classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Pi 4 as a DAW? For recording instruments and vocals

Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:12 pm

Just saw the new Pi 4. And I am looking for a cheap and affordable way to record guitar and vocal. When I saw the Pi 4 I thought that might work? I don't have any monitors at home, but I do have a large LCD 4K TV I could use for display. I've used cubase and Pro Tools a little bit before. But those where both installed on higher end hardware.

For this project as it is mostly to record my singer/songwriter progression and to test out various effects both for vocal and guitar I am thinking as this will have say 6-7 tracks at the very most, but mostly only 2 tracks possible it could work.

I've got some Linux experience, as I have only older hardware I've been running puppy linux and other small linux distros. And those work well on tiny hardware. Lately I've seen a bunch of open source DAW software that might work for me, but as I don't have any experience with any daws beside cubase and pro tools I have no idea what kind of hardware is required to run an open source daw?

1: Will Pi 4 be able to work without constant lagging and buffering if I record a few tracks onto it? (mixing and exporting I can happily wait longer but for the recording I need things to run as smooth as possible to avoid missing the creative zone.
2: What Linux daw sw is considered to run best on cheap hardware?
3: What 2 channel interface is known for working well with the top linux open source daw? Even if I am recording more then 2 tracks I can live with only 2 channels.
Last edited by classico on Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:35 am

I found a video of one man installing reaper daw onto pi 3. But sadly he didn't follow up like he promised with a part 2 version showing how the Pi Daw worked as a recording device. And the install part I was not worried about so that video didn't help me much. Also reaper is not open source and I was after an open source solution.

I found one video where audacity was installed on a Pi 3. But again, it showed only the install part and not how the Pi was in use.

That was all I could find, but surely more people have tried and tested Pi as a DAW? And now with Pi 4's improved hardware it really should be a new dawn for Pi usage. More hardware intensive usage of the Pi should now be possible without lagging or latency.

If anyone got any tips about what USB interface to use for this project, what box to connect my mic and guitar into I would be very happy. I've been looking at Focusrite Scarlet and Scarlet 2i2 as I've been working a little with the larger rack version from scarlet before. But when I searched for reviews people seemed mixed. And some really hated the focusrite scarlet.

Money wise I don't think I can sink much more money on the USB interface then what the scarlet 2i2 costs. If someone recommend a certain brand and model that you are very pleased with, I will consider stretching the budget a little. But the overall goal here is to record tracks for cheap. The most important part for me is the the recording face - I need this part to be smooth and stable. Any freezing or lagging or buffering could kill the mood and make me loose my creative moment.

For mixing the final tracks I am OK with a more time consuming process. I guess that hardest and most cpu intensive tasks is the mixing and exporting? If the Pi 4 DAW struggle too much with this, or so much so that it is difficult to complete projects I can just copy those projects to a usb stick and import them to a mac running pro tools at work and complete the mix there.

k-pi
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:46 pm
Location: Upper Hale, Surrey, UK.

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:35 am

I use audacity to record simple stuff on low powered laptops, using a USB mic, so I guess that would likely work on one of the soon to be available RPi4B 4GB units.

(My laptops only have 2GB ram.)

classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:29 pm

Do you remember what CPU you got in that laptop? Did audacity run smooth and without hick ups?

For the most part this is not gonna be a DAW I will use for extensive mixing with track upon tracks. I will put down guitar, maybe both lead and rhythm guitar, vocal and might double up on the vocal track or do multiple tracks for chorus etc. So not really complicated. And it should not require tons of CPU power I think. Or I hope at least.

I will start with reading up on audacity and similar software packs, sw that are open source.

But I still am really unsure about what interface I should choose. I guess phantom power is a must so I can use condenser mic for vocal. The guitar should just plug straight into the interface, if I add base or do acoustic as well as electric I will use a DI Box between guitar and USB interface.

MikeDB
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:27 am

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:45 pm

Well I certainly hope so as I've just bought one for that very purpose. I am intending to create my own interface but hopefully allowing some open-source VST and other DAW modules to be ported to it.

If anyone else is doing the same thing, perhaps we should talk.

k-pi
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:46 pm
Location: Upper Hale, Surrey, UK.

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:42 pm

My usage was simple - I think I've done it on both my Acer AO722, (dual 1GHz C6(?) processor), & more recently on my HP-G62 with a first generation Intel i3 2.13GHz processor - never saw any delay when recording, so I expect it to work on a 4GB RPi4 with quad core 1.5GHz processor. 8-)

classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:04 pm

Have anyone made a DAW using Pi? IF so what software did you choose and how did that software work? I really don't have any idea of what kind of cpu power such software needs, and if it is at all possible to run Pi 4 as a DAW.

What do you think, Pi DAW doable or not?

classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:27 pm

@MikeDB @K-pi thank you for your input.

So it seems Raspberry Pi 4 will do the trick. I just checked and the 4GB version is sold out already. As soon as it is back in stock I will order one and start putting this together. Meanwhile I can read a bit more about both what usb soundcard/interface to choose and what daw sw to choose. I will try to get some reading done during the week and will try to post a follow up on sunday or monday to share what choices I've made.

Hopefully RPI 4x4GB is back in stock really soon.

classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:52 am

Shoot. Seems PI4 is still sold out everywhere for the 4GB ram version. Wonder how long it takes for a new batch or if anyone shop have some pre order system so that I can secure my lot already for the next batch?

classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:56 pm

Btw if I SSH into the Pi 4 from say the smartphone, and Pi is connected to Telly via HDMI is there a way to have desktops displayed on both screens at the same time? If I hit record on the remote desktop on the phone, will the Pi be able to display the tracks as recordings starts?

A visual cue as well as using the the beat and the count/click? That would make it possible to monitor the levels to make sure no "reds" occur while recording.

Its been a long while since I used ssh and remote desktop and I think back then it was a choice of either screens. Maybe that has changed. I mean after casting and everything similar.

classico
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 pm

Re: Pi 4 B as a DAW? Digital audio workstation?

Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:13 am

Every enthusiast busy building their Raspberry Pi 4? Seems very quiet on this forum, don't know if that is because of the DAW thread is kind of a project suited for a very tiny user base or more of a general point to the overall activity on this forum?

Anyway I am still waiting for responses to a few Q's I had, so here is a little re-cap. Might be easier to answer when they are all in one place?

1: Seems PI4 is still sold out everywhere for the 4GB ram version. Wonder how long it takes for a new batch or if anyone shop have some pre order system so that I can secure my lot already for the next batch?

2: If I tunnel via SSH into the Pi 4 from say the smartphone, and Pi is connected to TV via HDMI is there a way to have the PI desktop displayed on both smartphone and TV at the same time? If I hit record on the remote desktop on the phone, will the Pi be able to display the tracks and monitor levels on the TV as recordings starts? If not I guess bluetooth mouse and keyboard is given?

3: I might not have access to full blown hi quality studio monitors and great amplifier everywhere I bring the Pi DAW. Is headphones only an ok way to work with recordings, mixing post recording or do you really need studio monitors to get the correct stereo image, to better set the right placement of every track?

EksDeRoflcopta
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:02 pm

Re: Pi 4 as a DAW? For recording instruments and vocals

Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:10 pm

One DAW that would be a great candidate for the Raspberry Pi (not just the 3) would be LMMS. Unfortunately it doesn't have audio recording yet, but it's one of the best open source DAWs that I know of! It's also relatively resource friendly.

nomusichere
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:49 pm

Re: Pi 4 as a DAW? For recording instruments and vocals

Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:01 pm

I am going to be honest with you. I am pretty deep in Recording. A RPi4 as a DAW to me is not a good idea. Open Source programs like Arduor are built inherently for x86 CPU's. You can compile it for ARM but you will loose a lot of optimizations for signal processing. The thing is the Pi4 may have a quad-core ARM processor at 1.5ghz ( Which should be theoretically enough to do basic signal processing) but the software itself is inherently designed for x86 chipsets. So even if you have a Scarlett 2i2 the drivers and/or Jack Audio(Linux based) they all are designed for x86 systems. So it may not even run or even detected by the DAW. Also even if it runs since there is no hardware optimizations on the compiled copy on ARM your Monitoring would be super awful in Latency and you may even run into signal processing bottlenecks that may render the Sample Rates unusable. That is my two cents opinion. Not trying to discourage you. But this sound to me like a huge headache that in the end will have no basic functionality.

pagenotfound
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:44 pm

Re: Pi 4 as a DAW? For recording instruments and vocals

Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:44 pm

I installed both Reaper and Ardour. They both run on the Pi3 and the Pi4. I think there should be no problems in terms of processing power if you use them for mixing and some effects. I have never tested them for recording, though. That's when problems with input devices and latency issues etc. tend to show up.

Unlike what a previous post said, the fact that these programs were originally written with X86 in mind is not necessarily a problem. Reaper has a build specifically for the Pi. Nice software, great community, price between zero and low (depending on your ethics), but closed source.

Ardour (open source) is great, too. The next major version will have full latency compensation everywhere, so that should be interesting.

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