Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

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ladron
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Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by ladron »

I'm looking for a small, guitar-focused (high-impedance instrument input) USB audio interface to go on a small pedalboard with a Raspberry Pi and a footswitch controller.

Here are some that I've come across, but no way of knowing if they work with Linux without trying them:

https://orangeamps.com/omec-teleport
https://www.hotoneaudio.com/products/us ... rface/jogg
https://teisco.com/pages/interface
https://www.tc-helicon.com/product.html?modelCode=P0DPE

Anyone have any experience with something like this that works with Linux?
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Fmajor7add9
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by Fmajor7add9 »

ladron wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 1:30 am I'm looking for a small, guitar-focused (high-impedance instrument input) USB audio interface to go on a small pedalboard with a Raspberry Pi and a footswitch controller.

Here are some that I've come across, but no way of knowing if they work with Linux without trying them:

https://orangeamps.com/omec-teleport
https://www.hotoneaudio.com/products/us ... rface/jogg
https://teisco.com/pages/interface
https://www.tc-helicon.com/product.html?modelCode=P0DPE

Anyone have any experience with something like this that works with Linux?
If it's class compliant it'll work afaik, can't imagine any of those you've found aren't but lookout for specific driver install files for Win/Mac OS and ask the manufacturer if in doubt

The preamp quality will differ of course so depending on your use case some models may be too noisy or hissy or something but in general I'd expect any to work fine

I've used a https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigacousticstage and a https://blackstaramps.com/uk/ranges/idcore in Linux so far with no fuss (neither fuzz)

I'm curious why you are looking at one of the pedal ones though? Assuming you're carrying around your laptop/tablet rig anyway to receive the USB interface audio signal why not use a regular interface with a hi-Z input that you may already have? (with a signal from a Y splitter going to both interface and your normal pedal chain)

There are also several multifx units and amp heads with USB output, like Zoom G and Laney IRT series etc. You'll probably get more value for money with some of those (haven't checked prices on your list above though)
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by Fmajor7add9 »

ladron wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 1:30 am ....USB audio interface to go on a small pedalboard with a Raspberry Pi and a footswitch controller.
ah, missed the Pi detail at first read

still keeping my initial go-get-a-better-box-with-USB-output argument above as is :)
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by ladron »

Fmajor7add9 wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 11:42 am If it's class compliant it'll work afaik, can't imagine any of those you've found aren't but lookout for specific driver install files for Win/Mac OS and ask the manufacturer if in doubt
I've been burned by claims of class compliancy before. My experience is that the only way to know a device works with Linux is if someone has actually tried it...
Fmajor7add9 wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 11:42 am There are also several multifx units and amp heads with USB output, like Zoom G and Laney IRT series etc. You'll probably get more value for money with some of those (haven't checked prices on your list above though)
I'm actually using a BOSS GT-1 fx unit as my interface right now. It works (and I get access to the stomps and expression pedal as a bonus), but it is bulky and overkill for the job.

I do all of my effects on the Raspberry Pi, so I just want a small audio interface. The goal is to mount everything together on a little pedalboard for an ultra-portable rig.
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by merlyn »

If a device works with iOS it's likely to work with Linux. You said you got burnt with class compliance. This could be due to a bug in ALSA that was allegedly fixed in kernel 5.11 related to implicit feedback and how ALSA deals with that. ALSA claims to support class compliance and it should in theory.

I haven't tried any of those interfaces.

It is worth noting that the Orange and the Teisco are 16 bit and the other two are 24 bit. 16 bit sounds suspiciously like USB 1.1, which has worse latency than USB 2.0.
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by ladron »

merlyn wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 4:36 pm If a device works with iOS it's likely to work with Linux. You said you got burnt with class compliance. This could be due to a bug in ALSA that was fixed in kernel 5.11 related to implicit feedback and how ALSA deals with that. ALSA claims to support class compliance and it should in theory.
I was actually involved in fixing the implicit feedback stuff. Those changes (and some additional fixes destined for 5.13) allow my Boss GT-1 (which is not class compliant) to work.

I got burned with the NUX MG-300. Said it was class compliant, works with iOS, but didn't work at all out-of-the-box in Linux. Some kernel tinkering got it to work sporadically (more information here), but I ended up returning it for (partly for other reasons).

These experiences have left me with the default assumption that a device won't work unless I see evidence to the contrary...
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by ladron »

merlyn wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 4:36 pm It is worth noting that the Orange and the Teisco are 16 bit and the other two are 24 bit. 16 bit sounds suspiciously like USB 1.1, which has worse latency than USB 2.0.
This brings up another point - I do need very low latency. I'm currently running a 32-sample buffer with my BOSS GT-1 and I wouldn't want to go much higher than that (128 samples at most).
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by Fmajor7add9 »

OK, in that case I do hope a good mini box is available. Thanks for the ALSA details and bug report effort.

I'm curious about the bit rate and whether it'll ever be a critical requirement. 16 bit is probably sufficient if the preamp is quiet enough? Saying that as I'm I'm only aware of headroom vs. noise floor and have no experience with a fx chain where 24 bit real time processing is necessary to 'sound good'.
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by ladron »

Fmajor7add9 wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 7:51 pm I'm curious about the bit rate and whether it'll ever be a critical requirement. 16 bit is probably sufficient if the preamp is quiet enough?
Yeah, I think 16bit is fine for most people's needs (including my own). You just have to be a bit more careful with your headroom.
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by merlyn »

I don't know if the Orange is USB 1.1. It says 'USB 2.0 Compatible' which is subtly different from 'USB 2.0'.

If it is ... USB 1.1 has more latency in itself. USB audio uses isochronous transfer which sends one packet per millisecond in USB 1.1 and eight packets per millisecond in USB 2.0. Not a huge amount in it, but you could do without it if you are trying to keep the latency to a minimum.

If you assume devices don't work on Linux until proven otherwise you will never be wrong. :) It does make buying a device a bit difficult. As a practical solution you could buy on a 'sale or return' basis. Try interfaces from websites that allow you to return the device for any reason.

Then you can try them and post your results.
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ladron
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by ladron »

merlyn wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 10:07 pm If you assume devices don't work on Linux until proven otherwise you will never be wrong. :) It does make buying a device a bit difficult. As a practical solution you could buy on a 'sale or return' basis. Try interfaces from websites that allow you to return the device for any reason.
Yeah, I'll likely give one or more of them a try soon - I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask here first, though, in case anyone had any experience with them.
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by merlyn »

ladron wrote:Yeah, I'll likely give one or more of them a try soon - I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask here first, though, in case anyone had any experience with them.
Yeah. I didn't know guitar pedal style USB interfaces are a thing so thanks for posting that.
Fmajor7add9 wrote: I'm curious about the bit rate and whether it'll ever be a critical requirement. 16 bit is probably sufficient if the preamp is quiet enough? Saying that as I'm I'm only aware of headroom vs. noise floor and have no experience with a fx chain where 24 bit real time processing is necessary to 'sound good'.
I have an old Alesis Quadraverb that is 16 bit and it is easier to overload than a 20 bit effects processor I tried. 24 bits gives a dynamic range of 144dB. The best analogue electronics have a dynamic range of ~125dB so the last four bits of 24 bit are lost in the analogue noise. Add to this that the guitar is an inherently noisy source and 24 bits does seem like overkill.

In ladron's setup the actual effects processing is getting done at 32 bit float with 16 bit A/D and D/A.

Interface In (16 bit) > Guitarix (32 bit float) > Interface Out (16 bit)

There is no chance of overloading the internal effects processing. As ladron said if you are careful about headroom the 16 bit input and output won't get overloaded either.

I still probably would get 24 bit though because of increased headroom and if it's 24 bit it absolutely definitely is USB 2.0. I don't know the prices though, and a huge price differential could cause me to do a 180 degree about face on that. :)
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by ladron »

This is another interface that I'd really like Linux support info on:

https://xsonicaudio.com/pages/xtone

It is an audio interface with a few built-in stomps and an expression pedal input.

I emailed them a while back and they said Linux was not supported. Doesn't mean it doesn't work (or couldn't be made to work). It works with iOS.
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Re: Small guitar interfaces that work with Linux

Post by malfunction54 »

I can confirm that the Teisco Interface "pedal" works with Ubuntu Studio 20.10. No special settings. The one odd behavior I see (compared to functionality in OSX) is that input directly from my guitar (guitar->cable->input A on the Interface) is either very soft or way too loud and clips. If I set the OS "mic" volume for the Interface to about 20%, I observe no clipping of the input signal. Anything more than this, and hitting the strings hard causes clipping. I haven't spent much time with it, so maybe I can find the sweet spot for recording directly, but I am happy that it works.
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