Overtone, clojure, jackd, alsa in ubuntu 14.10

ok, this is a small dump of what I did, I'm surely missing some stuff and surely it won't work as is for you, but maybe it does and you are as happy as I'm right now generating noise (not as happy as anyone close to me at this moment).

all the things I think I installed:

sudo apt install alsa-tools alsaplayer-jack alsa-utils pulseaudio-module-jack supercollider jack-tools fftw3 qjackctl openjdk-8-jdk

yes, you can see the desperation there with some stuff that may not make sense, but at least it works..

you need to install leiningen, it's really easy and it has good instructions on the site so I won't go into details, just follow the instructions here: http://leiningen.org/

then I follow the instructions from overtone's wiki here:


before starting our repl and rocking like a hurricane we need to kill pulseaudio and start jack, it sounds easier than it is because pulseaudio just won't stay dead :(

the way I found to make it work was to edit pulseadio client.conf:

sudo vim /etc/pulse/client.conf

uncomment the line (remove the semicolon):

; autospawn = yes

and leaving it like this:

autospawn = no

I added myself to the audio group, not sure if it's required but just in case:

sudo adduser $USER audio

for this to take effect you need to logout and login again, to make sure you have the group, open a terminal and run:


you should see audio between some other groups, if you can't see it try rebooting or replacing $USER with your actual username in the adduser command.

now stop pulseaudio:

pulseaudio --kill

then start jackd, I tried all the combinations I could find on the internet without success, this is the one that worked for me:

jackd -R -d alsa -d hw:1

if that doesn't work try:

jackd -R -d alsa

or try the versions that are recommended on the overtone wiki:

jackd -r -d alsa -r 44100


jackd -r -d alsa -r 44100 -P

you can also try running qjackctl and play with the settings to see if you have luck.

now that we (hopefully) have jackd running, we can start playing with overtone, here is a small dump of a session:

lein new tutorial
cd tutorial

# add [overtone "0.9.1"] to :dependencies
vim project.clj

lein deps
lein repl

# inside the clojure repl
user=> (use 'overtone.live)
user=> (definst foo [] (saw 220))
#<instrument: foo>
user=> (foo)
#<synth-node[loading]: user/foo 35>
user=> (kill 35)

when you are done you can stop jackd from the ui or from the shell however you started it and start again pulseaudio:

pulseaudio --start

some additional note, when I'm using jackd I can't set the volume from the media keys or the sound mixer in the top planel, I run:


press F6, select the output I'm using and change it with the keys (ESC to close).

hope it's useful for someone.


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