Old hand, new interface

Hello all, I’ve been using Ardour for a long time. Embarrassingly, I’ve only just joined this forum. My current workstation is dying - I’ve built it specifically to work with Ardour 11 years ago using an MAudio 1010LT and have enjoyed rock solid Jack behaviour. In the interim I had to find a solution to drive a 10.2 system using ambisonics. I fell for the lure of FFADO, and tried out various Motu, TC and Focusrite interfaces. After a lot of painful testing I ended up with an RME express card solution - again rock solid.

So Express card is no more PCI is hard to come by and a bit of an afterthought. I am hunting for a decent interface to use with a recent Thinkpad. At least 4in/out - latency is not an issue for me. I’m really wary of ‘class compliance’ as this seems to suggest a subset of the interface’s features will work. I’ve been looking through thousands of forum posts, the ALSA developers commits etc - just looking for real world confirmation that particular USB interfaces will work - solidly!


RME Fireface UC(X)
Scarlett 6i6
Steinberg UR44
Expert Sleepers ES-8

Actually this is the only way that most USB interfaces work with Linux, and while there are some that it limits the capabilities of the interface in ‘Class Compliant’ mode, most just work.

That being said I can only comment on the Scarlett interface, and haven’t used it with Linux myself yet so I am going to have to let others comment on those specific interfaces.


I can cope with lack of DSP, I can cope with having to connect to another box to change the routing options - but I’ve been reading a lot of people talk about fewer ins/outs when in compliance mode - that worries me.

…beginning to wonder about an external PCIe box, the ones that usually are used with GPUs

That depends on the box in question. There is nothing in the audio class that would limit this to my knowledge, but some manufacturers only implement certain features in class compliant mode. As I mentioned I found this true more often in the past than most current interfaces, in part because manufacturers want their interfaces to work with iPads as well now.


I’ve been using an original Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 for the past 2.5-3 years. I absolutely love it - it’s been rock solid as an interface. 6 in/out (including SPDIF), it’s built really well, and worked out of the box for me on AV Linux 2018.4.2. You can very likely find good deals on these on eBay, even more so now that the 2nd gen version of it has come out. I can’t recommend this interface enough!

Behringer UMC1820 all features work in Linux. It has 8 mic inputs, if you need more you can connect a ADA8200 to the UMC1820 through Adat and have 16 Mic inputs. I have this setup and never had trouble with it except the UMC1820 was faulty when it arrived and was replaced.

More about it here: Behringer UMC1820 And Ardour

Steinberg UR22 works with Linux but that does not guarantee that UR44 should work.

Here is a thread about which audio interfaces people have found to work with Ardour on Linux: Audio Interfaces Under Linux

I use the first gen Scarlett 18i20 but all of the first and second gen Scarletts are fully functional in linux as of kernel 4.something. Using ALSA mixer, you can control every facet of the Scarlett’s software settings.

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