In Ardour, where do i select my sound card?

I’m not getting any sound in or out of it. I am using the computers built in sound card (I know, i know. I’d say don’t use it either but i just want to try out the program first).

Also for if i get more drawn in by it and consider switching over to it what sound cards/interfaces are known to be compatible with Linux/Ardour? I wouldn’t be looking for an amazing/expensive sound card/interface but something of descent quality and value. Any ideas or suggestions?

First, ardour uses JACK for everything, you know that cause it won’t run without jack running really. The downside to this is so far as I know, theres no way to run multiple soundcards at the same time inside JACK exclusively, but with some of the soundcards available now theres enough inputs and outputs to do whatever you want. Just make sure your linux kernel can operate the card or theres a module that you can use to operate the card. Ive had the best luck with the audigy2 ZS

Qjackctl is a GUI application for setting up the jackd binary, it basically writes a command line. It’s nice because it will let you see the connections ardour has made. You don’t actually have to use qjackctl, and it will not operate properly with the subversion source versions of JACK2 yet but you dont actually have to use it because all of the settings, once the jackd daemon is running ardour can be used to make all of the connections. One good way to find out a lot about jackd is just to open a terminal and execute the commandline. jackd --help and then with your sound driver (if its alsa) jackd -d alsa --help then you can set it from a terminal, make a shortcut with the settings you want etc. And you dont have to do that either if your version of jack can be set with qjackctl. Your linux distribtion should have the qjackctl package. I just have a shortcut that runs the kde terminal konqueror -e jackd (args)
Selecting the soundcard is done with the driver arguments on the commandline, or with qjackctl theres a context menu for sound devices for input and output.

So thats selecting the soundcard. But with ardour you have to set the output on the track you want to use. easiest way is to put some audio on a track, and then in the mixer window (select show mixer in I think options or one of the menus) click on the output button and select edit. then select the system tab on the top right and set the track to output to the pcm out connections in jack. as I said, you can set up tracks and busses any way you want, but all of the jack connections can be made inside ardour. Even easier is to hit that output button on the track you have and just hit ‘out 1+2’ and thats auomatically connected to the system pcm out. Lastly your soundcard does have to be unmuted in a mixer program. If you’re using alsa, which with an ac’97 you probably are… alsamixer is a good standby, open a terminal and type alsamixer to see if you have that.

I find it easiest to connect stuff using the Connect button in qjackctl. Connect Ardour’s Master Out 1/2 on the left side to system/playback_1/2 on the right.
Also fire up alsamixer to make sure the outputs of your card are enabled and with decent volume.

As for soundcard, a good and relatively cheap one is the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 (assuming you have a free PCI slot).
Other recommendations are here: