Immediate Success!

Just wanted to share my experience of setting up Ardour on my Linux system as it might be useful to others, and I’m really enthused about Ardour currently. I’ve switched to Linux recently and audio was the only thing I was concerned about. Ardour + JACK has made me a very happy man.

I’m running Mandriva 2008 on an Athlon with 1GB RAM. Currently I’m using the standard Mandriva kernel and using Mandriva packages for everything except Ardour which I have built myself in order to enable VST plugin support - although it has to be said I’ve not yet needed to use any VST plugins. I’ve got my latency at 64ms, which is high but I’ve not tried to go any lower as it’s fine for my needs so far. I have no doubt I could get it lower, especially if I use the Mandriva Multimedia kernel which is specially optimised for low latency. I think I will build my own kernel though as this is what I normally do.

Anyway, I’ve installed jack (the jackit package) and qjackctrl from the Mandriva repositores. The sound ‘card’ I’m using is the Edirol FA-66 firewire interface. This gives you hardware monitoring of all 4 analogue inputs (which I like) and MIDI. This is supported out of the box by Mandriva, simply by choosing ‘freebob’ as the interface in qjackctrl.

I found two useful pages, both on the freebob website which helped me with the two tricky bits of the configuration. Firstly to enable realtime scheduling for JACK and freebob (again, supported out of the box on Mandriva) you simply have to edit one file as described here

Secondly, for firewire interfaces, I created a udev rule as described here

And that was all I needed to do. Everything is working, things are sounding great, and I’m very pleased.

I’ve also discovered one advantage of using a firewire audio device. Normally when you start JACK it takes control of the sound card, meaning that any non-JACK aware applications (eg Audacity) cannot play back audio. Now that I’m using my firewire device for JACK this leaves the PC’s internal sound card free for all those non-JACK-aware applications.

Congrats :slight_smile:
Low latency is only relevant if you do live stuff or software monitoring (as far as I know).
Concerning the last bit (PC sound card), I disabled the onboard sound chip (intel HDA) since it shared IRQ with my external device (RME Hammerfall DSP + Multiface II). I get everything through jack (even flash plugin when I have to listen to some myspace or youtube stuff). I don’t use any sound server except for jack (no arts, no esd). For the flash stuff, I use oss2jack. It was a bit of a pain to compile properly (you need fusd) but it’s working fine. mplayer and amarok have built-in jack support, audacity uses portaudio and works out of the box although I don’t use it except for a bit of editing sometimes. Really, I don’t need anything else than jack for all purposes :slight_smile:

By the way, I would like to give the developers a BIG THANK for ardour, jack, jamin, etc. I’ve been following the dev for a long time (4-5 years) but only started using these tools very seriously and intensively 4 months ago. I turned my activities into serious music production after I resigned from “office rat” jobs and you guys made this possible since I am no windows or mac user (pure unix / linux). I am more than happy to work everyday with these tools and I hope to complete my actual project (a double-album) in 3-4 months. I will publish it on the net and provide a link to it. I will certainly mention your names in the acknowledgements :slight_smile:
(I by the way donated a bit of money to Paul, not much since I am quite broke, but I could not NOT do it).

Well I’ve done a bit more experimenting. I built myself a low-latency kernel, changed my settings in qjackctrl and my audio latency is now an astonishing 2.7ms!!

I’ve imported 3 mono 48KHz tracks from an old VST project, added some plugin effects, and overdubbed a stereo track on top. No xruns, and the recording is perfectly in sync with the existing tracks - which is something that never used to happen with VST! It’s early days yet, but so far I’m very happy with everything.