[LAU] [RFC] A “poor man’s”, yet professional level studio setup

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Wed Feb 24 07:16:05 CET 2021

On Tue, 23 Feb 2021, lacuna_ at gmx.net wrote:

> - Firewire, but Firewire is dead.

After I aquired a FW device recently (no not new) and a PCIe card to make 
it work and then found out how stable it is with the ffado backend for 
jack... I would say go out and buy a used one and use it.

The ALSA firewire stack (at least for this interface) was not that great 
with kernel 5.4 (shakey at best) and now 5.8 - 5.11 doesn't work at all.
I think maybe some of the network audio protocols might be better served 
by a jack backend than ALSA module. ALSA/PULSE/Pipewire are focused first 
on internal audio. Pipwwire of the bunch, looks the most promising but of 
course can be no better than ALSA it rides on. I don't know that ALSA 
development has a big focus beyond internal, bluetooth, and cheap USB 
1.1/2.0 audio. The focus in Linux audio is making the desktop work well. 
Profesional audio is a vanishingly small part of the Linux world. For 
desktop work (including skype like applications) low latency is 30ms, 
Dante, AVB and AES67 all look for a maximum of 1ms (3ms by the time the 
computer can use it). So two different worlds.

So nobody that I know of makes new FW, but used ones are a better buy 
than almost any USB box. So dead? maybe not quite.

Perhaps there are boxes that are as good as fw boxes were and maybe when 
applying inflation they are similar prices too. So poor man's quality 
audio interface might be firewire. In my case add preamps for mics... and 
mics. Good preamps and good mics make the computer and interface look 
cheap. In the same way that the audio interface makes the computer look 
cheap. Might be why macs get used in proaudio as much as they do... 
compared to everything else they are still cheap. (as is the sw)

Len Ovens

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