Jump to content

Alsa drivers


Recommended Posts

So I finally managed to turn our outhouse into my little recording studio. But my soundcard is rubbish (soundblaster live) - so I want to buy another one. I've been looking through the sound card matrix to see what is well supported and I notice that a large number of cards use exactly the same drivers. Especially the USB based ones which all seem, with a few exceptions, to use the same driver.


Now that's all well and good, but different cards have different features and different AD/DA qualities - are the drivers flexible enough to be able to make use of those?


I don't want to spend money on a soundcard expecting that I'll get 24bit/96khz quality and find out I only get 16bit/48khz... Despite the card being up to it...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

M-Audio Audiophile 2496, or (if two channels are not enough for your needs) M-Audio Audiophile 192.

Superb DAC quality, their Linux drivers work PERFECTLY, and they can be controlled via alsamixer, or any regular GUI like kmix (although they also have their own mixer included in alsa extras, named "envy24control"). For their price, they are simply unbeatable.

If you want something more professional (balanced inputs/outputs, for example), take a look at the Echo Audio products. They may be a tad overpriced for what they offer, but their Linux drivers are just fine, and the build+sound quality is exemplary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The package in Arch is "alsa-tools" (from AUR).

It's outdated ATM (1.0.14, while the alsa packages have jumped to 1.0.15), but it's easy to edit the PKGBUILD to fetch+compile the latest, and anyway the "envy24control" module has not been developed since ages... so you won't lose much if you stay at the AUR revision.

To get the proper switches at the other (desktop) mixers, you have first to touch alsamixer as root, save settings, and then run them once as root, as well... else, they either display nonsensical switches (kmix) or no switches at all (xfce mixer...).

All mixers work fine- the only slight annoyance is that the two channels cannot be bridged (at least they cannot for my 2496), so you can't assign both to the tray icon of any mixer- you have to open the mixer and adjust the volume for each channel separately. maybe it can be done with a custom .asoundrc at your users directory, but since I use the 2496 for playback (mainly), I did not care much to find out how.

And BTW with my hardware the Arch RT kernel from the "proaudio" unofficial repo ( http://arch.madfire.net/proaudio/ ) is MUCH more responsive/latency-free than the stock kernels... you should try it out.

@ Mandriv user: the EMU 404 is an excellent entry-level audiophile soundcard (much better than any Creative rubbish, anyway). I have also heard that its linux driver works quite well, but so far I've toyed with it under windoze rigs-only.

Edited by scarecrow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's no emu driver for Linux. The cards are excellent, but not a good choice for Linux.


All USB audio devices use the same driver because there's an industry standard protocol for USB audio (just as there is for USB mass storage). It doesn't mean all devices function identically, so don't worry that it will restrict the capabilities of the device.


The reason why different PCI cards may use the same driver is similar; it means they use the same control chipset. Again, just using the same driver doesn't mean the features of the card will be restricted.


By all accounts the Audiophile cards are a good choice. A higher-end option I've heard good things about is the RME line. An alternative approach is to use a very cheap / simple card in your system purely as a digital transport and go external with the decoding / encoding; this is the approach I take personally (I use a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage USB adapter and run its SP/DIF output to a Firestone Audio DAC).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would absolutely love to get an RME set up with a decent card and a breakout box - but I could easily spend over a thousand that way. I can get an audiophile 192 for less than £50 - so I reckon that's the choice for now!


When I'm a famous musician bringing in lots of money then I'll go with an RME setup...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest mandriv user

thanks for your reply about the emu cards

I have a lexicon omega usb audio device and it does not work right. I am fairly new to linux and wonder if i need to make a module for it to run like it says in the alsa site. When i plug it in and start the computer ardour says it cannot connect to jack. Ardour starts up normaly when i dont plug it in and start up the computer. when i just plug it in after the comuter starts it doesnt work either I tried to follow the directions on the alsa site but had some problems there too

Edited by mandriv user
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...