Downscaling and upgrading

For years I’ve used Focusrite Firewire interfaces, first the Saffire Pro 10 IO and after that its successor, the Saffire Pro 40. Both great devices but recently I decided to make the switch to USB. The reason was twofold:

  • I was barely using more than 2 ins or outs simultaneously
  • Firewire is being phased out and my notebooks don’t have any Express Card slots either, only USB ports
  • The Pro 40 isn’t very portable

So when switching to USB I would need:

  • Same or better quality preamps and AD/DA convertors
  • At least 2 ins and outs
  • Portability
  • Possibility to achieve similar latencies as with the Pro 40
  • Works well with Linux

This narrowed down the choice significantly. I could go for a Focusrite Scarlett but from what I found on the net there were some issues with these devices. I’ve also looked at some Presonus devices but actually I had already set my mind on a different device: the RME Babyface.

RME Babyface

So when I found a webshop that offered the Babyface at a reduced price (almost 15% off) I put my Focusrite up for sale and bought the Babyface. The Focusrite was sold within a week and the Babyface easily met my expectations:

  • When in CC (Class Compliant) mode it works out of the box
  • It’s highly portable, the Babyface is actually specifically made for this purpose as it comes with a nice pouch
  • It has 2 ins and outs and the great thing is that it’s possible to extend the IO via ADAT
  • The preamps and AD/DA converters are simply top notch, they’re so good that I’m considering switching cans and studio monitors as this device is merciless, it simply doesn’t work well with my current setup
  • When connected to an USB3 port (XHCI) the Babyface can run with nominal latencies of 0.5ms (this is with 8 samples), i.e. it beats the other two OS’s mentioned on the RME product page

I can live with not being able to control the device from within Linux, almost all settings can be done on the device itself. Upgrading the firmware can be done with a VM so that’s covered too. The only real drawbacks are that it’s an USB device so it’s a bit more picky with regard to your system setup and it consumes a bit more CPU compared to Firewire. But all in all this is a great sounding device that works well with Linux when in CC mode and it fits my specific user case very well.

Downscaling and upgrading

Nieuwe FFADO versie op komst

Er zit een nieuwe FFADO release aan te komen, FFADO 2.1.0.

De laatste puntjes worden op de i gezet en hopelijk wordt de nieuwe versie begin volgende week gereleased. Naast dat er een sloot aan nieuwe devices ondersteund worden in deze versie zijn er ook een hoop bugs gefixed en is er de nodige aandacht besteed aan ffado-mixer om deze goed werkende te krijgen met bijvoorbeeld de nieuwere Focusrites (de PRO 14, 24 en 40).

Voor mij persoonlijk verandert er niet veel, mijn Focusrite Saffire PRO 40 werkt feilloos onder Ubuntu 12.04. Maar in de toekomst zou ik wel graag een RME Fireface 400 aan willen schaffen en die wordt ondersteund met de aankomende FFADO release. Een bandmaat heeft een tijdlang twee Focusrite Saffire Pro 10’s gehad en deze recentelijk omgeruild met een RME Fireface 800 en volgens hem zijn de A/D D/A convertors gewoon stukken beter dan die van Focusrite.

Nieuwe FFADO versie op komst