Off-topic: Life without Jack

I apologize to the Ardour guys and gals (and I guess to non-Linux-peeps), but this is as good a target audience as one could hope.

I’m a Jack-user, mostly because it was the way to accomplish things, and you’re not going to teach an old dog new tricks. But, based on my toolkit, do I need to stick with Jack, or would it be worth my while to investigate the new hot thing!? :slight_smile:

What I use on a daily basis, or near enough, in no obvious order:

And I certainly don’t want to take any food from anyone’s family. I’m just a schlub trying to get by.


If you connect different applications together, for example audio out of Hydrogen into track inputs of Ardour, stick with jackd. The “new hot thing” (a few years old at this point) is that Ardour can use the audio interface directly without jackd, but that was primarily a way to simplify setup so that the large number of people who never connected applications together would not have to deal with learning how to setup jackd properly.

Short version: Since you already have jackd working to your satisfaction there is no reason to change.

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Plus one on keep using jack if it works well for you now. I certainly do. One other place where jackd is still the goto, is in using firewire audio interfaces which even if old and no longer made can provide better performance (lower latency) and more stable operation that the current crop of USB 2.0 devices. There are ALSA modules for many firewire units, but they are not very stable and don’t seem to work at low latencies at all. Also as I have found, a new kernel may make them stop working at all.

Also the case for some USB interfaces, my Helix only work with jackd.

That is unusual. If a USB device works with jackd it should also work with Ardour/ALSA.
How does it fail?

It might actually work with Ardour/ALSA but it certainly doesn’t with pulseaudio. I’ll try it out!

With pulseaudio it’s badly recognized as a surround system and no sound ever get’s out or in.

It is good enough for my use with jack now, though not perfect: crackling noises and xruns from time to time, getting worse with smaller buffers. But I think this is out of Ardour’s scope :slight_smile:

Appreciate the feedback. The reason I posted this was because of mentions of problems with Jack a la: Latency Compensation issues

I always read comments (years ago) how Jack was more of a stop-gap until Linux got its audio settled. So, keeping my ear to the ground, and hoping to stave off potential issues before they become major headaches.


Jack was never a ‘stopgap’ really. Jack was intended from the ground up for a professional audio solution. Many desktop audio solutions have differing needs to professional audio, which isn’t to say you can’t do both acceptably, apparently OS X/MacOS have been doing it for years, but Windows has MME and ASIO, the latter of which is more professional than the former for instance so it isn’t just Linux that deals with this.

What has been an issue on Linux is a single unified desktop solution that can interact well with professional needs. Pulseaudio was probably the first successful attempt at a unified desktop, but it tended to get in the way of professional needs. Pipewire is trying to interact with professional needs better, but is still in what I would refer to as ‘the early stages’.


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