[LAU] Currently recommended multi-channel USB interfaces

Johannes Kroll j-kroll at gmx.de
Tue Jan 13 14:04:37 UTC 2015

On Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:25:12 +0100
Hanns Holger Rutz <contact at sciss.de> wrote:

> [...]
> Has anyone made good use of either of the following:
> - - Roland UA-1610 Studio Capture
> - - Roland UA-1010 Octa-Capture
> - - MOTU 828x
> - - MOTU 828 Mk III Hybrid
> - - MOTU UltraLite MkIII Hybrid
> - - Allen & Heath ICE-16
> - - Steinberg UR824
> - - Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

I am using the Scarlett 18i8. It's a USB 2.0 class-compliant audio
device, except for the mixer, which currently needs a kernel patch [1].
It works well with the patch. All controls work, no need to boot another
OS to switch anything. You don't get the fancy custom mixer software
like on Windows of course, you can use any Alsa mixer software to
control everything. And the "zero-latency VU monitoring" is missing I
think, but you can do the same thing using Jack. 

The patch is in mainline Linux now (I think 3.19), so it should be
working out-of-the-box in all distros soon. :) The only other minor
thing missing seems to be the "save settings to hardware" software
switch, which allows to use the device stand-alone without a computer.
AFAIK this is not in the mainline kernel for now, although it was
supported in the patch.

One other thing: the mixer settings allow themselves to be set to a
positive dB value, which can result in horrible distortion. I just
looked at it with an oscilloscope; audio isn't clipped when it exceeds
0 dB, but wraps around instead, which results in this noise. Must be a
hardware issue. Easy to avoid though: just don't set the mixer controls
above 0dB.

[1] https://github.com/trrichard/alsa-driver_scarlett

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