Making music on Linux

Trying to build a productive music-making environment as a Linux purist.

Initial setup, no matter what you will use later on


In my opinion, the most mature DAW available for Linux is Bitwig. It is somewhat pricey and is not open-source, however it makes up for it with its broad range of available synths, effects and other features. The UI feels snappy and very intuitive. On my personal machine I feel like Bitwig is 1.5-2x times faster than Ableton in "just doing the general DAW stuff".

If you feel more adventurous and would like to try a more experimental interface, Bespoke could be the DAW for you.

The VSTs

Cardinal also has the cutest patch descriptions!

The controllers

Novation's Companion software is built around Web MIDI API, so it works on any OS which can open Google Chrome (tested myself, unfortunately Firefox and Chromium do not work yet). This can get you around the limitations of OS-bound apps, which are unfortunately used by most MIDI gear manufacturers.

When picking a controller, first check whether it is supported by DrivenByMoss. It will get you an out-of-the-box full Bitwig integration, just like between Ableton & Ableton Push. I cannot recommend it enough!