Topic: Babyface Pro FS

So I saw a lot of praise about how well Babyface Pro works with Linux and I bought one. It got delivered today and I think I'm in for a big disappointment.
I managed to switch it to class compliant mode, that was easy enough to find on the internet, but I can only get sound out of it from the XLR outputs. I get nothing from the headphones or the SPDIF.
SPDIF is listed as an output but all of the sound gets sent to the XLR even with SPDIF selected.
I searched some more on the internet and it looks like this card might be only working with the XLR outputs on Linux. SPDIF out is essential for my setup and the main reason I bought this card over cheaper competitors that don't seem to have any optical outs these days.
Since I would rather not just pack it up and send it back to where I bought it, I registered here to ask if anyone knows if it is possible to use the other two outputs with the card.

Thank you.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Did it come with a manual? Just asking.

If so, pages 9 to 10 may be helpful, as they lay out the manual operation of the unit.

3

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Mixing options are useless for playback routing. What might work is changing the CC mode from normal to 'Copy mode', as explained in chapter 34.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Babyface Pro FS

That worked. Really should have been simpler and more intuitive to set up, but I guess that's what I signed up for when I switched to Linux. It really sucks to frequently only get a fraction of functionality you pay for, but that's the price of freedom these days.

But just imagine being the first company to release a device with full Linux support and basically capture close to 100% of that market for a couple of years, until others figure out that there is money to be made there.

Thank you for your help. I guess I'll go register the product and the extra software and hopes that some day I'll be able to use that too.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

That was a short lived victory. I got sound out of it, but now I tried to use it to record and got nothing. I even read all the manual sections that could have useful information too.

Input shows that it has signal. Output shows that it has signal (I set up monitoring to SPDIF according to the manual) and no sound was to be heard. I tried to get sound from multiple applications too. Still nothing. I get sound from basic sources like my media player but nothing from the input.

Is there another secret key press combination to make the inputs work? I used the 1/4" inputs. Tried both 3 and 4 with same outcome.

6

Re: Babyface Pro FS

All 12 input channels are always available in CC mode.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Babyface Pro FS

I tried multiple applications and two distributions, and none of them work.
Bitwig for example works fine with my old Edirol UA-25EX but audio engine won't start with babyface.
Reaper gets no input from Babyface but works fine with Edirol.
Tonelib applications get no input from Babyface. Output sounds perfect at 2.7ms latency with Babyface. They get input and output with Edirol but it is all distorted. (This applications were the reason why I wanted to upgrade my interface).
Audacity get's no input from Babyface.
I ran out of applications to try it with. There is clearly something wrong with the drivers of Babyface Pro FS. At $900.00 one would expect this to work out of the box.

8 (edited by ramses 2020-02-01 17:28:41)

Re: Babyface Pro FS

> At $900.00 one would expect this to work out of the box

Sure for Windows and Apple. These two operating systems are officially supported by RME.

Some RME devices, like BBF Pro FS, have a so called "Class Compliant mode" which is an OS independend standard.
CC mode works fine for Windows and Apple.

There are so many Linux Distributions out there (>200) ... some people claim, that class compliant mode works for Linux.
But which Distribution works best or for what kernel and sound daemon infrastructure I can't tell you, sorry.

Kind of "RME bashing" doesn't help you any further, RME made no promise or claims that it runs on Linux.
It's simply in your own responsibility to choose an Operating System which is not officially supported by RME.
Some people got it running on linux, maybe they can speak up, which distribution they choosed or
what "magic trick" on Linux made it work.

There is a Linux Subforum on RME Forum where you can ask and potentially get highest visibility for these kind of things.

Or alternatively ask in the Linux ALSA forums where you reach users and devs of the ALSA sound system.

There are also other sound systems available on Linux, but I remember that ALSA brought some support for some RME recording interfaces. They also maintain a database of which sound cards and recording interfaces are supported by them.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

Re: Babyface Pro FS

While there is nothing stated that Linux is fully supported, it is implied in a number of instances. Just go to RME home page and serch for "Linux". There is nothing stating that RME interfaces don't work with Linux.
It's something that a lot of companies are doing these days to Linux users. They want our money but don't want to put any effort into providing full support. This is not unique to RME.
I'll be sending this interface back and look for an interface that better supports Linux.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

> There is nothing stating that RME interfaces don't work with Linux.

Its the other way around. You have a good chance to get it running on OS which support audio devices with CC mode.
If it does not work, then its your responsibility to get it running under Linux.
Either by contacting people who maintain your distribution of choice and to get the clue what the show stopper is or
by checking the other around 250 distributions on your own by trial and error.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10 Pro 2004, Cubase 10.5.20, UFX+, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, ARC USB

11

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Exactly. Not to mention that there are no 'RME drivers' involved under Linux. Our CC mode implementation works perfectly, that is a hardware standard. If it doesn't work on your system then there is nothing we can do about it.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Babyface Pro FS

I have two other audio interfaces that both work without issues. They are lower quality and older, thus latency is not great, but they both work "plug and play". Inputs are available and I get audio from them. That was not the case with the Babyface.

I either got a defective unit or there is a problem with your CC mode implementation.
I will eventually pick up another manufacturer's Audio Interface and let you know if that one worked. So far all interfaces I tried and have access to have worked except for the Babyfaace.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Hey guys,

I don't want to open another thread for this, so I'll just bump this. I recently purchased the Babyface Pro FS and I'm amazed how clean it sounds. I'm running it in CC mode on Linux.

As TotalMix FX on the iPad controls the DSP of the Babyface in CC mode, I assume it would be possible to extend the alsa mixer part on the kernel to do very much the same. Very much like it has been done in the past with the hammerfall card. As I have experience in that field, I'd love to do exactly that. Could RME help me and provide with details about the communication that is going on there? I'd voluntarily take care of the rest. smile

Another option would be using a Beagle or OpenViszla to eavesdrop and reverse engineer the communication. But perhaps we can avoid taking this detour? big_smile

Looking forward to you reply. I need some project to stop Corona-boredom! big_smile

And on that note: All the bist wishes to everyone and stay healthy!

Yours
Bollie

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Hi,

@bollie, that would be awesome!
I'm also a long time linux user and having EQ on the babyface under linux would be really nice!

greets,
Michael

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Ok, first patch to make the BBF Pro's mixer available in ALSA has been submitted to the alsa-devel mailing list for review. I'll keep you guys informed about the progress. I'm also currently working on a very basic GUI.

Thanks RME for being supportive on this. smile

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Awesome work! Please let me know if you need any help testing the changes. I'm happy to patch my kernel and give it you changes a shot with the babyface pro (non fs).

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Nice to hear, Bollie!

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Hi very pleasant news here , will keep looking into,
thanks for your work Bollie !

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Here's a basic GUI for the mixer. Use with caution and not all controls are on there, yet. I will continue to work on it.

https://github.com/MrBollie/bbfpromix

You'll need to patch your kernel with the patch named on that README.md.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Awesome work!
Any chance this, at some point in the future, might also work with RME Babyface (non-Pro)?

Re: Babyface Pro FS

@remmie as far as I understood it already does !

Re: Babyface Pro FS

As far as I understand it, the kernel patch by Bollie is strictly conditional on the USB device ID of the Babyface Pro (2a39:3fb0), but the original Babyface has a different one (0424:3fb7), so it wouldn't work as-is.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Exactly, @remmie! The Babyface Pro FS is the only one I own and for that I wrote that patch. RME informed me, the Babyface Pro will work, too and has the same ID in CC mode. So, these two are the only interfaces being supported by this patch.

24

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Thanks @Bollie for your efforts and contribution! This is encouraging to switch even more to linux.
Great to hear, RME is a company that was supportive. It's not a given nowadays and deserves kudos.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Indeed. As a first-time RME user, I felt overwhelmed by how supportive they are, even in case of an issue, that wasn't their hardware's fault. So great, you don't have to fight through three support levels, telling your story over and over again, like with other vendors.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

@Bollie, first of all thanks on working on this.

Could you do me a favour and list what changes with your patch, but also which restrictions still remain compared to the official drivers? Because as far as I understand the the BF still runs in CC-mode.
The Phoronix News page just mentioned that the patch will "properly support" the device.  I imagine that mean "properly supports mixing features in CC mode" and not "properly like on Windows- or Mac-PCs.

I wonder about stuff like:

- latency
- sample rate quality
- loopback feature
- number of software outputs
- internal routing matrix of the BF

The reason why i ask and the position I am in is as follow: I do not own the BF yet. I would buy it despite the fact that it's far above my average budget, IF i knew i can use it for many years on both WindowsOS (which I currently use mostly due to gaming) and Linux. Beside using it for simple audio output (music listening and gaming), I would like to use it in a DAW-software (like 'Reason' on Win10 or e.g. Bitwig in Linux) combined with a midi-keyboard as well as voice recording.
  Each single thing should work well enough on both OSes. However the tricky part comes when streaming things. I would want to mix the outputs of these softwares + the microphone input internally in TotalFX and route them to a single software input that is assigned to the streaming software.
  As far as I understand, this works in Windows due to the multiple software outputs of the driver, the internal routing matrix of TotalFX and the loopback function. But would that work in Linux as well?

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Lomaxx wrote:

@Bollie, first of all thanks on working on this.

Could you do me a favour and list what changes with your patch, but also which restrictions still remain compared to the official drivers? Because as far as I understand the the BF still runs in CC-mode.
The Phoronix News page just mentioned that the patch will "properly support" the device.  I imagine that mean "properly supports mixing features in CC mode" and not "properly like on Windows- or Mac-PCs.

That's correct. Making the PC mode available on Linux would mean to probably reverse-engineer RME's Windows/Mac drivers and/or their usb protocol. I won't be doing that. wink So that patch is purely limited to offer access to the mixing matrix and a couple of flags, like clock- and optical modes. I'm not sure, how that loopback feature actually works. I haven't really figured that one out, although on Linux, this can be easily done using something like the module-jack-sink of pulseaudio and jack. This also has the advantage, that any audio stream doesn't have to leave your pc and squeeze across the usb layer twice.

I bought the BBF Pro FS, because I wanted a portable, solid audio interface with that very DAC chip and a proper headphone amp, that works flawlessly as a class compliant device on Linux. And after submitting the kernel patch and making lots of music at home with it for almost two months, I couldn't be happier. Even at small buffer sizes, it runs perfectly fine.

Yes, is not the cheapest interface out there, but I don't regret buying it. Also the guys at RME are super-nice and very supportive, IMO something that's invaluable.

Re: Babyface Pro FS

Thanks for taking the time to answer my post.