Topic: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

Up front, I must admit that I am no Linux guru whatsoever! I switched to LinuxMint for office/programming/everyday use about a year ago and didn't miss Windows for a millisecond there - almost everything I need seems to work very well out of the box...

For pro-audio-use I am still booting into Windows, because I have all my old projects there and because I am more used to everything and therefore quicker there. Eg. I love DigiCheck for extensive live recordings etc. - I cannot really live without it anymore... wink

But for simpler applications I don't want to reboot all the time. If I only need "basic" access to the great inputs and outputs of my beloved Fireface800, I stay all in Linux now - and when you know how, it is quite simple, so this is how to set it up:


In LinuxMint (one of the most used Linux distributions today) all needed packages are ready to install right away. These are:

  • libffado2, ffado-tools, ffado-mixer-qt4

  • jackd, jackd2, jackd2-firewire

The FFADO packages are more or less the driver for the Firefaces, JACK is the audio environment in Linux...

A) Install those through the SoftwareManager, or manually in terminal with this one command:
$ sudo apt-get install libffado2 ffado-tools ffado-mixer-qt4 jackd jackd2 jackd2-firewire

During installation JACK will ask about adding rights for real-time-use to the "audio"-user-group, so you should consider to add your user account to the "audio" group also... (Of course, for advanced audio use Linux can be optimized in a lot of ways, which is not topic here...)

B) Then turn on the Fireface!

Open up a terminal and try this command to test if the Fireface is ready to use - it should show up:
$ ffado-test ListDevices
http://oi57.tinypic.com/102uh3c.jpg

C) To start the Fireface-Settings-Window, use this command in a terminal:
$ ffado-mixer &

What you then get is a window where you can configure settings and input/output levels, comparable to the usual Fireface settings window and Totalmix (of course with very limmited functionality, but still...):
http://s29.postimg.org/tn37jyvc7/ffado_control.png
http://s21.postimg.org/ovxomp8if/ffado_playback.png
http://s3.postimg.org/z66x86n03/ffado_inputs.png
http://s23.postimg.org/q0abzlm6j/ffado_outputs.png

D) Restart your computer! Why I don't know, but I needed to in order to use the Fireface in the audio software...

Example use in Ardour (a very well know and highly sophisticated piece of DAW software):
* Ardour 2: When you start the program, settings pop up - just choose "FFADO" as driver, choose your quality settings and create your project... Then you've got all Fireface inputs and outputs available! These can be configured eg. in the mixer view or under the menu entry "Windows/Connections"...
* Ardour 3: When opening a new project, just select "JACK" as the audio system and "FFADO" as driver - then configure your inputs/outputs in the mixer, track settings, or in the menu under "Windows/Tracks+Busses"...


This is all you need to use your Fireface in a very professional audio software... Of course there is a lot more possible and a very huge selection of other DAWs and programs available, but I wanted to strip it down to the minimum here...

And don't be afraid of Linux! As I mentioned, I am no linux specialist, but find my way round quite easily! You don't have to enter any commands manually if you don't want to - all can be set up to work with buttons and starters very easily...

If you want to fiddle arround with the configuration of JACK, try "qjackctl" as a GUI: You only have to select "firewire" as the driver there and everything should work (Fireface inputs/outputs...)...


I tested this on two machines now (one very old, one newer) and it worked - so I hope it does for you too! But I cannot promise anything, so take it as a starting point to configure your own system... Have fun! wink

DC rules!

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

That's cool, it's always good to see people sharing information, especially well documented.
Nice screenshots of the ffado-mixer.

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

@laex: thanks very interesting. Currently I have no use case for working with Linux, but maybe I give it a try to see whats possible.

Are the realtime kernel extensions required ? I remember that Ubuntu studio had them applied.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

ramses wrote:

Are the realtime kernel extensions required ? I remember that Ubuntu studio had them applied.

I use LinuxMint and the standard kernel and therefore no realtime kernel - and I am no Linux specialist at all... So no, definitely not "required" as such...

But obviously there is a lot to optimize in Linux setup and there are more than one distributions prepared for realtime or even audio use! For all I need at the moment (mostly routing to multiple outputs with very little processing) it seems very stable out of the box... As I said, for more complex applications I still use Windows - maybe an old habit, future will tell! wink

DC rules!

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

I come from many Unixes, my Love is FreeBSD. But gaming and recording required to jump on Windows.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro20H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+ (v0.9735), XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

Hi,
Thank you for the well documented report and instruction.
Can you provide some technical information regarding performance?
Latency
Bit and sample rates
What are advantages of linux?
Thanks,
Linz

SamProX23 Suite-RME UFX+,FF800;X-Touch,21" Acer Touch,ASUS ROG G750JH-DB71-Win8,MSSurfbook-Win10

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

Lindsey wrote:

Can you provide some technical information regarding performance?

Sorry, I really cannot - because I only use Linux for very basic stuff that shouldn't bother any computer these days... wink

Personally, I think that a well configured Linux is at least as stable and performant as any other well configured OS. (Free) software is available en masse - and I am sure that 95% of users won't miss any functionality of common Windows/Mac-only audio software...

As I wrote above, I miss Digicheck and Totalmix! But apart of that it is only my habits and convenience holding me back from leaving Windows all behind, even for audio use... For everyday/programming/office use I kicked out Windows completely a while ago and only wonder why I didn't much earlier... wink

DC rules!

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

i was able to get it working
but
it so close




there are some issuse and i generally like to manually install so i know exactly what it going on and what is running
and all that good stuff

the main tricks i had to use to get it woking is

use jack verdion - 1   no more typo fiing - icant it becomes a engless game
the
i do not know if it is true - but it worked for e-me  that the firewire _must_ be installed / config in kernel as a module
and
i have it running -
i dont think i use pulse - i believe it uses alsa
and
there was many many many steps to building and compiling and finding out what is going on

and who is fighting who whom etc - it is a real soap opera behind the scenes ...   

but it works - and i dont have the final piece-
or
i guess - sigh - i need to rebuils it all because i switched back to jack 1  now it all needs fixing  ... /sigh

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

First of all big thanks for taking the time and writing these instructions. I just installed Ubuntu 17.04 to get some hobby coding done and was hoping (but very skeptical) to get FF400 also working for some music playback. I did get it working but with too much artifacts. Fiddling with sample rate, frames/period and periods/buffer helped a bit but after first system hangup I decided to stop wasting more time smile. Built-in motherboard audio will do just fine. Maybe realtime-kernel could help or maybe not enough.

I'll stick with Windows for music production cause RME drivers for win (as well as osx) are pure gold and reliable as hell. Just didn't want to bloat my windows with development stuff and developing on windows is anyways a painful experience...

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

Ok so this is amazing! I simply ran

sudo apt-get install libffado2 ffado-tools ffado-mixer-qt4 jackd jackd2 jackd2-firewire

then

ffado-mixer &

and boom were ready to go.

I won't be using it to produce music. well not yet anyway. I just needed to be able to control volume on my FireFace 800 so that I could begin to move away from Windows when developing.

So this was posted 5 year ago. I wonder if there are any updates or does the code above pull in the latest??

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

hotliquer wrote:

So this was posted 5 year ago. I wonder if there are any updates or does the code above pull in the latest??

Well, I am trying to set my FF400 into a Linux-PC and I still did not find recent updates.

1) first my connection [Adapter: UBD-C/Thunderbolt2]//[Adapter: Thunderbolt2/Firewire800]//[Cable: Firewire 800/ Firewire 400] seems to not work (the FF400 do not even power on). But I read

https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=29436

that it may be some missing drivers.

So, actually I dont know if is my problem here concens the software or the hardware...

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

If the FF400 isn't powering up, you might need to connect an external power supply?

A TB to FW converter doesn't supply enough power for a FF400, while standard FW does.

13 (edited by theotrst 2020-11-01 18:12:49)

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

cyrano wrote:

If the FF400 isn't powering up, you might need to connect an external power supply?

A TB to FW converter doesn't supply enough power for a FF400, while standard FW does.

Thanks. I changed the switch on the back side to "Ext" Power instead of "Bus". Now, at least ithe FF400 is on.
Still, I dont have idea how to "see" the device (and if the connection works).

I have already installed Jack, and FFado mixer, but when I start FFado mixer, it says:

Could not communicate with the FFADO DBus service...

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

My simple test procedure, step one...

Connect monitors to analog 1 and 2 out. Play some music from any program. Browser + Youtube, fi.

If that works, the only thing you need to do, is figure out which I/O goes where.

If it doesn't work, you need to check the console for audio related errors. That usually gives an indication where to look.

I'd bet the TB to FW converter to be the issue. And I've never had to solve this problem. AFAIK it doesn't require it's own driver, but of course, the FW connection going out needs to "see" it.

Are you using ffado?

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

yes, I am using FFADO but still I am not sure that all is working properly.

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

sorry, I am still trying to solve this problem. I installed all tha packages (libffado2 ffado-tools ffado-mixer-qt4 jackd jackd2 jackd2-firewire), but when I launch

ffado-mixer &

I get the following:



1604770007619667:  (ffado-dbus-server.cpp)[ 275] main:  Discovering devices...
1604770007622734: Fatal (devicemanager.cpp)[ 187] initialize: No firewire adapters (ports) found.
1604770007622750: Error (ffado-dbus-server.cpp)[ 282] main: Could not initialize device manager

1604770007622757: Debug (ffado-dbus-server.cpp)[ 207] exitfunction: Debug output flushed...
no message buffer overruns
17:26:52 logginghandler   ERROR    Could not communicate with the FFADO DBus service...



the problem is that, since I have connect the FF400 at the USB-C port, I actually have the FF400 physically connected here:



lsusb
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 0781:5583 SanDisk Corp. Ultra Fit
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 04f2:b65a Chicony Electronics Co., Ltd HD Webcam
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 8087:0aaa Intel Corp. Bluetooth 9460/9560 Jefferson Peak (JfP)
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 05ac:1657 Apple, Inc. Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub


any idea?
many thanks

Re: [HowTo:] Setting up FF400/FF800 on Linux

ramses wrote:

@laex: thanks very interesting. Currently I have no use case for working with Linux, but maybe I give it a try to see whats possible.

Are the realtime kernel extensions required ? I remember that Ubuntu studio had them applied.

I’m on OpenSUSE and I set a real time Kernel to run audio.  I just don’t want to deal with any potential issues.  I also set the CPU governors to Performance.

sudo cpupower --cpu all frequency-set -g performance

For that. Not sure the exact codes with unbunto.  Yes at times I want to bash bash too.

fwiw I’ve been reading up on Pipewire which I guess is the incoming audio format that is supposed to solve everyone’s issues.  Although it sounds like it’s breaking more than it’s solving right now.