[LAU] Linux mint for audio?

Edward Diehl diehl at umich.edu
Mon Feb 18 16:48:52 CET 2019

I'm using Mint 19.1 on a recent Dell 15" XPS laptop and my experience is
excellent for general use and good for pro audio.
I find to be Mint to be quite polished and supports this laptop very well.
What I particularly found impressive was:
I was able to install with Windows10 dual-boot effortlessly, no problem
with UEFI, secure boot, or GPT partition;
Out of the box support for using both Intel and Nvidia graphics card (nice
applet to switch between them)
Bluetooth works effortlessly (mouse, headset).
Laptop has touch-screen, which seems to be basically supported (can move
windows around, though I don't really use this feature).
All laptop buttons work (to control audio, screen, etc)

As far as audio goes I added kxstudio repositories so I have the full
audio suite.  There is a low-latency kernel available, so I use that.
I have turned off hyperthreading which I believe helped x-runs.  There
is a mint backup tool which I disabled immediately because it
gobbled a huge amount of CPU and disk space.  I have run some checks with
realtimeconfigquickscan script, though I did not do all
recommendations, maybe I should complete that.   Of course, when doing
audio I switch to performance mode on CPUs.

I have run Jack with both onboard audio and with a Komplete Audio 6
USB interface.  Both worked with no problems. Currently the setup is quite
adequate for mixing at high-latency, very few x-runs.  Low-latency work
still gets some x-runs, sometimes in bursts.  Clearly there process waking
up or something which causes x-runs.  Possibly things like networking.
Need to spend more time figuring this out.

What is impressive is that I am able to run Pianoteq at 48kHz, 64
frame/periods, 2 periods, 2.67ms using the USB midi connection on my
keyboard and the on-board audio with no x-runs.  I also play
soft-synths using Ardour as a host, but this does not work well so
far, many x-runs.

So I'm hoping with a little more tweaking to get rid of the x-runs
entirely.  Also I left a free partition so I may try some other distro.
AVLinux would have been my first choice, but unfortunately it
does not support GPT partitioning, so is essentially un-installable
(unless I revert to MBR)

Edward Diehl
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