[Consortium] [ANN] FreeBoB 1.0 released - Firewire Audio for Linux

Pieter Palmers pieterp at joow.be
Wed Oct 18 09:59:46 EDT 2006


Now that JACK 0.102.20 and QJackCtl 0.2.21 being released, the FreeBoB 
team is proud to present libfreebob 1.0. The FreeBoB project aims to 
provide a generic solution for using Firewire (semi-)pro-audio devices 
in Linux.

This release provides support for the devices based on the BridgeCo 
DM1000 or DM1500 chipset that are running the BeBoB firmware. For a list 
of supported devices, consult our website at freebob.sf.net.

FreeBoB currently provides an interface library that allows firewire 
audio devices to be used with the JACK audio server, using a dedicated 
backend. This backend is included in the official JACK releases, from 
this version on (i.e. 0.102.20). The latest version of QJackCtl also 
includes support for this FreeBoB backend. MIDI support is provided 
through ALSA sequencer.

Feature list:
* Automatic detection & configuration of devices. If there are multiple 
devices attached to the same firewire bus, freebob merges them into one 
big device. The devices have to be synced externally (wordclock/spdif) 
so that they don't drift. Note that this release cannot setup the boxes 
to be synced yet, being synced is a precondition at the moment. (I 
tested this with 2 phase88's connected with wordclock, and this works 
without the need for any special setting because the Phase88 
automatically chooses wordclock slave when there is a wordclock signal 
present. This can be different for other models).
* Audio I/O on all analog channels at all sample rates supported by the 
device. SPDIF/ADAT I/O works in most cases (when presented as analog IO 
by the device). AC3 passthrough doesn't work.
* Midi I/O for all midi ports the device implements, using alsa-sequencer
* Round-trip latency figures around 5ms (depends on system 
configuration). 10ms is achievable on all well-configured machines

Not supported yet:
* Hardware mixing ("zero latency" mixer)
* Device-specific configuration (input gain switches, sync source 
selection, midi control mappings, ...)
* ALSA for audio IO
* Special SPDIF/ADAT stream support

You can download FreeBoB 1.0 at our sourceforge page:
more info at freebob.sf.net

What's next?

We are working on the second generation of the FreeBoB codebase. The 1.0 
release is the endpoint for the codebase that dates back to the start of 
the project. The 2.0 codebase is a complete redesign of the system using 
1.0 as a 'golden spec'. While the 1.0 version is BeBoB-only, the 2.0 
codebase is designed as a framework to support all firewire based audio 
boxes. The current level of functionality is almost the same for both 
codebases. The main difference is that 1.0 had one year of testing and 
2.0 doesn't, it's still in the alpha stage. Needless to say that 2.0 
will outperform 1.0 by far ;).

Of course this redesign isn't for the sake of aesthetic beauty or lack 
of things to do... I can announce that we are already working on 
broadening the supported device list. Currently there is support for the 
Motu Traveller and the Motu 828 (through reverse engineering). There are 
also contacts with the DICE-II developers to implement generic support 
for devices based upon their chipset. As an extra, support for Metric 
Halo devices is also in the pipeline. Once all of these devices are 
supported, we will cover a very large part of the Firewire audio device 
spectrum. The most important void will be RME Fireface support, and for 
the real budget users: Behringer and Hercules devices.

That's all folks!

Pieter Palmers
(on behalf of the FreeBoB team)

More information about the Consortium mailing list