I am totally convinced leaving Windows behind definitely for serious audio production! I am looking around which Linux distro & repo's suits best for this task but can't figure it out at all!!!

I run a (bought in 2014)Lenovo Thinkpad Essential e545 Windows 8.1 laptop with:

Amd apu a10-5750m 2.5 Ghz & radeon 8650h graphics 8gb ram 3 x usb 3, 1 x hdmi, gigabit lan, wlan card, bluetooth conexant on-board soundcard.

How can I install and efficient configure Element for mostly audio production and audio editing with lots of plugins, audio samples and an external usb controller keyboard?

Thank you very much!!!!!

Yves Guffens

  • For MAO on linux the essential software you need is qjackctrl who allows you to play with no latency and also to use various audio sources simultaneously. I advise you to read this thread Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 15:34
  • I really like Reaper as a DAW, especially for audiowave editing Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 15:38

4 Answers 4


There are several great music apps that work well on Linux:

  • LMMS: Linux's answer to FL studio. Free in the AppCenter. The UI is pretty tiny on my FHD XPS 13, but would be totally fine on lower-DPI screens. A new UI is in the works.
  • Bitwig Studio: Commercial Digital Audio Worstation (DAW) that works on Linux.
  • Ardour: Free DAW that's supposed to be comparable to Pro Tools.
  • Renoise: Old-school tracker meets new-school functionality (plugins, effects, ReWire support, MIDI, etc.). Commercial software, but isn't too expensive. The UI is small on hi-DPI screens, but looks great on other screens.
  • Mixbus is based off of Ardour, but pre-allocated DSP for some built-in analog modeling of EQ, summing and tape saturation, etc, as well as having an intuitive analog-style workflow. Like Reaper it is also very affordable. The installation process also helps optimize your OS.

All of these apps support samples, plugins, and MIDI keyboards.

I personally really like MilkyTracker (free in the AppCenter). It takes a little time to learn, but there are lots of great tutorials available, and it's pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. It's great for making chiptune and dance music. No plugins to speak of, but the sampler is super-flexible.

See also Switching from macOS: Creative Work.


I wonder why I can not find either Renoise or Milky Tracker in the Elementary AppCenter. Any ideas?

In my experience recording in both windows and mac It is no secret you need a lot of configuration prior recording anything (either audio or midi) Not to mention having decent hardware and up to date plugins to run them.

Linux however great is no exception. It can be frustrating to configure Jack if you're not into the linux world.

Anyway, the real reason I'm in this forum is because I want to know if there's any 'out-of-the-box' working DAW for music production.

Thanks a lot in advance!

  • Ardour is excellent, and I'd start there! Bitwig is basically Ableton Live, and pricey but also, an interesting option! Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 12:01

Add the KXStudio repository and install Catia for Jack connections. It's 1000x's easier to use than QJackCtrl. Besides, it is pretty much the repository that Ubuntu Studio relies on for its audio software updates. Get familiar with Audacity, Hydrogen drums, or ZynAddSubFX before doing anything complex like with Ardour. Guitarix is also a good choice for guitars and Bristrol for old-school synthesizer emulation. Hydrogen, Bristol, and ZynAddSubFX work with aconnect to get MIDI keyboard working if you don't want the headache of using Jack and just want to play around.


Not free, but based on Ardour is Mixbus by Harrison (standard or 32c). Not sure about Ardour, but Mixbus does a system check and configuration for you automatically on install. All you need to do is install the -lowlatency kernel if you require additional low latency performance/reliability. Not needed for printing VIs but IMO necessary for audio recording. Jackd is not required, as Ardour/Mixbus can grab hold of the sound card directly via ALSA. You only really need Jack if you plan on multiplexing audio from various sound sources. If you are OK with the DAW monopolizing the sound card temporarily and don't need to connect and route audio between various software, then don't worry about it too much. Monolithic DAWs such as Ardour and Mixbus and Reaper can handle everything internally, which makes jackd somewhat superfluous.

Mixbus provides a bunch of great plugins that are pretty cost-effective, and you can also check out the EQ10Q and Calf Studio Plugins packs, for example, for some really nice free options.

Biggest issues with configuration:

  1. Set CPU governor to "performance" or otherwise disable frequency scaling
  2. Disable or pause background processes that may hog precious CPU cycles (indexers, performance monitors, fancy graphics, system updates, email/IM feeds, networking, etc)
  3. Use a lowlatency kernel with RTIRQ (the RTIRQ version in the repositories may be very outdated, I think .debian repos still have a version from 2015!)
  4. Add your user to the @audio group
  5. Configure your /etc/limits.conf file for realtime audio

You can google these things to find more detailed discussion about them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.