Hardware Recommendation: Multi-Track Recording to Ardour

Hey there, I know this is really only tangentially related to Ardour, but I have several audio devices (synths and mics) that I would like to record into Ardour, and I was wondering if there was a particular hardware device that works well with Ardour that will allow me to record each instrument individually into it’s own audio track simultaneously, so that I don’t have to record each instrument on it’s own one at a time.


Short answer is yes.

But what the best option for you depends on many things:

Is this a desktop or laptop? Do you have open expansion slots? How many tracks do you need to record at once? Do all of these require an analog to digital conversion and mic preamps, or only some?

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+1 with Seablade. Also, if you’re running on Linux “try it, before you buy it”. If you buy new, check the return policy.

I know this is basic, but I buy a lot of audio hardware used. And sometimes Linux can get picky :grin:


Most multichannel audio interfaces these days use USB to connect to the computer. If they work with an iPad, they work with Linux.


I have a UMC1820, and it works flawlessly with Ardour on both Windows and Linux, FYI.

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Desktop, though potentially laptop (my setup might end up changing at some point) but for now, desktop. I may have an open expansion slot, but I’m not sure about the spacing, as my case is rather small. Right now I actively record from 4 to 5 tracks total, with only one mic, though I could see myself using potentially up to 8 tracks, though 6 is probably enough.

If you’re using USB, be sure not to plug a USB 2.0 device into a USB 3.0 port, you’ll get pops and clicks at regular intervals on playback. Pulled my hair out for days hunting for that one… :flushed:
I have an older Behringer FCA610 that records to Ardour just fine now that it’s plugged in correctly.
If you’re on Linux, The ALSA website lists equipment for which they have “official” drivers. Unfortunately, none of the manufacturers directly support Linux, but like Paul said, If it works on Mac, it’ll work on Linux.

I suspect there is more to it than just USB2 into USB3, as I do this all the time without issue.

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I think that the more general description is “you may have issues (on any platform, including macOS) plugging a USB audio interface into certain specific USB connections, and these may go away when you use other USB connections on the same computer”. Or, more prescriptively, “if your USB audio interface doesn’t work well on a particular USB port, try all the other USB ports before concluding that it doesn’t work well at all.”

I had nothing else plugged into the 3.0 bus, theoretically it should work fine. I made a test recording, got got a pop every 37 seconds. Set the Jack period from 1024 to 512, the pops came faster, ~17 seconds. Bump the periods up to 2048 and the interval roughly doubled. Then I stumbled across a YouTube video that mentioned the USB 3 vs USB2 thing. I plugged into a USB 2.0 bus that had nothing else on it, and bingo! No more pops. Seems to have helped with the random xruns, too. Paul is right, if something isn’t behaving as expected, keep trying different combinations. Seems like an endless process, but once you hit the right combination – if you haven’t thrown the thing off the roof – it all seems quite logical. :slightly_smiling_face:

So a few comments, not doubting your experience there, it is likely very correct. But a few things to consider:

  1. Just because there is nothing else plugged into a USB port doesn’t mean there isn’t anything else on the bus. For instance I have had several laptops that share the USB bus internally with other devices such as SD card readers, etc.

  2. Even beyond that it could be a specific combination of things. To give an example, for a long time only firewire chipsets made by TI were used for professional audio because other chipsets would not perform stably and well. While I don’t think this is the case in this instance, it is worth mentioning that just because you saw it in your case, doesn’t mean there aren’t more things going on there as well.

  3. Throwing things off the roof… make sure noone is under it first:)


We are on the same page. :slightly_smiling_face:

  1. Checked from Terminal: lsusb -s
  2. I agree, Different chipsets behave differently
  3. It didn’t quite come that, but if it does, I’ll be sure the cat is inside. :cat2: