Audio/MIDI Setup confusion

I’m new to Ardour, if the audio system is in ALSA, I can chose the Input and Output Device. In this case I have a USB Condenser Microphone for the input, but I don’t know about the Output devices, I’m not sure what I should chose between HDA Intel PCH, or HDA NVidia… If the Audio system is in JACK, I can chose the Driver and the Device, I also don’t know what to configure there, but I noticed that if I chose JACK, my output (headphones) will be able to work but it won’t be the case for my microphone, if I chose ALSA, my headphones won’t work but the microphone will. I also don’t know if I can configure my devices during an active session, I tried to configure the routing grid a couple of times without success.

If there’s any source that may respond to my questions, feel free to share it down bellow but I watched and read through tutorials and explanations already, I would like to have a clear answer on this, thanks.

Welcome to Ardour. Unfortunately, the initial news is not good …

I hate to be a bore, but the first thing to say here is that you should not be using a USB microphone at all. As I keep saying over and over, it is really unfortunate that the manufacturers of these devices have convinced so many people that these are the devices they should buy, when in fact they are fundamentally a bad idea.

The first rule of digital audio is that everywhere that converts between analog and digital signals should use the same sample clock. There is no way for your USB microphone to share its own sample clock with anything else. There is no way for your USB microphone to use anothe device’s sample clock.

The makers of these devices are relying on the idea that software, somewhere, will “fix” this problem by doing what is called “resampling” to keep the input (from your mic) and output (to speakers/headphones) in sync with each other. While this does work, it’s a suboptimal way to work. The correct setup is a single audio interface that performs analog->digital conversion from an analog microphone, and digital->analog conversion going to your speakers/headphones.

OK, lecture over, because you don’t currently have that option.

“Intel HDA” is the name of the so-called standard for the builtin audio interface (“soundcard”) inside most computers. The device often shows up on Linux with a name that includes the word “PCH”. So this device is the builtin audio for your computer, and if you’re just going to plugin to the jacks/outputs of the computer, it’s the one to use.

The HDA NVidia device is associated with your graphics/video card, and won’t be correct unless you plan to use the audio built into HDMI-connected monitors/screens. The only way to know this is to know that NVidia is a company that makes this type of hardware.

You should almost certainly NOT be using JACK if you are new to Ardour. You should use the latest version of Ardour (6.5), Use the ALSA backend. Select your devices as you need them. Then, if possible, plan to sell or donate your USB mic, get a proper audio interface and an analog microphone.

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Oh well, that’s really good to know nonetheless. I currently don’t need my mircophone anyway, but I wanted to set it up so I can learn the software more, and you just solved a big piece of the puzzle for me, thanks.

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