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Old 11-29-2011, 02:24 PM   #1
browny_amiga
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Recommended 24 bit sound card that works with Linux?


Hi,

I want to buy a dedicated kinda high-end sound card for music production and want to make sure that it is compatible with Linux (I use Ubuntu and Debian and using Linux sampler/Ardour)
My requirements are that it must be PCI express and have digital in and out (optical and Coax).
Does anybody use a card like that on Linux and knows which models work?
I am not up to date anymore what is on the market and which manufacturers do not provide drivers for Linux (and am sure that there are some of these black sheep)

Thanks,

Markus
 
Old 12-01-2011, 05:35 AM   #2
cascade9
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Asus Xonar DX.

http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_DX/

Though to be honest I dont know for sure if the optical input works with linux (never tested) and I dont think it can do coax inputs or outputs.
 
Old 12-02-2011, 01:35 PM   #3
browny_amiga
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Hmm, there don't seem to be any people using Linux much for high end Audio.

I dug around a little and found that the high end creative cards seem to be well supported by Alsa.

Thanks for your suggestion. Currently my eyes are on a
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD

which seem to be supported by Alsa according to the Alsa database.

It is important to note that you can convert coax digital (electrical) to TOSLINK (optical) and back. The adaptors are inexpensive.
 
Old 12-03-2011, 05:05 AM   #4
Cedrik
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I don't think it is high end card, but m-audio audiophile 2496 works fine here (snd_ice1712 kernel module + envy24control gui mixer from alsa tools)
 
Old 12-04-2011, 03:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browny_amiga View Post
Hmm, there don't seem to be any people using Linux much for high end Audio.

I dug around a little and found that the high end creative cards seem to be well supported by Alsa.

Thanks for your suggestion. Currently my eyes are on a
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD

which seem to be supported by Alsa according to the Alsa database.
Ummm..I dont know where you got the idea that the X-Fi Titanium HD is supported-

Quote:
X-Fi Titanium HD emu20k2 [PCIE] does not work
http://www.alsa-project.org/main/ind...-Creative_Labs

I had a look around, there seems to be patches for the X-Fi Titanium HD for alsa 1.0.24 (current version) but work is at least ongoing. Creative is not that linux friendly, it could be a while until it works 100%.....or it might never work 100% right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by browny_amiga View Post
It is important to note that you can convert coax digital (electrical) to TOSLINK (optical) and back. The adaptors are inexpensive.
Seen 'em, never used one. Hopefully they would work, but its possible they wouldnt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedrik View Post
I don't think it is high end card, but m-audio audiophile 2496 works fine here (snd_ice1712 kernel module + envy24control gui mixer from alsa tools)
The Audiophile 2496 isnt exactly new, and isnt that 'high end' in comarison to other m-audio cards, but IMO it would be a better card for audio production, sicne that is was the card was made for.

Newer cards might have better numbers (eg input dynamic range) but will not have the features of 'semi-professional' cards like the Audiophile 2496

If the OP didnt insist on PCIe some m-audio card would probably be my choice. Maybe a Delta 66 or Delta 1010LT, they are about the same cost as a X-Fi Titanium HD.
 
Old 12-06-2011, 07:05 AM   #6
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RME rocks :
http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_multiface_2.php
 
Old 12-21-2011, 02:12 PM   #7
browny_amiga
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Yeah, so I found out:

The Titanium HD does not work one bit and crashes beautifully (and went back to Amazon).If you dig around, you see people say that there are drivers and then you follow the links and nothing. Creative does not offer any Linux drives for this card. Therea are drivers for the Titanium ,but not the Titanium HD

Generally, from what I have seen so far, I would concur: stay away from Creative, they don't support Linux nicely. I hooked up a Creative Live (an really old card) and that one crashed my kernel big time (and created load avgs of 350 (!!!) and such a thing I have never seen in my life.

Thanks for the suggestion for the Xonar, they seem to be well supported.

I have my eyes on the Xonar X2D, which is a high end card, with optical in and out and coax too. But it is super super super old, and you can hardly buy it anymore. It also has some ugly as hell things: a PCI to PCIe converter built in, so it is not really natively a PCIe card.This by itself would not be bad, I could live with that, if the card would be easily buyable (over Amazon or Newegg), but this design decision shows how really old the card is. Old to the degree of calling it outdated. As I have read, it was one of the first PCIe soundcards available at all and when did PCIe roll around? Like 5 years ago?

Question:
So I really like the feature set of the D2X and was wondering if there is a new version of it? I have seen that many other Xonar cards don't have optical or digital input at all (the DX for example doesn't) So the DX is too low end for me, due to missing connectivity.I am definitely not looking for a gamer card where the most important feature seems to be a headphone amp, since I like to play music loud and alive through big speakers ;-)

And yes, I can't stand that M-Audio is still using PCI. I have been very satisfied with them, but tt is so outdated now and I don't want buy an expensive card that will last 5 years in my shop to have to hunt for Mobos that have a PCI slot still. Also, Systems like Windows might drop support for PCI at some point, with XP, all ISA slots became electronic dead ends. And it makes sense to push ahead and use a newer better standard, which PCIe definitely is, it removes so many limitations that PCI had.

I have to say that M-Audio also shows their stance towards innovation, or lack thereof by instisting on an old standard that all Macs by the way don't support anymore (they did the right thing, got rid of the PCI ports, to push manufacturer to get the butt into gear)
It is a shame, I would have loved to buy another M-Audio card, even if it had a PCI to PCIe bridge inside, I have been very happy with their support for Linux.
 
Old 12-21-2011, 02:16 PM   #8
browny_amiga
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Thanks for the RME link. Do they also have small cards? All I see on their website (PCIe) are super high end card, that are overkill for me by a factor of 60times (I need about 5 channels, no more).

And I did not plan to spend 2 to 4 times as much as for a M-Audio 2496
 
Old 12-26-2011, 01:56 PM   #9
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There is a newer Asus card using the same AV200 chip, the Xonar HDAV1.3/Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe. Never had a good look at them myself.

You _might_ be able to find a Tokyo Style Envy24 HT 7.1, which uses the classic Envy24 sound chip in a PCIe package. Rare though, and even more annoying its the only PCIe envy 24 card I know of.

The RME alsa page is here-

http://www.alsa-project.org/main/ind...rix:Vendor-RME

Quote:
Originally Posted by browny_amiga View Post
And yes, I can't stand that M-Audio is still using PCI. I have been very satisfied with them, but tt is so outdated now and I don't want buy an expensive card that will last 5 years in my shop to have to hunt for Mobos that have a PCI slot still. Also, Systems like Windows might drop support for PCI at some point, with XP, all ISA slots became electronic dead ends. And it makes sense to push ahead and use a newer better standard, which PCIe definitely is, it removes so many limitations that PCI had.

I have to say that M-Audio also shows their stance towards innovation, or lack thereof by instisting on an old standard that all Macs by the way don't support anymore (they did the right thing, got rid of the PCI ports, to push manufacturer to get the butt into gear)
It is a shame, I would have loved to buy another M-Audio card, even if it had a PCI to PCIe bridge inside, I have been very happy with their support for Linux.
AFAIK there isnt really any advantages to PCIe over PCI for audio work. The audio guys (and girls) tend to have a 'if its not broken, dont play with it' attitude in my experience.

I'd doubt that you will see PCI dropped for a long time yet. Even if windows drops PCI, as long as it still works with linux it doesnt matter (well, if you are using linux for audio work anyway).

BTW, ISA will still run with XP, as long as its a plug and pray card. Its only non-plug and pray cards that were dropped AFAIK.
 
Old 12-26-2011, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedrik View Post
I don't think it is high end card, but m-audio audiophile 2496 works fine here (snd_ice1712 kernel module + envy24control gui mixer from alsa tools)
I've got one of these and apart from having to use both Envy24Control and alsamixer to set volumes for digital out to work I'm very happy with it.
A friend uses one in his DAW with a monitoring unit with DAC and ADC attached and he gets very good results.
 
Old 02-13-2012, 02:37 PM   #11
browny_amiga
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Hi,

After endless searching and finding no usable PCI-E card that works with linux and has optical/coax in out, I found out that my old 2496 (using the kernel module snd_ice1712) still works, it was just for some reason the kernels problem, that it vanished after like 20 minutes of use. Now it is working reliably, with a newer kernel.

But I cannot get digital out to work.

I am using Envy24control 0.6.0 and although I hear the audio in the analog out and see the level move on the digital mixer on the left, nothing is getting out through the digital out. I can set S/PDIF out to anything I want on the patchbay / router page, but still nothing. What did you mean when you said that volumes have to be set in alsamixer and Envy24control? I noticed that my alsamixer changes live, when I move sliders or mute/unmute in envy24control, so they seem to be connected.

How can I get digital out to work?

I also get this error sometimes on the console where I started envy24control:

(envy24control:18050): Gtk-CRITICAL **: gtk_adjustment_set_value: assertion `GTK_IS_ADJUSTMENT (adjustment)' failed

(envy24control:18050): Gtk-CRITICAL **: gtk_toggle_button_set_active: assertion `GTK_IS_TOGGLE_BUTTON (toggle_button)' failed

But besides the digital out (which I have never used before), everything works as it should.

Thanks,

Markus
 
Old 02-13-2012, 08:13 PM   #12
Roken
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For high end audio work, it's not just the soundcard that you need to think about. Most Audio engineers on Linux are likely to be using jack. Creative cards work well with alsa, oss, pulse and jack so are probably a good choice, but you'll have to set up your configuration to use it properly. from my own experience, my first tip would be avoid Pulseaudio (it doesn't like to play nicely with jack, and is quite processor heavy which would nullify the low latency options of jack. You may (or almost certainly will) also want to use a low latency kernel.
 
Old 02-13-2012, 09:34 PM   #13
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Does it have to be 24-bit? The Behringer UCA202 works in Linux, has optical, RCA and headphone out, has line-in and RCA in, and is a great sound card. It is aimed at people who record music. It's not 24-bit though. Here's a review:

http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/10/...ac-take-2.html

Last edited by dugan; 02-13-2012 at 09:38 PM.
 
Old 03-05-2012, 08:47 PM   #14
browny_amiga
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In my case, yes, it has to be 24 bit. 16 bit has not enough dynamic range and why not use it when you got it? It is not like I have to burn stuff to CD, where it gets cut down to 16 bits. 24 bits works especially good with very loud and very silent passages, it gives you a lot more constrast.

I wonder how to get the digital out working, one of the former poster mentioned something that you have to activate it in alsamixer and in the envy tool, but did not elaborate HOW that is done. I cannot get digital out working.
 
Old 07-21-2013, 01:15 PM   #15
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M-Audio 24/96 works great for me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedrik View Post
I don't think it is high end card, but m-audio audiophile 2496 works fine here (snd_ice1712 kernel module + envy24control gui mixer from alsa tools)
The digital output sounds crisp and clean on it.
And the analog inputs/outputs are damned nice too. And I've had this card for.... 10 years now? And it still works great. I keep moving it from one computer to the next for each upgrade. It's the oldest piece of computer hardware that I am still using, if I am not mistaken.
 
  


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