Ubuntu Studio provides plenty of options when it comes to sound and music production. Learn about all of the options here.
For just playing music files on your computer, Audacious can be used. Audacious can also play CD's or streaming audio from the internet. Additionally, it includes a plugin to output audio to a JACK Audio server.
Can be run from the command line (shell) to play music files and to convert between different file formats and sample rates. Also it can do things like combine 2 mono tracks into a stereo file. This is a very versatile utility.
Editing and Recording
For simple editing and recording, Audacity gets the job done. Audacity is a multi-track editing solution that includes very simple editing tasks, such as fade in/out. Audacity has yet to incorporate support for Hardy's default sound server, Pulse Audio, so to run Audacity in Hardy, open a terminal and run: pasuspender -- audacity This will suspend Pulse Audio while Audacity is running. This is not needed in Feisty or Gutsy.
Another recording program included in Ubuntu Studio is timemachine. Timemachine is a recording application that begins recording ten seconds before the record button is hit and continues recording until the stop button is hit. This is useful in case you create a unique sound, which is not easy to recreate, but forget to record it.
Digital Audio Workstation
Ardour is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) application for advanced audio editing. Ardour's capabilities include: multichannel recording, non-destructive editing with unlimited undo/redo, full automation support, a powerful mixer, unlimited tracks/busses/plugins, timecode synchronization, anything to anywhere signal routing, support for standard audio file formats (BWF, WAV, WAV64, AIFF, CAF & more), video synchronisation with SMPTE or MTC code via JACK, support for steinberg's VST plugins as well as linux LADSPA, LV2 plugin standards and hardware control from surfaces like the Mackie Control Universal.
Rosegarden is an audio and MIDI sequencer, score editor, and general-purpose music composition and editing environment. It has the following features: Full syncronisation and connectivity with other applications via JACK, MIDI realtime recording, MIDI step recording, matrix editor, score editor, drum editor, MIDI automation, import-export from-to known MIDI file formats (MID, XML etc.), score export to lilypond files as well as PDF documents and internal support for LADSPA, DSSI plugin standards.
Hydrogen is a very nice little pattern-based drum machine. If you only want to create a good beat, this is the program to use. You can choose between several drumkits that can be downloaded from the hydrogen website or installed via synaptic and edit them. You can also create your own drumkit with your own samples. The mixer and the four effect channels allow you to adapt the sound to your needs. Accessing its midi input via jack, you may as well use rosegarden (which does not bring its own drumkits) as sequencer.
Seq24 is a simple sequencer, and not much else. Here is a brief howto on using it to create a song in Linux HowToSeq24Introduction.
Effects and Signal Processing
JACK Rack is a GTK-based host application for the LADSPA plugin set. It allows for realtime signal processing using any LADSPA plugins that will allow realtime processing. In Hardy there is a bug that prevents the Saving and Loading of presets.
JAMin is the JACK Audio Connection Kit (JACK) Audio Mastering interface. JAMin is an open source application designed to perform professional audio mastering of stereo input streams. It uses LADSPA for digital signal processing (DSP). It's features include: Linear filters, JACK I/O, 30 band graphic EQ, 1023 band hand drawn EQ with parametric controls, spectrum analyser, 3 band peak compressor, lookahead brickwall limiter, multiband stereo processing, presets, scenes and a loudness maximiser.
creox is a real-time effect written for electric guitar and may of course also be used for other instruments. It contains a distortion, a phaser, a flanger, an echo and a tremolo effect. creox is quite easy to use and is a good program to play with when you are trying to work with jack for the first time.
QSynth is a GUI interface to FluidSynth. (See below). To use QSynth, you need a SoundFont. This is a file containing sound samples and settings mapped into presets. Each preset is mapped in the soundfont to a MIDI instrument number. Soundfonts are files with the .sf2 extension. To load a soundfont, click the "Settings" button, go to the soundfonts tab, and select load. Note that usually you only want one soundfont loaded at a time. You can unload a soundfont by selecting it and clicking the Unload button. The entire soundfont gets loaded into RAM, so you should have a lot of RAM to use QSynth. For a 50MB soundfont, you should have at least 256MB of RAM.
Mixxx is a virtual DJ console that supports most popular digital audio formats, including mp3, ogg, and wave. It has the ability to estimate the BPM of tracks, time stretch independently from pitch shifting, control playback via timecoded vinyl (Serato, Traktor, etc..), and use hardware controllers (Tascam US-428, Hercules DJ Console, etc...). More information can be found at the mixxx website.
JACK and JACK Utilities
QJackCtl or Jack Control
QJackCtl (or Jack Control) is a user interface to start and stop the Jack audio server. An introductory guide is located at HowToQjackCtlConnections
Audio Programming Languages
Pure Data (or PD for short) is a graphical programming language, in which connections are made between modular objects via patch cords. It was designed primarily for MIDI and audio synthesis/processing capabilities, though it can be extended even further. Here is a quick introduction to Pure Data, though many other community resources are available around the web.
Csound is a text-based musical synthesis and processing language. It is one of the older music programming languages still in use today, and as such, has a very large user and documentation base. Its design originated in the days when code would compile for days to create a few minutes of a complex audiofile, therefore its efficiency in synthesis was heavily scrutinized.