[LAU] status usb2 for sound

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Sun Nov 8 02:47:54 EST 2009

On Sat, Nov 07, 2009 at 11:04:15AM +0100, Arnold Krille wrote:
> On Friday 06 November 2009 10:28:26 Florian Faber wrote:
> > > the great advantage of firewire devices from my POV is that you can
> > > easily share your device between your studio PC and your mobile kit for
> > > on-location recording. the only alternative to that kind of flexibility
> > > is an RME [multi|digi]face with both a hdsp expresscard and a pcie card.
> > > which is in an entirely different price bracket.
> > Just in case you haven't noticed: Firewire is dead. The number of
> > devices with a firewire port is decreasing rapidly.
> > I wouldn't advocate Firewire devices anymore for new buyers.
> But there are no alternatives. USB1 is to slow, USB2 has no (widely accepted) 
> standard. USB3 has no devices yet, don't know whether it defines a standard.

Well, yes, of course there are alternatives: run Windoze, which is what these bastards want to force us to do, isn't it?

*sigh*. Haven't we already gone through this struggle before, with 3D video cards, and WiFi cards, and webcams, and input devices, just about every possible peice of computer hardware? In the last decade that I've been using Linux, I've seen this same problem come up again and again... and also seen it solved again and again.

It's getting tedious, but, at the same time, it's not a new problem and since it's been solved before, there are ready answers and a suite of different solutions that have worked before, including: pressuring the manufacturers, reverse-engineering, NDIS/Wine, negotiations and payments, etc.

Unless of course some enterprising hardware engineer wants to create an open-source, fully-documented USB2 audio interface, knowing they'd have a ready market in the couple dozen or so LAU members.

Hmm, come to think of it, that might be an interesting project. Take apart a commercial, unsupported USB2 audio interface, see what chips they're using, look up the data sheets for those chips, and design an interface along similar lines, but open up the USB2 interface so that a Linux GPL driver can be written for it. These things can't be marvels of engineering amazingness: they're cheap, mass-produced products. Just off the top I'd be willing to bet that all of them use the exact same chipset, which does all the work anyway, and the products are different mostly in packaging and branding.

> PCCards are usually limited to one per laptop.
> Firewire is the only thing where you can have high number of channels and even 
> more then one device on one connection. And work for supporting almost all 
> devices except for Motu is quite advanced thanks to support from the vendors.
> The only alternative for higher channel counts is a pci(-express) device from 
> rme. And these don't work with laptops...
> Have fun,
> Arnold

More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list