Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

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geoffrey
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Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by geoffrey »

Hi all,

A really generous guy just out of the blue purchased me a Scarlett 4i4 Gen 3 as a thank you for writing the Scarlett Gen 2 Linux driver. Of course I right away had a look as to its Linux compatibility and whether I'd be able to write a Gen 3 driver. Here's what I found...

TL;DR: The class-compliant functionality works great in Linux! If you need the MIDI interface, take it out of MSD mode. My Linux driver to control the proprietary features is coming along well.

In detail:

Out of the box it comes in "MSD Mode" which means the device presents a small read-only virtual disk in addition to the PCM audio interface. On the disk there is a README file and a link to the Focusrite web site setup/registration and download page; the device serial number is included in the link to make it easier to register.

The Focusrite docs say that higher sample rates and MIDI functionality are not available until you switch it out of MSD mode. I can confirm that the USB MIDI interface was not present while in MSD mode, but I could select higher sample rates without issue.

Taking it out of MSD mode can be done with the Focusrite Control software, or by holding down the "48V" switch for 5 seconds after plugging in the USB cable. You only need to do this once.

The mixing/routing features of the unit, and the impedance, air, and pad switches can only be controlled by software using a proprietary protocol. The Gen 3 protocol is really similar to the Gen 2 protocol, so I have a working implementation already and can control: Volume, Routing (including Loopback), Mixing, Air, Impedance (Line/Inst), and Pad. It's rough and not ready for release but it works! So, let me know if you have a 4i4 unit and would like to help test it out while I'm still developing the driver.

If the 8i6, 18i8, and 18i20 devices follow the same pattern (there's no reason to think that they wouldn't) then I'd just need access to the hardware to develop and test a driver for them. So if you would like to donate in some way towards this, please let me know.

Regards,
Geoffrey.

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Be.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by Be. »

Great news! I suggest trying to contact Focusrite if you have not already. They may be willing to provide you with hardware, especially considering your track record of success with the second generation devices.

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bluebell
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by bluebell »

Be. wrote:Great news! I suggest trying to contact Focusrite if you have not already. They may be willing to provide you with hardware, especially considering your track record of success with the second generation devices.
They don't support Linux, that's their official wording.

Sure it might be worth a try. Maybe some of them are becoming smarter.
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

geoffrey
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by geoffrey »

Be. wrote:Great news! I suggest trying to contact Focusrite if you have not already. They may be willing to provide you with hardware, especially considering your track record of success with the second generation devices.
Yeah, I have contacted Focusrite support a couple of times. Both times they said they'd pass the message on to the appropriate department who will get back to me if it's something they can help with. Unfortunately I didn't hear back either time. They did say I can enquire again later if I don't hear back so I will contact them again once I've released the first version of the Gen 3 4i4 driver.

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Be.
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by Be. »

If anyone knows someone working at Focusrite/Novation, get them in touch with geoffrey :)

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bartvaes
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by bartvaes »

Hi all,

I just stumbled upon this thread because I was looking for a way to get my Focusrite fully working.
Reading this thread it seems there's a lot of progress being made :o

I've bought a Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd gen, will my device benefit from these W.I.P. drivers ?
I'm always willing to help any way I can !

TIA
Bart.

geoffrey
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by geoffrey »

bartvaes wrote:Hi all,

I just stumbled upon this thread because I was looking for a way to get my Focusrite fully working.
Reading this thread it seems there's a lot of progress being made :o

I've bought a Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd gen, will my device benefit from these W.I.P. drivers ?
I'm always willing to help any way I can !

TIA
Bart.
Hi Bart,

What do you mean by "fully working"? Is something not working right?

As far as I know:
  • The basic functionality (playback and recording) of all Scarletts works fine in Linux with just the regular USB audio driver (I've personally tested with the 2nd Gen 18i20, 18i8, and 3rd Gen 4i4 and I've seen no reason to believe that the other 3rd Gen devices would be any different).
  • A Linux driver is needed for the 3rd Gen 4i4 and larger models because they have features that otherwise can't be controlled from Linux or the front panel.
  • The Solo and 2i2 models have hardware buttons on the front panel to control the Air, impedance, and monitoring functions, so as far as I know there's no need for a Linux driver.
Perhaps you could confirm for me if there is *anything* that you can do in Focusrite Control with the Solo? If there is then let's write a Linux driver :-). Maybe there are software controls for Air etc. as well as the hardware controls? Maybe you can adjust the monitoring mix? The manual says that "software control is limited in these models" but doesn't say if there's anything you can do actually do with FC besides take the interface out of MSD mode.

Regards,
Geoffrey.

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bartvaes
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by bartvaes »

OK, it took me a while to get back to this, since there was definitely some confusion left on my part.
Let's clear that up first :P

TL;DR: it's all good for now :)

Long version:
The reason I thought I was missing out on functionality was based on this tutorial of the Focusrite Control software (v2.1.7)
I started tinkering with Wine, but never got FC running correctly to check.

Also, I did the "press the 48v button 5s" thingy, but every time I connected the Solo it would be mounted as MSD.
The confusing part in all this was that I could still select the Solo as I/O in my DAWs (Ardour / Mixbus).
So I did manage to record with it, but wasn't sure in what mode it actually was.

Yesterday I connected the Solo to a mini-Mac with the FC software on it (it also downloaded some firmware) and yeah, there aren't any extra functions, so I'm all set to go.

I just hooked the Solo up to my OpenSUSE PC and now it's not recognized as MSD anymore, so I'd take the "5s 48v button press" with a grain of salt...

Now only if I can get ALSA, Jack & PulseAudio play together nicely...

Regards,
Bart.

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bluebell
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by bluebell »

bartvaes wrote: Now only if I can get ALSA, Jack & PulseAudio play together nicely...
http://marzen.de/Holger/pulseaudio_and_jack/
Linux – MOTU UltraLite AVB – Qtractor – https://soundcloud.com/suedwestlicht

alfadir
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by alfadir »

Hi,

I just got a Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen
It has the USB ID :

Code: Select all

lsusb -d1235:
Bus 001 Device 008: ID 1235:8213 Focusrite-Novation
If you have some kernel patches to test or some commands

Code: Select all

lsusb -d1235: -v
or other output let me know. Or if there is a git somewhere for this work ?
I could operate the settings with a Windows virtual machine and the Focusrite control software.
I did not really got around to do a lot of setup yet.. but eventually.

geoffrey
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by geoffrey »

alfadir wrote:Hi,

I just got a Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 3rd Gen
It has the USB ID :

Code: Select all

lsusb -d1235:
Bus 001 Device 008: ID 1235:8213 Focusrite-Novation
If you have some kernel patches to test or some commands

Code: Select all

lsusb -d1235: -v
or other output let me know. Or if there is a git somewhere for this work ?
I could operate the settings with a Windows virtual machine and the Focusrite control software.
I did not really got around to do a lot of setup yet.. but eventually.
Hi alfadir,

I've only got some draft code for the 3rd Gen 4i4 so far. I had a look at the user guide for the 8i6 and it looks like it should be similar enough that I could add support based on USB dumps if you can do those for me. If you know your way around a command line and can compile a kernel please get in contact with me by email (address in github/the kernel scarlett gen 2 driver code mixer_scarlett_gen2.c) and we can discuss.

Regards,
Geoffrey.

DjPJ
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by DjPJ »

Hi 4i4 Users and Linux gurus,

I saw a used Scalett 4i4 for sale used and purchased it thinking that it was class compliant. Well, it is, but yes and no. We see all the output ports 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and input ports 1/2 and 3/4. Disarming MSD mode makes them usable OK, but we cannot make the fullest out of this most exceptional latest generation device. For example, we cannot toggle:
  • INSTR Instrument mode for guitar pickups
    AIR mode to us the exceptional Clarett preamps that they introduced in the Scarlet 3rd gen units
    PAD -10db to have more precise input control over loud inputs
    Select input sample rates (44.1....192 kHz). Note: Monitoring not possible at 192kHz (bandwidth issue no doubt)
    Enable/disable MSD mode
And there may be others...

The windows and Mac software is downloadable without registration, so I installed the windows drivers. It is really slick. I wrote to Focusrite to get information about the protocol, but I also got the official company line about how us Linux musicians are on their own. Such a shame that they see us that way, we collectively must buy a lot of their product. OK fine! We want this excellent hardware? So let's hack it! Perhaps we can write scripts in jack for each routing setup we would like that would send the commands we may need. Perhaps we can go one step further.

The FOCUSRITE® CONTROL
Basically, there are three pages: ROUTING, INPUT and hardware settings pages.
We can save these configurations as "snapshots"

I looked into how to reverse engineer drivers for Linux and found a free USB sniffer utility to capture and map out all the commands that the software must issue. Communication might also be bi-directional, the device sending status info back to the soft. I am prepared to do all this groundwork if someone out there can put a face on it. I am a newbie to Linux, so writing scripts is way out of my abilities.

Any fine people out there wanting to take this one on? I am in!

Paul.
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escuta
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by escuta »

geoffrey wrote:Hi all,

The mixing/routing features of the unit, and the impedance, air, and pad switches can only be controlled by software using a proprietary protocol. The Gen 3 protocol is really similar to the Gen 2 protocol, so I have a working implementation already and can control: Volume, Routing (including Loopback), Mixing, Air, Impedance (Line/Inst), and Pad. It's rough and not ready for release but it works! So, let me know if you have a 4i4 unit and would like to help test it out while I'm still developing the driver.
Hi Geoffrey,

I have a Scarlett 18i20 3rd Gen on which I can get no sound output at all on Linux. I suspect it is a problem with the faders being down once connected (which I'll explain below). I've registered the hardware on a Windows machine, have configured it with Focusrite Control and tested input and output with variety of software including Ardour, Pd, SuperCollider, Ableton Live Lite, etc. It seems to be firing on all cylinders on Windows.

On Linux, the device shows up with lsusb, in Jack (all i/os show up in qjackctl) and can be accessed as an input and output device in a variety of audio apps via pulseaudio. Pavucontrol shows that there is an output signal present. I can get no sound out of the device however. No errors are registered when attempting to use it.

I noticed that the device seems to retain its mixer/config settings if disconnected from Windows before shutting down Windows. For example, when attached to a windows machine, if I attach a mic and turn up the gain, the LEDs in the input light up and I can monitor the input by setting it up in Focusrite Control. I can then unplug the USB and switch the Scarlett off and on again and the LEDs/monitoring continue to remain active. If however I boot into Linux with the Scarlett connected, or connect the device via USB to an active Linux machine, the device falls silent and stops registering the mic input.

I would be very interested in testing your software. Please let me know how test. I'll send a copy of this message to your Github email as well. I'll have to return the Scarlett if I can't get the basics working on Linux.

All the best,

Iain

olivermusico
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by olivermusico »

Yesterday I bought a Focusrite 4i4 3rd gen! Today I will test it with my linux system QianaStudio with my common software (ardour & bitwig studio basically).
I can test any drivers or software if you want.
Thanks for the work!
Ó.
not english fluently...

escuta
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Re: Focusrite Scarlett Gen 3 4i4 (and others)

Post by escuta »

I resolved the problems I was having by installing Linux Mint and the real time kernel (5.4.13-rt7). Running very well now. Like olivermusico above, I'm very happy to test any software. All the best

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