Search Results for: Second Laptop Monitor

Second Laptop Monitor: 15.6″ Auzai Portable Review

We all know having a second monitor is nice. Being able to have documentation, video monitor, reference photo, audio meters, whatever off you main screen is so convenient and frankly more productive. I never considered having a second monitor for my laptop that I could carry with me but it’s actually rather nice extending the limited space of a 17″ display.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission on some items linked on this page.

I shopped around for just a 15 or 17 inch portables at 15″ 1920×1080 with no bells and whistles. I looked at the Asus and all the Chinese offerings, which I have a feeling are mostly the same monitors rebranded. There is also one on Facebook that pops up as an ad on my wall. If I wanted touch screen and the ability to rotate the screen I may have considered it as well as the more expensive Asus. I may consider that in the future.

As a Linux user I tend to shy away from more as some things can be more of a pain for what I really want to do. The Asus was looking like a pain in the ass and it was more expensive with not so good reviews. If I had money to burn I might get one with touch screen for the kid’s Windows laptop.

After reading reviews and doing research the Auzai kept coming back to me. The other thing I wanted was to not to spend a lot of money. How often will I use a second monitor when traveling? I don’t want to spend a shit ton for something I use occasionally. The Auzai not only had good reviews it was under $200.00 at $187.00 with free shipping. I was sold.

Once I got it and got into the box I was greeted with a really bad smell. The protected skin it ships with smells really bad. It dissipated within a couple of days thankfully. It was packed very well, nothing missing, nothing damaged. It has been working solid for three weeks now.

What’s in the box? One USB-C to USB-C, one USB-A to USB-C, one mini HDMI to HDMI, the monitor, case that doubles as stand, and cleaning rag.

Pros:

  • The screen is bright, clear, and resolution is great.
  • The monitor is light and the screen protector does it’s job.
  • Movies display perfect
  • On Linux running NVIDIA driver it worked mostly out of the box.
  • You get all the cables you need to hook up to most modern laptops.
  • Gaming was solid. No lag on the few games I tested. OBS looked good too.
  • Worked great with my older PS3.

Alright, I must warn you. To get this monitor to work perfectly at least in my case, you do need to install DisplayLink, which got all my weird flipped screen issues resolved. I am working on a System 76 Onyx Pro running POP! OS 20.04.

Cons:

  • Protective skin doubling as a stand can slide.
  • The cables connect on the right side so if your laptop has the connectors on the left as mine does you end up with a mess. Cables are a little short to move to the other side.
  • Can power the monitor with USB-C to C or USB-A to C but could not get a video signal on my System 76 Oryx, Asus ROG, or Dell Gaming laptops. BIOS settings made no difference. I might be able to flash the Dell and Asus to get them working, the Oryx is up to date. So I am stuck with HDMI and one of the other cables for power, which would only work properly if powered by the laptop. I could not use any external power blocks and one was not provided by Auzai.
  • iOS devices do not work out of the box for me. I need to spring for a thunder to HDMI from Apple as the cheap one I got off Amazon did not work.
  • Speakers are not the greatest.

Honestly, I am happy with the Auzai monitor. The cables are not really their fault. I do wish they placed the cable ports on the left or on both sides so I could have the monitor on the left opposite my mouse – I am right handed. I can’t let that be a deal breaker though. Just hoping I get BIOS support for USB-C at some point so I can get rid of the thick HDMI + power cable. That makes it feel less portable!

In order to use this with the iPhone you will need this adapter, and a knowledge of fucking knots. The wires are almost a deal breaker in many cases. Anyway, the adapter gets a lot of shit reviews but worked for me.

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manjaro linux for music production

Manjaro Linux for Music Production

I have been dabbling in digital music production for many years. It’s not something I do for profit, I’m not even that good, it’s just something I enjoy doing from time to time. I haven’t done much in many years after moving from Mac, and Windows years earlier, because the reality is that Linux was a little weak when it came to audio production. That has changed and we now have Bitwig, and open source DAWs are pretty damned good.

Bitwig rekindled my interest and I want to share my current setup on Manjaro, because it is the best experience I have had with music production on Linux ever. Let’s just dive into this shit!

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission on some items linked on this page.

Replaced pulseaudio with pipewire on October 10, 2021, read my quick post on my joy!

MY SYSTEM INFO

neofetch

Manjaro Nibia Linux 20.2.1, Plasma: 5.20.5
Kernel: 5.10.7-3

SYSTEM CONFIGURATION

First thing is making the machine run well for audio. I am not going into detail as it can be looked up if you’re interested in understanding it deeper. Let’s open a terminal and type:

sudo nano /etc/security/limits.conf

At the bottom add the following three lines. First two need your user name but could add these all to the audio group also, which would be better if you want to give other users these settings. This is an example of the two ways to do it.

YOUR_USER_NAME - rtprio 99
YOUR_USER_NAME - nice −10
@audio - memlock unlimited

Now add yourself to the audio group. In the terminal type:

sudo nano /etc/group

Find the audio group and add your user name separated with a comma, i.e., audio:x:995:mpd,YOUR_USER_NAME

If you find things crackling and popping as you add more tracks or when using some plugins try this command to set your CPUs to performance:

sudo cpupower frequency-set -g performance

OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE

If you want to use all open source and/or free products this section is for you. Open pacman “Add/Remove Software” in the application menu. In settings, hamburger top right, enable AUR if any of those packages interest you. Install what you need or want. If you have room install it all. You can remove what you don’t want at anytime and it won’t cost anything.

NOTE: You can type these into the search in the Pacman software GUI or copy + paste – you do not need the version. I link for convenience.

DAW

Ardour6.5REPO
LMMS1.2.2REPO
Hydrogen1.0.1REPO

NOTE: If you want to create video or movie scores Ardour should have everything you need already except one piece. You will need to install xjadeo to get the actual video monitor.

PLUGIN INSTRUMENTS\EFFECTS

Helm0.9REPO
ZynAddSubFX3.0.5REPO
AMSynth1.12.2REPO
lsp-plugins1.1.28REPO
Surge1.7.1REPO
zam-plugins3.14REPO
sfizz0.5.1REPO
Drumgizmo0.9.19REPO
gxplugins.lv20.8REPO
rkr.lv2beta3, r2REPO
beatslah-lv21.0.6REPO
mda-lv21.2.6REPO
OpenAVAUR
x42-autotune6.6
noise-repellent0.1.5REPO

WINDOWS VST SUPPORT

carla-bridges-win32-git2.3.0-alpha2AUR
carla-bridges-win64-git2.3.0-alpha2AUR

CONNECTIONS AND BRIDGES

QjackCtl (I use Cadence)0.9.0REPO
Cadence (Jacktools)0.9.1REPO

GUITAR

Rakarrack0.6.1AUR
guitarix0.42.1REPO

NOTATION

tuxguitar1.5.4AUR
tuxguitar-common1.5.4AUR
MuseScore3.5.2REPO

EXTRAS

Here’s a couple fun programs I always play with. They are not in the repos but they are free. Ocenaudio is just a given!

If you search online you can find some really nice free Linux VSTs not available in the repos. There are many more free Windows VSTs also that can be loaded via Carla to extend your plugin base.

For a list of free as well as commercial VSTs for Linux and Windows head to KVRAudio.

CORD PROGRESSION MIDI FILES

I see companies selling these but there are free ones out here. Like this one: https://drolez.com/blog/music/free-midi-chords-progressions.php

SOUNDFONTS

http://www.synthfont.com/links_to_soundfonts.html

MANUAL VST SETUP

In your home folder create the following folders to place all your VSTs.

/home/YOUR_USER_NAME/.vst

/home/YOUR_USER_NAME/.vst3

/home/YOUR_USER_NAME/WinVST

Copy Linux VSTs (.so or .vst3) to the first two and Windows VSTs (.dll) to WinVST. These folders are hidden, so show hidden folders to manage them in your file manager. You add these paths to your DAWs so they pull the plugins in, folders in /usr/lib are usually already setup. I do not set WinVST to hidden as it is easier for Carla to find it. I also save all my Carla Rack presets there. See some of my VSTs in the screen shots at the bottom of this post.

Some Windows VSTs require installation. You can use system Wine to run them then point the install files to WinVST. This won’t work for all but many will work fine. BX_SubFilter works fine, Serum does not. I use PlayOnLinux and create a 64 and 32 container only used to install VSTs. The below video will show you my process.

COMMERCIAL OPTIONS

I do own a couple of DAWs and I recommend them highly. You don’t really need them, you can do the same thing in Ardour, LMMS, and possibly Milky Tracker but these products have a bit more polish and professional features which makes them shine.

  • Bitwig Studio. I love this product. Bitwig works flawless with Jack, ALSA, and PULSE. I do flip to ALSA in audio settings when plugging the guitar in but the fact that I don’t have to screw with Jack to wire shit up is a plus. I do select Jack in Bitwig settings when not recording guitar. You could likely wire up the guitar through Jack so you can avoid changing this but I rarely input guitar. Same setting in Ardour, just start ALSA.
    • NOTE: Download the .deb installer directly from Bitwig then use debtap to convert to an Arch/Manjaro installer.
Bitwig ALSA input
  • Sononym. Another product I love. If you have a shit ton of samples and loops this will make managing them a pleasure.
  • Any of the U-He VSTs. Diva, Zebra 2, and Hive 2 will likely be all the synth you will ever need. No matter what OS I work in I will always use these.
  • Renoise. Fun to play with. I have not really tried to wrap my head around it for anything serious but it’s fun to make drum beats in.

Here are some others that I have tried but ended up not using. They just seemed unpolished and buggy. You might have better luck and they are cheaper than the above.

  • EnergyXT. I dumped it as it doesn’t work well with Manjaro.
  • Reaper. Not too bad, good alternative to Ardour.
  • Tracktion T7 (Waveform) Free and paid. I installed it but haven’t had any time clocked using it.

NOTES: Some commercial software distributes as Debian packages, .deb files, so I convert using Debtap. It works well and all products mentioned in this post install and work fine. Get Debtap here and copy to /opt and symlink to /usr/bin.

If you wish to sync video within Bitwig it’s pretty easy. Start Jack, start Bitwig and set audio to Jack and in syncrinization set to MIDI clock, then start Xjadeo. Right click in Xjadeo and select Sync then Jack. Also set Xjadeo to stay on top unless you can move it to a second monitor. Hit space in Bitwig and the video should play and be synced to the audio time line. It took me some trial and error to realize I didn’t need any connections or patching Jack. Xjadeo can be installed via Pacman.

COMMERCIAL LINUX VST, some with free options

HARDWARE

I am working on a laptop and the speakers on any laptop aren’t going to cut it for making music so at the very least you will want some decent headphones to catch all those details and bass.

If you want to plug in an instrument and\or mic you will need an interface, and one that will work with Linux.

A second screen is nice, and being USB-C it isn’t taking up much space or taking away my standard USBs. It will make things more comfortable if you are like me and stuck on a 17” laptop or less.

I use all these items and they all work great in Manjaro, plus they won’t break the bank.

SCREENSHOTS

These screen shots show some of products listed above and can also give you a visual of getting some things done, like adding Guitarix distortion on an Ardour audio track. Also gives you a glimpse of the free VSTs I have on my machine.

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Brightness fix on System 76 Oryx Pro

Backlight Fix System 76 Oynx Pro (2018) GTX1060 update 10/27/2019

Looking for keyboard back light fix on Arch?

Installed Pop OS 19.10 and all is working as expected. This is a solid release!

Backlight Fix System 76 Oynx Pro (2018) GTX1060 update 1/16/2019

Intel never had any problems after the BIOs update so this is focused on Nvidia.
I have a GTX1060 but this may work for other cards, just be sure you have the correct driver for your card and I cannot guarantee you’ll have the same results.

Make sure your BIOs are at the latest firmware.
Update your system if you haven’t done so.
Add the Ubuntu Display repo:

	sudo add-apt-repository ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa
	sudo apt-get update

Switch to Intel if running under Nvidia:

	system76-power graphics intel

Reboot

Go into the Additional Drivers section and select the Nvidia driver 4.15.x. At this point I had conflicts, you may not. I purged all Nvidia drivers while running under the Intel driver then selected 4.15.x in Additional Drivers again and booted to Nvidia. At this point some folks might get a black screen. I am using Budgie as my DE and did not experience this, it might be more of an issue on Ubuntu than Pop or other drivers, I am not sure.

To get you to a terminal so you can fix it or flip to Intel using the above command: Ctrl+Alt+F1

this might help: https://askubuntu.com/questions/41681/blank-screen-after-installing-nvidia-restricted-driver#163808

Brightness works consistently now. If this driver becomes available as an update in the official Pop driver list you may not need the Ubuntu PPA.

If an update shows up in Pop! Store for Nvidia Settings 4,15.x install it. Do not install the other Nvidia drivers, especially if you had dependency issues. Some people also black listed the Nouveau driver. I did not need to do this.

Warnings:

I found some apps will not run while using the Nvidia driver. Krita and Blender both fail to start.

Screenshots, click to view:

I did this awhile ago and the 415 driver is showing as installable as seen in the image so either the PPA pulled it in or Pop put this driver up.

I am trying the driver directly from nvidia next.
LINUX X64 (AMD64/EM64T) DISPLAY DRIVER

Version: 410.93
Release Date: 2019.1.3
Operating System: Linux 64-bit
Language: English (US)
File Size: 102.29 MB

Original post below left for reference.

I recently received the System 76 Oryx Pro laptop – June 2018 – and this thing is a beast. If you want more portable go with something else. I decided to get it preinstalled with Pop! OS to see how well it integrated with the hardware. By default most things worked and I really didn’t spend much time configuring or fixing things beyond setting it up for me and my workflow. I did install Gnome Tweaks to alter a couple of things but for the most part the OS is unchanged.

To the problem. Out of the box there was no ability to control brightness on the laptop monitor. I do not use external monitors so I do not know if this will fix anything related to that. To partially fix brightness when using Nvidia in Pop! OS I simply flashed the BIOs and it magically started working. The brightness controls/keys worked in Pop but it stops working after the lid is closed or the machine goes to sleep. This did not work for Nvidia in Mint 19 at all.

Update: The following grub hack does not work! None do, unless you want to install utils and write some scripts to hack things. What I found that does work is to install Linux Mint 19, much nicer OS IMO but this likely works in any Gnome DE, and install this. The control in power settings wont work, but this does and adds color too, but only if you switch to Intel drivers. I assume Intel will work better in Pop too. I also had problems with the System 76 drivers in Mint so install at your own risk. I’m hoping a future Nvidia driver/kernel update will correct the problem at some point.

If you plan to install Windows this laptop is a rebranded Sager Gaming laptop so visit their site for ease of driver lookups. I think it’s a Clevo P650SE. Update: That model is no longer available and System 76 may no longer use this company.

The second problem was after putting the laptop to sleep/suspend (closing the lid) the brightness controls would stop working until it was rebooted. Irritating! Here’s the fix:

1. Verify the Nvidia driver is installed and in use.
2. Update BIOs firmware if screen brightness slider missing and keyboard keys are not working.
3. Edit the /etc/default/grub file from the terminal.
a. sudo nano /etc/default/grub
b. Change GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT from “quiet splash” to “quiet splash acpi_osi=Linux”
c. sudo update-grub
d.reboot