guitar audio interface bought several years ago. So I'm pleased that Energy XT has moved on to cross-platform capability since. And it looks rather exciting for a different reason, too, since this might, potentially, open some avenues hitherto closed to me.

That guitar audio interface aforementioned is a Behringer Guitar Link CGU102, in fact (see picture below):

Selection_107.png


It's also still in my possession, incidentally: a peripheral designed for full compatibility with Energy XT. For Windows and Mac OS users, inevitably, once again. But since Energy XT has now Linux representation, too, it may reasonably be expected, I think, that Guitar Link CGU102 can successfully be mounted in that version as well. And yes: both my laptop and my desktop do indeed recognise it, once connected. That seems, to me at least, a somewhat promising beginning. And I also see that it's jack control running the Guitar Link .

I found a Energy XT tutorial (blog) as well, online, in PDF. This, however, has not been upgraded since 2011, I notice. Assuming, though, that the DAW itself is still in development, I also take it that some improvements must have been implemented, over the intervening years. Therefore, I'm inclined to give Energy XT another stab in Linux. Together with my Behringer CGU102, of course. Hence, a couple of questions to ask.

I'd like to direct these at readers with, ideally, some previous experience of Energy XT in Linux. I'm also hoping for some response of those familiar with activating Guitar Link CGU102 in KDE Mint 17.3 “Rosa/17.0 “Qiana”. One more remark, though, as to the latter: I have not decided yet on where Energy XT will ultimately be going. That totally depends on how feasible running Energy XT, in conjunction with Guitar Link, in Linux, will prove to be.

My queries:

1) Can anyone confirm that, to the best of their knowledge, the Linux version of Energy TX does indeed support set-up and activation of Behringer Guitar Link UCG102?
2) Furthermore, that pre-2011 Energy XT manual of before states that downloaded .wav, .mp3 and .aif sample can be used:

http://energyxt.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/ ... p3-in.html

However, those jazz guitar samples I desire to play are mostly in .sfz format. Can anybody please tell me as to whether Energy XT has added .sfz support since 2011?
3) If not, might there be any way of adapting .sfz sample format, as presently existing, to .wav or .aif (I'd rather avoid .mp3), in case these are still the sole formats supported? This is important, since your answer may make the difference between exploring Energy XT further and going for that proprietary alternative, alluded to in my introduction, that I also have my eyes on.

Thank you very much in advance for any help given.

Veerstryngh Thynner
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GMaq
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Re: On Energy XT for Linux

Postby GMaq » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:21 am

Hi,

EnergyXT was a great DAW but it never quite got off the ground for Linux users, first of all it didn't work at all with ALSA properly and had to be hacked to work with JACK, secondly the Linux version is not multithreaded so the performance on current multi-core machines is quite bad. To be honest about as many users on Linux used EnergyXT's Windows version with Wine as the native Linux version. There is supposedly an EnergyXT version 3 in beta but not for Linux. I can't comment on whether your Behringer guitar device would work, I suppose if it works with ALSA (and JACK) it would but that would depend on if the old EnergyXT binaries still run at all on a modern Linux. If I recall correctly there was only native Sf2 (Soundfont) support but not SFZ (unless you ran them in a plugin host like Carla), EnergyXT did have a great and easy little drum sampler for WAV files though!

I actually personally liked EnergyXT and it's MIDI editing but never achieved any serious work with it. I know quite a bit about it because I did a lot of work to set it up as functionally as possible in Linux in AV Linux 6.X and that was with a lot of customization and some old utilities hacked up by falkTX of KXStudio. AV Linux 6.X is long discontinued and truthfully I think EnergyXT is now a step backward about 10 years in time for Linux users.

Ardour and Qtractor and most recently Reaper's native Linux version at the very least boast much better features and stability for Linux users.

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bhilmers
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Re: On Energy XT for Linux

Postby bhilmers » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:41 am

Veerstryngh Thynner wrote:1) Can anyone confirm that, to the best of their knowledge, the Linux version of Energy TX does indeed support set-up and activation of Behringer Guitar Link UCG102?
2) Furthermore, that pre-2011 Energy XT manual of before states that downloaded .wav, .mp3 and .aif sample can be used:

http://energyxt.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/ ... p3-in.html

However, those jazz guitar samples I desire to play are mostly in .sfz format. Can anybody please tell me as to whether Energy XT has added .sfz support since 2011?
3) If not, might there be any way of adapting .sfz sample format, as presently existing, to .wav or .aif (I'd rather avoid .mp3), in case these are still the sole formats supported? This is important, since your answer may make the difference between exploring Energy XT further and going for that proprietary alternative, alluded to in my introduction, that I also have my eyes on.

I use Energy XT on Linux as my main DAW. I do not use the Linux version because it's fairly broken and crashes a lot. However, the Windows version works perfectly well in the WINE environment.

If your computer recognizes the Guitar Link device, then I see no reason why Energy XT wouldn't be able to use it.

The SFZ support in eXT is a somewhat broken on all platforms. Some SFZ files play fine, others are completely scrambled. Instead of using eXT's native synth/sampler for SFZ files, I use a couple different free VSTs to trigger them. DSK Music makes a soundfont plugin (SF2) that works for some files, but mostly I use Cakewalk's SFZ player.

A lot of people consider Energy XT abandonware, but it is still developed... just very, very slowly. It is the work of a single developer who has written several other music programs and plugins, including a version of eXT for iOS. The closest thing to support is the community on the KVR forums, but it's mostly people complaining about lack of updates. Still, the program works great and I've rarely run into a problem I couldn't get around with a little ingenuity.

ext+sfz.jpg


GMaq wrote:...truthfully I think EnergyXT is now a step backward about 10 years in time for Linux users.

Not sure what you mean by this. Energy XT blows away pretty much every native Linux DAW today.
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GMaq
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Re: On Energy XT for Linux

Postby GMaq » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:36 pm

bhilmers wrote:
GMaq wrote:...truthfully I think EnergyXT is now a step backward about 10 years in time for Linux users.

Not sure what you mean by this. Energy XT blows away pretty much every native Linux DAW today.


Hi bhilmers,

My comments were in regard to running the native Linux version of EnergyXT on Linux, as a complete DAW when you factor in no multicore support, broken ALSA support and incomplete JACK transport support, no LADSPA, LV2, DSSI support and extremely lacking professional Audio and routing features compared to Ardour/Mixbus/Reaper/Qtractor then EnergyXT is a big step backward now.

I DON'T disagree it has some great features especially for MIDI and LInux is still lacking a complete killer MIDI sequencer, that's what drew me years ago to put in the work in to get EnergyXT's demo as functional as possible on a LiveDVD was it's simple and intuitive inline MIDI features. I understand from other threads you are frustrated with LInux DAWs for your needs but I want to be clear my comments were in the context of using EnergyXT's Linux version on Linux..

It has always been less than satisfactory and as times passes that situation has not changed and plenty of Linux DAWs have improved exponentially.

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bhilmers
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Re: On Energy XT for Linux

Postby bhilmers » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:07 pm

GMaq wrote:...I want to be clear my comments were in the context of using EnergyXT's Linux version on Linux..

Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification! The Linux version of eXT is practically unusable.
Last edited by bhilmers on Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Veerstryngh Thynner
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Re: On Energy XT for Linux

Postby Veerstryngh Thynner » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:06 pm

Thanks very much, all, for your clarification on Energy XT in Linux.

Energy XT seemed a good idea on paper. I have no previous experience with Wine, but an Energy XT installation disc still, somewhere. Might that be of any use for running eXT in Wine?

Otherwise, maybe I'd better have a closer look at that native Linux version of Reaper, some time soon.

Veerstryngh Thynner

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bhilmers
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Re: On Energy XT for Linux

Postby bhilmers » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:48 pm

Veerstryngh Thynner wrote:I have no previous experience with Wine, but an Energy XT installation disc still, somewhere. Might that be of any use for running eXT in Wine?

Installing WINE is fairly straightforward. Just look for it in your distribution's software repository. There should be plenty help online if your run into trouble. In most cases you can simply navigate to the Setup.exe in your file manager, right-click the executable and choose "run with WINE" (or something like that). WINE will install the program to a special directory in your home folder.

Or, if you have the license, I don't see why you can't just download Energy XT from the main website and enter the license.

Luc
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Re: On Energy XT for Linux

Postby Luc » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:45 am

GMaq wrote:...and LInux is still lacking a complete killer MIDI sequencer, that's what...

Are you familiar with Cythar?

https://sourceforge.net/projects/cythar-sequenzer/

Linux native and quite impressive IMO.


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