M-Audio MobilePre under Ubunti 9.10 Karmic Koala - my issues

Using a relatively new install of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) I find even my older supposedly non-recognizable (blue label) MobilePre is recognized by Ubuntu as soon as I plug it in. If I left click the audio icon at the top of the unmodified Ubuntu screen I can go into the “Sound Preferences”, I then see that the USB MobilePre is showing as hardware. I can select it and move to the input and output panes and do the same. From then on running applications are shuttled through to the Mobile Pre as the primary audio output. This is actually where the issues with Ardour begin. If I run Audacious2 or Sound Recorder and go to the Applications pane of Sound Preferences I see those applications listed as running. Ardour never shows up as a running program. Also, when Jack starts with Ardour, it takes over the system (apparently) and any sounds from then on are not heard through either the MobilePre or the built in sound system.

You can’t run Ardour apparently without Jack. I can make all the changes I like in Jack, including variations of setting USB Audio or MobilePre (which both show up under Jack’s setup menu) but I still get no in/out from Audacity. If I set the Sound Preferences back to the onboard system and set Jacks setup to all defaults I can play prerecorded wav files out through the onboard system.

My system here is an older HP Pavillion zv5000 series (actually the zv5340 (AMD 64 chip, nVidia graphics, etc)

If I can do more to help in this issue that would be great as recording pro sounding audio through the standard mic jack is not going to cut it for me.

One other thing - I can see the input on the meter from the MobilePre in the Sound Preferences settings under Ubuntu and I can record perfectly using the very simple Sound Recorder application. I have no doubt that several other less worthy applications have no issues with recording from the MobilePre as well.

I work as an Broadcast Engineer for a string of Broadcasting schools across the US and I am trying to advocate Linux as the way to go for our simple Radio Suites. All the students really do is record dialog, mix sound under and so on. I would love to advocate Ardour, and likely will but we will end up recording through the built in soundcards and I prefer a more pro interface direct to digital when possible.

If I can be of any further help in looking into this issue, please let me know.

Sean McHenry
(not a Linux Guru)

There is an issue here?

What you have described is EXACTLY what is expected.

Jack is designed to be the sole user of an audio interface, as it is designed for professional applications where you don’t want anything else using the hardware as it may screw with your recording. It will NOT however affect your built in sound at all if you are using the Mobile Pre, that is something else. Jack will only run on a single interface at a time for various reasons.


@deepblueedit you seem to confuse some things:

as seablade already noted, jack should infact “steal” the soundcard from your system, so that only applications that work with jack can access the soundcard. the system-sounds and your simple soundrecorder don’t use jack, that’s why they stop working once you start jack. (because you still have the mobilepre as default device in ubuntu prefs)

also, audacity has a strange jack implementation, i would not recommend it with jack. (it creates inputs and outputs only when you start recording or playback, making it impossible to connect to before you playback or record)


once you start jack, you can only use applications that are jack-aware (work with jack) to input or output sound from the device you setup with jack.
the good thing about jack is, that you can connect all audio applications with eachother, e.g. the output of hydrogen (drummachine) goes to the input of ardour to record it.
this is really easy with a nice frontend like qjackctl, where you see all inputs and outputs (physical and software ones).
the system is very flexible, yet only one software really controls the hardware, avoiding problems with more than one program wanting to access the soundcard. if you need more infos on jack go to:


there you’ll find a list of jack-aware applications and general explanations of the jack audio server.

hope this helps.