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Making Multi-Channel Firewire Music With Linux

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Software

This column is a bit premature because I haven't had time to set things up and test them yet. But I'm excited about getting started, so here are some preliminary notes on multi-track recording in Linux using a Firewire device.

I scored a nice deal on a Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 Firewire recording interface. My studio PC does not have Firewire so I also bought a SIIG PCI Firewire 400 card and a 6-pin to 6-pin cable. Focusrite is a good supporter of the FFADO project, which writes Linux drivers for Firewire recording devices. (I do not understand Linux users who make themselves crazy trying to force an unsupported or poorly-supported piece of hardware to work on Linux. So they save a couple bucks, it's still a losing proposition.)

I'm curious to see how this will affect performance. I have an M-Audio MobilePre USB that I do a lot of recording with. This is a two-channel USB 1.1 preamp and ADC/DAC. Two channel recording doesn't challenge a system very much. My studio PC has a single-core Athlon and 4GB RAM. This is a bit lightweight for multi-channel recording, but since the Firewire card will take some load away from the CPU I expect to get at least four channels without problems.

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