Any good professional USB audio devices for Linux?

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Any good professional USB audio devices for Linux?

Post by sadko4u »

Hi all!

Currently I'm thinking on purchasing new laptop for gigs and rehearsal sessions since my Core 2 Duo device is too old and recently became some way unstable. But the main problem is that there are no more devices with IEEE1384 (Firewire) ports onboard. Moreover, modern devices even don't provide PCMCIA slot for extension cards.

So I'm looking for a good USB sound card that could be used for gigs and multitrack recoding sessions.
Requirements for the sound card are the following:
- Good JACK support;
- 8+ audio inputs;
- Additional 1-2 optical ADAT inputs for connecting additional preamplifiers;
- Reliable internal routing without hacks and rakes;
- Comfortable price within $500.

The ideal solution could be 8-channel Focusrite Scarlett/Clarett but it seems that internal routing under Linux is a sort of pain for these devices.

Any suggestions?
LSP (Linux Studio Plugins) Developer and Maintainer.

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Re: Any good professional USB audio devices for Linux?

Post by GMaq »

Hi @sadko4u

You are going to have a hard time finding something with 8+ inputs for $500 that is well supported in Linux. This is what I use:

There are also 12 and 8 channel models:

18 inputs, 4 outputs works perfectly and is rock solid with Linux. The preamps are very quiet and easy to change impedance for mics or instruments. The best part is because it is a full Mixer you get true no latency monitoring because when you record you can listen to the mix coming directly through the board, not coming back from the DAW with latency. You also get full hardware EQ and effects and the best part is the "superchannel" which supports bluetooth. In my bands we use this feature all the time... You're learning a song and you want to play it for everyone to hear through the sound system, just play on your phone through the bluetooth.

We use the AR-16 built in to a rack in our studio but I like it so much and it's been so reliable I bought the smaller AR-8 to use at my home/development computer. The AR-8 does have 8 channels in and 4 channels out but it does not have mic pre's for each channel:

BTW the AR-8 is about $599 in Canadian funds... or about $500 USD.

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