Recording an Audio Track in Rosegarden from Qsynth, Using JACK

Open a Rosegarden sequence-editor file you normally play with Qsynth, or create a new Rosegarden sequence file for recording your audio files into.

Right-click on the track-title of an unused track, and choose “Audio”, and “Audio #1” from the pop-up menu (you can choose whatever number you want – it doesn't have to be 1). You probably want to also double-click on the track-title, and name the audio track.

If it's not already selected, click on it to select it. Scroll-down the left (Special Parameters) pane to make the “Instrument Parameters” visible.

Click on the track's “Record on this track” indicator-light to arm the track for recording. Where it is an audio track (rather than a MIDI track), it turns an orange color (instead of yellow).

In the instrument parameters (in the left pane), there are two vertical sliders. The left one (with a red color) is the record level setting. The right one (with a blue color) is the output setting.

So at this point, the audio track is more or less ready for recording. Now we need to connect the proper audio output ports to the proper audio input ports. To do this, click on the “Connect” button in the JACK (Qjackctl) window.

Click on the “Audio” tab of the Connections window of JACK (Qjackctl) that appears.

Now, take a look at the existing connections already set up for you, trying to understand what is currently connect to what. Then, click the “Disconnect All” button so we don't have a bunch of extra connections to confuse us.

In the left pane of the Connections window (Readable Clients / Output Ports), expand the “qsynth” item, and the “rosegarden” item. You do this by left-clicking on each of them.

In the right pane of the Connections window (Writable Clients / Input Ports), expand the “rosegarden” item, and the “system” item.

What we need to do, is connect the qsynth left & right output ports to the rosegarden “record in 1” left and right ports. We also need to connect the rosegarden “master out” left & right output ports to the system “playback” 1 & 2 input ports. Likewise, we need to connect the rosegarden “record monitor out” left & right output ports to the system “playback” 1 & 2 input ports. Here's how to do it:

  1. Click on the qsynth “l_00” port (in the left pane) to select it.

  2. Click on the rosegarden “Record in 1 L” port (in the right pane) to select it.

  3. Click the “Connect” button (bottom-left) to connect the two ports.

  4. Click on the qsynth “r_00” port (in the left pane) to select it.

  5. Click on the rosegarden “Record in 1 R” port (in the right pane) to select it.

  6. Click the “Connect” button (bottom-left) to connect the two ports.

  7. Click on the rosegarden “master out L” port (in the left pane) to select it.

  8. Click on the system “playback_1” port (in the right pane) to select it.

  9. Click the “Connect” button (bottom-left) to connect the two ports.

  10. Click on the rosegarden “master out R” port (in the left pane) to select it.

  11. Click on the system “playback_2” port (in the right pane) to select it.

  12. Click the “Connect” button (bottom-left) to connect the two ports.

  13. Click on the rosegarden “record monitor out L” port (in the left pane) to select it.

  14. Click on the system “playback_1” port (in the right pane) to select it.

  15. Click the “Connect” button (bottom-left) to connect the two ports.

  16. Click on the rosegarden “record monitor out R” port (in the left pane) to select it.

  17. Click on the system “playback_2” port (in the right pane) to select it.

  18. Click the “Connect” button (bottom-left) to connect the two ports.

I know that is a lot of steps, but basically you just keep in mind what needs to be connected to what, and realize there is a left & right port for each audio connection.

Qsynth normally connects to the system playback channels, but we want to connect it to Rosegarden's “record in 1” channels. Note that in the Rosegarden window, the audio track's input is “In 1”, and its output is “Master”. During the recording, we want to hear what is happening, so we want to connect Rosegarden's “record monitor out” ports to the system playback ports.

Here's what the connection window looked like on one of my systems (please excuse my unusual customized color scheme):




With the connections above, it successfully recorded the track, and did not require an external amplifier, nor a wire connection from the sound card output back to the soundcard input plug.

Okay, now, with the necessary connections made, it should record. We'll try a short recording first.

In the Rosegarden window, click the “Record” button. The playback position line should start moving, and you should hear your MIDI tracks (if any) play. If you're recording what you play on the KeyMusician Keyboard, click on the KeyMusician Keyboard dialog (to give it keyboard focus), and start playing. If you're recording from the MIDI player (outputting to Qsynth), start its playback.

After about 6 measures go by, press the “Stop” button. A wave-form should appear in the audio track, something like this:




If all that appears in the audio track is a flat line, it didn't record, which means something is not connected right. If the waveform appears, we should be able to play it back. Click the “Rewind to beginning” button, and then click the “Mute all Tracks” button near the right end of the top toolbar. Then un-mute ONLY the audio track by clicking its (blue) indicator-light, which should turn it light-blue.

Then click the “Play” button. You should hear the recorded audio track, which will end suddenly at the point the recording was stopped. Stop the playback, and rewind to the beginning.

If the volume levels weren't right, adjust the record-level slider in the instrument parameters, and try the short recording again (after deleting (or un-do-ing) you prior recording).

Assuming the record-levels were okay, the recorded audio segment you just made was useful only for demonstrating that recording is working, so delete it by right-clicking on the audio segment, and choosing “Delete” from the pop-up menu.

Now (if the MIDI tracks playing to Qsynth are part of the sequence file), we need to un-mute the MIDI tracks so that they again transmit to Qsynth (which in-turn sends audio to the In-1 record channel).

We should be ready now, so start recording by clicking the “Record” button. Start playing (if you're recording live from the KeyMusician Keyboard, or start the MIDI player playback, as you did before.

You should hear it playing, but (unless you have a really fast machine) no wave-form will appear in the audio track until after we stop it at the end of the piece.

Keep watching and listening to the recording process. When it gets to the end of the piece (and the music stops), press the “Stop” button (in Rosegarden). After the recording stops, the wave-form should appear in the audio track segment.

Click the “Save” button to save what you have recorded, then listen to the recorded audio track the same way we did above, namely, mute all the tracks, un-mute the audio track, rewind to the beginning, and press “Play”.

Listen to it carefully. If it's not too soft, and not too loud (causes distortion, or clicks where the too-loud wave was clipped), you're done recording, and everything is fine. Otherwise, you'll have to adjust the record-level slider up, or down, and re-record. Remember to un-mute any MIDI-tracks before re-recording, or you'll be wondering why you don't get a waveform in the audio track after stopping the recording.

The final step after recording, is to rewind to the beginning, click the “Unmute all Tracks” button, then mute just the MIDI tracks (if used) by clicking on its blue indicator-light in the audio-track title area (which turns it dark-blue). Also, click the audio track's “Record on this track” indicator light, turning it from orange to dark red. After doing all this, click the “Save” button.

If you're going to do more MIDI work in Rosegarden, you'll need to restore the JACK connections to how they were before.

Probably the easiest, and most reliable way to do this, is to take down (terminate) Rosegarden, Qsynth, and JACK. Then restart them (in the opposite order).

Back to Index