As some people may know I’ve been trying to make an Ubuntu jingle for LUG Radio. So far this has been nothing short of painful. If you read this post you’ll see I bought 2 new soundcards to try to finish the job.
In the first instance this was to do with my crappy on board soundcard which seemed to enjoy chewing up anything recorded via the mic and line inputs. My laptop was away being fixed at the time so I tried Dynebolic Linux on my dad’s PC (soundcard wasn’t recognised even though it’s a Creative Soundblaster PCI 16, supported by the es1371 kernel module), on my university project machine (similar problem to main desktop machine – crap quality and crackly), on my laptop when it returned (Dynebolic wouldn’t boot with ACPI enabled and I couldn’t seem to use the sound device with it disabled. Haven’t had chance to install Ubuntu yet) and finally on my old Dell Optiplex desktop machine with an Intel i810 chipset and everything onboard, which has a lowly 128MB RAM and struggled to keep up (uses non-standard RAM so I couldn’t drop in a spare stick). All of the other machines were Via chipsets using onboard sound (except my dads PCI 16 soundcard of course).
Nevertheless, the best sound quality came from the i810 machine, so tonight I persevered and mounted the hard disk (dynebolic is a Live CD), copied the files across from my usb drive (causes stutter when running from it) and ran the project from there.
It went great at first but as I layered the tracks it started to slow down as the memory got used up, so much so that by the time I recorded about 4 vocal tracks (I’m simulating a tribe), the machine became barely usable and the kernel killed the Audacity process so I lost everything I had done in the session. I hadn’t saved it as I was technically testing how well it would work.
As Dynebolic is a live CD and runs in memory, I figured that maybe Audacity was saving some kind of user data in /home which is also in memory so I mounted the home partition of the hard disk as /home to see if that saved me a few MBs.
For some reason all this did was make the recorded mic stream slow, bitty and deeeeeeeep. Not to be denied, I unmounted the partition and remounted it under /mnt/home as it was before. I also tried to turn on the hard disk swap partition as swap space, but this failed as it turns out Dynebolic already does this.
Anyway I decided to try again, this time by saving the project every time I recorded a new audio track. I got to about 6 vocal tracks before it started getting flaky so I exported what I had as a wav and called it a night.
I’m not entirely happy with it, but at least I have a proof of concept. I’ll wait until I have my new Soundblaster and make a proper attempt under Ubuntu. At the moment I won’t post it as I’m not sure if it sounds crap or not, you know when you hear your own voice (and accent in my case) on tape? Terrible…