MOTU compatibility

i have a PowerBook G4 and i want to use Ardour for multi-track recording. i want to be able to record multiple tracks at once (say, around 8, for a full sized band). i was looking to use the MOTU ultralite to interface with my 16ch Mackie mixer. Ardour recognizes Core Audio drivers, and so does the MOTU device. Does this mean i can record multiple tracks at once with Ardour? i’m very new to multi-track digital recording, and i have noticed that some hardware devices and apps have limitations as to how many tracks can be recorded at once. What do the other Mac users out there use to interface with Ardour?

Ardour does not use CoreAudio at all. All audio I/O is handled via JACK to allow inter-application audio routing as well as I/O to and from hardware. As far as we know, if it has a CoreAudio driver, it works with JACK. It is possible for there to be minor incompatibilities that can cause problems, but in general this rule stands.

Ardour can record as many tracks at one time as your disk subsystem will permit. The record to date is about 70 tracks at once. The program began life as a pure hard disk recorder, not an editor, and so it tends to be significantly more reliable in this area than software that began life as a sequencer and later added multitrack recording functionality.

i forgot to mention that although MOTU h/w will work on a Mac running OS/X, because of MOTU’s policies towards Linux support i would encourage to choose other hardware. MOTU have consistently and vigorously turned away the Linux community’s attempts to create (for free) drivers for MOTU hardware, despite our successful results with RME, M-Audio, Echo and many other fine products. if you have a choice (and i know you do, despite the fine qualities of MOTU’s equipment) i request that you do not reward them in this way.

Does Motu still hate Linux ? If yes I will not buy an 828mk2 despite its attractive specs (then cope with reverse engineered incomplete drivers), but what other brand/product should I choose ? Thanks for more information if you have any beyond what is available on site.

rme hammerfall or ice1712 (m-audio 1010(lt), terratec, …) based cards are often used with linux, and have fine and complete driver support through alsa.

i own an m-audio 1010lt, and it works like a charm with linux.

Hi Paul,

I’m a longtime Sonar user with a MOTU 2408-mkII and MIDI Express XT. I tried running Ardour with Ubuntu and it failed miserably. In reading your post, I can see why. No drivers for those devices. Looks like I will have to update my equipment if I want to use Ardour.

Thanks for the info.

Hi Silicium,
I use Echo Layla20 (I have three of them). The linux drivers are very good, and the units are fairly inexpensive on eBay - I got my last one for $175. They are of excellent quality - don’t let the “20-bit” vs. “24-bit” thing throw you.

I d say RME products are in the quality range of motu, if you look for some equivalent. I work for years now with a multiface II without a single dropout, very stable, decent quality. If you need USB / firewire i cant give you any advice but searching the forum you ll find a lot of posts with info…


I am new about Ardour and I find it a great project.
Thanks to who’s making this project a reality !

In fact I’m thinking to download this sequencer (making a corresponding payment) but I’m worrying about the use of my soundcard.

I’v just bout a Motu traveler and it seem a good card for what I’m looking for. Bur is it going to work OK with Ardour ?
I am recording wit a MacBookPro and, til now i’v used Cubase.

After installing the program, I understood that you must download the Plugins and install them ?
Does a normal VST plugin works ?


@Gae: your MOTU device … if it works on your MacBookPro, it will work with JACK and thus with Ardour.

Ardour does not support VST plugins on OS X. It does support AudioUnit plugins (almost all commercial plugins for OS X come in this format), and also comes with 117 LADSPA plugins which vary in quality and usability from excellent to dubious.

It is not a MIDI sequencer (that requires Ardour 3, which has not yet been released.

You can always download the free version to try it out, and then come back and pay for the version that will save AudioUnit settings.

Thanks Paul.

I’ll download it and “by” it, of course.

I think this project is fantastic, just the idea… and am sure it is product of many many hours of hard work and passion for music. Many thanks !

I’ll come more over here !!


@stralien - go and get a focusrite or RME or m-audio product … depending on whether you want firewire or USB… or PCI/e.

@siliceum… if you are looking for firewire similar to 828 mkII then look at the ffado website… (if you are using linux)

for firewire - focusrite devices probably have the biggest following from the chatter on the website. They have great pre-amps for the money you pay and generally good electronically…
I have an older saffire pro 10io … which only issue is I need to fire up jack a couple of times before it works… and similarly need to restart a couple of times if changing bit rate … I used to have an m-audio delta 1010 … I get very acceptable latency performance for firewire… using 64 periods and 3 buffers… for all sample rates… (It improved once I started using the --clocksource h option in jack… )

The newer focusrite saffire devices appear to work again from the chatter on the ffado site, except there is no mixer app as yet… The general opinion is the DICE chip devices all work out of the box, but to configure them you may need to plug them into a windows or osx box first due to the lack of mixer apps… I’m hoping this rule is true because if I win the lottery I’ll buy the Allen & Heath GS-R24 mixer for the studio and a Zed R16 for live… but then again if it isn’t true I’d probably still get them and get multiple RME DIGIFaces to accomodate the ADAT instead… winning the lottery edoes provide many options :slight_smile: … however back to reality … I definitely stick by the Focusrite devices for Firewire… but if you are working from desktop and money isn’t an issue then RME would be my choice. if money is an issue then M-audio is a good second best …

Paul and all, I am a recent convert to Mac recording, picked up a used Powerbook G4 with Logic to use for a mobile setup with 2 MOTU 896’s and thought all my problems were over… HAAAA! Right! After using a 2408 with Cubase SX2 on a custom PC I thought I could handle Logic. After working with software engineered by Germans, Logic makes no sense. The editing functions frustrated the crap out me. MOTU units come with Audiodesk(Digital Performer Lite) and the editing became a nightmare. There were so many utility functions built into Cubase that I missed when I started using these other programs. Well I came across Ardour and Mixbus and really like the sound. I am trying to get to the point of recording start to finish in Ardour. Right now I am tracking in Audiodesk and importing tracs into Ardour. I am liking what I am hearing so far and if Ardour is stable on my older G5, I have a winning combo here.