Jokosher User Guide

Written by Jono Bacon and the Jokosher Documentation Team

Version 0.1 for Jokosher v0.1

This guide is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2. Feel free to redistribute, copy and modify this guide within the remit of the license. In fact, if something looks wrong or could be better explained, write it and send it to us. See the Jokosher Getting Involved page for details.

CONTENTS

  1. Welcome!
  2. Getting Started
  3. The Main Jokosher Window
  4. The Workspaces

Welcome to the start of an exciting journey!

Jokosher is a simple to use, yet devilishly powerful Open Source audio workstation. With it you can create and record music, audio and other projects. Jokosher has been specifically designed around ease of use and helping you to ignore the software and concentrate on your projects. We have taken every step to make it as intuitive as possible, but naturally a user guide is always helpful in explaining the specifics. This is that user guide.

Jokosher is an organic piece of software and grows and improves gradually. Due to its Open Source foundation, different people from all over the world work on it to make it the best tool for creating audio and music easily. Likewise, this guide reflects that organic nature and also grows naturally. This guide presents you with a complete guide to the features and facilities available in Jokosher. As each new release pops its head over the horizon, this guide will explain the awesome new features you can use.

Like any Open Source project, Jokosher and this guide needs your help. Invariably in most Open Source projects, the documentation always falls behind and does not track the progress of the application it is documenting. We really, really don’t want this to happen with Jokosher. Our lovingly crafted Jokosher is made for musicians, and we want it to be simple and easy to use, and this guide plays an essential role. If something is incorrect, outdated or just plain broken, roll up your sleeves and fix it. It will be a great contribution to this important project.

Getting Started

Fire up Jokosher by selecting Applications->Sound & Video->Jokosher.

When Jokosher starts, you see the Welcome dialog shown in Figure 2-1:

Welcome dialog

Figure 2-1
The Welcome dialog box

The welcome dialog has a number of different facilities:

  • Recent Projects - the list of recent projects provide a simple means of accessing your most recent projects, with the most recent ones at the top. To load a project just double-click it.
  • Create a New Project - click this button to create a new Jokosher project. See Creating a New Jokosher Project below.
  • Browse for an Existing Project - this button pops up a file dialog box to allow you to find an existing project file on your computer. See Opening Jokosher Projects below.
  • Preferences - clicking this button displays the main Jokosher preferences window.
  • Quit - click this to exit out of Jokosher.

You know, some people really hate welcome dialogs like this, so we plonked a nice fat Don’t show this on start-up tickbox. Tick it to never be pestered by the welcome dialog again. There are a few cool things you can configure for Jokosher start-up, see Configuring Jokosher Preferences for the juicy bits.

So, which option did you pick? Well, lets run through them…

Creating a New Jokosher Project

You can create project by either selecting the Create a New Project button from the welcome dialog or by clicking File->New Project in the main window.

A dialog box then appears and you are asked for some details:

  • Project Name - enter a name for the project here. This is most likely going to be the song title or podcast title.
  • Folder - select a folder where your project is held. Please note that the folder you select will have a new directory created for it. So, as an example, if you select /home/bob/projects for this option and your Project Name is Booya, a directory called booya inside /home/bob/projects will be created.
  • Author - enter your name or the name of your band in this box. This is the author of the project.

When you have added these details, click the OK button to continue.

If this is your first time using Jokosher, jump to The Main Jokosher Window.

Opening Jokosher Projects

You can open existing projects by either selecting Browse for an Existing Project from the welcome dialog or clicking File->Open in the main window.

When you select this option, the GNOME file picker pops up. Jokosher projects are stored in a directory with the same name as the project. Inside that directory is a .jokosher file. Double click it to load it.

If this is your first time using Jokosher, jump to The Main Jokosher Window.

The Main Jokosher Window

The main Jokosher window is where the action happens (Figure 3-1):

Main window

Figure 3-1
The main Jokosher window

Unlike other less fun and fabulous multi-trackers, Jokosher does not inflict lots of itty-bitty windows on you. Here everything happens inside a single window, making it simple to see what is going on at any one time.

The Toolbar

Below the menus are the main toolbar buttons. These buttons are nice and big to help you when perched over your desk holding your guitar. They do a bunch of interesting things:

  • Add Instrument - click this button to add an instrument to the project. See Adding Instruments.
  • Rewind, Play, Forward, Record - these buttons control playback and recording.
  • Time display - this shows the current elapsed time in the project. Time will be displayed in hours, minutes and seconds or bars, beats and ticks, depending on the time format you’ve chosen in the Project menu.
  • Workspace Selector - these buttons allow you to switch between the two workspace views in Jokosher.
  • Click Track - this feature generates a click that you can play along with. You can set speed in beats per minute and time signature. (This feature is not currently implemented.)
  • Time Line - this ruler gives you a visual representation of your project in time. The line will be marked off in measures or in seconds, depending on you current time format.
  • Project Zoom - this area at the bottom of the main window will help you zoom in and out and scroll the project quickly. The minus and plus icons will zoom the time line out and in respectively. The center icon will return you to a medium zoom. Drag the scroll bar to move the visible area of your project if it doesn’t all fit on the screen.

The Menus

Along the top side of the screen you can see a bunch of menus. You can find virtually everything in those menus, and if you are stuck figuring out how to do something, flick through the menus.

File

  • New - opens a new project in the existing window. If there are changes in the current project, you will be offered a chance to save it. To add an instrument to the open project, see Adding Instruments.
  • Open - opens an existing project. If there are changes in the current project, you will be offered a chance to save it.
  • Save - saves the current project. This option quickly saves all information in the project including Undo and Redo history.
  • Save As - same as Save above, but this option allows you to save the project under a different name.
  • Close - closes the current project without closing Jokosher. Again, you’ll get a chance to save the project if there are changes.
  • Recent Projects - this submenu lists up to the last 8 projects opened in Jokosher. This is a convenient way to move quickly from one project to another.
  • Mixdown Project - brings up a dialog that begins the final stage of your project - the mixdown. Choose a name for the output file, a location where you want it saved, and an output format. Jokosher will then mix the project and save it as a single audio file in your chosen format.
  • Quit - quits Jokosher completely. You will get a chance to save any unsaved work.

Edit

  • Undo - Undoes the last change that you made to the project.
  • Redo - Redoes the last thing that was undone with Undo.
  • Cut - Removes the selected object from the project and place it on the clipboard, replacing what was there previously.
  • Copy - Puts a copy of the currently selected object on to the clipboard, replacing what was there previously.
  • Paste - Places the contents of the clipboard into the project. See Editing Functions below for details on selecting pieces of audio to cut, copy and pasteDelete - Removes the selected object from the project and discards it.
  • Preferences - Opens the Jokosher Preferences window.

Project

  • Add Instrument - see Adding Instruments below
  • Instrument Connections - This dialog lists each instrument in the project and shows which input from your sound card is connected to that instrument. For each instrument you can change the connection by clicking the drop-down box and choosing an input to connect.
  • Time Format - Selects how time is displayed on the Time Line. The options are Show as Bars, Beats, Ticks or Show as Hours, Minutes, Seconds.

Help

  • Pre-release Notes - Tells you the latest information you’ll need to know about this release fo Jokosher.
  • Contributing to Jokosher - Lists details on all the different ways you can contribute to Jokosher. Jokosher is still in development and can always use your help.
  • About
    • Credits - Opens a dialog box that lists the many people who have worked to bring you Jokosher. License - The complete license for Jokosher.

Configuring Jokosher Preferences

The Jokosher preferences menu can be found by clicking Edit->Preferences. Here you can change many settings that determine how Jokosher works. Note that these settings will be saved for Jokosher globally, not on a per-project basis.

  • General
    • Application Start-up - Chooses how Jokosher will act when it first starts. The three options are:
      • Show welcome dialog - the default. Choose this option if you’d like to pick a project every time Jokosher starts.
      • Open most recent project - Choose this option if you’d like to skip the welcome dialog and jump to the project you had open the last time you used Jokosher.
      • Don’t open anything - Choose this option if you want total control. You can open a project later from the File menu.
    • Audio Quality - Gives two options, Sample Rate and Sample Format, that change the recording quality of Instruments in Jokosher. The choices available will depend on your sound card. With both options, higher numbers give better quality but also create larger files. Larger files take up more space, and may cause Jokosher to work more slowly when processing changes.
    • Audio Mixdown - Changes the Output Format used by Jokosher during mixdown. The output file will be saved in the chosen format. Available output formats will depend on which plugins you have installed on your system.
  • Recording
    • File Saves As - Changes the format in which Jokosher saves recorded instruments while working on a project.
  • Playback
    • Device - Changes the audio hardware used for playback. Again this depends on the hardware installed on your system. You may only have one option.

The Workspaces

Recording View

Inside the recording view, only the instruments are displayed. This is where you will spend most of your time recording, editing and re-recording.

Recording is the first step in the process of creating a project. You will add Instruments, usually one at a time, record audio into that Instrument, then add the next instrument. Working in the recording view usually follows the steps listed here:

Recording Functions

  1. Add Instruments - See Adding Instruments below for details on this process. After an Instrument is added, you will see that it has the following features (See Figure 3-2): Instrument features
    Figure 3-2
    Instrument Features
  2. Instrument Icon - the same icon you saw when you chose the Instrument.
  3. Instrument Label - this can be changed at will simply by clicking on it. It is just a label to identify the Instruments in case you have several with the same icon.
  4. Record Button - this button will be clicked to “arm” the Instrument during recording.
  5. Mute Button - this button will silence the Instrument during playback.
  6. Solo Button - the opposite of the mute button. When pressed, you will hear this Instrument as “solo” during playback, with all other Instruments muted.
  7. Recording Lane - to the right of the buttons is an area here recorded audio will be displayed for this instrument.
  8. Set Connections - as explained in Instrument Connections above, the different sound card inputs can be routed to different Instruments at will. In this way, even if there is only one input, by connecting it to each Instrument in turn multiple Instruments can be recorded.
  9. Record - at this point you are ready to record this Instrument. If it’s a live instrument, plug it in, press the “arm” button, then hit the Record button on the main Toolbar. When done recording, click Stop. To record an existing audio file, right-click on the Instrument recording lane then click Import Audio File. Find the file you’d like to import, then click Open. Notice that the audio is now in the recording lane for that Instrument. The waveform shows you the volume level at any point in the recording.
  10. Repeat - unarm this Instrument and begin the process again by adding the next Instrument until all Instruments are recorded.

Editing Functions

Once all Instruments are recorded, editing begins. Think of the Instruments as raw materials that you will shape into a final project. Jokosher offers several tools to help with editing.

  • Move - this function shifts a piece of audio in time. To Move a piece of audio, click it and drag it left or right until it is in the desired position. When recording Instruments separately, this function can be used to get Instruments in sync with each other.

In order to edit audio, a recording often needs to be broken up into pieces. Jokosher offers two main tools to do this:

  • Split - this function divides the audio in an Instrument into two sections. Use Split when you want to keep the entire recording, but need to break it into pieces. To split, double-click in the Instrument lane at the point where the audio should be divided.
  • Trim - this function deletes everything but a selected piece piece of audio. To Trim, hold down the Shift key, click with the mouse at the beginning of the section you’d like to Trim, drag the mouse to the right to the end of the desired section, and release both the Shift key and the mouse button. A Trim tab will appear below the selected section. Click this tab to Trim.
  • Cut and Paste - this function moves pieces of audio from one place to another. If you don’t want to Cut a complete recording, Split it into pieces or Trim as above to separate the piece you’d like to work with. Next click on the piece you’de like to Cut, click Edit->Cut (or press Ctrl-X). Click in the spot where this piece should go. Click Edit->Paste (or press Ctrl-V).
  • Copy and Paste - this function is used to make copies of the same audio in more than one place. It is similar to Cut and Paste above. First select a piece of audio, then click Edit->Copy (or press Ctrl-C). Click in the spot where this piece should go. Click Edit->Paste (or press Ctrl-V).
  • Delete - this removes a piece of audio completely from a Project. Select the section you want to delete then click Edit- >Delete or press the Delete key on the keyboard.

Mixing View

This is the main mixing view. This view displays smaller versions of your Instrument tracks as well as mixing sliders for adjusting instrument volume levels. This is where you mix your final project.

Much of the functionality of the Recording View is still available. The emphasis, though, is on getting the balance right between the Instruments.

Volume Slider - each Instrument has a corresponding slider. These sliders control the overall volume in the mix of that Instrument. Volume is displayed on the slider as a range from 0 to 1.00. Notice that as the slider is moved, the volume level changes audibly and visually.

Instrument Hide - at the top of each slider is an icon that can be clicked to hide that Instrument. It’s still there, just out of the way. At the bottom of the screen just above the status bar is an Instruments Not Shown: list. Click on an Instrument in the list to bring it back. Hiding Instruments is useful when you have many Instruments and only want to work on a few at a time. For example if you have 3 vocalists, you could mute and hide all other Instruments, while you mix the vocals.

Master volume - at the far right of the screen is the Master Volume slider. This slider changes the overall volume of the project.

Adding Instruments

Instruments are a key concept in Jokosher. Think in Instruments instead of Tracks. Instrument allow you to tell a lot about your project at a glance. Tracks are just tracks!

Currently, instruments are very simple - they just contain the name and icon of the instrument. In the future we plan on storing audio settings for each type of instrument. As an example when you use a Snare drum, the EQ will be optimised for a Snare drum.

Add instrument

Figure 4-1
Adding instruments is simple

To add an instrument, click on the Add Instrument button to bring up the dialog. Simply pick the instrument that is closest to what you’ll be recording. Click OK and you’re done.

Notice that once an instrument is added, you can click on its name and change it to anything you want.