Experiments with ECHO AudioFire's

Aside from the 2.0 beta tree, there is also some other work going on... admittedly, it's more fun to work on features than to work on bugs. But hey, the current beta code seems to be pretty good. We're just waiting for a next jack version to be released, such that our users don't have to recompile jack themselves. After that we can go for a large-audience beta. And the associated bug reports... Let's have some fun first!

This is a report on one of the experiments going on for post 2.0. First: the results...

click here for the full-size version

What is this?
Since I got partial source code from ECHO, more specifically the hardware abstraction layer, I realized that I might be able to mimic the ECHO windows driver interface with a Wine "pseudo-driver". The idea would be that one could run the ECHO windows control panels in Wine, and that the pseudo-driver would relay the command & control to the FFADO driver. And so I was off for quite some days of Wine degustation. I can honestly say that using the Windows API is not a pleasant journey...

But as you can see, in the end it seems to be working fine. The setup shown on the screenshot is one with an AudioFire2 and an AudioFire8 connected to FFADO. Then the ECHO control panel was launched through my customized Wine. The panels are fully functional. Except for the metering, for one reason or the other that doesn't work. The data is passed on to the control panel as far as I can tell, but it doesn't update the meters.

Before you start asking... this stuff is not publicly available yet. There are several issues to be resolved first. Amongst these are:

  • Getting my Wine core modifications into the Wine source tree
  • Figure out how to compile the Wine pseudo-driver from outside the Wine tree (since it's not going to be accepted into their trunk anyway).
  • Sort out the legal issues. To build this prototype I used some code and headers from ECHO (unlike in FFADO itself). This means that I either have to remove that code or get official permission from ECHO to open-source it.
  • Merge the most recent FFADO with my local experimental branch, since they have diverged quite a lot over the last months.
  • Figure out whether I want full open-source panels with associated maintenance, or this kind meet-in-the-middle where I don't have to care about the GUI's, but have to tolerate some closed source applications.

But nevertheless a preview of what lies after what still has to come. Comments welcome...



Echo AudioFire range fully supported

Echo provided us with an AudioFire8 to help us extend the support for their device range. By doing so we can provide support for all AudioFire devices: the AudioFire2 and AudioFire4 are based upon one platform, the AudioFire8 and AudioFire12 are based on an extended version of that platform.

FFADO 2.0 Beta6 (1.999.36) available

FFADO 2.0 Beta6 (1.999.36) available

The FFADO team is proud to announce the release of a sixth beta version of libffado.

This beta release is created to collect feedback about the library under common usage. It is expected that there are still some bugs and unresolved system related issues. However the code has proven itself to be usable. It is recommended that you have a basic amount of experience with Linux and with building software before you try to install this.

Please review this package thoroughly in order to spot potential problems. Feedback on distribution aspects and documentation is also welcome.

Project update

Thanks to TC Applied Technologies, I have the opportunity again this year to go to the Musikmesse in Frankfurt later this week. This gives me the opportunity to meet vendors face-to-face, which might help getting some extra support. Many thanks to TCAT (especially Steven) for this.

The main goal of this trip is to meet with the people behind the TC Konnekt interfaces to discuss support for their devices. I'm very interested in this meeting, and will definitely keep you posted on how things evolve. On the 'convince-a-sceptic' quest my first priorities will be Presonus and Alesis, but the more the merrier I'd say.

Being at the Musikmesse anyway, I will also try and meet up with the other vendors of FireWire devices. I will definitely drop by the Focusrite stand to thank them for the support, and show off our support for their devices. The same scenario will bring me to the Musonic stand (former Terratec Producer), ESI (if present) and Mackie (if I can find a FireWire rep). The ECHO people have already informed me that they won't be there. Before people start suggesting it, I'll even drop by at the RME stand, although I'm not going to be too persistent. They know the deal. Hey, I might even drop by the MotU stand and give them an opportunity to do what they like... laugh at open source. In any case, it is important not to forget who pays my visit, which means that vendors using DICE have priority.

It has been almost one year since the FFADO project was launched, and people increasingly wonder when we are going to release. A very valid question indeed, but let me first make some remarks on this. First of all, consider the fact that we are a very small group of developers (about 3 core developers) that all have a daytime job and some sort of 'other' life. That certainly doesn't speed up the development process. A second issue is that we feel that for this type of project one should be very careful about the quality of the released code. There are a lot of variables that are out of our control (distribution configuration, interrupt sharing, firewire controller, cables, ...), meaning that we'd better make sure that our code works. The FreeBoB project learned us that releasing quality code will give you less support work afterwards, and that's what we'd like to achieve with FFADO too.

That's for the disclaimer, now let's get to the point: the code currently in the development repository is functional for all supported devices, except for the reverse engineered MOTU code. The latter should be working, but hasn't been verified thoroughly yet. The performance of the current codebase is comparable to the FreeBoB code, both in CPU usage, reliability as latency. The main issues that still have to be resolved are mainly related to aesthetics, distribution and installation. What this means is that you can expect a beta version pretty soon. Maybe even before FFADO's first anniversary?


Pieter Palmers
(on behalf of the FFADO team)

Mackie Onyx Mixers

Today we received the Onyx Mixer with FireWire expansion card Mackie provided us with. This means that the FireWire option card for the Onyx Mixers will be supported in the upcoming FFADO release.

Note that currently only the Onyx Mixers are supported, NOT the Onyx 400F, 1200F or Satellite.

Focusrite Saffire Support

Focusrite has donated us a Saffire Pro 26 I/O and a Saffire.

This means that now their entire range is upgraded to the 'supported' status, since the Pro10 is a derivative of the Pro26 and the Saffire LE is a derivative of the Saffire.

Kudos to Focusrite (& Nick and Lars in particular).

Echo AudioFire 2

Today we received an AudioFire 2 from Echo Audio, so now we can start working on support for the Echo AudioFire range of devices.

Update on Vendor support

Over the last weeks we have been communicating with some vendors, resulting in some extra information on vendor support.

The good news:

  • Focusrite provided a Saffire, a Saffire PRO26 and the necessary information (i.e. all we need)
  • Echo Audio will provide provided an AudioFire 2 and the necessary info and developer support (including source code).
  • Terratec Producer and ESI were with us from the start, and they still are.


  • Presonus will has promised to provide us with everything we need. (but hasn't delivered yet)
  • We have contact with Focusrite, but we still have to work out the details.
  • TC Electronic are interested (regarding the Konnekt devices) but there are no specific details yet.
  • Metric Halo have requested us to support their devices, but it has been rather silent on that end.

The bad news:

  • Alesis can't free up the resources to support us for the moment. Once that changes they will contact us.
  • Mackie don't respond to our emails. haven't made up their minds yet.

Device Support database updated

The Device Support database has been updated with all FireWire based Audio products I know of / could find.

New name = new sites, new lists, ...

As of today (April 06) we have a new user site, a new developer site, new mailing lists and a new IRC channel.

The end-user site isn't very complete yet, but that will change in the near future. Any help is welcome.

What we don't yet have is a new release, but that is being worked on.

For interested people and end-users we have the Drupal based site you are currently looking at.
For developers, bleeding-edge users & beta testers there is the Trac system at subversion.ffado.org