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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hydrogen advanced drum machine for Gnu Linux.

hydrogen_logoHydrogen is a software synthesizer which can be used alone, emulating a drum machine based on patterns, or via an external MIDI keyboard/sequencer software. 

Hydrogen compiles on Linux/x86 and Mac OS X, although the latter is still experimental, so ask in the developers mailing list for further details.



  • Very user-friendly, modular, fast and intuitive graphical interface based on QT 4.
  • Sample-based stereo audio engine, with import of sound samples in .wav, .au and .aiff formats.
  • Support of samples in compressed FLAC file.

Sequencer and mixer.

  • Pattern-based sequencer, with unlimited number of patterns and ability to chain patterns into a song.
  • Up to 192 ticks per pattern with individual level per event and variable pattern length.
  • Unlimited instrument tracks with volume, mute, solo, pan capabilities.
  • Multi layer support for instruments (up to 16 samples for each instrument).
  • Sample Editor, with basic cut and loop functions. (NEW)
  • Time-stretch and pitch functions via rubberband cli. Require the rubberband-cli package. (NEW)
  • Play-lists with scripting function. (NEW)
  • Advanced tab-tempo. (NEW)
  • Director Window with a visual metronome and song position tags. (NEW)
  • Time-line with variable tempo. (NEW)
  • Single and stacked pattern mode. (NEW)
  • Export/Import single patterns into song projects. (NEW)
  • Midi learning via Shift+MouseClick on many gui-cotrollers combined with a midi settings editor. (NEW)
  • Ability to import/export song files.
  • Unique human velocity, human time, pitch and swing functions.
  • Multiple patterns playing at once.


  • JACK, ALSA, PortAudio and OSS audio drivers.
  • ALSA MIDI and PortMidi input with assignable midi-in channel (1..16, ALL).
  • Import/export of drumkits.
  • Export song to wav, aiff, flac or ogg file.
  • Export song to midi file.


You can download Hydrogen from On the 'Downloads' page you can find several binaries (installers) for Linux, Mac and Windows. (note that some versions may not be available for Windows and Mac)
If you want to compile Hydrogen yourself (see the section called “Build”), you can download the latest source files directly from our subversion server with:
$ svn co

A certain release can be fetched with:

$ svn co

Compiling Hydrogen depends on the following libraries:

Please install them with your distribution's package manager. If you're running a debian-based system, you can install the libraries with:

        $ apt-get install libqt4-dev g++ libasound2-dev \
libjack-dev liblrdf0-dev libflac++-dev libtar-dev libsndfile1-dev \
liblash-dev libportaudio-dev libportmidi-dev 



Depending on the branch you are compiling you will need to use Scons or Cmake. Check the INSTALL.txt and the README.txt files for more info (located in the top level dir once you downloaded the sources).
Using scons
Decompress the tarball or go to the directory where the subversion copy was checked out:

          $ cd hydrogen-*
$ scons
$ su -c "scons install"

Before compiling, check for additional options with:

          $ scons --help

If you want to use features which are not enabled by default (for instance PortAudio), you can enable them with:

          $ scons portaudio=1

Namely, if you get some error while running Hydrogen and you want to report it remember to configure hydrogen with:

          $ scons debug=1

To clean up compiled code:

          $ scons -c



Stable release:

Linux 0.9.5 binaries:

Unstable releases / snapshots

Ubuntu 0.9.6 binaries (svn snapshots):
Debian unstable 0.9.6 binaries (svn snapshots):






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