Installating a synthesizer on Linux

If you do not already have one you will need to install a softsynth like Fluidsynth or Timidity. If your system uses Pulse Audio, unfortunately, you may have some problems getting an audio synth it to work. Solving PulseAudio issues is however beyond the scope of this document. The instructions below have been tested successfully on Ubuntu 10.10.


Getting a MIDI synthesizer - Fluidsynth

Fluidsynth should be available from your distribution's repositories and may be run as Alsa daemon with this command :

# Adapt the path to the sound bank as needed! ´╗┐fluidsynth -a alsa -l --server -i /usr/share/sounds/sf2/FluidR3_GM.sf2


Getting a MIDI synthesizer - TiMidity

Timidity must be configured with flags :

./configure --enable-audio=alsa --enable-server --enable-alsaseq

And you also need a soundbank (many distros will ship FreePats in their repos). And finally run the synth as an Alsa daemon with commands (in the case of Timidity) :

timidity -iA -Os -EFreverb=0

-EFreverb=0 disables reverbering because it tends to cause problems, but you can leave that part out if you computer is very fast.
Unfortunately, if you use PulseAudio, there are known compatibility issues with the timidity daemon. In particular, running the Timidity daemon at startup as part of init.d seems to cause a lot of issues.

Newer versions of Aria have an item in the preferences that, if enabled, will make Aria automatically launch TiMidity and pick a port. This should make the process a little more enjoyable.