Echo AudioFire 8

I am looking to buy an audio interface for Linux, and was wondering if anybody has had experience with the Echo Audiofire 8. I have been looking around for a long time and have read many good things about this interface, and it is supposed to be supported through FFADO. My main hesitation is it does not look like there have been a lot of success stories around the internet using this interface and I am hoping that somebody here might have some insight regarding this interface, or possibly have a recommendation for something similar that works well in Linux.

Thanks for your time!


ffado is fully supported on the the new stack with Kernel 2.6.36+ any Kernel prior to that should be used with the old stack. It is important to note that the old stack requires some extra setup and config wrt to the libraw1394 modules.

One last question I have, is whether or not ffado still requires the “old” firewire stack or not. I have ordered my audiofire8, now I am simply getting all the pieces in place ready so that when it arrives I’ll be prepared.


I personally don’t own one of these but a few folks over at the AV Linux forum are using Audiofire devices successfully. Two things to watch for: 1. You need a recent SVN build of ffado to fix an issue with MIDI ports appearing in JACK as Audio ports, I don’t know what distro you are using but Debian has a working ffado build in experimental which probably will be in Sid soon. 2. It seems that Audiofires need a fairly recent firmware update to work with the ffado drivers, as far as I know you need to have access to a Windows machine to flash and update the firmware before it will work (I have no idea on the exact firmware version numbers)

On distributions with the old firewire stack there is some minor fiddling required for all FireWire devices to work, For the record AV Linux (4.2) uses the new stack and kernel 2.6.36 is plug and play with most ffado supported FireWire devices including Audiofire (provided the correct firmware is present).

Wow thanks so much! I do have access to a windows machine which I will use to flash the device if I do decide to make the purchase.

I will either be using Arch, Ubuntu, or AVLinux. I have some experience with AVLinux in the past few years.

Unless anyone comes on here with a decent alternative or a good reason why I should not buy the AudioFire8 in the next few hours, I am going to take the plunge!

Regarding the firmware…

I have the AF8 and I had to update the firmware for in order for FFADO to recognize and operate the device.

It is recommended that you do NOT install the latest firmware, as a number of users, as reported on the Echo User Forum, seem to have had reliability issues. (Unfortunately, it seems that the Echo forum is now defunct.)

I think I installed the XP driver version 4.8 firmware which brought the device to life for FFADO. You can download v 4.8 from the Echo Audio support page.

You should perform the flash update on an XP machine, since the only driver available for Win 7 is v 5.5

Cool, I appreciate your input. I was doing some googling earlier today, and it looks like 4.8 is the correct version for it to work with ffado. I have access to any OS I need to do the flashing (I am a computer science major), and I found the download links for those drivers needed for flashing.

its good to know somebody else is successfully using the same piece of equipment with good results, what is the latency like?

EDIT: Also, would is anybody aware can FFADO take advantage of the onboard DSP on the Audiofire8? Not a huge deal, but if it cant and its not likely it ever will, I might look at the audiofire4 instead.

Regarding latency, I can’t give you any meaningful data, since I have not pursued low latency for my tasks.

I believe that the onboard DSP relates to the digital channel mixing available within the device, and you can play with that via the FFADO audiofire console application.

Hi, Just come across this. I am using an Echo Audiofire Pre8. I have the 5.5 version of the firmware loaded. There is a bug in the firmware which affects working at high sample rates (88.2K, 96K), but the current SVN version of FFADO does have a patch to resolve this. I have been quite active in the FFADO code to get Echo devices working, The FFADO Mixer application works fully with this device, so you can control all aspects of the software mixer in the unit. The MIDI ports do work with the current FFADO too.

As regards latency - this is more a feature of the Firewire isochronous protocol and what your whole hardware stack is capable of. Generally low latency works well though.

Also coming down the pipe is an ALSA implementation of the firewire protocol - I am running a dev ALSA kernel with good support for the Echo devices and it is quite stable too.

thanks for the reply man. I am going to order the audiofire 8, once B&H allows me to submit my purchase.

I am quite pleased to hear all this about the echo line, I’ve had my eye on these things for a while. I can’t wait to get mine.

sweet, thanks for the info everyone! can’t wait for it to come in!

Well I got my audio interface today, and so far, so good! Unfortunately, it came with the 5.3 firmware installed, meaning that AVLinux only works with sample rates of 48000 or less. I have installed the version of ffado in the debian experimental repository and it did not fix the sample rate issue. I assume that this issue was fixed in ffado svn versions > 1949? if so, it looks like I’ll either have to figure out how to compile it in AVLinux and install it which doesn’t sound fun at all, or use something like Arch to get the higher sample rate, assuming this is indeed the problem.

And no, apparently I cannot flash the firmware back to 4.8 on windows xp, it certainly did not let me do so today.

I just got a new Audiofire12, and it’s so good to see active development on this piece of hardware. It has better sound than my old Delta 1010, with the added benefit of more channels, and portability. I wrote a blog entry on how I got it working, although it’s sure to be out-dated soon.

I use a Layla 3G on my Linux system. This is the most rock solid reliable set up I have ever had. I also have an Audiofire 8 (same as Layla except firewire). I have had the Audiofire working on Linux. However, I plan on buying another Audiofire at some stage in the future because mine doesn’t have ADAT. The newer ones do. Currently I have a Mytek A/D attached to the Layla which gives me superb conversion even although the Echos are good quality for the money. There is one drawback with the Layla. ALSA presents the analog and digital parts to jack as different devices and you have to combine in an asoundrc file. Latency is super low with the Layla but using the asoundrc disturbs this slightly so you can’t go quite as low. Eventually I plan on using a multi channel ADAT high end converter and will use an Audiofire as the best way to integrate this with Linux. Because the Echos are great value for what you get they are the best interfaces for Linux. I don’t want to buy high end converters that are part of the interface. Best to keep it all separate in my opinion.

As for the sample rate. I usually use 48 kHz anyway. I might try the Audiofire again with Linux because the digital side of the Layla is a slight problem.

Actually, thinking again. If I get a multi A/D D/A converter I guess I don’t need to use the Layla analog device part at all so this would be the ultimate problem free Linux set up. The trouble is that high end multi converters cost a fortune. I won’t be getting this any time soon.

If you want great sound and total reliability on Linux, an Echo Layla set up with asoundrc file to amalgamate the digital and analog devices then a Mytek Stereo 96 ADC connected with the Layla clocked to the Mytek will get you great sound and you know that everything you record is being captured at top notch even if the Layla’s D/As don’t demonstrate it fully. The A/D is much more important. You can still use the Layla’s own converters but just use the Mytek when you need to track and want top notch quality. I notice a vast difference especially when recording things with particularly rich sound like analog synths. This is obvious even through the Layla’s D/As. When you get a high end A/D you will wish you had had it before because your older recordings will sound much less impressive and the Layla’s own converters are not even that bad at all.

The audio in out end of the Audiofire is all working fine straight out the box with ffada 2.0.1. I don’t have access to it’s internal mixer via ffado-mixer but that is not really important. I monitor through Ardour. Clock source and sample rate are all selectable (at least with firmware 4.8). However there is no MIDI. I have a separate MIDI interface so this doesn’t bother me but might bother some. Without the internal mixer control you may want to mute all it’s channels in Windows or Mac before using on Linux so you shut off hearing any monitoring except through Ardour unless you want to monitor through the Audiofire.

Just tested my Audiofire 8. It appears to be working perfectly out the box. I do have firmware version 4.8.

I wonder if a multi in/out Mytek converter with Firewire card would work direct? I can’t find specific info on that but it’s a TC Electronics chip. This would be my dream set up. I’m using Ardour 3 now. Fantastic. Hope I don’t come across any show stopping bugs. Things are really rolling forward now.

Hi there,
I am new to this forum, I was linked to this topic from linuxmusicians and it is very interesting to see you got it running. I hope to get some help here :slight_smile:
I have an AF12 as well but so far I have not gotten it to work.
Lately I updated my windows partition, and in the end updated the firmware to 5.5 and the AF12 is running fine under MS Windows XP sp3 …

Under linux it is still a no go, Jack crashes within seconds (unable to read flash memory)
I read your too…
Could one of you explain (in musicianlanguage) what I should do?
Should I downgrade the firmware to 4.8? and, if yes, how?

this is what I am using:
Dell latitude D630 with AVLinux 2.6.36-liquorix-2.6.36-3.dmz.2-avlinux-default and I have a AudioFire12 (firewire) interface

please… :slight_smile:

oNNogitaar: Dammit, that was a long thread you had going over at linuxmusicians… I haven’t read it all; I also don’t have the hardware (or AVlinux) myself, so I probably can’t be of much help — but anyway:

  1. What is your installed version of libraw1394? By the post you refer to, it should be at least 2.0.7
  2. The kernel used in that blog post is 2.6.38, which hasn't been released yet (i.e. a beta kernel). It doesn't say whether this is a requirement though; if it is, you either have to build the kernel manually (which can be tricky, but it's not THAT hard), or wait till 2.6.38 becomes available for your distro.
  3. It's not completely clear from the above if the firmware version trouble also affects your af12 (instead of only the af8). I suggest you go to the manufacturer's site and find the firmware download section & see if the same firmwares (and/or firmware version numbers) are used for both af12 and af8. If you download some of it, it will be in the form of a WinXP program, so you'll have to boot XP to run it.