May Need a New Sound Card - on a Shoestring


(Matt) #1

The motherboard on my very old studio PC is dying, and I’ve replaced it with a slightly-less-old one but now I’ve hit a snag. My also-venerable Tascam US-428 causes the OS (AVLinux) to keep throwing “usb_set_interface error” messages and doesn’t show up except very occasionally in lsusb. Not good, and I can’t find much to tweak software-wise to try to fix it (tempted to go for a Gentoo build but that’s a bit daunting after years off that distro)

My hope: the Tascam is somehow incompatible with the motherboard USB controllers, but the PCI USB card I have on order will work just fine. That will be the cheapest fix (unless I eventually find a software tweak).

Trouble is, if I have to replace it I can’t find anything with such a nice “breakout” capability: four accessible inputs sat on the desktop, XLR and 1/4". I mean, some of the FireFace units look pretty good but are hundreds of pounds.

So, I’m not looking for “good for ardour” recommendations, I know those are generally frowned upon especially as hardware compatibility can be completely random, but I’d appreciate some steers on something with good desktop breakout/ease of accessibility characteristics that I can research further. Happy to go PCI, Firewire or, if completely necessary, USB but I don’t really trust the latter any more. Perhaps something few years old or out of date that I can search eBay and the like for on the grounds that budget is practically non-existent.

Many thanks for any feedback.


(Matt) #2

Okay, it looks like the extra USB card didn’t work, but my US-122 will and although it’s suboptimal it will do.


(LaburnumAF) #3

Hello don’t know your budget but I picked up a midi man 1010 for £100 off ebay.


(Blaise Alleyne) #4

StudioGearGuide.com is very helpful for budget gear, though it won’t address GNU/Linux compatibility at all. Personally, I’ve fallen in love with the Focusrite Scarlett USB audio interface series. Reasonable priced, tend to be USB class compliant (so should work with JACK), high quality. I have a Scarlett 2i2 right now.


(Saam R Sany) #5

Just a small clarification, the Scarlett Series is NOT USB class compliant but has been supported by the linux kernel for at least the last 3-4 years. As long as you aren’t running on a very old kernel, you’ll be fine with the Scarletts.


(Seablade) #6

@drsaamah That actually is not quite correct. At least the Scarlet Solo, 2i2, and 2i4 are class compliant (And in fact at least as of today, this is specifically mentioned if you try to download a mac driver for those devices).

The larger devices utilize a dsp mixer, which is what the specific support for the devices brings to the table.

         Seablade

(Saam R Sany) #7

Ah, my bad I should have figured as much. Thank you for the clarification @seablade :slight_smile:


(Matt) #8

Cool, thanks. If the US-122 stops being sufficient those Scarlett options look pretty good, I’ll just need to get over my anti-USB prejudice! :slight_smile: