About Gentoo Studio

Gentoo Studio is an actively maintained, source-based, 64-bit desktop real-time Linux audio production system based on Gentoo Linux. It is designed to allow users to have a broad range of audio applications out-of-the-box, and to allow a high level of customization not generally available to other Linux audio distributions – or to Windows or Mac, for that matter. An advantage of having Gentoo as the base for this distro is its package manager, Portage, which has a system of enabling/disabling compile-time options for applications. This means application binaries can be tailored to the user’s computer hardware and the user’s needs. This in turn means more efficient use of the computer’s resources, which is always helpful to running real-time audio applications.

While Gentoo Studio is not a commercial product – it is free – it is absolutely intended to be a full-fledged, professional audio production system for musicians, composers, audio engineers, computer music programmers, and anyone else needing an audio production system.

There is a sticky in the Multimedia section of forums.gentoo.org. (FGO.) Please post there if you need help or have any questions.

Before beginning an install, please make sure you are using a machine that does not contain any data you wish to keep, and that meets the following criteria:

  • 64-bit architecture. 32-bit installs are not supported by Gentoo Studio.
  • A modern, multi-core processor.
  • High-capacity hard disks with a rotation speed of at least 7200 RPM and/or solid-state drives.
  • As much RAM as you can manage.

Gentoo Studio comes with the following audio applications:

a2jmidid A daemon for exposing legacy ALSA MIDI applications to JACK2
ALSA Plugins Extra ALSA plugins
ALSA Tools Extra ALSA tools and loaders
ALSA Utils ALSA utilities such as alsactl and alsamixer
Ardour High-end digital audio workstation
Audacity Cross-platform audio editor
Cadence JACK control software
Calf Plugins Set of open-source instruments and effects
Carla Audio plugin host from KXStudio
ChucK Strongly-timed, concurrent, on-the-fly audio programming language
Distrho Ports Linux ports of Distrho plugins
DPF Plugins Collection of Delphi Plugin Framework-based plug-ins
Drumgizmo Open-source cross-platform drum plug-in and standalone application
DSSI-VST DSSI wrapper plug-in for Windows VSTs (vsthost)
EQ10Q LV2 parametric equalizer
FFMPEG Multimedia framework able to decode, encode, transcode, mux, demux, stream, filter and play pretty much anything
Fluidsynth Software real-time synth based on Soundfont2 specs
Frescobaldi Sheet music editor
Hydrogen Software stand-alone drum machine
IDJC Streaming audio client
JACK 2 Jack Audio Connection Kit, the audio subsystem around which Gentoo Studio revolves.
Jack Rack Effects rack for JACK
Jamin JACK mastering interface
JAPA Perceptual analyzer for JACK and ALSA
Linux Sampler Software audio sampler engine
LMMS Music production software
MuseScore WYSIWYG music score typesetter
PureData Real-time music/multimedia environment
Qjackctl Qt application to control JACK
Qsampler GUI front-end for Linux Sampler
Qtractor Audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer
Rosegarden Audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer and notation editor
Sequencer64 Minimal, loop-based MIDI sequencer
SMPlayer Linux media player with graphical front-end
SuperCollider Environment and programming language for real-time audio synthesis
SWH Plugins Collection of LADSPA audio plug-ins and effects
VLC Audio/video player and streamer

The system and desktop are built with:

Lightdm Lightweight display manager
 rt-sources Linux kernel with patches for running audio applications at high priorities in real time.
 USBUtils Provides lsusb, a utility needed to identify USB devices in a terminal.
Xfce4 Desktop environment. Some of the Xfce utilities are included, such as power manager and terminal.

Not supported by Gentoo Studio:

32-bit installs Only 64-bit architectures are supported by Gentoo Studio.
Gnome/KDE Monolithic desktops are resource hogs.
JACK1 Does not support multi-processor machines.
Pulseaudio Gentoo Studio’s audio system centers around ALSA and JACK. Use Pulseaudio at your own risk.
Screensavers Screensavers interrupt sessions and consume resources. If you need to leave your session unattended for a while, manually turn off the video monitor if you are concerned about it.
Streaming servers/radio stations Running a server of any kind is beyond the scope of Gentoo Studio.
Systemd  Gentoo Studio uses OpenRC.
Virtual machines Running a digital audio workstation in a VM is not a good idea.

Gentoo Studio is the brainchild of Damien J. Moody (a.k.a. audiodef), who owns the site and spends untold hours tweaking and refining this project out of love for Gentoo, music and audio. All of his personal works of music are done using Gentoo Studio. Gentoo Studio has existed in and evolved into various forms since 2007.

Fine Print

Gentoo Studio is not an official project of the Gentoo Foundation, of which I am a member. This site is maintained by me, Damien Moody, a.k.a. Audiodef. The Gentoo Foundation bears no responsibility for the content of this site. The Gentoo logo and Gentoo name are used according to the licensing guidelines set forth by the Gentoo Foundation. The name “Gentoo” and the “g” logo are currently trademarks of the Gentoo Foundation, Inc.The “g” logo in the background is a variant of the “Ripples Gentoo” logo found at http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/desktop/artwork/artwork.xml. This logo was modified under the CC-BY-SA license under which the Ripples Gentoo logo was published.