Hydrogen – The GNU Drum Machine

April 10, 2009 at 9:10 pm (Audio / Video, linux apps) (, , , , , , )

We just composed some music in the previous article, and it’s time to beat some drums now. Hydrogen is a cool program —— you don’t need to know anything about music to enjoy it ! (like me). It gives you the ability to compose tracks of drum beats, like what you find in a usual song, the tracks may be repeated again and mixed with other tracks given in the timeline to produce the final track. It has a eye-catching GUI too. The version 0.9.3 which i’m using (which is also the last stable edition), uses best out of Qt 3.

Hydrogen 0.9.3 running on Qt 3.3.8 on FC9

Hydrogen 0.9.3 running on Qt 3.3.8 on FC9

According to their homepage, features of the Version 0.9.3 are;


  • Very user-friendly, modular, fast and intuitive graphical interface based on QT 3.

  • Sample-based stereo audio engine, with import of sound samples in .wav, .au and .aiff formats.

  • Support of samples in compressed FLAC file.

Sequencer and mixer

  • Pattern-based sequencer, with unlimited number of patterns and ability to chain patterns into a song.

  • Up to 64 ticks per pattern with individual level per event and variable pattern length.

  • 32 instrument tracks with volume, mute, solo, pan capabilities.

  • Multi layer support for instruments (up to 16 samples for each instrument).

  • Ability to import/export song files.

  • Unique human velocity, human time, pitch and swing functions.

  • Multiple patterns playing at once.


  • JACK, ALSA, PortAudio and OSS audio drivers.

  • ALSA MIDI and PortMidi input with assignable midi-in channel (1..16, ALL).

  • Import/export of drumkits.

  • Export song to wav file.

  • Export song to midi file.


********You can download the source from here. Typing in the command line, inside the source directory (after extracting),

./configure && make && sudo make install

should install the program, you can always see my article on “compiling from source” if necessary.

*********Without using the source, you can use already available binaries. It’s so popular that your distro will have a pre-compiled binary. Type,

apt-get hydrogen (for debian-based systems (ex: ubuntu))

yum install hydrogen (for red hat, mandriva, suse linux)

should install version 0.9.3

Dependencies: Notable dependencies are:  alsa,qt3,raptor,flac,sndfile,lrdf

Importing drum kits

.h2drumkit files importing

.h2drumkit files importing

You can download drum kits from the sourceforege page. After downloading, you start hydrogen, click view on the menu bar tab, and click on the drumkit manager, so the following dialog box appears. Click on the import tab, and browse for the .h2drumkit file you have downloaded. Click on the load tab and select and load your new drumkit.

Development version (0.9.4 beta 3)

The beta version 0.9.4 uses Qt 4.4, but i’m unable to install it as my Qt is 4.3. (+ only source is available for the fedora, and it uses scons to compile the program, which cannot differentiate my Qt4.3.4 from Qt 3.3.8 and I know nothing about editing scons files), anyway I won’t be positive about a yet beta stage edition. You can download it here.

A help on how to install is given in this page.

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LMMS (Linux Multimedia Studio) – a FL Studio like FOSS program

April 9, 2009 at 9:05 pm (Audio / Video, linux apps) (, , , , , )

It’s been a long time since I have written a post. Past several weeks has been busy, writing course works, as I’m a chemical engineering undergraduate too. To break off the frost, we’ll start from some MUSIC! What I have here today is a fruity – loops ( the commercial music editor for song tracks) like song/melody editor for Linux, with the full swing! Can you believe it? This is the best use of Qt 4 (GUI library) I have yet seen, and the core is written in C++ makes it heavily powerful and versatile over the other Java opponents. Creation of melodies and beats, the synthesis and mixing of sounds are some of the best wanted features of this program.

LMMS 0.4.0 - RC3 running on Qt 4.3.4 on Fedora 9

LMMS 0.4.0 - RC3 running on Qt 4.3.4 on Fedora 9

I’m not that good at music, and I don’t understand the proper use of controls —– but I can still have some fun ! The current version is 0.4.3, but what I have installed in my Fedora 9 is 0.4.0 about an year ago. It’s obvious that the new one should be better!

According to the LMMS homepage, the features of the program are (Version 0.4.3),

  • 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 full MIDI support

  • Import of MIDI and FLP (Fruityloops® Project) files

Another view with more controls

Another view with more controls

An unbeleivable LADSPA plugin browser (click to zoom)

An unbeleivable LADSPA plugin browser (click to zoom)

Installing LMMS

****I recommend installing from the source as I have done (except for ubuntu and mandriva users). The source for the LMMS is to be compiled from Cmake. You can download it from this link. You can see my tutorial on compiling from source, or see the INSTALL file on the source folder. It reads: go to the source folder in the command line (use CD command) and type,

mkdir build

cd build


make && sudo make install

*****Without doing this , you can use the pre-compiled binaries. For ubuntu people,

apt-get lmms should do.

RPM’s are there for mandriva people. Check out www.rpmfind.net or use yum.

yum install lmms should do.


JACK, vorbis, ogg, alsa, SDL, samplerate, sndfile, WINE, stk, fluidsynth . If you’re compiling from the source, you need the development packages (ex: SDL-devel) too. You don’t need to worry about these if you’re using apt-get, yum or package-manager which will do this (solving dependencies) automatically for you.

*****NOTE: Hydrogen is much similar program to fruity loops, and i’m yet to compile it. Will tell you people as soon as i’ve done it (have time to do it). You can check out their homepage till then.

P.S: I’ve created the hydrogen post now. You can visit it here.

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