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I am primarily a Windows user but I have recently started using Linux more frequently. On Windows I use Steinberg Cubase to sequence music. Cubase is a digital audio workstation (DAW) with a variety of features, such as:

  • VSTi support
  • audio sample/loop editor
  • mixing console with built in effects and VST effect support
  • support for external USB/midi controllers

There are many additional features, however the above constitutes the core feature set that I need for what I do. Are there any Linux equivalents that support at least the above feature set?

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Take a look at LMMS (Linux Multi-Media Studio). This project begun as a clone of the popular windows software FL Studio. I have been using both a few years ago, and LMMS was still having a lot to catch up with. It has support for most of the basic plugins and features already present in FL Studio, which are VSTi plugins. Also, it supports the FL Studio file formats, although I'd recommend not to work on the same project files with both FL Studio and LMMS if you have the two of them installed, or at least backup before opening with the other editor.

Basically, if you are familiar with FL Studio, it has quite similar beat sequencer, playlist mixer and sample editor, so it should correspond to your second and third points.

As the LMMS site says, it has support for the following stuff:

  • Song-Editor for composing songs
  • A Beat+Bassline-Editor for creating beats and basslines
  • An easy-to-use Piano-Roll for editing patterns and melodies
  • An FX mixer with 64 FX channels and arbitrary number of effects allow unlimited mixing possibilities
  • Many powerful instrument and effect plugins out of the box
  • Full user-defined track-based automation and computer-controlled automation sources
  • Compatible with many standards such as SoundFont2, VST(i), LADSPA, GUS Patches, and MIDI
  • Import of MIDI files, Hydrogen project files and FL Studio ® project files

From the above said, I have not used any external MIDI device, so I cannot say if the USB support is available and properly working. Anyway, it seems it will certainly fit your first 3 requirements.

1

If you have hardware instruments and need powerful editing tools, use Audacity (and download Sweep just for the extra close to 200 editing effects). If you need virtual instruments, but don't require much editing, use LMMS. I don't think it would work, but you could try FL Studio on Wine (Wine runs Windows programs on Linux).

  • As you mentioned wine, I was wondering would it be a good alternative on Linux to run a virtual Windows OS with FL Studio on it? I have never tried this personally, but I can hardly see any obstacles to doing so. Maybe the performance will not be good enough – Ivaylo Slavov May 26 '15 at 13:37
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    The advantages would be that all Windows programs would work without certain functions breaking, since WINE was not created by Microsoft, and has not caught up with Microsoft. On the other hand, running the virtual OS would affect the performance on both systems, Linux and Windows, and would take longer to access and run. It depends on your opinion. – asher drummond May 29 '15 at 0:13
  • Indeed, sometimes FL seems to be too CPU-intensive, and I doubt it will perform well on a virtual OS unless the hardware is a serious one. Still it is probably the better option than wine, if the core OS is Linux. I am still using dual boot as this is the most suitable performance-wise for me. It is just that sometimes I need to do something on Linux while I have booted the Windows OS, and that's inconvenient. Thanks for responding :) – Ivaylo Slavov May 29 '15 at 6:42

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