ADAT in Linux and Ardour

Has anyone successfully used ADAT interfacing with Ardour? There’s an awesomely priced A/D D/A converter that I’m looking at, 8 channels with only ADAT io, and I want to know how/if I can pipe that into a laptop running Linux.

I haven’t been able to find a simple ADAT computer interface… maybe because I’m looking for the wrong thing? I’ve never used ADAT, but it seems like the next step for what I want to do (8-channels!)

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@kelleydv: there are many audio interfaces that support ADAT. probably the best are the RME Hammerfall DSP series, but there are lots of other options.

Thanks. I get the impression from these forums that USB is not the best option for multi-channel stuff, especially on Linux. Would you agree?

I don’t really know what kind of bus I should be seeking out. I am trying to plan ahead to run Linux and Ardour on a laptop I haven’t purchased, so that’s the reason for these questions.

Actually, the RME babyface looks like it would do exactly what I want.

is it true that USB 2.0 is a problem in Linux?

I have an Multiface interface connected to an pci-e card (rme also). I also have a behringer ADA8000 wich is connected with
the multiface thru optical adat. It’s working perfect.

@cajmere: the behringer ADA8000 is exactly the piece I want to use!! Awesome.

what os do you use?

the multiface would be more than I need, since I want to use the behringer for all my in/out. But it sounds like pci-express is working well for you…

Disclaimer (I know almost nothing about RME or their special I/O connectors)

You are probably going for an Expresscard for your laptop which is not the same as pci-express card. That doesn’t nessesary mean you will have problems.

RME seems to have an Epresscard for your laptop.

If you’re lucky you might pick up a Multiface (older model) on ebay for not much more than the ADA8000. No pres though. It might be hard to find one with an expresscard but plenty with PCI.

ok. I’m confused, so I have to read up on the difference between pci, pci-e, and expresscard. Thanks for the input, y’all.


I use a mix of Debian testing/unstable. Everything is working out of the box.
Alsa has great support voor rme pci(-express) sound devices in my opinion, but i’m afraid that
the babyface doesn’t have linux support.

Like Mcgruff is saying. Buy a multiface 1. I regular see this devices on 2nd hand online markets for europe.
price is around 25-300 euro.

With express card for laptops I don’t have experience, so i don’t know if it will work.

Ok, after some research I’m a little more savvy.

I think expresscard is fast going out of style, and it’s not so easy (common) to get in a new laptop.

There’s PCI-express in all the laptops I’m looking at, but that’s on the motherboard… So if I want to use PCI-express would I have to get all DIY on the thing and route cables out of the housing or something?

@kelleydv: that is an accurate summary. you probably don’t want to even think about the DIY approach. this situation is why the state of audio i/o on laptops is so lamentable. rather than provide an external port where one could just connect an external device directly to the PCI bus, laptop makers have forced the use of an intermediate connector & protocol (eg. USB or firewire) which just adds complications.

Not to mention a huge loss in bandwidth… Thanks for the assistance. I never looked into this before, so i didn’t realize how bad the consumer is getting ripped off! What’s the point of having a chipset with supr-fast, inaccessible busses!? One last question before I return to the drawing board: how feasible is it to swap my FireWire card for the rme madi one? I’m not too afraid of a little DIY.

It’s made for a desktop chassis, and i don’t know how that compares to laptop cards. The ports are the same, I’d just have to find out if the card would fit. If it worked, it would be really slick.

@kellydv: without a lot of physical hacking you can never use a desktop card with a laptop.

Well that answers that. Thanks

AFAIK expresscard is not beeing replaced on laptops anytime soon.

I have been using a 3/4 Expresscard in a brand new Core i7 vPro professional laptop for some time and connected successfully to both Presonus and Focurite firewire sound interfaces. No RME stuff but plain fw.