My FSOSS 2015 Presentation

•November 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This is my presentation for FSOSS (Free Software and Open Source Symposium) held at Seneca College in October 2015. It deals with explaining how to use Linux OS and open source applications to setup and use a Keyboard “rig” for live performances.

This “rig” is the actual one I use for my live performances. I estimate it the entire hardware and software solution cost me under $300.

Netflix Works in Ubuntu 14.10 in Google Chrome

•November 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Netlfix now works easily in Ubuntu 14.10 using Google Chrome!

Just remember to manually install Google Chrome (eg. *deb file) since Chromium does not work with Netflix.

Here is proof that Netflix works from screen-shot above.

Like I say, Ubuntu (including Ubuntu variants like mine – Ubuntu Studio 14.10) just keeps on getting better and better!




•November 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

One last indulgence of posting another composition of mine….

This one I created in 1987-1988.
I recall I used an Alesis Sequencer and a Yahama rackmount (TX81Z). I recorded it on Mike Kealey’s multitrack tape recorder. I may not have needed more then 1 track.
No drums, entirely keyboards.

It had no name, so as of today and forever, it will be known as “Thresholds”, no reason, just “Thresholds”

mp3 (only) link:

Murray Saul


•November 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Above is a link to a Youtube video a musical composition I did myself around 1989. I stumbled upon the tape tonight after a 25 year hybernation (totally forgot about it!). I digitized the song from tape and cleaned it up (removed tape hiss, used compression, etc).

I recall that I was alone and bored one friday night, so I sneaked into my room-mate’s bedroom (when he was down in Kingston) and used his TASCAM 644 4-track tape recorder, a Boss Drum machine (DR-550) his synth (Roland U20 which I still play to this very day), my synth (Yamaha DX27), and his effects box to compose this song. Composed of entirely keyboards and drum machine. You can hear the fluctuating notes building (like the enterprize’s warp engines) by me using a Yamaha breath controller. It is amazing that my head didn’t explode in the process…

Sounds like “house” music, but I really wasn’t into that so it was a fluke, although I do like “atmospheric” stuff. So after 25 years sitting in a box, let me introduce you to a tune I just called “Scarb-Isolation” (since I was living as a bachelor in Scarborough Ontario)…

Direct mp3 link (better sound than video):

Murray Saul

My Musical Journey

•October 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Here is a Youtube video of a presentation that I did for the Free Software and Open Source Symposium at Seneca College Thursday October 23, 2014. It basically traces my passion for music and use of free Linux applications for recording and performing live…

Shell Scripting Solves Jack Audio Complexity

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

One of my friends retired from teaching music a few years ago. He was not very computer savvy… period. When I mentioned to his spouse that I would setup a Linux system for him for recording, she stated, “Forget it, he will never use it…”

But he does (nearly every day!). The trick is taking a flexible but overwhelming system like Jack Audio in Linux and gluing it together using Shell scripting. Here is a screen capture of a simple dialog box to select the type of recording session with a running shell script using the zenity command:

Startup Menu for Type of Recording Session

Here is a link to my shell script in case anyone wants to “tinker”. It is specific for my SIAB (Studio in a box) hardware, but enough information for some to use as a rough guideline:

[ Shell Script Sample ]

When anyone “slams” Linux for lack of music recording capability, they are not entirely correct – I just takes some time and some scripting knowledge to tie it up into a “bow”. If people want to steer clear of Linux that is their choice. My choice is to use it, save tons of money and produce awesome music 🙂

Murray Saul

Ubuntu Studio Grows Stronger Everyday

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I am very impressed with Ubuntu Studio 14.04! After many years of struggling to get my notebook and desktops to meet my demands, I no longer struggle when using this Ubuntu distribution. I find more freedom and possibilities using this distribution for music recording (this includes vst-host for windows dlls!).

Here is a screen-capture of my 3 monitor setup running the various recording apps:

Screen Capture of my Ubuntu Studio Setup

I finally abandoned Ninjam (wineasio was a constant pain!) and switched to “jammr” ( I am using “cairo-dock” in the XFCE4 desktop (removing the main XFCE panel). I find XFCE4 a better environment to work in (and have used GNOME and KDE for years). I can use compiz in XFCE4, and am pleased to see that wobbly windows and other compiz effects finally work without doing a complicated song and dance!

One Big Paper-Clip

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

One Big Paper-Clip

I once used a volume control pedal for the band I play in, but it broke a few years ago…

A small “toothed strip of plastic” broke-off from the main pedal, and it didn’t look like it would be easy to repair. After going to several music stores, I was informed that a replacement unit would cost between $80 and $100. I decided to try to repair the unit. To be more accurate (and honest), it turns out I “waffled” between repairing and buying a new pedal for a couple of years…

This weekend, I screwed up my courage to repair the pedal while saving $100. This was easier said than done!

First, I crazy-glued the base of the broken piece, but it didn’t hold (strike 1!). I then tried to “knock out” the small metal pin holding a portion of the broken plastic strip from its base (with a hammer and nail) in order to re-drill and reattach the “toothed stip”, but one side of the rotating base broke-off (strike 2!).

As a “last ditch attempt”, I broke-off the other base, drilled a tiny hole at the bottom of the plastic strip and then drilled two holes beside where the toothed strip was to be attached to the pedal base. I found a BIG paperclip, straightened it out, fed it through the based of the plastic strip, made a 90 degree bend on both sides, fed both wires through the holes in the base pedal and simply secured the wire ends to “clip onto” the base pedal (home run!). It isn’t the “pride of Muskoka”, but it works, and very well I might add…

One BIG paperclip, 5 minutes of labour, and now I can use my volume pedal! There must be a little “Mcgiver” in me waiting to get out!


Murray Saul

I’m Loving It…

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I'm Loving It...

Portable Keyboard stand (quite stable): $24 (Long & McQuade)
2 Laminate Flooring Samples: Free (Home Depot)
Bottom Keyboard: (24 year old roland u20 – loaned from my bandmate)
Upper Keyboard controller (maudio axiom49): Free (Given to me by colleague)
Maudio Uno Midi-to-USB adaptor: $40 (Long & McQuade)
Netbook Computer (Acer Aspire One): $100 (5 years old, wasn’t being used)
Chair: $4.99 (XS Cargo)
OS: Free (Linux – Ubuntu Studio 13.10)
Software:Free (Jack Audio, Qsynth, setBfree)

Total Cost: $170 (although $70 for me since netbook computer was just “sitting around”)

Not listening to “music experts” that state you MUST spend thousands of dollars on dual keyboard ($2400), expensive dual layer keyboard stands ($500 – $800), and expensive software solutions ($300 – $2400) to play live (which I have done with the “Linux” solution – for “years”):


Come together

•February 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rare video of my daughter singing with the band I play in. You can see me “groovin'” in the background on keyboards. This was a gig we did on Feb 1st 2014 in Kingston Ontario during a terrible snow storm, but you can’t tell from the crowd’s response at the end 🙂

Best heard with headphones…

Peace out…