[ardour-users] A decent sound card for Ardour

Andrew Johnston andyandtaya at gmail.com
Fri Feb 9 05:08:13 PST 2007

Sorry to hear that John.  I remember when I first moved over to linux I was
tempted on many an occasion to go back.  However I chose not too, mostly
because I remembered all the reasons why I wanted to leave it in the first
place!  I became determined to make it work, and eventually I got there.  It
might be worth running a dual boot windows/linux until you can find a distro
that works for you, that way you can still get your work done but also learn
about linux at the same time.  A lot of people don't just use Ardour because
it's free, but also because it's so damn good.  One of the reasons for this
is the fact that it is running on a linux system, which can achieve far
lower latency and stability than windows ever could.  I imagine that even if
ardour were ported to windows eventually, it wouldn't work as well (don't
quote me on that though!)  Also, I believe that a proaudio computer should
be able to do it's job without having to worry about a myriad of other
problems such as viruses/spyware and extra baggage that you don't need.  I
have been able to put together a system that has exactly what I want on it,
nothing more, nothing less, boots up very quickly, runs without crashing
even if programs crash and has never once been crippled by spyware or a
virus.  It is a pity that all these advantages come at a cost...and that is
obviously time and patience and a steep learning curve.  Also remember that
if you ever do come into a problem with windows, there isn't that community
of support there to help you...which is another thing that I was astounded
by when I came over...people actually giving their own time to help others
because they want to!

Hope to hear better news this week coming =)

Below are my responses in red


On 2/9/07, John Emmas <johne53 at tiscali.co.uk> wrote:
> Hi Andrew - here are my answers to your questions....
> > 1) What is your hardware that you have connected to the RME, and
> > how have you connected it?
> >
> Currently, I just have a pair of self powered speakers connected to analog
> outputs 1&2.  I'm not trying to do anything fancy, just hear some sound.

Okay, cool - was making sure that it wasn't a problem with getting digital
connections mixed up

> 2) When you speak into your microphone do you get any levels appearing in
> > the hdspmixer 'input' section.
> >
> I've not even attempted to make an input yet.  I'm just trying to get an
> output from pre-existing sounds such as WAV files, system beeps etc.

Same reason as above for this question

> 3) When you play audio from a jack connected application, do you see
> > levels in the second section of the hdsmpixer called 'playback'.
> >
> That one's difficult to answer because at the moment, I don't know enough
> about Linux audio to know which applications are jack aware.  However....
> OpenSUSE - hdspmixer isn't installed yet.  I only installed the OS last
> night.  I'll come back to you later on that one.
> Ubuntu - If I open hdspmixer and then double-click on a known sound file
> (such as a WAV) it opens another application called Totem Movie Player.
> This shows a progress bar and the meters show a signal (in the middle
> section only) of hdspmixer.  Jack isn't installed yet under Ubuntu and
> AFAIK, Totem Movie Player doesn't need it.

okay it does seem audio is getting routed to the hdspmixer then

> 4) Are there levels appearing in the bottom section of the hdspmixer
> > called 'output'.  If not then this is why you aren't hearing any audio.
> >
> No, this is the problem.  Nothing appears on the meters in the bottom
> section of the mixer.  I can change the routing, change the mute/solo
> status
> of my playback channels etc - but nothing ever appears on those bottom
> meters.
> > 5) If you DO have playback levels, but your DON'T have output levels, it
> > means that somehow the routing to your outputs has been turned
> down.  Just
> > say for instance that there are levels in playback 1+2.  If you click
> the
> > box below the fader you can change the outputs that those channels are
> > going to, and usually when you do, it by default is turned down.  So if
> > you want the playback to go out to channels 15+16, press the button and
> > select A2 7+8.  Then bring the level up and you should see levels
> > appearing in the 'outputs' section under channels 15+16.
> >
> I've done all that but nothing will make the signal appear on those bottom
> meters.  Along the way, I did realise that the routing doesn't actually
> work
> until you've routed a channel and then moved a fader.  However, in an
> earlier post, I mentioned that there's a loudpseaker icon on
> my menu bar.  If I click on it, a fader drops down, supposedly to adjust
> my
> audio volume.  That fader is permanently set at minimum and can't be
> increased.  I can't help feeling that this is the cause of my problem.

It does sound a bit strange, I haven't got that icon on either my hdpsmixer
or hdspconf...but then again I haven't go Ubuntu.
Just also double check your faders are up on the outputs too..if they are
down no signal comes out (I know it sounds dumb but it's always worth
checking the obvious!)

> BTW once you do have everything running, there is another tool called
> > hdspconf.  This is used to make sure that your wordclock is synced to
> the
> > same sample rate as your outboard gear,
> >
> I've already discovered hdspconf and I've played around with various
> settings - e.g. Internal sync 48.0Khz, Internal sync 44.1Khz etc.  Nothing
> makes any difference.  Interestingly, hdspconf contains a replica of that
> drop down fader that I mentioned above, which is called (rather bizarrely)
> "Volume on system sample rate"..  Presumably that means something to
> someone
> but it doesn't mean anything to me.  However, just like the fader that
> I mentioned earlier, it can't be set at anything higher than minimum
> value.
> Thanks for all your patience with this Andrew.  OpenSUSE is on a separate
> partition so I can swap between the two without doing any damage.  I'm
> rather busy today but I'll be playing with OpenSUSE over the weekend.
> Apodio has also been mentioned to me as a distro worth trying.
> Unfortunately, I gather that it's based on Mandriva which I've already
> tried
> and rejected.

I personally have never like the way Ubuntu does things, it has it's own
standard that seems quite different to all the other distros.  Maybe
OpenSuse will be the answer.  On that note, you might wanna try jacklab...it
is OpenSuse designed for proaudio...it just came out and is definitely going
to be better prepared for your situation than ubuntu

In total, I've been faffing around with Linux for some 12 weeks, making
> painfully slow progress.  OpenSUSE is now the seventh distro I've tried
> and
> every one of them has had some kind of show stopping problem.  By
> contrast,
> it took me just 15 seconds to install my new card under Windows and it
> works
> perfectly...!
> Much as I want to be involved with Ardour, I'm afraid that Linux is really
> turning out to be too much like hard work!!  I'm still happy to contribute
> to any Windows development but it's starting to look like Linux is not for
> me, I'm afraid.... :-(
> Thanks to all who've helped.
> John
> _______________________________________________
> ardour-users mailing list
> ardour-users at lists.ardour.org
> http://lists.ardour.org/listinfo.cgi/ardour-users-ardour.org
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