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42 of the Best Free Linux Audio Software

42 of the Best Free Linux Audio Software

There is an extensive amount of free audio software available on the Linux platform which is both mature and sophisticated. In fact, Linux has all the tools needed to be a serious contender in music production without a user having to venture into the commercial software world.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 42 high quality Linux audio applications, covering a broad range of different uses. Most of the titles included here are desktop applications sporting an attractive front-end, although we have not forgotten console software.

We intend to examine audio programming languages (both text and graphical based) in a future article, including the impressive Csound. We also will cover the commercial Linux audio scene in a later article. Software such as Transcribe! (transcribe recorded music), MuSing (rhythm maker), energyXT2 (music production) are likely to figure in that article.

It's worth mentioning that there are a number of Linux distributions that specialise in multimedia and digital content creation platforms. These include 64 Studio, DeMiDi, dyne:bolic and Ubuntu Studio. Besides packaging and configuring audio applications, these distros also typically feature a kernel that has been modified for intensive audio work, helping to reduce audio latency.

Now, let's explore the 42 audio applications at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Audio Players / Music Managers
Audacious Semi-lightweight audio player with a WinAmp/XMMS-like skinnable GUI
Amarok KDE audio player offering a wealth of features, yet intuitive to use
Banshee Music management and playback software for GNOME
BMPx Compact media player, the successor to the Beep Media Player
Exaile Music player aiming to be similar to KDE's Amarok, but for GTK+
JuK Jukebox and music manager for the KDE desktop
gmusicbrowser Jukebox for large collections of mp3/ogg/flac/mpc files
Listen Player which helps you to organize your music collection
Quod Libet Music management program
Rhythmbox Integrated music management application, originally inspired by Apple's iTunes
Songbird Provides a uniquely open approach to Internet digital media network services
Music Clients for the MPD (Music Player Daemon)
Ario GTK2 client
GMPC Optimised to work on low end machines and over slow networks
Sonata Lightweight GTK+ music client
Recording / Editing
Audacity Digital audio editor
Ardour Digital audio workstation program
Jokosher Simple yet powerful multi-track studio
Sweep Audio editor and live playback tool
Traverso DAW Multitrack audio recording and editing program
Composition & Music Notation
LilyPond Produce musical scores that are engraved with traditional layout rules
Rosegarden Sophisticated MIDI (and audio) sequencer and notation editor
MuseScore Graphical WYSIWYG music score typesetter
DJ Tools
Mixxx Digital DJ system, for wave, ogg and mp3 files
terminatorX Realtime audio synthesizer that allows you to "scratch"
Breakage Intelligent drum machine designed to play complex, live breakbeat performances
MusE Qt-based MIDI/audio sequencer
Qtractor Audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer written in C++ around the Qt4 toolkit
LMMS Alternative to popular (but commercial) programs like FL Studio, Cubase and Logic
Hydrogen Advanced drum machine
Seq24 Loop based MIDI sequencer
Synthesizers & Samplers
Fluidsynth Real-time software synthesizer based on the SoundFont 2 specifications
Bristol Emulation package for a number of different 'classic' synthesisers
LinuxSampler Professional grade software audio sampler
SooperLooper Live looping sampler
JAMin State-of-the-art realtime mastering processor
Kid3 Edit ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags in MP3 files in an efficient way
Sonic Visualiser Inspect and analyse the contents of music audio files
Sound Juicer Lean CD ripper using GTK+ and GStreamer
Streamripper Records shoutcast-compatible streams
Sound Servers / Daemons
JACK Low-latency audio server daemon
MPD Allows remote access for playing music and managing playlists
PulseAudio Networked sound server project

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Last Updated Saturday, April 25 2015 @ 03:02 PM EDT

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