Author Topic: Linux & PC as a home practice amp  (Read 439 times)

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Offline bjsteeves

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Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« on: July 13, 2018, 03:17:30 pm »
I use my home PC as my practice amp.  I have a Behringer USB guitar interface which I plug my guitar into. I then use the JACK and RAKARRACK software apps to "connect" it all together and have fun. It also has a headphone jack if needed.

Running linux only on my PC, these apps are open source and easily installed. There are more special effects that can ever be used, and you can create your own effects too. If you have a recent laptop, you could easily substitute this for a pedal board. Just feed the audio output to your amp(s) and you are off and running. The only disadvantage would be missing, is a real pedal, such a wah-wah, if you use one.

As for running on Windows or Macs, I have no idea if these apps are available for those platforms, or if there are similar apps available. Your mileage may vary, as they say...

Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2018, 04:22:07 pm »
I use my home PC as my practice amp. 

As for running on Windows or Macs, I have no idea if these apps are available for those platforms, or if there are similar apps available. Your mileage may vary, as they say...
PCs are gonna be much more powerful than most modeling amps. For me personally however, I find it too clunky. I just wanna switch on, sit down and play and I"m sure many others feel the same way.

I can't find anything about JACK (is that what it's called?) and Rakarack doesn't seem to be available on Windows. I don't know of any free standalone amp simulators on Windows, but I know of a few free VST plugins that sound pretty good.
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Offline bjsteeves

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2018, 05:05:07 pm »
There is no hassle in just plugging in ... I start the app, the "connections" are already saved and set, and play.

As I stated, I do run linux and most of these are linux only. This site does list quite a few applications, some are cross platform too.

http://jackaudio.org/applications/

I hope some of these are useful to you.

Offline Majik

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2018, 06:42:58 pm »
I agree with Cue.

I'm a big user and advocate of Linux, but there is a hassle factor using any PC based system unless you happen to already be sitting in front of the powered up PC with the audio configured properly.

I do use my PC occasionally; I don't even have to fire up Jack (it's permanently running on my desktop with Pulseaudio bridged to it) or Rakarrack (my audio interface has the guitar emulation built in).

But, as I said, unless it's already powered on and I'm already sitting in front of it, I normally find it less hassle, and more conducive to practice, to keep away from the PC and have a real amp and sheet music.

And even when I am at my computer, I've usually been sitting at it for a considerable time already. WHen I want to play the guitar it's often because I want to get away from the screen.

That applies to phone/tablet apps too: yes they can be quick and convenient, but they do require some additional steps beyond flicking the power switch on an amp, and they also can be a distraction.

And, on typical desktop speakers or headphones, they simply don't sound as good.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline bjsteeves

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2018, 06:52:41 pm »
I don't disagree with that...Being an old IT guy (retired after almost 50 years in the IT field), I am on my PC a LOT. So using that as a practice amp, sound effects , etc... is not an issue. However, when playing my acoustic, I do shut the PC off. After all, I myself need a break or two away from the PC.

Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2018, 03:18:22 pm »
I run Linux as my main (well, only) OS on my home PC, so I've experimented with various Linux audio applications. Personally, I think using the PC as a DAW works great (I'm running Bitwig with Jack and a realtime kernel), but I could never get into using it as the guitar amp. But that's just me.

You didn't mention Guitarix. Have you tried that one?

Other Linux audio applications I use quite a bit include Hydrogen and Cadence. And sometimes I use Lilypond to create lead sheets.

Offline Lord_Gigabyte

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2018, 05:31:44 pm »
Nice to see some other linux users aound here. At my home, all the pc's run on linux too..
I'm going to give that software mentioned here a go...
I'll get it in the end. Just don't give up, that's the key....

Offline sdd56

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2018, 10:35:09 am »
I've never tried Linux (although it's on my to-do list).

On my PC running Windows, I use a Focusrite Scarlett, with Guitar Rig 5 installed as an amp simulator. I use the free version with a limited range of presets and components but it's more than enough for me.

Only problem I've found is if Reaper and Guitar Rig are running at the same time there is noise. But Guitar Rig can also run as a VST plug-in with Reaper, so if I'm using Reaper I just close Guitar Rig.

Just checked the Guitar Rig website, looks like the free demo version now includes all presets and components, but is limited to 30 minute sessions.
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Offline LievenDV

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2018, 10:57:20 am »
Why not!

This scenario is how I started playing, without a guitar amp.

I had a little program called FX box made for this purpose and I plugged my guitar in the mic in of my soundcard in my pc. The output went to an old hifi system.

With the right latency settings I had virtually no delay and this was 18 years ago.
In the meantime, i could open chords and tabs from the internet, note things down in notepad, etc.
I could record AND edit ideas on the fly as my DAW was on the same pc.

I learned what different effects do and had tons of settings to experiment with.
About a year later I bought a KORG multi-fx unit. With my first steps on pc software and a multi-fx; I learned what kind of sounds and effects are out there and what I find fun and nice to do.

It has some flaws but if you organize accordingly, there are a lot of advantages.

when I found Justin's site in 2006, I kept playing in front of my PC.
I started buying "real gear" but I always had a pc "setup" as well because at a certain point, combining pc and regular gear becomes the hassle.

I try to maintain a philosophy that should enable me to play where and when I want.
I involves regular gear, pc stuff, headphones, Various  sizes of amps; big loud amps all the way down to vox amplug. (seriously; our new guitarist his world opened when he found out how crazy the vox ampplug is if you want to practice metal after 10 o' clockin the evening :)

conclusion, there is no right or wrong; everything should complement eachother in an "AND" scenario, not limiting by "OR". Enable yourself to play with the least hassle possible but with access the resources you need to have a productive and fun session :)





 




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Offline Majik

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Re: Linux & PC as a home practice amp
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2018, 01:53:58 pm »
I have to agree with that.

Having a PC (Linux or otherwise) that you can use with your guitar is often very handy.

For me, it's not the main deal for a number of reasons, some of which I've already mentioned. But I still do use it in conjunction with a number of other approaches when it's the right one for me. As LievenDV says, it's an "AND" scenario, and whatever works for you and helps you to practice can't be wrong. My list of "AND" scenarios include (in no particular order):

  • My Katana 100 in the office
  • My Bugera G5 in the "music room", either direct or with a GT-1 multifx in front of it
  • My Boss JS-8 in the "music room" with headphones (usually when trying to learn a song)
  • My GT-1 in "music room" with headphones
  • A Roland Cube 20X in the conservatory
  • A Boss Micro-BR with headphones when traveling
  • Plugged into my (linux) PC either direct into my XR-18 mixer with an amp sim, or via a GT-001

Which one I use depend what I fancy at the time. Sometime I don't use a bit of kit or a setup for ages, and then "rediscover" it and start using it loads.

I've played a little with PC-based amp sims and FX and they are OK but, compared to just plugging into a hardware modelling unit I find them a hassle. YMMV. If you don't have a hardware modeller, for instance, then the application based modelling works pretty well.

Where I do tend to use my PC a fair bit is if I'm transcribing or following along with something on Guitar Pro. Having said that, the Katana is close enough to my PC that I can use that if I want to.

If I was recording, I would definitely use guitar with my PC more. In fact I would say that one down-side of not using the PC is that it discourages me from recording stuff, although I have also used my (linux) laptop with the GT-1 and other interfaces away from my main PC.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

 

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