[Poll] What Platform are you using TidalCycles on?

Thanks @yaxu for the tips !

I'm using ubuntu studio 19.10 on my desktop/main machine and Tidal/Haskell install, etc., very smooth. I also have a Windows 10 laptop and a driver install for something else appears to have borked it, so for likely the first time in my life, I can say that a Linux install/maintenance was/is infinitely easier than Windows.

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I use Arch Linux, which I love, but if audio were what I primarily did I would likely switch to something else. Any kind of complex audio setup on Arch has always been a pain to setup and maintain in my experience, it's clearly not the distro's top priority.

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For tidal stuff, which so far has been a for fun pastime, I use a Lenovo Yoga 920 - I'm a tightarse, and it was the best spec vs price thing I could find by far. Amazing battery, 16GB ram, i7, thin and light, but a little bigger screen than I was after @ 13.9" but I've been really happy with it anyway.

My main DAW system in my home studio is an old optiplex 990 junker from 2011, it recently got a ram upgrade to 16GB from 8, it has a spindle disk which has so far done a fine job. This has an old scarlett focusrite 8i8 interface hooked up for midi/guitar/mic input and the whole setup generally doesn't move.

I've played one show that involved computer interfacing, it was using guitar/bass/keys into sooperlooper and controlled by a novation launchpad mini - I did this show in 2019, and used a 10 year old Dell Latitude D430 connected to another old m-audio fast-track usb interface running through a 500 seat auditorium soundsystem - it was all fine. The 2GB ram maximum is the biggest issue with these, but if there's limited RAM use required they are a reliable and cheap thing to grab.

In short, provided the hardware can handle the processing, you can really use anything :slight_smile:

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nicely said indeed !

Raspberry Pi 4, with patchbox OS, which saved a lot of configuration. It took about a week to get working even so, but so very satisfying to successfully finish the install!


Hi @mattviveier - apologies I meant to come back to this reply, I'm really interested!

Around the same time you posted I ran into a random tweet or post (which I haven't been able to find again) talking about Mads Kjeldgaard and another name I'm not familiar with getting tidalcycles going on a RPi4 - was that you?

PS I see we've had a massive influx of OSX users since I last checked in, and a couple of WSL users too - very cool!

Running on Gentoo Linux, which made things a lot easier, tbh.

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Gentoo! Very interesting, I haven't used it in a decade or more - I was always a big fan of it's source based approach for really getting into the nuts and bolts of the pieces.

I also remember the days whenever any linux-ey problem/ question would lead you to the gentoo knowledge base, but that seems to have been superseded by Arch at some point, and now I seem to find myself on stackoverflow sites a lot.

I'm genuinely curious if you don't mind going into some detail, what was it about Gentoo that made the tidal install easier?

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My main machine is currently a 2015 MacBook Pro.

In the past I've run Tidal very successfully on Windows 7/10 and Thinkpads. However the audio routing options were too painful to keep using Windows.

I really, really want to break free of Windows and MacOS, but I lean very heavily on proprietary software that I love to use and that I've struggled to get to work on Linux. I can see myself breaking out of OSX/Windows if I can transition away from MIDI synths to a more sample-based workflow with Tidal. I'm quite comfortable with Linux but it is just a mismatch with my creative tools right now.


Same here!
I have been using an Early 2011 MacBook Pro and it is running without the dGPU (something got broken a little before Christmas).
I would love to get something new but I do not want to spend so much for a Apple laptop and I do not want to give up on my tools, although I really do not understand how it is possible that they've got without Linux support up until now.

Possible options I've been thinking about:

  1. going WSL: I have tried in on my work laptop and it does what it should. The bummer is that it does not come with GUI but if all you need is to run terminal-based apps then it should not be a problem. The question then becomes how the audio thingies work.
  2. running Tidal on Raspberry PI (as @mattviveier wrote) so to have a super portable live coding set up, then recording excerpts and interesting situations and processing them somewhere else making use of ad-hoc techniques to mix them, e.g. xenochrony.
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My main machine I use for producing my videos is a 2010 iMac /w Ubuntu Studio + the KxStudio repos on it. I also have a few very old Macbooks that I produce on when I want to be a bit more mobile. (none of these Macs are purchased by me, they're machines I've inherited cause they're old or became personal property when my workplace was bought out) I also have Ubuntu Studio installed on a Lenovo ThinkPad and my desktop when I need to do really intensive stuff. There are a few burner laptops I've got for my side business that run Void Linux.

I bounce between using Tidal on all of these and my cloud instance of SuperTideBox (docker container for running SuperDirt+TidalCycles) and it all seems to work ok as long as I'm using a dedicated external audio interface (either my Zoom H5 for my RME Babyface).

I will say that the Cadence suite has SERIOUSLY streamlined my audio setup and I highly recommend it to anyone who does audio stuff on Linux or uses JACK at all. Being able to start and auto-connect JACK and all my audio apps with the press of a button reliably is really a game-changer.


I've generally found Gentoo a super clean interface for dealing with linux-y problems that lets you form your own opinion about what you want to do. This meant that I was able to install ghc from source into the system path and then do the cabal install into my user directory without any fuss.

Of course, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from doing this in any other distro, but I found it super straightforward to do with Gentoo - when I tried to do the same thing in Arch, I ended up with a ton of conflicts, path mismatches, etc. Granted it's been a few years since I've tried to do it on Arch, but I've generally found Arch's opinions to be really good up until the point that they break, at which point it becomes very difficult to untangle what's going on. GHC was generally the biggest culprit, and my xmonad configuration exploded more times that I can count after a pacman -Syu.

I haven't used Debian/Ubuntu in almost a decade, so I can't speak to those, but I generally didn't like them, and RHEL is fine, but it's buttoned up and not really good for exploratory/experimental dev like we do here.

Fwiw, I do linux dev as my job, so I didn't find the system knowledge requirement for gentoo to be a hindrance, and I built a threadripper PC to make compilation as fast as doing an apt-get. So, yeah, I think it's great, and not-fussy, but I can understand why people wouldn't like it or think it a strange choice.

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I tried Cadence and its related apps on Arch Manjaro last year and it was a terrible experience that made me never want to use Linux again. It kept shouting: "haha you can't figure out how to use me!" and then would cackle each time it displayed one of eight obtrusive modal warning boxes. Hoping to get it working on a Debian distro soon.


If you want something simple - Qjackctl is very straightforward and is what I've been using for years.


Thanks @John_Murphy. I have used Qjackctl quite a bit and it is very reliable. I am hoping to use Cadence and Carla so that I can use my Windows VSTs. I haven't found a way to use VSTs without Carla or without a specific Linux DAW that supports them.

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Ah, that's the rub. I've given up on using windows VSTs in Linux.

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Ha, yeah that'll definitely help - at the time I last used it, I was using an Athlon XP iirc and any compilation worth it's salt was an overnight affair minimum...

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FYI I know Carla is now being packaged/distributed by default in Ubuntu Studio 20.04 - which also now has official Long Term Support for the release.

Cadence I'm unfamiliar with though -