audio interfaces, which ones work wih Ardour?

Hello; As most of you are probably aware, there are a ton of audio interfaces ouf there to use instead of just plugging a mic or instrument into the 1/8" mic jack on the side of the laptop. The first interface I became aware of is M audio fast track. Since then I have seen more come on the market, and all seem to share some common attribites. As many linux users have discovered, not all hardware works the same on a linux computer. QUESTION: which audio interface(s) has been successfully used by Ardour (linux) users out there? I am leaning toward fast track but for no other reason than familiarity… Thanks for your responses

Anything that works with ALSA works with Ardour.
RME Multiface II for me currently. M-Audio Delta 10101 before that.

My main card is an RME Hammerfall 9632 - . (I had thought of a Lynx L22 - - but I have read that it’s at least tricky to make it work under Linux.)
Before that I used a Terratec DMX6fire 24/96 with ICE1712 chip.
Both are PCI cards but I suppose that the USB version of the Terratec card also works.

An Editol UA-3FX (USB) also works fine -

If you need studio quality I guess the RME 9632 is the only choice of those three.


way awesome responses all! This is just the kind of informatoin I need. In researcing the names given above, it seems that these are plug-ins for desk-top computers. How about USB, table-top interfaces, used with a laptop? How about pcmcia card types; does linuc pick those up pretty well?

In general, USB class-compliant devices work out of the box; those with extra features not covered by the generic USB audio device class will need drivers.
It’s pointless listing them all here. See the ALSA sound card matrix for a definitive list of what’s supported by ALSA and therfore by Ardour:

I have successfully used the Behringer Q502USB. It worked alright once I got it going.

anahata - not sure I was asking anyone to list ALL devcies known to humankind. I was looking for only a few posts of what worked for individul users who have had some modicum of success using one device or another, like the post by edtrussill. Thanks edtrussell. That helps.

edtrussell - so, the Behringer Q502USB has a single mic input. If you were using, say, the Q802USB or the Q1202YSB, would the fact that they have multiple inputs be “picked up” by Ardour? Would those inputs be automatically be reflected in the tracks shown onthe screen as available to record? EXAMPLE: if I was recroding 4 instruments simaltaneously, would each get it’s own track simply becasue the interface has four inputs?

edtrussell - most interesting, anahata suggests going to the website to see compatible interfaces, yet the Behringer Q502USB, Q802USB and Q1202YSB are not listed on the Behringer page… I am glad that you made your post. I think I might get a Behringer simply based on your testimony…

it might not have been added to the list. behringer most likely wont be spending time and money developing and testing a propriety USB system,

Ive used the behringer x32 digital and midas m32 (essentialy the same desk) . 32 tracks in and 32 trakcs out work under linux no problems.

avoid avid products some of them do have “hacked” drivers added to alsa but you may have issues. I have an mbox 1. can playback and record both channels but it glitches for me while others have success.

Generally if its class complient you shouldnt have issues.

Every time this gets asked (and it gets asked often) unfortunately, often all that gets generated is another list of stuff which worked for some people (and equally didn’t work for others). If you just want a list of audio interfaces which work with ardour, then you just need to know if your interface has ALSA drivers. Ardour doesn’t care about the interface, it just connects to JACK (or possibly, and optionally, directly to ALSA in recent versions). Either way it looks something like:

Ardour->JACK->ALSA->Soundcard->Speakers Ardour<-JACK<-ALSA<-Soundcard<-Microphone

ALSA is the low-level driver layer which communicates with the soundcard.

However, if you want a list of audio interfaces which work without glitches, x-runs, buffer under / overruns etc - that’s almost impossible to provide. Using general purpose PC hardware for audio always comes with the risk that one or other component might interract in a way which might cause any of the above problems, and most of the solutions people have found for their particular system, will at best be unique to their setup, and at worst be little more than guesswork.

If you want a stable system for recording (arguably the part of the process which matters most) - consider a dedicated recorder - which can export its files in a standard format for mixing with whichever DAW you choose, or just get a Mac - with one company providing the hardware and the OS, the chances of success / usable reliability are far greater than using an adhoc mixture of (mostly free) stuff.

For mixing, the odd glitch doesn’t matter (its annoying, but it won’t happen if you render the final mix offline - or at least it won’t in any sane DAW).

Equally, consider carefully what latency / sample rate / buffer settings are appropriate. All these will make a difference to the reliability, and its the most misunderstood part of configuring a system for audio. Most people seem to assume that you should tune the system for the lowest latency possible, when quite the reverse is true. Instead, you should tune the system for the longest / highest latency compatible with your workflow.

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LeatusPenguin - I am glad to have this tidbit of info about the stereo output. So, I sort of suspected that these table-top USB interfaces only put out two tracks. Does Ardour “pick-up” the number of tracks of a PCI card with 8 inputs? Are there PCMCIA cards that would do the same thing as a PCI card? My original question was “which audio interface(s) has been successfully used by Ardour (linux) users out there?” Not really looking for a huge list, just asking if people might simply state the devcie that they have found to be successful for themselves. I would not take answers as rcok solid advice for what I should use, but it would certainly be some indication of what worked for someone else. Any answer would be better than what I know at this point, which is next to nothing. So, I welcome any indication by anyone who has used a USB interface that puts out as many tracks as the interface has inputs.

So, I greatly appreciate all the responses. I guess what I am/was loking for is a very basic starting pint with almost any usb interface that Ardour would picup up multiple tacks from. Silly me, I should have gone here first on Ardours own page where it gives some nice suggestions of interfaces. Along ith the resonses y’all have given me, this page will give me some level of education before I spend money on an interface. Thanks to all. Feel free to responsd further with any relevent info.


I would say it is worth it, when you ‘pick out’, and interface, to go ahead and post here then with the interface you are looking at and see if you can get some specific feedback on it.


I’ll pay, donate Qiwi.vallet or YandexMoney.count. But no Paypal. Think. Good Luck)

Just picked a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 today because my old motu box didn’t work with ardour using Lubuntu, worked right out of the box in minutes : ) totally blown away by the recorded sound quality & playback !

Fast track pro works great but you have to give it a specific input device if you want to use the balanced and unbalanced inputs.

I have a Mackie Onyx 1640 and 1620 (not the i-series, although I assume they have the same firewire interface and will work just as well). I might be looking for an additional audio interface, though, as these particular Mackies provide only a stereo pair input from JACK, so it’s impossible to route Ardour tracks to an external effects processor post-record. I’m also done with Mackie, as they’ve gotten into sloppy hacking (hacked drivers for ProTools with their i-series - srsly?) and their drivers didn’t work reliably as advertised when I bought these mixers. These mixers work far more reliably under Linux for me than they did under Windows.

I’m using the following USB interfaces successfully with Ardour (Yes Ardour sees all the physical inputs and outputs on these devices):

Alesis IO2 (2 In, 2 Out)
Alesis IO4 (4 In, 2 Out)
Presonus 1818VSL (18 In, 18 Out) See my post about the device here:

I use a Behringer x32 with an x-live card. I record directly into ardour using that card and have had no trouble thus far. Even so, I use the SD card recording feature at the same time in case I ever have any trouble.

Any time you work with computers you need to think redundancy.