Lakai logo
Tools for data exchange between a Linux PC and AKAI samplers
About | News | Downloads | Docs | API | Links | People | Brainstorming | Music | Misc


This page is supposed to present my views of what this project could or should evolve into. It's about how I came to think of this, what vision for the future I have, and why I am doing this. It's a mixture of facts and dreams, but I still hope you like some of the ideas - and, if so, you might want to join this project once I manage to get a first version out into the public and announce it on Sourceforge.

The beginning

My musical education is not really all that great - I learned to play an electric organ when I was 11 (back in '79), dropped the lessons after about three years when I started to discover computers and their fascinating abilities, and re-discovered musical instruments when I played on a Roland D-50 synthesizer at a local music instruments shop in my old home town, Stade.

That was in about 1988, and it changed a lot. Up until then, I just knew classic electric/electronic organs with their very own, typical sound (I still have the old Hohner Tivoli at home) and had just gotten a little impression of what synthesizers can do (the Korg DW8000 also had caught my attention about one year earlier).

But this was different! The sound of the D50 was so warm and smooth that it immediately amazed me, and I started planning on how I could afford that synthesizer (price at that time: about 3500,- Deutschmark). One year later, in summer of 1989, I had a job at the local mail office where I washed cars for 4 weeks. That earned me a lot of money, and right after the job, in September 1989, I drove to Hamburg to buy a D50 for 3200,- Deutschmarks. I loved (and still love) it, but I also realized that it cannot do any reasonably usable drums - so the next logical step was to arrange some MIDI eqipment (my old Amiga 500 at that time) and use the computer for drum sounds - very poor, I might add.

One year later I again earned some money and could afford my first expander - a Korg M3r (smaller rack version of the famous M1 with fewer smaple ROM). Now I had everything I needed for making music - but no more time to do so because my studies of computer science, which began in October of '89, caught most of my attention.


Today my equipment looks like this: There are certain synthesizers/controllers and other cool products on the market I've thrown an eye on, but couldn't yet make up my mind to actually buy.


This is my vision: I want to make music where I am able to control each and every step of the creative process, even if this means going through lots of text-based tools, shell scripts, cumbersome programs or whatever.

I do not like Windows. It gives me problems, it does not let me easily find the possible reason for problems, it appears much more unstable to me than Linux, and it's less flexible - most of the application for it are supposed to be used with the mouse, but a good terminal emulator and a bunch of tools can be much more powerful and flexible.

Obviously, my operating system of choice is Linux (as it has been for the last 6 years). Also, the software that I want to use with it should (wherever possible) be Open-Source software. I do understand that commercial companies cannot hand out the source of their valuable products, but they also have to understand that I prefer software that I can debug myself if I feel the need to do so.

The person who is going to make music this way will have to be not only creative, but also a well-experienced Linux user to make full use of the potential of the system. I can imagine that this will block your creativity sometimes, but once you dominate the system (and not the other way around), you have fantastic possibilities which are much more flexible than a standard sound software package for a commercial operating system.

This is the process I imagine:

Sound sources

They represent the start of your project - besides a creative idea to produce a certain type of music piece.

I see these possible sound source:

Sound processing

Using tools or applications from this stage of the process, you modify the sounds you have got so far and prepare them for optimal playback.

I see:

MIDI sequencing

Here is where you enter your musical score, be it by live recording of MIDI events, direct sampling of an instrument you play (guitar, flute, whatever), by using single-step entering of data into piano roll-type editors, by using drums pattern editors, by writing .sco files for csound or whatever else.

I see:

Playing and recording

In this phase you are ready to play your composition - either for the purpose of recording it on tape, sampler, etc, or for playing it to live audience. I'll stick with the recording part for now.


This is a chapter I have only little knowledge about so far - I know it's about things like "getting more loudness out of your signal" by using compressors. It's also about surround sound editing - another chapter I'd like to know a lot more about but still have to read.

Burning Audio CDs

To create an audio CD, everything one needs should already be there: Get a decent CD writer and use a combo like cdrecord or cdrdao together with a decent GUI like XCDRoast or GCDmaster to write your own audio CDs.


The times are changing, and we all see the increasing need for other distribution ways of music than just through CDs. MP3 is well-known, and with a good encoder (I tried gogo and lame, and was quite happy with them when I turned on the 'Variable Bitrate' option) you can easily create small, portable and good representations of your artwork.

Of course, an even better way is to go for Ogg/Vorbis, another lossy audio compression system comparable to MP3, but without any licensing issues attached to it.

No matter how you create your music pieces, in the end, you put them onto your homepage or get it into some archive like to become famous&rich. :-)


Copyright © 2002-2004 Frank Neumann (franky at users dot sourceforge dot net)
Last changed: Sun Feb 8 2004