beast(1) Music composition and modular synthesis application.


beast [OPTIONS] [FILES...]


beast is the BEtter Audio SysTem. It is a music composition and modular synthesis application released as free software under the GNU GPL and GNU LGPL.

beast comes with various synthesis modules which can be arranged in networks for modular synthesis. It is capable of monophonic and polyphonic voice processing, provides MIDI sequencer functionality and supports external sequencer sources. A huge set of extra modules is available through the support for LADSPA (Linux Audio Developer's Simple Plugin API) plugins.

beast's underlying sound engine BSE also comes with a scheme scripting extension which allows for advanced non-interactive processing via bsescm(1) and creation of additional GUI functionality for beast.


beast follows the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes ('-').

--skinrc FILENAME

Read skin resources from FILENAME.

--print-dir RESOURCE

Print the directory for a specific resource (e.g. 'plugins' or 'images'). Giving just --print-dir without an extra argument causes beast to print the list of available resources.


Causes the following files to be merged into the previous or first project.


Enrich the GUI with hints useful for (script) developers

-h, --help

Shows a brief help message.

-v, --version

Prints out beast and component versions and file paths.


Execute with priority NICELEVEL, this option only takes effect for the root suid wrapper 'beast'.


Disables renicing to execute with existing priority.

--display DISPLAY

X server display for the GUI; see X(7).

--bse-latency USECONDS

Set the allowed synthesis latency for BSE in milliseconds.

--bse-mixing-freq FREQUENCY

Set the desired synthesis mixing frequency in Hz.

--bse-control-freq FREQUENCY

Set the desired control frequency in Hz, this should be much smaller than the synthesis mixing frequency to reduce CPU load. The default value of approximately 1000 Hz is usually a good choice.

--bse-pcm-driver DRIVER-CONF


This options results in an attempt to open the PCM driver DRIVER-CONF when playback is started. Multiple options may be supplied to try a variety of drivers and unless DRIVER-CONF is specified as 'auto', only the drivers listed by options are used. Each DRIVER-CONF consists of a driver name and an optional comma seperated list of arguments attached to the driver withan equal sign, e.g.: -p oss=/dev/dsp2,rw -p auto

--bse-midi-driver DRIVER-CONF


This option is similar to the --bse-pcm-driver option, but applies to MIDI drivers and devices. It also may be specified multiple times and features an 'auto' driver.


Produce a list of all available PCM and MIDI drivers and available devices.


Stop argument processing, interpret all remaining arguments as file names.

Development Options:

--debug KEYS

Enable certain verbosity stages.


List possible debug keys.


This option enables or disables various debugging specific flags for beast core developers. Use of -: is not recommended, because the supported flags may change between versions and cause possibly harmful misbehaviour.

Gtk+ Options:

--gtk-debug FLAGS

Gtk+ debugging flags to enable.

--gtk-no-debug FLAGS

Gtk+ debugging flags to disable.

--gtk-module MODULE

Load additional Gtk+ modules.

--gdk-debug FLAGS

Gdk debugging flags to enable.

--gdk-no-debug FLAGS

Gdk debugging flags to disable.


Make warnings fatal (abort).


Do all X calls synchronously.