Ardour without exclusive use of audio interface

I appreciate there are good reasons for Ardour to take sole control of the audio device. Sometimes I would find it useful if Ardour could share it. Is it possible to do this please? I’m not very technical so ideally looking for a simple solution. I usually just type “Ardour8” into a Terminal window to use Ardour.

My setup is Ubuntu 22.04, Gnome, X11, Scarlett 2i4 1st gen, Ardour running with Alsa

I saw the thread which closed Feb '21 where I didn’t see a simple solution, I just wondered if anything has changed since then.

It is not possible to share a hardware device on Linux.

So to share it, you need some sort of “middleware” layer: JACK, Pulseaudio, Pipewire (or even ALSA’s own dmix layer).

Ok thanks. Although… I can listen to something playing in Firefox, e.g. BBC Sounds, and play something in VLC, and both come through together!

Anytime you hear multiple apps at once on Linux, either JACK, Pulseaudio or Pipewire are being used.

Ardour has a Pulseaudio backend that you can pick instead of ALSA, though it is playback only.

If your system has Pipewire installed, you can use the JACK backend.

Thanks. I’ll have to try JACK.

Another option would be to set your computer’s built-in soundcard as the default audio device so it plays sound in Firefox and other programs, and select the Scarlett as the audio device in Ardour’s initial setup window if you want to use the ALSA backend. This requires two sets of speakers, though, which I don’t find to be inconvenient on a laptop with built-in speakers, but on a desktop I suppose having two sets of speakers isn’t ideal, and Pipewire or JACK would be the software solution if the hardware solution doesn’t work for you.

Note that Pipewire JACK support is optional, so depending on the distribution defaults you may need to install additional packages to enable pipewire-jack.
Also be sure to enable whatever additional repositories are required to get recent builds (at least 1.0.0, most recent release is 1.0.7).