Recommend some audio hardware to use with Ardour on Linux?

Hi all. Ive been watching the ardour project for a while, and the other day I decided to compile a copy of the Ardour SVN. So far I havent encountered any noteable problems, so props to the devs for making such an awesome software project.

Down to business though. I want to set up a computer based recording system, as an alternative to my ADAT machines (Looks like everyone is going disk based these days anyway). I’m seriously considering setting up an Ardour+Linux system, since Linux is my OS of choice, and Ardour seems like a solid piece of software. So this brings the question, what hardware to use with Ardour?

Ideally, I’d love to have something capable of doing about 16 channels of audio at a time. I’ve heard the m-audio delta series cards work well under linux, but unfortunately the most expensive one only offers about 10 channels max, and I doubt I could run two in parallel. I was really excited about Mackie’s Onyx series mixers, which have the firewire card, but unfortunately those mixers need either ASIO or CoreAudio, neither of which is available on linux - to my knowledge anyways. (It seems ASIO is a copyrighted API, so a free software implementation of that would be difficult, if not impossible)

So in short, can anyone recommend some Linux+Ardour compatable hardware to achieve 16 channels of audio i/o?

ASIO is an API for windows, and CoreAudio is an API for MAC, neither mean anything if you plan to use linux.

If you want 16 channels, you can buy multiple cards and use them together. (but ONLY if they can be synced with a word clock, not all cards support external word clocks)

If you don’t want multiple cards, the RME hammerfall series is well suported on linux and can handle that many channels. However, this is though ADAT pipes, so you will need an external ATAT AD/DA unit.

Or, if your in the mood for spending big $$, you can get an Apogee AD-16X with an X-Firewire expansion card. This unit is supported by the freebob project.

Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll probably custom build a system so having two PCI slots available shouldnt be a problem if I went with option (a). The RME Hammerfalls also look cool, although it looks like Id need to buy two ADAT AD/DA units, since the largest I have seen is 8 channel. I also looked into the freebob project, and I am curious how well the said devices are supported. ie, I noticed on their supported hardware page, not only the Apogee X-Firewire card, but also Mackie’s Onyx Mixers. I will inquire with the Freebob developers as to the current working state of those products. Thanks again.

Well, freebob was released earlier this month… so looks like you are in luck, just make sure to use the mixers with firewire card and not their rack stuff-different adc

I’ve been using cubase while waiting for those drivers… and waiting to be able to use ardour, so perhaps we are in the same boat.

A second option is to get a decent ADAT capable audio interface, and some ADAT A/D D/A converters. This is what seems to be the most “pro” mode of operation. I use an M-Audio 1010 rack unit myself, it is tempting to sell it and go for the ADAT rig.

I’m also looking for a firewire audio interface for use with Ardour on Linux. I need 8 analog and 1 MIDI I/O; I don’t really understand the purpose of ADAT and digital I/O if I have JACK and Ardour, but I’m a musician, not a recording engineer, so maybe I just don’t get it yet.

I’m leaning towards the PreSonus Firepod, which is supposed to be supported by freebob. I heard the preamps suck, but for the same price as the Edirol FA-101, it’s hard to argue with 6 extra preamps. It seems like the best of the firewire options supported by freebob. Anyone try using the Firepod with Ardour?

I have a Firebox (little brother of the Firepod) and can say that it is quite usable. Sounds great too.
So far the audio and midi interfaces are supported (haven’t tried the digital IO).

The only thing not working is the control interface which means there is a 12 Db Boost on each input that I can’t access.

The latest version of qJackCtl now works with freebob which is a bonus.

You can use multiple 1010(lt)'s with JACK now, using spdif to sync (doesnt mean you have to use or not use it for audio). John Rigg has a website ( with all the stuff you need to set it up. As of FC6 thoguh, all you now need is the .asoundrc, svn jack, and the patched alsa-lib. Kernel and alsa patches are all in mainstream pkgs now.

I have also tested 3 delta 101lt’s looks like it worked fine. I’m using 2 lt’s in my primary recording machine with good success. Theres a little issue with spdif cable sensitivity (maybe, more on this later), bit overall it works good.

i would like to know what m-audio hardware you can use with ardour on linux…i want to buy the audio 410 i believe it has adat light pipe and 4 in and 8 out

im new to linux i record hip hop and i have recorded on protools…i had an apple pc but now i have a regular pc with ubuntu and i want to start using this software…anyone can give me tips on what hardware i would need and what plugins i can use with ardour…