Use Fitlet as a Music Synthesizer in Mint

Application notes using fitlet. Credit goes to user Hassellbear for publishing more than enough cool application notes to justify a dedicated sub-forum.

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hassellbear
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 12:25 pm

Use Fitlet as a Music Synthesizer in Mint

Post by hassellbear »

Fitlet Has A MUSICAL Side


Overview

Software Music Synthesizers, sometimes known as Softsynths, allow computers to produce synthesized music. Previously, this job fell to dedicated, specialized hardware produced by legendary companies such as Korg, Minimoog, Roland, and Yamaha. Now, computers such as Fitlet coupled with a good Softsynth package can produce some very good sounds and effects, possibly even rivaling dedicated units.

Softsynth Packages available to Fitlet include amSynth, Foo YC20, Freebirth, Horgand, mx44, Yoshimi, ZynAddSubFX, and so on. I tried amSynth and ZynAddSubFX. AmSynth is very basic and not very engaging. ZynAddSubFX on the other hand has many features and gets good reviews, so I will concentrate on its use.



Hardware

1. Fitlet
2. USB MIDI Keyboard (optional)



Software

All packages required are readily available in the repositories.

1. Jack Audio Connection Kit

Packages needed are: jackd, qjackctl, and libjack library.

The Jack Audio Connection Kit is an audio server and API which allows various Jack compatible audio applications to interconnect and share data with each other. Jack provides rapid, low latency audio data transfer and helps synchronize the various applications. One way to understand Jack's purpose is to compare it to a physical audio soundboard.

2. ZynAddSubFX

ZynnAddSubFX is the Softsynth I liked the best. It offers a wide array of available instruments; many effects such as reverb, echo, and chorus; and a wide array of other features and settings.



Operation

Once the required software is installed on Fitlet, proceed as follows.

1. Load and start the QJackCtl GUI. It is found in the Applications Pulldown under Sound and Video. Make sure to start jack by clicking the start button in QJackCtl.
QJackCtl.png
QJackCtl.png (34.02 KiB) Viewed 5365 times

2. Start ZynAddSubFX. It is found in the Applications Panel under Sound and Video. It features a beginners interface with a virtual keyboard and an advanced interface which requires the use of an external keyboard.

Beginner and Advanced Interfaces
SynthesizerInterfaces.jpeg
SynthesizerInterfaces.jpeg (153.16 KiB) Viewed 5361 times



Make Required Audio Patch Connection

In QJackCtl GUI, depress connect button. This opens connections window. Select Audio tab. Connect synthesizer (zynaddsubfx) to system.
AudioConnection.png
AudioConnection.png (28.72 KiB) Viewed 5361 times



Add-Ons

You can add a wide variety of instruments and voices to ZynAddSubFX. Here is a site with many such add-ons.

http://sourceforge.net/p/zynaddsubfx/in ... ree/banks/



Results

The results of using ZynAddSubFX were quite good. Using the add-on instruments and voices, it is possible to get some really interesting and cool sounds. Some of the chorus files produce very ethereal and eerie sounds.



Conclusions

1. Fitlet makes quite a good music synthesizer when paired with good software.
2. Fitlet demonstrates its ability to perform a wide variety of diverse roles.



Resources

http://jackaudio.org/
http://jackaudio.org/api/
http://murks.lima-city.de/serendipity/? ... mmies.html
http://zynaddsubfx.sourceforge.net/
Last edited by hassellbear on Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:50 pm, edited 7 times in total.

hassellbear
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 12:25 pm

Use Fitlet as a Music Synthesizer - Continued

Post by hassellbear »

Interfacing the USB MIDI Keyboard with Fitlet - Jack Audio Method
Keyboard.JPG
Keyboard.JPG (97.98 KiB) Viewed 5363 times
1. Open Jack Audio GUI (QJackCtl)
QJackCtl.png
QJackCtl.png (34.02 KiB) Viewed 5363 times

2. Start the ZynAddSubFX Synthesizer


3. Open the Jack Audio Connection Window - Click the QJackCtl Connect Button

A. In the Jack Connections Window, Select the ALSA Tab

B. Connect Readable Client (Keyboard) to Writable Client (Synthesizer)

(20:iRig Keys / 0 iRig Keys MIDI 1 to 129:ZynAddSubFX / 0:ZynAddSubFX)
Keyboard-Synthesizer.png
Keyboard-Synthesizer.png (38.06 KiB) Viewed 5363 times

4. Everything Should Work Now - Play a Tune

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