i want to use a "slow" Mac just for raw audio then mix in Linux

we have one of the G4 Quicksilvers with a 733mhz processor and 1.25gb of ram. because our audio interface is a MOTU 24i, i want to use it to record the raw tracks in the Mac version of Ardour, then move it to a computer running Linux to edit/mix/etc. i don’t intend on doing anything on the Mac other than recording the raw tracks (no DSP). has anyone done this? does anyone know of any potential pitfalls or problems? any input is appreciated.


i’ve actually done a fair amount of just that. it’s really kind of hit and miss. generally speaking, if the same numbered version of ardour is running on both platforms, that helps a lot. the bigger problem lies with jack, at least for me. sometimes jack connections aren’t going to be named the same from platform to platform. the mac might report the audio interface is named ‘MOTU 24i’, whereas the linux box may call it ‘USB Audio Interface’ or whatever. when ardour starts and tries to connect to ‘MOTU24i’ as defined in your session, it’ll get confused. my recommendation is to disconnect all ins and outs in your mac session before saving and moving the file over to the linux box. then, when you open up the session with linux ardour, you can manually connect the individual tracks as required. it goes without saying that if you do eventually want to use some ladspa plugins on the mac side, make sure the same plugins are installed on the linux box. i’ve forgotten a couple of times, and had a handful of crashes.

you’d think that you’d simply get a ‘x cannot connect to y’ dialog when starting up ardour on the secondary platform; but, i’ve had spotty results. occasionally, for example, the ‘click track’ disappears, etc.

i’d rather just use linux throughout a recording project; but, occasionally, i like to go back and forth between my place and my buddie’s place to work on a session. he’s only got a mac running os x. for these shared projects, it’s easiest to just do the mac thing.

anyway, best of luck.

yeah, that’s about the kind of voodoo i’d expect to have to deal with. of course, if i could figure out a way a way to connect by 16 track board straight to my computer, i wouldn’t have to worry about it. i’ve been reading the RME site, and it appears that you can get, for example, the HDSP9632 and a few of the input expansion cards and do just that…16 analog ins to 16 individual channels in ardour. do i understand that right? what’s your set-up like, if i may ask?


well, i’ve got a number of machines at home. nothing fancy, though. pretty much all of my boxes (linux & mac os x) have Audiophile 2496 cards. no external consoloe-style mixers. and as far as the actual computers’ specs, nothing fancy, either. the linux machine i do most of my recording on has an Athlon 2000 XP, the mac is a PMG4 with a 1.7ghz powerlogix processor upgrade.

for the most part, i make use of midi soft-synths, routed through jack. all mixing is done in software. i try to have a pretty consistent setup from platform to platform.

The RME HDSP 9632 or 9652 is, in my opinion, the best option available today for connecting a Linux audio machine to an analog mixing desk.

Expansion cards for the HDSP series go for ~$250 apiece, so 16 ins and outs would cost $1000 plus the HDSP card itself. Behringer makes a pretty good ADAT preamp with 8 ins AND outs, which Musician’s Friend has in stock for $230. That’s more than half off. (Search for “behringer ada8000”)


  • Less than half the cost
  • Connects by TOSLINK cable; more flexible placement (up to 50 foot long cables, in my experience, even though TOSLINK isn’t supposed to go over 33)
  • Doesn’t suck up expansion slots in your PC
  • Inputs are both XLR and 1/4", with preamps and +48v


  • It’s probably got lower quality converters–I think they’re good enough, but you might not.
  • A rackmount unit takes up more space and more thought and energy to carry around.
  • TOSLINK connection means SIGH More cables. (I hate cables.)
  • Outputs are only in XLR. Be warned!!!

the more i look into it, the more i think i’m going to end up going with a pair of M-Audio Delta 1010s. that way i can run my board in and use other premaps like i want to without using up a million PCI slots.

the behringer and it’s like (the firepod for example) are cool, but i don’t like all-in-one boxes. never have, it’ sjust a personal bias. i don’t even like multi effects processors for my guitar. i like the flexibility of just having the ins and out thgat i can plug whatever i want into.

thanks for the input and advice, i really appreciate it!