Hardware reviews and testimonials.

Review hardware that you own or have owned in the past.

This can be anything from your favorite sound card, preamp, mixer, or control surface, to something you really didn’t care that much about. Please keep it relevant to recording.

Perhaps we can get a poll or forum started under the community section that will keep track of a 1 to 10 rating for different aspects of specific hardware (Delta 1010…etc) like what they have on Musician’s Friend or other sites. Also there could be an overall rating?

Just some things that I think would be useful:

What it is: Sound Card/Preamp/Whatever
Compatability: Linux/MacOS/Both/NA
Features: 1 - 10 rating
Quality: 1 - 10 rating

I think that this could be a valuable tool when looking for new hardware to buy for use with Linux/Ardour because it would reflect what Ardour users think as opposed to everyone else. If anyone else has any ideas then chime in.

I use the Terratec EWS88 MT/D, a 10 in 10 out card (8+8 analogue & 2+2 spdif) capable of doing 24bit 96KHz and it’s the predecessor of the current Phase(88) series.

This card has the envy 1712 chipset and is very well supported by alsa. The alsa-tools package offers a envy24control utility where you can configure allmost all options available on the soundcard, the only thing missing in envy24control are ‘automatic gain setting’ and a decent clipping display, but it’s still(/again) under development, so maybe it will be there in the future…

What it is: Sound Card
Compatability: Both
Features: 7 *missing some routing options
Quality: 8 *the ad/da converters could be a bit “brighter”…

A 10 in/10 out sound card (S/PDIF, word clock, Midi, 8 rca line outs, 6 rca line ins, 2 xlr line ins). 24bit /96kHz.

Frequency response: 22Hz-22kHz, -0.2,-0.4dB @ 48kHz; 22Hz-40kHz, -0.2,-0.7dB @ 96kHz

This card works very well in linux, and records accuratly without coloration of the sound as far as I can tell, and for the price I couldn’t find anything better. I feel like this was the best move I could have made stepping into the world of recording in linux. I love it!

What it is: 10in/10out Sound Card
Compatability: Both
Features: 8
Quality: 10

M-Audio Delta 1010LT Page
Musician’s Friend Delta 1010LT Page

I got this card after selling my old Delta 44 and i think it works quite good on linux. I never had a crash or other issues of the sound system.


  • Low noise
  • Neutral sound (as far as i can say)
  • Low latencys are possibel


  • Hardware monitoring cannot be enabled via the Ardour option dialog. You have to use the Envry24control utility.

Quality 9 (I would give 10 to RMEs hardware)
Features 8

Preamp Bandwidth: 10Hz to 50kHz
24-bit / up to 96khz
ADC Dynamic Range

24-bit / up to 96kHz
DAC Dynamic Range

Sounds Neutral as far as I can tell… External, Well Built, Firewire… Uses the Freebob Drivers Under Linux - which are not yet complete - no mixer functionality (fortunately you can control most things from the unit hardware). 6 inputs/10 outputs (2 and 2 are digital) only two inputs have phantom power.

All in all very nice package for the price.
features 8
Quality 10


Don’t forget the SNR is ~100dB. The other ‘1010’ (the Delta 1010 w/ the breakoutbox) is ~110dB SNR (only +10dB gain for 2x cost), but the 1010 has both balanced+unbalanced inputs/outputs off of the breakout box! The 1010LT only has unbalanced inputs/outputs, so I coupled mind with a mixer than had 8 direct outs (recommended).

As stated above, it only has 8 analog in and 8 analog outputs + an internal mixer (channel 11+12). It also has a router function where as you can route the sound back to the output (say route the mixed 10 inputs back out analog 1+2).

Installation is easy, software (envy24control) is apart of later the ALSA tools package. Also it has really good low latency (at least if compiled on AMD K7/XP), can get ~1.5ms with solid performance.

Compatability: Both (requires PCI)
Features: 9
Quality: 9


Works well for both capture and playback, no setup, was able to plug-in and able to start recording with Ardour. Can be muddy and distorted if settings on the GNX4 are not brought down a tad
has a USB 1+2 (also an Output)
USB #1 1+2 (Which is 3+4) on the GNX 4
able to capture the built in drum machine as well

RME Hammerfall HDSP 9256 with sonic core adat converters and dBx preamps works very nice.The RME HDSP is a very good choise for linux, all of his features are full supported and have a very low latency. I’m working with 24 input trakcs to ardour and using 24 outputs for connect all of my rack FX and audio processors. Any problem, with ardour 2.5 and 64 Studio on a Quad core PC it is a very sable system and very fast too. The last thing of my system, I don’t use the sound card monitorig becasue I prefer a classical audio mixer but monitoring is fully supported with HDSPmixer app.

Saffire pro 26 Firewire

in first, i have used this firewire sound card with freebob with lot off probleme ( in genral 5 -6 hours whitout probleme and after the first crash , is working 30 min - 1h max, and new crash. very dificul to restart jack)

Now i use ffado driver !! all problems are gone ! i have recorded some tracks with very low latency (1.3 in jack , ardour say 0.7ms) sure no lot off effect (only a few compressor) no problem, no crash ! all the flexibility of jack routing !!

ffado mixer allow’s me to make hardware monitor , control phantom power, but no possibility to change samplerate frequency, and resolution.

Compatability: win, mac and linux

Features: 8 (this is not the perfect interface but for the price is very good)

Quality of preamp : 8 , preamp very good and transparent and punchy, but for me 10 is for neve 1080 or preamp in ssl 9000, api, ect

Quality of converters : 8 , very good 24 bit 192 khz converters, for me 10 is sphynx 2 and is not the same price!! when i read 10 for low cost converters, i rise !